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Please help me with my 13 week old sleep

SpeedyAceSpeedyAce Regular
edited Jan 7, 2020 9:17PM in Sleep
Please bare with my long post.
My son is 13 weeks old and has always been an alert baby who has difficulty sleeping since he was born. He's always fought sleep. 
Anyways I thought it would get better by now. I breastfeed and he tends to eat every two hours during the day (I just follow his cues) and I try to put him down to nap every two hours. 
My problem is his sleep is getting worse every week. I keep putting it down to 'growth spurts' and it will get better but it doesn't. 
Nighttime I got into a routine of going upstairs at 9pm, changed, fed and he went down before 10pm and woke twice in the night and waking at 6am. But then he started to wake much more.
Last few weeks he was getting really tired around 7/8pm and getting ratty so I tried to move his bedtime earlier.. it just meant he woke up more often and it took ages to get him to sleep and sleeping shorter stretches at a time. He had a few nights of waking up every hour and not going back to sleep until he's fed. 
It's taken me an hour of swaying, patting, shushing, 5 attempts at putting him down when drowsy and then him screaming so starting all over again tonight. He generally does a 3 hour stretch, then a 2-2.5 HR then maybe another 1.5-2hr stretch before he wants to get up for the day. 
Daytime naps I try to put him down at the sight of the first yawn (usually around 1.5hrs awake time) he just gets frustrated and takes me 45 mins to get him to sleep, ive tried waiting 15 minutes after the first sign and half hour.... I just can't catch a break

Long story short he's only sleeping 6/7/8 hours at night with 4+ feeds and 3-4 30 min naps during the day. I know he's overtired but he won't sleep! I'm at the end of my tether. Please help!
Ps he weighs about 15lb.


  • hi there, you poor thing, you must be so exhausted. 
    As an outsider looking in and going by everything you have said in your post, I would look to changing up your routine quite a bit - i'm only going by experience i've had with my two daughters, the second who was a horrendous sleeper with colic too - she was so bad, i got a sleep trainer when she was 6months old as i was at the end of my tether. Sometimes you just need someone outside the situation to take a look at your routine, to try and point out some changes. 

    For instance, going up at 9pm for bedtime seems really late to me - i always started the bedtime routine about 6pm - go up, do a nice warm bath, turn the lights low, maybe a baby massage with some lotion, feed and then swaddle to sleep. Not suggesting you try controlled crying AT ALL as your son is way too young, but it's really worth trying to swaddle him, and pop him in his cot/basket and try and let him self settle. 

    I know you said you have tried the earlier bedtime, but the aim here is to get him asleep by 7pm, maybe dream feed about 11 (so pick him and pop him on your breast if he's not already awake) and then try and put him back down again with the aim of morning wake up, 6am onwards. Swaying, rocking, patting to sleep is such a tricky thing to get out, and it doesn't actually seem to be working for you, so i would just try and stop, pop him swaddled in his cot, and just be nearby, telling him quietly you're there, with a soothing stroke. 

    With the naps, i think it all depends on how the sleep was the night before - but again, you need him to get used to swaddle, lights off (can you get the room in blackout darkness?) means sleeptime.

    I know it's pretty old school but i followed the Gina Ford routine which helped me structure feeds and sleep times with my girls. 
    Also worth knowing, babies don't really 'learn' the difference between day and night until about now, and also at 14-16 weeks, there's meant to be a whole sleep regression thing, which makes me worry things might get worse before they better. 

    Ok, sorry for the long post, but in short, firstly try shifting sleep time much earlier. Give up swaying and rocking - have you thought about a dummy?. Carry on feeding as you have been as he's a growing baby. And only go to him when he wakes at night, when he is properly awake and not just stirring. 
    Here to chat/help if i can, maybe try something new tonight and let me know how it goes? x
  • @SpeedyAce it sounds like you’re having such a tough time. I feel for you. My little boy was horrendous at sleeping- he’s 7 now but our morning regularly started at quarter to 4. It was awful. Some things I learnt from this that I’ve done differently is to persevere a bit more. 

    Does he use a dummy?

    have you tried white noise? There’s some on You tube. It won’t be immediate but over a few day’s and nights it might help. 

    My little girl likes her Moses basket over her crib because she is more cosy and feels more cocooned therefore swaddling him is probably a good idea.

    could you try to keep him awake a little more in the day? I know he’s only little but he might start to sleep less in the day and more at night. 

    Is he definitely not hungry? I’ve stopped breastfeeding so someone better would be able to give you more advice but if he’s not settling, could he be hungry? Would top ups be an option so that he is fuller and more likely to sleep more?

