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Hi everybody!

So I have a 4 month old son and I've been bedsharing and ebf from day one. He's always been sort of a restless sleeper, but it seems to just be getting worse.

I used to be able to feed him to sleep and it would take around an hour before I could sneak away and grab some dinner myself (by than he would have entered deep sleep). He would than sleep about 2 hours by himself. Lately however, it's taking 2-3 hours before he reaches deep sleep and even than he wakes up and starts crying in about a quarter. If it takes this long i usually have to rock him and bf him at the same time, or switch between these before he finally falls asleep. Many times he will fall asleep and wake up in a few minutes, rooting for the breast again.

At night he will wake up constantly, every 30 min. to 2 hours. Usually i manage to feed him back to sleep, but sometimes (generally towards 3-5 am) he will refuse and just continue being restless and awake.

I always go to bed with him at 6:30-7 and wake up at the same time in the morning. Bedtime routine is bath (every other day), massage and bf. I also use white noise.

The other problem I have concerns his naps. He will only sleep in the baby carrier while I'm walking. I've been trying for weeks to make him sleep in the bed with various techniques (but no CIO, because I do not agree with this method), but no success. When i try to put him down after he falls asleep in the carrier he wakes up immediately. With his 6,5 kg he's starting to hurt my back. I am also not able to do much during the day, because every single house chore includes standing still for at least a minority of the time and he will wake up when I so this.

Apologies for the length of this post, but I am in desperate need of some advice and/or tips from people going through a similar situation?

Thanks in advance!!
 

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I feel your pain. My first was a terrible sleeper. Every nap, every bedtime was a multiple-hour ordeal and he often awoke shortly after. I'm not remotely exaggerating.

The best advice I have? We did long-term swaddling. Once we figured this out with the first, it was something we tried right away with the second, even though she slept much better. We also used a small portable swing for a long time with both of them. There does come a point where they're just too heavy to sit and rock for hours. The swing was a lifesaver. With the first one we also took to bouncing him quite vigorously in arms on the bed. That was probably around a year old. I swear we wore out the springs on the end of that bed doing that. He just really needed very energetic movement to go to and stay asleep if he didn't nurse to sleep. With the second one we bought a memory foam mattress so that I could more easily slip away after nursing to sleep. I wish I had had that with the first one, as he's the one that really needed it.

If nothing else, it will pass. My daughter, the easy sleeper, is now the one that still needs attention at bedtime. The first one still doesn't like sleep, but at least now he will go on his own. This won't last forever. Chances are he's going through a growth spurt or reoganising his own sleeping habits, or possibly gearing up for teething, or who knows what else. The first two years are so intense, but they do calm down. Hang in there.
 

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Thanks for your reply, it's so nice to know I'm not the only one going through this! If only he would accept the swing, I bought one when he was about 2 months and he lasted max. 10 minutes in there, although I tried it every day for a couple of weeks...I guess it can't hurt to try it again, maybe he changed his mind about it by now;)
 

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Btw: I will try the swaddling again as well, thanks for the tip! I used it when he was a little younger, but stopped because he outgrew his swaddle and it didn't seem to make a big difference. However, as with the swing, it can't hurt to try it again!
 

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I'll be honest and say that the swing alone was no good for the bad sleeper. We used it without batteries and swung it ourselves because it did not swing fast enough for him. The plus side is that as I nodded off myself while swinging him, I'd unwittingly slow down the swinging gradually and by the time I was completely conked out, most of the time he was too.

For swaddling we had some blankets made out of that thermal material like long underwear or pajamas are made out of. It was nice and stretchy for getting him wrapped tight. If nothing else, go buy a yard or so of some knit fabric. Knit doesn't fray, so you don't even have to sew it. Once he got bigger we'd leave his legs out of it and just do the arms, or he'd kick it off in the two seconds it took to start jiggling him by which ever method the current elected baby jiggler chose.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Good to know about the swing and the swaddle, last night I tried swaddling him with a regular swaddle, but by now he's so used to having his arms out (he likes to suck on his fists and fingers) that he just squirms them out again, so I decided to just leave his legs in there and he actually only woke up 3/4 times, which is a victory for him! I'm thinking of buying him a sleep sack iso a swaddle and hope that'll help. Thanks again for all the tips!
 

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Both mine were like this - they just couldn't get into a deep enough sleep from nursing to be able to stay asleep once put down. So I feel for you, because it's immensely frustrating. For what it's worth, here's what eventually worked for them both.

