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Thread: Desperate for some sleep!

  1. #1

    Default Desperate for some sleep!

    Hi, I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the right place. Apologies in advance as its a long one, so here goes...

    I need help regarding my 19 month old and sleep. He's always been a boobie baby, much preferring to nurse than eat and it wouldn't have been an unusual thing to have nursed 8+ times per day. We were advised by his consultants to stop breastfeeding completely and up his food intake as he was/ is deficient in iron, folic acid, vitamin D and also igA. We managed to stop feeding completely in the day and his eating has become so much better now, however night time is a completely different story. He has his feed to get him to sleep at around 9 and will then sleep until about 12 and that a when the "fun" begins. A good night consists of him thrashing around all night, waking up every 45mins and being latched on at least 90% of the night. A bad night starts the same with the tossing and turning, being latched on until 2am when he's wide awake running between our room and our 4 year olds room.Usually by about 2.15am I take him downstairs to prevent my husband or my eldest waking up. We can be up between 2 and 4 hours when he eventually falls back to sleep.

    He's not yet slept an entire night and on average he's getting between 6 and 8 hours most nights of broken sleep. As he only has one nap of two hours just after lunch, I don't know where I am going so very wrong. I no longer wish to breastfeed because physically and mentally I am exhausted, there doesn't seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel!

    Please help me become less of a human comforter! This is truly affecting every aspect of my life and I am at rock bottom. Which weaning techniques will best benefit us? Thank you in advance. (Apologies for any typos, it's 2.49am!)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Desperate for some sleep!

    Welcome to the forum!

    The first thing I have to say is that I'm extremely flummoxed by the advice you got from the "consultants". Were these people medical professionals? If so, what kind? The reason I find their advice so suspicious is that breastfeeding doesn't make babies unwilling to eat solids, nor does it make them deficient in iron, folic acid, Vit. D, or IgA. In fact, breastmilk is a significant source of IgA; see this article from American Scientist: http://www.americanscientist.org/iss...od-allergies/1. It reads, in part:

    "New babies, however, produce little or no SIgA. They depend on other types of antibodies during the first vulnerable months of life, primarily residual IgG from the mother and small amounts of mucosal IgM. The only significant source of SIgA antibodies during this period is breast milk, which helps protect the newborn until her immune system is established. In developed countries, the child's ability to produce SIgA is quite variable, being completed between one and ten years of age. Babies in developing countries often establish secretory immunity much earlier, presumably because of greater exposure to stimulating microbes."

    Breastmilk does not have huge amounts of iron or Vit. D, it is true- but those issues are generally easy to solve with a daily multivitamin, or daily iron supplement plus plenty of sunshine (Vitamin D is made in your skin when it is exposed to sunlight).

    Okay, so all that being said, what do you do about night-weaning a reluctant toddler? I think the first thing you have to accept is that night-weaning does not guarantee better sleep. Your child may sleep better once he's no longer nursing, but he also might continue to wake frequently and if you wean you're giving up one tool that you know works, when it comes to dealing with night asking.

    Options for encouraging night-weaning:
    - You could try un-weaning him during the day; it's possible that more opportunities to nurse during the daylight hours would mean less need for it at night.
    - You could simply wait. Toddlers do outgrow the need for night-nursing as time goes on.
    - You could have someone else- like dad- handle the nighttime parenting while you sleep elsewhere. Your baby is unlikely to ask to nurse when you're not available. After a few days/weeks, your Lo may forget about night nursing.
    - You could be the one to handle nighttime parenting, and simply say "no" to night-nursing. This approach is likely to be challenging but can be eased by lots of communication and gentle persistence.

    You might want to take a look at Elizabeth Pantley's books "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" and "The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers". They present a realistic look at infant/toddler sleep and have some gentle techniques which may encourage your LO sleep longer and more independently. And even if they don't work, well, at least you feel like you are doing something about your sleep situation, and that feeling can help you through a rough patch.

    Hang in there, mama!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Desperate for some sleep!

    Thank you for your response and apologies for my late reply. It's been a hectic week due to our eldest starting primary school.

