Post # 1
I am feeling so discouraged today and could really use some advice, encouragement, and the experiences of others to help me.
My son will be 5 weeks tomorrow and as my title implies, I have some concerns about his sleep habits. He tends to have a fussy personality. He cries when he is put down while awake, almost all the time. He always wants to be nursing, held, or in his stroller. This doesn’t bother me so much because I find him easy to console. It just means that I have to hold him a lot and nurse him so he falls asleep and he nurses frequently at times. Well, this didn’t bother me, but now that I have heard from many different people how bad this is, and what a terrible habit frequent/comfort nursing is, what a terrible habit nursing until he falls asleep is. How much I’ll regret this one day…you get the idea.
The most recent thing is that someone gave me Tracy Hogg’s book as a gift. The Baby Whisperer. I was reading it yesterday and just felt so defeated and discouraged. I know that is not what the book is intended to do, and I am just overly sensitive these days, but I felt like what she was saying was that everything I’ve done so far “accidental parenting”, for those of you who are familiar with her techniques and terminology, is incorrect and will cause bad habits later that will be hard to break.
Anyway, I paniced and decided I should start to get my son on a better schedule and start encouraging him to sleep without nursing. Last night and today have been horrible. He just wants me all the time! So I caved and went back to what I have been doing with him all along. But I’m paranoid that all I’m making are mistakes! He falls asleep on me, usually on the breast, but not always. Then, I transfer him to his bassinet while he’s asleep. Sometimes at night he’ss sleep 3 or 4 hours at a time, which I love! He will do that during the day too. So this is working for me in the moment. Although, some nights are still sleepless.
I guess the point of my ramble is, based on your own experiences, should I try now to get him on a eat, play, sleep type of routine while he’s still so small to make it easier later? Has anyone tried this and had success? Or hated it? Do I stop the frequent nursing to stop him from crying? Do I stop letting him fall asleep at the breast? Am I crazy to keep doing what I’m doing? I want to hear what regrets other moms have had, and what has worked for them. Please!
Post # 2
I think 5 weeks is way, way too young to do anything other than nurse on demand. I would not even try to put a baby on a schedule that early. I know it feels like a baby is attached to you all the time, but, it is normal at his age. It will get better. Also, if he is particularly fussy, you could try cutting out dairy. I did that and it really helped my son. I think it takes about a week for so to get the dairy out of your system and theirs. I don’t remember, exactly. My son is 11 now.
Anyway, get on the La Leche League site or call a lactation consultant. I think they will tell you to nurse a very young baby on demand. Also, 5 weeks might be about the time for a growth spurt. Anything you hit a time of increased frquency, the baby could be going throug a growth spurt and the frequent nursing will affect your supply. Frankly, I think those books that tell you to put a young baby on a schedule are garbage at best and can be dangerous. There was one that was popular when my son was little. I was horrified when I read it. Can’t remember the name. Becoming Babywise, maybe?
Hang in there.
Oh, and FWIW, I am a mom of two. My youngest is 6. Both are amazing sleepers. I never put either one on a schedule. My youngest slept through the night at 6 weeks. My oldest, it was more like 6 months. Every single baby is different and there is no one size fits all.
Post # 3
I don’t have an infant yet, but that sounds totally normal to me and matches what I remember of my siblings when they were that age. What you’re doing does actually have an official name, but beyond “feeding on demand” I can’t think what it is at the moment. Regardless, you certainly aren’t doing anything wrong. Check out this La Leche Leage info for some more specifics http://www.llli.org/nb/nbjulaug03p126.html For what it’s worth, I’m actually [i]planning[/i] to do what you’ve “accidentally” done…I don’t know if that helps, but at least if you’re crazy, you’re in good company!
Remember – he’s one month! All he wants is to be held and fed. That’s totally okay and normal. You also might look at babywearing and similar types of things to make him happy and give you your hands back.
