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Thread: can't get her to nap to sleep

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Default can't get her to nap to sleep

    With all the talk of "don't nurse your kids to sleep" this post is quite the opposite.

    My 6 month LO is becoming IMPOSSIBLE to nurse to sleep. We've had routines for the morning nap and bedtime for well over 1 month now. Each included nursing. Now, she just will not nurse to sleep. The longer we try, the more agitated she becomes.

    She knows her routine at night (the one she's had for 2 months), looks forward to the bath, and sits for the story. After story she turns to me for nursing and will doze. But, whether I try the Pantley removal (unlatch while flutter sucking) or sometimes even if I do nothing she will just become really agitated and stir herself back to an awake state. We start our routine at 6:30 and most nights, with many tears, she's not sleeping until after 8 and she's usually up within the hour and, on some nights, every hour after that.

    I do not think we're forcing a bedtime on her. We watch for tired cues (with her red and glazed eyes before fussing and yawning). I cannot imagine what she'd be like if we tried to keep her up to 7:30 just to see if that would minimize the amount of wind-down, nursing, and fuss. I know another suggestion is to just sleep with her. When we've done that she will ONLY stay asleep with the breast in her mouth. Without daytime support, I really need 8 pm to 10 pm for myself. Without it I'm just more short tempered and frustrated with her. I don't want to be.

    In the daytime I'm aware that she needs sleep within 2 hours of waking. I try to wind her down at least 20-15 mins before hand.

    I am loathe to CIO. But with her getting agitated at the breast, we're basically crying it out anyway. WHY???? This has been a mounting problem for the past 2 months and I am tired but worse feeling like a complete failure for being unable to soothe my baby to sleep with the breast.

    Can teeth really be a problem every night for nearly 2 months? That feels more like an excuse than a reason at this point.

    Sorry this is so long. Just, after another night where she's gotten maybe 8 hours of very broken sleep followed by another failed morning nap I am dreading the all day crankiness that we're in for. And I mean all day fuss. She's tired. I'm tired. I hate this.
    Mama to Viv since 4/08/12 -- my all natural post-breast cancer miracle baby

    with just one breast. So far so good.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2012
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    middle of IA
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    Default Re: can't get her to nap to sleep

    hi mama, sounds frustrating and tired!

    i have commented on here that my family does "baby led sleeping" which basically means we follow DS's cues about when he wants to sleep, how he wants to fall asleep, how long, etc. which definitely has tradeoffs, but on balance it works for us still.

    anyway, i'm saying this because maybe it would help you to think out of the box a little bit. how DOES your DD like to fall asleep? if you ONLY followed her cues for naps, what would they look like? does she prefer to nap in a sling or swing? etc. a little brainstorming about what she would do on her own might help you figure out a pattern that is less stressful.

    for example, i totally get wanting/needing 2 hours to yourself at night ... but maybe those 2 hours don't have to be exactly 8-10 pm, or at night. a friend of mine swore by her schedule, while she was essentially single-parenting: nurse baby down and sleep for 4 hours, when baby stirs get up and do dishes etc for an hour or so, nurse back down and both sleep another 4 hours. sounds crazy to most of us but it was best for them. and also there's some anthropological evidence that people all used to sleep like that! our modern obsession with 8 straight hours isn't necessarily the historical norm.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  3. #3
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: can't get her to nap to sleep

    This is the sort of post that women should read before they get pregnant, so they know what they're really in for! Joking aside, I know that what you're you're experiencing is so frustrating and exhausting, even though it's normal. And I totally understand your need to have baby-free time in the evenings!!! I would go nuts if I was denied that.

    The PPO doesn't work with all babies. Some kids have to be nursed not just to the point where they are drowsy, but to the point where they are actually unconscious. There's nothing wrong with doing this- just because the pull-off and the "drowsy but awake" thing isn't working right now, that doesn't mean it's not going to work in the future, or that you're doomed to nurse this kid to sleep forever.

    But nursing all the way to sleep would only work if your baby will release the breast after she is asleep. And she won't, right? You might want to try lying down with her and subbing a pacifier for your breast once she's pretty deeply asleep. Or maybe just lying down with her and bringing a device- phone, tablet, e-reader- to bed with you. Once she's asleep, you can get some reading/browsing time in. Of course, that leaves no time with your spouse or partner... How about a swing? My first kid slept very well in the swing until she was about a year old. We went through a lot of D batteries, but it was worth it!

    Wish I had better ideas for you, mama.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
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    Apr 2012
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    Default Re: can't get her to nurse to sleep

    Thanks moms! The subject line should be "nurse to sleep" (just changed it).

    I'm not sure if the PPO has backfired to the point that she anticipates getting pulled off and is therefore waking herself once she falls to sleep or becomes drowsy at the breast? I've only done the PPO at night. Last night she became positively bizarre. She nursed and calmed, then jerked her legs, and then started humming, babbling, and yelling, all the while keeping her latch.

    We stopped co-sleeping and tried to begin the night at least in the crib when my laying in bed with a tablet to read while she nursed seemed to result in her needing the breast in her mouth all night. She rejected pacis. Just with the PPO, trying to get one in wakes her and she's mad and wired all over again.