    I always hear it’s good to keep it dark at night too with no interaction so that he isn’t stimulated.

    i hope this helps but if not at least I’m here to
  • Thank you so much for your input ladies.
    I have a white noise machine which I put on for naps and bedtime and have done since he was born. He also hads a dummy which does help get him into that 'drowzy' state and often spits it out before falling asleep, but does sometimes keep it in. 
    He absolutely hates being swaddled and I have up on that many weeks ago.. He used to scream until he could free his arms even when he was tiny.. he has a sleeping bag now and seems to like it. 
    Lately if he's not hungry I can't 'top him up' at he just fusses and cries at the breast and won't latch .
    I had kept to 9pm as that's the time we have been doing all along.. I thought he needed an earlier bedtime as tends to have a 'nap' around 6/7pm.. but he just wakes more often and is harder to settle the earlier he goes.
    Last night he slept 5.1/2 hrs then 3 1/4 hrs after a feed.. he does this every so often so I know he can do it!!
    I'm still having problems getting him down for naps, a couple of times he's self settled to sleep from being awake but usually I have to pick him up and calm him and put him back 5 or 6 times. For naps and nighttime I do same thing... Very dark room, sleep sack, white noise, dummy .. I don't want to let him cry mainly because his room (where he's currently having his daytime naps) shares a wall with my neighbor who is a retired man and doesn't get up early so I don't want him making too much noise. 
    He's also in the last week going longer between feeds generally and feeding for less time but if I try to get him to have more either via breast or bottle of expressed he just cries and ruby take it so I think he's just now efficient at nursing now. 
    If he would just settle without a 45 minute fight every naptime and night time I would be happy... Oh and I'd love for him to be able to nap for longer than 30 mins in the day at he wakes up grumpy and is quite obviously still tried!!
    I appreciate you reading these long posts and I will take any advice given!!
    I will try an earlier bedtime tomorrow and I'll try harder to leave him to self settle 🤔

  • All I can say to try and make you feel a bit better is that when you go through a bad spell like this you can sometimes find that suddenly it all changes so quickly. So in a week or two‘s time you may find that he is sleeping so much better. I know when you are struggling a week or two seems such a long time but like I say these bad spots can change so suddenly so please keep positive . Unfortunately, I think it is probably the breastfeeding that is making him not such a good sleeper. I don’t really have any great advice for you as my 2 and a half year-old still breastfeeds and he is a dreadful sleeper. When he was little he was awake all the time not through hunger but just because they love the comfort and warmth from the breast. I persevered with it because it is so good for them and it’s also so lovely to think that you are able to give them such comfort. However I do agree it is thoroughly exhausting! You will get there and I bet in a few weeks you will wonder what on earth you were worrying about as I bet things will have totally turned around for you. Good luck and like they say just try and sleep when he 
  • Aw sounds like you are having a rotten time of it. My son was a terrible sleeper both during the day and nighttime until we figured out the wake windows. 

    If he doesn't have a good nighttime sleep he won't nap well which means he won't have a good night sleep and the cycle continues. 
    We just did exactly the same thing for naps and nighttime so he got used to the routine and now he usually drops off after 5 mins of rolling around in the cot. 

    The routine we worked to when lo was around 14 weeks was put into cot around 915, sleeping until 1000. Then up to cot around 1230, sleeping until 230, (or 2 hours after he actual went to sleep) then 415 for a quick 20 min nap. Bath time routine started at 6pm and he is usually sleeping by 7pm at the time. Once he settled into that routine he started sleeping for longer spells at night and now finally seems able to sleep through the night, some days he wakes at 8am! 

    Nap routine is into cot and sleeping bag, curtains and blinds shut, he gets his fluffy (comforter) and I switch Ewan the sheep on. 

    Once you find a routine that works, stick with it!!! 
  • I used the huckleberry sleep app. It’s a really good one to track their sleep and it predicts their next nap times which I found pretty accurate!! 
    Also, have you tried safe cosleeping? I was totally against it but ended up falling asleep during the night feeds whilst sat upright in a chair which was more dangerous. So I made the bed a safe place to feed whilst sleeping. Remove the duvet, pillow, wear a onesie yourself to stay warm and push the bed against the wall so baby can’t roll off the bed. Then breastfeed laying down. 
  • Well last night was the worst night of all. We went to bed early, I was absolutely knackered. We went upstairs at 7:30pm, feed, into sleep sack, white noise on, dark room. After feeding and burping he was good and drowsy (almost asleep) and I put him down. 5 mins later he woke up crying, I picked him up, comforted him and put him back down. 10 mins later the same and again until 9pm when he wanted a feed again so fed him and he finally went to sleep at 930pm. By then I was so overtired and stressed I couldn't sleep. He was stirring constantly and winging crying between feeds and settled once or twice with the dummy. 
    We were up at 12:15, 4am, 630am all with the unsettledness in-between those times.
    He's sleeping on me now as a last resort. I've had next to no sleep again tonight and I don't know how much longer I can function as a human being with no sleep 😓
    He's never been good with sleep but the last week or two have taken it out of me, crying everytime I put him down to sleep/nap. 

