View Full Version : What am i doing wrong (why ds won't sleep)
06-30-2005, 09:31 AM
I'm at my wit's end....my baby is a TERRIBLE sleeper. I have all the books..."Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child" "The No Cry Sleep Solution" "The Baby Whisperer"...NOTHING works. I've swaddled. I have white noise. I put my ds to bed early. I watch for sleepy cues. I make sure he gets good naps. WHY is he still waking up every hour? I read of other woman's babies who are sleeping through the night, or at least sleeping for a good stretch and I feel awful. Everyone keeps asking me, "Maxwell isn't sleeping through the night yet?!" or "He's STILL up every hour or so?!" I can't keep this up.
Here's what happened last night:
7:00--begin bedtime routine. Bath, book, jammies, nursing
to bed around 8:00
10:30--gets up to nurse
11:30--cries (I get up to soothe him back to sleep)
1:30--cries, wants to nurse
2:30--cries (wait to see if he'll soothe himself back...nope. Get up.)
3:30--cries, wants to nurse
4:30--wakes up, babbles, talks to himself, then cries.
I don't know what to do. I'm EXHAUSTED. The problem is that his arms and legs are so active, that he startles himself awake. I swaddle with the miracle blanket, but he always, always, breaks out of it. He's an absolute JOY during the day too. Seldom fussy, smiling and exploring....he goes down for naps fairly easy, although I have to put him back to sleep a few times during naptime.
06-30-2005, 10:50 AM
First, have you check for teething? ear infection? too cold? Too hot? My DD started waking up a lot at night and we found out that she had an ear infection. She had no problem sleeping during the day though. The Dr said that maybe because she is so distracted during the day, she might not complain about a little discomfort, but since she is alone in her crib at night, she is more sensitive. Is your baby scratching or pulling on his ear?
Like you, I bought all the books and tried them all. What worked for us really was CIO (Weissbluth). That would depend on how old your baby is.
06-30-2005, 11:49 AM
Ooof, that does sound tiring.
Have you tried co-sleeping? We don't do it any more, as I just wasn't getting enough sleep, but it was really helpful early on. At least when I fed DS I didn't have to get up, and often didn't really remember how many times I'd fed him during the night. Also, I was able to "power cuddle" DS back to sleep - when he got squirmy, and threatened to break out of the miracle blanket, I'd hold him really tightly to me, and he'd usually calm down, stop squirming, and go back to sleep after 10 minutes or so.
I also pump first thing in the morning, when milk is plentiful, and give DS a bottle in the evening, in addition to BFing. This was a suggestion from our nanny, and I have to say it really worked. Within a couple of weeks he was no longer demanding to be fed at night, and after a couple more weeks of giving him only a pacifier when he woke up, he started sleeping through.
06-30-2005, 12:12 PM
Wow.. I really sympathize with you. I have been very lucky with my DD she has been sleeping through the night since she was about 2 mths (she is now 4 mths), however she has gone through a few spells where she would not sleep for very long. I hope I don't get bashed for this and please understand I am not advocating one over the other, just speaking from my own situation. I see in your post you say you are nursing...are you solely nursing or bottle feeding too? Do you give any formula? I am asking b/c with my DD I was exclusively BF and it ended up that my milk production simply was not enough to satisfy her.....I did not know this b/c I was still producing, and its hard to tell how much they eat when they nurse, but I spoke with my dr and she said that sometimes that happens and to try introducing formula after BF. I did that and after a long bottle/formula battle with DD ....it worked. She simply needed a bit more at each feeding than I could give her. She is now sleeping wonderfully both naps and at night. I hope this is not taken the wrong way at all, because I am not saying to run out and buy formula because it will solve everything. I hope this helps some....good luck with everything!
06-30-2005, 12:22 PM
none of the books worked for us either. have you tried pushing bedtime a little later? when stella was younger she did the same thing (waking up all night) when i tried to put her in bed too early. if i waited a little longer she would sleep much longer stretches.
im certainly no expert but ive been there done that and all i can say is that at some point it will get better. but i fully understand how much it sucks at the moment. :)
06-30-2005, 02:25 PM
The only book that worked for us was "Sleeping through the night" by Jodi Mindell. Its a CIO method, and if your open to discussing that I'll be glad to share with you what worked.
If CIO isn't for you, I hope someone else can share some helpful information. Good luck!!!!
06-30-2005, 02:52 PM
Thanks for the sympathy! It's so tiring! I guess I should have mentioned that my baby is four months old.
