Author Topic: Newborn evening fussiness and independent sleep  (Read 821 times)

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Offline ameliebob

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Newborn evening fussiness and independent sleep
« on: February 28, 2016, 02:27:08 am »
Hi  :) I'm starting to think about easy routine as my LO is now over 3 weeks old (I know it's so young :D )
We're not on a schedule yet but tracking down her patterns for now and here's what it roughly looks like

08:00 e
08:20 a
09:00 s
12:00 e
12:20 a
13:15 s
16:00 e
16:20 a
This is where the third nap should occur but just won't!!
19:00/19:30 e
20:00 s
00:00 e then s
04:00 e then s

We are usually getting a very good morning nap (3hr) and a pretty good afternoon nap (2 to 3hr) but she just won't fall asleep for the late afternoon nap and is awake for more than 3 hours before falling asleep exhausted for the night. She's been diagnosed with reflux and is bottle fed with alimentum milk.

We swaddle and have white noise for sleep, pacifier and rocking for falling asleep but the pacifier is often spited out while she's still awake

I try to put her down drowsy but awake but she then she fully awake and won't settle with ssh-pat
I know she's still little but I want her to have good habits and I'm lost at when to start.

For now we are having a real hard time getting her to sleep for the night and for the late afternoon nap. As I'm typing this it's been over 5 hours of awake time and she-just-won't-sleep. In fact she seems to not be able to *stay* asleep so she's definitely overtired  ;)

Any advice? How do you cope with that late evening fussiness?


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Re: Newborn evening fussiness and independent sleep
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2016, 09:44:26 am »
This evening fussiness is so common, often called "the witching hour" but seems to go on for several hours not just one!
I know you want to move more towards the EASY routine and independent sleep but personally I'd hold (or sling) for that last nap of the day, even a CN, just to get some sleep in rather than everyone becoming fraught with this each evening.
In my experience babies form habits for each sleep so if you continue with the great nap 1 and nap 2 these are not likely to be disturbed by you APOPing an evening nap.  The reflux might be more bothersome in the evening (I found this with mine too although he was not diagnosed until much later) so could well need additional support and comfort.  Keep in mind that when you comfort her through the tricky part of the day this adds to her trust in you and the bond between you which in turn helps to give LO the confidence to move towards independent sleep.  You might decide for instance to do a 40 min CN in arms and then attempt to put down and shush/pat in her cot, or the other way around, attempt the cot nap for 40 mins and if she doesn't go down offer an APOP nap in arms/sling.   A 'middle of the road' route might be to get her fully asleep in arms before putting down (continue shush/pat in the cot right through to deep sleep) rather than trying to put down drowsy - just for this last nap of the day where she is not managing so well.

The other things I notice is her E times are quite far apart, as you are following her lead on times I assume they are 4hrs apart due to her long naps.  In the evening she might be ready for some 'tanking up' or 'cluster feeds' before her night sleep.  If she is hungry, even at 1 or 2 hrs (I think you will know the difference between hunger and snacking as she will either take a good amount or not), it's fine to feed her, it might help with that evening fussiness.

I began EASY just a little later, around 4 wks, I'd been working slowly and gently towards independent sleep before that too but without the guidance of the EASY routine and BW methods.  It does take a great deal of time in those early days, exhausting but worth it IMO, and always moving in that slow gradual way towards confidence for her to self settle :)


Offline ameliebob

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Re: Newborn evening fussiness and independent sleep
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2016, 12:27:39 pm »
Thank you so much for that fast answer! She finally fell asleep around 23:00 yesterday swaddled with pacifier next to me in bed  :o GOD I can't understand co-sleeping!! I sleep so lightly when she's WITH me I'm exhausted  ::) anyways, at least it's over for now. We'll try something else to soothe her tonight loll  :D

I'll give a try to the sling today and see how it goes. I think we are missing her tired clues for the last nap as it's dinner time and bedtime for my DS who is 13 months old.

