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Thread: I surrender! What do you do if it's just NOT working??

  1. #1

    Unhappy I surrender! What do you do if it's just NOT working??

    I dont really know where to post this, and its a pretty self indulgent "woe is me" post so I apologise in advance.

    DS is now 9 weeks old and a beautiful happy little boy. There is one problem though... he isnt a very good sleeper.

    Basically its like this:

    He is breastfed and feeds 3 hourly during the day, 3-4 hourly at night (so has 2 feeds overnight)

    He is feeding well and was gaining 200-300g a week (havent had him weighed since before xmas though but he is definitely growing!) so I assume theres no problem with our breastfeeding.

    When he is awake, he is happy and content, smiles and 'talks' a lot.

    He sleeps in his cot day and night.

    He sleeps in a darkened room during the day.

    He is wrapped.

    He will generally settle to sleep OK but sometimes needs some help so I pat him, give him a cuddle etc but he goes down awake.

    Then the drama starts... he wakes after one sleep cycle (usually about 40 mins) every single sleep during the day and for the last two weeks I just cannot seem to resettle him. So he has turned into the catnapper from hell!



    I WANT him to be in a routine, I WANT to follow the feed, play, sleep pattern, Im TRYING to resettle him and its just not working!!

    He has a bedtime routine of bath, massage, feed, bed but he is good at night, feeds and then goes straight back to sleep so although he isnt doing very long stretches at night yet, this isnt really the problem.

    We have had a busy time around here lately, had family staying with us over xmas, then we went away for 10 days and have only just got home again so Im not sure if thats contributing but he started to go off the rails before xmas so its not just that.

    I am seeing my CHN on Tuesday and asking for a referral to sleep school.

    I have been in tears over this so many times and I am becoming obsessed with his sleeping!Every night I say a little prayer that something magical will happen and he will suddenly get it but its just not happening. DD was exactly the same (although not quite as bad I dont think) and I just thought that after all we went through to have him, I might be one of the lucky ones this time and not have these dramas. Looks like lucky doesnt happen to me.

    Sorry, this probably sounds totally pathetic but I just needed to get it off my chest (again).
    Last edited by Willow; January 6th, 2008 at 06:15 PM.

  2. #2

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    Oh big hugs. I know how you feel.

    Bubs changes all the time. Just when you think you have something downpat then they change it all! My biggest advice to you would be just to relax and enjoy your bub. Is he happy when he wakes? He may not need to sleep more. If he is grizzly and you think he really is tired you could try starting sleep music to help tide him over the 40 min period (it takes a while to start but may help) or trying some aromatherapy like a drop of lavender on a corner of his cot.
    You could also try a comfort item like a dummy or a blanky (even just a thin piece of sheet can work as a blanky).

    Sometimes routines just aren't realistic and sometimes they work until the bub changes yet again. Don't try and work around someone elses ideal of what you should do. Just try to work with what seems to work for you and bubs.
    I hope this helps.

  3. #3

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    TBH - when they are that little - I do surrender!

    I worry about routines (somewhat) after 3/4 months, it's just what works for me.

  4. #4

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    Willow . You don't sound pathetic, believe me! Those 40 minute sleep cycles are a PITA! We have days where the exact same thing you describe happens too. It is hard not to get frustrated, especially when you have a routine (I do). My first DS was a shocker with day sleeps, I ended up putting him in a baby hammock and when 40 minutes was up I would bounce him for ages to get him off to sleep again. It worked, but it was soooo annoying. With Kieran I try my best to resettle him, sometimes I have to walk away for a minute and retry (I can't let him cry for long, I'm too soft ). Sometimes it takes quite a few goes before he finally settles down, sometimes he just won't settle down. When he won't settle I plonk him in his baby swing, switch it on and leave him for a while. He sometimes goes back to sleep, but most of the time will just happily sit there. I have learned not to to stress out anymore, he will get there eventually!

    Sorry I'm not a lot of help, but I just wanted to say that you are not alone, there are lots of mums struggling with the same thing! You are doing such a great job with your little one and you will reap the benefits of your hard work, I promise! Try and just relax and accept that this is what is happening right now and you are doing your best. They do change all the time and this won't last forever.

    More to you.

    Trish

  5. #5

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    Krysalyss - he does have music on while he sleeps and he does have a dummy now. I didn't want him to but at the moment I'm desperate so anything that works! It hasn't made a huge difference though.

