Considering giving up breastfeeding due to sleep issues - need honest input

(184 Posts)
tinierclanger Fri 06-Sep-13 09:27:25

DD is 4 months old now and has never really slept well. Until a few weeks ago she occasionally slept 4 hours at the beginning of the night, but now the best she does is 3. She will then wake every 1 or 2 hours and want feeding back to sleep. We spend some of the night cosleeping but not all.

I have no problems feeding her, she is fed entirely on demand in the day and feeds about every 2 hours, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter. I don't want to stop but I am so drawn to the prospect of getting more sleep - some days I cope ok but others I am shattered and a horrible person to be around, affecting my relationship with DH and DS hmm

My fear though is that if I start FF she will wake just as often and then I will have bottles to deal with. In all honesty is this likely or is she more likely to sleep in proper stretches, rather than waking to nibble on me? Obviously the main incentive is that I could get DH to do one night a week and I could just sleep...

mrsmartin1984 Fri 06-Sep-13 09:49:14

Have you tried co sleeping?

FF babies don't sleep better

Hang in there. My ebf twins slept very badly at around four months. Now at 7 months, with no other changes, they are waking only twice in the night for a v quick feed and sleeping pretty solidly 7-6. DTD did have a phase of waking every 1.5 hrs for weeks! Solids didn't help, I don't think formula would have helped. I think it was just time that was needed.

I worked on helping them settle without feeding - very very gently. So patting in cot to see if they will resettle. Rocking/cuddling etc. but if it didnt work quickly then I just fed them. Now they stir/wake but can get themselves back to sleep.

I would say that four months is a particularly rough time for bf babies. At nearly-four-months DS2 would sleep for eight- to ten-hour stretch at night. Then he hit 4m with the developmental leaps, and it went to 90mins sad angry He didn't sleep through again for eighteen months.

Co-sleeping was the only thing that kept me sane during that time. Yes, I was woken frequently but I didn't have to stay awake, and I got a mega dose of oxytocin (?) to send me off again.

FF is only a magic bullet if it means someone else takes responsibility for the night wakings. If you still had as many wakings and had to do bottles (in which case cartons at room temperature are the way forward) but some nights it was DH's job and you were in the spare room with ear plugs and a mask...

tinierclanger Fri 06-Sep-13 10:05:29

Free, thanks, that's encouraging. Most times she wakes I do try and cuddle her before feeding but if she persists (and she always does) I feed. She won't self settle at the beginning of the night and usually feeds off to sleep.

I am co sleeping most of the night - sometimes she goes back into the sidecar crib but a lot of the night she is in with me. It means I can't sleep in a comfortable position for me though.

I think she really wants to sleep on her side and would probably sleep more soundly but I don't feel safe to leave her that way hmm

tinierclanger Fri 06-Sep-13 10:07:19

If I FF though I could get at least one night a week sleeping better but is it worth it? I don't know. I'm too tired to make balanced decisions.

tinierclanger Fri 06-Sep-13 10:10:53

Horry, I don't even have the positive outlook that she slept well before this age! If I did I might be more hopeful.

Bambamb Fri 06-Sep-13 10:13:24

Could your DP try cuddling her back to sleep instead of you once in the night? I was never able to settle DS back to sleep without feeding him because he knew I had milk. So DP took one waking a night and had great success. Only do this if you're confident they don't actually need a feed of course, but it worked really well for us.
Once over 6 months he would sometimes offer water in the night rather than me feeding and by 10 months he was sleeping right through.
And DS in the early days was an AWFUL sleeper!

Bambamb Fri 06-Sep-13 10:16:30

Oh and from a friend who switched to FF for sleep reasons- she says it didn't help her DS sleep at all. Think that can be a bit of a myth to be honest, depends on the baby. I totally feel your pain though, sleep deprivation is torture, but in the long run I believe BF is easier.

tinierclanger Fri 06-Sep-13 10:31:18

Bambamb, we will try that but I don't think it will work until she has moved out of our room. At the moment she won't even take a bottle of EBM if I'm in the same room!

CrackersandCheese Fri 06-Sep-13 10:32:55

4 month sleep regression? Very common wink
Hang in there

tinierclanger Fri 06-Sep-13 10:38:00

Yes, but it ISN'T a regression as she has never slept well.

