Author Topic: 3.5 month old NWs are driving me mad! Please help!  (Read 1068 times)

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Offline Natazha

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3.5 month old NWs are driving me mad! Please help!
« on: December 05, 2014, 18:33:58 pm »
Hi everyone

I'm hoping you can help me. My 3.5 month old daughter just WILL NOT SLEEP at night. I'm exhausted and frustrated and I hope you can offer me some advice. At the moment, I'm so sleep deprived, I'm not sure what to do next.

Basically DD2 is an angel/textbook baby and an absolute delight. We had a rough spot for a few weeks after 8 weeks when we worked hard on her sleep and we have now conquered OTness, are on a regular nap schedule (3 x a day plus 1 catnap), have a regular BT routine and an earlier BT (7.30) and I have also started incorporating the DF. We started EASY at 8-10 weeks and I have successfully removed the nursing to sleep, pacifier and rocking to sleep props. She now goes down for naps VERY easily with little/no crying and puts herself to sleep. She also puts herself to sleep at night without crying.

Because she has reflux (medicated and completely under control - definitely no pain), we found it hard to get on a consistent feeding routine and I'm only now getting her to go 3 hours between feeds (3+ days). The plan is to slowly work up to 4/4 but we're nowhere near there yet.

The issue is that she wakes up multiple times a night - sometimes it's at 2am and 6am and other nights it's every 45mins-1 hour. I've tried not feeding her unless it's been 3 hours since her last wu and if anything, that's waking her up more. I manage to shush pat her to sleep (20-40 mins) and then she'll wake up after being asleep for 15-30 mins and I have to start all over again until it's her next feed time. That means that I end up sleeping little to not at all.

Her naps have improved significantly. She was never able to take longer than 45 min naps but in the past week, I've done nap extensions (shush pat) and she'll go back to sleep within 5 mins and sleep for the full 1.5 hours. Today for the first time, I let her fuss a little when she woke up and she fell back asleep and slept for 1.5 hours total! HUGE improvement!

I can't figure out 1) what the problem is with the NWs and why she can't go any kind of solid stretch at night and 2) what I should do about it? I know at her age, she still needs night feeds (she is EBF) so I don't want to 'cut her off' but I also know that she doesn't need to be fed 6x a night! HELP!?

Our EASY is below but keep in mind that we've only managed this for 3-4 days and I am adamant that we will do this everyday in terms of flow and approximate times. I'm wondering if the issue is just that her days have not been consistent enough in terms of routine/flow and times?

730 WU, meds, diaper change
800 E (always a fussy feed - she's very distractible and DD1 is her favorite thing to look at!)
815 A (drop DD1 off at school, walk the dog)
900 S
945 Nap extension
1030 A
1100 E full feed
1130 A (playmat, playing with me)
1200 S
1245 Nap extension
130 A
200 E
230 A
300 S
345 Nap extension (never works)
355-400 A (pick up DD2)
500 E
520 A
530 S (catnap)
530-545 A
630 Bath PJs, BT routine
700 E
730 BT (goes to sleep awake and puts herself to sleep)
1030 DF

There is no typical night and no consistency in the NWs - she has gone 5 hour stretches but then will go back to 1.5 hour for 1 NW, then 2 hrs, then 45 mins all in the same night. They are never at the same times (but that could be because we haven't been consistently following a routine, but just an order of activities - so we've been doing EAS but not at the same times everyday).

I know her age is ripe for sleep regression, wonder weeks, growth spurts but at this point, I feel like we just need something - anything - to get her to sleep a little bit more at night, but I'm not sure what to do.

HELP!

Offline duoduo

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Re: 3.5 month old NWs are driving me mad! Please help!
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2014, 02:56:11 am »
big hug, I am a mum who is suffering with the same issue, my boy is 9-week-old, he also wakes up every hour at night, in the past 2 days, there were improvements, but still no longer than 2 hours. The only change I can think of is changing the formula, we do mix feeding, daytime breasts, adding formula for dream feeding. I try to feed him every time he wakes up, itís up to him if he wants to take it or not.
It sounds like u donít feed your girl at night unless itís 3 hours? So if u feed her, what happens?  My boy had his 1st immunization 2 days ago, I talked to nurse about his NW and she thinks he is hungry. I donít know, I am not sure as we do the dream feeding and didnít see significate change.
I will keep my eyes on your case and hoping we both find the resolution soon.

