Post # 1
So I am exhausted, which I know is totally normal. And I don’t have a problem having to get up in the middle of the night to feed her. But why, oh why, does it take 2-3 hours to get her back to sleep?
During the day, she does sort of the same thing, 2-3 feedings in a couple hours of awake time and then sleeps for 3 hours before I wake her up again. I can’t figure out what she needs and how to get her back to sleep, especially at night.
Does anyone have any great words of advice or things that worked for them that we can try? My poor husband is probably tired of me crying about everything right know! (The tears seem to flow on their own, I have no control over them!)
Post # 3
You’re waking her up to feed her? I nursed all of my kids and never woke any of them up to feed them! They would wake up when they were hungry!
Post # 4
Ya I second BanditGirl. I nursed my daughter and she would wake up when she was hungry.
At night, do you feed her with the lights on?
Post # 5
I don’t usually wake her up at night, only during the day. But she tends to wake up after about 4 hours at night. I try to nurse her with the lights off.
Post # 6
Don’t wake her up during the day! She will wake up when she’s hungry. Let her get used to waking up on her own for feedings during the day and she’ll sleep better at night.
Post # 7
oh those first few weeks can be so hard! the hormones will get better soon most likely and that will help your crying. Your baby probably has day/night reversal. try to keep lights on during the day, and a dark quiet environment at night – this means no talking, or playing – just tend to her needs to be fed and changed and put her back down.
For us there were two things that were total game changers: 1. Watch the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD. It will show you a proper swaddled (LIFE changer!) and other techniques that literally will turn on your baby’s calming reflex – its like magic. we read the book but it was watching the DVD that helped. 2. We slept our baby in his car seat at our peditricians recommendation. Note there are some people who have concerns with this so check with your own doctor first.
SWADDLE SWADDLE SWADDLE!!! and some rocking and shushing – and time for your baby to adjust to this new world, will help!
Post # 8
I second (and third!) Janna’s advice! We let Addie sleep in her bouncy seat for the first few weeks because she slept better in there. And a nice, tight swaddle kept her much happier than even being in my arms. ; a lot of babies need a cozier/closer sleep environment. Also, newborns typically sleep A LOT (most of them can’t handle being awake for longer than an hour at a time), so make sure she’s not up for too long and then getting overtired because that will affect her sleep.
Finally, do you have a swing or bouncy seat? If you need a break (because 2-3 hours of rocking and shushing and walking around and bouncing on the exercise ball is REALLY tiring) try putting her in a seat or swing that moves or vibrates so you can get a little break. Some people worry about making this a habit, but I think at this point, it’s more important to get her to sleep than to worry about the hows; you can work on good sleep habits when she’s better rested.
I know it’s hard, but it’ll get better soon. Keep trying different things out until you find out what works for your baby! It just takes a little time to figure each other out. 🙂
Post # 9
Hey @dchokiebride3 – if I read your OP correctly baby is awake for a couple hours between naps during the day?
I had Warren on a bit of a cycle. Eat, Play, Sleep. When he was a newborn as soon as he’d wake up I’d change him and feed him. Then he’d have a little awake time before a nap. Once the nap was over we started the cycle over. The only difference at night was no play time. So we’d change/eat/sleep.
A lot of his naps in the early days were while being held – but we would also swaddle and lay him down.
The time between waking up and his next nap was pretty short. Between 60 and 90 minutes (maybe even shorter depending). I would recommend laying her down before she seems tired. Or at least trying to get her to go to sleep before she seems tired be that rocking, walking, bouncy seat, swing etc. Once she starts getting better naps she’ll fall more easily into a cycle – and go to sleep easier on her own. Crazy how the more they sleep the better they sleep and the less they sleep the tougher it is to go to sleep.
With Warren if he had a couple difficult (short) naps – I’d hold him for his next one cause I knew he’d sleep 2-3 hours on me and that would be just enough to ‘reset’ him 🙂
Just a random note – I’d make sure she’s getting full meals at each feeding. If she starts falling asleep gently keep her awake to keep eating. For me this was 15 or so minutes – all depends on your milk flow and how quick baby eats though)
I second the swaddling and not waking up for daytime naps! Unless of course your boobs are ready to explode. There were a couple nights I woke Warren up to nurse because I was in so much pain! Sometimes I’d just hand express in the sink to relieve the pressure too.
(FYI – this is just what worked for me 🙂 It is in line with the Babywise book which I think is a good read and lines up with my parenting philosophy. It may or may not line up with yours)
We still follow this cycle – is just over a longer length of time. Now he’s awake for about 2 hrs before his nap.
