View Full Version : 6 week old not sleeping much (sleeping only 10 hours)

05-31-2006, 09:58 AM
My 6 week old, who is breast fed and supplemented with formula due to a low milk supply, woke up only once at night (3 am) for the first 4 weeks. However in the last two weeks, she does one of two scenarios:

Wakes up once at night, naps once in the morning for 1.5 hours, then is awake all day long until she goes to bed. She is agitated (fussy & crying) from about 1 pm until 9 or 10 pm when she goes to bed. She’s visibly tired, but can’t go to sleep. I’m guessing part of the reason is that she’s cluster feeding (taking in little bits of food from 1 pm to 9pm). When I manage to get her to fall asleep, she sleeps only for 10 minutes then wakes up (guessing due to hunger?).

IF I concentrate on feeding her a lot of formula & hold her for the entire duration of her naps, then I can get her to sleep during the afternoon once and for about 40 minutes maybe towards the early evening. However, then she wakes up at midnight, feeds for 20 minutes on one breast and refuses to eat more, wakes up 2, and does the same thing, then at 4, does the same thing, then at 6, does the same thing, then crashes for her morning nap around 9 for a 1.5-2 hour nap.

Then it may be the cycle above (2nd paragraph) if she doesn’t sleep, or the cycle below (3rd paragraph) if I try to make her sleep. (it takes her about 1.5 hours to try to make her fall asleep).

I’m exhausted between the 9 hours of crying and holding/cuddling in attempt to soothe baby (though I get some sleep at night) or the sleepless nights with the day filled with attempts to make baby fall asleep.

Baby sleeps in total for about 10 hours, and I think she needs at least 15 hours or more for her age (from some charts I’ve seen). If sleep begets sleep, how can I get her to sleep?

Btw, baby hates being swaddled. She won’t stay in a blanket. We use the swaddleme, and she can only stay in it if we prep the swaddleme and ease her into it while she’s breastfeeding where she doesn’t notice too much. When she wakes up in the middle of the night and notices it on her, she screams and screams and grunts trying to get out of it. The happiest baby on the block method works sometimes to the extent of getting her to fall asleep, but she doesn’t stay asleep if in a cluster feeding marathon.

Any suggestions? I can’t even begin to figure out how to even approach this.

06-05-2006, 02:28 PM
If it makes you feel better, apparantly the crying peaks at around 6 weeks and tapers after that. At that age, my little one screamed from 10 pm to 1 am straight, because she had been up too many hours in a row. At that age, she should not be awake for more than 2 hours at once. I would try to breastfed her during that time, thinking she must be hungry, but she would just suck for a second and then bob of and shake her little head back and forth.

My pediatrition told me that any sleep is good and to ignore the books that say that napping, rocking etc sleep is not "real" sleep.

At that age, my baby often fell asleep in the swing (we would wait till she was in a deep sleep and transfered her to her crib) and also fell asleep when we bounced her up and down on an excercise ball. Those were our fail safe devices till about 4 months.

We also would put her in her lillebaby (www.lillebaby.com if you are interested, available in baby specialty stores), which kind of worked like a swaddle, and would take her for a walk in the stroller if all else failed. I would usually send my husband out to do this in the evening and I would take a catnap. Or we would walk together and have some couple time - for some reason, the crying is easier to take when it is outside. Once we got home, we just lifted the lillebaby out of the stroller and put her in her crib. The lillebaby still works, but I am trying to get rid of the sleep crutches - we just throw it over our shoulder, bounce our knees for 5 min and she is usually out.

Also, I was told that a 45 min - 1 hour walk between the hours of 9 am and 2 pm helps a baby sleep much more soundly at night. There have been scientific studies on this.

My other suggestion is to get a sling, I use the new native baby carrier style and she curls up in it in the afternoons and often sleeps in that.

I also had supply issues - I got a nursing tea from the health food store that tasted nasty but really did work. NOT that there is anything wrong with supplementing - it can just be easier once breastfeeding is working well. I loved the Dr Jack Newman breastfeeding book (the ultimate breastfeeding book of answers) - made me feel much less insecure about it. A 20 min feed is pretty decent for a 6 week old and I wouldn't worry about that. I think you are right - if she could get 2-4 hours of rest between 1 and 9, she would be happier.

09-11-2006, 12:01 PM
I was and am having similar problems (my DD just turned 7 weeks).

My pediatrician told me to try to get her on a "schedule". This consists of a nap in the morning, a nap in the early afternoon, and a nap in the late afternoon/early evening. He didn't want a rigid schedule, the "nap at 1:30pm no matter what" type - just a general guideline of nap 3 times a day for as long as she wants to nap and to feed her when she gets up from the nap. I think his method was to get me to pay more attention to her sleep cues and to get her down ASAP when I notice she's tired. Also, feeding her when she gets up from the nap helps ensure she's hungry and will eat well.

I know it sounds impossible to do but I've had some sucess. She has started sleeping longer at night and sleeps a little more regularly in the day. She also has started eating much better - more at once and fewer feedings. The best news is I'm not as exhausted by evening and she is a noticably happier baby.

However!!! - my little one is very stubborn and hates to be put down for a nap. When I notice she's tired and put her in her crib, she usually screams. Here's what I've found helps:

(1) My DD hates to be swaddled so I rarely use it. When I do try it, I also prop her against a crib side on her side since she HATES sleeping on her back.

(2) Get a white noise CD. I purchased "For Crying Out Loud" from the Colic Shop (www.colicshop.com OR Amazon.com). I've set a small CD player to repeat the same track over and over. If I "shhh" loudly in her ear, she will stop screaming, hear the CD, and stay calm(ish) enough to nap. I have to play the CD fairly loud but she naps well.

(2) Get an egg timer or other kitchen timer. Once you put your DC down for a nap, set the timer for a few minutes and leave the room (take the timer with you). When the timer goes off, go back in, comfort your baby, try to stop the screaming again, reset the timer and leave again.

If nothing is working after 15 minutes or so, I will get her up for an hour(ish) and will try again when I notice the tired cues. I am having trouble spotting these and am starting another post about that.

I know this sounds awful and is extremly hard on all concerned BUT keep in mind that your DC NEEDS to sleep. The brain stores new information while asleep and growth hormones are released during sleep. If you miss the sleep cues and your DC gets over tired, it will be next to impossible to get her to sleep, she won't sleep as well, won't learn as well, and won't grow as well. So while she's protesting the nap, keep in mind that rushing in to try to stop the screaming may actually be doing more harm than good. In addition, you may actually fully awaken a baby on the verge of going to sleep. I know I've done that a few times.

Good Luck and let me know if you find other tips that work for you. There are times I'll try just about anything. :)

Mommy to a wonderful baby girl

11-29-2006, 04:15 PM
I just wanted to post a followup just in case someone else has a similar issue.
Basically, we discovered over time that the formula that we were supplementing with was not working for DD. It has just built up over time, and it was really hard to figure out since she was tired and cranky. We figured that since she was obviously tired and couldn't stay asleep as long as she should for a girl that tired, we figured there was something physical preventing her from staying asleep longer. We switched from enfamil to nestle good start to isomil. It took about a week for us to see a difference.
After the switch to isomil, she was still colicky at nights, but it was no where near what it was before.
THEN...we needed to sleep train after the colicky period stopped. I didn't even attempt to sleep train until the crying at night stopped (little over 3 mo old). Actually it didn't occur to me to sleep train during that time b/c you're just trying to survive.
Thanks for everyone's suggetions; this board has been such a great source of support for me.