15 week old suddenly refuses to sleep or nap - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 10-10-2009, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
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DS is suddenly distracted by everything! We go through the process of putting him down for a nap or bed and he simply refuses. He thrashes about, cries, and gets upset. If I try and rock him in my arms, or walk with him, he jerks around so much trying to crane his neck this way and that to see everything; it's impossible to keep him in my arms. I took him into a pitch dark bathroom and he screamed even louder.

Last night I put him down and sat with him rubbing his tummy while he refused to sleep. I figured he'd exhaust himself and fall asleep; he did! Today I tried again and it took so long I gave up; I was exhausted with every nap during the day being the same thing. DH took over while I left the house for some time for myself. I came home and DH said he let him cry for 10 minutes, and then went in to calm him, within 5 minutes he was asleep.

I know he's a bit young for CIO, but what are you thoughts in this case? DS is 3 1/2 months old and is very social, he loves to smile at people, babbles a lot, and is curious about so much. It seems to us that he's hit the dreaded 4 month regression early, but what do we do?? Everything I've read just talks about it, but doesn't suggest what to do to help them sleep. He will sleep well in a sling or in a stroller walk / run in the park, but we can't do that for bedtime, and we do want him to sleep on his own (like he was).

DS is still sleeping through the night. Or if he wakes he’ll talk to himself and go back to sleep, or find his thumb and soothe himself. His naps are usually very short (20-45 minutes), and we do begin the process of naps and bedtime early, we have go so far as an hour after waking beginning to slow down and move toward a nap, and we’ve also let him go longer, which only made things worse.

Please help.
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#2 of 13 Old 10-10-2009, 10:11 PM
 
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Babies tend to become very aware of the world around 4 months and become easily distracted. They also like to sleep with their mamas and papas, do you cosleep? If not, you may want to try it, your baby may need reassurance now that he's more aware.

Do you nurse to sleep? That almost always works for my DS, even now at 13 months.
As far as CIO, I do not advocate it ever in any circumstance, sorry.

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#3 of 13 Old 10-10-2009, 10:26 PM
 
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Moving to Life with a Babe.

Please keep in mind that MDC takes a stance against CIO, and you may not recommend it here.

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#4 of 13 Old 10-10-2009, 11:05 PM
 
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My DS has been a sleep fighter from early on as well, and still is. I suggest finding different things that will help him sleep, and if you can't find anything, at least you can hold him while he cries. Leaving him alone to cry is never ok.. At this age, even letting him cry while you are beside him (not holding him) isn't ok, IMO.

Have you tried swaddling? Bouncing? Rocking? Dark room? White noise? Bedtime routine?

For us at that age, we'd rock and he would fight it, but I just held him really tight while rocking and then he would finally give up the crying/arching/fighting and would nurse to sleep.

We have always had to have it dark and quiet with white noise as well, as he is distracted by EVERYYYYYTHING.

Good luck, hope you find something that works!

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#5 of 13 Old 10-11-2009, 12:08 AM
 
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Sometimes I just sat with my kids in a darkened room and just rocked, nursed and hummed or sang gently.

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#6 of 13 Old 10-11-2009, 02:44 AM
 
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My baby is close in age to yours and things have really changed for us, sleep-wise too. You say you want him to be able to fall asleep as he was, but clearly that is not what he wants. I have to remind myself daily to be more attached to my baby than to what I want for him or for myself. All we can do is encourage sleep by setting up the right conditions and finding ways to help them to sleep without making ourselves crazy/exhausted. FWIW, my ds started out sleeping beautifully in long, long stretches by simply laying him down. Now, at nearly 4.5 months, I have to wear him in the sling to get him to sleep and he's waking much more frequently at night. He doesn't sleep beyond 45 minutes during the day. I'm not doing anything differently, he's just changed. I know from experience that I have to roll with it, keep to his routine and do what works for EVERYONE (I have two other kids too that need mom). Hang in there, let go a little and just help him as much as you can. Leaving him to cry won't help at all (unless you need a bit of a break), but can really, really hurt him both physically and psychologically.