Samsean Fri 06-Sep-13 10:41:35

How is your LO during the day?

How long does she feed for, and how many times in 24 hours?

tinierclanger Fri 06-Sep-13 10:51:08

She's happy in the day in general. She won't nap except in baby carrier, arms or sometimes in pram after a bit of protest. Sometimes I can transfer her to basket and she will carry on sleeping. Sometimes not.

She is chewing everything and dribbling. (Actually she's a bit grumpy today!). She's just started rolling.

Feeds probably around 6-8 times in the day, sometimes just for a minute or 2, other times 5-10 mins. But I have a very fast let down and I'm confident she's feeding well.

peggyundercrackers Fri 06-Sep-13 10:53:16

i gave up bf my dd about that age, she went from being hungry and crying all the time to being happy and she started to sleep better. i havent regretted giving up bfing one bit. once she started sleeping a bit better we woke her at 23:00 for her last feed and she then slept through to 7-7:30 in the morning - made a massive difference for us.

I also think you need to do what is right for you, dont let anyone force you into feeling if you give up BFing its the wrong thing to do and your a failure - you will definitely not be a failure nor will baby be any worse off for it.

Bambamb Fri 06-Sep-13 11:07:18

Hmm yes you're right about being in the same room. We moved DS out at 5.5 months for this very reason and that's when DH started going to him in the night instead of me. It really was the beginning of things getting better for us. The first few months were really really tough but I just wanted to breastfeed so badly I didn't want to mess it up by giving formula.

I agree with the above that if you really want to give formula then just do so, you could probably mix feed pretty successfully now your supply is reliable. I'd just caution against hoping for it to be a magic fix as it may not be and you may then regret it. I suppose it depends on how long you were planning to BF for in the first place? I wanted to do it long term (ended up just over 2 years) but I reckon most of the benefits health wise are concentrated in the first few months which you have already more than achieved. X

Okay. So, being logical about this, the maximum amount of time she is feeding is 8 times 10 minutes, which is 1 hour and 20 minutes.

That gives you 22 hours and 40 minutes of sleep if you want it.

It is sleep regression if she's gone from 3-4h to 1-2h.

I think if you're only going to get one night off a week then the additional hassle of ff wouldn't be outweighed by the benefits of that night off.

What you need is protected sleep at other times - DH could take her out for a couple of hours on a Saturday so you can get a guaranteed lump of sleep, for example.

tinierclanger Fri 06-Sep-13 11:44:03

I don't really want to stop. I fed DS a long time and I want to do the same again. I will steel myself to carry on a week at a time I think. I think I may try asking DH to get up with both of them and a bottle of EBM on Saturday and have a lie in.

I think it's a bit disingenuous to say I could be sleeping for 22 hours. Disturbed sleep isn't the same as blocks of proper sleep and some of the time she is on me, and I have LIFE to get on with as well with DS.

Maybe it's just been a really bad couple of nights getting me down. I'll carry on for now!

If you cosleep you can feed without being woken some of the time, or at least not waking properly.

What in your LIFE is more important than sleep?

Perhaps lots of things. I am no judge. But me, I'd be sleeping.

stowsettler Fri 06-Sep-13 12:05:38

Interesting. So, Starlight, I think you're implying that 4-month old babies only feed and sleep.

I wish someone had told DD.

OP, I am no bf expert as I lasted a grand total of 4 weeks thanks to multiple problems. However if sleep had been the only problem I wouldn't have stopped - that said, DD has always been a good sleeper so I don't think I've experienced your pain. My (not very original) suggestions would be to try and express enough for your DP to give at least one feed as you suggest, so you can get a lie-in. Or, would you consider mixed feeding?

I'm not implying that. I am assuming that there is another adult in the home in the evenings and during the night however. When he/she gets in, go to bed then, and have the baby brought to you just for feeds and then taken away again afterwards. between 6 pm and 8pm there are 10 hours. Somewhere in amongst all that you'll be able to get a good 8 hours if not more, certainly not much less.

tinierclanger Fri 06-Sep-13 12:11:48

In LIFE - awake time with baby, which is hours between sleeping and feeding. Eating for myself, cooking food for DS, taking him to and from school, playing with him. Even if I opt out of anything remotely optional there's still all that.