Offline lapjmv

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Re: 3.5 month old NWs are driving me mad! Please help!
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2014, 18:28:23 pm »
Hi Natazha, your message actually describes what I'm going through right now with my 3.5 mth old to a T!! Angel baby and good napper during the day, but nightmarish at night. I'm doing exactly the same things as you, except my LO goes to sleep at 8.30pm and the DF is at 11pm. On a good night she wakes between 3.30-4.30 am and I give her a bottle, but then there are way too many days when she'll be up at 2, then I put her back to sleep, then again at 4, and then again at 6-6.30. Arrgh! Thing is, I know she can sleep through the night as I had one 3-day stretch about 4 weeks ago when she woke up at 6.30, then 5.30 and 5.30. But that was just a tease unfortunately.
Totally new to this, as my older daughter started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks.

Have you found any resolution yet?

Offline jessmum46

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Re: 3.5 month old NWs are driving me mad! Please help!
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2014, 20:03:24 pm »
Hi Natazha, sorry you're struggling :(

The nights where you get wakings at 2am and 6am sound pretty normal for this age, growth spurts etc, but I agree every 45mins-1h is definitely excessive.  You would expect her to go as long between feeds at night as during the day so I think trying not to feed more often than 3hrly is the right thing to do.

With night wakings that frequent I would be thinking either props, discomfort, or significant over or under tiredness. 

Just thinking about each in turn - she self-settles at BT?  That's great if so :D. When she wakes at night is it always with 'I need you now' cry right away?  Does she ever settle herself?  What if you just did shh pat until she was calm?

Reflux wise it's great she is on medication.  Just to consider - may she need a dose increase?  Many of the medications are very weight-dependent.  There can also be food intolerances/allergies associated with reflux so wondering if you've noticed any patterns with what you eat for example?

Is she teething?  Both mine have had teeth by four months.

Her routine looks really good, well done you :). You could try extending her A times just slightly working towards the 4h routine and that may make a difference - sometimes not having enough A time can manifest in unsettled nights as LO isn't quite tired enough to transition well between sleep cycles.

Sorry to others who are struggling - do you have your own threads going?


Offline Natazha

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Re: 3.5 month old NWs are driving me mad! Please help!
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2014, 18:39:42 pm »
Thank you jessmum46! You've given me lots to think about. Lapjmv and duo duo - i feel for you. I just wanted to post an update to let you both know how we're conquering this hurdle. And I wanted to reach out to you jessmum46 to see if you have any other insights. So this is where we are now:

DD2 self settles to naps and at bt. she has no bf sleep association at bt (i make sure she's awake when i put her down, kiss her goodnight and leave the room. she puts herself to sleep within 5 mins). when i nurse her in the MOTN, she definitely is asleep when i lay her back down - is that ok or is that a sleep association too? we are now waking up 3 x a night but in 2 very different patterns:

1) i DF her at about 1030-1100 and then she wakes up about 230 when I shush pat her back down to sleep, and she wakes up about 430 when i feed her, and her wake up for the day is 730.

2) i don't DF and let her be to see how long she'll go. she'll wake up anywhere between 1230 (5 hour stretch from BT) to 130 (6 hr stretch) and then again at 400 when i shush pat her (but this wake up is horrific and it can take her 1.5 hours to finally get back to sleep - she's not playing, she is trying to get back to sleep but for some reason 530 is the magic time), and then she'll wake up at 530-600 for a feed and then wake for the day at 730.

her first feed of the day around 800am is always bad and i'm thinking it's because of her last feed of the night. she seems to do better with that feed with the first scenario above and barely feeds at all with the second scenario. i know it's a catch 22 situation - she's feeding at night because she hasn't had enough during the day and she's not having enough during the day because she's feeding at night - but i'm not sure what to do to break the cycle except not feed her and have a few rough nights to reset the pattern. is that what you'd recommend jessmum?

