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I can't take these night any more - please help...

(22 Posts)
shirleycat1 Mon 19-Oct-09 10:35:06

My 5 month old ds has never been a great sleeper, waking up 2 - 4 times a night since birth. After a feed he settles quickly back to sleep.

About a month ago he started waking every 2 hours and I was so tired I had enough, so I decided to do a version of pick up put down. I also decided that I would give him one feed in the night, 5 hours after his last feed. So this has been going on for a month but he still doesn't seem to be getting the message. I give a dream feed at 10.00 and then about 4 out of 7 nights he is crying at 1.30. Sometimes he takes ages to get back down, other times it's quite quick. He then always wakes around 3.00 and I feed him, then he sometimes wakes at 5-6ish and won't settle.

I can't go on like this. I am so tired. Everything is pissing me off. Me dp is pissing me off. My baby is pissing me off. I don't know what to do to help him to sleep longer. But I really need him to coz it is driving me mad.

Please help...

MrsBadger Mon 19-Oct-09 10:44:46

am at work and can't post extensively but have a google for Dr Jay Gordon - 'changing the sleep pattern in the family bed'

personally I think feeding a 5mo back to sleep twice in the night is completely reasonable and a damn sight easier than the hassle involved in avoiding feeding a 5mo at night.

if you feed him at 1.30 you may find he doesn;t wake at 3...

bearhug Mon 19-Oct-09 13:06:57

't is the time for a massive growthspurt, 4 to 5 months old... You don't say if you are breast or bottle feeding. If breastfeeding, the only thing to do is to feed often to increase production to match demand. Your DS should then be able to go longer between feeds again.

5 months is really very young to be doing any sort of sleep training in my opinion, and Dr Jay Gordon does not recommend his method for any baby under 12 months old.

I do feel for you though, it is hard going!

suwoo Mon 19-Oct-09 13:16:39

Its hard isn't it. My DS who is 3 in December still wakes up. Last night he woke up three times and I have a 12 week old too.

I'm afraid its one of those things where you have to suck it up and get on with it. Nothing I did improved his sleep.

minimoonumbertwo Mon 19-Oct-09 13:21:00

Is he hungry (sorry - how would you know?!?!) - you could try weaning him though? My ds was nightmare sleeper too & it definitely got worse around this age, i weaned him at 5 months and there was a marked improvement. Good luck x

MrsBadger Mon 19-Oct-09 13:36:10

Oh and ime there was no connection between starting solids and sleep.
Hunger and sleep yes, extra milk and sleep yes, but not solids.

shirleycat1 Mon 19-Oct-09 16:03:55

He is exclusively breast fed. I am considering giving him a bottle of formula for his dream feed but I am so determined to breast feed for 6 months so am reluctant to do that really. I'm definitely not going to wean him until 26 weeks, and then I will be BLW so I am anticipating it being pretty slow and not having a major effect immediately.

He has slept for 4 hours kind of regularly before so that's why I thought I should try to not feed him if he wakes up before 4 hours, but he really doesn't seem to be getting it and all the carrying on is more stressful than giving him a quick feed and back down. He can self settle so I don't think it' s just that he's woke and can't get back to sleep.

I also have a really unhelful mum who constantly tells me that he should have been sleeping through at 6 weeks, which I know is bollocks, but doesn't make me feel great when I tired and pissed off with everything and feeling rubbish.

minimoonumbertwo Mon 19-Oct-09 16:49:00

oh no you poor thing, you need supportive & helpful people around you at the moment! You could try the formula dream feed & continue to breast feed for the others - I started mixed feeding at around 3 months & your milk supply just adapts, you don't 'dry up' or anything. It feels like such a massive step to give anything other than breast milk and it did freak me out a bit but it does give you a much needed break esp if your dp can do it (and nice for him too).

It's such a difficult time but it is just another phase which he will come out of.

Good luck xxx

bearhug Tue 20-Oct-09 10:08:40

have a look at some of the breast feeding threads - loads of good advice there.

abra1d Tue 20-Oct-09 10:12:02

Have you tried putting him a sleeping bag? This worked brilliantly with my daughter at about four months. SHe felt really secure in the bag and woke much less frequently.

pleasechange Tue 20-Oct-09 10:34:55

shirley - I really do sympathise, I have been (and to some extent still am) in exactly the same position.

DS was never a good sleeper. For the first 10 months, he woke at least every 2 hours, and on the worst nights, every 45 mins (yes, every 45 mins - I thought I was going to die).

You really feel like you can't go on, but somehow you do. I read all the tips etc but really, nothing made any difference. He was exclusively bf until 6 mths and everyone said it would get easier when he was ff/weaned - it didn't.

Things improved at 10mths when I brought him (finally) to cranial osteopathy. It really did help a lot - but he is by no means a great sleeper still. He has never slept through and tbh I can't see this happening for at least a few years

I don't mean to dishearten you, but just to illustrate that any self righteous smug well meaning friends telling you silly stories about babies should be sleeping through from 6wks is a load of nonsense

All the very best of luck to you. Hang in there, you will get through it. It will get better

NellyTheElephant Tue 20-Oct-09 10:50:02

Have you tried not doing the dream feed?? None of my 3 ever really took to the dream feed (I think it's quite hard to do if you are breastfeeding as you end up having to wake them up properly in order to get them to feed). What happened with all of my 3 was that they naturally had one longer sleep in the 24 hr period and that fell from when I put them down at 7pm ish. If I then woke them at 10.30 ish to feed then instead of helping them to sleep longer it seemed to set them straight back on to their standard day time feeding patten of every 3 hours or so, but if I left them then they would sleep on through to 2 or 3am. So you might find that if you don't do the 10pm feed he still wakes at 1.30am, but at least you would be able to get to bed at 9pm so you might feel better. You could drop it for 2 or 3 nights and see what happens, you can always start it up again.

