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My Ngala • View topic - 10 Week Sleep Problems

10 Week Sleep Problems

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These forums are being moderated by Ngala Online. Questions posted will be answered by a Ngala parenting professional. They are open for use to all residents of Australia.

10 Week Sleep Problems

Postby Beckip » Mon 18 Feb, 2013 7:31 pm

Hi

In the last few days my 10 week old has decided she only wants to have really short naps during the day, mainly lasting between 20-45 mins. She sleeps pretty good at night, usually in blocks of 4-5hrs, then 3hrs, then 3hrs only waking up to feed for 5-10mins before going back to sleep again. I wouldn't mind about the 30 min naps because shes still getting enough sleep over 24hrs but she is really grumpy for most of the time between sleeps, which means she wants to be held and isn't happy to play on her own for more than a few minutes and then is really hard to get to sleep the next nap, which then turns into a long cycle throughout the day until she's so exhausted she finally sleeps when I put her to bed at night (usually after a lot of crying). She's also been a bit colicky and had lots of bubbles in her tummy recently, which probably doesn't help the situation.

I've been trying to get her to try and self settle in her cot by rocking her til she's drowsy and then putting her in her cot and patting her til she's drowsy. While it has worked a couple of times (mainly when I put her to bed at night) most of the times when I put her in her eyes fly open and she wide awake and its not long before she's protesting and flapping her arms and legs and crying. Then I have to start the whole process again..which after a couple of times I end up giving up and just rocking her to sleep (or doing whatever seems to work that time, because rocking doesn't always work). I feel like she gets overtired in my process of trying to get her to settle in her cot. I try to start winding her down, as soon as I see her yawning or fading out, by reading a quick book and then cuddling and rocking (sometimes a quick feed too because she likes to feed to sleep a lot..although I'm trying to move away from this as I try to teach her to settle herself) but it seems no matter how drowsy she is in my arms as soon as I put her down she is wide awake! It seems like its taking twice as long to try and get her to sleep as the time she actually does sleep! today I tried for an hour and a half to try and get her to sleep before giving up. Should I keep trying or just give up after a while, or does she really need to have the nap?

Sometimes she will finally go to sleep in her pram or swing. Is it ok for her to nap there or should I put her in her cot? I've tried making the room really dark, playing white noise swaddling her and not swaddling her but she just doesn't seem to want to sleep longer than 45 mins. Should I still be swaddling her? She's starting to like sucking on her fingers and since she wont take a dummy should i not swaddle her so she can maybe learn to self soothe by sucking her fingers?

How can I get her to nap longer? She doesn't go back to sleep when I've tried, I usually have to wait a while. Should I wait for another hour before putting her down again or can I do it earlier?

She has also been a bit fussy during her feeds (I'm breastfeeding and she is getting plenty as she keeps putting on heaps of weight each week)..she bobs on and off a lot and squirms around, sometimes this settles if I burp her but its getting more and more frequent and she doesn't seem to be getting a proper feed. Do you think this effects her naps?

Also with bed time, should I be putting her to bed at the same time each night? It seems to be different depending on when her last nap was..should I try and keep her awake rather than putting her back down for a nap if it's bed time in 2 hrs? I''ve been trying to keep the same routine at night before bed: bath, books, feed, change nappy and cuddle but does it matter that its not at the same time every day?

Well sorry for the masses of questions but any advice would be great as I'm starting to get a bit emotional as I used to nap during one of her naps during the day, but it's impossible when she only sleeps for 30mins.

Thanks

Bec
Beckip
 
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Joined: Mon 18 Feb, 2013 1:40 pm

Re: 10 Week Sleep Problems

Postby NgalaOnline » Wed 20 Feb, 2013 6:43 pm

Hi Beckip

Thank you for your post. At 10 weeks of age your baby is at an ideal age for you to begin gently working on teaching her some skills regarding being able to settle herself. This is due to the fact that sleep associations typically begin to form between around 3-4 months, but babies are not able to regulate their emotions and calm themselves effectively before around the age that your baby is now.

