Desperate for sleep advice! HELP!

My preemie was born 6 weeks early and it 6 weeks old (or corrected age, 2 days)

I am completely drained and exhausted. He will start getting fussy in the evenings and typically will scream and cry from 12am-8am. The only thing that will soothe him is his pacifier, however, after he falls back to sleep it falls out of his mouth and he resumes screaming, which means, I stay up ALL night and morning putting it back in his mouth over and over and over and over again.

I've tried letting him cry it out, doesn't work. I've tried holding and rocking him and it works, but the very second I lay him down...screaming. We give him gas drops and get good burps out of him after he's eaten so I wouldn't think it's gas?...but who knows. I change him when he's dirty or wet. Today I decided I'd try to go the day without giving him his paci, rather see if he could be soothed by his glow worm. This seemed to work, however the second it stopped playing music (It plays for about 8 minutes) he's back to screaming and crying. He doesn't show any signs of being sick and his temperature has been normal also.
He IS a very gassy baby (passing gas and burping constantly) but I'm not sure what else we could do to help with that. When leaving the NICU he was on a 3 hour schedule so I've tried to keep that, however with all of this crying I've been feeding him sooner and more ml per bottle. He seems to suck it right down....almost to the point that I'm afraid I'm overfeeding him. (only done this a couple of times)



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Re: Desperate for sleep advice! HELP!

  • I'm sorry you're having a rough time. I don't think you can over feed a baby that young; he just won't eat if he's not hungry. Crying it out won't work on a baby that young because he hasn't yet developed ways to soothe himself. Possible reflux? If you lie down while holding him, does he cry or is he still calm? Our preemie twins loved the rock and play and the swing. They slept in those for months. Are you swaddling him? I wish I had better suggestions, but it sounds like you are caring for him as you should. Hang in there.

  • I agree that you can't overfeed.  Keep feeding.  If music soothes, look for something that plays all night.  If only holding works, call in family, friends, or a baby-sitter and sleep.  If you have a DH who can take off any time, ask him to and sleep.  With our preemie, she cried for about 2 months straight and the only thing we could do is hold her upright in our arms.  DH would leave work an hour early and get home at 5, we would eat take out, and then I would sleep until midnight or just before, when he would go to bed.  We had a vibrating bouncer that would sometimes work during the day so I could do laundry, and we'd let her sleep at night fastened into that when it seemed to help.  She had reflux, so getting on the right meds helped.  Her symptoms were arching her back, sometimes coughing when lying down, and crying.  Eventually also spitting up massively, but that was not the case at first.  

    My full term son is soo much easier.  Preemie moms deserve credit--it can be so much harder.  However, my son is only really into the pacifer if he is hungry, so I think you should give more in the bottle and feed more frequently just in case that is the issue.
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  • How long do you hold him upright after he eats? We had to hold our preemie upright for 30 minutes after she ate due to reflux.
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  • my two cents worth:

    any back arching with the crying?  Reflux doesn't always equal tons of spit-up  ....
    What about bowel movement issues... do they seem normal - regular timing and consistency? Just thinking that it may possibly be a formula/your diet (if bf'ing) sensitivity issue, at a long shot.. My little guy has severe reflux as well as dairy intolerance. At the pediatrician's suggestion, I recently tested him on Gerber Gentle to see if he's outgrown the sensitivity and he writhed and screamed for 3 hours after a bottle of it. So we are back to Alimentum until further notice.

    If Reflux is ruled out-I found a product in CVS or Walgreens that is called Colic Calm. But your LO may still be a little too young to try it out. It's a thick, tarry like goo-liquid that smells a little like charcoal. I think it's made by Hyland's but I could be wrong. But on the same shelf as their homeopathic meds for babies. One of my twins had a horrid "witching hour" and gripe water didn't touch it, but a coworker of hubby mentioned it worked for his baby, and it really helped my baby at that time. . It runs about $25 a small bottle and it will permanently stain clothing and sheets, so be careful about that if you do try it.

    We are all addicted to white noise machines around here. Seriously. It was the only thing that would help my second child sleep longer than an hour and a half during the night. She was such a light sleeper that any sound would startle her awake and screaming. She had a horrible time learning to soothe; she was about 20 months before she finally slept through the night. Thankfully, she is now one of my heaviest sleepers in the family.

     Definitely bring this up with the pediatrician, and soon!

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  • Wow I feel like I wrote this post myself samething happening to me . Could your baby have possible reflux ? Mine did and as soon as I got her on meds she got a tad better . I feel your pain it's so hard I cry so much . The exhaustion is so hard . Hugs to you
  • Oh, man I remember those days. I think it's pretty common. But we did buy a nice recliner so I could doze while sitting up holding him upright for most of the night. I am a very light sleeper though and wasn't worried about him falling down or something. I also ended up nursing pretty much all night and co sleeping but even with that from about 12 - 4 am I'd be in that recliner. Go to bed as early as you possibly can so you get some sleep. It seems like it'll never end but it will! 
  • This sounds so familiar. My baby was 5 1/2 weeks early and we're now only a little over a month adjusted age. We had the same issues. With the help of our pediatrician, we began putting rice cereal in feeds, started probiotics, and just began zantac. Things have improved slightly and we're now using a swing for sleeping upright. I also tend to slow the feeds over 1/2 and burp every ounce or so. Hang in there!
  • Have u tried baby wearing ? With my 36 weeker we did it when he was super fussy and he was quiet right down after he was we got him all snug in the moby wrap .. also could be reflux and the gas bothering lo.. hang in there mama it does get easier just takes time .. also cry it out this young I would not recommend as this is the time they build trust w mom and they don't know how the self sooth yet ..
  • DD was also born at 33 weeks. I also feel like this could have been us. A lot of PP already touched upon a lot of the things that helped us get through it.

    - baby wearing: DD needed to be close and snug. It can be a big shock for LO's leaving the safety and comfort of the womb. Even DH wore her.
    - swaddle: we had to use a double swaddle method to get it tight enough and for it to stay on. But similarly to baby wearing, young babies feel more safe and secure in a swaddle.
    - white noise: we still use it and found that it's been really helpful when we're traveling too. It's something familiar and soothing.
    - rock n play and co-sleeping: DD would sleep in the RNP for short periods. The incline helps with gas and reflux. I would sleep when she did. Sometimes this meant going to sleep at 7:30. When she woke and needed a feeding, I would bring her into bed with me and BF laying down. For months, she would latch on and off all night. It wasn't great sleep for me but it was something. I took her out of the swaddle when co-sleeping.
    - feeding: dd was on a schedule at NICU as well. But we really wanted to EBF so when she got home we fed on demand. So for you, maybe more frequent feedings? Or take a look at your diet if BF or formula? Gripe water didn't work for us but worked for others I know.
    - bouncing: to get DD to sleep, we held her while bouncing/sitting on a yoga ball. The motion helped and sitting on the ball made it possible to keep doing it for a while.
    -CIO: we didn't give that a go until DD was 8 months. And we did a modified version of it. Listening more for how she was crying and not necessarily timing it. In the end, she really didn't sleep through the night until about 13 months.

    Good luck to you and hope you can get some rest!
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