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Thread: sleep deprivation with my 12 month old frequent feeder...PLEASE HELP!!

  1. #1

    Default sleep deprivation with my 12 month old frequent feeder...PLEASE HELP!!

    First of all sorry this is a really long rant but its taken me a months to find the energy to actually post anything! Here goes.......

    My 12 month old is what i guess would be described as not a great sleeper. I BF him exclusively to 6 months and then started to introduce solids, broadly using the principles of BLW. He feeds frequently through the night, the best it ever gets is 3 or 4 times but more likely 6 - 8 times or more. When I have a night only feeding him 3 or 4 times I wake feeling like a new woman with boundless energy! Otherwise I am completely exhausted. I often feel like I am constantly on the edge of my ability to cope with anything beyond the day to day demands of life and so when anything out of the ordinary crops up it's seriously too much!!

    We have tried NCSS and we have seen some improvements but in reality when I did the initial ten day log it turned out to coincide with his first tooth cutting through the gum so it’s hard to say......

    Anyway we barely seem able to have a couple weeks pass by without some kind of illness/ teething so its been hard to get any good length of time using the ideas in the book. For instance, since the beginning of January we have had a whole week of cold/ flu type illness for me and baby, one of his top teeth cut through, then OH had Nora virus…. a week of vomiting and diarrhoea, then me and DS got it, then we had two big family weekends away, the latest of which included me getting ill with a bug for 2 days! ...and barely a day has gone by without baby having congestion/ snotty nose since September!!!

    DS has slept always slept in our room and has spent almost the whole night in our bed for many months...prob since the summer when his waking increased and it got too tiresome taking him in and out of the cot. He also has never settled himself to sleep, he had reflux as a tiny baby and we did a lot of rocking, walking, nursing to sleep until it got too hard to carry him around; he has been exclusively nursed to sleep for many months now, starting the night by being nursed to sleep on our bed and then I transfer him to the cot which is in the same room. Once I come to bed he spends the rest of the night in the bed with us.

    As I am writing I am realising some of the things that have improved in the last couple of months... he sleeps from bedtime (7) til 10/ 10.30 much more consistently; we went through a long period when he would wake hourly after going to bed. And ....when he has finished feeding he will often come off the nipple, roll over and go to sleep. BUT ..I still feel like we are miles and miles (well months and months) away from reducing the night awakenings and from getting him to go to sleep at the beginning of the night by himself. Never mind ten days or twenty or thirty or whatever it says in the book!!!

    So I just don't know what to do....I really feel we have left it too long to try anything involving crying...I imagine he would just cry and cry until he made himself sick and there would be no improvement in sleep and anyway I just don't think I could do it. Also my husband is really really not up for anything involving crying though he says he will support me whatever I decide. In fact OH is extremely child centred and runs around the house trying to keep everything tick to make life easier for me so I can keep BF. He is a strong believer in exclusive BF. I am not quite as hardcore about it and prob would have introduced some formula to make things a bit easier but in the end I never did….Anyway that is kind of irrelevant as we are now dealing with a little toddler who is used to having breast milk though the night and whenever he asks for it in the day.

    I know I should prob feel very grateful to my husband for all that he does around the house but often this irritates me…he is busy busy running around and I want him to stop. I often feel incompetent that I am at home all the time and not managing to take care of the home myself, and I have visions of my sleep deprivation as some kind of stupor that BF is keeping me immersed in….also OH is endlessly cheerful and positive and gets fed up with me moaning, says I am not nice enough to him…. prob true but I AM SO EXHAUSTED I CAN'T THINK STRAIGHT!!!!!!!

    Am I just being unrealistic to expect things to improve dramatically? My husband has done lots and lots of reading about BF and sleep and cosleeping and it seems to be that there’s very little research about older babies in this area…Lots of people say that frequent night waking is natural and will improve as child grows up… but there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of this and I just have all these images in my head of those kids from super nanny who never go to bed and who just keep on keep on getting up…. How do I know I am not heading for this nightmare and the nightmare of having to do controlled crying with a walking, talking, screaming 4 year old???? Also can I manage sleep deprivation for an unknown amount of time until whenever things improve or am I going to drive OH away with my moodiness…and anyway if other people manage it why can’t I?

    I am really stuck as to what to do, just feel I need to improve my sleep situation.. any advice really really gratefully received, don't know any other BF mums/ anyone with sympathetic ears!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Default Re: sleep deprivation with my 12 month old frequent feeder...PLEASE HELP!!

    Oh I have been there, so been there and it is not a happy place to be. My ds was getting up 6+ (sometimes 10) times a night from about 9 to 13 months and it was awful. I had promised him and myself that if things did not improve by 15 months, there were going to be some changes implemented. During that rough time I tried to go to be when he did, which really was crappy, but it helped. I also took a nap when I could and that helped to.

    At 16 months we night weaned. I felt like could not survive anymore and needed something to happen. And he was still getting up 3+ after night weaning, but now, my husband could get him too and comfort him to sleep. For about the past week he has suddenly cut down to 1 time a night getting up. I really think a lot of it is just his age, just takes time.

    For me having that end in sight was helpful. Just knowing that this would not last forever helped me. I felt like at 16 months he was ready to have daddy take care of him at night and he was old enough to not nurse at night. It is so so different for every baby and every family.

    Well, I don't know if I actually said anything helpful, but just want you to know that I have been there and it is really hard and I hope that you are able to find a way to feel better.
    Ds 9/09 nursed for 20 months

    Dd 12/11 nursing a toddler again

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: sleep deprivation with my 12 month old frequent feeder...PLEASE HELP!!

