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

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#1 of 72 Old 10-19-2011, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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?

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#2 of 72 Old 10-20-2011, 07:27 AM
 
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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.

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#3 of 72 Old 10-23-2011, 07:29 PM
 
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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... 
 

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

 


Moo.

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#4 of 72 Old 10-24-2011, 09:11 AM
 
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two words: chamomile tea (for baby)

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#5 of 72 Old 10-24-2011, 09:19 AM
 
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The symptoms you describe can also be a sign of sleep apnea.


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#6 of 72 Old 10-24-2011, 08:22 PM
 
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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!

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#7 of 72 Old 10-26-2011, 09:44 AM
 
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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.


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#8 of 72 Old 10-27-2011, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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!

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#9 of 72 Old 10-27-2011, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#10 of 72 Old 10-29-2011, 11:55 AM
 
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#11 of 72 Old 11-01-2011, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#12 of 72 Old 11-01-2011, 10:31 PM
 
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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!


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#13 of 72 Old 11-02-2011, 02:28 AM
 
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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?

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#14 of 72 Old 11-02-2011, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

 

 

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#15 of 72 Old 11-02-2011, 12:13 PM
 
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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.
 

 

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#16 of 72 Old 11-02-2011, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
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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.)
 

 

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#17 of 72 Old 11-02-2011, 03:08 PM
 
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I'm really sorry. Can you get help and get a nice long nap (or several?)

This sounds so hard on everyone.
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#18 of 72 Old 11-02-2011, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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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

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#20 of 72 Old 11-03-2011, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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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#21 of 72 Old 11-03-2011, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmmm...night #2 with Camilia and she's awake after only 45 minutes.  :\

 

Update:

Okay, so night #2 didn't go quite as easily as night #1 but after a rough hour she actually did really well!  She slept for 6 hours again and after nursing slept another 4 hours.  I ended up giving her two vials of the Camilia last night whereas the first night I only had to give her 1.  Still not sure if it has helped her to be in her crib or if it's the Camilia...still feeling sad that she sleeps better in her room than our room.  DD1 was that way, too.  Trying not to take it personally orngtongue.gif

 

She seems MUCH better able to self soothe in her crib than in the co sleeper so naps seem to be a bit better too though she is still incredibly restless.  It's just that the restlessness doesn't seem to leave her upset as before.  I don't know.  I am totally perplexed honestly. 

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#22 of 72 Old 11-04-2011, 06:19 AM
 
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Quote:
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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 breast milk.  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.



Giving them water as long as it's nursery water isn't dangerous per say, it just causes them to fill faster without getting the proper amount of nutrients. Is she getting any more sleep now? Mine still flaps her arms as I know of currently, but she would actually start crying really bad, I suspect a nightmare at that point.

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#23 of 72 Old 11-06-2011, 01:33 PM
 
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Dot-to-dot---how has it been the last few nights?  I've been following your thread as we are in a similar situation (non sleeping/napping baby and an older child).  I have also loosely swaddled my baby and he moves on his own to his tummy, where he sleeps BETTER but not great (3 hour stretches instead of 1.5 hours).  Right now he is sleeping in his swing with music going--I hate that he's in the swing but he needs sleep SOOOO badly that I'm wondering if he just needs to catch up somehow to sleep better overall.  Was just wondering if your DD was still out of your room...?  Been thinking of trying that with my little guy but it makes me sad to think about him sleeping away from me!

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#24 of 72 Old 11-07-2011, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If my dd would sleep in the swing, I would do it.  She won't.  I think you're right that he probably just needs it so badly that you gotta do what ya gotta do.  Okay, so yes she's still in her own room.  I still have the co sleeper here next to my bed and I seriously get sad every time I walk past it.  I feel silly, but on some level, even though the nights were miserable, I miss her sleeping in here.  This may be our last baby because I have debilitating pregnancies (hyperemesis gravidarum) and it makes me sad to think that I just won't be co sleeping.

 

She's been going down a lot more easily.  Some nights a bit tougher than others, but we are not spending the 2-3 hours we used to.  It's crazy!  I just sit there on the couch waiting for her to wake up, but she doesn't!  However, she is waking every 2.5-4 hours.  Four hours I can handle, but every 2.5 hours still doesn't seem right.  She actually wakes happy too...so I don't think she's cold, hot, scared, etc.  And it's hard to believe she's hungry after 2.5 hours at night.  If I let her be for awhile (we have a video monitor so I watch to see that she's okay) she starts to get upset and it just goes on until she's crying so I go in.  When I go in and she sees me, she smiles and coos and is just so happy to see me.  But she makes it clear that she definitely wants to nurse.  I'm positive that if I just took her out to the living room to play at 2am or whenever that she'd love that and wouldn't actually need/want to nurse.  But SOMETHING wakes her...and then she wants to nurse back to sleep.  If only that something wouldn't wake her.  At least if it wouldn't wake her any more frequently than 4 hours.

 

The biggest consistent improvement since Camilia/moving her to her room is that she's less fussy and less resistent to falling asleep for her initial bedtime.  So while I'm not getting any more sleep than before really, the nighttime scene is less draining and stressful.  She is still wildly restless when awake.  I was trying to nurse her this morning and she was sort of pushing off on the arm of the couch and she was practically man-handling me as she rocked my body all about the couch as I tried to hold on to her. (and she's in the 99th percentile, so she's a BIG baby).  Arms and legs flailing everywhere but latched on as tight as could be.  I think if I'd gotten up and walked around she would have paddled through the air to stay afloat and latched on tight enough to hang on without me holding her.  It's craaaazy!

