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Thread: Considering weaning at 3.5 months due to insomnia

  1. #1
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    Default Considering weaning at 3.5 months due to insomnia

    My LO just turned 3.5 months and as of the past 3 weeks, my insomnia has been progressively getting worse. I have a lot of difficulty falling asleep and when I do, I only stay asleep for ~2 hours. Also, throughout the night, my temperature regulation is all over the place, ranging from feeling really hot to really cold. I've been to my OB and she has prescribed me Ambien and has offered no other solutions.

    My question is - is the insomnia due to hormones? Low estrogen?

    I'm considering weaning to get my hormones back to normal. However, this is a very very very difficult decision and I feel incredibly guilty for it. I don't want to make a mistake and wean if this isn't the cause. However, I can't continue much longer with the insomnia and do not want to rely on a sleep-aid every night. (benadryl and melatonin hasn't helped, i've tried sleep hygiene, relaxation techniques, will be seeing acupuncturist this friday)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Considering weaning at 3.5 months due to insomnia

    Insomnia is a medical riddles that everyone wishes someone would finally figure out. There are a lot of possibilities for what is causing yours. It could be caused by hormones- and not necessarily ones that are connected in any way to breastfeeding!- or it could be anxiety, or it could be something else that no-one has even thought of yet...

    The temperature disregulation could be traceable to pregnancy/breastfeeding. In the last 3.5 months you've gone from having relatively high estrogen (during pregnancy) to relatively low estrogen, and that can cause some menopause-like hot flashes. But there are other possible explanations. Like thyroid disfunction, which can cause temperature disregulation, insomnia, and anxiety (among a gazillion other things). If your doc doesn't test for thyroid function at some point during the postpartum year, I would strongly suggest asking for that to be tested, as about 5% of women suffer from a condition called postpartum thyroiditis.

    Basically, I'm thinking that there is absolutely no way for you to know whether or not breastfeeding is responsible for your insomnia without weaning, and that's a pretty drastic step to take when you're not sure whether or not it will work. If you come to the decision that you must wean, how about taking a half step first? For example, you could try nursing during the day and substituting formula for the nighttime feedings, allowing someone else to take those over for you.

    One thing you don't mention is your current sleep setup. Where is your baby sleeping? In your bed, in a sidecar crib, in a crib in your room, or in a separate room? Since night-waking is probably more than usually distressing and disruptive for you, I think it would make sense for you to keep baby as close as possible, so that you don't have to actually get up and walk somewhere in order to feed your child.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Considering weaning at 3.5 months due to insomnia

    http://www.foodrenegade.com/how-make-magnesium-oil/
    http://drsircus.com/medicine/magnesi...-magnesium-oil
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/163169.php

    How about trying magnesium as a supplement before trying any weaning? There's research linking a deficiency of it to insomnia along with calcium, which I believe is naturally lower in the post partum months. I had good success with my husband's insomnia by having him take an Epsom salt bath every night before bed and using magnesium oil (helped his back pain also and the oil works great as a natural deodorant). The oil is expensive (you can cheapen it by making your own- link above) but still less than a can of formula.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Considering weaning at 3.5 months due to insomnia

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Insomnia is a medical riddles that everyone wishes someone would finally figure out. There are a lot of possibilities for what is causing yours. It could be caused by hormones- and not necessarily ones that are connected in any way to breastfeeding!- or it could be anxiety, or it could be something else that no-one has even thought of yet...

    The temperature disregulation could be traceable to pregnancy/breastfeeding. In the last 3.5 months you've gone from having relatively high estrogen (during pregnancy) to relatively low estrogen, and that can cause some menopause-like hot flashes. But there are other possible explanations. Like thyroid disfunction, which can cause temperature disregulation, insomnia, and anxiety (among a gazillion other things). If your doc doesn't test for thyroid function at some point during the postpartum year, I would strongly suggest asking for that to be tested, as about 5% of women suffer from a condition called postpartum thyroiditis.

    Basically, I'm thinking that there is absolutely no way for you to know whether or not breastfeeding is responsible for your insomnia without weaning, and that's a pretty drastic step to take when you're not sure whether or not it will work. If you come to the decision that you must wean, how about taking a half step first? For example, you could try nursing during the day and substituting formula for the nighttime feedings, allowing someone else to take those over for you.

    One thing you don't mention is your current sleep setup. Where is your baby sleeping? In your bed, in a sidecar crib, in a crib in your room, or in a separate room? Since night-waking is probably more than usually distressing and disruptive for you, I think it would make sense for you to keep baby as close as possible, so that you don't have to actually get up and walk somewhere in order to feed your child.
    I had my thyroid checked last week and the doctor said it was normal.

    Baby is currently sleeping in her crib in her own room. I can't change her current sleep situation because she is currently sleeping 12 hours a night and waking up once to feed. I am a very light sleeper and cannot co-sleep. I wake up with every noise she makes.

    It wasn't always like this. I used to be able to fall asleep after I fed her. Now its like I all of a sudden lost my ability to fall asleep.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Considering weaning at 3.5 months due to insomnia

    I am sorry you're having so much difficulty sleeping. I also have had bouts of insomnia throughout my life and I know how frustrating it can be.
    But I think there is a basic flaw in the theory that this is the result of breast-feeding. And that is that while your hormones are certainly different while lactating, they are not abnormal. Lactating and Nursing a child is the biological normal situation for a mother of a 3 1/2 month old to be in. So if your hormones are out of balance and that is causing you poor sleep, it is probably not a normal breast-feeding hormonal response. Consequently I wonder if weaning, a drastic solution that you appear to not be too thrilled about is the right course because it may not help in the least.

