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Is it meant to be this hard? Lock Rss

I'm really struggling with being a Mum. My little girl is nearly three weeks old and I'm just finding it so tough!

The whole sleep thing is not something that we can do very well right now and I'd love some help! We normally can get her to sleep at night between 8 and 10pm after much crying and stop-starting (i.e. napping for 5 or 10 minutes and then waking crying again). She'll sleep for a good 4-5 hours then wake up for a feed and be back asleep within 1/2 - 1 hour for another 3 - 5 hour stint. Then its morning and thats the end of sleeping! She will be up for a good 6 hours - crying, feeding, napping but not sleeping for any more than 30 minutes at a time. Eventually she'll go to sleep for between 2 and 3 hours before we go through the whole 6 hour wake up period again!

My midwife thinks that she is not feeding efficiently and has told me to keep putting her to the breast especially if she sucks on a finger. However, I've tried that and all she does is feed for two minutes and go back to sleep. No amount of rousing will wake her again (until 10 minutes has passed when she wakes screaming). I think she just wants to comfort suck and have given her a dummy which works (half a second sucking and she's asleep) until it falls out and then she's awake again.

How much should she sleep? Am I trying to put her to sleep when she doesn't want to and therefore she's fighting it? Am I missing her tired signs and she's getting overtired? Why are days so hard when nights are okay?

Mum to Caitlin & Owain

Paula - I hope this helps!

What really helped us in those early days was the "Contented Little Baby" book by Gina Ford in helping to get Jacob into a routine with sleep and eating - we were lucky he fell into the routine without much hassel.

Otherwise the "Baby Whisperer" books are very good too. She talks about a simple routine of "E.A.S.Y" - eat, activity, sleep, you!

Both of these books delve into sleep settling techniques as well as recognising the signs too.

Good luck - every baby is individual and personnally for me I found reading all the info great - it helped us work out what was good for Jacob.

I was tearing my hair out and shouting right in Jacob's face "shut up" in those early weeks because in truth I simply had "no bloody idea" what the hell I was doing until I read books and learnt to recognise his cries and his cues - so please don't put yourself down - yes its hard - I think its the hardest thing you will ever do - but it really does get better especially when you get that first smile - all the pain of labour and sleepless nights and fear disappear.

When all else fails and you can't help your baby and she keeps crying and you think you really can't take anymore and might "do something" (not that you would!) - put her in the cot or on a bunny rug on the floor (some place where she can't roll or get hurt) - shut the door and go outside - scream your head off or do something like water the garden - to calm down - she won't suffer - but you will feel better.

Best peice of advice I got in my antenatal classes - put baby some place where they can't get hurt and walk away!

It doesn't have to be for too long - 10 minutes was enough for me to clear my head and go back in and try again.

Blessings - let us know how you go.
We had a lot of trouble sleeping in the beginning also. It is not unusual at all and usually settles itself down.
Have you tried to see if you can go to a daystay centre? Its like the sleeping school thing but you just go there for a day and they show you some tips and methods which may work. Ring child health and they can happen.
Also remember that your baby is still very very young and it will be a while till all works smoothly and you feel confident. It is scary with a newborn.
You probably are missing her tired signs. I know with my daughter they was a very small window before she would be fully alert again and unable to sleep.
Do ring the child health centre as they can put you on to places that can help. I did it.
There a some tips that I have put up on numerous other threads on what we did which worked for us. None of them are controlled crying. Do a search, it might work for you too.
Good luck and just remember that as you are learning, so is your baby. Remember the wise saying "This too will pass".
Jacob's Mum..great to hear there are other mothers out there just like me that have been so frustrated with the crying that they yell in their face. I felt so guilty when I did that to my first baby but now with my second I just laugh at how upset I used to get and do what you do..wrap them, put them in a safe place and walk away for 10 minutes! Paula..I hope things are getting better for you. Know that you are not alone even though it feels like you are and that no matter what you may feel you are capable and loving and caring mother that is only human and that things will get better!

