Breastfeeding, supply, and cosleeping questions
My daughter and I co-slept up until about a month ago. I stopped because she ended up waking often at night and had trouble going back to sleep without staying latched on. I became uncomfortable in the side lying position and wanted to get onto my stomach and sleep peacefully. She would often wake up at that point and it would be very frustrating to me. It seemed that my presence was stimulating her or something. She was possibly also being woken by the noise of me moving around in bed. :rolleyes:
I have a huge need for quality sleep otherwise I get into some real emotional ups and downs. I have bipolar II disorder and was planning on taking medication. Some things have happend recently though that changed my plans (long story). I actually thought that I was going to have to possibly wean Amber , but things have changed. At that time though my husband and I decided to follow a plan to get Amber adjusted to crib sleeping and no more nursing to sleep. It's from the book, "Good Night, Sleep Tight" by Kim West. It was actually reccommended to me by another Mom at a LLL meeting. She had success with her daughter and it was not a CIO approach, though there is crying involved. Amber did ok with it, though there were some hard moments.
The problem is that I don't think Amber is getting enough milk - she's sleeping 12 hours at night :eek: (it shocked me...we didn't even do anything to encourage sleeping that long at night) and rarely wakes up fully, though there are some moments where she lets out a little murmur or fuss. I am concerned that she's losing weight. She looks a lot thinner to me. :( She never had a weight issue before. She's also distracted by her brother during the day, which isn't good for our feedings. I haven't been pushing solids as much the past week because she got constipated this week and also may have had an allergic reaction to butter two weeks ago (hives, throwing up), though we don't know if it was from medication I was taking, which I immediately stopped, or the butter. My son has very serious allergies and horrible eczema and I want to ensure I do my best to help her body by breastfeeding as long as I can and not introducing a ton of solids too soon (she's almost ten months though).
I hope this all makes sense. I'm not sure what to do. I don't want anything to interfere with our breastfeeding relationship because I would love to nurse her until she weans herself, which I was hoping would be until she's at least two years old. Should I go back to co-sleeping to ensure she gets enough milk? I read that cosleeping babies get three times as much milk at night, or something like that, than non-cosleeping babies. That's significant. I am thin and small breasted and am concerned that this long stretch of sleep and not nursing her to sleep will negitively influence my supply.
I also wonder if I'm negitively influencing our bond as well - Amber doesn't always like the "nap routines" I have set up (story, lullaby on cd player, cuddle, put in crib). She often cries or fusses during it. It's breaking my heart. She often, though not every time, cries when I leave her in the crib. She might fuss a little bit when I shut the door, but sometimes she really cries. :( Her crying just gets harder if I stay in the room with her because she wants me to get her. Sometimes it isn't a problem though. I have much better sleep at night now, and I have a lot more freedom since I don't have to nurse her to sleep (she'd often wake when I tried to leave the room, which I had to do to get things done and take care of my four year old). But at what price??? Oh, and my husband would rather I *not* go back to co-sleeping. He wants me to try to feed her solids a lot more to help her, but breastmilk is her main food until she's at least one, right? Solids are just for experimentation at this point, right? :confused:
I would love any advice you may have for me.
Re: Breastfeeding, supply, and cosleeping questions
I can understand your concerns, but I can also understand your need for better sleep. I'm not familiar with the book you mentioned, so I can't evaluate whether it is a safe method or compatible with a continued breastfeeding relationship.
Are you sure she's actually losing weight? Often when older babies and toddlers go through growth spurts, they sort of stretch out and look thinner first, and fill in with some extra flesh later on (does that make sense?) Could you put her on the scale and compare with her last weight check, or take her into her doctor's office just for a weight check?
Weight loss in a baby feels like a red flag to me. The rest of your post doesn't sound alarming to me -- sleep problems in older babies are very common, and moms do get terribly sleep-deprived sometimes during this stage. You are the best judge of your own well-being -- and remember, even the attachment-parenting experts state clearly that the one thing every baby needs is a happy, well-rested mother.
If you feel that she's not getting enough breastmilk, how about continuing with your current nighttime routine, but pumping your milk a couple times during her 12-hour stretch of sleep? You could pump twice after she goes down, before you sleep, or once in the evening and again in the morning -- whatever works for your own sleep needs. Breastmilk is the most nutrient-dense food for her still, so try to nurse and offer the EBM before you offer solids.
I hope others will chime in with their thoughts.