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Thread: Eat Play Sleep/Nursing to sleep

  1. #1
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    May 2012
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    Default Eat Play Sleep/Nursing to sleep

    Can you ladies speak to how nursing to sleep during the day should or should not fit into the Eat Play Sleep routine? I'm really desperate for some advice. I have always fed my LO after he wakes up because I did that with my DD with the eat play sleep routine. This led to a every 2 hour schedule during the day, and every 3-4 hours at night - but she used a pacifier to go to sleep. My DS will not. So I end up nursing once after he wakes up, again for sleep 90 mins later - which is only a 40 min nap. So with 4 night waking that means he's nursing about 16 times a day, sometimes more. This is not only exhausting but almost impossible with a 3 year old. I have to leave her alone in the living room for at least the nurse to sleep sessions, and since he's found the world now I'm trying to nurse him in a quiet dark room after he wakes up so he'll eat better. This means a sad and frustrated toddler who wants to be involved, but is so distracting that my LO won't eat for more than 5 minutes. Should I quit nursing to sleep? Should I try and nurse every 2 hours if that means not feeding as soon as he wakes - because that won't help with EPS... I no longer have a sense of what his hunger cues are because I just put him on at any sign of distress at this point.

    DS is 4 months, so clearly 4 month sleep regression is in full affect. We FINALLY got his frequent nightly painful gas waking under control by cutting nearly all lactose from my diet - but just as we did that, we hit the wall. He's up 5 or 6 times at night, nursing almost all of them. Sometimes he wakes 30 minutes after going back to bed. I'm so tired and looking for any help or suggestion. I know it won't last but if I can do something to at least ease the exhaustion a bit, it would make a world of difference.

    xo,
    Karen

  2. #2
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Eat Play Sleep/Nursing to sleep

    Every baby is different. And every family pattern changes when there is more than one. The idea that a eat play sleep pattern is needed or better or normal for all children is a theory I do not share. Can you just do what works for you and your three year old, and keep baby with you, in a sling or whatever when needed?

    I am not understanding why you need to nurse in a separate room? Is baby not gaining well despite nursing so often?

    Is sharing sleep at night a possibility for you? What about at naps? Does three year old still nap? If not, can you cuddle up with 3 year old and read or tell a story while you nurse sleepy baby?

  3. #3
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    Aug 2014
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    Default Re: Eat Play Sleep/Nursing to sleep

    I know that for me, if I stopped nursing my little one to sleep, I would be giving up my most sure fire trick (though it doesn't work all the time, isn't what she wants every single time she's sleepy, it is what she wants 95% of the time when sleepy). And so that would be a huge loss, and make the whole falling asleep process longer and more challenging for both of us. So for me, if this is the predicament I was having, I feel like I would experiment with giving up the eat-play-sleep before I gave up nursing to sleep.

    Is there any quiet Activity that your daughter could have in the room where you are nursing baby?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Eat Play Sleep/Nursing to sleep

    Excellent advice from the PPs!

    I personally found my second daughter to be very humbling. After nursing my first for 3 years and mothering her for 4, I thought that I knew what worked for babies and young children. But my second child was and is a very different person from my first, and a lot of the things that worked with my first didn't work with my second. So while I think it's great that eat-play-sleep worked with your first, I think you have to be open to the idea that it might not work AT ALL with your second.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Eat Play Sleep/Nursing to sleep

    Thanks for quick reply! I didn't want to overburden the first post with too many details. DS is gaining just fine - in fact at his 2 month he was gaining an avg of 7.75 per week, which is above the top of the range. In my past experience with DD, I fed her on a schedule until 10 weeks, instead of on demand, which greatly impacted my supply. So this time I was determined to prevent the heartache and frustration by having him nurse as much as he wants. This has been effective, but now I am anchored to the boppy more than I ever thought I would be. I'm trying to feed him as much as humanly possible during the day so that he'll sleep better at night but honestly I'm not sure that's making a difference.

    I nurse my son to sleep in my room because that's where the swing and pack and play are. I was not exaggerating-my 3 year old is loud and wild. We tried the swing out in the living room for a while but trying to be quiet for brother is almost impossible. She is often defiant (like so many 3 yr olds are) when asked to do anything quiet or by herself for a few minutes. She has three modes: On, Off and Meltdown. The only way I get to put him down alone in my room is use the TV, which usually works as long as I'm not gone for more than 10 minutes and shes got a drink and a snack.

