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Restless and exhausted baby just can't sleep or stay asleep

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 

I have a 4.5 month old who can't nap or sleep well at night.  I have no reason to suspect anything in my diet, and yet I've gone through all sorts of trial and error with eliminating things.  She's no constipated or even unhappy really....she will fall asleep for about 2 minutes and then just...wake up!  Wake up perfectly happy!  If I just go with it, she is yawning and her eyes are red and she is soooo tired just 5 minutes later.  I know her body needs and wants sleep.  She does the same thing whether she's in a carrier (have tried several) or next to me in bed.  Her limbs are ridiculously restless and she just flaps her arms and legs all. the. time.  She's always waving her arms and seems like she grabbing for something in the air, but if my body is there for her to grab and clutch, instead her arms flail and slap me (on my face, arm, chest, etc...it's pretty annoying and certainly not conducive to sleeping for any of us). We've tried swaddling, skin-to-skin, a motorized swing, bouncing on a yoga ball, a box fan, blackout curtains, wearing her for her naps, etc. and so on.  We've tried everything that I know of.  I spend hours trying to get her to sleep and it yields anywhere from 2 minutes to 20 minutes of sleep.  (My toddler is not happy with this).

 

I'm not looking for 3 hours naps or a baby who sleeps through the night.  But, waking every hour at night suggests she's not getting what she needs for a 4 month old, especially if she isn't really napping either (20 minute naps on average and only about 2 of those during the day).

 

Any ideas for a VERY restless baby who is obviously tired but wakes from nothing 2 minutes into a nap?


Edited by Dot-to-Dot - 10/19/11 at 8:55am
post #2 of 53

Do you think she could be teething? It's early for teeth but some babies DO get teeth that early.

 

Also, I have an 8 month old. She is my only child. But, over her lifetime so far the pendulum has swung back and forth wildly between her being a great and a terrible sleeper. So this could just be a phase?

 

I have read on here quite a bit that some babies have reflux, and benefit from sleeping upright. I don't have any experience with this but it occured to me this could be a cause of her frequent wakings.

post #3 of 53

My babe will be four weeks old tomorrow and is doing the same thing... not sleeping until we are both in tears and exhausted... and it's because he is teething, believe it or not! Yes, at four weeks. Some babes are actually BORN with teeth. I've been using Hyland's teething remedy and plan to express some breast milk onto a wash cloth to freeze for him to suck on as well... 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmulberry View Post

Do you think she could be teething? It's early for teeth but some babies DO get teeth that early.

 

post #4 of 53
two words: chamomile tea (for baby)

google it! smile.gif
post #5 of 53

The symptoms you describe can also be a sign of sleep apnea.

post #6 of 53

My 6-month-old sounds very similar to your babe.  Within the last 4-5 days we bought those special swaddling blankets, the kind that have the velcro on it.  My DS was "breaking out" of his blankets and then waking himself up when his arms would flail.  While he hasn't slept great by any means, the swaddle blankets help because we can velcro his arms in really tight.  I feel like I'm putting a straight jacket on the poor little guy, but anything that helps him sleep is good by me!  We bought them at Babies R Us, if that helps.  Good luck!

post #7 of 53

Dot-to-Dot, have you tried taking her to craniosacral therapy? Sometimes they can do wonders for sleep. Several friends have had good things to say about babies sleeping better after CT visits.

post #8 of 53
Thread Starter 

Thank you ladies!  Yes, I'm sure she is teething.  She seemed to be born teething, as did my older dd.  We use Hyland's teething tablets and they don't seem to make a difference at all.  I also make her "mamacicles".  She loves them, but they only help for the few minutes that they last and then she's miserable again.  While I'm sure the teething makes it difficult for her to settle at times, there are also times when she goes to sleep easily and sleeps deeply (as in, mouth gaping open and doing that little baby snoring sound) but then wakes within minutes.  I don't think teething would wake her from a deep sleep and if it did, I don't think she'd wake happily the way she does ya know?  If pain were waking her, I'd expect the behavior you see when something like gas wakes a baby - crying, grimacing, etc.

 

We have all the velcro swaddles out there and also a wombie.  None of these products yield longer naps unforuntately.