My mom was told to keep me on a schedule and now she just rolls her eyes and says she wishes she hadn’t been so rigid about it because all it did was stress her out (I was apparently very fussy lol). Sounds like you love your son, you’re giving him what he needs, and he’s a thriving little baby. Everyone has opinions, and, at least where this is concerned, there is not one “right way” to do things. There are many.
Post # 4
Karie: Don’t worry! My son was not on any type of schedule at 5 weeks! We are just starting to do a bit of a schedule now, and he’s over 3 months old. Newborns need to nurse on demand- and they may nurse very frequently, especially in the evenings. It’s called cluster feeding and is totally normal. Check out this articles on Kelly mom- I’ve found this website to be a great resource and consult it a lot. It is evidence-based, so it is not just someone’s opinion! It sounds like you are doing a great job and your baby sounds a lot like mine at about 6 weeks old (they go through a fussy stage at about that time). Good luck and trust yourself- baby books can drive you crazy!
Cluster Feeding and Fussy Evenings
Post # 5
If it makes you feel any better, I have an 11 month old who won’t sleep anywhere except right beside me in bed at night, she also still nurses for comfort. It’s hard to hear about people who have babies who sleep perfectly and easily through the night. It sounds like you may have a high needs baby on your hands, like me. Google Dr. Sears high needs baby for more info on that topic. I wish I had been able to implement more of a schedule when she was younger, but DD just wasn’t having any of it! Just want you to know you’re not alone. I know how much it sucks to have people tell you that you’re “spoiling” your baby, etc.
Post # 6
Karie: He’s five weeks old. You do what you have to do to get him to sleep. It’s ok. Nursing to sleep is fine. When he hits about 6 months, you can start thinking about what they call sleep associations – if it’s even still an issue then. That’s the age I started thinking about putting my son down when he was still awake but sleepy, so he’d begin to figure out how to fall asleep himself.
You’re rocking this, lady!
Post # 7
Karie: I didn’t do a sleep schedule until around 4 months, I want to say, and we had no problem getting her on one. It took maybe two days to adjust, I think because she was ready for it. 5 weeks is too early for any kind of sleep training. Let him eat when he’s hungry and sleep when he’s tired. Don’t worry about habits right now. Every baby is different. Go with what works for you.
ETA: And you’re gonna be hitting the 6-week growth spurt soon if you haven’t already, so definitely don’t restrict his feedings.
Post # 8
Karie: 5 weeks is too young to be on a schedule. Your baby was in your womb ofr so long he is most comfortable snuggled up against you. My daughter didn’t want to go to sleep by herself and I nursed her to sleep most nights for the first three months and she slept in bed with us. She’s not ruined. She’s now 9 months old and sleeps 12 hours a night in her own room. At this point you just do what you need to do and don’t worry about what others are doing. There has to has to be some self preservation involved. If cuddles and nursing gets him to sleep so you can sleep, do just that.
Post # 9
Also, I know people who have had a lot of success with advice from http://www.troublesometots.com
Post # 10
For the first 3-4 months of our daughter’s life, we did not attempt any kind of schedule, and we let her sleep on us, nurse and fall asleep — all the things that, later in life, are indeed bad habits. But in those first few months, your baby is still SO young, he just needs all the contact and comfort he can get.
Have you read “The Happiest Baby on the Block” by Harvey Karp? It says that the first 3 months of a baby’s life (longer if s/he was born prematurely) are like a kind of “fourth trimester,” and that you shouldn’t think about setting a schedule or imposing any rules until the baby is out of this 4th trimester. The baby just needs you right now. Don’t listen to people trying to tell you to put a 5 week old on a schedule.
Post # 11
Karie: I followed EASY starting around 6 weeks but was suuuuuper flexible about it. For me it was just something to keep an eye on. Like clockwork he would be ready to sleep about 90 min from his last wake up. If it was 45 min or 2 hours, I didn’t worry. I just helped me kind of know what to expect.