    What is a little unusual about your situation, is that your baby sleeps in a different room from you and only nurses once overnight. Weaning a child of course brings on hormonal changes as well. And a for a mother of a baby this age, such a long stretch of not nursing is essentially a partial weaning.

    I know that when I have insomnia, I often will feel hot even though the room temperature has not changed. Or I will feel cold. In other words because I have the insomnia and am awake and I do not want to be I feel uncomfortable when normally I would simply be sleeping.
    Your doctor offered one prescription medication. Of course I'm sure you're aware there are many ways to approach insomnia besides prescription meds and if you wish to try a prescription medication there are many different kinds of those. Some will probably be for safe to take while breast-feeding. For information on a specific medication and breast-feeding safety, you can contact www.infantrisk.org
    Personally I did begin to take a low dose prescription anxiety reducer/sleep aid while I was breast-feeding in my case I chose something I could take as needed. I found that getting a good nights sleep with the help of the medication broke the cycle of the insomnia and made it easier for me to sleep in without any of the meds onboard. But everybody's solution is going to be different.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Considering weaning at 3.5 months due to insomnia

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    while your hormones are certainly different while lactating, they are not abnormal. Lactating and Nursing a child is the biological normal situation for a mother of a 3 1/2 month old to be in.
    This is a really good point.

    One thing I was thinking was that in the first few months are a baby is born, a lot of moms and not a few dads feel very emotionally raw and anxious. After my first was born, I couldn't read a newspaper article about something sad happening to a kid, nor could I watch a certain sappy TV commercial without bursting into tears. It's not abnormal, but the heightened emotional state can cause you to have difficulty sleeping. It certainly did for me- I had to develop a very different style of getting to sleep than I had pre-baby. It might sound stupid, but when I was having difficulty sleeping after baby #1, I would lie in bed imagining exactly how I was going to rehab my old dollhouse for her. To the point of thinking about details like exactly how I would hem the curtains for the windows.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Considering weaning at 3.5 months due to insomnia

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    This is a really good point.

    One thing I was thinking was that in the first few months are a baby is born, a lot of moms and not a few dads feel very emotionally raw and anxious. After my first was born, I couldn't read a newspaper article about something sad happening to a kid, nor could I watch a certain sappy TV commercial without bursting into tears. It's not abnormal, but the heightened emotional state can cause you to have difficulty sleeping. It certainly did for me- I had to develop a very different style of getting to sleep than I had pre-baby. It might sound stupid, but when I was having difficulty sleeping after baby #1, I would lie in bed imagining exactly how I was going to rehab my old dollhouse for her. To the point of thinking about details like exactly how I would hem the curtains for the windows.
    You are correct in saying "heightened emotional state". The more I've been thinking about it today, the more I noticed that there are other "symptoms". I feel very emotional, especially when I'm thinking about my baby and my husband. I get very emotional and tear up. I know it's sounds crazy, but I keep worrying about the future, like how lonely it'll be when she grows up and leaves my husband and I. Or the pain if something happened to either of them. Is this postpartum depression? It seems a bit late to be having symptoms.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Considering weaning at 3.5 months due to insomnia

    Based solely on what you have posted, it sounds more like postpartum anxiety than postpartum depression, though PPD and PPA can certainly coexist. The internet is awash in PPD and PPA pages and checklists, so I'd take a look and see what, if anything, sounds familiar.

    If this were me, I'd want to see a psychiatrist, hopefully one with experience with postpartum issues. It's quite possible that this is nothing, and all the talk of PPD and PPA is irrelevant to you. But if not, the psychiatrist might be the one to help you through this period.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Considering weaning at 3.5 months due to insomnia

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lilbunny01 View Post
    You are correct in saying "heightened emotional state". The more I've been thinking about it today, the more I noticed that there are other "symptoms". I feel very emotional, especially when I'm thinking about my baby and my husband. I get very emotional and tear up. I know it's sounds crazy, but I keep worrying about the future, like how lonely it'll be when she grows up and leaves my husband and I. Or the pain if something happened to either of them. Is this postpartum depression? It seems a bit late to be having symptoms.
    Not to late at all! pp mood issues can occur up to a year post birth is what I last saw officially stated about it. I think even that is an arbitrary deadline.
    But I have to say, except for the insomnia, your feelings or at least your thoughts sound pretty familiar to me and not crazy at all. Motherhood is intense. It changes a person. This is not a bad thing, in my opinion.

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    Default Re: Considering weaning at 3.5 months due to insomnia

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    But I have to say, except for the insomnia, your feelings or at least your thoughts sound pretty familiar to me and not crazy at all. Motherhood is intense. It changes a person. This is not a bad thing, in my opinion.
    For MONTHS after my first baby was born, every time a fire truck would pass I'd start thinking about what I'd do if there was a fire in the middle of the night. Detailed plans for how I'd get her out depending on what room we were in, how I'd get to her if I was downstairs and she was upstairs, all kinds of scenarios. This would devolve (almost very time) into tears at the thought of not being able to save her. It wasn't just fire trucks, it was all kinds of things, but the fire seemed to be a particularly painful obsession for me at the time.

    It still happens on occasion, but the feelings aren't as strong. I kind of wonder if it isn't partly natural mother's instinct- to plan for various dangers ahead of time so you can act in the moment. For me, the feelings were intensely strong in the beginning and faded over time. I did start to make a conscious effort not to obsess. If I caught myself imagining scenarios I'd have to purposely think about something else, put some music on, or whatever.

    Maybe it would help to prime yourself before bed. Read a light-hearted book or meditate (if you're into that sort of thing).
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

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