Advice on sleep for 8 week old!!!! (long!) — The Bump
Babies: 0 - 3 Months

Advice on sleep for 8 week old!!!! (long!)

We have been putting our little guy to sleep on his own since day one.  There were the usual times when family and friends would visit the first couple of weeks and hold him during nap time. But around two weeks we started trying to be diligent about putting him down for naps and not holding him.  This has never really worked for us, but I still keep trying because I don't want him to always get used to being held for naps.  Now his napping is worse than ever.  I will rock him until drowsy but as soon as I put him in his crib he will cry.  He is not soothed by our voices or patting…in fact, I think  this makes it worse.  He won't calm down until we pick him up, and then he will usually calm down and start falling asleep immediately.  But if we keep trying to put him down, he will end up getting so upset that he won't nap at all, and before you know its time for the next feeding…this throws off the whole day and he gets super grumpy, overstimulated, and over tired.  I believe that his sleep is important, especially at this age, so after he has missed one nap in a day, I don't let him miss another.  At that point, I will do whatever I need to get him to sleep for the rest of his naps…which means carrying him. Yesterday I did get him to sleep in his 4moms swing with white noise and a canopy over it to make it dark (I couldn't believe this actually worked!)  I know this inconsistency is probably confusing for him, but I'm not sure what else to do.  He will literally stay awake all day if I don't carry him!  At the same time, I want him to get used to sleeping in his crib.

At night time, he is a little better.  He will stay asleep in his crib for much longer.  However, it's clear that he associates being carried with falling asleep.  He wakes up 45 minutes after we put him to bed and 45 minutes after I put him down for each of his feedings.  After his 3am feeding, he wakes multiple times…usually every 10 minutes or so and never seems to go back into a deep sleep.  On an average night, he wakes 8-10 times.  I know that he will sleep better if he sleeps in bed with us, but that's just not something that my husband and I want to do.  No matter how tired I am, I continue to rock him and put him back to bed at night until 6am when it gets light outside.  At that point, he won't sleep in his crib anymore and I have accumulated about 3 hours of sleep…so then I hold him in the rocker and we both sleep until 8.  

We recently started using white noise, we swaddle him tightly, I don't change his diaper unless he poos (which he does at least once at night).  He definitely knows the difference between night and day.  At night he doesn't open his eyes at all, and I make sure to keep things dark and quiet.  During the day he eats every 2 hrs and 45 minutes.  At night, he goes about the same length of time, although I know he can go longer because he will go up to 4.5 hours if we hold him instead of putting him back in his crib.  I give him anti-gas drops every night at his 3am feeding because that is when he usually gets gassy.  I can tell when he is hungry and when he is gassy, so I don't think that that is why he wakes so often. On average, he wakes 8-10 times a night.

I'm not sure if I'm venting, looking for advice, or just looking to hear what has worked well for other parents…I guess I am just tired.  I feel like I' m missing something here.  He used to be at least a little better at sleeping, and now it seems to be getting worse. And no, i don't think it's a growth spurt…he already had his 6 week spurt and ate like crazy!  I feel like constantly putting him back in his crib to the point where he because so upset that he won't go back to sleep is affecting his attachment and trust in us.  I kind of don't think that he will be soothed by us just talking to him and patting him until he feels a sense of security, and it doesn't seem like he is at that point with us yet.  How do we change his association with being carried and sleep without letting him cry?  I am fine with letting my baby cry, but everything I have read says not to let them cry longer than 2-5 minutes at this age.  If I just snuggle him all night and day, I am afraid that he will never learn to sleep on his own.  I want to make sure he learns how to fall asleep on his own without neglecting him of the comfort that he needs.  I also know that my husband and I can't continue to get this little sleep forever.  Thanks so much for reading and any encouragement or helpful thoughts would be appreciated!  

Re: Advice on sleep for 8 week old!!!! (long!)

  • I agree with PP, it's much too early to start expecting that your LO develop these independent sleep habits. If it happens naturally, great. Otherwise, I wouldn't push it.

    Unfortunately, you are in the sleep deprivation stage of parenthood and it is what it is. 
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  • He's telling you that he needs motion to sleep - not necessarily that he has to be carried, so go with it. Use that swing as much as you need to! You can work on getting him out of the swing in a month or two when he doesn't need the motion to sleep anymore.

    You might also try a Rock N Play next to the crib. My LO sleeps so well in it that I'm having second thoughts about transitioning him to his crib already.

    Don't worry so much about bad habits right now. Babies change so quickly in the first year that what doesn't work this week might work next week. Once he gets another month or two older he'll probably be more receptive to the crib. I've been trying to get my LO to sleep in the crib for a couple of weeks now and some nights he's ok and some nights he won't have it. He's just getting to the point where the Rock N Play is too constricting for him, and I think in another week or two he'll be fully in his crib. 
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  • I was so there a couple of days ago! Like from the day we brought DD home. She wouldn't sleep unless it was on me or in bed with me. She would always get over tired and fussy by bed time. Whhat worked for us was we put her swing right next to my side of the bed ,and when I was sure she was asleep get on my knees and put her in the swing with it going. We did that for a couple o weeks then put her to sleep an place her in the swing without it moving. We used tthe same blanket to cover her up with as well so that it smelled like me. Eventually we started putting her in her crib for naps after we made sure she was out cold. Now we can put her in the crib and that's the only place she sleeps. I hope that helps! All baby's are different ,so even if it doesn't help I'm sure you'll figure out what's best for y'all
  • Do what your LO needs to get sleep. 8 weeks is incredibly small still.

    This. Your LO isn't learning anything right now, good or bad habits.

    I can't believe you've been trying something that obviously doesn't work for so long. You must be exhausted.

    Give the crib thing a break for a while. Try swings, or whatever thing your LO napped in the other day. If you think the baby will sleep better with you, then find a safe way to bed share.

    Having an 8 week old sleep with you doesn't mean he'll be in your bed til age 5. He just needs you right now.

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  • It's whatever works at this age. My LO is the same way with napping. I hold him for most naps but I have seen a huge improvement in him over the last week or so. He is 11 weeks and it seems like he is starting to fall asleep easier. He is a much happier baby also. Now I have even been successful with just laying next to him with white noise and he will fall asleep and if it's not working I just hold him. I haven't used any sleep training it just happened naturally. So I'm starting to think that it actually does get easier at 3 months like everyone says. Just hang in there.
  • My DS is 8 weeks and he pretty much needs to be held or right next to us to sleep. I'm just doing whatever helps everyone sleep and I'll worry about the rest later.
  • I started using some of the ideas from Tracy Hogg's baby whisperer book at 8 weeks. After three days she slept for five hours and now sleeps for at least four every night. Perviously she was nursed to sleep and woke 4-5 times a night. It might be something for you to look in to.
  • Thanks for the advice everyone.  As ridiculous as it sounds, I needed 10 people to tell me the same thing. I don't know why it was so hard for me  to let go of him sleeping on his own and in his crib.  Sometimes it seems like he has been with us for so long that we start to have unrealistic expectation for him…then I step back and realize that he is such a little guy still!  I've been holding him for naps when we are home.  When we are out and about, he sleeps just fine in his car seat. I give him extra snuggles and do skin-to-skin with him before bed. He has been sleeping just fine in his crib for the first half of the night.  After his 3am feeding, I usually hold him or he sleeps next to me until morning (not sure why he sleeps fine on his own for the first half of the night but not the second half…but I've just been going with it).  It's been working well and we have both been getting more sleep!
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