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aleisen 06-20-2008 02:53 PM


My 10 week old daughter is a terrible sleeper and always has been. She doesn't sleep well in the day or night and I'm exhausted. The only time she sleeps in a good chunk of time is in the car or if I'm wearing her. I've tried lots of different things such as swaddling, changing sleep location and position (my bed, swing, car seat, bassinet, etc.), white noise, etc. etc. Nothing is working so far.

My question is not as much about how to get her to sleep better but whether or not anyone here has had a baby who was a bad sleeper eventually turn into a good sleeper at some point? I've read some things that suggest that babies who are bad sleepers often turn into toddlers who are bad sleepers. Can anyone give me hope? I know that 3months is supposed to be a big milestone so maybe things will improve then. Any chance that in the next few weeks/months she'll suddenly change her behavior?


pixiepunk 06-20-2008 03:21 PM

to some extent i think it's in the eyes of the beholder. Neither of my older two kids would really sleep long if i put them down at that age. that is *really* teeny still. i never felt that either of them were 'bad' sleepers, they just didn't like to sleep on their own when they were very small. gradually they got better and better about it - one day i could just lay them down and they'd stay asleep for longer stretches. eventually i was able to pop them off the breast and cuddle them while still awake and get them to sleep. and eventually DD1 was able to not nurse at all before falling asleep (DS, almost 3, still nurses before bed, though not to sleep). but even once they had transitioned into a better sleep pattern, there was always teething, or being sick, or a developmental milestone that would pop up and disrupt their sleep. those first couple of years i just don't expect my babies to sleep like older kids or adults, they're babies and their needs are different.

i know you're exhausted, and i totally can commiserate (i've got a 5 yo, an almost 3 yo and a 7 week old), but i don't think you're doing yourself or your baby any good by worrying about how she'll sleep at 2 when she's only 10 weeks old. if she sleeps when you wear her, wear her. my DS didn't take a nap anywhere but on my body till he was probably a year old, though he did OK lying beside me at night after the first couple of months. but by the time he was about 18 months he's nursed, then snuggled to sleep and slept till it was time to get up, save the occasional illness or nightmare. DD1 was pretty much the same way, and now after a story and lights out she pretty much passes out cold in like 2 seconds i never would've believed she would when i was wearing her down to sleep when she was 6 months old.

don't worry. do what works!

freeflykami 06-20-2008 03:28 PM

My first didn't sleep unless she was on my or dh's chest and then for only about 30 min. untill she was 4 mo. And she screamed the entire time we were in the car, and hated to be worn in anything. We got "The Sleep Lady's Guide" by Kate West, It was great, and really helped us understand how people and infants sleep, and how to form good sleep habits. No crying it out.

Anyway, she became a VERY good sleeper and since about 6 months had no problems getting herself to sleep. I used the same tips for #2 and he has also become a very good sleeper, although we are going through a tough patch right now.

slgt 06-20-2008 05:49 PM

Is your baby small? My best friend's baby was fairly tiny (3 weeks early), and didn't turn into a "good" sleeper until she was around 11-12 pounds, which is very recently. They also worked very consistently to transition her from bed to carseat to bassinet to bassinet in her own room to crib, with no CIO. They got there, it just took a lot of patience & work, and her LO sleeps better in her own room than when she was in with them. Sounds, etc. would stir her, and she couldn't settle herself.

Hugs to you - exhaustion is such an unpleasant cycle, and breeds depression and desperation so quickly. Hang in there, nap whenever you can...

One thing that I have learned that seems to be true with almost all LOs that I know at this age (4 mos. & younger, don't know yet about older!) is that sleep begets sleep. Our DD sleeps best at night when she is well-rested from good napping...when she gets overtired, nighttime sleep gets worse.

rubyeta 06-20-2008 09:56 PM

None of my kids have been "good sleepers" as infants. especially dd who would not co sleep, she really needed her own space and kicked cried and squirmed all night in our bed. She never slept if i put her down during the day and woke every half hour to 45 min at night until she was 20 months old. now... she sleeps great. 12 solid hours at night and a 2.5 to 3 hr nap each afternoon. she is 2.5 years old. all of my older kids are GREAT sleepers now. there is hope!!!

Amy H-C 06-20-2008 10:46 PM

Yes, there is hope. I remember this stage with DS who slept on our chests for the first 2 months of his life then transitioned to the cosleeper. It just took time. We would put him the cosleeper, pick him up when he cried, lay him down when settled, and repeat. It took a night or two with naps too, but he finally started to sleep in the cosleeper without trauma. Then, he slowly started to space his sleep, but he didn't sleep through (my definition as a heavy sleeper of 8 hours) until he was 16 months. However, 4 hours is a godsend at this stage. Hang in there! This too shall pass.

aleisen 06-22-2008 07:09 PM

Thanks for everyone's replies. I will continue to have hope and patience and keep working on this.

