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Thread: Major sleep issues

  1. #1

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    Default Major sleep issues

    Looking for some help here. DD (who is 12 weeks) has the habit of fighting sleep and only wanting to fall asleep on the breast. It is becoming so frustrating and exhausting. I would like to get her into some form of routine for her sake and for mine.

    After her feed and some play time, I look out for her tired signs and attempt to get her off to sleep. The only way I seem to be able to get her to sleep is on the breast, but this does not always work and of an evening can take over 3 hours! She will fall asleep for short stints and then wake very upset. He day naps rarely last longer than 45 minutes. Luckily when we do finally get her down for the night she will sleep through to anywhere from 6.00am to 8.00am.

    Currently I wrap her with one arm out so she can find her thumb. I have tried a dummy, but she will not take it (she has done some very impressive dummy spits!). Sometimes she will suck my finger. So obviously she likes to suckle to go to sleep.

    The MCHN shows us a way to jiggle the bassinet and to "shush". This worked for her and only couple of times for us. We have tried holding her and patting her back/bum and shushing. Sometimes DH can get her off to sleep by rocking her when she is really exhausted Most of the time any attempt to get her to sleep just makes her hysterical.

    A bit of history - I did have a lot of trouble initially with BF, she was a lazy feeder and a bit small for me. DD started to lose weight. I had to end up expressing to increase my supply and comping. I finally managed to her my supply up and was fully BF at about 8 weeks. I think what happened was I was too afraid to refuse DD the breast. Before I realised what was happening she had become used to this habit.

    So only advice on how to get her off the breast to go to sleep and on how I can get her to nap longer than 45 minutes during the day.

    Thanks for any help - Astrid


  2. #2
    Custardtart Guest

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    Astrid, how often are you feeding her? I found that if I fed Max any more frequently than three hours apart he would wake with a sore stomach, and when babies seek comfort they want to suck, which makes the stomach pain worse, not better!

    Have you tried settling her with a warm bath?
    The only other thing I can think of is finding a way to let her 'self-settle', does music help?

    Kerrie

  3. #3

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    Yasin used to be a sleep fighter too (he's still not the world's best sleeper). I found that it became a bit easier to get Yasin off to sleep after I started following the same pre-sleep routine every time I put him to sleep. My sister used to get her babies to sleep during the day by putting them in thier pram and pushing them back and forwards over a bump on the floor (if there wasn't one there she made one) I did this a few times too and it worked on Yasin. On a couple of occasions when I was feeling a bit stir crazy I put him in his pram and just went for a walk and he went to sleep ok. He still sleeps well in his pram.
    He also used to sleep in his sling. Maybe if you have a sling or a hug-a-bub etc you could see if she might drop off in there. I don't think that its a permanent solution but maybe once she's managed to go to sleep a few times without the boob she might be able to go to sleep better in her bassinet.
    Good-luck.

  4. #4

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    Hi Astrid,

    I was going to suggest womb music and baby hammock for settling, but your baby may have outgrown them...

    I don't know what you think about the idea of "sleep school", but if you're getting exhausted and you want to fast-track baby into some more manageable routines, it might be something to explore (MCHN would have info. and could make a referral).

    My firstborn was a frequent demand-feeder and he slept in our bed until about 8 months, at which point I was too exhausted and went to sleep school and came home with a transformed baby with more predictable feeding routines, great sleeping patterns, slept in his own cot, and happily slept through the night. He was never a difficult baby and I kind of did sleep school by "accident" because I just needed a rest myself, but it was brilliant.

  5. #5

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    Astrid,

    This is very normal for a bub your age and she might even be going through a growth spurt, especially since she hasn't been a good feeder in the past. Elijah still goes through these fussy phases at ten months old, and they pass, but he likes to feed more when he does go through these fussy phases, as do sick babies.

    I love my hug-a-bub. Elijah loves it and he settles so quickly in it, even when he had reflux and colic. Might be a great option for you.

    Books - Pinky McKay's 100 Ways to Calm the Crying literally has 100 gentle ways you can soothe your baby - surely she would like one of them? Also, 'The Wonder Weeks' by Frans X. Plooij & Hetty Vanderijt is a lifesaver for all parents. Here's the blurb I posted on the BellyBelly Recommended Reading List:

    "In The Wonder Weeks, you’ll discover the specific dates during their first 14 months when all babies take eight major developmental leaps. And you’ll learn how to help your baby through the eight great “fussy phases” that mark these leaps within a week or two. Wonder week by wonder week, you’ll see how your baby’s mind is developing. Now you will know which games and toys are best for your baby during each key week and how to encourage each leap forward. Calendars, charts, and checklists help you track your baby’s progress – and finally make sense of his fussy behavior. This is a baby book like no other. It will be your indispensable guide to the crucial “wonder weeks” of your baby’s first year."

