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Personal Consultations: recent case Gina has solved

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

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Sacha, aged four weeks, sleeping problems

I am writing about my second child. Sacha is four weeks old. My first child followed a 'Gina' routine from about six weeks and it worked well for us. I was keen to start earlier with my second child, in part because my husband is due to have a major operation in the next month or so and I am keen to have a child who is as predictable and content as possible so that when the disruption occurs from the operation at least the baby would be settled into a routine. It is also very important that both of us get as much sleep as possible in the run up to this time.

The first week we breast-fed every three hours and tried to follow a sleep, feed, wake pattern. Once we had seen the Health Visitor at 10 days and we knew she had gained weight, we moved on to the Gina pattern for 1 - 2 weeks which went well for the first couple of days. The main problem is what happens at her late night feed. During the day she eats and sleeps at the right times. The only main difference I can think of is that I have a very good milk supply, so generally only need to feed from one side at each feed.  Sacha goes down well at 7pm and generally sleep soundly till either she is woken or wakes himself sometime between 10 and 11. As you suggest we have introduced a bottle at this feed. However she just will not settle after this feed. We tried this for six nights but had to try various things to settle her, then put her in her cot. She is often quiet for a few minutes before starting to cry again. We have tried giving expressed milk instead of formula milk, to make sure that she is not struggling with formula. I'm pretty certain that my milk supply is not an issue and that she is getting full feeds during the day as I had her weighed yesterday and she has continued to gain weight well - putting on over a 1lb in 10 days! We then tried two nights of just a breast-feed and she settled well both nights. Last night we tried half expressed milk in a bottle and topped off with a breast-feed. She took 3 oz in 25 minutes then another 15 minutes from the breast. She initially went down well, but 45 minutes later was awake and crying. The only thing that works is letting her lie on me but then I get no sleep. I can't ask my husband to help at this point in the evening.┬áHe really needs to get at least 7 hours sleep otherwise he will be in no fit state to have the operation that he needs.

The other thing to mention is that we suspect that Sacha has reflux (silent as she is not very sick, but is fretful when feeding and after feeds). The doctor has prescribed infant Gaviscon, which we have been using for a week now. It does seem to be helping during the day, but I'm not sure if this could be causing her pain at this point. It is difficult to get her to take the infant Gaviscon as she really hates the taste - and she won't suck on anything so I can't get her to suck and then squirt it in with a syringe as I did with my older son. It is just a case of squirting into the cheek and hoping that she swallows some of it. We have worked hard at making sure she is in the right position when being bottle fed as suggested by your web site from a similar FAQ, and we make sure she drinks slowly. She is not in distress straight after the feed. We have tilted the bed as often suggested.

I don't know what else to try and I'm really starting to lose all perspective on it. I'm desperate to get some more sleep because then I know I would be able to be more rational. Although I try to nap when I can and go to bed early, it's not sustainable as I have no help and no way to afford any.

Another problem I am becoming increasingly worried about is that because I spend most of the first part of the night (till 3ish) awake with her, when she does settle after that feed I fall into a sound sleep, often not hearing my alarm at 7 and then the day ends up starting late, sometimes not until 8 (my toddler stays asleep till then) and then I worry that the whole CLB routine goes out the window.


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