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Please, please help me get my 11 week old to sleep during the day...

(75 Posts)
duende Sun 25-Oct-09 14:53:59

I am really struggling with this at the moment. Can't get my DS to nap during the day. Rocking, swinging, patting and shhhing, singing, whispering, stroking, cuddling - don't work. even if after a 40 minute battle he finally falls asleep on my lap, he wakes up 30 minutes later, or as soon as I put him down in his basket. He only gets 2-3 half hour naps a day and screams with tiredness from mid day onwards.
I tried putting him down awake before he's too tired, but he'll just lie there for ages awake, or screams. I don't think pick up put down would work, as he never seems to wear himself down when crying, just winds himself up. Every time I try and get him to sleep he screams and screams forever. I think if I could teach him how to fall asleep, it would improve his and mine quality of life immensely.
Has anyone got any words of wisdom?

MrsBadger Sun 25-Oct-09 15:08:11


at this age I walked miles with dd in all weathers - when she fell asleep I'd stop in a cafe, or, if desitute, with a thermos on a park bench

She slept, we both got some fresh air and a chnage of scene, I had a coffee and was back in my jeans in a surprisingly short time...

(routes where trees overhung the path were especially good)

purepurple Sun 25-Oct-09 15:12:13

I second the pram.
It worked for DS when he was a baby. You don't even need to go out of the house, just push it up and down.

duende Sun 25-Oct-09 15:16:47

pram works if we walk for at least 40 minutes. but he still wakes 30 minutes later or when we stop - whichever happens first :/
also, it would be nice if he slept a bit at home - would give me a chance to grab a sandwich and put washing on, etc.

chosenone Sun 25-Oct-09 15:17:16

I agree! DS was like this from around 6/7 weeks. I usually walked everywhere and was good for us both. Getting him to sleep when I wanted to stay at home was much harder. The HV reccomended finding one place and sticking with it. In the end I put him the pram and rocked him to sleep in the dining room whilst lullabies played, we ended up doing this until he was about 8 months old then he was able to go up in his cot. Try to watch for his sleep cues too and get him down before he gets overtired. DS would make a creaky gate noise when tired! Good luck

titfertat Sun 25-Oct-09 15:28:04

do you have a bouncy cradle/chair thingy? if so, put him in it at the first sign of tiredness (eg very first yawn / grizzle / eye rub - usually happens by the time they've been awake 2 hours max at this age) then bounce it gently until he goes to sleep. can't promise it will work but worth a try!

duende Sun 25-Oct-09 15:53:08

titfertat, I even bought an electric swing after I saw my friend's baby fall asleep in one every time she put him in it and stay asleep for 2 hours...well, my LO likes his and will sit in it sometimes for 10-15 minutes quite happily, but has never fallen asleep in it. when he gets tired he starts crying and I have to take him out.

cwtchy Sun 25-Oct-09 15:53:48

I hope you find something that works OP - your baby sounds exactly like my DD. She never slept for more than 40 mins in the day and spent her early weeks howling with overtiredness. I think some babies are just like this; after a few months she settled down a bit and gave me a bit of breathing space. I always felt like I was failing her, as lots of people would give me advice on how to get her to sleep but nothing ever touched her. With hindsight (she is 2 now), I can see there wasn't anything much I could have done.

I have a 9 week old DS now, and he seems to be going the same way - I have bought a baby bjorn carrier and I put him in there when he drops off. He will sleep for a good 2 hours in there, my back may start to suffer soon but even if he only gets one good nap a day it makes such a difference.

Good luck, you are not the only one with a baby like this and it will get better soon smile

duende Sun 25-Oct-09 16:05:34

cwtchy, you have hit the nail on the head. I feel like I'm failing him by not being able to help him to get to sleep and stay asleep for long enough. It doesn't help that the only other babies of his age I know sleep through the night and fall asleep on their own during the day

can you remember when your DD started settling a bit?

cwtchy Sun 25-Oct-09 16:26:16

Duende, I know exactly how you feel, I used to go to breastfeeding group and stare open mouthed at the babies falling asleep on the bloody play mats shock

I deliberately left out of my last post when she started to sleep better! Was about 6 months when her naps started getting longer and she didn't seem so miserable during the day. To be honest though the crying before she dropped off went on for a lot got more manageable though as she needed fewer naps. I still lie with her to get her to sleep now, and she has just decided to start sleeping through the night.

If it's any consolation though, she is now bright as a button and is my little pal. Hardly any tantrums, she has become a very happy toddler!

DrCosyTiger Sun 25-Oct-09 17:00:00

Hi Duende, I really really sympathise. I had exactly the same problem with DD who is now 7mo. I resorted to the pram too - endless walking - although I did find she would stay asleep in coffee shops, think it was the background noise. No good for putting the washing on but did at least mean I got to have lots of cake. But then at about 4m the pram stopped working. At that point I was despairing but started trying to put her down in the cot with blackout blinds shut - at the absolute first sign of tiredness and always following the same routine - story cuddle lullaby and down. It took about 3 or 4 weeks and there was a fair bit of crying but we got there eventually. She now has two fairly long naps - at least an hour each - every day. I don't think she was ready before - she has gradually learned to sleep as she got older. So there is hope! At your stage I was despairing but muddled through with the pram and it did eventually get better. Hang on in there.