With all due respect on cosleeping, I have said several times on this thread I AM cosleeping some of the time. It's a bit better than it would otherwise be but it is not a magic bullet for rest for me. Maybe it is for some people?

sherbetpips Fri 06-Sep-13 12:16:24

it would be a shame to give up but as you are feeding on demand is baby still taking as much milk or are you being used for comfort? If so you could consider the evil dummy (I personnally found it a god send) at times when baby just wants comfort rather than food.

HaroldLloyd Fri 06-Sep-13 12:17:01

Starlight that's not terribly helpful. I have 2 children a baby and a toddler and I get no time at all to sleep in the day.

You might be able to with your set up but not everyone is the same.

Cosleeping works much better if you do it all the time. You kind of get 'good at it' with practice and you and your baby are more in tune with each other and used to it without it being a bit of a disruptive novelty or exciting/worrying.

Look I'm not saying it is easy, but just advising that you lower your expectations of your LIFE for a temporary period. Sleep whenever there is another adult in the house. Other adult can presumably make dinner, play with ds etc. Carpets really don't need hovering more than once a week and again, other adult can do it.

I think you are making things far too difficult for yourself.

The OP doesn't have two children, a baby and a toddler.

Rooners Fri 06-Sep-13 12:20:13

I don't know if FF is something that makes babies sleep better or for longer, I have never done it.

Fwiw at 4mo I wouldn't be expecting any sleep, or encouraging any separation from me, or trying to teach a baby anything, like how to self settle or any of that. I'd fully expect the baby to be in the phase of wanting to be as near to my boobs as possible 24/7.

Mine is 8mo, still breastfed, and he's brilliant at night, basically he sleeps on my double bed with me, I feed him maybe once or twice in the night, he settles back to sleep straight away, normally.

Occasionally towards morning we'll have some faffing about and cluster feeding but it's just so easy. Often I'm a bit tired but not having to get out of bed or get upright in the night is a massive, massive thing - when I have tried any other way apart from total co sleeping, I've found myself completely knackered very quickly.

I genuinely think that having the child beside you is the best way to do it, and the easiest. You do need enough room though and I'm lucky enough to be on my own with the children so I haven't got to consider a great hulking bloke smile

Rooners Fri 06-Sep-13 12:23:08


I do not do housework during the day, unless ds1 is here so he can help entertain the baby while I do it.

This is where we fall down - the house looks like it's been ransacked. But nights are GREAT grin

HaroldLloyd Fri 06-Sep-13 12:24:06

I feed DS in the crook of my arm lying down and he goes off to sleep like that and as I'm lying down I drift off easier too, how are you feeding OP?

Rooners Fri 06-Sep-13 12:25:45

What I'm trying to say is if someone threatened to make me FF from this moment i would be utterly terrified at the hard work that would involve. I would be terrified that we'd run out of bottles every single day in the same way we run out of plates.

I'd be terrified of having nothing with me when we went out somewhere, and the baby wanting to try a feed and then not really wanting it and so having wasted the milk we had brought with us...and of running out of formula, or getting the wrong sort that he didn't like...or of heating it wrong...or of him having a less comfy digestive system as he adjusted to it, or getting more infections etc...

I need my boobs, they are my built in home help. Next best thing to another actual adult!

NothingsLeft Fri 06-Sep-13 12:29:10

4 months is a horrible sleep time, so I feel for you.

Have you tried using your DH as a night nurse? At least once a week, I would sleep with ear plugs in another room and DH would bring DS in for a feed if he was unable to settle him. Still woken up briefly but I found it much easier to go back off. Might be worth a try.

To get more sleep when BFing at night, I would sleep with ear plugs in another room and DH would bring in DS for a feed if he could settle him any

tinierclanger Fri 06-Sep-13 12:38:48

I have SAID I am going to try and carry on! smile Yes I don't want all the fuss of FF. I am just 40+ and feeling old and tired. Thanks to all for helpful input. I knew this second baby would be hard so I just have to soldier on.

Honestly I am barely trying to do housework above the minimum but cooking and washing just has to be done. I can't have DH ferrying a baby to and from me all night as he has to sleep properly as he is driving to and from work and I don't want to him to be a danger on the roads. Perhaps he can do that once at the weekend though.

Seriously, thanks for all the input.

AnneUulmelmahay Fri 06-Sep-13 12:48:08

Plough on my dear, I remember the utter hell of sleep deprivation, grim.