Post # 10
Thanks for the advice ladies. Our little one doesn’t seem to like being swaddled because she has very active legs and arms. She is definitely up for longer than 1 hour during the day and at least once at night, but it’s like she isn’t even tired. Is this something I should mention to the pediatrician? We have had her napping and sleeping in a laundry basket because it seems to work for us and she was very good at first but now it seems like all she wants to do is eat all the time and she is hardly sleeping at all.
Post # 11
@dchokiebride3: While you could be right, a sleep expert who led my new mom support group says that most of the time when we think this might be the case, it usually isn’t. The whole point of the tight swaddle is to help calm those very active legs and arms – because that is what keeps our newborns from falling asleep! Lots of moms go to her saying their newborns don’t like being swaddled – which is true – they don’t like the act of being swaddled, but once they are securely wrapped up it helps them immensely with sleep. My husband and I were in that group by the way – we thought “oh he fights us, he doesn’t like it, etc.”. Once we learned how to really swaddle correctly and tightly, we just dealt with our baby’s complaints and ended up with a baby who slept MUCH better. I really encourage you to try it – and watch that DVD if you need help, even after 4 days in the hospital with nurses helping us it was that DVD that made it all click for us!!
also, get your husband to help if he isn’t during those night hours – take care of yourself and get some sleep!! I promise it wil lget easier.
Post # 12
I’ve got two kids (one 8 and one 4) and we’re trying for another, so I’m a bit seasoned with babies, lol.
Here’s my bit of advice (gained from MY mom when I had my son at age 20): Keep the baby awake during the DAY!!!! The more baby is awake during the day, the longer baby will sleep at night. Also, do NOT wake baby up at night. Your wee one will think she’s supposed to wake up at night, which you really don’t want.
Also, learn to swaddle correctly and make sure she’s snug, but not too tight where circulation is cut off (yes, it is possible to do that).
Lavender baby lotion/soap/wash is GREAT for keeping them sleepy. It worked wonders with both mine.
One other thing is to wait until late (9 or 10) to give her the last feeding. the later she eats, the longer she’ll sleep. And try to coax her into drinking/eating a little more than she usually does (a half ounce to ounce is great). This will keep her from waking up so soon from hunger.
Hope this helps some!!!! and Good luck! 🙂
Post # 13
Sleep is one of those areas that are so much trial and error and you will get so many different viewpoints. So here’s what worked for us:
I second what Janna said about the swaddle. He arched and cried every time we put it on but slept so much better with it.
As far as waking him to feed, we were told by our pediatrician to wake him at least ever 4 hours until his weight gain was well established. When we stopped waking him during the day, and he ate less often, then he tried to make up for it at night by eating more. He’s 6 months old and I still make sure he eats at least ever 4 hours for this reason.
As far as bed time goes, start a ritual now whether its bathing then rocking or playing certain music. It won’t take long for him to realize that those mean its time sleep.
Experiment with putting him down at different times at night. We started out trying to put him down around 8 pm (because most books say this is a good bedtime schedule) and it was always a disaster. We kept experimenting and found that 9 pm worked best. He went down easiest and slept longest. Over the last few months we have gradually moved it earlier and earlier by following his cues.
I don’t have much to offer on naps bc K has always been a terrible napper except that all babies are different. K has always done well with short 30-40 min naps.
Good luck…those first weeks are so hard but it will get better.
Post # 14
I’m having a rough time with my 2 1/2 week old newborn too…I find it so hard to wake her up after she falls asleep feeding to have activity time before sleeping. But I’m desperate and I’m going to try it.
Ever since I started feeding her willy nilly (DH has stomach flu and things are in flux)… snacking here and there, she is getting increasingly more demanding (holding and feeding) as each day goes by. Where’s my little sweetie –sleep on her own during regularly scheduled hours—baby gone? For me, I gotta make sure to do those full feedings.
Post # 15
The biggest advice I give at the hospital with regards to having better sleep time, is to make sure they have good, full feedings, all the time. Starting the “snacking cycle” means they are awake more often with hunger, and it is harder to get them to eat well at night when they are allowed to snack during the day. Make sure that they are feeding for longer, stimulate them to feed longer by rubbing their feet, and tickling their chin when they slow down with their sucking.
Breast milk isn’t the same from start to finish, the fore milk (the first milk that comes out) has less fat, and is more “thirst-quenching” than hind milk (the last milk that comes out), that has more fat in it, and helps the baby to feel satisfied longer. If you have a lot of milk, you might have to have the baby nurse on one side per feed to make sure they get the hind milk.
Post # 16
I agree with the other posters who recommended swaddling and The Happiest Baby on the Block.
It really works. Even if the baby fights it at first, the calming reflex will kick in.
If you don’t want to buy the DVD, check out some videos on YouTube. I skimmed the book and watched a few videos online.
There’s loads of info online.