Lack of sleep at 3 months...: Hi all...I've not written... - NCT


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Lack of sleep at 3 months...


Hi all...I've not written on here in quite some time, but I'll be honest I feel totally on my own with this one and at a loss of what to do 😫

My baby has never been great at napping during the day. Even from birth she seemed very alert and interested in the world around her. I have to now fight to get her to nap (I try to do this before she starts rubbing her eyes as I know that by then it's too late!). When she does have a nap she's only asleep for about 20 minutes. I have started to dread every night time as about 2 weeks ago Her patterns completely changed and she went from her lovely 6-8 hour sleep to 1.5 hours at a time. Last night she woke every hour. It's not always for food, but I feel like she just needs comforting back to sleep. She is exclusively breast fed and I think she uses me as a dummy (and Yes. I have spent over £30 on dummies trying to find a teat she likes but she won't take to any of them!)

I think what makes it worse is that my husband has a bad back and has for some time so he has slept in the spare room for about 7 weeks so I feel completely alone and exhausted. I've tried so many different things, along with more frequent 20 minute cat naps during the day. She has a bedtime routine that I stick to religiously at the same time, but still this horrible night time cycle she seems to have got into.

I'm not expecting anyone to have a miracle cure - I think I just needed to write this all down and get it off my chest! My NCT group all have babies that sleep from 8-4 and then from 4.30-8ish and I just feel like I'm doing something wrong!

Sorry for the ramblings xx

27 Replies

Sorry you are having a hard time. Perhaps your little one has gone through the 4 month sleep regression early? Their sleep cycles become more like ours but whereas we have learnt how to put ourselves back to sleep they need to learn this skill. It’s not a short term fix but try practicing putting your little girl down drowsy but awake where you can (this will take time before she learns to fall asleep herself). I also wouldn’t compare yourself to others, are they breastfeeding or bottle feeding? I only ask as after been to a few mother and baby groups the breast feeders do seem to have babies that rely on them more for comfort etc in the night (as well as breast milk being digested faster), one mother I know her son reverse feeds (so feeds more at night) and he’s nearly 8 months so she’s now decided to become a committed cosleeper until things change. My cousins little boy who is 5 1/2 months and breastfed is currently feeding every hour overnight (Not to scare you this might continue, just so you know you are not alone) My HV also said people lie a lot, she’s had mums in complaining of how often their babies wake only to find them telling another mother they sleep through etc! It’s not easy I know (we had a horrid start as our little girl has a cows milk intolerance and breastfeeding just didn’t happen, even now at 4 1/2 months her feeds are never regular and things always seem to be a battle). Just remember it won’t always be like this and try to cope as best you can. Could you pump for one feed and get your husband to stay up a bit later so you can go to bed early and get some sleep? I still go to bed at 8 with mine as I get tired and she normally keeps us awake from 5-7:30 as she just never stops wiggling in her crib and is really noisy!

By the way you’re doing great and don’t forget every baby is different x

Thanks lovely. I had wondered if maybe she had gone through the 4 month regression early. I need to try and teach her how to self soothe! She doesn't seem to fall into that deep sleep quickly anymore so if I feed her then move her she suddenly wakes and the whole process has to start all over again.

I think the longest she has gone is 2.5 hours which was last night (bliss...although one of those hours I was still up 🤦‍♀️) I will definitely be doing what you do and going to sleep with her tonight!

My husband does try to give her a feed in the evenings as part of her bedtime routine, but she's so over tired that she gets really upset and fed up with the bottle as she wants the comfort from me. So frustrating when she was sleeping from 8 until at least 2 😴. Sorry to hear you had such a tough start. That must have been so hard for you all!

Ha ha 2 and a half hours of wigglingand snuffling in the mornings 😂 ! I get so tired but one smile makes everything disappear doesn't it?!

