Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 Weeks – Other

My two week old daughter seems to have her days and nights completely reversed

My two week old daughter seems to have day and night the wrong way round. She sleeps all day – I have to wake her for feeds and take her clothes off/change nappy etc. halfway as she falls asleep after 10-15mins. She sleeps in between the feeds. Then she ‘wakes up” from about 8.30pm and goes on a feeding marathon until around 3/4am when she will finally fall asleep in her moses basket.

How can I switch this pattern around? I have a 2 year old too and have to be up with him at 7am, he no longer naps in the day so I don’t have any chance to catch up on sleep myself.

Please note – in the sleep section I have noted the sleeps between feeds, but my daughter also seems to sleep during most of her feeds too so is getting additional sleep there. Also she has 10 minute bursts throughout the night time section, too many to record.

At present she is breast fed apart from formula which is used at the end of her many night time feeds.

She is feeding at 7.30am 20mins, 11am 20mins, 3pm 30 mins, 6pm 40 mins, 9pm 20 mins, 10pm 15mins, 10.45pm 15mins, 11.30pm 10mins, 12.20am 2 ozs expressed, 1.30am 2ozs formula, 2.30am 2ozs formula, 3am 20 mins breast. She weighs 7lbs 5ozs.

She sleeps at 7-7.30am, 7.50-11am, 11.20-3pm, 4.45-6pm, 7.45-9pm, 11.45-12.05am, 2-2.20am, 3.20-7am.

It can be difficult to get a “night owl” such as your daughter to be more awake in the day. It takes time and persistence which is not easy when trying to care for a two year old at the time.

Often in the third week of life a newborn baby begins to “wake up” a bit to the world. This usually coincides with a growth spurt so you may well notice a change in her over the next few days.

To get her more awake in the day, you may have to use a different tactic other than keeping her cool and changing her whilst she feeds. As soon as you notice she is becoming sleepy on the breast, lay her down away from your body heat. The floor is the best place, but not always practical with a two year old around. If you could set her down in a playpen or travel cot this would help her come round and resume feeding. This way of keeping her awake to take a proper feed is time consuming but will begin to pay off. You may have to do it two or three times each feed. She is very young yet and many babies do not follow the first week routine to the letter until 3-4 weeks old. Take a look at the timings of the feeds during the day. At her age they are between three and four hours from 7am. Keep trying to get her to feed at these timings, even though she is so sleepy and you have to wake her. This will help her have enough feeds in the time between 7am and 11pm to, hopefully, only need two feeds in the night, around 2am and 5/6am.

Breast feeding is tiring and by the end of a long day with your toddler your supply may well be low. Rather than waiting until the middle of the night to give formula/ expressed feeds, begin to put them in earlier so you are able to rest and relax in the evening. The way your daughter is feeding in the night is typical of a baby who is just snacking, taking some fore milk but not any hind so is unable to settle for any length of time. You will be exhausted as well so both the supply and quality may be on the low side.

As you will be busy with your son at 6pm try for the split feed at 5/6 pm with your daughter. Breast feed at 5pm and then give an expressed feed at 6/6.30pm. This should help her take a full feed and settle for longer in the evening. If you are able to express at 9.30pm from both sides, ask your partner to give the next feed so you are able to rest. If this feed is given as formula you will know she has had a good feed. If she takes a 3oz feed at this time she should be able to get to 1.30/2am without needing food. If she is restless before this then swaddle her and hold her rather than feeding. A baby of your daughter’s age, providing her feed has been good, is able to go at least three hours before hunger will cause her to cry. If she is restless before this try to settle her with a cuddle, swaddling her tightly, or offering her water.

To further help her distinguish night from day make sure she has the daytime feeds in a bright, well lit room, with some background sounds and the night time ones in a quieter, dimly lit atmosphere. At night time keep your interaction with her to the minimum, and only change her if it is really necessary. When you put her down for her naps in the daytime move her to a darkened room, then bring back out into the light when it is time for her to feed again. It can take several weeks for a baby to fully adjust to day and night but with persistence on your part it is possible, little by little.Sleeping