 

We have tried chiropractor treatments but not craniosacral therapy...hmmm, I wonder if anyone in my smallish town even offers that.  I'll look into it.  My step-mom was so perplexed and concerned by the baby's lack of sleep (and my consequent misery) that, when she ran out of solutions she just sent a card with money and said to use to towards something, anything! that might help.  So maybe I could use that for craniosacral treatment. Thank you!

post #9 of 53
Thread Starter 

Researched the chamomile tea thing...saw some people who swear by it and also some horror stories.  Not so sure about giving a young baby anything but breastmilk.  I would like to think it would work.  I'm scared to try it though.  I already have to give her a little amount of water in order to give her a powdered probiotic and I think it's probably dangerous to give a baby too much water when they aren't meant to be drinking water at all in the first place, right?  Not yet sure how I feel about that one.

post #10 of 53
horror stories?! off to search google... redface.gif
post #11 of 53
Thread Starter 

Yeah...I am thinking that some people maybe gave like a whole tea cup full to a baby when you maybe should only give a syringe full?  And excessive amounts of water maybe had some effect on their kidneys?  I'm just guessing.  I didn't see any guidelines as far as administering the tea and I could see some people not knowing how damaging too much water can be to an infant.  I always think of the well meaning mother who was so poor and she decided to water down the baby's formula to stretch it a little longer and almost killed her baby.  She had no idea it could have killed her beloved little baby.  While I know not to do that, there could be other things I innocently do without understanding the harm.  So unless I am really, really positive it's harmless and my mothering gut says it's okay, I'm extremely hesitant to experiement such things with a newborn.

 

However....I'm still DESPERATE!  This child is so fidgety.  Sleep is supposed to slowly get better right?!!  She's 5 months old now and it's only getting worse.  She was sleeping 4-7 hours at night when she was about a month old.  Now it takes about 2-3 hours to get her to sleep at night and then she wakes up every 3 hours or less until morning.  This is not fun.  I am not enjoying my baby because of this friggin' sleep/restlessness issue.

post #12 of 53

If you are sure it is teething, have you tried Boiron's homeopathic Camilia? It comes in small single-dose vials, which might address your dosing concerns. It is the only thing that helps my LO when new teeth are about to break through.

 

For manipulative therapy, maybe your town has a good D.O. who does cranial work? I believe the American Academy of Osteopathy (http://www.academyofosteopathy.org/node/22608) has an online listing of physicians who are certified in osteopathic manipulation.

 

Good luck!

post #13 of 53

Oh my! lol one of my twin girls does that only when she's on her back though. On her tummy, perfect sleep. Seems their moro reflex is just out of control. I notice when she doesn't have someone holding her or she is startled she does it. I was worried at first until I found out all infants do it, she just does it more. It's pretty comical now that I know nothing is actually wrong with her according to the pediatrician. How her eyes get extra wide and her arms are flapping around and her head is just going side to side looking around the room. I recorded it to show her when she gets older :) If your baby WASN'T doing that is cause for alarm. Supposedly, it fades after 4 months, not a clue about the restlessness, have you tried  playing music, or one of those things that play the fetal heartbeat or sounds of the womb?

post #14 of 53
Thread Starter 

No, this is way more than Moro Reflex.  I know about the natural startle reflex infants have.  What my child does (and what her older sister did, too) would be considered excessive and abnormal.  The problem (if you can call it that) is that everything looks to be normal and she's perfectly healthy.  My older dd is perfectly fine and healthy as a 2 year old and is very bright so I assume that the baby will be fine in time, but she is losing precious sleep, as are we all.  She is grumpy because she is tired and so it's become more than a frustration issue and much more than they typical moro reflex thing.

 

 

Midwesterner04:  Yes, teething, but something more than that, too.  She just also happens to be teething.  I don't think that's the main issue by any means.  But I have seen the Boiron single dose things and thought they were kind of expensive (considering we've spent a fortune on "stuff" to get her to sleep better).  But, I did say I was desperate...so maybe on payday I will plunk over more money and hope that makes a difference.  I do like that it's specifically for babies and there's no question about the dose.

 

Thank you for that website!  That's exactly what I needed..I couldn't find any docs around here who do cranialsacral stuff so I'll check that out here in a bit.  Hopefully I can find someone.

 

In case someone else is following this thread and exhausting all avenues...I found out that people in my family have a hard time absorbing and using the B vitamins and that we have a lot of restless leg syndrome and stuff like vitiligo in our genes which is related to B deficiency.  I started supplementing with B vitamins pretty heavily to saturate the cells and supplement the baby through the breastmilk and then backed off to a smaller dose.  At first I thought I noticed a difference, but now that I've given it a couple weeks, I actually don't think there's much difference, if any at all.  But I thought I'd include that in case someone searching for help might want to try that for restlessness in themselves or their baby.

 

 

post #15 of 53


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dot-to-Dot View Post

No, this is way more than Moro Reflex.  I know about the natural startle reflex infants have.  What my child does (and what her older sister did, too) would be considered excessive and abnormal.  The problem (if you can call it that) is that everything looks to be normal and she's perfectly healthy.  My older dd is perfectly fine and healthy as a 2 year old and is very bright so I assume that the baby will be fine in time, but she is losing precious sleep, as are we all.  She is grumpy because she is tired and so it's become more than a frustration issue and much more than they typical moro reflex thing.

 

 

Midwesterner04:  Yes, teething, but something more than that, too.  She just also happens to be teething.  I don't think that's the main issue by any means.  But I have seen the Boiron single dose things and thought they were kind of expensive (considering we've spent a fortune on "stuff" to get her to sleep better).  But, I did say I was desperate...so maybe on payday I will plunk over more money and hope that makes a difference.  I do like that it's specifically for babies and there's no question about the dose.

