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Thread: Can't go on like this - I need to sleep!

  1. #1
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    Default Can't go on like this - I need to sleep!

    For the past 10 days my almost 6-month old has been waking up FIVE TIMES A NIGHT. She goes down around 8:30pm and starting between 11 and 12 she is up every two hours. I am EXHAUSTED. I am OLD (39). I need more sleep than this. My husband is more than willing to get up and comfort her, but she doesn't want him. Last night she would not stop fussing in his arms. After 10 minutes I sat up and said "Fine just give her to me!". As he was handing her to me, and she realized she was getting fed, she had a huge smile on her face! She CANNOT be hungry every two hours - it's not possible at this age! She's only snacking - she nurses for 7 minutes and is asleep again. I am a SAHM for her first year and i feed her every 2-2.5 hrs or on demand all day long. She isn't teething cause she isn't waking up screaming in pain. Sure she drools and sucks on her fingers all day, but she's been doing that for 2 months. It's terrible to be angry at your kid while you're nursing her. It sucks to resent the hell out of your kid all night long. Christmas is over and my husband is going back to work tomorrow. How am I going to manage all day long on so little sleep?? I think I'm going to have to start solids asap and switch to formula. I have really killed myself to bf her, overcome every problem in the book, but now I just need to get more sleep. I was so happy to have lasted almost six months. My goal was one year. But I think I'm ready to call it quits and start with formula - maybe she'll sleep longer and if not at least my husband can feed her once in a while and I will be able to sleep for longer than 2 hours at a time for the first time in six loooong months! Does anyone have any words of wisdom? I'm sorry for the long post but I am truly at my wit's end...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can't go on like this - I need to sleep!

    Is co-sleeping an option? She may be teething (I know you say she's not waking up in pain, but it really sounds like teeth) and even if you start solids or formula she may still be up - just with less options for how to ease her back to sleep and instead having to prep a bottle instead of just lifting your shirt...

    Night weaning is an option if you want a middle ground, but it's kind of early to do that for both her needs and your supply. I'd push for cluster feeding before bed if you really believe it's hunger and see if you can get several feeds in before she goes down for the night so that she has a more full tummy. Otherwise 6 months should be good timing to start some solids.

    My personal words of wisdom: it won't last forever. It just won't. She isn't just happy to be fed. She's happy to see YOU. She gets comfort from you. If she's in pain, you make it feel better. She's happy because she knows that you can make it all feel ok and safe and calm. My guess (from my experience with formula feeding moms) is that even if you switch feeding methods that she will still want you. You could always try a bottle of expressed milk to see if she'll take it from your husband but even the moms I know who formula feed are up with their baby because baby wants mom to cuddle back to bed. It's not a magical sleep band-aid and if that's the only reason you would be switching after overcoming SO MUCH then you may be sorely disappointed.

    It will get better. You will get sleep. For now you may get more sleep snuggling in bed with her and catching up when she naps during the day.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can't go on like this - I need to sleep!

    Could be teething... Could be the 6 month growth spurt! Mine was hungry hungry hippos right before 6 mos, and although he nurses frequently through the night anyway, he was taking a full feeding with every nursing during the growth spurt. A 6 month old could be efficient enough at nursing to get a feed in 7 mins.

    FWIW, my almost 8 month old wakes 4-5x/night. Always has. Sometimes he wakes more. It totally sucks... I am right there with you and I completely understand where you're coming from. We cosleep so that I can survive. Sometimes he will be calmed with snuggles instead of nursing. In my desperate moments I consider night weaning, but I know he'll still wake just as much -- I just wouldn't have nursing in my night time toolbox anymore. There is no way I'm getting out of bed to fix a bottle! Just something to think about.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Can't go on like this - I need to sleep!

    I am sorry your having such a hard time with lacking sleep. Aphimama is right just because you start solids or formula doesn't mean she will be up less. My son is 11 moths old and has 3 solid meals as well as nurse on demand. We still do 5 to 6 feedings between 8 pm and 6 am. I really do understand how lack of sleep is hard. Here are some things I have done to help deal with the lack of sleep. My sons crib is next to my bed I can just sit on the edge and get him out. I only truly have to get out of bed to put him back down and cover him. I have learned to nap when ever he naps. On days my husband was off he would watch our son for a hour or 2 so I could sleep in.