To slgt: My baby is not small--she's 12 lbs. I know she's physically capable of sleeping for longer periods without being hungry. I guess she's not not emotionally ready yet.

Jak's Mom 06-25-2008 12:24 PM

My son is 11 weeks, almost 13 pounds, and not a *good* sleeper. He naps only when I am wearing him in the Moby and will also fall asleep in the car. At night he was sleeping for one good chunk (4 hours) at first and less as the night went on. The past few nights he has been up every 2 hours or so.

He is my second baby (my first is 2.5 years) and what I learned with the first is that everything that I totally stressed about with him eventually worked itself out, so I am trying to just let my son do what he needs right now and trust that it will all get better. It's hard to remember that when you are exhausted but hang in there! Some babies just need that mama touch more than others...

sarahtdubb 06-25-2008 12:47 PM

Stay strong, Mama, there is hope!

I have a sensitive sleeper, too. He is 10 months old now and in the last 5 weeks or so there has been a huge change!! For the first 2 months, he would only sleep on our chests. For the next 6 months he would only sleep while being worn--all of his naps were in the carrier, and we often wore him to sleep at night, then transferred him to the bed through nursing.

He was just not emotionally ready to sleep on his own, and I did (and do) my best to be compassionate about that. But he has really changed a lot in the last month--- now he will fall asleep while being held and swayed and this morning my husband put him down!! and he stayed asleep! He's been sleeping more deeply and wakes less often during naps and at night.

For me, it's been really affirming that I did the right thing by following his lead and just supporting him emotionally and physically--and that sleep is just something that's individual for everyone and that we all grow into.

tanyalynn 06-25-2008 05:16 PM

My son's sleep got better after chiropractic visits. He didn't feel quite right, something wasn't comfortable, so he wasn't able to stay asleep for very long. For us (both kids) most of the difficult stuff (sleep, behavioral) had a physical basis, and when I figured out what was bothering the kids and fixed it, life got easier for us.

Lady Lilya 06-26-2008 04:29 PM

I can give you hope!

For a while it took so much effort to get him to sleep, that I just held him the whole time (and came to MDC). Otherwise he slept such a short time. My hope was that he wouldn't think I was going to put him down, so he wouldn't fear falling asleep. So, I just tried to think of that as my rest time -- sitting with the baby in my arms and using the internet or watching TV with the sound off and captions on. I tried not to stress about the neglected chores.

Then around 6 months I started trying to put him down for the first nap of the day. And when he would wake up and cry, I would come immediately and lay next to him and nurse and cuddle and play. At first, he had to be fully asleep to be put down successfully (if I failed, I just held him for the nap like before and tried again the next day). Over time he got used to the routine, and expected to be put down there. When I put him down, he would look around and see where he was (and hear the white noise machine), and go back to sleep. He felt safe there because I made the investment of coming as soon as he called and having happy interactions there. Then as time went on, he stopped waking up after a short time, because as he came out of a deep sleep he could tell where he was (either look around or hear the white noise machine) and felt safe and went back into a deep sleep. So his naps got longer and farther apart, and allowed us to have a life! I could do something for 90 minutes, or nap with him (I couldn't wile holding him, or when he only slept 20 minutes at a time) and in between naps we could do stuff.

Now he takes 2 naps a day of about 90 minutes each. And I put him down at night by himself and can come to bed later without him being upset. If he wakes up and finds I am not there, he cries and I come and I just lay down with him until he falls back asleep. I can also get out of the bed in the morning and sometimes he will sleep another hour-ish.

I read somewhere in a Dr Sears book that you need to make the effort now to create a life of feeling like sleep is a safe state to enter and remain in.

tuscany123 06-26-2008 07:43 PM

My DD is now 4.5 yrs - she was the most horrible sleeper as a baby! But right at 1 yr old, that changed, and now she is at the point that she has to be coaxed out of bed in the morning. The preschool she goes to still has a nap time, and her teachers tell me she never wants to get up from her nap either. FTR, she does have an early bed time - she just likes to sleep! So, I don't believe that just because babies are bad sleepers that they'll always be that way - hang in there Mommy!

Lady Lilya 06-26-2008 09:54 PM

DH was a bad sleeper, and now he loves to sleep.

lisavark 06-26-2008 11:27 PM

My DD could not sleep without me EVER for the first three months--she was either on my lap, in the sling, or in bed next to me. But at three months she suddenly started being okay if I slipped away after I nursed her down. Now at four months she takes most of her naps in bed alone, unless we're out somewhere and then she's in the carrier. She still wakes every two hours most nights but she's starting to sometimes go four-hour stretches--sometimes even two four-hour stretches with just a quick nursing in between! I feel like I've gotten eight straight hours after those nights. Anyway, yeah, I think it will get better! Ten weeks is SO young--still in the "fourth trimester," so to speak.

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