DS: A method called 'Pick Up/Put Down' (PU/PD for short), from Tracy 'Baby Whisperer' Hogg, described in detail in 'The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems'. In case you haven't encountered Tracy Hogg before, I should warn you that a) she has possibly the most irritatingly patronising style of any baby expert on the market, and b) she is one of those experts with the ability to make you feel like complete sh*t for whichever way you have previously been doing things. So, other than this one method of hers, I do *not* recommend her and I would advise just getting hold of a copy of that book for just long enough to read the section on PU/PD with gritted teeth and then abandoning the rest. But that one method I do find to be a good one as a gentle way of teaching a baby to go to sleep without lengthy nursing (which, for babies like yours and mine, actually seems to mean that they get into a better sleep and stay asleep better). If you want me to post details of how to do this for a 4-month-old, happy to do so.

DD: Accepting that she actually needed to be left alone for a few minutes to cry in order to switch off. Yes, I know it's against everything attachment parents get told... but what I have seen for myself with my daughter and heard of many, many times from other parents is that some babies actually do just need to cry a bit in order to get to sleep. All the things I did to try putting her to sleep gently backfired and kept her awake. She needed those few minutes of crying and letting off steam to be able to switch off. The best post I know about this phenomenon is at http://askmoxie.org/blog/2011/01/tension-decreasers.html.

With hindsight, I think the one other thing that wouldd have helped DD is having a regular routine. I strongly suspect that part of what was happening was that, in my anxiety not to put her in her cot before she needed sleep, I was actually going too far the other way and keeping her awake until she was overtired - which, paradoxically, tends to backfire in children and make it more difficult for them to fall asleep. Although obviously I'll never know now without a time machine, I do believe that if I'd put her down for naps/bedtime on a routine it would have meant that she dropped off more easily. Oh, well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for your reply:) I've read the post about tension decreaser/increaser before, but I think my lo might be a tension increaser, because whenever he starts crying he switches to hysterical overdrive veeeery quickly, and than it takes so much longer for him to fall asleep..
I've tried the pu/pd method when he was a little under 3 months old, and it didn't really work, but I only tried it for about a week, so it could be that I just have to stick with it a bit longer, could you post the pu/pd for a 4 month old? Maybe it'll work now that he's a little older.
Regarding the routine, I watch for his sleepy signs and try to put him down as soon as I see them (which never works out and thus results in him in the carrier for naps). He was actually overtired for a while and had an even harder time drifting off, so I became very strict with this. He usually starts yawning and eye rubbing after 1 hour of being awake.
 

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Yeah, sounds like he's a tension increaser; I'd agree avoid leaving to cry in that case!

Tracy Hogg didn't advise PU/PD under three months (she did something called the 4S instead; that woman liked her acronyms) so it might well work if you try it again now. I was going to write it out but found this post explaining it in detail: http://www.babywhispererforums.com/index.php?topic=208990.0.

I remember trying to look for tired signs, and it used to drive me up the wall; could never figure out when my son was tired or not. With my daughter I think I'd given up looking, so maybe she was giving me really clear signs and I was ignoring them. :) At 4 months it might be worth trying a routine.
 

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4 month sleep 'regression', Kellymom talks about the causes of this http://kellymom.com/parenting/nighttime/4mo-sleep/

I recommend that you look into another carrier or consider how you're wearing your current one. The babywearing forum here could advise you. 6.5kg is waaaaaay too tiny for you to be having trouble wearing him unless you have a bad back. For me, 11kg was the point that I couldn't get away with haphazard wearing if I wanted to wear for hours.

I couldn't put dd down, what I could do is leave after she slept. So I'd lay down with her to nurse her to sleep (and a book to read), then when she fell off the breast I'd just edge away and get up.
 

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@Good Enough Mom: thanks for the link, I'm gonna give it a try

@SecondtimeMama: I use a ssc called Bondolino (the slim-fit & summer edition) and already after half an hour my back starts to ache. The only time it doesn't hurt is when he's on my back.
 

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My baby took to swaddling and a pacifier. She went from waking up a lot and only being able to cosleep to going to bed at a regular time and sleep all night and every nap.

I found out I should start swaddling her at 5 months old. You have to make it fairly tight. They like it like that. It's great being able to do things when they're able to sleep by themselves.

My daughter is 15 months now and still sleeps swaddled. She's been getting an arm out now but is still able to sleep through the night. We're hoping on being able to switch to a sleep sack soon.

She gets really good rest and is a very happy girl
 

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It ain't over til its over....