i still haven't got her completely consistent in terms of feed times and nap times during the day, but i do feed her consistently every 3 hours. with DD1, its hard to always be home for her to nap in the same place. DD2 is an angel baby though and seems to roll with it but i am committing to spending at least a week at home next week so that she can figure out her nights. do you think consistency of schedule might be the key?

jessmum i was wondering if it was time to gradually tweak her schedule and move her closer to a 4/4 and a 2 hour A time too, since she will be 4 months old tomorrow. but 1) i'm worried about her not getting enough feeds/calories in with the reduced number of feeds on the 4/4 schedule and 2) her present A time is 1.5 hours and she's yawning at the 1.25-1.5 hour mark. i guess i'm going to have to stretch it out VERY gradually but it's nice to hear you confirm what i was thinking.

her naps are suddenly amazing and she is taking a 2 hour nap (that i wake her up from) for her first nap, a 1.5 hr nap for her second and anywhere from 1hr-1.5 hrs for her third. she rarely goes down for a catnap.

what that means though is that she is typically up for 2.5ish hours (sometimes 3) before BT. isn't that crazy long? your advice is SO appreciated. in particular, i'm not sure how to phase out the night feeds - what have you done that worked for you?

as far as your other questions, yes she self settles at BT. when she wakes at night, she fusses (and i leave her) and sometimes i hear the mantra cry (i also leave her to work it out) but she never gets back to sleep by herself. pretty quickly (<5-10 mins) it escalates into an 'i need you' cry. i do shush pat and it can take forever (or at least it feels like that in the MOTN!) - about 40 mins. but as soon as i walk away and get comfortable again, she's crying for me. only sometimes it turns into the 'cough' cry which i know means hunger and when i hear that, i do feed her.

the last couple of nights, she has taken her paci again in the MOTN (she stopped doing that) but cries for it back 5-10 times when it falls out. she's never been very good with the paci and so i'm loathe to start it again considering she is 4 months.

with the reflux meds, thats one of my questions for her doc next week. but her reflux seems MUCH better. you still hear the odd swallow from time to time, but she doesn't bunch up and cry anymore. there are definite food intolerances and i've given up those foods - tomatoes, lemons, chocolate, almond milk. i also did dairy, caffeine and wheat elimination for a while but that didn't seem to affect her.

and as far as teething, i've not noticed anything (and i check often because she drools so much!)

as far as lapjmv and duo duo - this is what i did to get to this stage (which is 1000x better than where we were!). i watched the clock and her like a hawk and put her down 10 mins before her a time was done during the day. i do the 4s routine (even though she hated it for a while) and i shush patted her to sleep like the book said. in the beginning it felt like nothing was working. she would fall asleep after 20-40 mins and wake up 30-45 mins later, without fail. i never heard a mantra cry - just a full on cry so i would always go get her. it was super frustrating especially because we had so many NWs. but i had done cio with dd1 and although we've had no lasting consequences and she sleeps beautifully still, i just didn't want to go down that road again. so i stuck with it. the magic moment came when about a month into trying all the bw techniques consistently (but still on an erratic EAS routine, even though i had the order right), i was taking a shower and when i turned the shower off, i heard her crying. it was freezing cold that day and so i had to dry off and get clothes on before going to her. by the time i was dressed, she had stopped crying and had put herself to sleep (maybe 3 mins). i realized that i had heard her mantra cry (low in pitch but loud and angry almost). so her next nap of the day and all the rest of naps since, i do the 4s, i put her down in her crib awake and i say the same thing all the time 'it's time to go to sleep now' and i leave the room. she always is asleep within 5 mins if i've timed it right (which i usually do). if she is OT, she'll cry for 10 mins but always puts herself to sleep. that's when i realized that she CAN self-soothe if i let her be and it was my bad for not a) giving her a chance to self soothe and b) recognizing her mantra cries. at night i started giving her a (timed) 10 mins before i got her unless it was a very high pitched pain cry. overnight, she stopped waking up every 45mins-1.5hrs and started waking up 3-4 times. now i'm working on getting that down to 1-2 times. also during her naps, she still always wakes up at the 45 min mark but if i don't get her for 10 mins, she always puts herself back to sleep and sleeps for the entire 1.5-2 hours and i usually have to wake her up. hope that helps you guys!