    All the best - hang in there!
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
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    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

  6. #6
    Debbie Lee Guest

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    Astrid: Gabby used to do a similar thing. She would only fall asleep when on the breast or cuddled. After fighting it for a while, I gave in and decided that if that's what works, then that's the way I was going to do it. It was a relief not to have to stress about what she was "meant" to be doing. So I just stuck to what worked to get her to sleep. She would only sleep for 30-45 minutes at a time as well. She would sleep out in the bouncer in the lounge room during the day and only sleep in her room at night.
    Slowly but surely, her patterns changed. One day, when she was around 4 months old, I decided to try and get her to sleep in her room. I would put her down once a day in her cradle. She wouldn't sleep for long tho (and only after I had cuddled her to sleep).
    One day I had people over and I put her down in her cradle to sleep and she settled herself!! I was shocked and rapt at the same time.
    So I tried it for the next nap and the next. Before I knew it, I had a baby that settled herself and no longer wanted to be BF or cuddled to sleep. All without controlled crying! I had resigned myself to the fact that I would be cuddling her to sleep for a very long time.
    Now I put her to bed awake. I do have to go in and pop the dummy in a few times but that's ok.

    Anyway... while I am probably very lucky that Gabby kind of just "figured it out", my advise would be to maybe try and just go with the flow. Bubs falling asleep at the breast is not always a bad thing imo. It can be part of your routine to do it that way. Are you worried about her doing this because it's not the way it's "supposed" to be done?
    As for only sleeping for short spells during the day, I really believe it's something that a lot of babies do around 3-4 months - no matter what you do! Self settling is definitely a learned thing so maybe just introduce the idea slowly??

  7. #7

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    Also I know this sounds weird, but baby massage helps HEAPS. Matilda fed every 2 hours until 11 weeks. At 6 weeks I began giving her massages after feeds to help settle her as she had bad reflux & found that she would rest better with a good massage. Even sleep for longer.

    She has always fought sleep from birth, and unfortunately some babies are difficult sleepers. Who always fight it, but all I can say is persist & remember that a babies sleep cycle is around 40 minutes, so they go through a light patch then. So a dark, quietish place with white noise or music can help them get through the light sleep time and continue sleeping. Matilda will often stir still at the 40 minute time and grumble for a few minutes & go back to sleep, so give them a chance to do that too. GOOD LUCK!! HTH!

  8. #8

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    Pinky McKay just tried to post but got an error, so she asked me to pop this up for her:

    "Hi Astrid,

    As Kelly mentioned - it can help enormously to understand how your baby
    develops - e.g. there is a vast difference between getting an 8 month old into a predictable routine and a 12 week old - did you know that at this age your baby will still be entering sleep through a REM / active sleep phase so it is very normal to need help to fall asleep. It is also very normal for bubs this age to 'cluster' feed during the evening - as tho they are 'stoking up' for a good sleep later.

    Also, breastfeedig promotes sleep inducing hormones - your bub will be going down on these hormones all nice and 'dozy' and with a fuller tummy will sleep better anyway.

    A two part feed - i.e. when she wakes then again before you put her down will be good for your milk supply and her growth - esp if she had a slow start -and as Kelly suggests this is a very typical time for a growth spurt.

    If you try a sling or pram sometimes and alternate sleep cues you will find in a few weeks that your bub will be more ready to "self-settle"

    Remember too that bubs have all sorts of cues - i.e. hungry cues / engagement cues (when they want to interact / play) etc, not just tired signs - so please don't think you have done anything 'wrong' by offering the breast - this is what your baby is telling you and she knows best what she needs to thrive - trust yourself and your baby.

    Remember "Gradually with love" is the mantra as you make changes - at this stage think of times you pop her down without a feed as 'practice' - not as something she "should' be doing - eventually she will get the hang of it. You could breastfeed her until she is dozy then pop her down with a hand on her - and gradually put her down more wide awake but this usually works better after 4 months - and anyway, if you have to jiggle her etc - isnt it just as easy to breastfeed?

    I would also recommend baby massage in the evening - it is a sure fire way to promote sound sleep - I am starting a new class at Body Freedom Urban retreat in Sth Melbourne in a couple of weeks - thes are on Sundays so couples can come together - I cover sleep at these too."
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

  9. #9

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    Thanks everybody for your replies. Just writing the original post made me feel better and reading the replies forced me to think about what was really happening and why I was feeling there was a problem.