Thank you for your lovely kind reply xxx


I could have written most of this post myself...My little girl, who is also very alert and nosey, barely naps in the day unless she's on me. She will go for a few hours in the early evening but will wake every 1.5 hours through the night. I also EBF. Hardly any of the babies in my NCT group sleep through the night so it is normal and definitely not something you're doing wrong; I think patterns change if they are going through a developmental leap or a growth spurt. I have no advice but you're definitely not alone xx

Hidden in reply to Hidden

Ps. Isabella gets really noisy ftom 5am too! I usually pick her up and sleep with her on me as it's the only way to get some sleep (I know that's not recommended)

Ekjones86 in reply to Hidden

It's so difficult isn't it?! My main issue is that she is seriously over tired by the time bedtime comes but I honestly don't know how to combat this unless I walk all day long with her in the pram or drive constantly lol!

I've even tried the "forbidden" sleepyhead and that only made it better for 2 nights. Not nice that you are going through it too but so nice to not be alone! I get emails from the baby centre and it said "your baby at 3 probably now sleeping through a lot longer" no no baby no! Quite the opposite 😂

I think she is due to start a leap soon but hasn't had one for a good few weeks now. I will keep persevering on the nap front and see how I get on! The other thing is i have to get out and do something every day or I'll go crazy. Maybe I need a week of doing nothing to get these naps under control! Xxx

I’d still get out for sanity, just start small with 1 nap per day at home trying to get her to fall asleep herself then go from there and don’t beat yourself if it doesn’t work. Also no judgements to either of you from me about how you sleep, when she was bad we did co-sleeping both on my chest or on her side, it was the only way to get ANY sleep! (Duvet still on the bed, husband in it too, her not sleeping on her back, and she’s bottle fed so deffo not recommended from the guidelines, only thing we did do right was no alcohol 😂) It wasn’t until a couple of weeks after getting on new milk and antacids one morning my husband got up and I decamped to his side of the bed and left her as I was soooo tired and uncomfortable and she slept so from then I put her back in her next2me 😀 Also happy to know I’m not the only one with a 5am wriggler 😂 x

Hi. Bit long (sorry!) but just wanted to give you a bit of reassurance that you’re doing great and you’re not alone.

Your baby sounds very much like my little boy and it took me a long time to realise it wasn’t my fault (he’s 10 months) and just how he is. There are things that have helped though.

He has gradually improved, I think with time and also a few things I’ve done to work on his sleep. He still needs a bit of help to get to sleep & goes from not tired to overtired very suddenly. Although ideally he would go down ‘drowsy but awake’ and put himself to sleep, this is still hard for him and despite the horror stories (“if he can’t self-soothe he’ll always keep waking every couple of hours...”) he can clearly put himself back to sleep in the night as he can now do 8-9 hours on a good night. The below info is just my experience. I’m not an expert and my baby’s sleep is still far from perfect but I wish I’d had advice from someone whose baby does struggle in similar ways rather than just comparing myself negatively with all the ‘expert advice’...

Main things that helped:

1) Work on not feeding to sleep at bedtime & getting her to sleep in the cot so she wakes up in the same place she dropped off. My boy is still rocked/bounced til he’s sleepy and then he goes in the cot with white noise on. Most of the time I still have to pat him to sleep but the aim is to keep reducing this until you stop before they’re asleep & they can go to sleep independently. Sometimes he can do this, other times not. Obviously in an ideal world you’d just put her in the cot and she’d drift off but as the mum of a breastfed baby who has no interest in dummies, comfort blankets etc, it’s just harder for some babies to switch off.

2) I found the Huckleberry app helped me know when to get him to nap and bedtime as I can’t really rely on tired cues. I don’t pay to subscribe to it. You can use the bit called ‘sweet spot predictor’ for free and it tells you when they’re likely to need a nap based on when they last woke. It’s not perfect but it has helped me. I used to have to take him out in the pram or car to nap. Now he’ll sleep in the pram in the house (still a work in progress getting it in the cot 😂).

Hope some of this helps. Just try not to compare yourself and your baby to others. This was the cause of so much frustration and depression for me, made much worse by sleep deprivation. I still haven’t had a proper night’s sleep but I feel progress has been made since the days he was like your little one. Some people swear by things like controlled crying when they’re a bit older which I never felt was right for us but maybe it works for some xx

Ekjones86 in reply to kt_11

Thank you so much. Great tips and I will definitely download that app!

