April 15, 2008,
B.A. asks from Chicago, IL on April 11, 2008
14 Week Old Hard to Get down and Stay Asleep at Night
My 14 week old is hard to get to sleep and stay asleep at night. She usually wakes form her afternoon nap at 4:30 and we try to put her to bed early (6:30 - 7) and she does go down. But once she is asleep she wakes every half hour and we have to repeat the soothing process of rocking, etc. She is swaddled and sleeping in her crib with some white noise and we do have a bath, feeding routine in place. When she finally goes down at 10/10:30 and she only sleeps 3 hours, waking at 1 and 5am.
A few weeks ago she had been sleeping 9-4am, so we are very tired and upset, especially now that I go back to work next week. I feel bad since I know my little one is tired.
Any advice is appreciated!
M.G. answers from Chicago on April 14, 2008
Read Dr. Marc Weissbluth's book or call him at ###-###-####. If you do, you will all sleep and you will have a healthy, happy baby!!!! Good luck, M.
M. answers from Chicago on April 12, 2008
I agree that you might be taking too long to put her into bed. We also used Health Sleep Habits and it is very useful. I would also suggest pushing her last feeding closer to her bed time. One other thing, if you are comfortable with it, is letting her fuss for a few minutes when you first put her down. You know she is safe in her bed, and she will start to learn self soothing. That can be very important, especially in the middle of the night when she is awake, but not needing to eat. Good luck.
K.B. answers from San Francisco on April 11, 2008
lots of folks have mentioned "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth, and I think the book would be invaluable for you. It sounds to me like she is way overtired by the time she goes to bed (overtired infants have chemicals that are keeping them up, which makes it harder to get into a deep good sleep). The basics from his book suggest that a bedtime routine should be roughly 20 minutes, so the hour process is too long and engaging for her. It's too much activity for nighttime, it needs to be kept more chill and brief. In another book, The Baby Whisperer wrote about a simple schedule of Eat, Activity, Sleep, which also coincides with Weisbluth's opinion that babies should be put down ready for sleep but not actually asleep yet. When you rock or feed a baby to sleep, they are not learning how to lull/soothe themselves and will become dependent on your rocking/feeding every time they wake even a little. So feed her, then give her a bath, snuggle and rock until drowsy, then put her down.
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D.C. answers from Chicago on April 12, 2008
Babies that young take a little while to get into a routine. It sounds like you are doing such a wonderful job setting and keeping one that works for you and your family. Try to move her bedtime to about 7:30 or 8pm and everytime you go in from that point after, try to rock her less and less until you are not taking her out but just putting a hand to soothe her while shes still in her crib.
Dont get too upset if she has good sleep nights followed by some interrupted ones. Soon, if you keep sticking to your "guns", you will find that there will be more sleep filled ones to come than not. And understand this, we have all been there and know how difficult it is to be a first time Mom. If you believe in yourself you will get through this I promise!
K.L. answers from Chicago on April 12, 2008
It sounds like she doesn't know how to fall back asleep upon waking up. Believe it or not, it's a skill that babies need to learn. It's important for them to realize that once they wake up in the middle of the night, it doesn't mean it's time to get up--they have to learn that they can simply put their head back down and go back to sleep. For them to do this w/o prompting, they must be able to recreate their sleeping situation by themselves. If you are picking her up and rocking her during this time, she thinks that is normal and is what is supposed to happen when she wakes up at night. Instead of picking her up, go in and pat her back or bottom and say ssssshhhh until she settles down. Everytime she starts to fuss, do it again and then stop immediately when she quiets down. Repeat this until she stays quiet and settles back down. Very soon you'll notice her going back to sleep on her own. Also, I don't know if you're running in there every time as soon as she is awake or not. If so, try waiting and letting her fuss for 5-10 min before going in and see if she calms herself back to sleep. If you can tell she is just getting herself more worked up, I'd go in and start patting and sssshhhing. Once I started doing this my baby became a much better sleeper. Blessings!
