View Full Version : Nursing to sleep?
09-23-2002, 04:43 PM
Sigh...more reassurance needed. My 4-month-old nurses to sleep, which I've never minded until now. Lately she has had tons of tummy troubles, and it's taking forever to get her down. Half the time she wakes up the instant she's out of my arms, and she nurses frequently during naps and during the night. I've made a conscious choice to feed on demand, and the whole CIO idea doesn't feel right to me, but does this mean we will never sleep again? I should mention that she was sleeping 5-6 hours until 3 months, but at this point I'm so tired I can't think. I'm questioning everything. Yet the idea of letting her just scream when I know she isn't feeling well (or even if she is, I guess) freaks me out. She cries all the time in her carseat and virtually never falls asleep, and it's just torture for me. But I'm so tired, and I feel like I've become a breast with legs.
Don't get me wrong-- I'm completely smitten and in love, just exhausted, too. Also, I'd love to attach Abby's photo, but can't get it to work. Ideas about that?
Thank you all, again.
09-23-2002, 05:46 PM
It sounds as if Abby's going through some changes right now. Perhaps she's teething early? If you've started on solids, maybe that's contributing to the tummy problems? You might want to talk to your ped about possible reasons for colic (there are SOO many) and possible solutions you could try. Beyond that, I'm afraid I can't be much help as I didn't take your approach to childcare.
09-23-2002, 07:37 PM
The only way I could get Sarah to sleep for the first 5 1/2 months was to nurse her to sleep. Then around 5 1/2 months, she started staying awake after the last feeding. I could then start to put her down awake and she would fall asleep on her own. I think that they need to reach a developmental milestone of some sort before they can do that. It wasn't until maybe 6 1/2 months or so that she was consistently going to sleep easily on her own. So I wouldn't worry about it yet. You're not doomed to being a "breast with legs" all your life, LOL! But it sounds like your baby is having some issue right now and needs her mommy.
But, in my opinion, once your baby starts showing the early signs of being ready to learn to fall asleep on her own, I would start letting her try. If you don't "train" them at that point, it seems to be much harder to start "training" them later. By "training", I don't mean CIO, I mean giving baby the opportunity to develop the skill of going to sleep. If Sarah cried, I picked her back up. If she just fussed, I let her be, and usually she fell asleep. After awhile, I could just lay her down and she would go to sleep. This took a few week, but by 6 1/2 - 7 months, she was consistently going to sleep on her own.
I am not a CIO kind of gal myself. In general, everthing reputable that I've read says that 4 months is WAY too early to think about sleep training anyway. The problem comes around 6 1/2 to 7 months. This is the developmental stage when babies learn to start using the cry as a demand for attention. Before that point, crying is your baby's way of saying they need something. At this point, if your baby hasn't learned to go to sleep on their own, you need to make a hard decision. I continued to go to her if she cried for more than a couple minutes. But I always gave her the opportunity of a few minutes to figure out if she could go to sleep on her own.
This method worked for me and a few other moms I know. If you can stand it, you could read someone like Weissbluth for just the parts about developing good sleeping habits and ignoring the sleep training parts. I really believe those are 2 different things. If you develop good sleep habits, then there is no need to sleep train. Weissbluth says that himself!
09-24-2002, 09:14 AM
Beth's advice is great (as usual!) but I just wanted to add that my daughter did exactly the same thing, she slept at least 6 hours every night until about 3 months and after that I had to nurse her every couple of hours at night. It came and went in stages. Part of it was growth spurts, part teething, part seperation anxiety. Now she just started sleeping pretty well again (at 9 mo....) and I too feed on demand and am averse to letting her scream, although I do try once in a while out of frusteration and exhaustion...but when she cries she just gets worked up and cries more. Every child's temperment is different. We try to keep her bedtimes as calm and regular as possible, make sure she gets sufficient naps, and she has a comfy cozy that she goes to sleep with that seems to help. I totally understand about being just so exhausted you can't function...it's hard....but worthwhile!
09-24-2002, 03:42 PM
Wow, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one with this issue. I actually just started looking around for info on this very subject as my 4-month-old stopped sleeping through the night at 3 months. In my case, I had to return part-time to work when DS was 3 months. He hates drinking from a bottle, so (although he seems to be happy enough at daycare) he is only drinking about 5-6 oz during the days I am at work. As a result, he wants to nurse constantly when we get home, and indeed wakes up 3-4 times every night. We started co-sleeping because it was too exhausting getting up so many times.
I contacted a lactation consultant who assured me that this was not only common, it actually has a name--reverse cycle nursing. She said co-sleeping is the best thing to do for mom's sanity, since you can nurse without fully waking. She also said that when DS starts solid food he will probably develop a more convenient schedule since he can eat more during the day, and would also be more full at night which would (in theory) help him sleep longer. However, she also said that he may be nursing more at night because he misses the closeness during the day, not because he is hungry.
I've resigned myself to being tired for a few more months! Luckily for me I only have to work 3 days/week, so I have 4 days to sleep late (and he is happy to sleep as late as I want, as long as he is beside me in bed!). My only regret is that there isn't a milk bank nearby since I pump way more every day than he eats. I've developed quite the stash of frozen milk!
09-28-2002, 03:07 PM
Just wanted to thank you all for your responses. We are still struggling greatly here, but I'm less panicked. Abby is teething and dealing with digestive stuff all at the same time, and it just wakes her up. She spends the night cuddled up next to me, nursing for most of it. I re-read the nighttime parenting section of the Sears book, and I also bought the No-Cry Sleep Solution. (A friend of mine says she's operating on the No-Sleep Cry Solution instead, LOL!) It's reassuring to read what they have to say.
That said, I find myself feeling just miserable and hopeless when it gets close to bedtime. It's hard to keep it in perspective when I'm so desperate for her to go to sleep. (On top of everything else, she has to have her 4-month shots on Monday, which I find barely survivable.)
I'm so grateful that she's such a happy baby, and that we get to have so many wonderful daytime hours together. This mommy stuff is hands-down the greatest thing I've ever done with my life, but it's also so HARD. I appreciate your support and encouragement.
Mommy to Abigail Rose
09-28-2002, 06:44 PM
All I can say is to hang in there - it DOES get better. I was just talking with dh today about how much easier my life is now that dd actually sleeps at night (she went to sleep at 10 last night and I woke up at 9 am - rushed into her room to see if she was ok, and found her laying there on her back, hands clasped, smiling at the ceiling, waiting patiently for her lazy mummy to feed her! lol). Anyway - it WILL get better. I suppose it has to, or who would have more kids?! haha.
About the photo - do you have a website that you're trying to link the photo from? I have a site (actually it's my dh's) and I've loaded dd's and others' pics onto the server (someone browsing dh's site wouldn't see it). If you're interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise I'm not a crazy person collecting baby photos! If you're not interested, I totally understand. Just thought I'd offer...
09-30-2002, 04:50 PM
Thanks, Sarah. I will definitely take you up on that as soon as I have a few free moments.
Mommy to Abigail Rose
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