    Lulu - I know what you're saying. I am giving in most days but then I worry that if I keep doing that I have no idea where we'll end up. I have it in my head that at about 12 weeks we'll start to get somewhere (and have been told that at about this age they are much more able to self settle etc) so I just hope that's true.

    Trish - thanks for posting AGAIN! I am becoming so neurotic about this. You're absolutely right, it's the frustration of it all that's hard to take day after day. For the last two weeks I am guaranteed one good sleep during the day (usually the middle of the day) of about 2.5-3hrs and the rest are just shocking! I'm in the same boat, DD was a shocker for a long time and I sooooo badly didn't want to have to go there again. Spending all day resettling kinda sucks all the enjoyment out of it after a while.

    To be honest, I think most of the time I'm more of the problem than he is. So many people have told me what he's doing is normal, that I'm doing my best, and to just relax and go with it and some days I can but then it all gets on top of me again.

    I'm going to start jotting down his sleep times etc and at this stage if he's doing around 15 hours in 24 (this is what he 'should' be doing at this age and was a few weeks ago till it all went pear shaped again) then I'm just going to keep doing what we're doing for now and hopefully he'll improve as the weeks go on if I stay consistent. I seriously don't know what else to do.

    Anyway, thanks for listening to me whine AGAIN. It just helps me to talk about it, that's all.

    It's sooo hot here tonight, I better go check if he's OK....

  6. #6

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    TBH with Matilda I stressed about sleep heaps, she was an awful sleeper & took 45 minutes to get to sleep & then would sleep 40 minutes and then scream for the next hour.

    With Jovie I just threw the clock out & she is now at 14 months a much better sleeper than Matilda is STILL. I think its just the individual. Somedays Jovie sleeps 40 minutes for her nap & needs another one & the next day she will sleep for 2 hours.... but it varies and she is much more flexible than Matilda is with sleep.

    As long as she is happy, I don't worry anymore....

    I know it sounds hard, but I think the less stressed you are about it the better for your mental sanity.

  7. #7

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    I know Christy, I know. I promised myself I wouldn't do it this time but here I am again!

    Some days I'm really good with just going with it and getting him up if that's what I have to do but then after a few days of that I start to worry again.

    At the moment the fact that he is doing one good sleep of a few hours and that he is so happy and content when he is awake are the only reasons I'm hanging in there! It's just so hard to get anything done or to spend time with DD when he isn't sleeping much for most of the day.

  8. #8

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    Willow, he really does sound completely normal! You will look back and wished you hadn't worried yourself so much. One thing I have learned with number 2 is that I have to let go of a lot of things. I wanted him to wake for a feed at 6am and go back to sleep until 9am like my first DS did. Didn't happen, stressed me out until I finally let go and just worked with him. This is just one example of many things I have had to let go of, I had a lot of ideals that were hard to wrench out of my hands! But each time I let go and just went with it my stress levels dropped and I could cope much better with it all. If it helps, visualise yourself letting it go from your hands each time you feel yourself getting stressed.

    This - in the whole scheme of things - is such a short time, so just enjoy it. Don't look back later on and WISH you'd enjoyed it more! (I'm telling myself this too as I write this )

  9. #9

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    Willow....i really feel for you, i can so relate to your situation. My DD#3 is 16 weeks old tomorrow....and she is a shocking day sleeper. Im still getting up twice a night to feed, but i dont mind, coz she goes back to sleep straight away...the day sleeps are the issue...

    I was like you, frantic that this little person was not getting enough sleep in the day, beside myself coz i couldnt 'play' with my other two girls, hang the washing out, make lunch, or even chat on the phone....but then i thought about it. My little Sam is so happy when she's awake, she loves cuddles, she loves to watch her sisters run around the house....she's content, growing, happy baby. Why am i putting so many demands on her? Why do i expect her to be like my other two? .Sam goes some days with 1 x 40 min sleep.....she is only just 4 months old.....i was a little envious reading your DS sleeps....he seems to be getting at least one good block of sleep in the day....

    Im a little bit more relaxed about things now....if she doesnt sleep, she doesnt sleep....what can i do. Im providing everything i can for her to go to sleep, except actually sleeping for her...if she doesnt want to sleep im not going to stress about it. I did find putting the clock radio on in our bedroom softly whilst she was trying to sleep (or more screaming the house down), did settle her, got her listening to the sounds, and eventually she would fall asleep....thats a good day though.


