We've been co-sleeping since birth and LO takes most of her naps on me during the day. When she was little I felt like it was the best thing for her and I liked keeping her close. I was reassured by a lot of people that she'd grow out of this eventually. At around 4 months she started to sleep in her cot for more of her naps and around 5 months started to sleep some nights in her cot for part of the night. I could even put her down awake sometimes. Now it seems like we've taken a step backwards. LO has gone back to waking up the second I put her down. Nothing will keep her asleep. I've tried everything. At night she's waking a lot more now than when she was a newborn. We're still co-sleeping but she wakes up every hour or so. The only way to get her to go back to sleep is to feed her. I feel like her sleep is so messed up and I have no idea how to put it right. There's so much conflicting advice out there. Should I just give up trying to get LO to sleep alone until she's a bit older?
This is our very messed up sleep schedule:
8am - Awake for the day
10am - Goes to sleep after a feed. If I manage to put her down in her cot she'll sleep for 40minutes. If she sleeps on me she'll sleep for 1 1/2 hours
1/2pm - Nap 2 hours
5pm - Nap 40 mins
8pm- LO starts to get sleepy so I start bedtime routine and feed to sleep. Put her down in cot several times but she keeps waking until she's wide awake again. Won't go back to sleep even with boob and being in bed with me.
11pm - Finally sleepy again. Goes to sleep on boob in bed with me.
11.30pm - Wakes and has another little feed.
3am - Wide awake. Feed back to sleep.
4am - Wakes up wriggling around, boob to sleep
5 am - repeat
6 am - repeat
7 am - repeat
8 am - Up for the day (regardless of how much sleep she's had)
I try not to offer boob every time she wakes at night but she ends up waking up completely and then won't go back to sleep at all. It's much easier to offer boob more or less straight away as she goes right back to sleep. Sometimes she'll refuse the boob though and will just wriggle around for half an hour before going back to sleep. Every night is different really and I'm struggling to spot any kind of pattern. I've tried to make changes such as longer or shorter day time naps, earlier/later bedtime but it actually makes things worse. The only thing that does seem to work is if I allow her to nap on me for as long as she wants during the day and then let her fall asleep with me at night when I go to bed around 10.30pm. It's putting her in her cot that messes everything up.
Well done if you've read this far! I know it's a bit jumbled but that's how our days go, completely messed up. I don't want to have a strict routine but I just need LO to sleep better at night. The lack of sleep is starting to get to me and I'm starting to get annoyed with LO. It's worse now than when she was a newborn. She used to wake only once a night!
Hiya, oh dear, that doesn't sound like much fun. I never co-slept with Eleanor. I personally didn't think it was necessary and I didn't want her to get used to just sleeping with us, as I wanted her to be in her own cot (I don't mean that in judgement of others co-sleeping though). She did go to sleep on me quite a lot at the beginning and she'll nap on her daddy sometimes at the weekend as he likes having that closeness as he is at work during week days.
The only advice I can offer is this. One - as far as you possibly can, don't let her go to sleep on the boob. I breastfed Eleanor until she was nearly seven months (had to give up then as she refused the breast completely) but once she got to about four months I tried really hard to ensure she didn't go to sleep 'on the boob' as I didn't want her to demand it when she woke. We started putting her down in her cot after her feed and reading to her (obviously they sometimes fall asleep on the boob and are hard to wake, but it is good to try!). At first she moaned a bit about it but we persevered so either her dad or I could put her to bed and so she could learn to go to sleep on her own. At six months, she was still waking at about 2am and then at about 5am. I would put her back to bed after a feed in the same way - changed and then back into cot and a story read to her). It was hard at first and a couple of times she cried for a few minutes after we left the room (once or twice we had to come back and have 'another go' - gave her a hug, read her another story, but for the most part it has worked with no crying - I couldn't have let her cry for long, as I am a softie!). It sounds like your little one naps well in the day, which is generally considered a good thing. I wonder if she is an early riser by nature though. Eleanor wakes at quarter to five every morning like an alarm clock and will only usually go back to be for an hour after that, once she's been changed and fed. If it was me, I would try to wean her off the co-sleeping and get her into her cot as it sounds like she is becoming very reliant on you being there, on the boob for sleep etc. and as mean as it may sound, I think it's better for them to learn once they're six months or so, to get to sleep on their own, as that's what you want in the long run.
Hope that helps a bit. Wishing you lots of luck xx
There's something else I forgot to say - Eleanor wakes up during the night sometimes and I can hear her on the monitor, making little noises. She's in her own room and we made sure we didn't go in to her unless she actually started really crying (a couple of times she cried very slightly for a minute or so and then just went back to sleep). I think that also helped her to learn to just settle herself back to sleep again if she didn't actually need anything. If she cried and did so for more than a couple of minutes we got up and fed her/changed her (I'm not trying to advocate just ignoring a crying baby, but more to try to show that they don't always need you when you think they do. If you immediately get up as soon as they make a noise, they will learn that that is how to get back to sleep and may not learn to settle by themselves).
Thanks for the tips Londonangel. I'm going to attempt to stop allowing LO nursing to sleep. I've tried occasionally and mostly she cries until I put her back on the boob. I actually don't really mind her nursing to sleep as I believe there are many advantages and I don't mind co-sleeping. I just wish I knew why LO has started waking so regularly at night when she used to more or less STTN. If I could take away whatever it is that's making her wake then the problems solved.
You're welcome. The only other thing I can think of is if LO is teething and suffering teething pain, in which case you could try putting a bit of Dentinox on their gums (seems to help when Eleanor has pain from teeth coming through).
I've just noticed a wee tooth starting to poke through so that's probably not been helping. I didn't think it was teething as LO didn't seem to be in pain or discomfort when waking. But I guess she's just needing a little bit more comfort than usual. We've always nursed to sleep but now it's like she wants to nurse even when she's sleeping. The tooth explains a lot!
Could be that then. Eleanor was usually okay during the day with her teething (she's sprouted six teeth in the last 10 weeks!) but got a bit grumpy when it came to bed time. I also found she started sleeping better once we started weaning her but I'm not sure whether it was the food that helped or the fact that we moved her into her own room at about the same time (six months).
Hopefully your little girl will start sleeping better for you soon though - it is exhausting being up at all hours!
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