    As far as teething she might be my son has never woke up screaming and crying in pain. So with that said she could be teething but not expressing it how other kids do.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can't go on like this - I need to sleep!

    Hi!

    A few thoughts ... hope this helps...

    The fact that she's only snacking for 7 minutes, as you say, may mean that she really is hungry (or thirsty) every 2 hours, unfortunately. It sounds exactly like my second daughter, who is also nearly 6 months old. The other night it was every 1.5 hours almost to the minute, but usually it's every 2 hours or so.

    Is this your only child? I also have a 3-year-old, and still I (usually) manage to get enough rest. I will tell you how, and maybe one or more of these ideas will work for you:

    1. co-sleep. This is key for me in being a functioning person!
    2. nap when baby does in the daytime. I still do this once a day because even though my older daughter doesn't nap any more, she has a "Quiet Time" in her room every day after lunch. So I nap on the bed with baby after lunch. If you have older kids and they're not as accommodating, it would seriously be worth a babysitter for me to get in my nap with baby!
    3. go to bed when the baby does. Admittedly I don't see much of my husband on weekdays, but to us it's worth it in the short term for me to not be a zombie.

    Words of wisdom? I guess just that formula is more work. And that it might have to do with teething even if she's not screaming about it, especially since you said it has just been the past 10 days, not always. Also, I don't know if this will help you or not, but it helps me because I tend to be an anxious person: when I wake up to nurse for the 7th time and I think "How am I going to get through the day?" I just try to remind myself that nothing terrible is going to happen. I'll be tired. But what is the worst that will happen? I'll feel awful. But really, all I have to do is keep us all alive - fed and clean(ish). If we don't leave the house, that is usually quite possible even with very little sleep!

    Also, things can change fast - who knows, it may end any time! You can do it!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can't go on like this - I need to sleep!

    She more than probably IS teething. And is waking up in pain and the oxcytocin in your breastmilk is helping her with the pain. Every 2hours really isn't that bad. It can get MUCH MUCH worse than that. The fact that she hasn't been waking you up every 2hours since birth is really more surprising. If you are a SAHM, why can't you nap with her during the day? I would rather see you nap than give her substandard nutrition when you have no supply issue. Is sleep really more important than her overall health? The idea of switching to formula because you aren't getting long hours of uninterrupted sleep, when this time is so fleeting seems...I hope that you are really just ranting. Because in the grand scheme of things the 1st year of your babies life, is SO SHORT in terms of what you have to do over the next 18 years. And breastmilk can make such a HUGE difference. I urge you to consider your daughters position. If she is teething she is experiencing the worst pain of her young life. And comfort nursing is really the only coping tool she has. And you are talking about taking it away from her. As well as the nutrition of your milk. So you can sleep longer. Cowboy up Mama. Your sweet girl deserves your milk. Take naps during the day and try dosing her and co-sleeping at night. It will only last until they break. You can do this.

    Way too lazy for formula

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can't go on like this - I need to sleep!

    Hi mammadiliv,
    I am old too, I was 43 when my boy was born, now 47. I can totally relate to your tiredness and I have felt and still feel many times that I am too old for this. It is a fact our bodies are more tired than 10 years ago.

    BUT - don't go the formula route, as the PPs have said it will not improve the waking situation.
    When my boy was 6 months I was still doing both bf and formula so I know for a fact it is not more fun to make bottles while groggy with sleep but a bigger nuisance. It is definitely easier to bf. At that time when he was 6 months in fact I was able to eliminate bottels at night as my supply finally became solid and I can tell you it was a BIG improvement to my quality of life to ONLY bf in the night. I had a huge struggle to be able to breast feed, it is a long story, but it was worth it and it sounds like you have no supply issue so don't give up good thing for something that may not at all give you the desired sleep.
    At that age it changes sooo quickly, each week brings a new change.

    As PPs have said, consider co-sleeping, or at least moviing the crib rigth next to your bed if at all possible so you do not have to get up.
    And definitely do nap with the baby, I had never before done it and throught I could not sleep during the day but actually found that after a while I was able to, and yes, I also did (and do still sometimes if I am totally whacked) go to bed with the baby. It may mean seeing less of your husband for a while but it is only a phase and not forever.