    I have come to the conclusion that I have been listening to the "should" brigade a bit too much. Every time I'd mention that she likes to fall asleep breastfeeding, someone always says "you should not do that, it will cause problems later", they would then also say"she should be on a routine!". Well now that I think of it she does have a routine, her routine. Feed, play, Feed, Sleep

    Morning - Settles quickly, one big nap first thing, generally happy, enjoys play time on the floor
    Afternoon - starts to get cranky, harder to settle, likes to be held more, but not all the time.
    Evening - feeds more frequently and really likes to be held

    So I am going to stop stressing, tell the "should" brigade to mind their business, and go with the flow. From what I can see, mornings are the best times for me to get things done around the house, afternoons are good for either an afternoon nap with DD, or to go for a walk with her in a sling to get her to sleep and the walk will hopefully help with shrinking my butt. Evenings, I think, are to be enjoyed. I would much rather sit on the couch, feed my bubs (which makes her happy), watch House, talk to DH and have a cup of tea than stand in a dark room, jiggling the bassinet with a crying baby.

    For the next couple of weeks I am not going to try anything new other than to make more of an effort to give DD a massage after her bath. I think once I am less stressed, she will less cranky, then I will start to slowly try some different calming/settling techniques as suggested above. I will also pick up Pinky's book and the Peace baby CDS.

    Oh, I am going to get my breastfeeding checked tomorrow at a breastfeeding clinic, just to make sure her frequent feeding is not a result of poor attachment. I still get sore nipples every couple of days, so there might be an issue.

    Once again thank you for your replies.

    Astrid

  10. #10

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    =D> Good on you Astrid!!! WOO HOO - you go girl!!! \/

    That's what I love to hear... it's like music to my ears.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

  11. #11

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    Astrid that sounds so great & healthy!! =D>

  12. #12
    Debbie Lee Guest

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    That's fantastic, Astrid. Doesn't it feel great when you decide to stop listening to the "should" brigade? I know I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders when I said; "Right, that's it!" You know your baby better than anyone else in the world. Good job!!

  13. #13
    Melinda Guest

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    Well done Astrid!!! As Debbie said, you know your baby better than anyone else!

  14. #14

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    Good on you Astrid.........reading your initial post was like reading about Olivia at the same age!! I had no idea if it was colic, wind, hunger, but she was a HORROR for day sleeps and would also scream at us from 6pm to 10pm..........and was probably at her worst peak of unsettledness at 12 weeks.

    I don't know what happened, but we just went with the flow and I continued to BF her all evening and to sleep, and by 4 months the problem fixed itself........phew......she then got into an easy & great routine for day sleeps & started sleeping 7pm to 7am...........I felt like a new woman!!!!

    Best of luck.........

  15. #15

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    Sounds good, Astrid!

    Happy Momma = Happy Baby!

  16. #16

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    Went to the breastfeeding clinic on Wednesday. I have mixed feelings about it. Bubs does have an attachment problem, she likes to nipple feed. The consultant just rammed poor bubs onto my breast, and bubs just chocked and screamed. They blamed the fact that I used Avent bottles when I did have her on the bottle, but she always gagged when she was put deeply onto the breast. Since then she been more difficult to get on the breast, I think she is a bit frightened now.

    After feeling good about having her fully breastfed for about 4 weeks and getting my supply back up, they thought that her weight gain was not quite enough and warned me that if she does not start attaching better that my supply would dry up. I'm not concerned about her weight gain, she seems to have suddenly grown (outfits that we a little big are now suddenly a little small) and when she is not cranky she is really bright and alert (we get many comments about this).

    Anyway, they at least think that I do have thrush on my nipples (my doctor did not), so now I can get treated and hopefully my nipple pain will reduce.

    Bubs has become very difficult over the past couple of nights. She seems to be vomiting more often and larger amounts. Last night she refused to be horizontal, even to feed. In the end I had to hold her upright and feed her, which is not easy to do, luckily I did not have to do that tonight. I do think the temperature may be affecting her. Both DH and I are finding it unusually warm/humid at the moment and are finding it difficult to get comfortable, so it would not surprise me if she is feeling the same way. I will just have to monitor her temperature more closely for now.

    Astrid

  17. #17
    froofy Guest

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    One thing I found which helped while I was breastfeeding, was to completely leave the room and let someone else try to put her to bed and settle. It worked like a charm, as she couldn't smell my milk and be reminded of what she was missing lol. I didn't breastfeed for long (2 weeks) so obviously it wouldn't be the only long term solution. But it was great for those desperate times lol.

  18. #18

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    Astrid I had to feed Matilda upright for a few weeks and it was hard & attachment was that much difficult as well. I hope things settle for you, its so hard when there are people trying to shove your breast into your baby's mouth!

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