Franni I thought of teething...he is drooling a lot. He's never been a good sleeper, though. He isn't scratching or pulling at his ear, although perhaps he IS in pain. I'll check with the doctor about this.
Ali We cosleep after four a.m., usually! I worry too much to do it all night, but I do it in the mornings. I'll try the bottle idea! I hadn't thought of that.
Lee No bashing at all! My ds has gotten formula before, but not on a regular basis. It had occurred to me that he's not getting enough from my milk. Going off of what you and Ali have said, I'm going to try one bottle feeding tonight.
Nancy I've tried earlier bedtime, later bedtime...you name it! :)
MB Thanks for the suggestion! I'm not ready to do CIO yet, but when ds is older, I am open to the modified version of it. I'll let you know!
06-30-2005, 03:30 PM
I hope the bottle right before bedtime helps him sleep better. I had another thought as well.....you said he goes down pretty well for naps, but how many and how long is he sleeping.....my friend's son was having some sleeping issues and he always seemed to have worse nights on the days he did not get enough napping. I have heard that if babies are over tired, they will not sleep as well. Is he maybe not getting enough sleep during the day? Hmmmm...not sure if this helps, but it is something else to think about. Good luck ..I am sure you will find what works for him soon! :)
06-30-2005, 08:02 PM
So sorry that he's waking a lot at night. My first thought was "what are these people thinking to be people pressuring you and making you feel bad about his sleep?" That just frustrates me that it happens to so many new moms.
06-30-2005, 09:23 PM
Scout- Remind me, IIRC, he was born in February, right? So he's about 4-5 months old? First of all, it's totally normal and common for babies not to STTN at his age. I know you might know that, but it helps to hear it. I know moms of two and three years whose kids have never STTN, so don't freak out. :D That said, I know it's miserable to need more sleep and be woken every hour.
How does he eat before bed? I am going to disagree (politely and respectfully) with those who suggested a formula bottle, just because if you that, it will be a downward spiral effect, most likely. The bottle will mean that your BBs make less, making M more hungry, causing you to give more formula, causing less BM to be produced, etc. You may find your supply drying up sooner than you'd like. So it is my suggestion that you instead either pump a bottle, if you really need that break and to make sure he is getting more milk to be "tanked up." You could also just try to keep him on the breast for a long time before bed. I remember my DD would nurse for an hour or more while I just vegged and read a book or watched TV. It was relaxing for both of us, and she got plenty of milk to keep her full longer.
I doubt he's not getting enough, per se, he probably just is digesting the milk fast, and needs more at frequent intervals. This is normal and healthy. The reason that formula fed babies sleep longer is because formula is tougher on their gut and not as efficient. It can cause gas and poop issues in primarily BF babies. It's not a matter of you not making enough, it's just that babies are designed to need to eat a lot. Many babies physically need to eat during the night until they at nine months or older.
You also could try cosleeping, which may not stop the nightwakings, but will at least give you more sleep.
Have you tried a "dream feed" where you wake him up before you go to bed, to top him off with milk? Like, if you put him down at 7, you wake him up before he usually wakes up, maybe at 10, and nurse him good at long. Then put him back in the crib/cradle, and see how long he goes.
You could also try CIO, which I think is suggested for babies starting at 6 months.
Good luck! I know it's so hard and exhausting and feels like it will never end. Hugs. You are doing a great job!
07-01-2005, 05:08 AM
Seriously, Tracie, nothing worked for us either. Anna is 10-1/2 months old and has just now figured it out. :( We tried everything, it seems.
I know this is frustrating and I know you're tired. I wish I had some sort of advice to offer - just know that you are not alone. There are others of us who have been there (I just ranted about this in my LJ not a week ago and BAM! she figured it out that night).
Hang in there - I hope your DS settles down for you soon!
07-01-2005, 09:57 AM
I don't know if this will be helpful or not, but I have started "cluster" feeding my son at night. This means that I will feed him about every 2 hours (he can go for about 4 hours normally during the day) starting at 5:00 p.m. or so. So I'll typically feed him at 5:00, 7:00 and 9:00. He'll go down about 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. I don't know if this truly helps him but he does sleep longer when I do this. This does mean a later bedtime, but I'm happy with that if it means a later wake-up time.
Good luck to you!
07-01-2005, 10:24 AM
I want to ditto what Sarah said.
I think the bottle before bed is a good idea but if you can pump enough, try giving breastmilk instead of formula. I had to start supplementing at 3 months and it's caused my already decreased supply to dip even more.
