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Thread: Vetrans - do tell . . .how do you do it????

  1. #1
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Vetrans - do tell . . .how do you do it????

    My ds ad I are at 11 weeks of bf, and doing well except for exhaustion. He is still nursing every three hours (an hour at at time, each and every time ) and has just begun cluster feeding in the morning from around 6am to 9am. I so want to make it to at least six months (my original goal was one year), but I just can't seem to muster more than four or five hours of broken sleep. I know it gets better (so everyone says), but I would love to hear suggestions on bedtime routines, and just how you wonderful women of endurance have pulled through the months and years.

    We are co-sleeping, although I just can't find a comfortable position to nurse in bed. My little one gets congested when we lie on our sides.

    Eagerly awaiting inspiration,
    Dianna[/FONT]
    Last edited by Dianna; March 9th, 2006 at 10:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Vetrans - do tell . . .how do you do it????

    Co-sleeping has made all the difference for us. With my first baby, it took my mother-in-law (whom I love!) looking at me like I was an idiot and saying, "Just take that baby to bed with you!" when I was complaining about how tired I was because the baby just.would.not.sleep! So I took him to bed with me and whaddya know? We slept! Albeit in 2-hour increments but we slept!

    Then when #2 was born we co-slept from the very beginning and I never felt sleep deprived. Same thing with #3, who will be 2 years old in a few days. She still wakes at least once a night. I've always felt blessed if I got at least 2 hours of sleep at once and it didn't take me long to learn how to latch baby on and drift off to sleep again myself.

    Breastfeeding/mothering can be a test of endurance, that's for sure. But the older your baby gets and the more you can see that he is thriving ALL BECAUSE OF YOU then the more rewarding it gets. I have to admit, now that my daughter is nearly 2 and able to verbalize how much she loves to nurse, it has been the most rewarding thus far.

    You'll get through this. I think at some point your body learns how to function on less sleep.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Vetrans - do tell . . .how do you do it????

    I agree with the last post. My daughter is now 1 year, and co-sleeping has made all the difference. But, you are lucky if your daughter is only nursing every 3 hours. Mine fed every 30-60 minutes the first 6 months around the clock. Even now, she nurses every 2-3 hours, and she eats a ton of solids.

    I'm sure you'll get through it. And, in the end, the experience and lack of sleep will make you stronger.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Vetrans - do tell . . .how do you do it????

    Things change over time -- so much! It's impossible to describe how different nursing a young infant is from nursing a toddler. The whole relationship changes as the baby grows and matures.

    The sleep thing -- hon, at 11 weeks, I consider you to still be postpartum. I didn't feel remotely "normal" or fully recovered from pregnancy and childbirth for about 6 months. I think over time we do learn to function on a different sleep pattern. It is a brutal adjustment when you are still in the thick of it, but eventually most of us get to a point where waking every 2-3 hours through the night is just normal. I realized I had really gotten used to it when I felt that the hardest change with motherhood wasn't the lack of sleep, it was no longer having the freedom to just grab my car keys and walk out the door when I needed to go somewhere. But like I said .. this was months down the line, not weeks. I think in our society of 6-week maternity leaves, we women feel such intense pressure to have all our ducks in a row and be our old selves when we are still intensely postpartum.

    One thing you can look forward to -- as your baby gets just a little older, he won't be nursing for an hour at a time any longer. They do get more efficient ... and then they get distractible and can hardly settle down to nurse for more than a couple minutes at a time (a problem in itself, but at least it's a new problem, LOL). And later, as you introduce solids, their feedings space out a bit ... except maybe when they're teething (again, a problem, but a new one!)

    When I was nursing an 11wo, I had absolutely no clue how much things would change in our nursing relationship over time. I won't promise you that you ever reach a point where ALL the hardships and inconveniences vanish never to return ... but they certainly do change to new ones on a pretty frequent basis -- so there's always this process of discovery and learning and adjusting. I think it's part and parcel of motherhood, whether you are nursing or not.

    For nursing in bed -- if you could elevate your son's head somehow, might that help with the congestion? Side-lying nursing can be tricky to learn, but it's well worth the effort if you can finally get the hang of it. I felt human again when I could latch, change breasts, and even burp my son without having to sit up once through the night. Try wedging pillows behind your back and hips, another one or two under your head and arm, one between your knees, etc. Any part of your body that feels uncomfortable, try supporting it somehow with a pillow. You won't be comfortable nursing until you can fully, fully relax without shifting out of position.

    Bedtime routines ... I think the key is consistency. Try some soothing music if you aren't already doing that. We used a CD of simple mellow piano music, and soon our son was practically programmed to fall asleep by track 4! (We used it more in the car than at home -- he was an easy fall-asleeper when he was a new baby). It can also help if the whole house kind of settles down as he is getting ready for bed. Dimmed lights, TV turned down, gentle voices. But the main key, IME, is always just being consistent with the routine night after night. It may take a week or so to "click."

    Can you sleep in the daytime at all? Again, this was a lifesaver for me in those early months. I found if I napped in the morning with my son, it didn't disrupt my sleep at night the way an afternoon nap might. And it was actually those daytime naps that helped me figure out side-lying nursing, because in the daylight I could see what I was doing!