My first baby was NOT a good sleeper and my others have all presented various challenges and generally had their own personal ways of responding to things - one-size-fits-all solutions are simply not applicable!

What I do know is that THIS WILL PASS - what ever they are doing now, they will not continue it indefinitely... you can invest a lot of time in 'fixing' a problem which will often go away when they reach their next developmental 'spurt' - which they seem to do constantly, and which inevitably brings its own new 'problem' with it!

That said, lack of sleep is a killer and i totally understand how a non-sleeping baby dominates all aspects of your life and functionality. So, here are a couple of ideas that worked for me / some of mine ....

My youngest napped best in a buggy, out doors. So, around the time a nap was expected, baby would be zipped into a sleepsack and taken out for a walk. Once asleep, she would be parked under the tree by our back door. If it was cold, extra woolen shawls, hats and blankets were used. In rain, a good, solid rain cover. Nap-time duration was thus doubled! (Bringing the buggy indoors, nap occurred but was much shorter)
This worked best once at the one-to-two big naps a day stage. Obviously, check baby regularly as you would if they were asleep in another room. This is good for those needing movement to sleep, especially when carrying them just gets too hard/sore (It's a sad reality that not all who would like to can baby-wear for long periods, especially as they get bigger)

If putting baby down in bed, removing the breast from the mouth and gently patting or rubbing the back can help. They still have the physical contact with you, just not orally. Again, patting can be quite vigorous if necessary

Routines are definitely helpful - by which a I mean a recognised series of events leading to sleep, not a clock-watching, time based regimen.

Speaking of clocks, one of the best things i worked out by baby #3 was to stop looking at them at night. I have no idea how often i was feeding; was simply resigned to the fact i would be woken during the night multiple times and would latch on and drift off! Result was i was much less worried/stressed about the sleep i wasn't getting and felt less tired as a result. Not knowing how often I was waking meant i couldn't worry about doing things 'wrong' either...

Best of luck out there. It's hard work being a nurturing parent 24/7 but it has so many rewards longer term. Having a child who trusts you and feels truly understood/connected makes the toddler stage so much easier!
 

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@SecondtimeMama: I use a ssc called Bondolino (the slim-fit & summer edition) and already after half an hour my back starts to ache. The only time it doesn't hurt is when he's on my back.
Where are you putting that waist strap? A lot (most even) people put it around their hip bones and then the hip bones aren't bearing any of the weight. Check that it's around your waist and that it's a bit on the tight side--like a firm hug.

To find your waist for this, put your hands on your hips, you want the strap to be where it'll push down ONTO your hips, not slide off them.

Fixing that one thing went from me being in agonizing pain after 20 minutes of wearing a 15 lb 6 month old, to being fine with an hour of 25 lb 2 year old.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My baby took to swaddling and a pacifier. She went from waking up a lot and only being able to cosleep to going to bed at a regular time and sleep all night and every nap.

I found out I should start swaddling her at 5 months old. You have to make it fairly tight. They like it like that. It's great being able to do things when they're able to sleep by themselves.

My daughter is 15 months now and still sleeps swaddled. She's been getting an arm out now but is still able to sleep through the night. We're hoping on being able to switch to a sleep sack soon.

She gets really good rest and is a very happy girl
Thanks for your reply! Unfortunately my son will not accept a pacifier, I've tried it many times, but he just spits it out as soon as I put it in. Also swaddling doesn't really work, as he squirms continuously when his arms are confined. I'm happy it worked for your baby though and hope she'll continue to sleep that well:)
 

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My first baby was NOT a good sleeper and my others have all presented various challenges and generally had their own personal ways of responding to things - one-size-fits-all solutions are simply not applicable!

What I do know is that THIS WILL PASS - what ever they are doing now, they will not continue it indefinitely... you can invest a lot of time in 'fixing' a problem which will often go away when they reach their next developmental 'spurt' - which they seem to do constantly, and which inevitably brings its own new 'problem' with it!

That said, lack of sleep is a killer and i totally understand how a non-sleeping baby dominates all aspects of your life and functionality. So, here are a couple of ideas that worked for me / some of mine ....

