Happy Mothers Breastfed Babies
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Coping With Sleep Deprivation (Baby is 4 Months)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    79

    Default Coping With Sleep Deprivation (Baby is 4 Months)

    I am hesitant to complain because my son does his best nursing at night, but the "on-demand" feeding has me waking every two hours and I am so sleep deprived I can't think straight. I'm a not so nice mom to my 3 year old because I am so overtired and I worry that I am going to get into an accident during my commute because I am not as alert as I should be. Can anyone offer some tips of how to cope with this phase? My son sleeps right next to me in our bedroom, but I have to wake to get him latched, and then I have to wake to change a diaper at least once in the night so he doesn't flood. Having only two hours of sleep at a time between each feeding is perfectly healthy for an exclusively breastfed baby, but how is the mother supposed to function?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    286

    Default Re: Coping With Sleep Deprivation (Baby is 4 Months)

    I have a 4 month old EBF baby as well, and the tiredness is sure catching up with me also. Just wanted to say that although I'm sure it doesn't feel like it, you are doing a fantastic job...my older daughter is almost 3, so I think our kids are about the same age. Everyone who survives this phase deserves a lot of praise, sometimes I feel like the main goal of my day is to survive and not blow up at my husband from me being overtired.

    Here is what we do that helps, this is my second baby but I did not nurse my oldest, so this is very very new to me:

    I assume you bed share when you say he sleeps right next to you? If not, bed sharing has been the only way to save my sanity. I don't think I've gotten out of bed at night because of baby for at least 3 months. Neither of us fully wake up. If you're bedsharing and baby needs your help latching, have you tried just leaving your breast exposed? Once I started doing that, my baby latches on without waking either of us up completely.

    As far as the diaper goes, we use regular old fashioned cloth diapers. Not the ones that cost $20+ a piece, just plain old flat diapers that you can pin, these are so cheap and honestly very easy. We stuff that sucker full of cotton and use a waterproof cover, and use a hemp liner also. We do no changing for 12 hours. We use a thick layer of diaper cream and then a smaller cloth insert so that it doesn't ruin the diaper (it's hard to wash out). We have no leaks and she never gets a rash. You can even buy wool soaker diaper covers for extremely heavy wetters. If you are interested in this feel free to message me, we've been doing cloth for 3 years (if you are already doing this I apologize for the duplicate info).

    I would say the ideal situation for you is that you don't have to move around or even sit up once in the night. I don't even roll over sometimes, I feed the other breast from the top so I don't even have to move. My baby also wakes every 2 hours all night from 5pm-5:45am which is when we're all up for the day, so I know those little wakings add up if you're awake more than just drowsily. I don't work outside the home, but I take care of the kids all day and the oldest doesn't nap, and the baby naps only for 40 min at a time, and we have no family to help. So, doing as little as possible at night is probably the only way EBF works for me, and mine won't take a bottle.

    how do you handle bed time? It takes me 1-2 hours of comfort nursing to get baby to sleep, but thankfully it works...nothing else works! I totally feel your pain, I hope things get better for you (us) soon.

    sorry this is so long!
    and Mama to two little girls

  3. #3

    Default Re: Coping With Sleep Deprivation (Baby is 4 Months)

    Naps during the day, even if just on weekends, can be life savers. I napped almost every day when I had a baby and a three year old becasue my three year old also napped. if that is not your situation, what about getting help on some days, even just on weekends, with the older child if they no longer nap. today after lunch I felt exhausted, I told my husband I was going to 'lay down to nurse' (with my 8 month old) and next I knew it was 2 hours later and he had taken our two older boys for a bike ride while baby and I slept. Heaven.

