Helping a 10-week-old infant (and parents) sleep at night

This is such a big and potentially controversial issue in the parenting world, but I’m curious where the Dopers stand on this issue.

Our 10-week-old Boy 2.0 seems to have crested his colicky phase, and is ( :::crossing fingers::: ) establishing more sane, parent-free patterns during the day. Night, however, is getting worse.

He tends to put up an overtired fight starting around 7:15pm or so; he wants to nurse, he wants to be held, he wants rocked, he wants NONE OF THIS, thank you! WAAAAHHH! WAAAAAAHH! WAAA–thud Then, he’s out until midnight-ish, when he wakes to feed. He eats, then snoozes lying on his side next to me in bed. Problem is, the last few nights, he won’t sleep unless he has a boob in his mouth (I’m sure a lot of you Dopers sympathize), which means I have t be on my side, which gets old (and painful) after a while. He fusses, he squirms, he flails, he scratches (accidentally) with those obscenely sharp wittle nails of his. Last night, I managed to pacify him by faking him out with a pacifier (briefly); that held until next fuss cycle. That time around, though, he wouldn’t sleep until he was belly-down on my chest and I rocked side to side; that’s how both of us wound up sleeping. A few hours later, he was pissed again, so I offered the breast; he nursed, then got mad until I put him a little more on his side. I know we’re supposed to lay babies on their backs to sleep, but he HATES that and usually winds up sleep very briefly, or not at all.

I learned my lesson from my first–I thought he was hungry, when in fact he as dependent on the boob for sleep. Weaning him of that was awful. Right now, it seems his little brother is following in his footsteps; I don’t think Boy 2.0 is doing a whole lot of eating when he latches at night.

He is healthy, was 7lbs 5oz at birth, and 12lbs 14oz at his 2 month appointment. He has to be over 14lbs by now.

I espoused the attachment parenting thing with my first (though never really the co-sleeping); with this one, the colic has me thinking sleep training ain’t so bad. It’s not like I haven’t heard him cry. :rolleyes:

I bought the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child and have been skimming it. The tome is HUGE, which is a bit rough with a young infant and preschooler in the house. If any of you use this book, please point out key parts I’m not to miss.

I also have Dr. Sears Baby Book, What to Expect the First Year, and * Happiest Baby on the Block* from my first bout of parental insomnia.

So Dopers, where do you stand? Cry it out? Co-sleep? Somewhere inbetween? Somewhere off the page? Do share.

My wife and I are big advocates of Baby Wise. Our 12 week old daughter was sleeping through the night (10-11 hours) in her own bed with the use the steps within this book. We didn’t and don’t rock her to sleep, we didn’t and don’t give her a bottle to take to bed. She’s almost three now, and has never slept in our bed. She puts herself to sleep and is not afraid of the dark or being left alone. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

I think if he is not hungry , in need of a diaper change, or in pain, it’s OK to let him cry for a while, but that won’t help you sleep. I’m not a fan of Babywise.

I’m a fan of the Ferber method at this point. I’d like to have seen you teach him to comfort himself and get to sleep without the rocking, holding, boob, etc., when you first brought him home, but what’s done is done. (Not a lecture, sorry… just an observation.) Now, or soon enough, you’re going to be at a juncture where you’ll have to decide how you’re going to handle his bedtimes- get him to sleep or teach him to get himself to sleep. Keep in mind that the way you handle the bedtime will also greatly influence what goes on in the middle of the night. If he’s taught to comfort himself and get himself to sleep, then he will be able to do the same in the middle of the night. Little dude still is entitled to get up for food in the middle of the night, but after 6 months at the latest, no baby needs to eat in the night. I wish you a lot of luck and nerves of steel, whichever route you choose.

How long did you say this has been going on? Is there any way he’s on a growth spurt or maybe coming down with something? Our daughter’s one-month growth spurt lasted about a week; this latest one lasted about a day. I guess what I’m saying is that not all growth spurts last the same amount of time, so it could be that. (I couldn’t figure out what the heck was wrong with our kid until I realized that she was suddenly too long for her clothing.)

Anyway, do what feels right to you. Our doc told me it was ok to let my daughter cry when she was 2 months if I felt comfortable with it (I believe her exact comment was, “They have less stamina now.”), but said that if I didn’t, don’t. This is coming from the same woman who advised me to just have our son sleep with us when he was going through a particularly bad phase. (If I haven’t mentioned it before, I LOVE my kids’ pediatrician - she’s the only person who’s never made me feel bad about a parenting choice.)

I know that’s no help at all, but I don’t think there’s any right answer that works for everyone. Just go down your list of probably causes and responses and you’ll find what works. Then it’ll change all over again in a week anyway. :slight_smile:

Good luck!

If you will excuse me for a moment . . .

No, NO, NO!


Babywise is a dangerous and untested intervention that was created by people who have no training or expertise in infant development or medicine. It has caused cases of failure to thrive, and contradicts just about everything we know about the normal biological drives of infants, which makes a weird kind of sense since it was created by fundamentalist Christians who may question evolution.

I am not against sleep training and have done it myself, but the Ezzos are just ignorant whackadoodles who are a danger to children.

Weissbluth isn’t great, in my opinion. He takes a very “scare-tactic” approach, threatening that if you don’t follow his advice, your kid will be an insomniac for life. None of which is supported by any research whatsoever. And he advocates just dropping your kid and leaving them no matter how long they cry, which I think puts too much stress on the baby and the parents, and is just heartless and antithetical to attachment with your baby.

Three good things I found in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child - ultra early bedtime, early naptime, and taking them out shortly after breakfast for exercise, fresh air, and sunshine. Other than that, chuck the book.

Pantley has some interesting ideas, and what I did was an extremely gentle version of Ferber.

Full disclosure: there’s not much research out there at all on how to help babies sleep and what’s healthy and safe.

Most important thing: most resources I have seen say you shouldn’t attempt sleep training until your baby is at least 5 months old. Young infants just need you too much, and are too bad at regulating their own biological functions to be left for any long period. At this age, you’re usually looking at 3-4 hour blocks of sleep, max. It sucks, but it passes.

I empathize - we were zombies who barely had the power of speech by the time we Ferberized our younger daughter. If I were to have more children, I’d act before it got that bad. But yeah, the first few months just blow.

I agree with this: I am not against sleep training and have done it myself, but the Ezzos are just ignorant whackadoodles who are a danger to children.

So that said, have you tried Happiest Baby on the Block? Out of all of the sleep books I’ve read, this was the best. And his Toddler book is awesome as well.

For my kids the important thing about sleep was being ok with the baby being a little bit bored. If I could hear fussing and swoped in too fast, the never slept. But once I got ok with them just complaining a bit, then they’d eventually drop off.

Good luck, sleep is just about the toughest issue to deal with in that first year.

Call Grandma!!

Does putting him in a rocker bed and rocking it at 6:30 work? It’s what worked with The Niece (who is an early sleeper).

Don’t worry about the sleeping position. Some kids can sleep face up or face down or on their side, some have a clear preference. Whichever works for yours.

Baby Wise sounds like what my mother put us all through until the pediatrician told her “Jesus, woman, if she’s hungry after 3 hours do not keep her crying for one, FEED HER!”

Listen to Unauthorized Cinnamon, for she is wise.

Other than that, I just want to say:

Huge sympathies. This is a really sucky stage. And just to make you really happy, with my own kids it got worse before it got better :eek: (our nadir was about the 7-8 month mark)

Also, I’ve known at least three babies who were Dedicated Tummy Sleepers, and their parents pretty much had to just give in and let them do it. Aint none of them dead yet ;). Not that the anti-SIDS campaigns are wrong to recommend against it, but as far as risk factors go it’s not the biggest (that would be smoking) and give it a few more weeks and Boy 2.0 may even be able to flip over by himself anyway.

I have a 6 month old daughter and a 2 yr old son - co-sleep. definitely!

We’ve always slept better with the babies in the bed (babies included). I keep a bassinet beside the bed, when baby is good and asleep I’ll put her there and she sleeps for a good chunk of time. Once the baby wakes up, she comes to bed with us and stays there. The toddler goes to sleep in his bed now (never really used a crib and went straight to a big bed) and when he wakes up and he comes in and goes back to sleep. Works great for us.

I’ve been incredibly lucky that my 3 month old is good at self settling - but some things that I recall did work for us at 10 weeks (I have her in a bassinette next to our bed, and feed on demand).

She tended to cluster feed, and would be attached to either boob between 6-9 most evenings - I finally worked out it was a comfort thing, and a pacifier worked.

Try another pacifier - she loves Avent, hates Nuk. I also sometimes have to give it a couple of goes (in my head it’s because it’s too cold) before she’ll take it.

Do you swaddle? That worked really well for me, although now at almost 16 weeks she can roll over now so it’s not safe.

I had good results with Happiest Baby for settling, and others I know recommend Save Our Sleep(I like the concept as a first time mum because it gives me a rough idea of how much sleep she needs at different times, but not that it’s so rigid. I let her feed and sleep when she wants - just encourage it if I think she’s due).

Have you tried heating his bed with a wheatbag (not to leave with him) so that it’s warm when you put him down? Also, sleeping with his bedding can give it your smell so he thinks he’s with you. I’ve ordered myself a cuski sleep comforterto begin to wean her off the pacifier - this is meant to work well for some people.

Are his naps in the day long enough? I heard that sleep breeds sleep - if he’s only getting short 45 min naps during the day (only 1 sleep cycle), he’s probably overtired at night, which may make it harder to get him to go down. She’s having 2hrs in the morning, 2 in the early afternoon and a nap around 4-5. I took lots of long walks which seemed to help settle her.

At 10 weeks a dream feed might work as well? I put her down around 7pm, and dream feed around 10.30 - this fills her up so that she can get through to anywhere between 4-7am.

If none of this helps, I’ve heard good things also about Baby Love from the mums in my mothers’ group, and also there are some good articles from a NZ site called Sleep Store.

In terms of cry it out - from what I’ve read(PDF), babies under 3-6 months are too young to ‘learn’ not to cry, so I don’t let her go very long without coming to her (although I don’t lift her out, just settle with a hand patting to heart beat rate) - it’s that which will build trust and security making self-settling as an older baby easier.

Good luck, and I hope you’re doing OK - while I think this motherhood thing is so much less mentally taxing and stressful than my job, the emotional side can be devastating. Keep reaching out for support.

I never ever let my child cry it out, especially because it went against every instinct I had as a mother. Later I read Harvard study about the consequences of letting a baby cry-it-out. Here’s a recap:

To me, it sounds like your son is going through a typical growth spurt. Do you have a sling you can nurse him in so you don’t have to be lying down?

Two words: Miracle Blanket

Josie was sleeping through the night at six weeks with it.

If you’ve never had your child sleep in your bed, you are missing out on what is truly one of the simplest joys in life.

We used the “go through the checklist of things that could be wrong, and then let them cry themselves to sleep” method on our daughters. Is she fed? Check. Clean diaper? Check. No fever? Check. Gas? Check. Room not too warm/cold? Check. After that, we’d leave her in her crib, turn a nightlight and some soft music on, and let her cry. If it lasted for more than 5 minutes, we’d go to the door and sooth her with words, or stand by her crib for a couple of minutes and rub her back. If that didn’t calm her down, we’d pick them up, rock 'em a bit until they calmed down, and put them back in the crib. Rinse and repeat. We found the longer we did this, it became less and less common to have to pick them up.

Don’t get me wrong, it was painful to just let them cry. There were times where my wife and I would just sit outside their doors listening to them, but we supported each other in our decision to not run to them with every whimper and rock them to sleep.

Both of our daughters were sleeping soundly at about 7 weeks with only minimal fussing right when we but them to bed. We’d have to wake them for feedings during the night.

Meh. It worked for us.

I know this is a very touchy subject for some people, but if you consider cosleeping, please look into it from both sides. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission does not recommend cosleeping, and the American Academy of Pediatrics agrees. There were 515 deaths of infants between 1990 and 1997 directly caused by cosleeping. Sure, your baby *probably * won’t die from it- if you feel comfortable doing it, by all means do it, but I sure wouldn’t. Here’s an article about it.

Why thank you!

And I tend to agree - I was paranoid with my girls, but if I had another, I think I might just let her sleep on her tummy. If you don’t smoke, use a firm mattress, no covers or soft toys, breastfeed, and sleep in the same room, you’re using so many precautions, it might be worth the risk. N.B. this goes against all medical and safety advice, and I’m not advocating that you do it. However, my kids’ doctor told me she did it. :slight_smile:

Swaddling is great, and I agree with trying out different pacifiers and encouraging mom-free soothing.

Speaking of which, even Dr. Sears, who is vehemently against cry it out, notes that crying in a loving parent’s arms is totally different from crying in a crib alone. So if you want to teach your baby to fall asleep without a nipple in his mouth, or fall back to sleep without a visit from Mommy, it is perfectly legitimate to refuse to provide those things, and for the mother or father to hold and console the baby as they learn their first lesson of coping with being denied something they want. This results in less sleep for you all in the short term, but more in the long term.

I’m happy to share how we modified Ferber to fit our philosophy and needs, if you are interested!

I never had to use Baby Wise or any other book to get my kids to sleep, but I know a couple dozen people who have. Every complaint about the book I’ve ever seen has been someone bitching about the fundie authors, or about how it is unscientific, but I don’t know anyone who has used the book & hasn’t loved it. From what I understand, they put a lot of emphasis on providing a full feeding when the child eats, but I don’t suppose that is the controversial part.

Whoa, lots to respond to! First of all, any sleep training–or at least, significant sleep changes–need to wait a few days. Boy 1.0, age 3.75, was diagnosed yesterday with restrictive airway disease (similar to asthma) and has to have a nebulizer every 2-3 hours as well as an oral steroid every 12. His wheezing and coughing are keeping him from sleep, which is making him a VERY cranky, emotional, overtired preschooler. He was a basket case at the doctor’s office yesterday, screaming and sobbing the whole time and sometimes sobbing, “I can’t bweeve!” :frowning: Because of his need of the nebulizer, he’s not going to preschool. The Oh Joy in this: the oral steroid might make him irritable; the medication in the nebulizer might make him jittery. The Awesome! in this: running around will make his condiiton worse. So–we have to keep a sleep-deprived, jittery, irritable preschooler home and try to limit his need to gallop around the house. OOF.

I will say I’ve noticed Boy 2.0 will sometimes cry when I place him in his swing, but if I don’t race right to him (say, I’m in the shower), he may fall asleep on his own. That’s what made me consider CIO techniques. Last night I tried the CIO-comfort-CIO thing, and after a while, this Mommy just couldn’t hear her kids cry anymore. I got him, wrapped him in a blanket, gave him a pacifier (Girl From Mars, he does seem to prevent Avent pacis), and held him until he fell asleep around 8:30pm. When I did put him down in his crib around 9:30pm, I lay him on his side instead of his back.

When at 1:10am he hadn’t yet awakened to be fed, I did the worried mommy thing and tiptoed in to check on him. He was, stunningly, still asleep. He did wake up at 1:45 to feed, but I was absolutely amazed he slept that long. He came to bed with me then, waking at 4:45am to eat and then squirmy a bit at 5:45am. I put him in his swing after changing him, and he’s out again now.

Girl From Mars, you are right that sleep breeds sleep. Yesterday, Boy 2.0 slept 2.5 hours in his crib during his afternoon nap. I was stunned. I dared place him belly-down for it (which the pediatrician said at his 2 month appointment was okay at his age, at least for naps, as long as we watch him), and like at 1:10am last night found myself tiptoeing in frequently to check on him. Aspidistra, it’s good to know others have dedicated tummy/side snoozers!

Unauthorized Cinnamon and others in the anti-Baby Wise crowd–after what I read with my first about the authors of that program, I more or less decided “Hell no.” It’s not at all for us. I definitely support feeding on demand, but it seems I’m not quite to the Dr. Sears level.

Hedda Rose, your commen and others had me rereading Happiest Baby on the Block last night. I didn’t realize the last chapter was about sleep (I focus so much on the fussy/colicky chapters), so I read up on it last night. I just might try swaddling him tonight and for his nap. He has been able to squirm out of any and every swaddling attempt for the last month or so, but it sounds like it’s worth trying.

Boy 1.0 just came in to watch a cartoon, so while he does that (and “bweeves”) and Boy 1.0 is still asleep, I’m going to risk a shower.