Me : living with and loving papa and the kids: Dd1 8/97 , dd2 8/04 and my sweet baby ds 5/09 : :
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#7 of 13 Old 10-11-2009, 01:32 PM
 
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Also remember that sometimes sleep disturbances come before a new developmental milestone such as sitting, rolling over, and eventually crawling, pulling up and walking. mental and physical milestones can cause sleep issues.

Maybe keep yours eyes out for something new

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#8 of 13 Old 10-11-2009, 06:49 PM
 
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My DS is 9 weeks old and has been the same way since about 2 weeks. We first discovered that co-sleeping does NOT work for him. He hated it. Second, we discovered he needed something far more structured than full on AP. We've been using the EASY method from "The Baby Whisperer" by Tracy Hogg (similar method in "Babywise" by Dr. Enzzo for a slightly more AP style). I never ever to the CIO. We've seen amazing results by establishing a routine (NOT a schedule) because he knows what's coming next. Swaddling has helped calm him, especially when he's overtired. He sleeps all night, only waking for an 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. feeding. His naps during the day are usually about an hour and a half unless he's having a rough day (i.e. I let him go too long between naps and he's overstimulated). I have learned, too, that if he gets overtired or overstimulated before his naps (as in I don't wind him down enough before a nap), he's a huge handful and we usually end up canning the nap. Before my friend with twins recommended the book to me, I was pulling my hair out.

If you end up giving 'The Baby Whisperer' a try, there there is an amazing free website that goes along with it. The forum is run by experts on the matter, so it's not just other random people. But it's so nice finding other people in the exact same situation you are in. The website is www.babywhisperer.com, but I highly recommend reading the book(s) first. They are mass paperbacks and you can find them at regular bookstores and used on Amazon for super cheap.

Andi, 32 - SAHM to Aaron Patriot born at home on 8/7/09 and devoted wife to Paul. : EC, Non-Circ ::
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#9 of 13 Old 10-11-2009, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for the suggestions.

I was upset DH allowed DS to cry. I had just bought the book "The No Cry Sleep Solution" on Friday morning. (I’ll have to check out “The Baby Whispered” as well now). I was so sad to see my little guy didn't greet me with a smile this morning. I wondered if he was mad/sad for having been put to bed in such a stressful state. When DH woke up to great him I told him he needed to apologize to DS . DS took one look at him and burped really loudly! Enough said.

So taking your suggestions I decided to nurse him to sleep today. I was having problems with nursing because he keeps popping on and off toward the end of a feeding (I posted about that in the Breastfeeding Forum). It took a bit with all the popping on and off but it worked and wasn't stressful for either of us! In fact, within 5 minutes I got him to sleep tonight. Thank you for your suggestions, sometimes you just need to be reminded of the power of nursing.

We do have a routine with DS, but I wondered if it’s become a bit much now; DH & I would sing a couple of songs to him, then dim the lights and nurse him while reading a story, then walk him around and "shush" him until he's pretty well asleep, and then put him down in his bed. This all takes about an hour. All along we’ve changed how we put him to bed as he’s changed, but the difficult part is knowing WHEN to change something, and wondering if anything you did differently is the culprit to your troubles.

I decided walking him around has probably become too distracting for him. So after I nursed him and read him a story I took him into the darkened bedroom and rocked him while sitting on our bed. When he started to get frantic looking around I nursed him until he calmed down, and when him popped off I gave him his pacifier. We did this a couple of times until he fell asleep and I put him in his bed.

Oh. My. Goodness. What a difference. I'm so happy we didn't have to endure any trauma. I felt more relaxed to help him fall asleep and kept thinking “Okay, I’ll just cuddle you and you take all the time you need to fall asleep.” It helped that I had a good nights sleep last night.

On a side note: I will co-sleep with him for a nap or two during the day, but not so much lately. I'll nurse him and he'll fall asleep, but I don't sleep so well with him bed because he fidgets and I'm a light sleeper. But I'll certainly keep this tucked away for one of the more difficult nights. I had forgotten that at one time were were doing that (back when he was about 3 or 4 weeks old) we had him sleeping ON us at night, passing him between DH and myself... it seems so long ago.
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#10 of 13 Old 10-12-2009, 10:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ck1 View Post
I was so sad to see my little guy didn't greet me with a smile this morning. I wondered if he was mad/sad for having been put to bed in such a stressful state.