    I have tried multitasking with nursing and playing with DD. Baby pops off any time I talk - his distractability is super high right now. Plus (and this may be selfish) but naps for DS are the only time I can spend time with DD alone so she's better behaved or I can do some housework. I have my own home business too, so I'm at a loss - I'm just so tired. My 3 yo does nap in her own bed - she cannot(or will not) sleep anywhere else. She never wanted to even as a baby.

    I would love a sling - I'm not sure he would go for it, but any recommendations would be great.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2015
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    Default Re: Eat Play Sleep/Nursing to sleep

    I can totally relate!

    My DD is 8 months old and since she about 4 months she will only nurse in a quiet dark room. ANY distraction will cause her to unlatch and look around. There is no way I can have my 3-year-old DS anywhere near her. Reading to him quietly is a nice concept that would never actually work for me in practice.

    At about 4-months I went back to work so our nanny had to deal with this issue most of the time, but on the weekends I would alternate between nursing her to sleep in her room and getting her to sleep by putting her in the Ergo carrier and taking both her and DS out for a walk.

    At about 6 months of age I was fed up with her short, crappy naps and also fed up with spending so much time catering to her needs at the expense of my older DS. So that's when I decided not to nurse her to sleep any more but would instead put her down awake and let her fall asleep on her own. Yes, she cried a little (8 mins) at first but I felt it was worth it as she ended up taking a lot better naps and I spent a lot less time getting her down for her nap which meant I had more time for DS.

    Wanting more time with your older DD and not wanting to be exhausted are NOT selfish. You must take care of yourself in order to take care of your kids.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Eat Play Sleep/Nursing to sleep

    Ok here are a few more suggestions.
    Baby sitter or Mothers helper? You are mothering an infant and a three year old while simultaneously running a business. This sounds so difficult I cannot imagine doing it without some help. A mothers helper could be a cheap and energetic kid of 10 -12 or so. Or what about nursery school for a couple hours a couple days a week?

    Slings: I started my oldest in an old fashioned ring sling (like a Maya Wrap) at 4 months. It was amazing to be able to have two (well, one and a half) hands free while still being able to hold baby! But what kind of sling will be best for you is going to vary. Personally I love a ring sling because I think the learning curve is shortest and they are easy to put on and easily adjustable. But many folks prefer a wrap, or a bjorn like carrier, etc. Soon baby could also go in a back pack like an ergo maybe? Some areas have baby wearing groups, and if you have a local LLL meeting that might be a place to try different options. Your 3 year old would be welcome at such get togethers.

    I am still trying to understand what the primary concern is (aside from needing sleep yourself.) Baby is gaining really well, so what does it matter if baby is distracted and popping off whenever you talk? Four month olds do this. It is common. Usually, they eventually settle down and nurse as much as they need, even if it is less overall than they may have at a younger age.

    When you say you nurse where the swing and p and p are, do you mean this is where baby is put down after baby falls asleep? Just clarifying if these are for baby or 3 year old... don't want to assume.

    Children have all kinds of personalities, and loud and wild (or, spirited!) is nothing unusual. But sometimes a child is more loud and wild than they otherwise would be because some need is not being met. 3 year olds with infant siblings are bound to have needs that are not being met- that pretty much comes with the territory. Perhaps if you keep baby with you while attending to three year old with lots of focus, she might calm down a bit. Also some kids do better with this kind of behavior if they are outside a lot.

    I have three kids and dealt with lots of conflict due to them being at different ages and stages, including having an infant when I had a very clingy three year old and an infant with such a wild 6 year old I often had to physically push him away for fear he would accidentally harm the baby. So I promise I am not unsympathetic to this problem. But I cannot imagine how you can possibly make it work if you cannot have them near each other. There is only one of you and two of them. They have to be together in order to be with you, and they both have to be with you. (Unless there is another caregiver around.)

    Sleep at night- Since it is not working anyway, I would suggest forget the feeding extra during the day in hopes of getting more sleep at night, and try some other ideas. Bedsharing something you have or might try? If that is not for you, is there another parent there at night who could bring baby to you to nurse, then take him away to settle him down? I don't usually suggest this, but some people seem to find a bottle at night given by someone else is helpful for mom getting a longer stretch of sleep. Breastfeeding seems to be going well so at this age I see no great harm to this idea as long as some precautions are taken, however it would mean finding time to pump at some point so not sure how much it would help either.