    I've been there too. My baby is an insanely restless sleeper and an all-night snacker. All I can say is, we had a period around 12 months, when he was sick, and getting his one-year-old molars, that was BEYOND BRUTAL. He was up 12 times a night, minimum.

    I never night-weaned Joe. He still eats at night. I've heard from many moms that if your baby is a bad sleeper, night weaning won't change that, and honestly, for me, nursing Joe at night is easier than trying to use some other form of comforting.

    But slowly but surely it has improved. Now, at 22 months, Joe wakes up to nurse 3-4 times a night, usually starting around 3-4 a.m. Which means he's sleeping straight from 8 p.m. to almost 4 a.m., which is EIGHT HOURS, hallelujah, I never thought I would say that! So it's much more manageable now. I don't feel like night-weaning would improve much on that.

    While things were bad, I had several coping methods to deal with the lack of sleep. I went to bed early every night, often at the same time as Joe, to get that first chunk of "best" sleep before the waking began. I coslept, so that I just had to roll over to nurse Joe. And my DH and I took turns getting up in the morning with Joe, so that the other one could sleep in for an extra 35-45 minutes. Those three things are how I survived. Honestly, while those were rough times, I did manage to avoid feeling like a total zombie MOST of the time, and I think it was all about just getting sleep when I could.

    Hang in there! You're not alone! I think this tends to be a really rough time for a lot of babies. While it may seem like it's just getting worse and worse, it's not really. Babies don't "learn to sleep" in a linear progression. They don't get better and better, or worse and worse. Rather, they tend to have good times and worse times. It's important to remember that, bc it's easy to beat yourself up and think you must have caused your baby to be a lousy sleeper.

    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  4. #4

    Default Re: sleep deprivation with my 12 month old frequent feeder...PLEASE HELP!!

    Thanks so much for ur responses, definitely helps to hear am not alone...

    We only have 2 and a bit teeth so far so think we have a lot of that teething joy still to come!!

    think DS is just waking....

    back again... I really appreciate both ur replies. I had been kinda hoping we might some real improement around the 1 year mark but looks like that's not happening. 'helpful' family members are concerned for us that if we don't do anything about his sleep before the clocks change and the days get longer then we'll be facing big problems and more waking and less sleep... also keep being told about other peoples success with controlled crying in a 'why don't you try it' sort of way!! plus have close family member who is a gp and i think is concerned for us that we are gonna end up with a child that doesn't sleep/ eat cos of all breastfeeding/ waking in the night.

    it is so hard to think clearly when u are a) exhausted and b) surrounded by so many people who babies shoudl sleep all night and BF through the night is unnecessary.

    on the up side had a very good chat with OH this evening about my fears/ concerns... i wish i had his confidence that things will sort themselves out. anyway at the very least I can see that if we wait a few more months before trying any degree of nigth weaning then hopefully DS will understand a bit more and we might be able to explain things a bit better to him... OH suggested wearing more accessible clothing so perhaps I won't be woken every time DS feeds... but will that just him encourage him to feed more and more??? (At moment DS needs to wake me to get at the boob!)

    hey ho... guess am gonna hang on in there for a little while longer... have to remember i love BF...all the cuddles and quiet time I get to share with my gorgeous boy! am definitely not ready to give it up yet!

    ps thanks for the tip about not blaming myself that he's a lousy sleeper... i know its good advice ..hard to believe tho!! and ...kate good luck hope the once a night thing lasts.... it sounds like heaven!
    Last edited by @llli*dollypot; February 22nd, 2011 at 05:13 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: sleep deprivation with my 12 month old frequent feeder...PLEASE HELP!!

    Hello, it's been a while since you posted this, just wondering if there has been any progress for you in the meantime. I am dealing with pretty much the same situation, I could have written your post...

  6. #6

    Default Re: sleep deprivation with my 12 month o

    Hi there, sorry it has taken me so long to reply to you... I haven't been on the forum in a while..

    Has there been any progress????? good question! We seems to take two steps forward and one step back.. DS is 19 months tomorrow and we are definitely going through some changes..since i wrote my original post the early evening waking re-started and then stopped again randomly during a holiday in june...
    in the last few weeks we have had quite a few nights when he has let me sing him to sleep after nursing rather than nurse him to sleep but it hasn't seemed to have much impact on night wakings... I guess with the singing he is still being parented back to sleep so he will still need me to help him go bacl to sleep in the night.

    in the last few days the singing hasn't worked and I am wondering whether he is bored/ fed-up of the song or whether he is just getting wise to it... i sing to him, tell hima couple of stories in the dark.. sing again and then he is just asking to nurse again... i guess it could be teething but who knows?!? (still only 7 teeth at 19 months and they have to come through at some time!)

    I am sure there has been progress since I originally wrote, when he's on good form night nursing is very quicj and since he's in our bed doesn't disturb me much but he is still waking probably 3 hours after going to sleep and ten about every 2 hours til morning....and sometimes wakes randomly at earlier time in the evening

    This eve I got really frustrated when I could see the singing wasn't working and asked OH to try and settle him but the protests from DS were swift and heart-wrenching, I sat for prob less than a couple of minutes with my head resting on the outside of the bedroom door and so it wasn't long at all before I was back in there nursing.... no idea where we are gonna go from here??

    It's not really the sleep that's the issue for me at the moment but more that I am thinking it would be nice to extend our family soon and am really not sure I want to Tandem feed..

    I'd also like to be able to go out in the evenings just every now and again and not have to be anxious that there is a little boy awake on his mattress distressed cos 'ma ma ma' (breastmilk)/ mummy isn't there when he needs it/ me!

    Anyway hows it all going with you, hope you have begun to see improvements and are less sleep deprived...
    all the best

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