    Diapers-I also use cloth prefolds with current baby like pp, we use a thick absorbent wool cover for nights and very seldom have to get up to change baby at night. When I used disposables with the older kids I found these disposable inserts for nighttime, they looked like maxipads basically, and they would extend the 'life' of the diaper considerably.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Coping With Sleep Deprivation (Baby is 4 Months)

    I'm using the Arm's Reach Cosleeper, so I do have to sit up to pick up DS, lay back down and position him and then sit up when he's done to put him back in his bed. I doze while he nurses, but I'm still waking up fully each time I feed? The idea of bed sharing, especially if I could get to the point where he latches himself, sounds wonderful, but I am nervous. Are there tricks to make sure baby doesn't get smothered in blankets and pillows and have mom and dad still sleep comfortably?

    In terms of napping, it sounds divine, but I can't get past the fact that I see so little of my kids as it is. I work full time and my children very clearly miss me and want to be with me. I'm having a hard time justifying any more time away from them. Plus, my husband is so supportive and does so much with the kids that I would feel bad asking to take on more so I can sleep. He'd kill for a nap, too, and never complains. I'm very lucky.

    I am going to give the diaper insert a try. We are using disposables because I am lucky to get my current laundry done. I wish I could do cloth, but I'm sorry to say I don't have it in me.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Coping With Sleep Deprivation (Baby is 4 Months)

    Well, I understand what you are saying. But if you are so sleep deprived it is adversely affecting your life and your parenting, you have to find some way to sleep more. There really is not another way I know of to work on this particular problem. And it’s always a ‘work in progress.”

    Lets face, it, parents of small children never get "enough' sleep. My co-Leader has 4 teenagers and SHE does not get enough sleep (for slightly different reasons.) But we can make the efforts to get MORE sleep.

    I mean-this is parenthood, your baby is normal, and in fact the frequent nursing at night is if anything more important for a mom who is back at work than a sahm. It will help your milk production stay in good shape and this nighttime parenting gives you and your baby the connection time you are both missing during the workday. I am not talking going off for hours every day to nap. I am saying, take an afternoon once a week to play some catch up! You will 'see' your baby then because your baby will be sleeping with you. (Naps can be a good way to “practice” bedsharing as you will probably be less deeply asleep.) Your three year old will be fine if you take the occasional nap. Thank goodness you have a supportive husband, but if you both work there is no reason you should be the one cornering the market on sleep depravation. In fact it would be much worse for him if your baby was formula fed and he had to do some of those night feedings, right? I bet you are being awoken at night at least slightly more than your husband is. I think if you sit down and talk it over with him you will find ways to help you both sleep more. Other ideas are to trade off sleep-in time in the am and going to bed earlier, as well as naps.

    As far as bed sharing-The trick to keeping baby from being smothered in bedclothes is the same in an adult bed as in a crib or co-sleeper. Keep heavy blankets/comforters and pillows away from baby. I personally do this by using one SMALL pillow and keeping it under my head and well away from baby, who's head is down at my breast. I sleep in a long sleeve T shirt (when it's cold) so I don't need to pull heavy blankets up over me. When baby was smaller, she had her own light baby blanket, now we share a light breathable sheet and blanket. How you do this is going to depend on what works best for you.

    Also most bedsharing guidelines suggest baby not sleep between two adults but rather on the other side of mom, and to take very careful precautions to prevent entrapment (baby rolling into a crevice or crack- for example, between bed and wall) and also to be careful baby does not get overheated. Back to sleep is still recommended. Other precautions include No pets in bed, no other kids in the bed, no non-bio-parents should bedshare, no sleeping with baby if anyone in the bed is a smoker (just having a smoker sleep near baby-even if they never smoke in the house-puts baby at much higher risk of SIDS.) No bedsharing after taking sleep inducing meds or alcohol or anything that may make it difficult to be aware of baby. Long hair should be tied back, no strings on clothing that can get around any part of baby. That’s all I can remember off the top of my head….Bedsharing certainly can make nighttime parenting loads easier, but it is not for everyone, I strongly suggest you do your own research, good sources online and in print are from Dr. James McKenna, Dr. Bill Sears, Attachment Parenting International.