    Also I agree with PPs that teething may be the issue even if she does not wake screaming.

    The anger issue is something I have occasionally too, but I found that honestly it is not the baby I am angry with, but life sometimes sucks. but it is not the baby's fault. He/she only has you as a mom, no other mom. And you can do it. It is tough yes but then it iwll pass.
    I started seeing a therapist around the time he was 6 months for about 8 months among other things because of anger issues. I found one where I could bring him and it worked well, he just rolled around on a blanket while I talked and ranted). I stopped when he was about 14 months because I felt it was no longer approriate for him to be in the room while I spoke to thereapist. But it did help me with the anger issues.

    It is such a short time they need us so much, if compared to the whole of life and it may seem now that it will be this way always but it will not!

    Hang in there.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can't go on like this - I need to sleep!

    Oh, mama. It sounds like things are hard. Loosing sleep is horrible and I think we've all had those nights (weeks of them, even) where we resent the loss. You've already gotten some good suggestions, here are few more (some are repeats):

    1. Cosleeping is great to help minimize the effect of the wakings (not going to lie, I'm still tired, but not as tired). It really helps lessen how awake you get and how much work you have to do.

    2. Nap during the day. It's so great you get a year off for maternity leave. If you don't have older children around, can you nap with her? Even if you don't fall asleep, you can get some rest time. I never could nap before but I find that a cozy dark room, with a cozy warm baby, and the BFing (plus being tired!) really helps me--I napped at nearly every nap until I went back to work.

    3. I agree with PPs who have said that it could be teething even though she isn't screaming. I posted here recently about some sleep troubles and someone suggested teething and honestly I wasn't very compelled because he slept in the early hours (8-11) and when he did wake, he wasn't in pain. But, wouldn't you know it--a couple of weeks of that and suddenly there were two new teeth poking through. Could you try a dose of tylenol or ibprofen to see if that helps?

    4. Could you try a dream feed, in addition to some evening cluster feeds? Perhaps getting a feed in right before you go to sleep will ward off at least the first waking?

    5. Can you work out with your husband to let you sleep in sometimes? We have a pretty early riser who is almost always up before DH would need to leave for work. On the days he works, and I stay home, he gets up with baby and they do their thing, have breakfast together, DH gets him dressed, and I sleep! Even if it is only 30 minutes, it makes a great difference.

    6. If you are really at your wit's end, it may be worth one night you sleeping in another room and letting DH try to handle the wakings--maybe baby would more likely to settle with daddy if she knew mommy wasn't right there (this seems to be the case for us). If she needs milk, and it's possible she does, perhaps he could be armed with some expressed milk? You'd probably have to wake up at least once to pump/nurse so to prevent becoming engorged, but maybe the extra sleep one night would help take the edge off? You probably wouldn't want to do this on a regular basis, but I don't think one night would be a problem--maybe the other moms here can chime in about this.

    Good luck, mama! You can do this and remember that things are always changing with babies--this will change too.