You may find the following post helpful regarding settling your baby in her cot:

viewtopic.php?f=45&t=13875&sid=62cfdc448b31fed2653d093d6cae1a5e#p12706

As mentioned in the above post, where possible it is best to avoid rocking your baby to a state of drowsiness in your arms as for some babies this is enough to become a sleep association and result in frequent waking. It is best if the baby is able to go into her cot tired but fully awake after a brief wind down routine like you are doing. It is possible that yawning could be a late tired sign for your baby at which point she is already a little bit overtired and difficult to settle. It may be worth experimenting with trying to put your baby to bed a little bit earlier, such as when she begins to disengage from people and toys and needs active stimulation to be able to remain happy. It is possible that the first few days of settling your baby in her cot may be quite difficult for both you and her as she adjusts to the new methods of soothing you are offering her. It is possible that settling may take a lengthy period of time whilst she is making this transition. Where possible it is best to be as consistent as you can, but if at any point you start to feel overwhelmed or like you are losing your patience it is ok to stop the settling at that point and try again at your next opportunity. These periods of practice can have some benefit even if they do not result in the baby going to sleep. Some parents find that the baby is so overtired and unable to settle by late afternoon or evening, and also that the parents are feeling exhausted with settling by that time, in which case it may be a good time of day to settle your baby an easy way such as in the pram or by rocking / feeding her to sleep at this time if you feel you need to (with the aim of reducing this over the coming weeks as she becomes more skilled at settling herself).

It is generally best to avoid letting the baby settle in the swing particularly, as this can become a sleep association the baby can be quite dependent on and many parents find it it to be difficult when the baby outgrows the swing. Settling in the pram for some naps is helpful as this makes it easier for you to get out and about during the day, but is also beneficial to try to get your baby to have some naps in her cot each day. Many parents find the first nap of the day the easiest time to "work with the baby" so this may be an ideal time to work on settling in the cot.
This also sounds like an ideal time to wean your baby off the wrap. After about 3 months of age the wrap can become a sleep association that babies can become dependent on and it can become increasingly difficult to wean off the wrap as the baby ages. Although the baby may take a few days to work out what to do with her arms when settling if she is used to them being wrapped, by about 3 months the true startle reflex is no longer present in most babies. Being able to use one's hands is a very effective soothing tool for many babies, as they can suck them or use them to stoke things such as their hair or cot sheets. Once a baby begins to roll, for safety a baby needs to be weaned from the wrap. If your baby struggles to settle without swaddling you may like to try just wrapping one arm in at first, or you may like to wrap her in the late afternoon when she is overtired but not the morning.

Regarding the length of her naps, many babies are not able to start having longer naps until after they have learned to self settle to go to sleep. Often it takes a little bit of time after the skill of falling to sleep is mastered for the baby to begin tying sleep cycles together and sleeping for longer periods. It is helpful to give your baby a little bit of time after she wakes from a short nap to see if she can resettle, or to spend up to 20 minutes seeing if you can help her to fall back to sleep, but if you find the amount of time spent settling your baby to be exhausting it may be best to first work on getting her to learn how to fall asleep without needing help from you, and often the longer naps will then result. It does sound as though she is doing very well at night. Feeding patterns like you are describing are quite common at around 3-4 months of age. If your baby is thriving and showing continued weight gains, some settled periods each day (such as the periods she is having overnight) and at least 5-6 wet nappies in 24 hours these signs all indicate that she is getting what she needs. It is common for babies to become very efficient at draining the breast as they get older, and to be able to do so much quicker than when they were first born. By 4 months of age many parents find that their baby is able to take a full feed in 5 or 10 minutes. Distractible feeding is common around this age and many parents find feeding in a quiet room can be helpful. You may like to discuss this issue with the Australian Breastfeeding Association helpline for more help or reassurance.

Generally it is best to follow your baby's lead and tired signs rather than following a clock based schedule. At your baby's age it is very common for babies to still be rather unpredictable and not in any sort of routine. Often babies do become a little more predictable as they get older. Usually, trying to keep a tired baby awake for longer backfires and results in an overtired baby who can not settle or remain asleep easily. You are doing the best thing by following your baby's lead and settling her when you see her tired signs regardless of the time.

I hope this information has been helpful. Please ring the Ngala helpline if you would like more help or advice. You may also like to consider attending the Ngala Parenting Workshop "Sleep and Your Growing Baby" which covers sleep and the changes that are seen in babies from 3 - 7 months.
This information is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the personalized assistance that can be received from the Ngala Helpline by telephone.

For families residing in Western Australia you can also contact the
Ngala Helpline
Telephone 9368 9368 or 1800 111 546 for country access
Available 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm
or request a callback online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
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