    My DD#1 didnt sleep in the day either, even from a very young age. I remember someone asked me 'gosh, how do you get things done?' i remember shrugging my shoulders and just saying 'i just do'.....i just cope, i just do it, i just got on with it......

    Like others have said...it wont last forever...dont beat yourself up about it....sometimes we are our own worst critics.....by the sounds of it, i reckon your doing okay.

  10. #10

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    I know its so hard, sometimes you just NEED them to sleep a bit longer, or be more settled and its frustrating. I have found it really hard to deal with at times, Matilda never let me spend time settling Jovie. She always disrupted Jovie's sleep or even jumped on her while asleep... so I HAD to let go, I had no choice. Things were horrible for the first 6 months or so....

    With Matilda we went to sleep school, twice. She just never got into any routine before something would change in our lives & she would get off track & I would stress. Then I realised for us, life is always going to change, we are going to go on holidays or she will get sick or something will throw the whole thing off. So now we are the opposite side of the spectrum. We have a night routine & a general feel of the day, but we take them out more and don't worry about schedules and routines. We go to friends houses & find that they will adapt as long as we just watch them for signs rather than time.... its much easier on us now. Matilda still has issues with sleep, sometimes she just won't do it. And it does cause her to get overtired & tantrum, but she does get over it & goes to sleep. We put a time on her because otherwise it would be 10pm and she would be up trying to watch TV.

    you are doing a great job trying to get things right for your family. I know its exhausting and frustrating.

  11. #11

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    Awww, Willow... to you. I so know how you feel. My DD only cat napped in the day for months, it was such a PITA...I couldn't get anything done, couldn't have any me time, it was so frustrating. My DD slept like an angel overnight..which I was very grateful for, but it didn't help me in the day and neither did the comments from every man and his dog saying 'at least she sleeps overnight'! I think I posted a thread with what should I do, I was the same...she needs more sleep, but, you know what I found out after reading thread after thread and speaking to all of my friends...it isn't uncommon.Although it is tiring, and makes it very hard to do anything (and I was lucky as she is my first and I didn't have anyone else I needed to share my time with) it does pass. I can't remember how old my DD was at the time but she is now 10 months and we regularly get a good hour and a half in the morning, at least an hour in the afternoon, and at least 12 hours over night. This works for us. So although I have no advice to offer, I just wanted to let you know that you aren't alone, we all understand how stressful it can be, but it will get better and you will get part of your day back at some stage. At least he is happy when he is awake, that is a bonus. Take care and I hope it will all work out for you soon. xx

  12. #12

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    i haven't read any of the responses, and this probably isn't the answer that you want to hear, but he is only 9 weeks old, try to go with the flow and relax, i was like you, in fact i sounded just like you, i went to sleep school THREE TIMES and wasted so much energy trying to get my baby to sleep how and when i wanted her to, the thing is, sometimes you are doing ALL THE RIGHT THINGS to promote great sleep, but guess what, they are just babies, and you no matter what everyone tells you and what all the books say, you can't control them, you can only create a sleep conducive environment and hope for the best.... looking back if i were to have my time over, i wouldn't have worried about sleep habits until probably around 6 months.... they are only small for such a tiny blip of time, even though it feels like eternity at the time when you aren't getting much sleep, i just think i expected too much of her too soon, and forgot to just relish all the newborn things that so quickly fade.... best of luck, enjoy your baby, before you know it he'll be running around xx

    sounds like you are doing a great job and you have a healthy happy lil guy, just keep creating a great sleep environment, and one day he will catch on, i promise.....

  13. #13

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    Willow hun - I say this out of love ....... CHILL!!!!!! You are doing a fabulous job and the little man is just doing his thing. Oscar has only just started to have more than one sleep cycle sleep in the day (and in the night for that matter ) and he has just progressed to 3-4 hourly feeds. You are doing a great job of getting into a routine and it must be so much harder to do with a toddler too.

    If he is happy and settled through the day - great!! If he needs to be held - wear him. I spent so much time in the early weeks trying to figure out the sleep stuff and in the end he has done it all himself. I still don't get anything done and DH has just realised that in about 2 weeks he will be doing the same (nothing ) when he looks after him while I'm at work.

