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Our 10 week old breastfed daughter doesn’t nap well, or sleep particularly well. She tends to sleep from 11.30pm – 2-3am, then in very short spurts if she is held, with a slightly longer 30 minute sleep around 7am. What can we try and do so she will sleep for longer periods between awakenings at night?

The following information is for background, in case it impacts on a babies sleep at night.

She does not nap during the day unless she is in a car, sling or pram. As soon as we bring her back into the house most times she wakes up even if we leave her in her car seat or pram, presumably because she senses a change in environment.

During the evening and night she wants to feed for long durations, in which she may close her eyes but still seems to be feeding. She doesn’t seem unwell, and her weight gain is good after a difficult start when she dropped over 10%. She had her 8 week checkup and inoculations last week with no problems found.

She has a short temper and cries very quickly and very loudly if we take too long over changing, or put her down when she is awake but seemingly sleepy. She likes being bathed but by the time she is dried and changed she tends to be crying. Most of the time she needs to be fed in order to be soothed. She is quite happy lying on her back on her playmat interacting with mobiles etc. Our house is well insulated, and temperature varies between 19-21 C. She will tolerate swaddling for the first part of the night, and she seems to sleep for longer when swaddled but we don’t swaddle her during the day. A couple of nights last week we managed to swaddle her and put her into her moses basket awake, and get her to sleep on her own, with lights out and white noise. We haven’t managed this since.

She seems to be developing well and gaining weight with this pattern, but it is extremely tiring as there is very little downtime where one or both of us can sleep.

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Answers so far are helpful, thank you. I've now made it more clear that the main part of my question is to do with techniques for elongating the duration between awakenings at night. –  thebunk May 14 at 23:15

2 Answers 2

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This seems to be perfectly normal, at least in my experience with 3 kids of my own and having babysat over 10 nieces, nephews, god-children etc.

Everything you are describing - sleeping in short spurts, waking up on a change of environment, falling asleep in vehicles or moving buggies etc is par for the course at this age.

If she is gaining weight well, and her 8 week checkup was good I would not be worrying.

As always, you can ask your health worker for advice if you are worried, but nothing you describe seems out of the ordinary at all at this age.

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My daughter had the same issues until around her 13th week, when everything changed for the better:) I was worried about her sleep all the time, since she slept only around 10-13 hours a day. She sleeps more than that now that she's 6 months.

During the day we took her for walks in a stroller, she fell asleep in it, and we sometimes managed to not wake her up after returning home. She slept for some time in the stroller.

At night - we didn't get much sleep. She fell asleep on our hands, being carried around the house. We sometimes managed to put her to her crib without waking her - see this question on how to do this.

To stay reasonably well-slept and... sane;)... take turns taking care of her. One of you sleeps/eats/rests and the other takes care of the baby.

One thing we did and are now happy about was always putting her to sleep in her crib. Since her 4th month she has little trouble falling asleep on her own, she needed no sleep training at all. She often does not fall asleep immediately, but she stays calm in her bed and babbles or plays. And then falls asleep. We were consistent from the start and it paid off.

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