Returning to Work Soon & Need Advice to Get My 3 Month to Sleep Longer at Night

Updated on July 10, 2014
A.D. asks from Farmington, UT
12 answers

My maternity leave is over in 2.5 weeks and I'm concerned that I won't be able to function at work with the current amount of sleep I'm getting. My baby just turned 3 months old, currently I swaddle her and the longest stretch of sleep I get is from about 10pm to 1am. Then after I feed her at 1am she wakes up every 1.5 - 2 hours. Should I remove the swaddle so she can self sooth? I honestly don't think she's hungry every time she wakes up but I don't know how else to get her back to sleep except to feed her. Any advice on how to get my baby to sleep longer?

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answers from Washington DC on

this is so hard. i went back to work when my babies were under 2 months, and not sleeping for long stretches by any means. and it's hard to suggest anything, as babies are so different.
all you can really do is to try different things. so yeah, try un-swaddling her, but i don't think she's going to 'self sooth' at this tiny age, nor should you try to *train* her to do so. maybe try to let her fuss for a few minutes and see if she just complains briefly then goes back to sleep (best but most unlikely scenario. but it did work sometimes with mine!)
she might just fuss herself into full loud wakefulness, though. another thing to try is to go to her when she wakes, but stay very quiet, just rub her back gently, gently and think calm blue thoughts at her and see if she'll subside.
but your best bet is to hand off some of the duties. either pump or supplement with formula (breasts are remarkably adaptable) and have your husband take over at least one of the night feedings. at the very least you can be equally sleep-deprived!
good luck, hon. i know how hard this phase is.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Co-sleeping can be amazing! I started co-sleeping with our oldest when he was about 3 months old, and it was a life saver.

I did choose to put him in his crib at the beginning of the night. This might be a good idea for you, as you said she usually sleeps from 10 pm to 1 am. I used to let him begin the night in his own bed. The first time he woke each night I would bring him into our bed, lie down next to him, latch him on and go back to sleep. When he woke again I would roll over, latch him on and go right back to sleep.

Most kids who co-sleep actually start sleeping better and sleeping longer because part of the reason they were waking was because they were alone. When they are in bed with their parents, they may still wake often at first, but they usually go right back to sleep with little or no fussy, because they knowing they are not alone reassures them. Knowing they are in bed with Mommy and Daddy makes them feel safe and secure.

Seriously, it is really worth a try!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

All babies are different and we cannot control them. They cannot control when they are tired and when they wake up. They develop at their own pace.

The time spent sleeping is a very critical time for them. It is when their bodies are growing and resting from everything happening so quickly.

And I TOTALLY understand how you fee Since our child was born 3 weeks earlier than expected, this meant when I returned to work after 6 weeks of maternity leave, I was then to leave on a 10 day Buying trip out of town! If she had been born as planned, I would have been able to skip that trip. That meant my husband would be caring for her on his own during the evenings and the weekend,. And he usually worked long hours.

And so I went from Breast milk to formula, Boy that really changed her sleep habits, she slept from 11:00 pm t 6:00 am..But there was as an adjustment figuring out that she needed soy formula.

She also was able to lift and turn her head very early, so we had been allowed (by her pediatrician) to lay her on her tummy, again it was as if she had found a peaceful way to sleep. She slept like a log.

Being a parent is not for the faint of heart. Parents all over the world deal with this when they have infants. It is just part of it, but we push through and we do survive. We were sleep deprived so bad, that it was one of the main reasons we only had 1 child. My husband and I realized, we just do not do well without sleep.

FYI, our daughter is the same, She is in her 20's and still likes a rest time mid day.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You need some help. Is there a father in the house who can take some of the wake-up times? If you are nursing, can you/do you pump breast milk that she can take in a bottle?

You're right, you cannot function on 3 hours of sleep as the longest stretch and 2 hours the in-between times. Sometimes swaddling helps them so don't stop if you think it's beneficial. I'm not sure that removing it equals self-soothing time. Sometimes the swaddling is a form of soothing.

She may not be hungry all the time - she may just like the cuddling and cooing.

A lot of babies this age just don't sleep a long time, and it's hard to know if they are getting adjusted to it or whether we are creating habits by picking them up and nuzzling them every time they fuss. I would think she could go longer without feeding (maybe she's falling asleep and not taking in as much at one feeding?) but maybe she just likes the cuddling.