We do have a routine with DS, but I wondered if it’s become a bit much now; DH & I would sing a couple of songs to him, then dim the lights and nurse him while reading a story, then walk him around and "shush" him until he's pretty well asleep, and then put him down in his bed. This all takes about an hour. All along we’ve changed how we put him to bed as he’s changed, but the difficult part is knowing WHEN to change something, and wondering if anything you did differently is the culprit to your troubles.

I decided walking him around has probably become too distracting for him. So after I nursed him and read him a story I took him into the darkened bedroom and rocked him while sitting on our bed. When he started to get frantic looking around I nursed him until he calmed down, and when him popped off I gave him his pacifier. We did this a couple of times until he fell asleep and I put him in his bed.

I have heard and read in many places that allowing them to CIO completely on their own, even for a short amount of time will break trust with them. It makes sense. They are so little, they have no way of knowing if they've been deserted or if you're coming back, especially at a time when they are in such distress. It must be frustrating for them, worse than us, because at this stage they really have only one way to communicate all their needs. I realize babies need to cry, even angrily sometimes. I've found that when DS needs to have his moments like that (which are rare these days), he calms much faster if he keep him laying down in his bed and just keep a hand on him so he knows he's not alone. I don't walk with him, hold him or anything else because it seems any outside stimulation just makes it worse.

And I feel you on the routine thing! It's always so trial and error at first, and just when you find what works, something changes - illness, teething, vacation, etc.

Your DS sounds a lot like mine in that he may be easily overstimulated. Our wind down routine is very simple now - I watch for signs that he's tired. When I see the first yawn (even if it's only been 30 or 40 minutes since his last nap), I start to set the mood by dimming lights, turning on our air filter (white noise) and turning off tv/radio/etc. By the third yawn and/or when he's getting that tired fidget about him, I have him swaddled up. I sit still with him quietly until he gets really drowsy. I don't rock or walk with him, just still. I will do a pat-shush thing if he's fussing (that's in the Baby Whisperer book) which is fairly often. I try to put him down when he's realllllly sleepy but still awake. He seems to drop off better that way. And 9 times out of 10, he's out cold in less than a minute. I might have to put a hand on him once or twice during his nap if he starts to wake up and fuss. But at first I used to try all kinds of things to get him to go to sleep (walk with him, put him in a swing, etc.) and found that less was more with him. I do feed him right before his final bedtime, though, and he's usually asleep before he finishes!

I hope you continue to get some rest and peace. I know how traumatic it is when your baby won't settle. I wish most days there was some sort of magic instruction book!

Andi, 32 - SAHM to Aaron Patriot born at home on 8/7/09 and devoted wife to Paul. : EC, Non-Circ ::
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#11 of 13 Old 10-12-2009, 11:44 AM
 
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I personally would not recommend Baby Whispering. Here's a review that might be of interest to help make your own informed decision. Mothers inherently know what's best for their babies. Here's a past MDC discussion on the same topic, too, that might help inform your choice.

ck1, you might find solace in this quote from Mothering's owner and publisher:

Quote:
Once we become parents it is easy to blame ourselves when our children's behavior seems out of control. The pervasive idea that we should be able to control sleep habits leads us too quickly to call night waking a "sleep disorder" and to wonder what we are doing wrong to cause it. Research gives no indication that anything parents do causes night waking. Babies whose cries are responded to rapidly are not more prone to it. Assuming that there is some method out there to treat sleep "disorders" undermines a parent's confidence. Despite the notion that "healthy, normal" babies sleep through the night, surveys of parents show that most babies do not sleep through the night, at least until all their teeth are in.

While waiting for our children to develop physically and emotionally to the point where they can realistically soothe themsleves to sleep, we need to work on our own development toward tolerance, patience, and acceptance of those aspects of parenting that are beyond our control. What remains in our control is the ability to continue to care for our children even though they are keeping us awake at night; to continue to hold to our own integrity as feeling people.

To embrace a philosophy that takes into account the individual needs of each child is not to ignore the unfortunate reality that we need sleep. We need to nurture ourselves in this process of raising children. The key to tolerance, and the natural passge through the nightwaking years, is to observe, accept, and work with your child's own inner rhythms and timetables, which can lead to the understanding that nurturing your child and nurturing yourself are not mutually exclusive enterprises.