Take Care

Kirsty, VIC, 03.03.03 and 25.02.05

Byaden was like the for 4 weeks after his birth. But he would take an hour to breast feed on my breast casue he kept falling asleep wake up cry then i put him on and hed fall asleep again. Eventually i decided to express to c what he was eating and on my breast he wasnt even getting 50mls. My breast went getting enough milk 4 him, he wasnt sucking long enough adn even after putting him on every hour or so it still wasnt enough. he would be awake all day grizzzling and when he was quiet he wouldnt move alot just lay there and starte at nothing. Night time he would sleep all the way through I thought that was strange.
I put him onto formula as well as bst milk and still nothing. happen until i change the teat on the bottle to a long pointy one..than off he went. He want getting enough milk from me casue he wasnt sucking hard enough i think. After the new teat, and formula feeds he gained 1.5 kgs in 2 week where in 4 weeks he had gained just over 150g.\
hes just over his birht weight now at 6 weeks old.
If your baby gaining an average of 150gms a week? if not it may be like bayden just not enough food from not sucking hard enoug. Bayden is now a very quiet, happy content baby all the time. He will sleep wake once for a feed at night. hes only awake for about 4 hours a day. And hes a great babe to have. Happen you houd try express with the pointy teat and see how she goes. If she drinks it so fast it spills out the side than thats what she needs...
Give it a week of feeds like that every feed and if thats it you will c a difference

mum to bayden 25/02/05

Hi Paula

Congratulations, I saw your post in the March thread. What an ordeal!

I had a lot of trouble with my first baby too - I think most mum's do. I remember being up all night rocking him back and forth in his pram or bassinet, sometimes I'd have him sleep on my chest in bed as it was the pnly way either of us could get any sleep. By the time he was six weeks old he'd settled down a lot and things seemed to get a lot easier from then on. My daughter (3.5 weeksold) has been really unsettled from about 4pm-11pm for the past week. I was constantly breastfeeding her and she'd sleep for about 10 mins then have to feed her again but she'd fall asleep as soon as I started feeding. So for the last 3 nights I have waited until Lachlan goes to bed at 7pm then I give Lily a bath - she's usually pretty upset by then and the bath calms her down, and gives me a break from feeding. After her bath she has been having a really good feed and sleeping until about 11pm, then has a feed and goes off to sleep really easily and feeds about every 4 hours during the night. I think she was getting overtired of an afternoon and that's why the bad cycle of constantly feeding and napping started for her. Try not to get too stressed - I know it's really hard, I felt so lost when Lachlan was first born. Try and get as much help from family and friends as you can. Also, as someone else suggested contact your local child health nurse as I'm sure they'll be able to put you in touch with a sleep clinic. In Australia there is one called Karitane, they have a website with heaps of info on sleep and settling for babies of different ages, I found it really helpful with Lachlan and I'll be doing the same thing with Lily as well. The address is:

Click on 'Survival Tips for Parents' and you will find all the info there. They tell you how long babies of different ages should sleep and be awake for and how to look for tired signs.

Another thing I used to do is put Lachlan in his pram and go for a walk, the crying doesn't seem so loud outdoors and more often then not he would fall asleep or at least settle down.

I hope things get better for you soon. Let me know if I can help at all.

Take care
Hi There,
It is the toughest thing you will ever have to do having a baby that is. My little boy is now 17 weeks old and it has only been the last month that I have been able to say that I am actually enjoying most of motherhood. My little one would cry nonstop all day everyday. I would ring my husband at work in tears. I could not understand it I was doing what the experts were telling me. I had bought the baby whisperer book as recommended. It did have some helpful hints like picking up the "tired signs", and not developing bad habits like rocking to sleep etc, but I found the EASY routine did not work for us after three months of persisting with it. I had a very hungry bub by the time sleep time came around he would not sleep long enough because hunger would wake him up. Now he has a nice full belly when he goes down he will sleep anywhere from one hour to two and a half hours. What a difference this has made to our family life. He is like a different baby because he is getting adequate sleep he is not a grizzle bum which can turn into a vicious cycle. My best advice is to try something different every day and when you have success pay very close attention to what you did different then redo it again a couple of times to ensure it is working. thats what I did and I hit the jackpot. One quick suggestion is to make sure your bub is getting enough breast milk trying weighing him before a feed and after and this should tell you how much he has had. Or express milk to ensure he is getting adequate feeds. You said your bub is falling asleep not long after being at the breast this could be exhaustion. Hope I have been of some comfort to you I will log on and check see how you are going soon.
Take Care
Concerned mum fr Brisbane.
Stacey - sounds like you had your babe around the same time as me - Jacob was born on 30 December - when did you have your babe?

I agree the baby whisperer had some good advice but like everyone tells me "babies don't know how to read" - so with a little help from the "baby whisperer" and "contented little baby" - we have a routine that works and is changeable with Jacob's growth.
Hi everyone and thanks for your stories of your own experiences and your tips.

