Sleep deprived Mumma! My baby doesn’t sleep

Help – My baby is a milk monster!

After my first son didn’t sleep through the night until 10 months, I had illusions that with my second I’d be better at the whole sleep thing and he’d be the perfect scheduled snoozer. Fast forward 4 weeks into his little life and I find myself up for 4 hours straight a night. Sleep deprived, desperate, and an absolute misery to be around. I’m constantly arguing with the voice inside my head that’s screaming at him to just rest, and the tears that are streaming down my cheeks from exhaustion. I know that exclusive breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, and many mums don’t even get the opportunity to do it. But it doesn’t make that reality of it any easier especially when it comes with little to no sleep. The whole thing seems unfair to me though. I follow the rules, I breastfeed, I burp my baby then put him down to sleep. But no one tells you what to do when every time your baby leaves your arms and their head meets the bassinet that they cry and don’t stop. No amount of rocking, singing, holding the dummy in their mouth settles them. Your partner can’t settle them and any amount of crying results in you having to settle baby again with more milk! You are physically and emotionally exhausted. Then the irony of it all is that your baby sleeps all day. Again, this is despite the fact that you’ve placed them in front of the window to let the sunlight teach them day and night. The fact that you’ve played with them, done tummy time and taken them out for a walk.

So, what to do?

Do you persist with the breastfeeding overnight or do you succumb to everyone’s advice that formula is the secret? 

Feeding is an interesting topic for me. As we all know ‘fed is best’ but would formula really be the ticket to sleep?  Always optimistic I went out hopeful to the pharmacy and got myself a lovely golden tin of sleep, or so I was told. Only to find out very quickly that my just like my first, my second won’t accept a bottle either. The golden ticket to sleep has failed me with both my boys.

Fast forward three weeks and sleep is getting a little better. He is waking every 1.5-2 hours still but my persistence with the feed, burp and put down method is finally paying off. We even got a 3 hour sleep the other night which you know for a newborn is cause for celebrations.

Here is my only advice to date.

  • Make sure that you give them a full feed. Sometimes I feed him on one side burp him and put him down. Then I quickly run to the bathroom and have a drink. Normally in this time he starts to grizzle so by the time I get back I pick him up feed him on the other side burp him then he’s ready to sleep.
  • I don’t always change his nappy at every feed overnight. I actually find this unsettles him too much. I know it’s supposed to help wake them up to have a proper feed but it hasn’t really worked for both my boys.
  • When he wakes between 3-4am he’s the hardest to put down in his bassinet after a feed because its the coldest part of the night, and I’m super snuggly and warm. So I keep an extra blanket and put this one on him after this feed it seems to help.
  • If I’m really struggling to stay away during the feed I play games on my phone, find one that keeps you focused but make sure to turn your phone to night mode so that the blue lights don’t interfere with babies sleep.
  • During the day I only let him sleep on me once- normally in the early evening. All other times I make sure I put him down. The only exception to this is if he’s been really unsettled then I reset him by having him have a long nap on me. The longer blocks they get in their day sleeps the better they sleep at night. it has something to do with them learning how to connect their sleep cycles.
  • The morning nap seems to be the most crucial nap to get him to sleep with otherwise I have a very cranky hard to settle baby for the rest of the day.
  • If baby has had lots of cuddles from different people I find he has a really rough night, so I try to reduce him being held to much by other people, and ensure he’s had adequate time on me during the day.

Its still tough though and I’ve had to accept a few things:

  1. Baby wants to be in your arms, they’ve spent 9 months in your tummy and its upsetting to be placed in a bassinet away from you.
  2. Mumma you are doing the best job. 
  3. This won’t last forever! Persist with the feeding, try the formula again. Try your hardest to find the energy to get up when baby cries, wake them up as much as you can by changing their nappy and give them a full feed, burp and cross your fingers and toes that as you lay them down in their bassinet that those little eyes close. This time will pass, slowly but it will. The bond that you are creating, the antibodies and nutrients that you are sharing with your baby are irreplaceable.

Mumma Z xxx