    Do you think he could be teething? That's they only thing now I can think of. He dribbles alot,  has flushed cheeks at times, is constantly chewing on his hands or his bib and is really irritable and crying more
    @Mumforthefun thankyou I'll check out that app. I dont wish to co sleep ☺️
    @Jdoo I do what you say but no luck. Wake Windows are difficult as I said I've tried putting him down at first sight of yawn/rubbing eyes etc (usually 1.5hrs awake time). Tried earlier, later all takes a long time to settle him. 
    Yesterday I tried for an hour to get him to nap, his little eye lids were red, yawning all over the place and rubbing his eyes. After an hour he wouldn't sleep no matter what we tried. 😫

  • Poor you @SpeedyAce it's awful when they are like that. 
    Ok try the huckleberry app, you input age etc and then when they wake up and the app tells you the sweet time to put them down again. If he is over tired then that could be what you are seeing, our lo would scream for an hour at bedtime until we figured that out. 

    Ok the only other thing we did which worked was to let our lo sleep on his tummy. He would go out like a light. I was up every hour checking on him though until he could roll himself. I know it goes against all the advice and isn't for everyone though. 
  • I'm following this post as I have a 5 week old who won't sleep in his crib. I lose track as to how many times he wakes at night . . .  Looking for tips myself. My son is still so young, that it doesn't really bother me too much. All he wants in comfort, which is what I'm here for. But at the same time, if there's a gentle way to get him to settle in his crib, I'd like to try it.

    I've just downloaded the huckleberry app, as recommended above. Will let you know how that goes. App says that it's really for babies 2 months plus. But will start using it now, might help in the long run.

    I try to get him to sleep in his crib at the start of the night which might result in him sleeping in there for any where between 10 mins to 2 hours. I normally don't have the energy persist with trying to get him back in the crib after that. 

    l end up letting him sleep in bed with me. Lets us both get some sleep. I dont beat myself up over it. 

    However I would like him to sleep in his own crib, because I think he would sleep longer. I definitely wake him up when he is bed with me. And also so my husband and I can share a bed again 😂

    I'm breastfeeding too. 

  • It's hard isn't it? I have contemplated many times giving up breastfeeding just so I can potentially have more rest and I can give him to family without worrying about pumping like mad for days before 🙈
    Still in the same boat. Went down to sleep 8pm after a feed and a couple of pick ups due to crying, slept for 45 mins woke up crying, and woke 4 times after that every couple of hours crying 😫
    I'm really trying to persevere with naps and bedtime at the same time ish but it's so exhausting him resisting sleep constantly! 
  • Oh, I have the same thoughts about giving up breastfeeding. I convince  myself that he'd  sleep perfectly on formula. I just get those thoughts at like 3 am . . . . 

    I've tried to use that huckleberry app twice, but I forget to use it when he wakes up a million times at night.

    I think my son falls asleep before he's full. Going to try and get him to eat more. . . . .

  • Last night we woke 6 times 😫 , not just stirring awake... Crying. I don't like this new habit. He used to just grumble and I would feed him. Now he wakes with a loud cry!
    I wanted to get him checked over by the GP but just talked to him over the phone as couldn't get a face to face apt and he said sounds like colic .. great thanks no hope then for a settled baby that sleeps any time soon?
    I dread bedtime now. 

  • Oh, poor baby and poor you. Being optimistic, maybe last night was a once off, and he won't wake crying tonight. 

    Are you able to go to any baby groups? I'm going to try and go to one this coming Thursday. You might be able to get some tips from other parents going through the same thing. 

    I have an exercise ball that I sit on with Casey and bounce on it, and that usually calms him down, when all else fails. I don't know anything about colic, so not sure what/if anything will help when they are very upset. 

    Fingers crossed he doesn't get upset tonight and that you get some sleep X 

  • @SpeedyAce how has your son slept the last couple of nights?
  • Last night he was overtired I think. He cried for 20 minutes but then settled went to sleep at 8.25pm, woke 13 minutes later screaming. Fed again (as fell asleep during feed and couldn't wake him up enough to finish) went back to sleep for 45 minutes. Woke crying, settled back to sleep then slept 3 hours 15min. Fed, slept 2hr 15, fed 2hr later woke. Fed again (wouldn't settle back without a feed) and at this point (6.40am) I would usually get up as I try to start the day at the same time but he fell back asleep and I was tired so he slept again for another hour 15 minutes. 
    Counting the wins though twice I put him down in his crib for naps today and he's settled himself to sleep no trouble and stayed asleep for the first nap 1hr the next one 45 min!! That's unheard of for him. May be just a fluke but as you say..try to be optimistic and see the good ☺️
  • Oh, that's great that you got him to settle in his crib. That's a definite win. I haven't been great with trying the last few days. Your good news make me want to try tonight.