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#25 of 72 Old 11-18-2011, 11:42 AM
 
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Thank you so much for posting this. I am really in the same boat w my 6.5 month old. She started the same behavior shortly after 4 months. Previously had slept thru night although only took half hour naps. Since 4 months we've had a steady decline she now wakes up every hour and on really bad nights is rocking and flailing so much she won't even latch on (We co sleep). Sometimes she does that during breast feeds during day too but generally those r better. We have also tried so many things. Recently stared swaddling and that helps decrease the motion and make getting to sleep better, but she still wakes up so frequently. I didn't want to do the crib thing cause I felt like something was keeping her from deep sleep and it would be doubly cruel to leave her to deal w that and adjust to new sleeping arrangements, but based on your success I think I'll try it! Could it be as simple as I'm not ready to let go but she is? It all started w her becoming more fidgety on the breast like she didn't want to be there anymore or didn't like falling asleep that way anymore. Whatever it is, I too am desperate to figure out as I am so stressed seeing my baby sleep deprived and myself as well! Please post more if you r having continued success.

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#26 of 72 Old 11-21-2011, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes! I didn't want to further exacerbate her struggles by leaving her alone in a big, cold, crib.  Ha! That's how I saw it...this big empty space that was scary and cold.  Obviously, she did not see it that way and feels warm, safe and comfortable there.  It's like you say, she was ready for some space but I was not (still am not) ready to let go.  We are having continued success on most nights.  Not consistently, but still it's much better than before.  I do not swaddle her anymore and she is using one of those tag blankets to soothe herself to sleep.  She rubs the tags when I put her down in there after nursing (still awake but drowsy).  I've had to experiment with how I lay her down.  She was doing the best on her belly, but now she has learned to push up on all fours and just wants to practice that all night long so that has thrown off our prior success. Now that she is accustomed to using the tag blanket to get to sleep, she has had a little more success at nap time and even had a 2 hour nap last weekend!  It's like she really needed help finding something to soothe herself.

 

We're still using the Camilia (1-3 per night but sometimes we forget and it's been okay).  I now lay her on her side, tucked up against the side of the crib and I tuck the tag blanket into her arms and facilitate her rubbing them until she's doing it herself and then she'll put herself to sleep.  However...when she wakes at about 3-4 hours, she is unable to put herself to sleep again without nursing.  I really don't think she's hungry...and she's in the 99th percentile so the child ain't starving!...but she seems so wide awake at that point that nothing will soothe her except nursing.  I REALLY wish I could get her to extend that first stint of sleep a little bit.

 

 

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#27 of 72 Old 06-18-2012, 03:35 AM
 
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Just found this thread after googling fidgety five month old not sleeping!! Our second son is 5.5 months old and both Dot's and the previous poster's babies sound JUST like him! I've been thinking the same thing about moving him from the cosleeper into the crib in our older son's room (he's 3 and sleeps through the night fine). Part of me isn't ready to let go of my cuddly baby, but the sleep is getting worse and worse, and I'm starting to get desperate! Like your baby, he's huge--shouldn't need milk all night long! Also has gotten super fidgety on the breast during the day--pushing off with his arms and legs almost like he doesn't want it, but nursing with a passion at the same time--such a crack up to watch but also annoying trying to hold on to him because he's nearly 21 lbs!

 

Would love to hear how you all are doing now that it's several months later! How did it all turn out???

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#28 of 72 Old 06-27-2012, 01:11 PM
 
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Yes, I'm curious to know how it's going? Our DS is eight months and doing the same things at night. He wakes after short stints at night and is incredibly restless all night. I feel like I have a newborn!

Hannah, Wife to R , Mama to Alexander, born 2-15-08,
and Gabriel, born 10-17-11. Ask me about cleft lip and palate!
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#29 of 72 Old 06-28-2012, 09:37 AM
 
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My daughter is a really fidgety nurser too...she's just too busy to eat much during the day so she nurses quite a bit at night. And she'll wake up 45 minutes or so after she goes down to tank up some more. At 8 months she's over 22 lbs so it hurts when she starts flailing. She's a happy girl though, so I'm not too worried. We swear by Camilia too smile.gif

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#30 of 72 Old 10-29-2013, 11:59 AM
 
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Dot-to Dot;
I have been reading through your thread (from a few years back) all morning, the one about your baby being so restless at night and nothing helps, checks out fine with doc, etc.... I'm at the end of my emotional/sleep rope. We have a 6 month old who sounds identical to what you were dealing with. He is WILD at night, wrapping only works for a bit, arms/legs going crazy, will only stay asleep 15-45 minute stretches. (He used to sleep 2 hour stretches and that seems like HEAVEN right now). I too have tried to identify things in my diet (breast milk) or other things that could make me "at fault" (and therefore correctable) but nothing is working. I'm averaging 4 hours or less of sleep TOTAL per night, and that's not a solid 4 hour stretch. My husband and I are beyond exhausted, we both work FT and have a 4 year old. I am desperate. I've been googling too this morning.... Can you please let me know what, if anything, worked for you and your baby? I would love to personally message you also, i just couldnt do it here.

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