9wo and sleeps only in my arms

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9wo and sleeps only in my arms

Postby bellaangellee » Thu 28 Feb, 2013 6:24 pm

Hi,

Just wanted to get some help with my baby boy.

He has just turned 9wks yesterday and since around 4 weeks started struggling with his day sleeps. On a few occasions he has only slept a total of 2 hours during the day which is definitely not something we would like for his age.

These last few weeks, I have managed to rock or swing him to sleep in my arms, sometimes I'm able to put him down in his bassinet and other times I have to hold him for however long he is asleep. It's starting to get me really stressed as most times it's only a catnap too. I try to do eat play sleep and also think I catch him at his early signs of tiredness (it's a little hard as he normally has jerky movements and clenched fists all the time and seems to only have short awake times) but it's still a struggle to get him to sleep the 2 hours.

I understand from previous posts that babies only get more settled in their 3-4 mths. So will they be easier to learn to settle themselves then? I keep hearing you need to start putting them down drowsy but awake from 8 weeks on. Is this right? As I have tried but he starts to cry and if I don't pick him up, he gets angrier and angrier and he cries to the point that he coughs. So I pick him up and they say to try again when he calms down but then before I even try to put him down, he senses what I'm doing and starts up again.

He is capable of 2+hours sleep as he has done it a few times (twice in the pram!). Also he is fine for night sleeps as he goes down normally 7-7.30 and then has 2-3 feeds before he wakes up about 6-7am. I normally just have to feed him for the nights and he goes straight back down.

I guess the other thing is if he catnaps and I can't resettle him after. Do I start the eat play sleep routine again even if he only fed 2 hrs ago or do I let him play till closer to 3 hours or when he cries for his next feed and then start the routine again?

And when will I know his non sleeps are becoming a problem that he will need sleep school? (Cos I'm very concerned it is one now!) My family and husband seem to think it's ok that he is not sleeping much during the day as he is fine at night but I'm worried.

Thanks.
bellaangellee
 
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Re: 9wo and sleeps only in my arms

Postby NgalaOnline » Fri 01 Mar, 2013 4:23 pm

Hi Bellaangellee

Thank you for your post. The types of behaviour your son is showing sound very normal for a baby his age. It is common for these sleep and settling behaviours to be tiring for a baby's parents though, and for mums to feel some anxiety about their baby's sleep and settling patterns.

You are correct that most parents do find their baby begins to become more settled, easy to read, and more predictable around 3 - 4 months of age. It is common for babies under three months of age to be quite unsettled and it is normal for them to be unable to calm and soothe themselves at this age as the necessary parts of their brain are not yet fully developed. Although your baby is approaching three months of age, a lot of brain development occurs in a short amount of time in a baby's early months, so several weeks can bring a significant amount of change to a baby. It is common for parents to find it difficult to soothe babies under about three months of age, and it is a good idea not be too focused on trying to establish routines or settling patterns at this age, but moreso just begin a gradual transition where you are working towards getting your baby to fall asleep in his cot for some of his sleeps. At around 12 weeks of age babies do begin to form sleep associations, or learned ways of falling asleep. This is why it is good to have babies learning to fall asleep in their cot around this time, so they will be familiar with the cot as the place that they fall asleep. The things you are doing like trying to watch your baby for early tired signs and put him down when you see them sound excellent. It may be a good time to begin working on trying to find some soothing strategies that you can do for him in his cot. Some babies like to be patted quite fast and firmly (even using two hands alternating in a rhythm), others may like the mattress to be patted. Stroking a baby's face between his eyes and on the bridge of his nose, or stroking his hair can be settling for some babies. Other babies may like their body to be slightly rocked from side to side by their caregiver's hand, or they may simply like their parent to sit nearby and "sssshhhh" them. Rocking the cot or bassinet is also soothing for some babies. All of these hands-on settling techniques can also become sleep associations but they are generally easier to gently draw back on and slowly stop over a couple of days compared to in-arms settling methods, as the baby is becoming familiar with the cot as the place to fall asleep.
It is helpful to know that, especially at this young age, babies are quite unpredictable and soothing techniques may work quite well on some occasions and then not others. Typically babies seem to find it easier to settle to sleep earlier in the day, and then need more help and support to fall asleep in the late part of the day. You may like to begin trying to settle your baby to sleep using in-cot settling techniques in the morning, then rocking your baby to sleep in the late part of the day if needed for now. It is helpful to try to accept that there will be good days and also days where the in-cot settling doesn't work as well - this is normal. It is very normal for babies to have some days each week where they just don’t settle well and can be awake for lengthy periods. This can be stressful for parents. It is helpful not to dwell too much on how many hours the baby has slept that day or become too anxious that this means your baby is developing a sleeping issue as it is quite a normal baby behaviour.