I also have a 2 yr old and a 4 yr old and a few months back when the night waking was driving me into the ground and PND I did actually just stop feeding DS at night, although I'm sure this goes against all recommendations (he was 12 weeks and had naturally gone through a couple of times but then reverted to waking 3x a night). I went against my usual practice and woke him to feed at 10.30pm then refused to feed him again until morning. He woke at 2am and I settled him after about 15 mins, then he woke at 4am and I held and cuddled and rocked him for about an hour before he dropped off through sheer exhaustion and frustration. After 2 nights the 2am wake dropped out completely and the 4am wake had become a 10 minute resettle and after about 5 nights he was sleeping 10.30pm to 6.30am so I dropped the 10.30pm feed and he continued to go through 7pm to past 6am and never reverted. So it worked well for us, but those first 2 nights were quite hard.

I wouldn't suggest giving a bottle of formula for the dream feed, unless it's because your DP could give it meaning you go to bed early and get extra sleep. I don't know anyone who has actually found that formula helped unless they have a problematic milk supply and as you have got to 5 months still bf I'm guessing your milk supply is fine.

viennesewhirl Tue 20-Oct-09 12:05:34

I agree with some of the other posters here - feeding him in the night will be a lot less stressful than trying to get him back to sleep if he's hungry.

Have you read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child? V. interesting about infant sleep rhythms etc. - he says a baby waking once or twice a night till 9 months old is biologically normal and not worth changing. I kept this in mind for ds1 - and was DESPERATE for him to sleep through - the night wakings suddenly stopped at 9.5 months and from then on he slept 7-7.

What time is his bedtime, incidentally?

viennesewhirl Tue 20-Oct-09 12:07:07

Also - I agree; forget the dream feed.

And without being rude to your mum, she's wrong about the 6 weeks thing - can you tell her she's wrong and it's an unhelpful thing to say?

Milsy Tue 20-Oct-09 16:45:23

Hi honey,

I'm a bit of a fan of the Sleepytot blog when it comes to baby sleep. It's been very helpful with my second bubs.

Take a look at the recent posts - http://www.sleepytot.com/blog/

The baby mentioned is a bit older than yours but the advice might work for you?

I know this won't make you feel any better right now but the first year is always tough and then things start to get better. Or they did for me with my first. Good luck hun.

shirleycat1 Tue 20-Oct-09 19:30:15

Thanks everyone. Yeah my mum is a nightmare - we don't really get on very well, unsurprisingly.

His bedtime is at 7.30pm. I'm not going to do the dream feed for the next few nights and see how it goes, but feed him whenever he does wake up through the night. It's easier than trying to settle him any other way.

Fingers crossed for tonight...

lollipopmother Tue 20-Oct-09 21:14:28

5 months is a really tricky time for sleeping and feeding. I personally think that if LO is waking in the night at 5 months it's most likely because they are hungry, at that age my DD was a nightmare to feed in the day, she was constantly pulling off to gawp at something. She then spent all night waking up to catch up on the feeds that she'd missed in the day.

There is a very strong article on Kellymom about it that made me keep going during the night.

Unfortunately DD still doesn't sleep through and she's now 13m so who knows! hmm

minimoonumbertwo Wed 21-Oct-09 09:36:46

shirley how did you get on last night?

shirleycat1 Wed 21-Oct-09 19:58:51

Last night wasn't great. He woke up at 9.45 but dp got him back off to sleep, then he woke at 11.00 so I fed him then. He then woke at 2.10am and I fed him and again at 5.50am. I think he's used to the dream feed now so maybe that's why he woke at 9.45. But it meant that I was up 3 times and the dream feed usually cuts it down to two. Now I'm not sure whether to just carry on with the dream feed or not. I'm worried that all the chopping and changing confuses him. It bloody confuses me!

I know it could be loads worse and I hear about babies waking every hour, but I just feel so stressed out at the moment with everything and being tired is really not helping.

Support here is great though and I have been out with a few other mum's today who also have normal babies who don't sleep like we want them to. It's good to know I'm not alone, but it doesn't give me any more energy. His daytime naps have also got shorter which is rubbish. He had recently started doing 2 sleep cycles on a morning, sleeping for 1 1/2 hours, but that has stopped again in the last week or so and now he's back to 40 mins. Just enough time to do the washing up and put my makeup on, but the house is a mess.

minimoonumbertwo Fri 23-Oct-09 12:41:35

Shirley hang in there. Did he go back down quite easily after feeding? If so it might be best to just go with what he wants for now. He is still really little so could be more trouble than it's worth trying to start dropping feeds etc. If he wakes, feed him, if he doesn't, don't wake him for dream feed & see what happens. Repeat to yourself "this is just a phase" ad nauseum. Chill when you can & make the most of your dp being around when he is. How was last night btw??

shirleycat1 Fri 23-Oct-09 16:56:39

He woke pretty much every hour last night. I'm knackered. I posted in breasfeeding board just now, so see if anyone has any ideas over there. I hate dreading night times. He's such a happy smiley little baby and such a pleasure to be with but he does test my patience during the night.

dycey Fri 23-Oct-09 18:24:55

Had a similar experience with DS at this age - waking a lot for feeds and dummy replacement. I did actually find a formula topup at bedtime stretched out his sleep a bit.

worth a try?

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