    If 3 year old naps on her own, can you lay down and nurse baby at that same time and get a little snooze yourself while baby gets in a nice nursing session?

  8. #8
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: Eat Play Sleep/Nursing to sleep

    maddieb, I know it seems like I'm a little all over the place - probably because I'm seriously sleep deprived lol. My main question was about Eat Play Sleep, because it was a model that worked for us before and I was hoping that it would work again. I honestly would LIKE to get to a place where my DS is not nursing to sleep. It would solve multiple issues (spending time nursing to sleep 4x during the day away from DD, nursing every hour in the nights when DS clearly is not hungry, just unable to fall asleep on his own) which would hopefully cut down on stress and serious fatigue.

    However there is no magical pill - only CIO will achieve this, and my DH is not interested in doing CIO at night because he "needs his sleep" for work. Oh, and DH is also refusing to bedshare - he made it clear this morning when we had a massive argument that even though he only puts in 20 mins a night trying to help DS back to sleep, the baby WILL NOT sleep next to me because it will teach him bad habits. I don't think he's interested in data or stories that say otherwise. Again, this coming from the man that sleeps all night long and is unaffected by ever hour night wakings... alas...

    I think I will just not worry about the extra nursing and ditch the EPS routine. DD will be okay - she does go to nursery school 2 times a week. She's just one of those children that wants 100% of attention 100% of the time - but again what 3 yo old doesn't right? We'll just power through it, hopefully the weather will get better sooner rather than later. In terms of ME sleeping while nursing, I really can't seem to do it. I'm large chested so I need to support each breast with my hand while he eats and I've tried nursing laying down and it never works. He can't latch well so it's more hassle than help lol

    I do appreciate the empathy - sometimes it's just HARD! Last night was the worst night so far - sleep at 8:00 and then up at 11 and then every hour on the dot from 12:30 until 6:30. Labor of love right?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Eat Play Sleep/Nursing to sleep

    Ok if you want to get to a place where your baby does not nurse to sleep that is outside my experience. Personally I cannot imagine mothering multiple kids without this lifesaving tool.

    But if the only option you are seeing is cio and that is not actually an option, what about the no cry sleep solution book? (Pantley) Have you taken a look at that? Maybe for ideas to try a few months down the road if nothing else.

    Now, here is one thing I do not get. You work, and your husband works. Plus you care for the kids WHILE you work. So why is his sleep more important? If there is going to be no equity there, what about discussing your finances and seeing if there is a way that you could NOT work, at least until your kids are a bit older? Not a total solution, as you will still be just as tired, but at least what energy you have is not pulled quite so thin.

    I get it with the sleep deprivation. Ugh. One thing I found when I was really exhausted in the early months especially, was that putting together even a 4 or 5 hour stretch of sleep could make me feel awesome. Maybe with your husbands help you can do this at least on a weekend?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Eat Play Sleep/Nursing to sleep

    I think I will take a look at that book. We changed our bedroom around a bit last night and moved DS's P and P next to my side of the bed. It was a little better, but unfortunately big sis woke up and woke up little brother, then he peed all over himself during a diaper change!! He was up from 3-5 just because he was so startled by the whole experience.

    My home business is order based - I run an etsy shop - so it's not quite as demanding as you think. But yes, we continue to struggle with the "whose sleep is more important" or even just "whose needs are getting met". While I don't need to go to work, he has some major benefits of leaving home and dealing with much less demanding humans all day. If he wants to take a break and go get lunch, he can. He showers everyday, etc. Last night was the first night my DH was up more than 20 minutes. Luckily we were able to talk out some of the issues before everyone went to sleep. When baby was fed and changed and was clamping down because he didn't want to nurse, we tried to let him cry and figure it out. After 20 minutes of crying, he ALMOST got there, but just couldn't put it together. So we'll see if maybe the book has some better options for us so we all sleep.

    Honestly I feel so much better today because I got 2- 2 hour stretches and 2 - 1.5 hour stretches! Anything that isn't 30 minutes is a plus at this point. With LO nursing twice in every two hour cycle during the day, it would be almost impossible, especially without anytime in the foreseeable future to pump. But he offered to give me a little time each night to work or take a snooze so that was definitely a move in the right direction!

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