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Thread: Overtired and refusing to comfort-nurse

  1. #1

    Default Overtired and refusing to comfort-nurse

    Hi Moms!
    This is my first post - ever - in any forum regarding my newborn! Very exciting Let me know if I do any mistakes and / or need to supply more information.
    So here is my issue:
    My little girl is 14 weeks old and in order to fall asleep she has, almost since birth, wanted to comfort-nurse. At night I usually just put her next to me in bed and let her comfort nurse as much as she wants, I can sleep through it perfectly fine. My newfound problem is regarding putting her to sleep for the night.
    Here is some background: At first, it was enough to hold her and comfort nurse her to sleep. After she was about 1 month old this had then evolved where she needed to comfort-nurse and be walked at the same time, at a steady pace. A few weeks later that evolved even further, and we had to dim the lights in the room for her to fall asleep and walk and nurse. However exhausting this may sound, it never bothered me, because it didn't matter how tired she was, she could always fall asleep that way.
    But in recent weeks, it hasn't been as easy anymore. If we miss the time when she gets tired, and she becomes overtired and I start my nurse-walk-dark-room routine, she starts screaming and refuses the breast, arching her back far back. Sometimes I can switch to the other breast or lift her up briefly and put her back and she will latch on. When this happens I start my routine, and sometimes it works and she finally goes to sleep, but most times she falls asleep, only to suddenly wake up again, start screaming and arching her back and refusing to take the breast. When I pick her up and do something else with her, like sit her on my lap or play with her, she seems completely fine. She yawns sometimes or rubs her eyes, but she is generally in a good mood. But as soon as I try to start her sleeping routine, she starts her little tantrum! Of course I suspected that she just isn't tired enough. But the fact is that IF she latches on, she falls asleep almost instantly - sometimes staying asleep, sometimes waking up suddenly again like described above. So For that reason I think the opposite is true - she isn't not tired enough, she is overtired!
    So on evenings where this happens we usually start at around 8PM and finally have her asleep at around 11PM, sometimes later.
    Interesting fact: She takes the breast while in the car seat, even if she is overtired like this. I assume that is because sitting in the car seat and being offered the breast is so different from our usual sleep routine that she does not see it coming somehow.
    This whole thing is a new development, and I can try to work around it by never letting her get overtired like that, but she really easily gets into that state, sometimes it's just a matter of minutes. Maybe any of you moms know something, have some experience with this? I don't think I am the only mom with a nurse-walk-routine for sleep time. Did any of you ever have a tired baby, that just does not want to latch on aka. does not want to sleep?

    I hope I didn't write too much!
    Thanks in advance for all your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,754

    Default Re: Overtired and refusing to comfort-nurse

    Hi, I am not sure I understand...

    You bedshare and baby falls asleep fine at the breast after waking at night. Does baby also prefer nursing to sleep for daytime naps? Are naps also done by nursing sidelying in the bed?

    So, what is different about this evening nursing session... Are you trying lying beside baby in the bed and trying to nurse, but baby refuses? What if you did not worry about baby going to sleep and just carried baby around in a sling in the evening, nursing if baby wants, and then lie down with baby when you go to sleep?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Overtired and refusing to comfort-nurse

    Hi,
    thanks for your reply!
    I guess I didn't communicate my problem clearly. just another side effect of getting less sleep than usual :P
    so baby falls asleep fine at night, during the night, every time she wakes up. it's sort of a blessing really that bedsharing is working out so well for us! But I guess one reason for that is, that I catch it in time, so she doesn't wake fully. it's like she asks for my breast while still half asleep. so all is great on that front!
    the issue for me arises in the evening. some weeks ago I did like you suggested, had her on me for the evening, and then when I finally went to bed I just put her next to me, offer her my breast which she often takes, and we both sleep.
    but then some weeks ago this didn't work anymore, instead of accepting the breast and sleeping she would start screaming and arching her back. the few times she did accept the breast she fell asleep, only to wake up super easily again. and then she would refuse the breast again and scream, and I would walk around with her, hold her against my shoulder, etc and try every once in a while to hold her to my breast, which most of the times results in screaming then. eventually, after many hours past the point that I had planned to go to sleep with her, she accepts the breast and falls asleep and stays asleep. in the last two nights I then sit down with her in bed, trying to sleep sitting up, because I don't dare to lay her down next to me for fear she will wake up again and refuse the breast. then once she has been asleep for 1 hour waking up won't result in screaming anymore, and then I lay her next to me and our night continues as usual.
    first I thought she maybe just wasn't sleepy and was therefore refusing the breast, knowing it was my way making her fall asleep, but since she falls asleep as soon as she accepts the breast I really think she is just over tired and when she is over tired she doesn't want to go to sleep.
    hopefully I was more clear this time!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,754