    I wish I could remember what those inserts were called but I can't-I do remember the only place I could find them around me was at the Safeway supermarket!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: Coping With Sleep Deprivation (Baby is 4 Months)

    Mama, I can totally relate to the sleep deprivation! I have an almost 10 month-old and he still wakes every 1-3 hrs at night. Today I'm feeling particularly sleep deprived. It seems that he goes through phases, week by week. One week he'll sleep really well, then for another week he is up a lot at night and needs to be parented back to sleep, either by rocking or nursing. I don't co-sleep, though I sleep in a bed next to his crib. I definitely understand having to get up to get baby, then get back into bed and try to fall back to sleep. I also know how sleep deprivation causes you to grouch at everyone else, even if they've done nothing "wrong" except be near you! I constantly apologize when I realize I've been grouchy to everyone.

    As for the diapers: I use disposable (also no time to wash!). At 4 months, I was using Pampers Swaddlers and they held whatever pee my LO produced. After he was in size 3 around 7 months, they stopped working as well. I've tried the Huggies Overnights, which work well for some people but didn't work for me. I think my LO is just too skinny to wear Huggies, which seems to fit more chunky babies. The past few nights we tried the Walmart diapers, Parents' Choice, and they are working for now (I would never have tried the Walmart brand had not another mom told me how good they work for her). I also ordered some diaper inserts from Amazon, called Select Kids Booster Pads (http://www.amazon.com/Select-Kids-Bo...ds=select+kids), but am waiting for them to arrive to see how effective they are. There are several other brands of inserts Amazon sells, all of which have good user reviews.
    Andie

    born 6/13/2012

    ~First-time Mama~
    and now finished with

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: Coping With Sleep Deprivation (Baby is 4 Months)

    I've felt that way off and on for the past 15 months (since I went back to work). My LO has some good weeks sleeping and some terrible weeks. I only have one child, though, so my advice may not be all that helpful. But I definitely second the weekend naps. I look forward to napping with my daughter. I consider it sacred time. Does your 3-year-old nap anymore? If not, maybe he could have some playtime with your DH while you nap with the baby. Then you could take the kids (since you'll be rested!) and he can nap or do whatever he wants for a while. My DH and I don't get tons of quality alone time, but we feel close in our cooperation of managing our time. I also go to bed as early as possible as frequently as possible.

    I understand it may seem like you're taking time away, but it will really help if you're rested. If you do get in an accident, your DH will have a lot more to take care of! It will all pass, too...it never feels like it. I just try to remind myself of that. I also have to say that I think my body has adjusted to less sleep -- I can survive now on 4-6 hours of broken sleep when necessary. Then LO has good nights where I get more like 6 or 7 hours of broken sleep.

    I'm sure if you and DH sit down and talk, you can carve out a few hours here or there. Any little bit will help you.
    Mom to my sweet little "Pooper," born 10/12/11, and married to heavy metal husband. Working more than full-time, making healthy vegetarian meals for family, and trying to keep up with exercise routine.

    with #2, due mid-June. Will I ever sleep again?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    337

    Default Re: Coping With Sleep Deprivation (Baby is 4 Months)

    We are using the co-sleeper as well, and this is how nights work for me. Baby goes down for the night around 8:30-9. He used to give me a 4-5 hour stretch -NO more! He will wake around 10, and can usually be soothed to sleep without being picked up or nursed. Then around 12 he wakes again to eat. I pull him in bed with me and if I wake up after that I will put him back in his bed. This all depends on when I wake up since if its around 2, there is no point because he is due to wake again. I will swap sides real quick and nurse him if he wakes a little. If I have been getting decent sleep(or at least feel like I have), I will put him back in his bed, if not, he stays next to me so I can sleep. We also have a 2 yr old in the bed, so that complicates him being in the middle. Honeslty, if the 2 yr old wasnt in bed with us, I would not move the baby out of bed unless I wasn't resting well.

