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Personal Consultations: recent case Gina has solved

Lucy, aged four and a half months, daytime sleep problems

I am looking for help with my four-and-a-half month old daughter's daytime sleep. She was exclusively breast-fed for two weeks then I introduced a bottle of formula at 7am. This was because she took a long time to feed and with having the school run to manage, I thought it would make morning easier if she had a quicker feed from a bottle. Over the past four months the bottles have very gradually increased, so that her typical daily feeding and sleeping schedule is described below.

I have been trying for the past 5-6 weeks to get her to sleep in the cot, particularly for the lunchtime nap. She was sleeping in the cot as much as I could get her to from a very young age but she started only sleeping for 20 minutes then crying, and she got harder and harder to get down for a nap.

At the time this started going wrong my older daughter was on six weeks holiday from school and I was spending an awful lot of time trying to get the baby down to sleep, or back to sleep and felt guilty for leaving my older daughter downstairs, alone for long periods of time. So I decided to wait until she was back at school (when we would have a new routine anyway) before trying to get the baby sleeping in the cot again. She would sleep in the Moses basket downstairs or in the pushchair for about the right amount of time so we got by for these six weeks this way.

When I started trying to get her sleeping in the cot during the day, it went better than I had anticipated in that she didn't get upset at going down in it, it's just that she won't sleep for anywhere near as long as she needs, particularly at the lunchtime nap. In the morning, if she has slept in the cot, she will wake after 30-40 minutes which is OK as she shouldn't need any more than that anyway. But at the lunchtime nap she just will not go back to sleep. I have scoured the Contented Baby forums and success threads looking for other members who have had the same problem and tried some of the things that have worked for them. I have tried topping her up before she goes down. Sometime she would take a little more milk, sometimes refuse it, but the result wasn't any better anyway. I have tried offering half of the 2.30 feed when she wakes, also to no avail. I have tried leaving her to resettle, but this does not work. She will cry for as long as I leave her (the longest I have been able to stand is an hour, by which time she is so upset that there is no way she is relaxed enough to go back to sleep). I thought maybe checking her at progressively longer periods might work, but that made matters worse. She just got more and more upset at me being in the room.

I honestly do not know what else to try. I have spoken with my health
visitor recently and she could only suggest giving her more food. As for
the daytime sleeping issues she hasn't got any ideas. She just said be grateful that she will sleep at all during the day, albeit for short periods. One of the most frustrating things about this is that she will go down in the cot and settle herself to sleep but will not resettle after waking. At night she goes down well, and if she wakes in the night, resettles with the minimum of fuss. We can see her on the video monitor waking sometimes and just going back to sleep. In the night if I hear her surface, sometimes she will just murmur, and sometimes actually cry out, but it's very infrequent that I have had to go in and check her (especially since night feeds have stopped). So I know that she is capable of resettling - she just won't do it during the day! If I sit in the room and hold her after she has woken, she will go to sleep in a matter of a few minutes, so she clearly needs more sleep.

Other things you will need to know about her are that her room is completely blacked out. She sleeps in a Grobag and is very firmly tucked in with a sheet.
She drinks Aptamil stage 1 & 2 milk. I started to give her the stage 2 milk (half and half in a bottle) as before starting weaning, she didn't always seem satisfied by the milk, but didn't want any more than 7oz. She has only managed 8oz once. Seven ounces seems to be her limit and after that she just pushes the teat around her mouth. I hoped that the introduction of the more satisfying milk might mean that although she couldn't manage any more quantity at a time, the feed itself would satisfy her hunger. The 6oz she has at bed time is full stage 2 though.

Another thing is that she seems to get more hungry as the day goes on. She always takes 3-4 goes at her morning bottle before finishing it. The next bottle is normally always drunk in two goes, and the same for the rest of the bottles. With her being hungrier as the day progresses I found I couldn't drop the split feed before her bath. If I did she would not enjoy her bath and we would end up rushing as she was getting upset, which was not then a calm and relaxing end to the day. So when starting with the baby rice I thought I may as well give it at 5pm as at six months tea is at 5pm anyway. Perhaps this was the wrong thing to do, I don't know.

I desperately need help from someone with this. I have no one to turn to. My health visitor can't help with specific things such as this and friends and family don't seem to understand either. It is beginning to take its toll on my well being and ability to be the mother I want to be. At times I feel like such a failure and feel that I don't understand my own baby. The knock-on effect on the other people in my immediate family is also apparent. I dread lunchtime at home with her as I know what's coming. Please help.


Gina Ford Sleeping and Feeding Consultancy

Gina offers a personal telephone consultation service to parents of young babies and toddlers who are struggling with feeding and sleeping problems. If you're struggling, get in touch. Over the last twenty years Gina has helped over 10,000 parents resolve serious sleeping and feeding issues.

If you wish further details of how a personal one-to-one telephone consultation with Gina Ford works, we would request that in the first instance that you send a detailed feeding and sleeping diary for 48 hours, along with a concise summary of what you think your problem is, using this form. If Gina thinks she is able to help you we will contact you with details of the type of consultation Gina feels would be best for you, along with the cost of consultation.

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