Yes we follow her lead for the 4 hour routine. It's a general schedule as she sometimes drinks every 3.5 hour too. Yes she kind of does those cluster feeds or it is comfort feeding I'm not sure as she drinks only a little (1 or 2 oz instead of the usual 4) and most the time she throws up soon after that and then she settles (that's what happened yesterday!  :P )

For the two other naps, she doesn't go to sleep independantly though. I swaddle her and I have to bounce or rock a little, she drifts easily to dreamland and then I place her in her Moses basket before she's in deep sleep. I try to put her down as soon as she's peaceful and sleepy instead of awake but drowsy lol


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Re: Newborn evening fussiness and independent sleep
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2016, 13:15:23 pm »
A gentle reminder that co-sleeping is not recommended for reasons of SIDS risk.  If you need to hold her to sleep try to stay awake so that you can get her back in her cot as soon as possible rather than nodding off yourself. I know it's tiring!

For the two other naps, she doesn't go to sleep independantly though. I swaddle her and I have to bounce or rock a little, she drifts easily to dreamland and then I place her in her Moses basket before she's in deep sleep. I try to put her down as soon as she's peaceful and sleepy instead of awake but drowsy lol
It really is a gradual process with such little ones.  I often spent a loooong time helping my Ds to sleep but always with the aim of getting him down (didn't always manage but mostly and generally moving in that direction).  although they are so little, mine was self settling by about 8wks when I think of it now seems impossible but it's true. There are of course many times since when he has needed additional help, as I'm sure you know from your DS :)

These are still very early days, you already know that.  The first 4 wks we barely left the house and really felt like we were trapped with this (lovely but extremely tiring) little bundle. BT for us was so late we wondered if it was even worth getting into bed!  It does improve though, and you are doing great already :)  Well done Mummy :)


Offline ameliebob

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Re: Newborn evening fussiness and independent sleep
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2016, 20:12:03 pm »
Thank you for the advice on the sling! It's been 2 days I wear her in the moby and she slept for at least one hour. The witching hour went on for only 2 to 3 hours instead of the usual 4 to 5!

I'm wondering about something else ; today she went to slept by herself for both naps but she kept awaking every 30 min or so. I turned up the volume of white noise and she went back to sleep but after 2 times I had to hold her for the rest of the nap.  ??? What's causing this you think? Her a times were both of an hour each, like usual


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Re: Newborn evening fussiness and independent sleep
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2016, 20:33:18 pm »
Good to hear the witching hour(s) have reduced a bit and somewhat easier for you.

It's normal for LOs to wake throughout their nap, then either call out for help to resettle or begin to self settle, even a LO who can self settle will still wake. If she is calling for help then respond as you did with the white noise or a hand on her, some patting etc, pick up if needed, if she is just laying quietly I would leave her to it even if you see she is awake, she will either fall back to sleep eventually or will call for help eventually.
It's likely too early to tell but some LOs have a 30 min sleep cycle instead of the common 40/45 min.  As you continue to get to know her you might see this is the case.  If it is adapt all future advice to the 30 min cycle.  It could just be that she is jolting or sleeping lightly, waking up is actually safer so although it might get all us mums in a tizz it's just normal.


Offline ameliebob

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Re: Newborn evening fussiness and independent sleep
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2016, 21:20:39 pm »
Thank you I'll keep doing the soothing when she wakes up then. It's hard to do because I still have a 13 month old toddler to take care of at the same time.


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Re: Newborn evening fussiness and independent sleep
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2016, 20:13:28 pm »
Yes. Don't drain yourself with the resettling, you can only do what you can do xx


Offline ameliebob

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Re: Newborn evening fussiness and independent sleep
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2016, 19:12:58 pm »
Is it normal that ssh pat doesn't work? I try to avoid putting her down with her paci but my hubby just goes for the easy way - he let her fall asleep with it. But I'm the one who has to deal with the middle-of-the-nap-wake-up-why-is-my-pacifier-not-in-my-mouth-anymore. Trying the sh-pat.
On the other hand, I pop it out when she starts to relax and gets drowsy (i found out she had a strong need of suction so she gets the paci for the wind down) but once she doesn't have it she gets fully awake and i sh-pat for over 30 minutes and we ended up with an overtired baby that won't go to sleep! She doesn't even relax with the sh-pat!! What should I do?


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Re: Newborn evening fussiness and independent sleep
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2016, 19:40:27 pm »
When you remove the paci and then she wakes and gets fussy again you can put it back in for another suck until drowsy again and then remove again, repeat repeat, this is the BW way, using shush/pat at the same time. But it's going to take up your time and energy, it is not a quick process to sleep train. Putting her down with it will make a paci prop habit but there are also benefits to using a paci, SIDS guides say that it is safer to use a paci but that you shouldn’t cold turkey drop a paci before 6 months...things to think about.
Shush/pat isn't necessarily a magic calming solution but should provide some comfort especially from being in your arms too - don't forget she can still cry even if she is comforted because she is annoyed that you took the paci away.