At 5 weeks baby will want to nurse constantly. I remember feeling so stuck and like all I did was nurse. It’s totally normal. Let baby eat whenever he’s hungry and don’t worry about “spoiling” him. My son is almost 10 months and I nurse to sleep and don’t care! It’s my favorite part of the day with him. Good luck, mama.
Post # 12
Karie: Babies can’t be spoiled at this age. Honestly I don’t like reading those types of books where it demands you need to be on a schedule. My daughter is now 9 months old, over 9 months old, and she’s developmentally advanced and we’d never read one of those books on structure. When she was little, yes we would hold her until she fell asleep and then put her down for a nap. And if that mean we held her for 30 minutes, so be it. She actually slept with us (I know, I know, I’ll get flamed for co-sleeping) until she was 2.5 months old and then she moved into her pack n play until she was 7 months old and then moved to the crib.
She decided her schedule from the get go. She would sleep in chunks when she slept with us. And then as she got older, and when she moved into to the pack n play she slept through the night. She determined her schedule and we worked around it. I think those books are good for some people, but please don’t feel guilty that your child isn’t right on track to their book. According to some of those books my child should be speaking french by now.
Post # 13
My advice is to put down the books, stop being so hard on yourself and enjoy your baby. They are young for such a short period of time that my view is to just go with it. I made every “mistake” in the book, still do with my 13 month old and, you know what, he is happy, healthy and so loved. I have not read the book but actually take offence at Hogg’s view that any of my son’s beautiful personality is due to “accidental parenting”. I have loved him through the first year of his life – that was a choice not an accident.
Also, from a practical point of view, your baby needs to eat regularly to thrive. You are still settling your supply so go ahead and let your baby nurse and if they fall asleep fed, warm and comforted, I cannot see how that’s a bad thing.
Post # 14
Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to reply and cheer me up! I really appreciate it and I am so happy to hear that I am not the only one using this parenting approach and that those of you who have done the same do not have life long regrets. I am putting that book away for now and will continue to follow my instincts and deal with any issues, sleep or otherwise, as they come. I honestly have no idea why others care so much anyway. I’m the one who is nursing him and up at night with him, not them.
Post # 15
Most people agree that you can’t spoil a baby that young and you can’t create bad habits that young either. Do whatever it takes to get them to sleep. Yes, eventually you want to start putting them down awake…but if he’s not having it save yourself some sanity and do whatever it takes to get him to sleep at this point. Just try putting him down awake again next week, or the 2 weeks later (or whenever). Eventually he’ll have matured enough to be able to fall asleep awake. 5 weeks is still very young. I don’t think I started trying to put her down awake until 7 or 8 weeks.
I never really put my baby on a schedule. There’s no point in trying to put a really young baby on a schedule IMO. I’d go off their lead, but just make sure that baby gets enough naps and sleep in (so look up the average hours a baby that age should be awake and then make sure to put baby down for a nap every so often). So let’s say that 1 month old should only be awake 1.5 hours at a time, then you should aim to get him to nap every 1.5 hours from when he wakes. The troublesome tots website is a great reference!
Around 8 weeks my baby had put herself on a feeding schedule (meaning I wrote down when she was nursing and discovered she did it at the same time every day).
Mine did not have a regular naptime until about 5-6 months. At one month old, mine slept whenever she wanted and at 4months she was a big catnapper. It wasn’t until 5-6 months she consolidated into 2 longer naps every day (and sometimes a catnap in the early evening).
3-4 hours of sleep at night before waking is perfectly normal IMO. At 6 weeks mine started sleeping a 6 hour stretch at the beginning of the night (she went to bed around 9pm-9:30pm) but even with that I think I got lucky. Around 7 or 8 weeks is when I began trying to put her down awake. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t and I’d put her to sleep another way (nursing).
I’m more of a fan of letting the baby figure out the schedule. I believe most will put themselves into a sort of schedule themselves eventually. Mine at a regular bedtime and wakeup by 8 weeks (which eventually moved ealier) but the napping was the last thing to get somewhat organized.
You’re doing fine.