A.M. answers from Chicago on April 12, 2008
I am sure everyone will recommend the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby" by Dr. Mark Weisblut because it is fabulous. Falling asleep is a learned process and children often take a while to learn it. your baby is still quiet young. By about 4 months old a baby should be able to sleep through the night and not need any feeding during the night. I think the advice in Weisblut's book is make sure your baby is getting enough naps, once 90 mins awake or even an hour has passed look for the signs of tiredness and the moment you see them, get baby to go to sleep. Sleep begets sleep. So having baby well rested helps baby stay well rested. At 14 weeks, baby might be able to go from 10pm to 5 or 6pm if you feed baby at 10pm. If baby wakes, probably after about 3 hours as we have 3 hour sleep cycles, see if you leave baby for a little while if he /she can fall back to sleep. If you go in each time, then you are in some ways disrupting the babies attempts to fall to sleep on his own. Good luck. Working on it now is well worth it as some people who always take baby into their bed and don't let them cry at all often have years of problems, which isn't good for anyone's health.
It will get better - around 8-16 weeks can be really hard.
J.G. answers from Chicago on April 12, 2008
I also used Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child as a resource book for all three of my kids. My first was a difficult sleeper until I was recommended this book, it saved my sanity!
While early bedtimes are great, her afternoon nap seems late for a 6:30 bedtime. I have an 8 month old. He wakes around 6:30, back to sleep around 8:30, sleeps for an hour and a half or so. Then up until 1 or 1:30, back to sleep until 2:30 or 3. Bedtime is between 6:30 and 7. He sleeps a 12 hour nite and has been doing so since he was about 5 months.
Also, get into the habit of using the same rituals for all naps as well as bedtime. My baby starts rubbing his eyes at nap as soon as we walk into his room and start closing the drapes. I put on some music, change diaper, rock him with his bottle, then put him into his crib (awake). Same for bedtime. If you drag it out too long, it could hinder the process of the baby learning the cues for sleeptime.
Good luck, hope you get some sleep soon!
S.A. answers from Chicago on April 14, 2008
Picking her up and rocking her was your first mistake. If you are sure that she can make it through the night and she's not hungry, then check her diaper and then shhh her for a few minutes before walking out. Don't turn on the lights. Don't pick her up. Just pat her bottom if she's on her tummy now, and sing her a short, soft song...or just shhh her and then walk out. Repeat every 15 to 25 minutes until she gives up and goes back to sleep. She's training you...and I know because my first trained me. Didn't make that mistake with the second. She learned right off to go to sleep on her own (i fed her and laid her down. Very little rocking. Some singing while she nursed...and then right down into the crib...asleep or not)
I eventually had to use the technique mentioned with my oldest when she was about eight months or so. I was so tired I was hallucinating. It took about four or five nights but she finally understood that she going to sleep and mommy wasn't going to pick her up. I took her pacifier away too because it would fall out about 100 times a night and I would find myself crawling around the floor looking for it. (I started to believe it was invented by satan himself to torment me) Anyway, it took about four or five days but she started sleeping through the night.
Sometimes they go through little phases. Don't give in or change your routines because you will have to start all over again.
J.B. answers from Chicago on April 11, 2008
First, I need you to clarify..is she 14 weeks or 14 months? In the header it states 14 months, but in the body it syas 14 weeks. I totally undertand...we've all been in that groggy I can't get any sleep state...
I'm kind of assuming 14 weeks...She may be growing and may just be telling you she's hungry. One thing I've learned after 3 is just when you think they have a pattern, they change it (especially little ones. Also, you may be trying to put her down too early. Maybe try keeping her up later until say 9 or 10, feed her before bed and then maybe she'll sleep from 9 or 10 until 5 or 6. I also noticed that she was sleeping form 9 until 4, so she may have been used to that and now trying to put her down earlier is messing with her a bit. I hope this helps!
G.H. answers from Chicago on April 12, 2008
Maybe she just doesn't require more sleep than that. Try keeping her up until 8-8:30. Maybe she'll sleep longer during the night.