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Thread: Reverse Cycling, Night Waking, and Needing to Be Functional

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Reverse Cycling, Night Waking, and Needing to Be Functional

    My DD- born in late February was sleeping (mostly) through the night in May. She would go down about 8:30 or 9 and sleep until 3, nurse, and then sleep until 6 (when I had to take her to the sitter). She would then sleep until 9 or so at the sitter's.

    In June, school got out, so I was able to nurse on demand all day, etc. At that point, she would go down at 8:00 or 8:30, sleep until 6:00am, nurse, and then sleep again until 9 or 10. She would occasionally wake to nurse in the night, but maybe only once a week.

    Fast forward to August 25 (1st day back to the sitter). Starting that day, she reverse cycled. She refused the bottle entirely, but was happy most of the day. We have been seven straight weeks now. She is at the sitter's from 7:00am until 4:00 pm. She generally consumes four ounces of EBM in that time along with a lunch of oatmeal/fruit mixed with EBM. She then nurses every hour or so when we get home (some for comfort) and then nurses no less than three times in the night. I have not had more than three hours of straight sleep in seven weeks, and there seems to be no end in sight. The big problem is that I have to go to school and be a functional, pleasant, driven, organized, and thoughtful person.

    We have tried a modified version of co-sleeping, but we only have a double bed in a very small room, my DH is very unaware of his surroundings while sleeping, and when I do allow her in bed, she nurses and wakes more frequently. We do better when I take her to the couch and end up laying there together. Much of the time, we start out the night with her genuinely needing to nurse for nutrition, but then she is needing comfort as we go through the night. I enjoy that I am able to provide that for her, BUT I need to be able to put a happy face on in the morning- getting only three or so good hours a night does not do that for me. Also, I have concerns that since I teach a room full of third graders I will end up getting sick more often due to the level of fatigue that I chronically have because of this.

    Any suggestions for getting her to begin consuming some more calories in the day time?

    Any suggestions for getting her to wake a reasonable number of times between 8 pm and 6 am like say twice?

    At this point, I have resigned myself to the fact that this is a very short time in both her and my life, but it would be nice to stutter less, focus more, etc.

    Tandem breastfeeding momma to Ellory 2.28.08 and Mallory 6.30.09
    Loving every minute of it!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Not around here as much :(

    Default Re: Reverse Cycling, Night Waking, and Needing to Be Functional

    Well let me just say if I were you I'd have DH sleepin on the couch... OR Do you have another room that you could put another bed in for you and baby (or DH?) for the time being? It's just not as safe for you and baby on the couch (see here for safe cosleeping articles)

    If not - can you just co-sleep with her in the bed, with your side (snugly) up against the wall and baby between you and the wall?

    Have you read this resource regarding reverse cycling? it might offer some useful suggestions.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: Reverse Cycling, Night Waking, and Needing to Be Functional

    I agree that it is less safe for you to be on the couch with baby than on the bed. My DH wasn't into co-sleeping, so I ended up sleeping in the guest bed with baby after her first night-waking.

    My dd also slept through the night until I went back to work and then reverse-cycled. If she took 2 oz from a bottle at daycare it was a good day. She continues to night-wake now, even at 2 yo, even though she doesn't really co-sleep or night-nurse anymore. Some nights she'll sleep through, some nights she'll wake once, some nights 3+ times. It's still quite unpredictable. I guess I've just come to live with it and it doesn't really bother me any more. If I'm not waking to nurse her, I'm still waking for something else!

    Also, now that she can talk to me about it, I know that there really are reasons that she's waking up - like sometimes she needs to potty or she's already wet, or she wants a drink, or she's hot or cold, etc. She's at an age where she can finally tell me what she needs, but she can't take care of her need on her own yet.

    Sorry I don't really have advice, just commiseration!
    Mommy to Cadence (5/19/06) and Tessa (4/25/09)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default Re: Reverse Cycling, Night Waking, and Needing to Be Functional

    My DS reversed cycled when I went back to work (he was 3 months old then). Since then he started to get progressively worse about his night wakings. At his worst, he was waking up 7-8 times a night wanting to be nursed. At that point, I was getting maybe 1.5 hrs of sleep if I was lucky and couldn't function anymore so I had to do something about it. A week ago I decided to start to eliminate some of the night time feedings since my DS is eating plenty during to daytime now. He was a very scheduled boy and would wake up at the same times every night. I just starting pushing back the feedings for about 15min-30min. later than he would normally eat during the night. If he woke up before that time I would hold him and give him lots of kisses until it was time for him to eat (I usually would only hold him off that way for 30min. at the most!) Today I can say that he is only waking once for food now and I am a much happier, rested mom now. I can't believe it only took a week! I know every baby and parent is different but I just wanted to share what worked for me.

    Collin born 4/27/08 by C-Section- BF for 15 months

    Conner born 8/28/09 by VBAC- BF for 2 years and hopefully will wean soon!!

    Also with & due 11/23/11

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Default Re: Reverse Cycling, Night Waking, and Needing to Be Functional

    co-sleeping...is the only way i can function while still night time nursing my 2 year old twins...i go to bed at 8 when they do and stay in bed till 6 am when they wake up. during that 10 hour stretch they wake to nurse 1 to 3 times each. i usually only half wake up to roll over lift my top up latch them on and fall back asleep. i highly recommend co sleeping with them. my dh supports this so he sleeps in our bed and i and the babies sleep on a queen bed in thier bedroom. he understands that this is the best way for everyone in the house to get the most sleep and that this won't last forever. good luck with doing what ever works best for you and your family.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: Reverse Cycling, Night Waking, and Needing to Be Functional

    I wish I had some actually advice for you, but instead I can only offer another person with whom you can commiserate. My DS was born in March and when I went back he did a great job with the bottle. I, too, work in the schools and when I was home a lot more, he made his choice... 4oz from a bottle at day care is a successful day. He eats solids to get him through and then nurses, as you said, several times from when we get home until bed time and then I average 3 times a night for nursing. If he wakes only 2x I feel well rested!
    I wish I had more advice for you - I've tried to let him cry it out a bit, but feel to guilty and feel he needs the nutrition. The only answer I've found so far is caffeine Good luck!

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