Case Study: Overcoming Sleep Problems For A 3 Month Old

Posted by Tara Mitchell on

A rough start for this little one and mum – a lip and tongue tie revised at 2 months after painful frequent feeding and frequent vomiting. Post revision feeding is less painful and baby A is gaining weight adequately.

Mum got in touch because despite fixing her oral ties, baby A is very unsettled. She screams from 5pm – 10pm every night and nothing will calm her. She has 2 x20 minute naps
per day and is very difficult to settle. Awake for 3-5 hours at a time. Mum is feeling lost and unsure how to help her baby.

Now most people would think a sleep consultant would come to your house and put this
baby to bed and let her cry – this was the exact opposite of my plan.

Now most people would think a sleep consultant would come to your house and put this baby to bed and let her cry – this is the exact opposite of my plan.

Initially I could see this baby was overstimulated, overtired and her little sympathetic nervous system was in the fight or flight response. She was being constantly feed to calm and settle her which only worked for a very short period until she was upset again. Baby A was uncomfortable from too frequent feedings across the day and was rarely taking full feeds- stuck in a cycle.

FIRST STEP

Calm the nervous system. For a week I asked mum to forget about baby sleeping in the bassinet or any routine she was asking for, this was not the answer.

WEEK 1 FOCUS:

  1. Age-appropriate awake times – assisting bub to sleep 60-90 minutes after waking
    up.
  2. Contact napping so bub can have naps longer than 20 minutes – mum focusing on this time to snuggle baby and not stress about her needing to be in the bassinet
    (also great for mums’ nervous system and attachment).
  3. Focus on fuller feeds and less snack feeding while she is calm after waking from a nap – aim to keep her awake on the feeds.
  4. Skin on skin time.
  5. Helping mum learn cues for sleep and educate on normal infant sleep.

After only a few days mum couldn’t believe the change in how easy she was to get to sleep at the shorter times, the difference in feeding and most importantly the difference in her
baby. She no longer screamed for hours every evening and calm was returning to the house. I could hear the change in mums voice, her anxiety was reducing, and her confidence was growing.

Only after we had achieved this could we gently work on baby A being able to go down in her bassinet at times across the day. Baby A who was once so wired and unable to even be put down on a play mat was starting to go into her sleep space and peacefully drift off to sleep – sometimes a little grizzle or cry out here or there but mum was now able to understand when baby A needed to go to sleep and the signs she was settling. 

Mum was now able to understand when baby A needed
to go to sleep and the signs she was settling.

BIGGEST THINGS MUM NOTICED DURING OUR 2 WEEKS SUPPORT:

  1. Easier to get to sleep for naps and night
  2. No screaming from 5pm -10pm each night
  3. Less frequent feeding, bigger fuller feeds and a more comfortable baby
  4. Calmer and more content baby – able to tolerate the play mat, tummy time and her awake times
  5. Mum feeling calmer
  6. Confidence growing in understanding her baby and normal infant sleep
  7. Longer naps and bigger stretches of sleep overnight

This was such a pleasure to have helped this family who felt so lost and unsure where to turn. GP and child health nurse had all told her this was normal for a baby – witching hours and fussiness was all a part of it. Thankfully this mama trusted her gut and sought further help, did her research and found us knowing we had experience to see the bigger picture for her baby.

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