We've had good success with the dream feeds, so try that!
My daughter has had several ear infections and she never pulled/tugged on her ears. I knew she was infected because she was irritable, didn't want to be on her back (hurts their ears) and wasn't nursing as efficiently. She would eat just enough to take care of the hunger pangs and then stop.
I can't even imagine how exhausted you must be. Could your husband take over for an overnight and let you sleep all the way through? I know it's not a solution, but it might help make the process a little more bearable.
07-01-2005, 10:56 AM
Hang in there! If I hear one more time "she isn't sleeping through the night yet?" - I think I'll scream!
07-01-2005, 11:04 AM
Scout: I could have written your post. I completely understand how frustrating it is. My husband keeps asking why our DS is not sleeping through the night when he hears about all these other babies sleeping. He wakes up 6-7 times per night. I may attribute some of it to his reflux issues and some of it may have been my fault. We were co-sleeping for a while and I think he just conditioned himself to eating throughout the night. I've started doing what you are doing. I'm allowing him 3 meal sessions and the other ones he is going back to sleep. I do have to say that we have started to let him cry it out this week again. We tried earlier but I was not comfortable with it. But now I'm just so tired and determined to sleep train him. Do what makes you comfortable. You will know when you have had it and are ready to CIO. For now I think it will take a couple of weeks for him to get used to only eating a few times during the night and not waking up the others. Stay strong. I know it's so exhausting. By the way, have you tried putting your baby down sleepy but awake w/o letting him cry...just to try to get him used to falling asleep on his own?
07-01-2005, 02:48 PM
Thanks for all of your supportive posts! :) I appreciate it so much! I have lots of time to read your posts and reply since Max is inexplicably taking a power nap right now! He feel asleep in the car after crying for fifteen minutes (is this a sign that CIO may work?) and he's been asleep now for quite some time.
My first thought was "what are these people thinking to be people pressuring you and making you feel bad about his sleep?" Right! It makes me feel terrible!
lee I definitely notice that he sleeps worse when he hasn't napped well!
Sarah He was born at the end of Feb. so he's a little over four months old. He has gotten an occassional bottle of formula, but he spits up A LOT on it. I did give him a bottle of breastmilk last night, and he DID sleep a bit longer for the first stretch (8-11), so that was nice! But then he was up every hour and a half again. UGH! UGH! I've heard about the dream feed and am going to try that tonight! LOL--I'm going to try everything in this thread night by night until I find what works!
ButterflyJen It helps to know I'm not alone! Thank you! I feel like the only girl awake at 4:00 a.m. sometimes!
katie Thanks for the cluster feed idea! :)
delicious My dh has been helping out more. The problem is that I hear every whimpering cry while DH sleeps through it all. He has been getting up once or twice to put Maxwell back to sleep lately, though! Thanks for sharing your story about your dd too!
march I get so mad when people ask me that! GRRR!
Ny Hugs to you! Let me know how CIO works....I'm not quite ready for that yet, but I think I'm getting there....especially after seeing how Maxwell is sleeping after crying in the car.
07-01-2005, 06:51 PM
I have a four month old as well, so I thought I would share what worked with us. First, we did do CIO starting at 3 months. I won't lie - it was REALLY hard. We actually started doing CIO pretty unwillingly. I stopped swaddling because I was concerned DD would roll over while swaddled and get trapped. The problem was that she could not sleep while unswaddled. It did not matter if I held her, rocked her, nursed her, etc., nothing worked. Eventually, she got so overtired that I decided to try CIO. The first few days were hell. She cried through every "nap" - about an hour until I went to get her (i still swaddled her at night and for one nap just so she would get some sleep). It was the hardest thing of my whole life. I felt like I had been through the ringer by the end of the day. By day three, things started to get better -- she would cry for 1/2 hour and then sleep for 1/2 hour. By day five or six, she was crying for 10-20 minutes and then sleeping for 1 hour. Now, four weeks later, we can put her down completely asleep and she goes to sleep. It absolutely amazes me. I hear her wake up at night, talk to herself for a few minutes and then go back to sleep. We finally stopped swaddling entirely, even at night, a few nights ago, and it went totally fine. She is still getting up at 3:30 am, but I am fine with this -- my point was not to get a perfect sleeper, but rather just to stop the swaddling.