To be honest I don't think I could get on board with controlled crying either. She gets herself more worked up if I leave her and I think it would make her worse. Plus it goes against every motherly instinct in my body!

I've managed to get her to sleep by herself a few times but like you there's a very fine line between tired and drowsy to overtired. It seems to kick in so quickly! It sounds like you're getting there with your son. Well done!! You've done amazingly well...especially staying sane after over 10 months of broken sleepless nights. I bet you couldn't believe the first time he did 9 hours! I will stop comparing (it's hard sometimes through sheer jealousy 😂😂) xx

kt_11 in reply to Ekjones86

Haha I didn’t say I was still sane! I can still count on one hand the number of times he’s done over 8 hours but it’s slowly getting better than every 1-2hrs like before. We still have awful nights with illness, teething etc and I’m very apprehensive about how he will manage to nap when he goes to nursery in 3 weeks 😱

He does quite often do a sort of moan/whine before going to sleep for his naps, which I think comforts him a bit but it’s definitely not crying and never escalates. If it turns into crying, he’ll end up very worked up and I can’t imagine this settling him so I always go to him. On the occasions he’s put himself to sleep in the cot he hasn’t cried at all so he obviously is trying to tell me something when he cries.

Good luck! There are always things that affect their sleep (developmental leaps, illness, teething etc) but keep remembering that you’re doing a good job, and hopefully things will gradually improve like they have for me xx

Some babies can start teething that early. Have you seen any other signs of that? The only reason I ask is because when my son was at his hardest and waking every hour at night, it was just before his first teeth came in.

I know it's no comfort but everything is just a phase at that age and I used to find when I got to my wits end, things got better (so maybe it will come to an end soon for you). I think we get to breaking point as phases end, us mums!

As for the NCT mums, pretty sure their little angels are not sleeping that beautifully at 3 months as they really should be waking for a feed during that time since their stomachs can only hold so much! Don't let other mums get you down - you're doing a great job!

Good luck. Hope it gets better soon.

Ekjones86 in reply to Kempton

Thank you so much! I had wondered with teeth as she's constantly got her hand in her mouth and is extra dribbly but then I wasn't sure if it was because she's found her hands and just likes fiddling with them? These babies are a mystery!

I was having some sort of breakdown the other day and had to pull myself together lol. I'm fine now but I'm sure we all have our moments! Amazing how lack of sleep can change your mood! Xxx

I’ve got three and they’ve all done this (all ebf). Don’t drive yourself mad trying to ‘fix’ it. My littlest is nearly 5months and is just starting to sleep better after 8 weeks of waking every 1-1.5 hours. Be kind to yourself, get rest where you can. Get your husband to take the baby out for a couple of hours at the weekend so you can sleep, ask friends and family to do the same in the week. Get a monitor so that your husband can change the baby in the night some nights and pass her to you for feeding.

It will get better xz

That's so reassuring! I have been googling like mad but I guess if it came on suddenly it may go suddenly too!

Wow 8 weeks...I bet you are so relieved to see a light at the end of the tunnel!

That's a great idea with the monitor. At least then he can come in a couple of times in the night to take over (men seem to be able to sleep through anything!) Xxx

I wish I could help with some advice but I’m yet to have my first and already fearing the sleep issue. So last week I bought a book called Precious Little Sleep which apparently has all the tips and tricks to help the sleep situation.

Good luck!

Ekjones86 in reply to laurafig

The first 3 weeks were probably the worst to be honest. After that it got a lot better! Just try to take naps whenever you can 😊

I think we are currently going through the 4 month sleep regression early so fingers crossed we will soon be out the other side!

As hard as it is, it wouldn't put me off doing it again so it can't be that bad.

Good luck with everything lovely 🤗 xx


Don't compare yourself and your baby to anyone elses, I remember my daughter being just like your baby, I was constantly exhausted, and everyone would just tell me how good their baby was lol. I would just have her sleep with me until about 7/8 months where we insisted on having her in a cot which was so hard, she even hurt her throat by screaming after doing itt the first night. My partner would have to really rock her, and still she'd fight it! She's a good sleeper now though it just takes persistance and remember this time will pass hun ! Have you tried a beside cot? Xxxxxx

Ekjones86 in reply to Hidden

Oh no that must have been so hard. Hearing them cry and not picking them up kills you! Sounds like your baby is similar to mine. Fights sleep!

