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Thread: Need advice or just support & commiseration

  1. #1

    Default Need advice or just support & commiseration

    This closes in 3 days?!? On the day I join?! That just adds to my feeling of helplessness. Maybe I can get some responses over the weekend.

    My 16 month old has ALWAYS had sleep issues. As an infant she hit many of the attributes of the “high needs” baby. I was able to get her to take a passi at 3 weeks but at 4 months she simply refused it ever again.

    Since about 4 months I’ve nursed her to sleep because sleep was SO HARD with her, she’d cry and cry, and then once she was big enough to side-lie nurse, she’d pass out and we were just like, “Yes!” And, if matched my parenting philosophy. I’m happy to nurse her to sleep.

    But here’s my issue...she can’t even lay down without nursing, or she’ll scream. She’s always been like this. Neither my husband or I can rock her, hold her, cuddle her. She ONLY wants to nurse. She still wakes up frequently at night, which sucks but isn’t even he real issue. Sometimes she will wake in the night and not easily fall back to sleep. She’ll want to lay and nurse for like an HOUR or more. If I try to get off, hoping she’s asleep, she’ll cry her head off. She’s in hat In between place but 1) I can’t fall asleep while she nursed...I just have never been able to. And 2) my nipples can’t take that for an hour. If she had a passi or a bottle she could hold she could lay there inbetween place and maybe fall back to sleep. But after a certain point and so many tries, I can’t take it anymore and I take her out of the room to cry, because she will cry if she’s tired and can’t nurse, because my husband always has to wake for work at 5:30. But because I can’t take it anymore, she ends up waking up and being up till 6 or 7 am!!! I’m talking from 2:30-3:00 am! So this totally screws up ANY hope for consistency with sleep, which is already hard with her. TThis has happened twice this week. The next day I’m always depressed. We sleep in together and then I’m depressed we’ve slept in because now “nap” and “bedtime” and wtf.

    Today I cried about it. I feel like I have no one to talk to. I’ve never known anyone in this situation before. All my sisters, my mom, my friends, weaned around a year and will suggest a bottle, which 1) I don’t like the idea of giving her keifier or cows milk to sit in her teeth all night, and 2) we’ve even tried bottles here and there. She won’t take them.

    I don’t know what to do. I feel guilty, like it’s my fault somehow, and that anything anyone suggests, like wean, or cry it out (which wouldn’t work with her and if it did, we’d have to go HOOOOUUURS because I know she can!!! She’s persistent and doesn’t give up.) won’t work or are against my parenting philosophy/morals/values/beliefs. And thus, the only suggestions and help I imagine getting (and get from time to time when I DO make the mistake of lamenting to someone) basically say to me, you can fix this if you choose, but you want.

    I feel so alone and crazy. And I feel like...wtf is wrong with my daughter?! Ugh, I could go on and on but I’ll stop here. Hopefully someone will respond before Monday

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,756

    Default Re: Need advice or just support & commiseration

    Hi, so sorry you are having this struggle. Wow your post brought me back to my experience parenting my oldest child at this age!

    So, it is not your fault. Most likely this is just who your child is now, it won't be forever, but it may be for another several months or even longer. Sorry, I know that is not what you want to hear! But in my experience, a child who is like this at 16 months has a ways to go before they can sleep without nursing, consolidate sleep, etc.

    My oldest child at this age kept me up most of the night nursing, and was very clingy the rest of the time. It was utterly exhausting. Honestly, the only thing that really helped was me changing how I thought about the situation. Learning to accept that that was who he was and rolling with it. In practice, that meant not worrying about nap schedules and bedtime schedules. Routines? Yes. Mostly for my sanity. But I stopped worrying about what time things happened. I stopped thinking about how often I was awakened at night, I stopped looking at the clock especially at night.

    Another thing that helped was letting myself off the hook. I was beyond exhausted, so if the house was not clean or dinner was take out, that had to be ok. It had to be great! I asked my husband to pick up the slack as much as he could, or we just let it go. I also had him take our son at night even though he would not settle for my husband and cried. At least I got a little more time to try to put together a little sleep. My husband had a demanding job and had to get up early, but we found that if he knew ahead of time that I was going to ask him to take our son for X amount of time, in other words, if we made the arrangements and came to an agreement ahead of time when we were awake and calm, that helped.

