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Thread: Back to work and exhausted

  1. #1

    Default Back to work and exhausted

    Hi there - I'm new to the forums (long time lurker, first time poster). I'm currently breastfeeding my 10 week old son and just started back to work on Monday. During the day he stays with my mother and she gives him expressed breastmilk - about 3 oz. every 2 hours (according to the general guidelines). She says that he is upset when he's done with the bottle, but can be appeased shortly after, which makes me think he's full but doesn't know it yet due to the short amount of time he is able to drain it vs. nursing. I do pump 4x for 15-20 min. each day during work and get anywhere from 5 oz. - 2.75 oz. (total) each time. So no real concerns there, since I'm pumping what he'll get each day.

    Anyway - my question is regarding night time sleep... or lack thereof. I nurse him pretty much from the time I get home at 4:45 to 6:30 or 7 when he goes down for the night. Now, I expect him to wake up every 3 hours or so to eat, but the past few days he has been waking up every hour and a half and isn't settled until he nurses for a brief period of time, then he falls back asleep. I'm thinking it's just separation anxiety and him trying to make up for lost time during the day. And I totally get that he wants to nurse / eat --- but I can't continue on less than 5 hours of sleep per night. It just doesn't make me functional at work OR at home, and I have a 2 year old daughter (whom I didn't breastfeed- so this is all new to me) and husband I need to also care for in addition to work responsibilities!

    Right now my son is in a bassinet next to the bed. I have read up on co-sleeping but to be honest it sounds like it creates more long-term problems than it does solutions. I'm a super light sleeper and constantly worried about my baby's safety, so I don't even know that I would benefit from MORE sleep if we went that route.

    So I guess my question is - what can I do to ease my baby's anxiety, get him the food he wants AND get some sleep? Everyone keeps saying that this is only temporary, which would be fine if I knew there was some sort of end in sight!

    Thank you for your advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Back to work and exhausted

    Hi mama, welcome to the forum!

    I think it's really normal for your baby to be nursing a lot right now. You just went back to work and baby is responding by wanting to nurse a lot - very normal! My LO is almost two and does the same thing when I go away for a work trip or even if I work a lot of hours. One thing to keep in mind is that all that nighttime nursing is great for keeping up your supply.

    You might consider a trial of baby in bed with you. Even if you decide not to do it over the long term, while baby is going through this phase it can help make the frequent night nursing less disruptive to your overall sleep. And if you can, try to go to bed early.I work full-time too and that was my lifesaver when my babies were young! And nap on the weekends. I know it's really hard (been there!!) but you will get through it!

    It sounds like your mom is doing a great job with not overfeeding baby. Keep in mind that intake can vary between 1 to 1.5 ounces/hour. Also, here is some information about paced bottle-feeding techniques that may help "stretch out" the feeding session so that it is more like a breastfeeding session. Also make sure that you use the slowest flow nipples you can find - and that it is true throughout babies first year; a breastfed baby does not need to "graduate" to larger nipples as he gets older (which is what I thought with my first baby).


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Back to work and exhausted

    with the PP. I especially think that a trial of co-sleeping might be a good idea. If it doesn't work for you, you just try something else.

    You might want to read Elizabeth Pantley's book "The No Cry Sleep Solution" for a realistic look at infant sleep and some gentle, breastfeeding-friendly ways to encourage baby to sleep longer and more independently.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014

    Default Re: Back to work and exhausted

    Sleep deprivation is common to lactating moms I think and is pretty normal. It's just difficult because you have to go to work during day time and when you get home, you still have to take care of other responsibilities. You might want to try reading Elizabeth Pantley’s book, The No Cry Sleep Solution as what mommal said in the previous comment. You don't have to go through the whole program but you might find something that will work for you. I don't know what else to say but, you will survive. A mother will always be a mother no matter what. You will find the best solution in a matter of time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014

    Default Re: Back to work and exhausted

    My ten month old still wakes frequently (sometimes hourly) and resettles with nursing. I would have died of exhaustion by now if not for cosleeping. I have also read a lot of moms who say their kids learn to sleep on their own just fine regardless of cosleeping. I can't attest to that personally, but I'm assuming that's most likely true.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Back to work and exhausted

    A study found that mothers who bedshare AND breastfeed get more sleep than mothers who are bottle feeding. Not a ton more, but a little more each night.

    As far as I am aware, 10 week old babies require nighttime parenting, including feedings, no matter how they are fed. Things may have been different with your daughter at this age, but that is not necessarily due to the fact she did not breastfeed.

    The only possible issue with co-sleeping is safety concerns MOSTLY because modern western adult beds are not designed for it. But for the majority of breastfeeding pairs, bedsharing can be done safely. There are many commonsense guidelines to consider and take steps to address the issues with the bed. If, after reading up on bedsharing safety and taking those precautions, you are still very concerned, I suggest, try it out with naps on the weekend first before trying at night.

    I know of no long term issues that bedsharing creates. I know the issues that some people say it creates, but those are not based on evidence or science or even logic, in many cases. I think these ideas are based on unrealistic expectations of what is normal when it comes to babies and young children and sleep. Sharing a sleep space is common to mothers and their babies and children the world over and throughout history. Throughout history, mothers have had to/continue to work very hard to survive while also caring for multiple children, and they have managed to do so in part because sharing a sleep space is the humankind-wide norm for sleep.

    Here is what I suggest. I am not sure how you meant this, but unless your husband is disabled, you do not need to 'take care' of your husband. He is an adult. But he certainly can share in the burden of caring for your household and children equally with you, assuming you are both working full time. If one of you is not working or is working part-time, that person can perhaps take on a larger share of the day to day responsibilities. Generally speaking, the one thing a dad can not do is nurse a child back to sleep.

    I think pps have covered these but just to reiterate, here are a few other suggestions to increase your overall sleep (or at least, rest)
    Nap on the weekends/days off or when you get home from work while your husband takes care of your toddler (Maybe take her grocery shopping or another errand? My 20 month old loves going to the store.) (and baby if you are not sleeping with baby.)
    go to bed earlier (This is always a really hard one for me, it may take a few days to reset your internal clock)
    take turns with your husband 'lying in' in the morning while the other gets up with your toddler and makes breakfast

    As far as an end in sight-my 10 year old got a tummy bug last night and both my husband and I got little sleep. Yes, more sleep overnight will happen, but parenting will continue to be a 24 hour job for a long time!

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