My previously good sleeping LO will now only sleep a max of 30 minutes at a time during the day and is definetly not getting enough sleep. I can put her down when she's sleepy after being changed and fed and she will put her self to sleep BUT will only sleep for around 10 ish minutes usually, maybe 30 if I'm lucky. She used to wake up happy and alert but now is waking up crying and seems still very tired. I console her, rock her, replace her paci and lay her back down but she won't go back to sleep for hours. Yesterday she woke up at 8am, took a 15 minute "nap" and then didn't go back to sleep until 1 in the afternoon when we had to go to the store and she finally slept in the car seat and then for the rest of the 3 hours we were out and about. On random days she sleeps good during the day, she also sleeps good at night. On the rest of the days sleeps awful all day and only sleeps 2 - 2 hour sections at night (between 11pm and 6 am). She is only 4 weeks old and I don't believe in letting her cry it out, but I also don't believe that I should have to wear her all day just so she can have normal sleep. I have not slept for more than 2-3 hours a day for close to a week and I'm starting to lose it. If it wasn't for Tylenol and coffee I wouldn't be making it. I am thinking that maybe she is just more sensitive to distractions that are going on in the house than she use to be and it is causing her lack of sleep. I am wondering if it unreasonable to start having her nap only in her/our dark bedroom during the day and using a baby monitor to keep an eye (or ear) on her and if she does start to fuss and cry wait 5 or so minutes before going to her as long as I know she is changed and fed? Being a first time mom and having abandonment issues from my own childhood, I feel like I am hurting her feelings and breaking her heart if I don't attend to her every want and need the second she wants it but I think that if she is in another room maybe I will be able to use better reasoning about when she needs me and when she can put herself back to sleep. Ugh! I just don't know anymore. I feel like as soon as I make up my mind on what to do I don't have the will power to execute it.
Please help! TIA
***Sorry I forgot to say how old she is...4 weeks.
First off, I'm sorry you're dealing with this. Leaving such a young baby to cry for 5 minutes isn't ideal, IMO (but it can't be avoided all the time). The first thing that came to my mind for why she's crying is that she's probably hungry. Babies go thru growth spurts and sometimes want to nurse every 15 minutes. You will likely think (as I have) that they're full and tired, when indeed she's hungry and wants to eat again. It's a very tiring stage in their lives, but when she's full she'll sleep.
I agree that wearing a baby 100% of the time can be over stimulating (for me at least). I need my body for a little bit w/o baby on it :)
I hope things improve for you and baby very soon
I am so sorry. She is still very little though so I feel like if you can attend to her you should. If you are about to lose it, leave her crying and get some help. I agree it could be a growth spurt. Both my children went through stages where about all I could do was sit and nurse. Is there someone else who could hold her or wear her while you get a nap? Hope she gets through it soon.
I wouldn't leave such a young baby alone to cry, not even for a minute, unless it was unavoidable. If you're feeling uncomfortable about that, I'd urge you to listen to that instinct. It's telling you something important-- that babies need us to respond to their cries. My kids did sometimes cry for a few minutes, when more than one child needed me at once, or I was on the toilet, or situations like that, but I wouldn't leave a young baby to cry for the purpose of trying to get them back to sleep. At this age, when they're still so little, many babies really cannot soothe themselves to sleep, aren't developmentally ready to learn how, and want to be nursed and/or held nearly constantly.
It can be hard, though. It can be exhausting. Do you have anybody who can help you, to give you a few hours off-- my DH used to take them out for a walk, when he got home, so that I could have some time without a little one hanging on me. And I had a dear friend who used to come over and hold DS for awhile at this age. He was colicky, and I was going NUTS, and she saved me from totally losing my mind, many times.
Have you learned how to nurse side-lying yet? That's another thing that saved me. First of all, it meant I could catch a few ZZZZZs while the babies did their thing. Second of all, I figured out that I could nurse them into a deep sleep, and then often I could gently slide my nipple out of their mouths, slide in the paci, and slip away, and they'd stay there sleeping happily for awhile. Swaddling can really help with this, as can putting a tightly rolled blanket between you and baby, so that when you slip away, baby doesn't startle awake and some of your body warmth stays behind for a comfort.