My youngest napped best in a buggy, out doors. So, around the time a nap was expected, baby would be zipped into a sleepsack and taken out for a walk. Once asleep, she would be parked under the tree by our back door. If it was cold, extra woolen shawls, hats and blankets were used. In rain, a good, solid rain cover. Nap-time duration was thus doubled! (Bringing the buggy indoors, nap occurred but was much shorter)
This worked best once at the one-to-two big naps a day stage. Obviously, check baby regularly as you would if they were asleep in another room. This is good for those needing movement to sleep, especially when carrying them just gets too hard/sore (It's a sad reality that not all who would like to can baby-wear for long periods, especially as they get bigger)

If putting baby down in bed, removing the breast from the mouth and gently patting or rubbing the back can help. They still have the physical contact with you, just not orally. Again, patting can be quite vigorous if necessary

Routines are definitely helpful - by which a I mean a recognised series of events leading to sleep, not a clock-watching, time based regimen.

Speaking of clocks, one of the best things i worked out by baby #3 was to stop looking at them at night. I have no idea how often i was feeding; was simply resigned to the fact i would be woken during the night multiple times and would latch on and drift off! Result was i was much less worried/stressed about the sleep i wasn't getting and felt less tired as a result. Not knowing how often I was waking meant i couldn't worry about doing things 'wrong' either...

Best of luck out there. It's hard work being a nurturing parent 24/7 but it has so many rewards longer term. Having a child who trusts you and feels truly understood/connected makes the toddler stage so much easier!
Thank you very much for your extensive reply! I too believe that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work, that's why I keep trying different things that might work for my baby. I know sleep is very important to their brain development and lately his naps have gotten shorter and shorter (only lasting 30 min even in the carrier or while nursing!), which worries me all the time, because it makes me afraid that he's not getting the sleep he needs and that I must be doing something wrong...I just hope that like you said he will start sleeping better when he reaches his next developmental spurt.

The buggy unfortunately doesn't work for him. I keep trying though for every morning nap, because I feel like this might be the best transition from sleeping in the carrier and it'll give my back a much-needed break. Up until now he ends up crying in it every single time, but hey, it's dogged that does it right?;)

I've also been trying nap-nursing, but he wakes up after exactly 30 minutes like that. However, since all his naps seem to be 30 minutes lately i guess that's not really an issue anymore:p

I've also been doing the Pantley pull-off lately at bedtime, but it's a bit on-off. Sometimes it works (in that he'll stay asleep for 2-3 hours by himself) and sometimes it doesn't. I'll try the vigorous patting and see if that's his cup of tea;)

Thanks for your words of encouragement and the thing about not looking at the click is like the best advice ever. I decided for myself not to do that anymore like 2 weeks ago and I do feel more rested in the morning!
 

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@SecondtimeMama: I use a ssc called Bondolino (the slim-fit & summer edition) and already after half an hour my back starts to ache. The only time it doesn't hurt is when he's on my back.
Where are you putting that waist strap? A lot (most even) people put it around their hip bones and then the hip bones aren't bearing any of the weight. Check that it's around your waist and that it's a bit on the tight side--like a firm hug.

To find your waist for this, put your hands on your hips, you want the strap to be where it'll push down ONTO your hips, not slide off them.

Fixing that one thing went from me being in agonizing pain after 20 minutes of wearing a 15 lb 6 month old, to being fine with an hour of 25 lb 2 year old.
Good that you mention this, I actually think this is the problem! Not that the waist strap is positioned too low, but I do think that my shoulders are still bearing most (if not all) of the weight. This is probably due to the style of the carrier(long shoulder straps that you cross at the back, than again at your front underneath the carrier and finally tie into a knot at the back). I think a ssc like Ergo might work better. I'm gonna look into it, thanks again:)
 

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You don't always have to give your baby attention when it cries. Sometimes he/she cries without a reason and you just have to let him/her cry. .

This advise is contrary to the principles supported/promoted by mothering.com and is also inaccurate. Babies always cry for a reason. We may not always be able to work out what the reason is but it doesn't mean they are crying for no reason.

There is also plenty of evidence to support the idea that babies do best when they are comforted and kept close to a loving adult when distressed. They may continue to cry but the effects of the stress will be lessened.


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You don't always have to give your baby attention when it cries. Sometimes he/she cries without a reason and you just have to let him/her cry. Also, don't give in too much when it comes to sleeping conditions. If your baby does not learn to sleep in a relatively noisy/hot/cold environment with sometimes the lights on, he/she will not learn to sleep this way and will have problems sleeping later on in life.
Speaking from experience, that's definitely not true. I've had two light sleepers (especially my first) as babies, and they both became excellent sleepers once they didn't need me anymore. And I didn't have to "teach" them anything, they simply outgrew the need to be in permanent contact with me.

Also, I wouldn't force anyone to sleep in uncomfortable conditions, why would I do that to a baby.
 
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