I got "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" out of the library and we've been trying that. We are definitely better at picking her cries and tired signs but I can't say that the EASY routine is working that well for us yet. My sister (with three kids) was here one weekend and helped us to recognise a lot too. I think our biggest problem now is wind! She has trouble burping (and pooing) and by the time we've got that sorted out she is overtired and then just won't settle. We had two really late nights with screaming (probably due to her not having slept in the afternoon) and then yesterday she was reluctant to sleep most of the day but had a late afternoon sleep and then went to sleep at 8.30pm and wasn't up for a feed again until 1.30am. I was so much happier as was my husband!

I'd like to try that other book too (Contented Baby) so I'll try to find that next time I manage to get out (I'm trying to only do two outings a week so that we don't upset her routine too much).

Thanks again everyone.

Mum to Caitlin & Owain

Hi Paula,

First time mummy here too. I also had alot of trouble with my little guy during the first few weeks... with not sleeping and me doing the big screaming thing at him(isn't this forum great- you get to hear others experiences and realise you're definitely not alone or a bad mother). Riley's problem was that he was literally starving, I stopped breast feeding when he was 2 days old (my milk wasn't enough, he was literally latched on to me all night and day- and I was getting soooo stressed) and put him onto formula... he was drinking so much, and because my midwife discharged us at 4 weeks I had no idea what to do. I eventually called Plunket and they told me that if baby has too much formula then he could get kidney damage... so recommended we use Heinz Nurture Plus formula (it is thicker for hungrier babies) and he was so good from then on. He also had got constipated in the first few weeks, and had trouble bringing up wind- we tried gripe water and it worked wonderfully... also my midwife suggested that for the constipation we could give him 20mls warm water with .5tsp of brown sugar.
But if you have too much trouble... Plunket line is great and there 24/7, also if you just want to chat or anything- my email is and due to me now being 4 hours behind NZ in time I will probably be online during the horrible hours of the morning


I cant believe some of you can actually bear to let your babies 'cry it out'. Wraping them up and walking away may be the best thing for you, but what about your baby. Babies only cry when there is something wrong with them and you walking away because you cant deal with it, isn't helping them.

GET HELP! If you cant cope with a crying baby, make sure there is someone around who can help you. Having babies wasn't meant to be easy. Please dont abandon them when all they obviously need and WANT is their mother.

Laneisa, QLD, 5 kids + baby Flynn 24/02/05


Maybe you didn't read the above posts properly - especially mine!

The advice I received about "walking away" as you put it came from the midwife at my antenatal class and for me it was the best peice of advice I could have received through my entire pregnancy.

Most of us can't bear to let our babies cry and babies don't only cry when there is something wrong either. Most of them cry all the time when there is nothing wrong. Yes most of them do cry when all they want is there mother. Most of us don't have anyone else around to help us out either.

Do you have children? If so they must be perfect little angels all the time.

I don't abandon my son - it took me 7 bloody years to get pregnant so how dare you perceive that either myself of other mums here in this forum do abandon their children.

Everyone here on this forum has the right to ask questions or seek advice - we don't come here to put up with others telling us we abandon our children.

Another peice of advice I was given from the midwife - "if baby has been feed, burped, changed, cuddled, kissed etc then at least you know you have done everything possible - if he is crying it isn't because of something you haven't done"!

Oh and wrapping babies (which I don't do now because Jacob is too big) and sometimes walking away is the best thing for baby because it is the best thing for us - otherwise how do you explain the number of fatalities of babies whose mothers have had enough and not walked away for 10 minutes and ended up throwing there up against a wall or smothering them with a pillow/blanket.

I'm not advocating letting children cry for hours on end.

Example - baby was so tired this morning after breakfast he couldn't nod off by himself - I did everything I could think of from changing his clothes and nappy, top and tailing him as he had worked himself into a sweat, making sure he had no wind still trapped in his tummy to warming his bed with a water bottle before putting him in it and finally darkening his room and rocking him to sleep with a lullaby CD. All of these did only enough to help him realise he was tired and needed sleep. I put him in his cot and he still cried (of which I timed) for 3 minutes before he cried himself down to sleep.

SO don't presume for one minute that any mother here abandon's their babies and frankly I think you had guts even posting your suggestion and not possibly realising the type of response you would get.

Sorry if I offended anyone with my post and usually I wouldn't even dignify a response to this sort of opinion (yes I know everyone has one - I do and am sure others don't like what I have posted on this board in other topics).

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