Offline jessmum46

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Re: 3.5 month old NWs are driving me mad! Please help!
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2014, 13:36:54 pm »
Sorry I've not been back for a few days, I'll try to answer your questions :)

It's ok to feed to sleep at genuine night feeds.  Mine have always dozed off and not had an issue with self-settling at other times.  The issue would be if you fed to sleep at every single NW, that could create a prop, but what you're doing sounds fine.

Do her nights vary depending on her daytime naps?

If you fed at 4am in the second scenario would she go straight back to sleep?

Personally I wouldn't wean night feeds at all until LO is well established on solids.  You are about to hit the 4m growth spurt so although LO may not be hungry in the morning right now, things could be very different in a week or two.  It means the EASY can get a bit messy but personally I would run with it for now.  My 6mo still has a night feed and I'm only now just thinking about starting to reduce it. He previously would have both sides, we are down to one side and I will probably go the route of reducing the time he feeds for if he doesn't start to drop it himself.  We are in the middle of teething chaos though so trying to wait until that settles a bit.

Bear in mind breastfed babies may not manage a 4h routine until on solids, so feed her sooner or offer some top up feeds if necessary.  My DD easily managed it but my DS - no way!  He's a hungry boy ;)

I hope that answers a few questions.  Please let me know if not.  Also just to say please do go to her if she wakes from naps or at night crying for you, don't watch the clock for 10 mins.  If it's a mantra or grumble that's totally fine of course, but if she is genuinely upset and you wait 10 mins, that is a form of CIO :(. Equally if it is a mantra or grumble, I would leave her indefinitely until she either settles or it escalates.  Huge apologies if I've misunderstood what you've said here, but just wanted to clarify for anyone else reading along x

Offline Natazha

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Re: 3.5 month old NWs are driving me mad! Please help!
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2014, 18:52:20 pm »
jessmum thank you so much for your reply!

at the moment, DD2 wakes up only twice a night and both times are feeds, so I am technically feeding her back to sleep for all her NWs. her nights don't seem to vary based on naps, BUT if she hasn't had good naps all day (rare), then yes she tends to wake up a little more.

You asked: If you fed at 4am in the second scenario would she go straight back to sleep? And yes, she does. Super easily. She always goes back to sleep when I feed her at a NW.

You said not to wean until she's on solids - thank you for confirming what I was thinking! It's SO helpful to have someone just echo my unsure thoughts with confidence! I hope were about to hit a growth spurt - I feel like we haven't had any although she is obviously growing. :) She's just a little one. :) I was also thinking of slowly reducing the time she feeds when we do cut out the NW.

Sorry to hear about your LO's teething - it sucks huh? I'm not looking forward to it at all!

You said: Bear in mind breastfed babies may not manage a 4h routine until on solids, so feed her sooner or offer some top up feeds if necessary.  When you say 'top ups' what do you mean? Do you BF again before a nap and after A time? Or do you pump and feed? And if so, when?

As far as CIO, we're not doing that at all. What I meant to say was when she wakes up from a nap or at night, I give her about 10 mins (usually she's 'calling' or mantra crying). If she's genuinely crying, I go to her immediately. :)

Just one more question for you - I'm torn about whether to do the DF and then maybe wake her up (like wake to sleep) at around 3am to feed her and hope that she stays down til 7ish and will take a full feed then. Or to just let her go without a DF and feed her twice when she wakes up at night, but typically this means that she wakes up for a feed around 5am and then is not hungry at all at 7ish and will only feed a little (about 10 mins) and then be starving before 3.5 hrs (the EASY we're on at the moment) is up for her next feed. If I go with scenario 2, then I'm considering doing a combined 2.5-3.5 hr routine where her second E is 2.5 hrs after her first but then all other Es are after 3.5 hrs. What do you think?

Offline jessmum46

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Re: 3.5 month old NWs are driving me mad! Please help!
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2014, 19:22:02 pm »
Sorry I've not been back for a while, how are things?