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Sleeping problem

  1. #1
    Hagrid is offline Registered User
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    Sleeping problem

    Hi all,

    My 3 weeks old son usually sleeps right after I breastfeed him and wake up when he needs to be fed again. But since few days ago, he is still wide awake after I feed him. I will play with him for a while or let him look at the mobile etc. He'll be content for max. 1 hour and will start to cry. I believe he's tired and really want to sleep.

    I tried putting him on the crib and soothed him while he cried on top of his lung. I tried soothing lullaby CD or darkening the room and sometimes even picking him up won't quiet him. Should I just be consistent in one method and stick to it for a week to see if it works? Everytime I had to give in because it's about 2 hours since his last feed and he will sleep fitfully after the milk.

    This is my first baby and I'm really lost at what I can do. Any experience you could share would be appreciated...

  2. #2
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    I'm no expert, but I think that it is pretty normal for them to "wake up" - ie become more alert after feeding, at around 3 weeks. You might also just be experiencing a couple of unsettled days whilst your son has his 3 week growth spurt.

    It sounds like you're doing all the right things. I absolutely agree that you have to choose one method of settling that you are happy with and stick to it. I was also told to use the settling method to calm the baby, but always put them in the cot awake or drowsy. That way they learn to settle themselves without your endless assistance (particularly important during the night).

    If you have been feeding to sleep, this is all your baby knows and might have to learn another method to settle himself down to sleep.

    At 3 weeks, your baby is probably only happy to be awake for 1-1.5 hours, including feeding time. Once overtired, they are even harder to get to sleep.

    Do you wrap or use a dummy? Wrapping is said to stop them throwing their arms around and is similar to being squashed in your womb.

    I found the dummy a godsend and it didn't interfere with breastfeeding at all. I couldn't do without it. I just let my daughter have it to get to sleep, as it just seemed to calm her. I would take it out once she was asleep, as I didn't want her to become addicted to it all night.

    You could try teaching your baby a routine - eg. feed, then play, then sleep,so he knows what to expect next. Breastfed babies might need the occassional, feed, play, feed, sleep, because they seem to get hungry so often (must be all that quickly digested breast milk). Of course at night the routine is just feed sleep.

    Other settling methods might include:
    * patting in the cot until calm then gradually stepping away, only come back if they get upset
    * put him down, tell him to go to sleep, walk away. If he gets upset, pick him up calm him, put him down again. This might take a lot of work in the beginning, but as the days and weeks go by, it should take less work. (I saw this method on the Baby Whisperer on ATV World last Monday night, might be worth watching).
    * in conjunction with one of the above methods, use sleep cues - ie a pre-sleep routine that tells your baby it is sleep time now. For us it was wrapping, dummy, cuddles and the same phrase repeated over and over again. Something like "it is time for sleep precious, good night".

    This website also has some good tips on settling strategies:

    http://www.swsahs.nsw.gov.au/karitane/docs/survival.asp

    I was told to try settling for up to half an hour for a newborn. If that didn't work, give up and go for a walk, give a massage or a bath and start again when you see the tired signs.

    Good luck and let us know how you progress.

  3. #3
    barbwong_130 is offline Registered User
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    At around three weeks most babies have a growth spurt. This means that they will ask for a lot more feeding. It is quite normal for a baby to ask for the next feed much earlier if they are awake between feeds than if asleep.

    A baby from newborn to around 3 months of age will usually have between 8 and 14 feeds in 24 hours. Please note that this is phased as “between 8 and 14 feeds in 24 hours” and not “ every two hours”. This is because babies are not regular. There will be parts of he day when they ask for a feed every two hours, parts of the day when they go longer (you hope this is at night) and other parts when they will ask for milk as often as every 20 to 30 minutes.

    Remember also that babies have a huge need to suck. Non-nutritive sucking is very beneficial in terms of their development. This sucking optionally is done at the breast but it can also be done on a dummy/pacifier or a finger.

    Although some babies have no problems with dummies I think it is important to be aware of the possible complications they can bring. Dummies are artificial and may confuse baby, leading to ineffective sucking at the breast. Dummies decrease the amount of time the baby spends at the breast, and this may affect the mother’s milk supply.

