Why is my son not sleeping? Help! — The Bump
May 2016 Moms

Why is my son not sleeping? Help!

dshannahdshannah member
500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary Photogenic
edited July 2016 in May 2016 Moms
My son is now 11 weeks old and he is still not sleeping more than 3 hours at a stretch.  He wakes up at night gassy and hungry and fussy about his diaper (disposables at night). But honestly, he doesn't seem miserable: he just seems up! Sometimes he eats an ounce before drifting off again, sometimes he gives a small burp and is fine. Sometimes I pick him up and he doesn't need anything--I just put him down in a different bassinet (in the living room, where I am sleeping) and he's straight back to sleep for another hour.

He doesn't have his days and nights switched, because when he wakes up during the day he wants to play and when he wakes up at night he just wants to go to sleep. He is mostly bottle-fed, and while we have tried feeding him a lot before bedtime he just doesn't eat much when we try to mimic cluster feeding. We give him gas drops at every feeding and have tried generic GentleEase as his formula (though he still eats Similac advance and Similac for Supplementation on occasion). He sleeps in a separate room from my husband and me, with white noise playing and in near-complete darkness.

We have a bedtime routine (starting between 8 and 9, finishing by 10.30): bathtime, massage, bottle and storytime.  He always goes down for 2-3 hours after that, but then he wakes up and is up every 2 hours after that.

Any thoughts?

Re: Why is my son not sleeping? Help!

  • Could he be overtired? I know when my LO is awake too long she doesn't sleep as well. If I can coordinate the right amount of time between her last nap and bedtime she sleeps great. He could also be having trouble going back to sleep through sleep cycles? Maybe give him a few minutes and see if he settles and puts himself back to sleep.
  • DD2 can only handle about 60-90 minutes of awake time before she is ready for a nap during the day or before bedtime. So I'm wondering if like PP suggested, your LO is up too long and is overtired? How long is he up before the bedtime routine starts at 8/9? Maybe you could try starting the whole thing earlier and try to have no more than 90 minutes of awake time during the day and befor bedtime so he isn't overtired at night and can't sleep long stretches through the night?
  • He used to be a very good napper, but now he has trouble going down and staying down for any stretch of time. So I am sure he is now overtired, but it hasn't changed his nighttime sleep patterns at all:(

    I usually let him fuss for a minute or so, but I will pick him up if he seems on his way to a meltdown. Mostly because I don't want to wake the neighbors, with whom we share a (thin) wall. Should I let him go into meltdown mode and then wait a minute? 
  • A few possibilities/ questions:

    -Like @meggyhoppy said, sometimes too long of an awake time during the day can mess with their night sleep. This doesn't seem to kick in with my babies until a little later (maybe 4 months?) but obviously every baby is different. 

    -How hard/ loud does he cry when he wakes up at night? My daughter definitely wakes up every few hours and grunts, but doesn't cry at all, so I just let her do her thing (I actually sleep with earplugs in so I can ignore it) and she goes back to sleep after a bit. My son would actually wake up and cry pretty hard for about 30 seconds occasionally, then settle down on his own and go right back to sleep. It was really hard for me to lay in bed and not jump right up, but he often settled down if I gave him one minutes to figure it out on his own. 

    -The less desirable possibility- he might just not be there developmentally yet. I had a girlfriend whose baby was born at full term and healthy, same week my son was born, and my son was sleeping through the night at 8 weeks and her daughter didn't go longer than 3 hours until she was 4 months old. She said it was so hard for her to hear every one of our friends' babies starting to do longer and longer stretches and just be wondering why her's wasn't. In the long run her daughter ended up being a fine sleeper, it just took much longer for her to get those longer chunks consolidated. 

    I hope something shakes loose soon!

  • I'll try letting him cry a little longer. If it's a full on cry, I usually get him right away.  If it's whimpering, or tentative crying, I wait. 

    But it is reassuring to hear that my son is  not the only kiddo not sleeping at this age,  and that it might get better. Crossing fingers!

     As for daytime sleeping, we are following the 90 minute sleep cycle and giving them a chance to nap every 70 to 90 minutes after he's woken up from a nap.  He used to sleep for long stretches, even up to three hours, but the last three days he hasn't gone more than 20 minutes per nap:(  we haven't changed anything about his routine, so we are baffled as to why he stop sleeping during the day all of a sudden. But it hasn't changed his nighttime sleeping at all, which is weird.
  • Well, his daytime sleep sounds like classic behavior for a baby his age- a LOT of babies hit a point around 8-12 weeks where they start napping for either 20 minutes or 40 minutes. Every. Single. Nap. It's infuriating, especially if it takes some effort to get them down for a nap. My son did it from about 8 weeks to maybe 4ish months? He started to take occasional long naps at maybe 15 weeks, and consolidated fully to all naps being 1-2 hours around 4-5 months. But I will say that if he continues to only take 20 minute naps, the 90 minute sleep cycle thing might not work, because the 20 minutes might not be restful enough to handle being awake that long- which could actually end up affecting his night sleep negatively. 