 

Thank you for that website!  That's exactly what I needed..I couldn't find any docs around here who do cranialsacral stuff so I'll check that out here in a bit.  Hopefully I can find someone.

 

In case someone else is following this thread and exhausting all avenues...I found out that people in my family have a hard time absorbing and using the B vitamins and that we have a lot of restless leg syndrome and stuff like vitiligo in our genes which is related to B deficiency.  I started supplementing with B vitamins pretty heavily to saturate the cells and supplement the baby through the breastmilk and then backed off to a smaller dose.  At first I thought I noticed a difference, but now that I've given it a couple weeks, I actually don't think there's much difference, if any at all.  But I thought I'd include that in case someone searching for help might want to try that for restlessness in themselves or their baby.

 

 

My daughter that does it is a grump as well because of not sleeping. She sleeps well if she's with me on her tummy, but on her back nope! I do have vertigo myself but the pediatrician told me not to worry, it's normal for some babies. Talk to a doctor about it, hopefully everything will be fine.
 

 

post #16 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by deni bronson View Post


 

My daughter that does it is a grump as well because of not sleeping. She sleeps well if she's with me on her tummy, but on her back nope! I do have vertigo myself but the pediatrician told me not to worry, it's normal for some babies. Talk to a doctor about it, hopefully everything will be fine.
 

 


Oh, I should clarify that when I say everything checks out and she's considered perfectly fine, that the doctor has actually checked her out and knows all about my frustrations.  He's very attentive and I can really trust him.  I consider him to be rare in his field...and he has no solution to offer me.  He believes that she's just like this.  I agree to an extent.  If he lost as much sleep as I do or experienced the minute to minute frustration day in and day out, I think he'd be eager to figure it out instead of stopping with, "that's just how she is".  Sadly, I fear there is no solution, but that won't stop me from trying. :)   We also allow her to sleep on her belly.  Doesn't seem to make a difference.  We've tried every position including just allowing her to sleep on my chest every night.  I would think most babies are quite soothed on their mommy's chest, especially just after nursing but she is still incredibly restless and wiggly and it still takes a great deal of ssshhhing, swaddling, bouncing, etc to get her to sleep.  Sometimes I just have to lay her in the crib and let her "work it out".  She doesn't cry but she makes a LOT of noise (grunting, off and on fussing, talking, humming, etc.)
 

 

post #17 of 53
I'm really sorry. Can you get help and get a nice long nap (or several?)

This sounds so hard on everyone.
post #18 of 53
Thread Starter 

Just called our local Babies R Us and they have the Camilia stuff WAY cheaper than what I saw at the little natural health food store.  Just sent husband out to get that AND their version of colic relief.  Finger crossed.

post #19 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dot-to-Dot View Post

Just called our local Babies R Us and they have the Camilia stuff WAY cheaper than what I saw at the little natural health food store.  Just sent husband out to get that AND their version of colic relief.  Finger crossed.


really... I was just looking at that stuff online... but if I could just run to BRU tomorrow... I really like the idea of that more than the tea, at least until he's drinking water. thx for all the info! good luck! let us know if it helps. smile.gif
post #20 of 53
Thread Starter 

Babies R Us only have one box left which was encouraging, like they can't keep it in stock.  So last night I did not swaddle the baby for the first time and decided to lay her to bed in her crib in her room but she normally sleeps in a co sleeper next to our bed.  It was so unlike me to do that...I didn't plan to do it I just...did it and I'm not even sure why.  I nursed her, gave her the Camilia then rocked her in her room in dim lighting.  Without the swaddle she was all over the place.  She literally was on the floor at my feet twice as she contorted her body between my knees and then practically dove to the floor.  Her body was INSANELY restless and fidgety and she is so strong.  I just sort of let her move as needed but within reason - otherwise she'd have been wriggling around all over the floor.  Eventually she just sort of slowed down and finally relaxed in my arms.  When she was almost asleep, I laid her on her belly to sleep and she slept for 6 hours!  Normally it takes us up to 3 hours to help get stay asleep as she wakes up over and over and over again.  I could not believe it!  I went in to nurse her at 1:30 and then she slept for another 4 hours.  Nursed her again and after that she really had trouble staying asleep. (5:30 am) I ended up swaddling her and going in several times to pat her and put the paci back in until I gave up around 7:00.

 

I don't know if she slept better because she wasn't in my room (ya know like her proximity to the breast maybe?) or because of the Camilia, but I'm gonna try the exact same approach tonight!  However, I was already bummed that she doesn't sleep with us and now I'm bummed that she's not even sleeping next to us.  It feels too early for that and yet, if it wasn't working for whatever reason, I do think I should take note and figure out the best way for her to sufficiently rest her body for optimal health and well being.

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