    However, this is how we nap in the morning -- in the rocker breast in mouth. It used to be for an hour and 15 mins, went down to an hour, and lately I'm lucky if we get 30 mins. At this moment we had an hour of crying (some of which was me just putting her in the crib and walking away so that I could calm). I now have her in the ergo, which gets her to sleep but we've never successfully taken her out and gotten her to stay asleep. Again, limiting for me but I'll do it just to keep the super cranks away.

    Man, oh man. All those concerns about whether I COULD nurse, and then the worries about her latch. I never would've imagined I'd have a constant nurser who ONLY wants mama's breast.

    When I'm rested and logical I know I love it and will miss her nursing. I know she's not going to need this in high school. But at moments like this I just have less than pleasant thoughts about her (yes, I muttered shut up under my breath) and end up feeling guilty and hating myself all day.
    Mama to Viv since 4/08/12 -- my all natural post-breast cancer miracle baby

    with just one breast. So far so good.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: can't get her to nap to sleep

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*auderey View Post
    hi mama, sounds frustrating and tired!
    for example, i totally get wanting/needing 2 hours to yourself at night ... but maybe those 2 hours don't have to be exactly 8-10 pm, or at night. a friend of mine swore by her schedule, while she was essentially single-parenting: nurse baby down and sleep for 4 hours, when baby stirs get up and do dishes etc for an hour or so, nurse back down and both sleep another 4 hours. sounds crazy to most of us but it was best for them. and also there's some anthropological evidence that people all used to sleep like that! our modern obsession with 8 straight hours isn't necessarily the historical norm.
    first sleep, second sleep. this is a complete aside but when not on leave i'm actually a historian. i study colonialism and gender and have so many documents of 19th century imperialists and reformers writing about the horrible sleep habits of south and southeast asians (entire families in the same bed!) i think -- years from now when we're all rested -- i'll write about the very long and actually global assault on co-sleeping.

    i have started taking 1-3 to myself, or around that time, provided she doesn't need to be in arms then. i think a bigger problem isn't really baby but that this is adding stress to a stressful time in our marriage. FIL is dying and DH seems to need more mothering and companionship than i'm able to give. i'm just torn between two very needy people that i love very much and want DH to know that the littlest one takes precedence.

    maybe it will get easier if i stop the PPO and let her get used to going unconscious at the breast again? if she trusts it's there, i might be able to slip away?

    thanks again for listening. it helps to have this forum -- a lot.
    Mama to Viv since 4/08/12 -- my all natural post-breast cancer miracle baby

    with just one breast. So far so good.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Default Re: can't get her to nap to sleep

    Hang in there.
    Blessed with DS - born 9/2/09 - nursed/pumped for 12 months
    Blessed with DD - born 3/27/12 my dreamfeeder

    903 ounces donated.
    http://www.wakemed.org/landing.cfm?id=135

  7. #7
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    Default Re: can't get her to nap to sleep

    Hi! I am so sorry you are feeling so frustrated and tired! I know you said it's been a problem for a couple months now, but her teeth could have been moving and now they are getting ready to pop. You could at least try a round of tylenol and see if it does anything to help! If not, then you can rule it out for sure. You'll make it through though! Sorry I can't offer anything else!

  8. #8
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: can't get her to nap to sleep

    I didnt read all the replies but just wanted to say that my babies have all gone throguh this stage, but DD3 is the worst for it, she will hardly ever nurse to sleep only a handful of times, even since newborn days. She NEEDS to be worn to sleep so I "wear her down" in the ergo. If I try to nurse her to sleep she just fusses too. She hardly ever nurses for comfort.

    Have you tried babywearing her to sleep around the same time you would try nursing to sleep?
    Mommy to 3 beautiful girls!

  9. #9
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    Feb 2012
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    Default Re: can't get her to nap to sleep

    This sounds very familiar! My son was like that around the same age. What finally worked for us was to find another way to get him to sleep altogether. Instead of nursing, his daddy would 'dance him down' in the nursery to a particular soundtrack of children's songs. For whatever reason, he seemed to fall more deeply asleep that way and if he fell asleep that way instead of by nursing he didn't wake as much that night. Otherwise I was at the point of spending 2 hours trying to nurse DS down at night only to have him cry and wake up the moment I put him in the crib. I remember how crazy-making that was! Also, some nights when we just couldn't get DS to sleep, after hours of trying, we'd set him in the crib and let him cry for 10-15 minutes. Once in awhile he seemed to need to do that to wind himself down and go to sleep. I'm not a believer in CIO but when nothing else was working after hours and that would work after 10-15 minutes, I felt sometimes I didn't have a choice. Anyway, that phase passed and now my son is nearly a year and nurses down to sleep very easily most nights. Just wanted to give some sympathy and say I've been there and remember how it makes a mama crazy!
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

  10. #10
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: can't get her to nap to sleep

    oh yes I find using music while wearing her down makes it go much faster. Its like instant stop the fussiness.
    Mommy to 3 beautiful girls!

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