    He will be growing up so fast - try to go with the flow and enjoy the moment. And if you need me - I am only a short drive away. I can entertain the little people while you do what you need to, including sleep

  14. #14

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    Hi Willow

    I agree with the others. I think this is perfectly normal. One sleep cycle is 40 mins so If your little one is sleeping 3 or 4 hourly stretches at night, he DOES know how to self-settle and if he is happy during the day then he is getting enough sleep. Enough sleep for him. Not enough sleep for you obviously but the little guy doesn't know this.

    I think they reckon they're doing pretty well if they're sleeping in a 5 hour block overnight by 4 months of age so I wouldn't expect miracles yet.

    I had a catnapper too but I tried not to stress. Jeez, it was frustrating but I figured that if she wasn't crying then her being awake wasn't a huge deal. What WAS exhausting was constantly trying to put her down again and going in and out four or five times. So I didn't bother - if she didn't go to sleep after about two decent attempts ie. some rocking to a relaxed state or light sleep, I'd get her up again. No point me wearing myself out if I'd just misread her signs and she wasn't sleepy afterall.

    And guess what - she did change from only wanting a few 40 minute naps during the day to now USUALLY having a big, big sleep either in the morning or afternoon.

    It's the unpredictability that gets us every time! Just when I think "oh good, she's down for her big morning nap so I might make myself a lovely, lavish breakfast but oooh, perhaps I'll check Bellybelly first" lo and behold she decides that she's not going to have her long nap and I've not got around to cooking that breakfast and she's hungry and it's another hour till I eat etc. etc. So now I try to work out what's the number one thing I want to do while she's asleep and do that first incase she wakes up before I think she 'should'.

  15. #15

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    Willow hun - I say this out of love ....... CHILL!!!!!!
    LOL Michelle - thats the problem here, I can't!! I don't know what's wrong with me! I've turned into this neurotic sleep monster!! I don't even feel sleep deprived any more because he is sleeping well at night, I'm just not used to having a baby awake so much during the day at this age. I've always been told that's against the 'rules'.

    Everything all of you have said is so true and to be honest, I'm already looking back and regretting the stressing out I've done and he's only 9 weeks old!

    So many people have told me that my expectations are probably way too high and I am my own worst critic. I put way too much pressure on myself and on DS for things to be perfect and that's never going to be the case. I know that rationally but then my emotional side takes over and I'm a stress head again.

    Today is going to be fine because I'm back in 'relaxed' mode again but I still haven't figured out a way to stay relaxed when he's having a bad day or a bad week. Like I said, I seriously think I'm more of the problem than he is!

    He slept like a trooper last night - put him down at 6.30pm, he woke at 10pm, fed, straight back to sleep, woke at 1.30am, fed, straight back to sleep. We did have a small glitch where he stirred at about 3am (way too soon to be fed again) but when I went in he was still half asleep so I gave him a dummy and he stayed asleep then till 4.30am, fed then back to sleep till 7.30am. So that's already 7.5 hours for this 24 hr period. When I added up yesterday's sleeps he did 15.5 hours in 24 which is exactly what he should be doing - duh mum!!
    Last edited by Willow; January 7th, 2008 at 07:11 AM.

  16. #16

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    Can you send some of that wonderful sleeping this way

    Just remember - there are no rules. This child is different to every other child and will choose their own path. You can only support it. Try to change it and you get the headache!!! As long as he is happy just go with the flow and call me if you need a voice of sanity (although today I can't guarantee I am sane or even awake )

  17. #17

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    Michelle - my best friend said to me yesterday "if we could invent a model with a sleep button we'd be billionaires!"

    She's got two sets of twins, 4 under 4, so that woman knows what sleep deprived is!!

  18. #18

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    Willow, hun, Michelle is right , there are no rules. If you try to follow rules at this stage you will just send yourself around the bend! Babies change all the time, that's one thing I've learnt. Just when you think things have settled, something happens and it all goes out the window.

    I hear you on the one sleep cycle thing, and I would be lying if I didn't say that sometimes it drives me insane too (I know you've responded to my posts about it LOL). But TBH, life is a lot easier when you don't stress about it, and just follow their lead. Maybe that's all the sleep your DS needs? He's still only little, things will change, and change again, many times. TRY not to stress hun, and just enjoy your little boy. And remember, when you get that sinking feeling when you hear him stir after 40 minutes IT WON'T ALWAYS BE LIKE THIS!

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