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Settling overtired newborn!

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#1 naomi.g

Posted 06 August 2006 - 11:02 PM

Hi, Just wondering what you did to settle a 5 week old when they are over tired? We are still trying to get use to her tired signs before shes overtired but some times we dont get it in time. And the afternoon 'arsenic hour' is the worst!
We dont want to keep giving her the dummy and rocking her as she is beginning to rely on it because once we put her down she screams and is awake again.
It seems that when shes over tired that rocking her is the only thing that we can do and this can take up to three hours or longer. Do you let a newborn cry for a while? If so, for how long? Ive read conflicting advice where letting them cry this young is not recommended?

They say swaddle and put to bed while awake and before theyre over tired but that is easier said than done!!
Any advice is appreciated!

#2 kawaii

Posted 06 August 2006 - 11:12 PM

I have a DVD called Happiest Baby on the Block and the Dr uses a shooshing technique. I have seen it onsale at Babies Galore and my healthcare nurse mentioned the technique the other day also known as the Baby Whisperer.

That might help you and we use it on our 1 month old and it does quiten her down enough to get her to sleep.

#3 Expat

Posted 07 August 2006 - 02:08 AM

Naomi, it's totally normal for a newborn to need rocking/cuddling/comfort to help them get to sleep. And five weeks is the peak of crying, so it should start to become easier from now. By twelve weeks, you'll have a different child on your hands (literally, mine slept through until then *sigh*).

Have you noticed that it's worst in the evenings? This is TOTALLY normal. Brazelton thinks it's processing the stress of the day to release tension before their big sleep. Some people call it fuss/feed. We used to pass her back and forth - I'f feed her until she was more fussy, then hand her to my husband, who'd do the shhhhhhhhh, and patting, and carrying her around high on his shoulder until that stopped working, then he'd hand her back, then repeat for up to five hours! But it's a newborn thing - they stop doing it of their own accord when their nervous systems mature.

But please remember that all the research people have done says that your efforts to calm and soothe her DO work - babies who are attended to in their fussy evening cry less than ones who aren't. So while it seems that you're not having any success, you almost certainly are - she'd cry for longer and harder if you weren't helping her.

You can't leave her to cry until she's nine months old and her brain has developed to the point where if you're not there she knows you still exist.

The Happiest baby on the block is great - basically he gives you a settling technique that works for most babies. You wrap them tightly, lie them on their side in your arms, shhhh in their ear louder than the crying, give them something to suck (nipple or dummy), and jiggle them gently with their neck supported. The DVD shows them really well.

If you wait until she is totally and utterly asleep (her arms are limp if you pick hem up), you'll have more luck putting her down. But some small babies just do not like to sleep lying down flat.

She doesn't develop the ability to know where she was when she fell asleep until 4 1/2 months old, so until then you can do whatever it takes, safe in the knowledge that you're not developing 'bad habits'.

Don't panic that you'll be still doing the same thing when your baby is sixteen, let alone six months. As your baby gets older and more mature, she'll be more capable of settling herself. At the moment she's so tiny and so new that the big world is scary and difficult to cope with - she was floating in the warm darkness just five weeks ago!

Edited by artemisia, 07 August 2006 - 02:53 AM.

#4 Expat

Posted 07 August 2006 - 02:57 AM

here are some links for you to read that might help, too.





*  Wear baby in a sling or baby carrier. This will free one or both hands for other tasks (fixing dinner, caring for other children) while you hold, soothe and nurse your baby.
    * Change of pace. Let dad have some "baby time" while mom takes a shower or simply gets some time to herself to relax and regroup after a long day.
    * Go outside. Relax baby (and mom too) with a walk, or just sit and enjoy the outdoors. Try this a little before baby's regular fussy time.
    * Soothe with sound. Sing, hum, talk, murmur shhhh, listen to music, or use 'white noise.' Try different types of sound, different styles of music and singers with different types of voices.
    * Soothe with rhythmic motion. Walk, sway, bounce, dance, swing, or even try a car ride.
    * Soothe with touch. Hold or bathe baby, try baby massage.
    * Reduce stimulation. Dim lights, reduce noise, swaddle baby.
    * Vary nursing positions. Try side lying, lying on your back to nurse with baby tummy to tummy, etc.
    * Nurse in motion (while rocking, swaying, walking, etc.).
    * Combine rhythmic motion with soothing sounds.
    * Avoid scheduling, even more so in the fussy evening hours.
    * More soothing techniques.

Comfort measures for fussy babies (many fit into several different categories)
Basic needs

    * Nurse
    * Burp baby
    * Change his diaper
    * Undress baby completely to make sure no clothing is "sticking" him

Comforting Touch

    * Hold baby
    * Carry baby in a sling
    * Give baby a back rub
    * Carry baby in the "colic hold" (lying across your forearm, tummy down, with your hand supporting his chest)
    * Lay baby across your lap & gently rub his back while slowly lifting & lowering your heels
    * Lay baby tummy-down on the bed or floor and gently pat his back
    * Massage your baby

Reduce stimulation

    * Swaddle baby
    * Dim lights and reduce noise

Comforting Sounds

    * Play some music (try different styles and types of voices to see which baby prefers)
    * Sing to baby
    * Turn on some "white noise" (fan, vacuum cleaner, dishwasher)

Rhythmic motion / change of pace

    * Nurse baby in motion (while walking around or rocking)
    * Give baby a bath
    * Rock baby
    * Hold baby and gently bounce, sway back and forth or dance
    * Put baby in a sling or baby carrier and walk around inside or outside
    * Put baby in a baby swing (if he's old enough)
    * Take baby outside to look at the trees
    * Take baby for a walk in the stroller
    * Go for a car ride
    * Set baby in a baby carrier (or car seat) on the dryer with the dryer turned on (stand by him, as the vibration can bounce the seat right off the dryer onto the floor)

One of the most interesting things I've seen in the research regarding infant fussiness is that almost anything a parent tries to reduce fussiness will work, but only for a short time (a few days), and then other strategies need to be used.