    I also made a point of trying to nap every day. Often it was a short crappy nap, but it was better than nothing. I have no idea if you have other kids or a job or what, but if there is any way to squeeze in a nap, I suggest take it. At one point my son started falling asleep in the car at 9 or 10 am, totally messing up our nice rhythm of after lunch naps, so I learned to pull over somewhere safe and nap in the car!

    BTW my son did outgrow this stage, and once he started consolidating sleep and no longer needed to nurse to sleep, he slept great. Never had any problems falling asleep or staying asleep. He was always an early riser-until he became a teenager. Now I swear a bomb could go off.

    My suggestions are all assuming there really is nothing actually wrong with your child. Sleep disturbance may indicate allergies or some other issue, so you may want to get her checked out.

    Here are my suggestions for further reading:

    Sweet Sleep from LLL

    Kiss Me! By Carlos Gonzalez. Not specifically about sleep, but I am guessing you will love this beautiful book about parenting from the heart.

    Some moms find the suggestions in Elizabeth Pantley's book The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers helpful. Meant to be suggestions, not sleep training and not "rules."

    If you can find a local LLL meeting, especially one for moms of nursing toddlers, go. Even if it is a regular one, go. They will understand you.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; November 17th, 2017 at 09:49 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    729

    Default Re: Need advice or just support & commiseration

    I second the idea of trying to find a LLL meeting if you haven't already. Especially since this forum is closing (which no one is happy about).

    I coslept with my oldest till just before she was 2, and she woke several times during the night to nurse, but nothing like what you're dealing with! I wonder what size bed you have? Our set up when we were co sleeping was to have our mattress on the floor, with the crib mattress tucked up next to it on the floor. I would nurse her to sleep on her mattress and then still be within arms reach, but not so close that she'd be right on me, you know? I think maybe that helped with not waking up quite as frequently. Now she's 5, and has fallen asleep and stayed asleep all night for a very long time, and even if she does wake up she puts her music on and goes back to sleep.

    The other thing I'm going to suggest trying is to start associating sleep with other things, like a lovey or soft music. It might take a while, but she might come to associate those things with sleep and be able to use those rather than nursing all the time. Or she might just grow out of nursing all the time, but at least you'll feel like you were trying something! I've found that kids change so much on their own, and you're often left scratching your head about whether it was the intervention you'd been trying, or just time itself!

    My youngest, now 17 months, wasn't a great sleeper either, waking up several times during the night to nurse, but we didn't co sleep this time. What eventually happened was that I went back to working midnight shifts when she was almost 14 months, and she and my husband had no choice but to work it out. The first night, she cried a lot and he didn't get much sleep. The second night, she slept through the night. By the time I finished my 2 week rotation, if she started to stir he would just get up, pat her back and tell her it was still sleeping time, and she would go back to sleep. Now, he's the one who puts her to bed most nights, and she sleeps all night. But honestly, if I hadn't gone back to work midnights, I'm not sure I would have let my husband take over, cause I can't handle the crying (I have never been a believer in CIO) and I wouldn't have wanted that to happen when she was younger. But I'm really glad I was forced into it at that point, we all sleep better now. So I'm not sure if that's something you're willing/able to try (letting Dad completely take over for a couple nights), I just wanted to share my experience with it.

    Best of luck mama. I'm sorry this forum won't be here much longer

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    COUGARTOWN Baby! From here on in!
    Posts
    16,078

    Default Re: Need advice or just support & commiseration

    I actually want to suggest taking her to the doctor and having the doctor look at her ears. The idea that anytime she is laying down and NOT nursing she is screaming, suggests to me that she may be in pain. Often pain when laying down is ear pain.
    In terms of sleep, sleep this young is never consistent and always changing. We all did whatever worked. And when they teethe? Nothing does. So when you are getting no sleep or not enough at night? Don't feel bad about sleeping in. And? If you NEED the sleep? I fully enourage laying down for naptime. Being able to rest with the baby when we started side lye nursing (Which was also around 4 months) made a huge difference in the quality of my life.
    I like Carms idea's about other sleep associations and know plently of mother's who used white noise machines. Good luck to you!

    Way too lazy for formula

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,756

    Default Re: Need advice or just support & commiseration

    Yeah that is a good point about the ears. Also I forgot to mention that we were helped a lot by white noise (we used a machine or a fan) and also by darkening the room. Although third child actually slept better with some light.

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