Hang in there, mama. These early days can wear you to pieces, but they go by so fast.
I know it's really hard and exhausting, I really do, because I was there, too, 10 months ago. But that said, I think 4 weeks old is too young to expect a baby to sleep on her own. She was inside you, being snuggled 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 9 months. To expect her to be able to self-soothe and sleep without that so soon is a bit unreasonable.
I also don't believe that babies this young form sleeping habits that are later unbreakable, and this is from my own personal experience. My daughter was held or worn for all sleeps (including snuggled in my arms at night in our bed) until she was 4 or so months old. I would try putting her in the swing, swaddled, before that and she would sleep for 20 minutes maximum. But then gradually, the time she could sleep in the swing grew, and grew, and grew, until she was 5-6 months old and sleeping for three hours in her swing.
Finally, one thing I have learned both from my own experience parenting and from being involved in the upbringing of many babies and toddlers within and outside of my family is that the most attached babies are generally the ones who grow into the most secure, independent and self-confident children. Just some food for thought.
bedsharing, knitting, toddler-nursing, nerdy, babywearing mama!
I think putting her down asleep in a dark quiet room is definitely worth a try but I personally wouldn't wait 5 minutes to go and get her. I'd also look into the possibility of silent reflux - which could explain why she slept well upright in the car seat. If it was me I'd see if she could sleep in a swing or bouncy seat.
Good luck, I hope your husband or someone you know can take over for a few hours so you can get some sleep today. I know sleep deprivation is pretty awful and a few hours can go a long way.
I think her sleeping issues may have to do with hunger. Today she has gone from nursing at only one boob per feeding to nursing at both and has taken good naps; one on her blanket on the floor and one in her bouncy. I think I will have to make sure she gets enough time to nurse at night feedings too, as I feel sometimes I might be trying to rush through it to go back to bed, especially as I have gotten more and more sleep deprived lately. I did go and get a monitor today though and will maybe try putting her in our room for naps on days when our house is particularly busy or she seems to be having trouble sleeping again and I am sure she is for sure full, etc. As for letting her cry for 5 minutes etc, I don't think I could actually go through with it even if I tried...I can't even finish a shower if I hear her crying.
Thanks for all the good advice and opinions. I didn't get any sleep so far today but I did get to lay down on the couch for an hour or so, which helped a lot.
Are you nursing? Maybe the coffee is keeping her up if so. I have a 7 week old, I know how hard it is. Plus he is my third, so the house is almost never quiet. *sigh* He finally started sleeping in the swing about a week or so ago, right when I was about to give up on it and give it away, lol. He still only sleeps for small periods of time usually, but at least thats a moments rest for my arms and back. He is a BIG boy.
Not much advice, sorry, just letting you know I've been there!
Amethyst (May 2002)
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Abbott (January 2011)
Atlas (March 2013)
Hang in there Mama! This is a rough time! As other's have said, I didn't even try for independent napping until baby was several months old. At this point, when baby was tired, I just kicked back in recliner, tucked her up to nurse to sleep (or nurse, then fall asleep, as she rarely nurses to sleep) and watched TV, surfed MDC on my laptop, or read a book. If someone else was around (DH, my Mom, etc.) I would often get her to sleep and hand her off, so I could shower, or whatever. She napped in arms SOLELY until she was about 4 months. And now, at nearly 6 months, she usually needs to be on an incline (swing or car seat) to nap alone, but she has reflux, so laying flat has never been a good option for us. You've got months ahead of you to establish independent sleep, but only a few precious weeks of the newborn stage. It goes so fast! Best of luck!
C.- WOHM, CPST Instructor, and all around busy Mama to A.- 02/04, I. 01/07,E. 09/10 and
expecting the surprise of our lives Fall 2012!