  9. #9
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    Red face Re: Can't go on like this - I need to sleep!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mammadiliv View Post
    For the past 10 days my almost 6-month old has been waking up FIVE TIMES A NIGHT. She goes down around 8:30pm and starting between 11 and 12 she is up every two hours. I am EXHAUSTED. I am OLD (39). I need more sleep than this. My husband is more than willing to get up and comfort her, but she doesn't want him. Last night she would not stop fussing in his arms. After 10 minutes I sat up and said "Fine just give her to me!". As he was handing her to me, and she realized she was getting fed, she had a huge smile on her face! She CANNOT be hungry every two hours - it's not possible at this age! She's only snacking - she nurses for 7 minutes and is asleep again. I am a SAHM for her first year and i feed her every 2-2.5 hrs or on demand all day long. How am I going to manage all day long on so little sleep?? I think I'm going to have to start solids asap and switch to formula. I have really killed myself to bf her, overcome every problem in the book, but now I just need to get more sleep. I was so happy to have lasted almost six months. My goal was one year. But I think I'm ready to call it quits and start with formula - maybe she'll sleep longer and if not at least my husband can feed her once in a while and I will be able to sleep for longer than 2 hours at a time for the first time in six loooong months! Does anyone have any words of wisdom? I'm sorry for the long post but I am truly at my wit's end...
    I just wanted to chime in to say hang in there. I am a first time mom - age 43!!!! and I am NOT old - My DD is also almost 6 months old. She's an EBF baby, but I work full time so I nurse all morning, all evening and overnight (we co-sleep) and all weekend. My world pretty much revolves around nursing as she eats frequently when I am home. She gets my expressed milk in bottles during the day. But at night I am awakened as much as you are - every 2 hours - for those little feedings. I sometimes think oh, this would be SO much easier if I was a SAHM because I wouldn't have to worry about being 'on' at work. I work long, full days and when i walk in the door there's no downtime. My needs wait - whether changing my clothes, grabbing food, etc. Being a mom is hard. Sometimes MY 'I want to quit' Achilles heel is the 3X/day pump sessions - obstacles galore there. Work doesn't wait for pumping. Sonetimes you're on the go and theres no spot. Or you're eyeing the clock praying you won't be late for the next meeting. I have to use a huge heavy hospital grade pump w/no battery power so I lug that thing and a laptop - I bought a $45 power supply for my car so i can pump in a parking lot if all else fails! But the truth is the grass is always greener right? Being a SAHM is super HARD work (I remember from maternity leave!) You think you'll actually have balance in your life, but come 7P the house is a wreck, there's nothing to eat and you haven't showered, let alone exercised. And the next day...rinse, repeat. Feels like it never ends. And not feeling constant elation brings on guilt. My friends and I call it the perpetual mom dilemma.
    I think that co-sleeping is what saves me. My husband is 100 percent on board. I sleep in a nursing tank and a lightweight hoodie so i don't need covers up to my neck. When DD wakes I just pull her on to my chest. Most times we have both passed out again within minutes. Sometimes she wakes again when she realizes her mouth is empty and she reaches again and again. I kid you not when I say I can do this in my sleep now and sometimes I'm not even sure how many times we wake up. That said, we've been co-sleeping since birth so we're well practiced. And i am still tired, trust me! Also when I was on leave if she fell asleep nursing I tried to crash with her sleeping on me. I needed the rest and the bonding time was unmatched.
    My only other thought echoes that of the others. I remind myself my LO is only going to be this small and precious and dependent for a short time in her life. One day she may not want to be in the same room, especially when she becomes a teen and I'm - gulp - 56!!! Each month that passes I celebrate EBF because I know it's an achievement. In fact on her 6 month bday I plan to do a victory dance. Half a year! I can't wait. What an accomplishment. Our milk is the best nutrition money can't buy.

    Please reach out anytime for a pep talk. This forum is a constant reminder you're never alone in any of this. In baby land there are rarely any problems that are solely yours.
    1st time mom over 40 to Alex(andra) b: 7/14/12

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can't go on like this - I need to sleep!

    Very happy to see this post so I can relate to it. Yes Yes and Yes to what the other mom's have been saying. Would just like to add, try the teething tablets. Dissolve 1-2 in some apple juice and give with a dropper. Mine takes it like a champ! I finally discovered they work! And have another dose ready for the middle of the night ALONG with tylenol or Ibuprofen. After weeks of going through what you are experiencing I learned my baby boy has 3 coming in at once! Now it all makes sense. We also went through that 6 month growth spurt too. Mine is going to be 9mths in one more week. With my first son, I only breast fed him for 2 months because of complications I went into surgery for. I didn't want to give it up but had to for my own health. I was just too weak. So we did formula after that. For me it was harder to get him back to sleep. Rest when you can, cannot stress that enough. Let things around the house go undone, hire help if you can afford to. Get your rest momma! I also don't believe baby will sleep more if you take him off the breast but that is a decision you have to make. Personally I'd rather lift a shirt than warm a bottle and let baby cry more. You could be up longer this way. Oh also check with a doctor to see that you are giving baby the correct dosage of tylenol or ibuprofen. I found out the hard way when mine ran a fever that wouldn't go down. Ran him to the ER and the doc said I didn't give him enough tylenol. Good luck to you! Drink plenty of water, keep it at your bed side, and YES you can do it! Things WILL get better...
    Last edited by @llli*tresa2steppin; January 12th, 2013 at 09:41 PM.

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