DrCosyTiger Sun 25-Oct-09 17:04:40

And yes - everyone else I knew with a baby had one who just fell asleep when they were tired. It was so frustrating and I thought I was doing something terribly wrong. But my DD just wasn't that sort of baby and I had to just accept that and still love her.

duende Sun 25-Oct-09 17:43:27

he's just dropped off in his pram after hours of screaming. I think it was more the exhaustion than anything else.
thanks drcosytiger and cwtchy, you're making me think there is a light at the end of the(probably quite long) tunnel.

hellsbelles Sun 25-Oct-09 19:10:39

duende - I did the pram thing too. I ended up doing a 2 week stretch (of taking her out for a full 2 hours) and then trying DD in her cot again (with a dummy though) and it worked. I think getting her in the habit of sleeping during that time made all the difference. She still used to wake up after 45 mins (and then I'd give her the dummy). Sometimes it would work, sometimes not. But then gradually she's started sleeping better and now more often than not she does an hour and half!

Don't worry - you will get there.

Elk Sun 25-Oct-09 19:18:58

My dd2 was exactly the same although she would sometimes sleep through toddler group. As I had dd1 I put her in a sling and carried on doing everything. On a positive note I lost the baby weight really quickly.
I have loads of pictures of the dd's in the double buggy with dd1 (aged 3) asleep and dd2 (3months) awake. It did get better at about 6 months when she went to 2 distinct naps. She is 4 next month and still sleeps for about 30-45mins a day evey afternoon.

duende Sun 25-Oct-09 19:20:04

hellsbelles, I think I may give your method a go. It seems to make sense. Now fingers crossed it doesn't rain constantly for the next 2 weeks. hmm

MyCatsAScarierBastardThanYours Sun 25-Oct-09 19:24:55

Will he sleep in the car? As hellsbelles said it can help if you can get them into the habit of sleeping. My DD was the same as yours, nearly drove me mad (what am I saying, it did drive me mad!) - and we resorted to taking her out in the car. She would fall asleep, I'd drive for a bit to make sure she was well out and then I'd stop and read my book, drink my coffee from thermos and stare at the world passing by. It did help and it got me out of the house.

MatNanPlus Sun 25-Oct-09 19:28:41

Lots of walking with the pram, Rain or shine,a mildly bumpy surface is best and walk thru the wake up and noise, try a muslin over the hood (pegs help it stay on) so when DS wakes he doesn't get visual stimulus but the soothing motion which continues unstopped, also the raincover if it is windy.

Also a fabric carrier like a didymos as at least you can get on with things and not feel so ** (* insert emotion here)

morocco Sun 25-Oct-09 19:30:06

have you tried popping him in a sling then getting on with your day eg walking round, cleaning, going to shops with him in the sling?

if it makes you feel any better, none of mine have been any good at daytime naps but they all taught themselves how to go to sleep at night and none are now unable to sleep grin. eventually they all drop the daytime nap so even if they can only get to sleep in the car/cot/pram/sling it doesn't make any lifelong difference to their sleep habits.

I wasted a great deal of stress and energy wondering the same as you with ds1 and ds2 before I gave up with dd and just went with the sling - popped her in awake, chatted to her as I did stuff, let her drop off as and when and wake up when she felt like it. she goes to bed at night like a dream now (she's 2 1/2) and loves going to sleep

MatNanPlus Sun 25-Oct-09 19:31:03

You could also find a musical toy/gizmo and play it at sleeps times over & over if needed to link the noise and sleep for your DS.

Something portable.

Ipod and speaker in place of headphones and classical music maybe.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 25-Oct-09 19:32:26

Message withdrawn

duende Sun 25-Oct-09 20:16:07

thanks everyone for your suggestions.

he used to sleep in the car, now he wakes up everytime the car stops. arrgghh.

sling - I tried a pouch when he was tiny and he screamed blue murder. I am now trying a baby carrier, sometimes he screams, sometimes he doesn't, but never falls asleep.

musical toy - we used a princelion heart (or whatever it's called) playing womb sounds and it worked for a while but not anymore.
we now play him a white noise CD, but I spend so much time trying to get him to sleep that I think he's growing immune to it wink

starlight, I wouldn't mind him not sleeping if he was happy with it. He's not, he get's grumpy and then hysterical when he's overtired.

DrCosyTiger Sun 25-Oct-09 20:27:36

Starlight, that's a little harsh. Until you've had one of those babies that struggles to fall asleep on their own it's really difficult to understand what it's like. But my DD simply would not drop off to sleep when she was tired and just got progressively more and more upset. If I had just left her to her own devices she might eventually have dropped off but only after hours of overtired hysterical screaming. It sounds like Duende has the same problem. Duende - your DS will eventually learn how to sleep, keep the faith! Sounds like we have a plan anyway - try and get him into the habit of sleep by using the pram for a couple of weeks then have another go with the cot/basket. Good luck - let us know how it goes.

duende Sun 25-Oct-09 20:42:19

DrCosyTiger, yes my DS really sounds exactly like your DD. Before I had him, I used to think that babies just fell asleep when tired. or that, in extreme cases, you had to rock them a bit and sing a lullaby grin

ROTFL at my own naivety.
I will let you know how we get on with the pram. [sighs and wanders off looking for the raincover and wellies]

rachels103 Sun 25-Oct-09 21:08:47

I was going to suggest some kind of white noise but it seems you've already tried that...the hairdryer works a treat for my ds!
No other ideas that have been suggested I'm afraid - I walked my ds1 for literally hours and got very fit, and my ds2 seems to be going a similar way. LOL at the babies falling asleep on play mats - that has never happened to me!
(In consolation though, ds1 did get the hang of it eventually - I'll never forget the sheer joy the first time he slept for 2 hours at lunchtime in his cot - I had to check he was still breathing!)

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