    With the consultant situation, it's been a very long process to get to this point. We've had 10+ admissions to hospital in his short life, all for various respiratory issues. We were under an immunlogist, who basically said due to the igA deficiency his immune system was developing very slowly. She explained that whilst she proud to see that I'd breastfed for so long but after 6 +/- months the antibodies from my milk would no longer be beneficial as his own body was beginning to make his own. Our most recent admission led to the consultant we are now under. He was also pleased to see that we were still breastfeeding however was very concerned upon learning his main source of nutrition was from me as his eating wasn't great (up until about 3 weeks ago.) He then went on to question me about my iron levels and my vit D levels. Long story short he told me that although I'm not worsening the situation by breastfeeding, I'm not helping it get better. He said the more I nurse, the less likely he will be to eat. He then arranged for monthly blood tests and to see him in clinic, saying he wanted to see if by then we could stop breastfeeding. I was very heartbroken after all this had been said and done, suddenly felt like allowing the natural process of breastfeeding to continue I'd actually become the problem. Hence the daytime weaning.

    I will have a look at the no cry sleep solution you have recommended. I've been really struggling during night times because my husband is useless! "You chose to breastfeed" is usually the response I get when I ask for help, ugh! Plus he does work during the day so I try not to disturb him. I don't know much luck we'd have waiting for him to night wean himself because as soon as he sees breast, he does a little dance lol. I've tried offering water, doing the 'pick up, put down' etc. Feels like it will never end!

    (Sorry for the super long reply!)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Desperate for some sleep!

    Wow, 10 hospital admissions in 19 months? How scary! Do your child's doctors have any idea what is causing the respiratory issues? I'm sort of wondering if they are themselves flummoxed by your baby's health issues, and blaming breastfeeding for them because they are unable (or unwilling?) to look for alternate causes.

    So the IgA thing is clearly bunk. There is no point at which antibodies and various other immune factors from breastfeeding lose their beneficial qualities. Baby starting to make his own IgA doesn't mean that IgA from mom is somehow useless! Nor does breastmilk stop having antibodies/immune factors; in fact, as weaning proceeds and milk supply decreases, the concentration of immunologically active substances in breastmilk, particularly a chemical called lactoferrin, actually increases.

    Regarding appetite, it's also untrue that removing breastmilk from a baby's diet automatically increases the baby's appetite for solid foods. You might want to check out a book called "My Child Won't Eat" (and then pass it on to the consultant).

    Sorry about your useless husband. I wish I had a solution for that, but my husband was equally useless. I remember nights when I would be up multiple times with both kids, and in the morning my husband- who had been snoring all night- would complain about his lack of sleep!

    Where does your toddler sleep? Taking him into your bed might help you get more sleep- he stirs, and you simply roll over, latch him on, and go back to sleep without completely waking up. Turning the clock to the wall is another simple thing you can do that can increase your feelings of being rested. Night waking is much more psychologically awful when you know just how short your sleep intervals have been and how many times you have been up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2015

    Default Re: Desperate for some sleep!

    Some babies do drop their naps this early, sorry to say! My 16 month old doesn't always need a nap at all, and he doesn't sleep well if he takes a nap longer than 90 minutes. So that is one possibility.

    I assume they've ruled out reflux? It can make babies nurse constantly for comfort and cause respiratory issues. Food intolerances can also cause reflux or digestive issues that wake kids up.

    At this age, there is no additional physical danger from sharing a bed with your toddler vs. A crib. A mattress on the floor in his room where you can spend the second half of the night might really help when he's waking so often.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Central FL

    Default Re: Desperate for some sleep!

    Tongue and lip ties have been linked to reflux as well as difficulty gaining weight and sleep problems in addition to often causing painful nursing (and they don't always cause all those problems so just because nursing isn't painful it doesn't mean there is no tie if there are other problems.) And as the previous poster mentioned reflux could lead to other problems.

    My son just turned 18 months and he sometimes gets really restless at night while nursing. I'm getting pressure from Daddy and the Ped to start night weaning. At the 18 month apt today the Dr was saying it takes 5 nights to cut out a single night nursing session and that over those five nights it will likely take an hour and a half to sooth baby back to sleep some other way. I don't know if I believe this since DS has only very rarely fallen to sleep without nursing, in the past 12 months I can count the number of times that has happened on one hand minus a couple fingers.

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