Natural Family Living by Peggy O'Mara
Also, here are some links that you might find helpful, too:

http://www.mothering.com/sleeping-with-your-baby

http://www.mothering.com/pillow-talk

http://www.mothering.com/sleep-training

http://www.mothering.com/parenting/response-cry-it-out

I have retired from administration work, so if you have a question about anything MDC-related, please contact Cynthia Mosher. Thanks!
 
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#12 of 13 Old 10-12-2009, 01:10 PM
 
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When I read that your son is popping on and off while nursing my first thought is that he might be starting to teeth. Even if no teeth are about to come through, he might be in pain from the teeth moving around. Try some Hylands Teething tablets - they have worked wonders for us.

My son was also easily overstimulated at that age, and what really helped was the Ergo - we could put him in it and go for a walk outside and he would be out in moments. The fresh air really helped.

good luck!
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#13 of 13 Old 10-12-2009, 01:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by georgia View Post
I personally would not recommend Baby Whispering. Here's a review that might be of interest to help make your own informed decision. Mothers inherently know what's best for their babies. Here's a past MDC discussion on the same topic, too, that might help inform your choice.
I don't wish to take over this thread by defending my decision to follow some of the Baby Whisperer advice, but hindsight says I probably should've elaborated more. I threw out much of the advice in the BW, but the few things I kept really did help me listen to my baby more. First, I would NEVER start such an idea with a brand new little baby. My DS was almost 7 weeks when I started using some of the techniques - still a newborn, but more than just a few days old.

I believe very much in AP-style parenting, but I don't believe there is a single end-all, be-all parenting type that is perfect for any child. Some things AP work with DS, some don't. Same with BW or any other mainstream style. For instance, my DS HATES being worn. Same for co-sleeping. He screams and cries all night long when he's in our bed, but sleeps soundly in his own crib or in the mose's basket next to the bed. We started off co-sleeping from day one, and he lasted about 3 weeks before he started letting us know he's more independent in that.

And that's where it both coincides with AP and goes totally against. AP promotes co-sleeping, but also promotes 'listening to your baby (as does BW). If I stuck solely with AP and made him continue to sleep in our bed, we'd all be miserable and I'd be ignoring his obvious choice to not co-sleep. Same for babywearing.

As for the routine, I don't keep as rigid of a 'schedule' as the author suggests. I don't watch the clock, but we just use the natural feeling of what he thinks should come next. The main things I got from the book I never found anywhere else, or at least worded in a way that I 'got it' - I was missing his cues - there were many times he was trying to tell me he was tired, and I totally missed it. Which means he never slept (or rarely slept because he was way overtired and wouldn't settle). Same for being overstimulated, which I agree is probably one of the biggest problems with fussy babies that parents tend to miss. Little ones are so easily overstimulated, and yet we tend to pick them up, move them around, and do anything we can to soothe them, which just makes it worse.

Our routine is still determined by him, not me. But it's sort of a natural pattern. Most mornings he does follow the eat, activity, sleep pattern, but in the afternoons, it gets reversed a lot where he eats, falls asleep while eating then wakes up to play a little. More important than what comes next is that when he starts getting sleepy, he seems instantly content when I swaddle him up and he knows it's time to really relax. We share lots of intimate moments - I hold him for a good 20-30 minutes and we laugh and read and do whatever we feel like until he gets sleepy and starts to drop off (those things are considered activities). In a way, that helps make up for him not wanting to be worn.

The point is I feel like I personally learned to listen to my baby more and figured out what his needs were by reading and using some of the BW techniques, things I personally never got out of full-on AP. Also, the author in NO WAY promotes CIO, which I don't advocate either.

So again, I agree with PP that you need to make informed decisions. But I stand by my opinion that there probably isn't one exclusive style of parenting that is just perfect for any child. A lot of parenting is just trial and error and finding what works for your little one.

Andi, 32 - SAHM to Aaron Patriot born at home on 8/7/09 and devoted wife to Paul. : EC, Non-Circ ::
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