Maybe have a look at Dr Harvey Karps 5 s (from Happiest baby on the block, if I remember correctly the 5 S are swaddle, side, swing (rock), shush, suck (I saw him use a finger) - each bit is only used as much as needed and reduce reduced), it fits pretty well with the BW methods. With Karps there is rocking involved which Tracy wasn’t a huge fan of although she did say in one of the books if you are going to rock then rock forwards to backwards rather than side to side as it is more like the movement in the womb.  A few of us here used Karps 5 S to wind down, for me it was before I discovered BW, I remembered seeing Karp on a TV programme and he appeared to work miracles on crying new borns.  There are videos on-line.
My DS responded so much better to rocking than patting, I later discovered he had silent reflux and patting can aggravate that, so it was rocking all the way for us. I used it in the same way patting is used (begin in arms, move to cot and continue in cot), lots to calm then reduced and reduced until LO is sleeping alone.
Might be worth a look, it's particularly effective for very young babies.


Offline ameliebob

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Re: Newborn evening fussiness and independent sleep
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2016, 22:52:40 pm »
Thank you for your helpful post!! Yes i have the happiest baby on the block book ;)
We do the 5s for wind down (sometimes we skip an S when she wants it - the sucking) and she also have silent reflux. How do you keep rocking her in the crib?? She also prefers sleeping on her side she screams when she's put on her back


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Re: Newborn evening fussiness and independent sleep
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2016, 08:41:42 am »
How do you keep rocking her in the crib?
Mine was swaddled and when I put him down in the cot (I had a travel cot in the family room in those early weeks and a hammock, where he was not swaddled, for night sleep but I also rocked in the cot at 9 months+ when he was transferred to a proper cot-bed) so I put a hand on the 'bundle' like the nappy area and used a firm hand and just moved it back and forth a bit, it is very small rocky movement, at times almost a vibration rather than a rock, bit like how I imagine it feels in a car seat.  it doesn't take much hand movement to produce movement in a little bundle. Mine slept on his back (he would have chosen to tummy sleep but my fear of SIDS kept him on his back) in those early months but later, when he was much bigger, in a cot and could turn to the side himself I put my hand on his hip and rocked forward back there.
That sounds like I rocked for months on end, I didn't, but of course they all have phases of needing extra help (illness, teething, developmental leaps, SA...) so it was this type of rocking I returned to rather than patting.  You can produce a rock motion by rubbing with your hand but usually my hand would be firm.
Our wind down always included rocking, with a song (so kind of dancing) and then I'd transfer him to the cot and either help with rocking if needed or leave him.

I didn't have a wedge to raise the cot until mine was older but our hammock gives a raised sleeping angle which helps with reflux, have you considered using a wedge in the cot?. He found it more comfortable to sleep there.  It also provides a gentle movement if baby moves or kicks their legs or startles/jolts, perhaps not at 3-4 wks but when they are a bit heavier so that was useful too.  I put him in without rocking when I could, so the hammock was still rather than rocking, this helps to reduce and wean.

One thing I know I did wrong was I did the 5 S with him on the wrong side, it is supposed to be the LO's left side which keeps reflux down and lets gas out, I didn't realise that and held him swaddled on the right side instead...although he went down on his back when I was teaching him to lay down and sleep.

I'm really not sure I could have been so successful if I'd had another child to care for at the same time, I was able to put my entire attention into DS and gentle sleep training, it did take lots of time and effort but ultimately it 'gave back' that time because he was an independent sleeper early on.


Offline ameliebob

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Re: Newborn evening fussiness and independent sleep
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2016, 14:02:30 pm »
Good news! It's been three days in row that we worked really hard to get her to sleep by 7. First night took 1.5hour, 2nd night 1 hour and yesterday 45 min. And guess what? She slept til her 11:00 feed! I kept her awake for about 2 hours before her BT routine and I think it may be too much as she still have trouble settling down. Will try less awake time for the days to come and we will see (fingers crossed!!)


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Re: Newborn evening fussiness and independent sleep
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2016, 18:26:21 pm »
Great news :)