Catnapping is very normal at this age - it is difficult for many young babies to tie sleep cycles together. Longer day sleeps often come more as the baby gets a bit older and also begins to learn how to soothe himself back to sleep. The feed, play, sleep pattern is helpful for some families but can be flexible. The main point of the feed, play, sleep cycle is just to try to have the baby awake and alert when you put him into bed the majority of the time, rather than having the baby fall to sleep on the breast. Some babies need to feed more frequently than once in each wake cycle, and this is fine but where possible it is helpful to try to do the second top up feed early enough in the wake cycle that he will not fall asleep feeding. It is best to watch your baby's cues and feed him when you feel that he is hungry, then settle him once you think he is tired. He does not need to have another play period after a feed if you feel he is showing tired signs and ready to go to bed.

You are able to come to Ngala to do a day stay at any point that you feel you would like more help and support. There is often a waiting list of several weeks to get in to do a Ngala day stay, so if you feel like this is something you would like to do it is often worthwhile going ahead with making the booking. You may also like to consider attending the Parenting Workshops "You and Your New Baby" which covers sleep and settling up to 12 weeks of age, and / or "Sleep and Your Growing Baby" which details sleep and settling for babies 3 - 7 months of age. If you would more like help and support please ring the Ngala helpline. I hope this information has been helpful.
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 http://www.ngala.com.au/Ngala-and-You/Ngala-Helpline/Contact-Ngala-Helpline-Online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
http://www.ngala.com.au/You-and-Your-Family/Web-Based-Resources
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Re: 9wo and sleeps only in my arms

Postby bellaangellee » Sat 02 Mar, 2013 12:39 pm

Thank you very much or your response and suggestions.

It's good to know what he is doing is normal and cuddling him to sleep is something I can still enjoy without feeling guilty for a few more weeks.

I will see how we go in the next month and slowly try to introduce in cot settling.

I have booked in for the seminar on 3-7 mths sleep for babies so am looking forward to that.

Thanks again.
bellaangellee
 
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Joined: Thu 28 Feb, 2013 5:56 pm

Re: 9wo and sleeps only in my arms

Postby NgalaOnline » Sat 02 Mar, 2013 3:01 pm

Hi Bellaangelee

Thank you for your post. I am very glad to hear that the information has been helpful and reassuring to you. I am also glad to hear that you have booked into the Parenting Workshop, I hope that is helpful for you. Best of luck over the coming few weeks.
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 http://www.ngala.com.au/Ngala-and-You/Ngala-Helpline/Contact-Ngala-Helpline-Online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
http://www.ngala.com.au/You-and-Your-Family/Web-Based-Resources
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Re: 9wo and sleeps only in my arms

Postby bellaangellee » Tue 19 Mar, 2013 10:13 am

Hi again

My little boy will be 12 weeks tomorrow!

As of Sunday, I have tried transitioning him into his cot for his naps and settle him in there for the full 1.5 hr naps.

Today is day 3 and he went down this morning and fell asleep after playing for a bit by himself but he seems to doze off and then keep waking up every 10 mins and crying then falls asleep again and repeats this for the entire nap.

Is his normal? Is he still trying to "teach" himself to fall asleep without us having to hold/rock/swing him to sleep?

Thanks.
bellaangellee
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu 28 Feb, 2013 5:56 pm

Re: 9wo and sleeps only in my arms

Postby NgalaOnline » Wed 20 Mar, 2013 10:10 am

Hi Bellaangellee

Thank you for your post. It sounds as though you have put a great plan together and are making a great start at teaching your baby how to settle himself to sleep. It is helpful to remember that this can be a bit of an "up and down" process with some settling periods or days going very well and other not being so smooth. Persevering and trying not to be too discouraged if there are some sleep periods or days that do not work as well as others is a good way to approach things. It is fantastic to hear that your little man was able to put himself to sleep without distress after playing in his cot, and on only day 3 of you beginning the approach! It is difficult to say why he is waking throughout the sleep at the moment. It may be that he is not actually fully waking, but moreso that he is sleeping a bit lighter and making noises in his light / active parts of his sleep. It may also be that as you say he is waking but learning to resettle himself again. This is good practice for him to help him master resettling. Listening to his noises is important - if he sounds distressed it is important to go to him and give him some reassurance, but if he is just squawking without sounding upset, then being able to resettle himself then this is a great opportunity to let him have this time of practice. It is a time of transition and change for him so it is understandable that his sleep may be a little lighter than usual as he gets used to this new way of settling and resettling to sleep. It sounds as though you are both doing very well. I hope it continues to get easier as the weeks go by.
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 http://www.ngala.com.au/Ngala-and-You/Ngala-Helpline/Contact-Ngala-Helpline-Online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
http://www.ngala.com.au/You-and-Your-Family/Web-Based-Resources
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