I'm glad things got better for you! She is in a next to me crib so I've tried just putting my hand out to stroke her face but I was a fool to think that would work lol 😂 xxx

Hidden in reply to Ekjones86

Oh no that doesn't work neither! I'm pregnant and I've just got a next to me crib which I didn't with my daughter, and there's me thinking I'd be able to do that to this one too is he's like his sister. Things got better for me but took years lol she still wants to stay up late at nearly 5, even though she's exhausted xxx

They all go through this type of thing. I cheated and let my baby sleep with me in the bed for a while, then started putting her back in the cot throughout the night and as the time went on she stayed in the cot longer and longer. As for naps during the day, a ride out in the car may work , then maybe lay her on the sofa to sleep so she knows you are near and have a nap yourself. Or if you don't drive a ride out in the pushchair. I hope you feel better about this soon and get some rest. You should talk to your husband about how you feel. All the best x

I may do that to Be honest seeing as my husband isn't there. Then when this phase has passed and she's sleeping better I can put her back in her next to me. I've done the car and I walk around our village like mad. People probably get sick of seeing me walk past their houses 😂 as soon as I stop 👀 eyes are open! I'm going to attempt getting her to nap soon at home again...if all else fails I'll get the pram out lol. So many things I've read tell you not to do that but you've got to do what You've got to do!

Thank you I will do 😊 xx

Maybe she's not getting enough milk which is not letting her sleep

Ekjones86 in reply to Mamma1

Hiya, if you'd have said that to me a couple of months ago I would have thought the same but I know it's not an issue now. I think she knows it's bed time so drains both of my boobs before she goes down. She's gone from the 9th to the 50th centile too 🙈 lol xx

Will she nap if you pop her in a sling? And walk her in that instead of a pram?

My baby is 14 weeks and still wakes twice between 10 and 7 for feeds, sometimes three times. I don’t think it’s an abnormal amount. I don’t really ask what other people’s babies are doing as they’re all different x

Yes my daughter is 14 weeks too 😊 she was waking 2 to 3 times which was fine but then suddenly changed to upto 7 😴

She does sleep in the sling yes but fights it initially so I have to deal with screaming directly in my ear for at least 5 mins 😂 xx

My baby is the same in the sling but if I can get her in it then she naps much longer whilst I’m walking than she does in cot or pram during the day. Sounds like your daughter might have started in leap 4 (wonder weeks). It sounds tough xx


How are you getting on?? Isabella was 12 weeks on Tuesday and for the past week or so she's not been settling in her crib at night so I'm back to holding her. She went in last night and managed to self settle but she was awake less than an hour later. I tried a couple of times more but I was too tired to persevere 🙈 She's still cat napping in the day which makes life difficult sometimes. She did go nearly 4 hours in between her night feeds but because she was sleeping on me I felt her getting restless so it was still disruptive. She's definitely going through some changes though so that's probably got a lot to do with it. I hope Megan is letting you slwep a bit more xx

Ekjones86 in reply to Hidden

I think there's a developmental leap from about 11.5 weeks so it sounds like Isabella may be going through that at the moment? It's tough when they suddenly go through these changes. Like you say, you want to help them to learn how to self settle but when your eyes feel like they're literally on fire through tiredness it's not the easiest thing to do! It's been getting better. Naps in the day are increasing (have been trying to teach her how to fall asleep on her own, and I let her cry it out a few days ago...only because I was in another room crying because I was so exhausted!!!! After 5 minutes silence fell and she was asleep!) They tend to be around 45 mins to an hour now, and her "daily" sleep (I track it) has increased by a couple of hours which is a lot better! Still up every 2-3 hours but I can handle that. I've also started feeding her more in the day rather than when she asks for it. Just trying to tank her up a bit throughout the day so she needs less at night.

I hope you're ok and not too exhausted. The tiredness really is so hard! Enjoy the cuddles while she's still little...! (Although you'd probably rather they weren't in the middle of the night 🙈) xxx

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