Also, I just wanted to point out that at least some of books do advocate sleep training for babies under 4 or 6 months. On page 211 of his book, Weissbluth recommends the CIO method starting at 8 to 16 weeks. Obviously this doesn't mean that it is the right thing to do or that you as a parent will be comfortable with it, but I just wanted to throw that out there.
Finally, have you tried solid foods at bedtime? I was adamant about waiting until 6 months, but I go back to work on Tuesday and I thought it was worth a try to see if I could get her to sleep until 5 or 6 in the morning. I talked to my pediatrician about it today at DD's four month appointment, and she said tha,t while studies show that it does not help babies sleep longer, there is so much anecdotal evidence to the contrary that she does not know the real story (I appreciated her honesty). She told us that we could try it and if it doesn't work, just stop giving it to her until 6 months. I am a committed breastfeeder, but that was a plan I was comfortable with. We gave our DD rice cereal tonight, and it was the cutest thing -- she practically attacked the spoon. She loved it (and ended up wearing half of it :) ) We will see how it works tonight.
I have written a novel, but I hope some of it helped. Good luck with whatever you decide! It must be so tough to be waking up so frequently!!!!
07-01-2005, 06:55 PM
Scout: I am sorry that you are still having trouble getting Maxwell to sleep at night. I can remember how rough it was in the beginning when my DS didn't sleep very well. I can't even imagine how cranky I would be if he wasn't STTN.
I can't really give any advice because I think that we are just lucky that our DS does sleep well at night. I am not really sure that formula has anything to do with it because we switched to formula when he was 5 weeks but he didn't start sleeping well until he was about 10 weeks old.
My DS always cries when we put him to bed. I will usually let him cry for about 5 minutes and then I will go in his room to soothe him and he will usually fall asleep after that. He doesn't usually wake up in the middle of the night unless he is hungry and then I will feed him.
Hang in there.
07-01-2005, 08:50 PM
O.K.....Maxwell has been sleeping for nearly two hours....getting ready to do the dream feed! :)
jerickson I'm having swaddling issues as well. He won't sleep AT ALL without it, but he always breaks out of it. Now that he's rolling over, I'm having the same fears you had. We've been doing rice cereal for about two weeks now. Like your baby, ds LOVES it! :) Thanks for posting! I'm going to relook at the HSHHC book again.
lcarlson Thanks! :) I think that my body is just adjusting to no sleep at all. I'm o.k. during the day because I get that two hour nap when ds sleeps with me in the morning. It's funny (or really sad) I get to the REM stage really quickly now at night. It's like my body knows it's going to get woken up within the hour, so it tries to cram the deep sleep in right away! :rolleyes:
07-01-2005, 11:56 PM
I'm sorry your DS is having sleep issues. Sleep issues are the worst because everyone suffers. :(
My DS (who I am guessing is just a tad older than yours--he will be five months on the 3rd) JUST started STTN without getting up to eat. For his first three months of life he had to be swaddled and even then he only slept a five hour stretch at the most.
We started giving him a bottle of EBM when he was 2 months old every night and I think it helped lengthen the amount of time he slept. It was really tough when he outgrew the miracle blanket (he busted out of it more times than we could count) because he had such a hard time sleeping after that. We went through a couple of rough weeks until he learned how to roll from back to tummy. Now that he rolls freely, he chooses to sleep on his tummy and I think that really helped him stay sleeping!
Two weeks ago I started using HSHHC and that book really helped. I realized DS was going to bed too late (his bed time was at 8:30) so we moved it up to between 5 and 6PM. I know it's a super early time to put him to bed, but he can sleep up to 13.5 hours without waking up now! It has truly been a sanity saver for me.
Sorry for the novel; I just wanted to tell you what has worked for us. Good luck and I hope your DS sleeps longer stretches soon!
07-02-2005, 06:57 AM
Now that he rolls freely, he chooses to sleep on his tummy and I think that really helped him stay sleeping! My dh let Maxwell sleep on his tummy for a nap while he was sleeping next to him the other day and he slept so well. He does roll back and forth--do you think it's time to try tummy sleeping? Whenever I try to put him on his tummy, he pushes up and looks around. If I put his head down, he won't turn it to the side--he just smooshes it in the mattress! Did your baby naturally start turning his head to the side when tummy sleeping?
07-03-2005, 11:10 AM
I think it's time to try tummy sleeping as long as Maxwell can freely roll himself over. Roman used to smush his face into the mattress too but I would just wait by his bedside until he turned his head to the side. He usually did it in a matter of minutes.
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