My 5.5-week-old daughter seems unable to settle properly between 7and 10pm
My daughter is a great baby and follows the routine like clockwork except for the following: most nights she only sleeps for one hour at the 7pm sleep i.e. waking up at 8pm and will not settle for the next 2 hours before the 10pm feed.
I have tried feeding her when she wakes up but this does not seem to satisfy her; I have tried giving her the dummy to console her; it works but as soon as I take it out she will unsettle again (this is the only time I use the dummy). I am really confused as to why she is waking up as she sleeps really well at all her other sleeps and for the recommended time as per the book. I don’t think she has cramps as she is not arching her back she is just crying.
I am also struggling with leaving her arms out of the swaddle, 9 out of 10 times if I leave her arms out she will not settle; if I swaddle her fully she is asleep within 20 seconds.
One thing about my daughter is that she is a really fast feeder; she can feed in 15-20 minutes. At first I questioned if she was getting enough food but I think she is as she does not demand food any earlier than the suggested times and she has gained weight accordingly.
At present she breast feeds at 7.30am 20mins one side, 10.40am 20mins one side, 2.30pm 25mins one side, 5.00pm 15mins one side, 6.15pm 25mins one side. 9.50pm 130mls expressed plus 5mins on one side if I have expressed both sides, 4.30am 10mins of good feeding and 5mins slow on one side. She weighs 9.3lbs.
She naps form 8.45- 10.05am, 11.50-2.20pm and 4.15- 5pm. She is settled by 6.40pm
As you are fully breast feeding your daughter you may find that by 6pm your supply is running low. This is a common problem for new mothers as it is difficult to get everything done in the home, rest and take care of the baby. Sometimes it is easy to forget to drink inbetween feeds and often a mother will not eat from lunchtime until supper, but still continues to have to feed her baby. Make sure you have something to eat around 4.30/5pm as well as drinking a glass of water between all feeds. Having something to eat at teatime is a habit all mothers should get into. Coping with babies and small children at this time of day can be very wearing. Giving yourself a boost of energy through eating some fruit and nuts, a slice of toast with a healthy spread or a slice of malt loaf can really help you.
To try to settle your daughter in the evening, so you can have a much-needed rest, offer her a top up of expressed milk before she goes down at 6.45pm. This will help her to really fill herself up. By this time of night she is tired and may appear to be taking a good feed but probably is quite sleepy at this time. This coupled with your supply, which is probably lower at this time, will result in her not feeding enough to last until 10pm. Some mothers find it easier to make the 6.15pm part of the feed a full expressed one. They will offer both sides at 5pm and then give a bottle of milk expressed earlier in the day after the bath., so they know that their baby has had a good feed.
Make sure your daughter is really awake before she starts to feed at 5pm. Being fully awake for the two hours before bedtime can really make a difference as to how a baby settles in the evening.
At 5.5 weeks your daughter will still like the security of being swaddled. To begin to wean her off this, start by leaving one arm out at her morning nap. Once she is used to this you can do the same thing at 7pm if she is then settling well, and then use the same way of swaddling her at her long lunchtime nap and finally throughout the night. Once she has got used to having one arm out at most of her naps, leave her with both arms free at the morning nap and gradually introduce the idea to her in the same order as before. Aim to have her half swaddled at all sleeps by the end of eight weeks. Half swaddling, where both arms are free can be used until you decide to introduce your daughter to a sleeping bag. This is best done at about 12 weeks.