    My DS1 woke every 2-3 hours until he was almost 2, at that point DH took over bedtime and he started sleeping better through the night. He still wakes up at least once each night most nights. I figure that I won't get a good night's rest again until they are teens. Then I will be losing sleep over all new issues. lol

    I have learned that you can operate off of far less sleep than you think. But you really do need to carve out naps when you can if your feeling seriously sleep-deprived (as you seem to be!!). I am not a napper by nature, but I was surprised how much even just a 20-60 min nap helped me on the weekends to feel a little more human. This will pass momma, you will get more sleep eventually. Try out some different suggestions from the other posters as well and see what helps!
    FT working momma to a 9/11/10 busy boy. Not quite weaned, but slowly getting there.
    New little one born 11/13/12 nursing great and making us all smile! Back to at work , , and LO finally enjoying

    Also wife to hubs since 8/23/08, bonus momma to H (girl) -99 and G (boy)-03
    Our family blog
    And my own blog - my avenue of release these days!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    286

    Default Re: Coping With Sleep Deprivation (Baby is 4 Months)

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*connectikate View Post
    I'm using the Arm's Reach Cosleeper, so I do have to sit up to pick up DS, lay back down and position him and then sit up when he's done to put him back in his bed. I doze while he nurses, but I'm still waking up fully each time I feed? The idea of bed sharing, especially if I could get to the point where he latches himself, sounds wonderful, but I am nervous. Are there tricks to make sure baby doesn't get smothered in blankets and pillows and have mom and dad still sleep comfortably?

    I am going to give the diaper insert a try. We are using disposables because I am lucky to get my current laundry done. I wish I could do cloth, but I'm sorry to say I don't have it in me.
    Another option for diapering would be to just buy a few cloth ones for night, then just wash on the weekend. No special laundry care is needed for EBF poo diapers until they start solids, as in you can just chuck it in your regular laundry and wash on hot, dry on hot.

    It took me a long, long time to get used the idea of bed sharing. My oldest was in her crib from day 1, but she was formula fed exclusively. I knew that there was no way I could pull off EBF and care for my kids all day without any breaks, usually I get about 15 min to myself during the day if I'm lucky. We made our crib into a sidecar and attached it to our bed with bungee cords during the first few weeks of baby #2, but she never slept in it. I was surprised at how aware I was of her in the bed, she has slept with me every night of her life. For me, I was unable to sleep with a bassinet next to the bed with my oldest. With bedsharing baby never bothers my sleep at all, I think it is just a personal thing. Some moms do great with the cosleeper, some do great with bedsharing, others prefer the crib.

    We had a light blanket on the bed now, at first we just dressed very warmly like a PP said. The blanket is tucked in so much that it only comes up to our waists. We have a naturpedic waterproof pad on the bed, which actually firms it up even more, although we have just a regular firm mattress. When she starts to crawl I'm going to move the mattress to the floor and ditch the bed frame for extra safety.
    and Mama to two little girls

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Coping With Sleep Deprivation (Baby is 4 Months)

    Thank you all for the ideas and encouragement. I was beginning to feel like I was the only mom with a baby who awoke constantly all night. I've even been encouraged by some women who have good intentions but who just don't value breastfeeding that I should give it up and offer formula so I can take care of myself and get some sleep. I'd rather find a way to do both.

    DS has his first cold and has been up even more than usual these past few nights. Last night, I gave bed sharing a try, and once I got past 1) the anxiety that I would smother him and 2) figured out where to put my arms when there is a baby in the way, I did manage to have a period of pretty sound sleep.

    Regarding the diaper, has anyone tried putting a plastic cover over a disposable diaper? Would that ever work??

    I know that when this is all over, I will miss these nighttime feedings, so I am grateful to all of you for sharing what's worked for you so I can keep going.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •