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What to do with a 6 week old. Getting 6 hours of broken sleep a day. I'm desperate.


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#1 la_jeune_mariée

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 02:25 AM

Leo is a nightmare sleeper. He doesn't cry much so no reflux etc but just stubbornly does not sleep and it's getting worse, not better. He won't even sleep if he's being cuddled anymore (although that's hardly sustainable anyway). He's wrapped. Hes unwrapped. I pat. We use white noise. We don't put him down until he's faaaaast asleep, if we put him down at all. We use a dummy. We get him down a hundred different ways (the pram, the car, rocking him in his cot, bouncing him to loud 80's stadium rock, we soothe very gently. He's been in his cot, his bouncer, our bed)

He's down to 6 hours per 24 hour period and won't sleep for longer than an hour at a stretch. Its not unusual for him to be awake until 5 or 6am. He has big red eyes and bags down his cheeks. I'm borderline psychotic and I can't stand the sight of my husband, a man I'm pretty sure I adored 6 weeks ago.

I'm desperate. It has to be stunting his development and I can't live like this.

Willing to try cc, CIO, whatever. Willing to try anything. He's 6 weeks old though so those regimes aren't recommended by my baby books and I don't know where to start. It's not how I wanted to parent but his health and all our well being is being compromised.

What did you do? Did it work?
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#2 babybonus

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 04:15 AM

Oh dear. With Elias, he was swaddled and I used to cuddle until he's settled, put him down awake, repeat if he cries, until we graduated to no cuddles just rock the bassinet to just circular tummy rubs, to gentle shooshing until he learned to put himself to sleep. I had to go through the whole cycle again when he weaned from the swaddle. It would take up to 2 hours at the start but got less and less. Occasionally, I'd feed him to sleep when I'm desperate. Maybe you need to stick to one or two techniques until he's learned his sleep cue?

When he's lying down awake, how long do you leave him on his own for?

I think it's time to bring in the professionals. Have you spoken to your MCHN? Get a referral for Tresilian or Karitane

Hugs Stacey. I can't imagine the torture you're all going through.
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#3 Tigridia

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 05:42 AM

Oh no that sounds hideous sad.gif I don't think I can suggest anything that you haven't already tried. I agree that maybe pick one or two things. Maybe wrap, in his cot and pat til he sleeps or feed to sleep and stick with it for 2 days and see what happens.

I would definitely call your health nurse and/or GP and get a priority referral to sleep school. I'm sure you'd get in pretty quick if he not sleeping more than 6 hours. They might be able assess the problem and have some better ideas and be there to support you. It's obviously not a sustainable situation for any of you sad.gif

My only other thought was that it could be silent reflux? I don't know much about that but maybe someone else here can help with that one.
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#4 Mel B

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 06:27 AM

God that sounds awful. Definitely get the professionals in. If the wait is too long for sleep school you could try one of the professional "baby whisperers". Or a night nanny?

Let us know how you go.
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#5 la_jeune_mariée

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 06:53 AM

I hadn't thought of the MCHN's. I'll call them today. I took him to the GP yesterday and it was the straw that broke the camels back. She cooed at him (he's a pretty chilled baby) and said "well he's clearly not distressed. If hes not distressed I'd leave him. Come back in 6 weeks if things aren't better and we can do something then". blink.gif

I'll look into a night nanny too. For some reason I thought they were just a kiwi thing. At least if we can just get a couple of nights rest we might be in a better place to asses what is going on. We have no support.
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#6 Kerala

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 07:05 AM

QUOTE(Tigridia @ Jan 5 2012, 05:42 AM) View Post

Oh no that sounds hideous sad.gif I don't think I can suggest anything that you haven't already tried. I agree that maybe pick one or two things. Maybe wrap, in his cot and pat til he sleeps or feed to sleep and stick with it for 2 days and see what happens.

My only other thought was that it could be silent reflux? I don't know much about that but maybe someone else here can help with that one.


Totally feel your pain! I agree with above. Does he sleep during the day at all? Is it possible that he might still be working on his days and nights (ie. has them confused). If that is the case we used to exagerate the days and the nights (so when awake blinds immediately open, lots of light and noise, then at night very dark). Also making sure he has lots of good feeds during the day and relaxing days. I used to find to many outings or visitors made for bad days the next day, so I used to have quiet days in the early days.

It does take a while for babies to develop sleep maturity, as hard as this is on us.

Will PM you too.

All the best, I know how hard this is!
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#7 -Megs-

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 07:16 AM

That is definitely not enough sleep for a little person (or a mumma!), sounds like you've tried everything I would normally suggest. I hope the mchn can give you some support unlike the useless dr!

#8 mango

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 07:40 AM

*hugs* I know how hard it is to have a non-sleeper. My DS was shocking and we even failed sleep school. My DD isn't so good either but is getting better. Some babies just don't understand how to sleep and never learn. Trying to teach them is important but at such a young age gently is probably your better approach.

I would say go to a different doctor. Make them listen. If hes cooeing again just say hes had a quick nap and the batteries are recharged. Tell them you aren't coping and your family is struggling with his constant up times. You need your down time and sleep also.

As for little Leo. I agree find a way that gets him to sleep and stick to it. At 6 weeks I would be wrapping, If hes fighting it maybe get one of those swaddles that allow his hands to be up or if using those try normal wrapping with arms down. I would be trying to settle in his cot, if thats not working settling to quiet in your arms then putting in cot awake and continue to settle, if he cracks it repeat. I would stick to it for at least 3-4 days. They say it takes on average 3 days for them to learn the process. If thats too dramatic to what you normally do and he wont settle at all, take smaller steps to alter what you are doing to get to that but make sure each change you make give it 3 days before changing something else. Make sure you are settling as soon as you see a tired sign, if hes not showing them I would be starting to try and settle him at 1.5 hours after being up. pick him up, move from all stimulus, quietly change his bottom, wrap him and start giving him cuddles until he looks drowsy. With little talking.

#9 chelley

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 08:27 AM

Stacey it sounds like torture. As hard as it is for hubby and you, the point you made about it not being enough sleep for Leo is spot on. I would call the early childhood nurse and get some help from karitane or tresilian - empahsise you have no support apart from hubby and you don't want to lose your sanity.

Perhaps a friend can come and at least cuddle him for a little while so you can sleep and with your batteries recharged you may be able to think more clearly.

How are his feeds going? Is he feeding well or snacking?

I really agree with the 'choose an approach' and stick with it. I agree I would use wrapping. Be consistent and persistent. If he doesn't like to be wrapped, wrap him even tighter.Eventually he will tire out and go to sleep. Hard when they are awake the entire time between feeds and then it is time to restart again.

I think he is too young for controlled crying.

I would really try to look for his tired signs or if not seeing them or he just looks exhausted all the time just go off about 1.5 hours.

Is Leo distressed and screaming the house down while he is awake or is he just appearing nocturnal and awake?

I would try to get outside for a walk, coffee during the day. The nights seemed to be torturous to me. As the sun went down i dreaded how many hours were ahead of me. I ended up getting a favourite DVD series - figured if I was going to be awake at least being pleasantly distracted.

Hang in there
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#10 jantastic

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 08:30 AM

Someone from my mothers group sent me a guide on sleep. If I find it I will pm for your email address.

I followed awake and sleep guidelines from a book called baby sense. It's south african. Basically it suggests babies need to stick to very short awake time- at 6pm weeks it's about 40 to 60 minutes, otherwise they are overtired and won't sleep... Won't help you to know that if he isn't sleeping but putting it out there anyway.





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#11 aChocLover

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 08:34 AM


Ugh, LJM, not good (((Hugs)))

I agree with the other ladies, time to talk to some professionals.

The only thing I can possibly suggest is try sleeping him unwrapped on his stomach. Both my girls were ferral and non-sleepers until we did this. I know it's not recommended etc, and I'll be honest, it took my anxiety and fears to a new level, but my girls finally slept. They also quickly developed great neck strength.

Good luck, hope things improve x

#12 la_jeune_mariée

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 09:01 AM

Haven't really stuck to one thing consistently TBH. These last 2 weeks have been a manic throw-everything-into-the-mix-athon and it's made things worse.

TBH, I'm probably too much of a sook to stomach CIO anyway. I can't bear to hear him cry in his bouncer whilst I pee rolleyes.gif I just can't leave it though. Whatever damage CC might do, lack of remotely adequate sleep has to be worse for him.

Hes not sleeping during the day either. He's getting 6 hours per 24 hours.

I think I need to get a night nanny just so I can get a decent nights rest and focus again. I wish my mother wasnt so lazy and selfish. You should hear her carry on about what a great nana she is but even when I begged for help she said she couldn't as she had to feed the dog blink.gif My life is currently a circus rolleyes.gif
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#13 Tigridia

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 09:11 AM

Oh you poor thing sad.gif Grrr at both the doctor and your mum mad.gif

Definitely talk to the health nurses and as suggested tell them you are at breaking point and have no support, I'm sure they will get you in quickly to sleep school. I've found they tend to take your mental health pretty seriously as well as the babies health. If you point out he is only sleeping 6 hours total they will listen. If you get a bad nurse, go to a different centre and try someone else. Most of them seem pretty good. then get a night nanny in the interim if it's going to take more than a few days to get in.

I agree don't go controlled crying at this point but just try the 1 or 2 things you are comfortable with and try and persist with them for a few days. It does take time for them to get it.

Do you have any friends that can come over during the day and hold him for an hour or two? I found that just having someone hold my baby for an hour while I got a quick nap at least made some difference. Even if you don't get much rest having someone else 'be responsible' for an hour or two is a mental health break. It's even better if you can get them to take the baby for a walk so you know they are safe but you can't hear them for an hour to get a break.
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#14 beachgurl

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 09:18 AM

We started controlled crying at 6 weeks and it worked for us.

Do you know if his is getting enough food? One of the first things that the MCHN may ask is that question. I have heard of parents needing to give some formula to their little ones as mum's milk isn't enough to keep them full and give them enough sleep. Apart from what my friends have told me, I know nothing about this stuff as I formula fed from birth.

We downloaded a CD from the net called "Sleep Baby Sleep". Lots of lullabies that we play every night to sooth her and give her a routine for sleep. At 2.5 years old she still goes to sleep with this music each night. We played that on the first night and she screamed. We allowed her to scream for 2 mins (although it felt much longer than that), then one of us would stand by her cot and pat her for 2mins, whether she stopped crying or not. We didn't get her out of the cot at all, just stood there patting her tummy. Then we walked away for the 2mins, then came back and patted again. I think we did this for 90mins the first night, the crying made way for wimpering and she eventually had some sleep. Within 4 nights the patting was down to less than 20mins and she was going to sleep with the music on. Within a week there was barely any crying and she was sleeping the 4 hour stint til her next feed.

I note that her day sleeps were shocking. Hardly slept at all during the day. I would put her in the bouncer in the loungeroom and she'd close her eyes whenever she felt like it, but never had much sleep. As we'd managed to get her to sleep some solid hours at night we didn't deal with the poor day sleeps until she was much older.

I know this goes against the grain of the majority that say that controlled crying is not appropriate for babies this young, but I am certain that our good sleeper was the result of this. If you do try this approach, you will cry in those 2min intervals when you can hear your little man crying his eyes out. It does feel wrong - my husband kept insisting we keep trying that first night.

Thinking of you xx

#15 Jaydee

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 09:42 AM

Oh you poor thing sad.gif It's torture being that exhausted, it really is. And it doesn't help when people brush you off.

Some ideas for you-

*Cotton jersey wraps. They're more snug than the muslin and you can wrap them more effectively.

*A bath is a really good way of wearing out small babies.

*Is he arching his back when screaming? If he's doing that, and pulling godawful faces when he burps, it really could be silent reflux.

*There's this stuff at the chemist called Infants Friend- it's just in with all the baby gear, and really settles them down. Really helped with Levi.

*Can you set a time where Mr LJM takes over? It's 5am, here- and that way I know I'll get at least two hours of good sleep.

*Scarlett is NOT a day sleeper. At all. The only thing I can do is put her in the sling and get on with it. She eventually goes to sleep and at least I have my hands free.




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