  • @bellodomani *Thank you!*

    I somehow haven't encountered that "nap regression" in anything I've read or anyone I've spoken to--I'm so glad it's normal! 

    *AND* it is now 5am here and he has not "gotten up" once!  He went to bed at 8.30 and slept until midnight, when I gave him a bottle (he ate 3.5 oz). He was up again at 2 and at 4.15, and both times I let him full-on cry for about 30 seconds before going into his room, at which point, before picking him up, I tried giving him a pacifier. It worked, both times, and he went right back to sleep. I am now up and ready to get my day going--I haven't gotten this much sleep in months!

    I hope it lasts!!!!
  • We don't usually get longer than 2 or 3 hour stretches here, either. We've had a few 4 or 5 hour stretches, but I don't expect them. I'm not sweating it. He'll sleep longer when he is ready! 
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  • salbbsalbb member
    250 Love Its 10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited July 2016
    Kiddo here just approaching 15 weeks (early bird) and is just now sleeping through. Believe me I was looking everything up from week 10 as it felt like everyone had sleepier babies so just to say keep the faith and it will happen and it's amazing!!! 
    (And then you get sad that they are growing up too quickly !! Why is everything double edged with this?!)

    edited a million times as bump kept eating my words...
  • @salbb Preach! He's generally less fussy now, and of course my reaction is "He doesn't need me anymore!" :lol:
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  • Sounds like it's getting better! For whst it's worth, LO only started sleeping through the night when I stopped room sharing with him. Per MIL, the smell of my milk was likely what kept waking him up and making him hungry.
  • Is he swaddled? My LO loves to sprawl out and hates the swaddle but she won't sleep for more than an hour without it. Started swaddling her and she sleeps about 6 hours up front.
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  • Everything about this post is exactly where we are at right now. I was logging on to literally write something very similar. My DS is 12 weeks and all of a sudden his 1-3 hour naps during the day just vanished. He sleeps for maybe 20-40 minutes but he goes a good 2-3 hours in between those naps during the day. He's just wide awake. We alternate between mat time, story time, going for a walk, tummy time, etc. to entertain him and get his brain working during those long awake times but it's a killer.

    We also try the bed time routine anywhere from 9 on. We don't bathe him every night. It's usually every 2-3 nights, but he gets put into pajamas, we read a book and he gets a bottle. Unfortunately last night we couldn't actually get him "down" until 12:30! He was then wide awake at 3am and just wants to be held. Because I had to go back to work already and need to get sleep we started putting him in bed with us where we can usually get another few hours of sleep out of him. I hate myself for resorting to sleeping with him, but I'm exhausted and it's what is working right now.

    We're really hoping to have him fully in his crib by the end of the summer, but it's not a fun adjustment for any of us it seems.

    I'm hoping this phase passes quickly even though I love all of the interactions and his new found alertness, I'm just exhausted!
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  • SORRY FOR OT! @KDennis202 check your PMs :)
  • @KDennis202 sorry  you are going through this too! 

     We had one great night, and then a not so great night  and his naps are all over the place again:(

    Letting him cry very briefly has gotten me more sleep,  since sometimes he does actually setitle himself.

    But those long stretches during the day where I have to figure out how to keep the baby happy when he won't go down for a nap even though he is clearly tired--so rough. I hear you:(
  • The nap fighting/short naps suck, especially since they're cranky and it takes a lot of effort to keep them entertained.  My daughter was a 20-40 minute napper starting around 1 month all the way until almost 7 months (and she would fight like crazy to avoid going down), then she started doing longer stretches during the day on her own.  I think she took waaaaaay longer than most to get into a rhythm.  Hang in there, it'll get better!
  • DS slept through the night!!!! Twice!!!! In a row!!!!!!!!!!!

    We are on vacation with DH's family in a cabin in Michigan, so I don't know if it's the cold air, the bare bones PnP, the screeching wildlife, or something else entirely, but OMG I am through the freaking roof. 

    I hope it sticks! And lasts longer than vacation does....
  • I have a question somewhat related to this thread. 

    My LO is 14 weeks and was sleeping through the night consistently for about 8 weeks straight. Suddenly in the last few days he wakes up every two to three hours again and all he wants is to cuddle. The problem is, as soon as I put him back in his bed he wakes up again. So when he does wake up it's a 1-3 hour game of trying to get him back to bed. I'm a SAHM and he is my only little so in theory I can deal with his fussy sleep pattern, but I'm exhausted! I miss my 7-8 hours of sleep! Anyone have tips to get him back to sleep and successfully put him down without waking him?
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