    --Rebecca

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Vetrans - do tell . . .how do you do it????

    Rebecca took my answer LOL! Honestly you will be fine but it is going to take some time. Think how wonderful that you have made it halfway to your six month goal already! The hardest part of breastfeeding is these early months and I felt once I went to all that trouble there was no way I was going to give up the fun we were having. Soon your baby will be big enough to help, soon he will reach up and pat your face and twirl your hair. Certainly he already gives you those beautiful dreamy milky thank you smiles at each feed. The fun is just getting started!!!! As time goes on you will just find this relationship to be the biggest blessing in your life, I promise.

    Right now let everything else go, easier said than done but it is necessary to pamper yourself and put all your energy into mothering. If you have to call on family to come and help by cleaning the house and stocking the fridge. People will do an awful lot in exchange for a chance to snuggle the baby. Then you run and take a shower and put on a little bit of makeup or whatever makes you feel womanly. Sometimes people assume you don't need help at this stage. Splurge some of the money you are saving by breastfeeding for take out dinners for you and your honey. Nothing is more romantic than a sleeping newborn and takeout by candlelight.

    Hang in there!!!

    Momuvseven

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Vetrans - do tell . . .how do you do it????

    One more thing that made it easier at night is I had a little nightlight soother so that I could see just enough to help baby get settled and it played soft sounds like rain, heartbeat etc. Made to clip on the crib for babies but I clipped it on my headboard. I bought mine at the baby resale shop but certain they must have them new at Babies R Us. It was battery operated and on a timer so would shut itself off or I could do it manually.

    As far as propping baby up while side lying to feed try to place your arm under his head and curl your arm around him so you are holding his bottom and he is nested in your arm.

    Momuvseven

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Vetrans - do tell . . .how do you do it????

    Each of my children were different with night time patterns. I have a sixth month old now (she's our 5th).

    One of the best things that helped with our older ones was Daddy time. My husband would walk them to sleep while I rested. It gave me a little time when I started to feel touched out, and he spent some wonderful time saying goodnight to stars. It took about five minutes, but he insists lots longer. Sometimes baby would sleep on dad's chest while they took a nap together, and then you can rest or have a few moments to yourself. Some families I know have nighttime rituals like bathtime that is fully dad's job.

    I too had trouble learning a sidelying position with my first, and it did help once it got down pat. As we learned to do this I was able to cycle back in and out of sleep much more easily. It was more difficult when I fully woke up and couldn't fall back asleep as easily.

    Sometimes I've noticed that sling wearing puts my littlest to sleep during the day. If her naps are good, sometimes night is better as well. You might be able to keep baby in sling and rest in a recliner or gently transfer once in a deeper sleep.

    Finally consider encouraging extra feeding before going to sleep. Cluster feedings can tire you out, but if little one is doing it baby can more in tummy and sleep for a longer stretch. I was thankful that our littlest did this, although it did confine us to the chair or bed in evening. My only one to have their sleep stretch at night .

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Vetrans - do tell . . .how do you do it????

    My daughter is 4 months old and the difference even between 11 weeks and 4 months is incredible! Things WILL get better!

    We co-sleep with our daughter and lately she's sleeping much longer at night. I have the chance to sleep and what do I do?? I wake up because I am so used to nursing her at 3am and she's blissfully sleeping!

    Nursing is SO much easier now and I can only imagine as the months continue on that I will notice so many other changes and it will be even easier.

    Tracy

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Vetrans - do tell . . .how do you do it????

    I didn't start co-sleeping until my ds was 5mon. He slept next to me in a basinette. After he started growing out of it. I pulled his crib in and set it up next to my side w/ the slidder off. Now he I lay him down after he goes to sleep in it and in the night when he wakes up I pull him over to bf. It's so much better than getting completly up. I sometimes don't remember pulling him over in the middle of the night. When we first braught him home it was so hard. I was only getting mayber three hours a night of sleep and that was chopped up. My son wanted to be held all the time and sometimes as sone as I laid him down he'd wake up. I was so tired that it effected my attitude. My dh and neighbors got the brunt of it. I live in a apartment complex and neighbors can be so loud. I learnd that a humidifier at night blocked out tons of noise and ds stayed asleep longer and didn't wake up as often. He still wakes up there times a night and sometimes more when his having a hard night from teething or had a big day. Last night was one of them and I am tired today. I even take naps w/ my ds. I sleep when he sleeps. And when the new bb comes home thats the best advise anyone can give you and when someone offers to hold or take care of your ds while you have some you time for at least an hour say yes.
    You are doing a great job and our bodies are able to keep on going even if we feel so worn out. I know mine did. Keep up the good work.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Vetrans - do tell . . .how do you do it????

    Hello Dianna,

    I am currently nursing a 16 month old! I can promise you, things WILL get better. 11 weeks is still SO little, his needs will change so much over the next couple of months. I agree with what the PP said about you still being post partum, you will notice after a couple more months how much better you will feel. It sounds like you are following his cues and I second the co-sleeping ideas others have posted here. If you can hang in there you will most definitely make it to 6 months! They change their feeding patterns so much in the early weeks, there are numerous growth spurts as well. It will get easier!! Take care!

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