    I think his sleeping at night sounds pretty good too. I must try and keep track to Casey's sleep. I feel like Casey wakes up way more than that, but maubrhe doesn't. I just forget to keep track at night time.

    Do you find it nearly impossible to wake your son  when he falls alseep feeding? I find it tough waking Casey. I definitely do wonder if he eats enough in one sitting.

    I have his 6 week check up tomorrow. Very curious to see his weight gain.
  • Yes, more often in the evening/night he will fall asleep feeding and even me burping him doesn't wake him up, I tickle him, stroke his cheek etc and he won't wake. But if I put him down he usually wakes after 5-15 min still hungry so I just feed him again. 
    At 6 weeks my son would have never slept in his crib, he was still sleeping during the day in my arms and waking hourly at night to feed/settle. It's only really when he turned 3 months I really started to be persistent with naps in the crib but he still occasionally sleeps in my arms if he won't settle (currently happening).
    I just need to keep reminding myself that he is still very young.. and he will get there eventually 
  • Just an update. Night before last he was up every 45 minutes-1 hr crying and only feeding him calmed him down. 
    Last night was completely different, he woke 1hr after going down and settled quickly just with a hand on the chest then slept a further 3.5hours!! Woke for a feed them slept another 4 hours, took him about 15 minutes to settle after that feed, again hand on chest and then slept another hour and a half until 730am!! 
    It's only one night so I'm not expecting great things but thank goodness for one good night I was close to loosing my mind!!
    I have given him a top up of 3oz of formula (finally found one he likes!) Before bed and stretching his feeds out during the day so he's not snacking. 
    I also in desperation bought one of those love to dream swaddle bags (transitional one). He's always hated being swaddled and went into a sleeping bag pretty quickly but watching him fall asleep last few days he keeps startling himself awake with his arms so I thought I'd try that (even though I know he's closer to that reflex going). Shall see how that works tonight 🤞
  • SpeedyAce said:
    Just an update. Night before last he was up every 45 minutes-1 hr crying and only feeding him calmed him down. 
    Last night was completely different, he woke 1hr after going down and settled quickly just with a hand on the chest then slept a further 3.5hours!! Woke for a feed them slept another 4 hours, took him about 15 minutes to settle after that feed, again hand on chest and then slept another hour and a half until 730am!! 
    It's only one night so I'm not expecting great things but thank goodness for one good night I was close to loosing my mind!!
    I have given him a top up of 3oz of formula (finally found one he likes!) Before bed and stretching his feeds out during the day so he's not snacking. 
    I also in desperation bought one of those love to dream swaddle bags (transitional one). He's always hated being swaddled and went into a sleeping bag pretty quickly but watching him fall asleep last few days he keeps startling himself awake with his arms so I thought I'd try that (even though I know he's closer to that reflex going). Shall see how that works tonight 🤞
    Good luck for tonight! I was wondering, since your first post, what changes have made in his night time routine? If you see them written down, it might help to whittle things down a bit. 
  • At 8pm he has his bedtime feed (breastfeed) and then offer a top of of formula max 3oz. only done this last couple of nights as he hasn't been feeding for long during the day and won't take any more from me.. take him upstairs and do a baby massage, into PJ's and sleep sack, cuddle and hum a nursery rhyme, put down in basket awake and leave to settle ( his basket is still next to my bed and I go to sleep when he does). If he begins to moan I place a hand on his chest and shhh. I try not to pick him up again unless he is escalating and is crying.  Seems to have worked last night.
    Changes I made were not feeding him straight before bed (to stop him associating feeding with sleep so he can learn to self settle), doing baby massage and offering a top up at bedtime feed. 

    Health visitor advised me all of this. Also he was still feeding quite frequently during the day. Every 1-2 hours but only having 5 mins total so she suggested trying to stretch them out and occupy him as much as I can and hopefully he will take more at each feed and be more satisfied. Yesterday I did 2hr 15 min today it's 2hr 30 min and I want to get it to 3 hours between feeds as I feel that's appropriate for his age. Also it'll help him go longer without needing a feed at night. 
     I hope he has a good night tonight. He's such a different baby when he's had sleep. He's been such a nightmare lately so moany and grizzly all day and then not sleeping 😒

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