My 12 week old won't sleep in her cot

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My 12 week old won't sleep in her cot

Postby MySweetAngel » Tue 05 Feb, 2013 9:06 pm

I believe I have developed two bad habits for my 12 week old and I'm hoping its not too late to change it. First of all, at night time (after 7:30pm) she will only fall asleep if I feed her, i.e. even if she is not hungry and getting overtired, she will only fall asleep during feeding (I know because sometimes she vomits from over feeding). The second bad habit is, she won't sleep in her cot. As soon as I put her in her cot, she will wake up after 5 minutes, regardless of whether she was in deep sleep or light sleep mode. However, in our bed she will sleep through the night.

Help, I really don't want her, and know its not safe, to sleep in our bed. However, I can only put her in her cot and resettle her so many times before I get tired......

Also, I read many articles that say we should develop a sleep routine. Please give an example of a good routine.

Thank you.
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Joined: Tue 05 Feb, 2013 8:53 pm

Re: My 12 week old won't sleep in her cot

Postby NgalaOnline » Thu 07 Feb, 2013 11:42 am

Hi MySweetAngel

Thank you for your post.

To address your concern that sleeping in your bed with your baby is not safe, research suggests that when following certain guidelines, cosleeping with your baby can be made safe. It is important that a baby sleeping with adults be on a firm mattress and not near any gaps between the wall and the bed that the baby could fall between. It is best not to use doonas as these can impede breathing if the baby gets trapped underneathe them, blankets are a better choice. It is important to keep the baby away from pillows or warm adult bedding. All adults in the bed must be aware of the baby's presence in the bed and it is important that all adults in the bed are not smokers, are not particularly heavy sleepers, obese or under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. It is also important that babies are not left to sleep next to children or pets. When these steps are followed, it is possible to sleep safely with your baby and for many families this is a valid choice that works well for them. Some parents do find that their baby does wake frequently during the night to breastfeed or seek contact when cosleeping, and research does suggest that cosleeping babies do wake more frequently. You may like to weigh up all the pros and cons and decide with your partner whether you would like to continue cosleeping with your baby or move towards trying to teach your baby to sleep in a cot. Safe sleeping guidelines can be found here: ... -at-night/

With regards to sleeping routines, many people and parenting books do suggest that parents should adhere to timed schedules for their baby. Research however does not support timed schedules as being the optimal way of helping a baby to sleep. Many parents find that trying to adhere to routines generated by books or professionals who do not know their baby can be a source of much anxiety for the parent, and adherence to clock based routines can also result in parents missing their baby's cues such as hunger or tired cues. All babies are different and you are the expert on your own baby. Observing your baby so that you can learn her tired signs and put her to bed accordingly is likely to help you find a flexible pattern of settling that works well for her. The "Secrets of Good Sleepers chart" downloadable from the following link gives a rough guide of how long a baby can be expected to stay awake for, and typical sleep requirements for different ages, but should be used as a guide only. ... d-Sleepers

It is not too late to make changes to your baby's sleep habits, in fact this is an ideal age. Around 12 weeks of age babies begin to form sleep associations, which is learned ways of falling to sleep. It is known that babies have periods of light sleep and brief moments of wakening as they pass between sleep cycles every 40 minutes or so. Once sleep associations begin to develop, it is known that babies begin to expect the same conditions to be present when they rouse between sleep cycles as when they fell asleep. This explains why your baby will wake if she rouses in her sleep and finds herself in her cot when she fell asleep elsewhere. She may become confused and not know how her environment has changed, and this causes her to wake fully (in the same way as we would be alarmed if we fell asleep in our bedroom and awoke to find our self in the loungeroom). If a baby is relying on an external sleep association that they can not replicate for themselves (such as feeding, being rocked or held) then they are likely to fully awaken between sleep cycles as they are unable to provide themselves with the sleep association they need to fall back into the next cycle of sleep. If a baby can learn sleep associations that she can do for herself or that remain present when she rouses between sleep cycles, she is likely to settle back to sleep without needing to call for her parents.

Many parents find that it their baby finds it easiest to fall asleep with new sleeping conditions for their sleeps in the earlier part in the day, and may find that their baby is overtired and unable to settle without extra support by the late afternoon or evening. You may like to begin by focusing on the morning and early afternoon sleeps, helping your baby to become familiar with her cot as the place that she falls asleep. Putting your baby to bed before she is overtired, when you see early subtle tired signs (such as avoiding eye contact and looking into the distance, or needing active interaction to stay happy) rather than late tired signs (grizzling, yawning, jerky movements, eye rubbing) can help your baby to settle easier. Often a baby is tired after only and hour or so of awake time first thing in the morning. If your baby goes into bed before becoming overtired she may fall asleep after a short period of looking around and chatting to herself without becoming distressed. This is a good opportunity to leave your baby and let her have some time to see if she can settle herself. If she becomes distressed it is important to go to her and give her some reassurance. You may find that you can come and go from her, leaving once she calms and then reattending if she begins to get distressed again. Alternatively you may prefer to sit with her and help her to fall asleep by providing some in cot settling such as patting her or the cot mattress, or gently stroking her face. If this type of hands on settling persists for longer than a few days it can become a new sleep association, however in-cot settling is usually easier to slowly draw back from than settling methods in arms. Settling your baby in her cot and supporting her even if she shows signs of protest at the change helps her become familiar with her cot as a safe and comfortable place for sleeping. After she has begun to settle to sleep in her cot you can begin to reduce the amount of hands-on settling you do each day, aiming to have your baby fall asleep without needing you to touch her within a week or so.

Unsettled and overtired behaviour in the evening is quite common. It sounds as though your baby is using feeding as a method of calming and soothing herself in the evening. This overtired behaviour may reduce as she gets a bit older or as she begins to have improved sleep during the day. Cluster feeding is normal and can help the baby to stimulate a mother's breastmilk supply and can also help to give her the calories she needs to have a good sleep at night. Where possible it is helpful to avoid your baby falling asleep on the breast to prevent this becoming a sleep association, however if you find at this time that she is too overtired and unsettled in the evening you may like to focus on first trying to help her learn how to fall asleep without the feeding association during the daytime. For some babies, once they have learned the skill of putting themselves to sleep in the daytime their night time sleep will also improve. Other parents do not find this to be the case and these parents may later need to work on improving night time settling once daytime sleeping has improved. If you have the energy to work on daytime and night time settling simultaneously this is also fine and may result in faster changes.

You may find the Ngala Parenting Workshop "Sleep and Your Growing Baby" to be very helpful for you. It covers sleep and settling in babies aged 3 - 7 months. ... owing-Baby You may also like to ring the Ngala helpline, and to consider attending a Day Stay if you find that you need more support to make the changes you desire with your baby's sleep and settling.
This information is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the personalized assistance that can be received from the Ngala Helpline by telephone.

For families residing in Western Australia you can also contact the
Ngala Helpline
Telephone 9368 9368 or 1800 111 546 for country access
Available 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm
or request a callback online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
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