    Best wishes,
    Barb

  4. #4
    Hagrid is offline Registered User
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    Thanks jane01 and barbwong_01 for your advice. I read that growth spurt only lasts about 1-2 days but he's been crying before his next feed is due for the past week, so I guess that's not the reason...

    He always shows the rooting reflex but as Jane said, I'm worry he's just using me to settle himself to sleep. I tried swaddle but he seems so upset that he couldn't move his arms and struggles to get them out.

    I also tried giving him a dummy but he doesn't know what to do with it and keep pushing it out. He does settle if I hold it in his mouth. Yesterday, for about 10 min, I kept putting the dummy back in his mouth whenever he droped it. Though his eyes were close, he cried once the dummy is out and I gave up at the end :(

    Actually I've read the Baby whisperer book and I think the idea makes a lot of sense. Just not sure about the pick up/put down method. Too bad I missed her last programme on ATV. Also, I think my baby is too young to keep to a eat-play-sleep routine as he's very sleepy most of the time after the feed. I'll try the feed-play-feed-sleep routine in the time being.

    I guess my problem is that I'm not sure of myself and which method works for my baby. So after failing to see the result for a few trials and I change to another way. Can I have a midwife or doula to stay with us for a day or two and tell me what to do? Any recommedation?

  5. #5
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
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    Hagrid,

    Annerley Midwives is starting a sleep school for babies.

    More info here:

    www.amidwife.com
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  6. #6
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    Hagrid

    It sounds like you are doing a really good job. I was very unsure of myself to begin with and had a baby who was very difficult to get to sleep, so sounds like you. I travelled back to Australia to sleep school twice. They were really helpful (and before anyone jumps on me - they DID NOT use controlled crying or anything like it for a newborn). They gave me some pointers but overall, I didn't learn much I didn't already know. However, they really gave me the confidence to persist with the settling techniques. My daughter took a long time to learn to settle and even longer to self settle. My dr told me I was at risk of PND, but with hindsight I think it was just sleep deprivation. However, at 7 months she started sleeping through the night reliably and we haven't looked back. She now (at 16 months) sleeps 11-12 hours at night and 2-3 hours during the day. So what I'm trying to say is that it might not feel like it, but it will get better.

    I highly recommend Annerley Midwives (I think Hulda is wonderful) and just wish they'd had a sleep school a year ago for me. I have also heard good things about Yvonne Heavyside.

    At three weeks, some bubs still haven't learned to keep the dummy in their mouth. Try staying out of sight of bub and holding the dummy for him (eg by standing at one end of the cot, or no eye contact etc). He is probably really interested in looking at you and not so interested in going to sleep, no matter how tired he is. You might need to try longer than 10 mins. I used to try for up to half an hour (even longer if my daughter was calm). You might need to just outlast him. The dummy is just a soothing technique, once he is calm, or getting sleepy, you can remove it or let him spit it out. Just put it back in again if he gets upset.

    If it doesn't work or you need a break, give up and try again later. Go for a walk with the pram or try a sling (I love the Baby Bjorns, so much easier on your back than a one shoulder sling).

    Remember your baby is only soooo young. It will take him a while to learn what he is supposed to do (and a while for you to learn to pick up on his cues). Just be consistent so he can learn. What didn't work today, might work tomorrow, or the next day, or in a couple of weeks or months time. But he will learn.

    Sorry for the long replies. Your note reminded me so much of myself when my daughter was young. I really feel for you. I'm sure you must be exhausted. Good luck.

  7. #7
    saralee is offline Registered User
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    Hi Hagrid,

    I can totally sympathise with your situation and can tell you that most mum's I know have gone through this same confusion particularly as all babies are so individual and one thing that works for one won't work for another. Here's my experience if it helps at all....

    I have found that most of the mum's in my mother's group have found the Baby Whisperer style quite effective and that a Feed-Play-Sleep-Wake routine really works. Sometimes the play sector can be very short particularly with new babies as they get tired and overstimulated very easily.

    Also I agree with the theory of maintaining the same environment for your baby when you put them to sleep so that when they wake up they are not easily disturbed seems to be very crucial. If you feed them to sleep they will be expect you to be there when they wake up, if you rock them to sleep etc. Therefore, settling techniques seem to be really key to calming the baby down and then leaving them to go to sleep on their own.

    You should find a routine/practice that seems logical to you and go with that. Consistency definitely works for my baby.

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