    Default Re: Overtired and refusing to comfort-nurse

    Will baby nurse during the time you are carrying her around in the evenings? And/or does baby fall asleep when carried (or nursed but NOT laying down?) When you go to lay down with baby, how long has it been since baby nursed?

    When a baby does not like to nurse in a certain position it can indicate some pain or discomfort- like earache or reflux, or something. But then it would seem like baby would be uncomfortable anytime in this position.

    I had fast letdown and with my middle child this meant he often preferred to nurse and sleep on top of me while I sat reclined. So I learned to sleep that way for awhile-leaning back on pillows so I was reclined pretty well for my comfort, (but not flat on my back ) and with baby on top of me. Later in the night I would usually be able to roll him over to be next to me, but often when he awoke to nurse I again had to get him on top of me. This was temporary but definitely tiring while it lasted.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Overtired and refusing to comfort-nurse

    usually, if not overtired, I can get her to sleep in only a few minutes by holding her in a lying down position against me, giving her my breast (usually she doesn't drink only suckles for comfort) and walkinging back and forth. noteworthy is maybe that she doesn't like any pacifier, so my breast is her pacifier when she wants to go to sleep.
    But the longer I wait to make her fall asleep in that way, ie I'm just finishing something up in the kitchen while she is still happy, but yawns etc, it takes longer and longer for her to fall asleep in the way described above. and when I wait too long, she completely refuses the breast and cries instead.
    I've noticed since yesterday that when that happens she often latches on to my breast for a short time, seeking comfort while crying I suspect, suckles a few times but then arches her back again and cries.
    regarding your question if she actually nurses while I carry her around: on and off. she is constantly latched to my breast while I "sleep-carry" her, and about 75% she just suckles for comfort and 25% she drinks
    she usually does not fall asleep while nursing if she's not tired, but she seldom asks to be nursed during the day then. she sleeps rather often during the day also, about 3 times for 2.5 hours each.
    when I go lie down with her for the night she is either already asleep and things go really smoothly or she wakes up and then things get difficult. so recently I've actually just went to bed with her at 8pm, walking around with her & breast for pacifier to make her fall asleep and then sitting with her in bed (like you described). since I'm not sleepy then I read an ebook or something until I'm ready to sleep. at that point she usually is asleep so deep that I can place her next to me and we both sleep.
    the situation gets more difficult it seems if she has many short naps, which she often has in the afternoon. Are short naps possibly the culprit?
    also, she does have a bit of a tummy issue, she farts often and most times it doesn't disturb her but in her sleep she minds a lot. she actually minds it less if she is lying on me, like you describe, but I cant make her fall asleep like that. there seems to be something in the way I walk, something in that motion, that makes her fall asleep. but she has that all time of the day and she usually doesn't mind our sleep routine unless she is overly tired. so I figured that her screaming and arching her back and refusing the breast isn't related to her tummy. but maybe I'm wrong?

    in another thread here I read that a mother had a teething baby that bit her breast and then screamed and arched her back far back, and then not wanting to nurse anymore. except for the biting part it sounds very familiar to my situation. maybe being overly tired is a kind of pain for my baby?

    I worry now that my issue may be too unique, but maybe you anyway know something?

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