If you nurse and it doesn't seem to help, then try other comfort measures. If you pick him up or nurse him, and baby is content, then that was what he needed. If it works, use it!

#5 mybaby

Posted 07 August 2006 - 11:31 AM

Artemisia - Great advice hun biggrin.gif

When Sammy was born as soon as we got him home, we experienced the 'witching hour' is what we called it. I was so conflicted emotionally coz you do get a lot of conflicting info. I popped Sammy in his Baby Bjorn and walked around the house -it actually encouraged another sleep. Your baby needs you so much right now. What i would do is time bubs awake time - so out of cot unti back into cot is 1.5 hours incl feed and play. I put Sammy into his cot just before the 1.5 hours is up coz i find he settles better if he's put in just before tired signs are showing - but that's us and i have only just found it works and i will be tryingit for next bubs we have. I just looked at my sleep skool info book and it says to keep a baby b/n 0-8 weeks up for b/n 1-1.5hours. You'll get to knwo how long you bubs can stay awake before she needs to sleep- she'll yawn, grizzle or get red around the eyes, among other things.

Artemisia provided you with great info and she makes a very true point  
By twelve weeks, you'll have a different child on your hands (literally, mine slept through until then *sigh*).

Very true - Sammy is 15 weeks and we're so proud of the progress he's made with his sleeping. I am a new woman - the fod has lifted!lol

I also use Sounds of silence CD during the day which has heartbeat boise, vacum cleaner, etc - Sammy has responded so well to it. You could try something like that.

She doesn't develop the ability to know where she was when she fell asleep until 4 1/2 months old, so until then you can do whatever it takes, safe in the knowledge that you're not developing 'bad habits'.

Don't panic that you'll be still doing the same thing when your baby is sixteen, let alone six months. As your baby gets older and more mature, she'll be more capable of settling herself. At the moment she's so tiny and so new that the big world is scary and difficult to cope with - she was floating in the warm darkness just five weeks ago

So true - can't stress that enough - i think that's why Sammy likes the CD - it has the sounds he heard while inside of me.

Also, Naomi, they grow so fast so enjoy all the times you can hold them close and nurse them and love them. Sammy is growing and growing and soon he'll be on solids and crawling,etc and i am now asking "where has the time gone?"lol  tongue.gif. Goes soooo fast and when it's your first, it's hard and there's this fog that lifts at about 12 weeks when they stop the witching hour, they feed about 5 feeds a day and they'remore responsive and settled. You'll get there - go with what you think is right  biggrin.gif . We're here for you too

#6 Indriya

Posted 07 August 2006 - 11:55 AM

Hi Niaomi,

I agree with PP's.  What I do with my bub is put her down BEFORE she gets tired.  I took note of how long she would stay up and put her down about 10 mins before that time.  She will usually settle nicely if she is fed and burped.  If she cries I pick her and settle her in her room away from any other noise.


There is a book by Tracy Hogg called Secrets of the Baby Whisper - How to calm, connect and communicate with your baby.  I love it.  It has a section in their which discribes babies body language and what it means.  

Here are some of the tired signs she suggest to watch for

Moves head from side to side
Yawn (obviously)

Overtired signs

The 'Seven Mile Stare' eyes wide and unblinking looking at nothing.

Flailing hands and arms very uncoordinated, may claw at skin (this could mean wind as well) also strong uncoordinated kicking.

Also when they get overtired they will get overstimulated easily if not already (well thats what happens with Kaira).  Take her to a quiet room or face her towards you so she can't see anything, turn down the TV / Radio and dim the lights.

Most of all relax because she will pick up your tension.  I find (as artemisia said) go outside for fresh air - this works wonders for me.

Hope this helps.

#7 georgi

Posted 07 August 2006 - 12:00 PM

Ditto to all the above info, and I find that having a quiet time where I read or sing to DD very important in the late afternoon/early evening witching hour after play time and before I put her to bed. This is in her bedroom with lights low and soft music. As Nat said, 1 - 1.5 hours max at this age awake, and using the feed, play, sleep routine works most of the time for me.

#8 naomi.g

Posted 08 August 2006 - 12:30 AM

Thanks so much for your advice everyone, i got more here than what i could get from my echn and on the internet! Artemisia are you one of those baby whisperers cause you sure know your stuff!!

#9 Swilly

Posted 08 August 2006 - 09:49 AM

From 6 to 12 weeks I really struggled to get my DD to sleep during the day.  I found the rocker we had which vibrated really helped as did carrying her in a pouch.  I gave up trying to get her to sleep in the cot in the daytime during that period.  She was rocked, cuddled and fed to sleep for the first 3 months and now at 7.5 months she self settles all the time so I don't think any harm was done in those early months by not putting her to bed awake.  I also found wrapping to relly help.

Edited by Swilly, 08 August 2006 - 09:49 AM.

#10 Etcetera

Posted 08 August 2006 - 10:36 AM

Most of all relax because she will pick up your tension.

So so true. We went to the inlaws for dinner on Sunday and he was unsettled to begin with. Then having to feed him whilst there with tons of people wanting to see him made me so stressed out that he wouldnt settle at all.
As soon as we got home, walking into the building, he calmed right down! I think it was mostly due to me feeling relieved we were home at last. He slept like an angel after that original.gif

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