Try to not be the only one who tends to her needs - that's the first thing. A lot of us women say, "Oh but the dad has to work all day and he's tired." Yeah, and the same goes for us!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Some babies just don't sleep through the night for a while... you may have one. It's a trial and error thing to see if anything will help her sleep for longer periods. You can feed her more often during the day... I am a big fan of some deep breaths while holding her to get her back to sleep... I swear they sense if you are relaxed or not. Getting your husband to help might we worth it if that's an option. Or - dare I say - co sleep with her and you may both get the sleep you need. Whatever you try, remember she will eventually sleep through the night. Hang in there :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Your situation is why I ended up co-sleeping with my babies until they were around a year old. It was just easier to nurse and drift back to sleep than it was to get up every couple of hours all night long. Babies can normally sleep for a little longer at around 4 months old (meaning 3+ hours, not all night) but then you end up dealing with teething, colds and other fun stuff like "hey I can stand up!" that interrupts the night.

Is it possible to co-sleep?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

Ugh, I'm sorry, it's a rough phase to go around functioning in life with no sleep.

I also suggest a schedule.Shifts to split between you and your husband, or every other night. Your sleep is as important as his.

I didn't work when my kids were babies. I kind of operated on the theory his sleep was more important, not because his job brought in money and mine didn't, but because he had to go out and face the world every day like a normal human person, and I did not.

I nursed my kids, but pumped too, so there was always milk in the freezer, and they all went from breast to bottle and back with no problem.

So yeah, either split every night in half so you both get at least 6 hours, or alternate nights.

I'm sorry, it will get better.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Stinks, I know. But you'll adjust. All the other moms just trudge along and do the best they can.

It's hard when you have a little one and they don't sleep like you want.

Most baby's don't sleep all night, they just don't. I think that's a

Try putting her down later, I'd say that putting her down at 10pm is good. If you have a husband have him handle after dinner and you go to bed. If you can go to sleep early. If not then let him go to bed first.

Then when kiddo goes down and wakes up that first time you'll already have had 6 hours or more sleep. That would be really helpful. Having one parent in bed sleeping with give the other parent a good time to bond and take care of her.

Just don't worry, she'll be fine with hubby. I would say the later that person puts her down the longer the sleeping person has to sleep.

Once she's in child care her schedule should even out. She'll sleep on demand in the baby room for a while. She will fall asleep on the way home probably. Then I'd still keep her up until 8:30 or 9 so she'll sleep most of the night.

When she turns 1 and moves to the toddler room she'll be at one nap per day after lunch.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

What is your husband doing? When DS was this little, DH took care of all wakings before 2-3 am and I took care of all wakings after that. Not wonderful, but at least we each got 5 hours of sleep. If your baby is hungry, I would feed her. DS was always hungry when he woke. If you are breast feeding, I would pump so DH can handle 1/2 the night. Also - she will eventually sleep through. It just seems like that day will never come.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Does your baby have reflux? My reflux baby slept like this until he outgrew the reflux. I'd love to say there was a miracle cure, but there was not. My husband and I just had to get through it as best we could.

One thing that helped was to take turns getting a full night of sleep. One of us would sleep in bed for the entire night (no baby monitor) while the other one slept in the baby's room for the night (do you have a blow up bed or a couch you could put in there?). And we would take turns. I was nursing, so I took more nights with the baby than my husband did. But I learned I could survive and go to work if I got a complete uninterrupted night of sleep at least a few nights per week.



answers from Wausau on

My first born took bottles, my second did not. In both cases, my husband got up at night too. He would feed the first or bring the second to me and put him back so that I didn't have to get up.

If you don't have a husband or partner, I'm afraid there is no solution but to soldier through it on your own. Little ones typically eat small amounts very often, so you're probably already doing what needs to be done.



answers from Montgomery on

My daughter was never a great sleeper and to be honest, there were days when I fell asleep while I was pumping or at lunch, lol. But what helped my daughter a little was having a fairly long wind down process. Turn off the TV, give her a nice bath with some lavender. Read to her, feed/nurse her, etc. Just sort of ease out of the business of the day and into the peacefulness of night.
Also... if you don't already have this, consider a white noise machine. God-send for us! They actually have apps for this now, I use the Relax and Sleep app since it's free. Make sure she isn't hot, or cold. My daughter hated being covered up, so she only slept in onesies. I also played classical music and that helped sometimes. Good luck!

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