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Sleep deprivation / tired baby / tired parents

4 answers
Hi, our baby is going to be 4 weeks tomorrow. He started sleeping very well in his first 2 weeks and a half but over the last week and a half his whole system seems to have changed. He wants to eat about every two hours and he won't leave the breast for 45 minutes sometimes even an hour. It looks like he is sleeping during his feeds. Once the feed ends he looks clearly asleep. We put him down and 5-20 minutes latter he is up and crying. We make sure that he is burped, clean, good temperature, no stress, we sooth him, never let him cry and so on. The problem is that if he sleeps during his feed he doesn't seem to be sleeping any other time. So my wife is up continuously, i am up as much as I can, but I am also going to work in the morning. We don't know if maybe we are doing something wrong. He should be sleeping 16-18 hours, but it looks like he's getting it during feeds and then in pieces of 15-20 minutes. Is that normal? He seems to always wake himself up with one "shake", as if somebody sneaked behind him and gave him a scare. As soon as we sooth him, he is all fine, but the longest he slept lately is 30 minutes... Any suggestion before we both collapse from no sleep? Thank you, Iulian

answers (4)

sometime you have to just let them cry it out. since babies at that age have no other form of communication, crying is the only way for them "talk" to you. sometimes babies just need to cry so they are able to express their feelings. as you said, you never let him cry. this is what you are doing wrong. i know it's heartbreaking to hear you child cry, but it's what's best for them at times. you don't need to rush in every time he starts to whimper or whine. at some point he's going to have to learnn how to soothe himself back to sleep. maybe he's colicky. talk with your ped and see if they have some advice. good luck.
I have two kids, and my son was exactly like your baby.  I strongly recommend the book "Happiest Baby on the Block."  The swaddling they recommend will really help with the startle reflex, which is what you are describing and is totally normal.  Also, your wife isn't doing anything wrong with breastfeeding.  That is just how it is at 4 weeks with a nursing infant.  It will get better, and you will get some more sleep soon. 
DON'T just let him cry it out, as the first person suggested! All he will learn is that mom and dad don't respond to my needs. Newborns can't be spoiled, and need to be tended to when they cry. My guy ate like that--every two hours--for at least a month and a half. He's two and half months now, and still eating like that during the day, but sleeping more at night and taking longer naps. If he's eating that must much breastmilk, then he must be really healthy, which is great.Get and read "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" book--it has everything you need to know, and will validate all your feelings. It works--Get it now!!
I agree with deisine DO NOT let the baby cry it out! That method is for much older infants (6 months+).  It is very detrimental to a newborn to not have its needs responded to.  When a newborn cries it is for a reason.  I agree with trying "The Happiest Baby on the Block."  There is a video that is very quick and to the point.  Very simple things you can do that will save you a TON of heart ache and lost sleep.  Swaddling will definitely help keep him from startling himself awake. Also, the change in sleeping/eating pattern is very normal and typical of a growth spurt. Good luck! 

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