CASE STUDY: unsettled all day, catnapping, poor night sleep
*this is a case study from a real-life mum who reached out for help. We share our case studies in the hope it may help other mums who are in the same, or similar, situations. Not everyone parents in the same way, so please do not judge, criticize or demean these mothers and the parenting choices they have made in the best interests of their babies and their families.
Age: 5 weeks
Room: Naps in the lounge, curtains open. Swaddled. Sleeping in bassinet/arms/hammock overnight, wherever Nicci could get her to sleep
Naps: A couple of random 30 minute catnaps during the day. Waking every 2-3 hours at night and only falling asleep after hours of unsettledness
Elsie was, in general, very unsettled for all sleeps and during her awake times. She would sleep in the sunlit lounge in the day and would eventually settle in the hammock at night which her mum would have to bounce regularly throughout. Most times when she actually went to sleep it would be from Nicci rocking or bouncing her to sleep which eventually got very exhausting. Nicci tried putting Elsie in her bassinet after an hour of awake time which everyone kept telling her was right for a 0-3 month old baby, however Elsie would always end up upset and needing to be actively settled to sleep (after a period of very unsettled behaviour).
She was a snack feeder too and feeding was always an issue. This in turn didn't help her sleep at all and Nicci had no idea if this was 'normal' or out of sorts.
Nicci would generally get up 3-4 times a night but always found it hard to get her baby back to sleep and some days Elsie would only sleep a few 10 minute naps here and there. She was very unhappy when awake and almost had an 'I'm in pain' feel about her so Nicci presumed colic or something similar.
Nicci got in touch with Little Ones when Elsie was just 5 weeks old. She learnt straight away that she was letting Elsie get either very overtired or even sometimes undertired (which Nicci didn't know could even be an issue!). We also recommended she try and put Elsie in a dark room for her naps, because the dark is very soothing for babies and helps the release of sleep hormones in their body.
Over a couple of days, by hitting the right awake times as per our Sleep Program, Elsie successfully transitioned from the hammock or mum's arms to the bassinet for 80% of sleeps with absolutely no troubles at all. But, Elsie's feeding really wasn't improving and it became a battle each time. Because of the natural rhythm and predictability of our Sleep Program, Elsie's poor feeding being even more apparent. This meant she wasn't able to nap for very long and it affected her settling at night, making for an unhappy wee girl, even though her awake times were stuck to and everything else looked spot on. Through discussion and troubleshooting within our closed Support Group, The Little Ones Village, it was recommended Nicci seek professional advice around the feeding issues. What was discovered was a bad lip and tongue tie which was fixed a week later and which resulted in a much happier and far more settled baby.
Nicci was doing her absolute best with the information she had available in our Sleep Program, however it just was not working for her little girl. There were some things we were able to tweak with her sleep conditions as well as her overall awake times and nap lengths, but we suspected something else was going on for poor wee Elsie that was causing the unsettled behaviour. Our Sleep Programs are a natural rhythm for feeding and sleeping which babies should be able to fall into if all their ducks are in a row. Because Elsie was struggling, even after a few good weeks following the Program, it highlighted a feeding issue which luckily Nicci was able to promptly address. With the help of our Program, Nicci was then able to better set up the perfect conditions for sleep, which really helped Elsie settle at her nap times. By following the Program and having amazing support from the Little Ones Village, Elsie went on to successfully: move from bassinet to cot, lose the dummy for sleeps at 12 weeks old, and she flew past the four month sleep regression without a glitch. Both Nicci and her daughter are much happier! Nicci has since told us that a few of her friends have commented on how much more confident and happy she is in the last 2 months:" I often tell people that 'Little Ones' saved my life, cheesy, but we all know what weeks of sleep deprivation can do!"
"I often tell people that 'Little Ones' saved my life, cheesy, but we all know what weeks of sleep deprivation can do!"
Download our FREE Newborn Sleep Guide for loads of helpful info about newborn sleep.
For more baby sleep advice, read Sleeping through the night and Why is my newborn NOT sleeping?