My only suggestion would be for DH to do the fetching the baby to feed/night changes on those nights where he has no work the next day.

And yes, you are absolutely right, ff does not guarantee a sleeper.

I am giving you a manly punch to the shoulder.

HaroldLloyd Fri 06-Sep-13 12:50:08

Hopefully solids may help then you only have a couple more months to endure!

DS is a little better after solids.

NothingsLeft Fri 06-Sep-13 13:01:38

We did it at weekends too smile

tinierclanger Fri 06-Sep-13 13:10:00

Feeding lying down yes. Quite small boobs so can be fiddly but its more that my body wants to roll over etc after to sleep and i cant. Tried dummy but she won't take it.

My DH takes both babies when they wake up at 6, then I get an extra hour with no babies. Bliss! Could your husband do that at least a couple of mornings? not so exhausting for him - he can go to bed early if early mornings are an issue.

Weekends, we tag team naps and babies during the day - but we don't have an older one. That must be hard!

Co-sleeping is helpful although I did find it was useful to try to re-settle in the cot before 3am so that I get some decent sleep.

Rooners Fri 06-Sep-13 14:03:32

Sorry I didn't mean to say the wrong thing...just trying to help.

tinierclanger Fri 06-Sep-13 14:18:53

Sorry Rooners wasn't aimed at anyone! I genuinely appreciate everything everyone has said smile

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Fri 06-Sep-13 14:22:31

FF absolutely helped my babies sleep better. Which is not to say it will work for yours.

TheSecondComing Fri 06-Sep-13 14:23:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Although ff babies on average sleep better than bf babies, I thought the most recent research shows that bf mothers sleep better than ff mothers.

This thread is about the mother's sleep, not the baby's directly.

minipie Fri 06-Sep-13 14:46:39

Hmm, some unhelpfully bf militant interesting replies on this thread. I can't sleep at all co sleeping, dd wriggles too much.

Clanger, if your dd has got into a feed-to-sleep habit, then switching to ff won't help, she will just want a bottle each time instead and that is harder work as you know. (though agree DH could then do a night).

How about trying to introduce one bottle per day? expressed or formula as you prefer. DH did one bottle feed, usually late evening after work, and that helped me loads as I could get a solid 4 hours by going to be early. it doesn't have to be all ff or all bf.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Fri 06-Sep-13 14:50:33

Sorry, was in a hurry, I should elaborate! I ebf both of mine and their sleep was horrendous. I did co-sleep out of necessity but found it the least restful thing ever. Hated it. Anyway, I started supplementing with formula at 16 weeks (dd1) and 14 weeks (dd2) and it was a bloody revelation. After a ff they SLEPT. Properly. And as for ff being a faff, well, a little bit perhaps, but since you only have to do it every 4 hours or so it really isn't a big deal.

I also don't know any ff babies who are truly awful sleepers. I know the research says there isn't much difference, but that's so far from my own experience I don't know what to think.

But on the other hand, mix feeding definitely affected my supply, plus my two both preferred bottles so self weaned earlier than I would have liked.

NaturalBaby Fri 06-Sep-13 14:55:34

DS1 was like this, he would pretty much only sleep in my arms or in our bed and got much worse at 4months. I weaned early, pushed a night time routine and eventually at 6 months did sleep training - I was at my wits end but it worked. I made sure I had an afternoon sleep when he did every day. He was ebf till 7months. Sorry that's not very helpful!

FaddyPeony Fri 06-Sep-13 15:01:19

Oh OP I really feel for you, 4 months is a shitty shitty time and every mother I know of who breastfed/feed was seriously hating it by that time, me included. And all the ff babies I knew were sleeping soundly.

I would cautiously say that I wouldn't make any all-or-nothing decisions right now - it would be very painful on your boobs for one! If I ever have DC2 and it's the same deal as DC1, at four months I'd probably be up for a late evening formula feed (cartons all the way). But would keep breastfeeding for the subsequent wake-ups though because I think I'd sleep better after waking to breastfeed than waking to make up a bottle.

DD was the worst sleeper I knew until about 6 months. She magically became good after that - still fed up to 2/3 times a night but it was efficient and we both slept well after the feeds.

Also I put her in her own room at 19 weeks. I know, I know, but it helped instantaneously.

Flatasawitchestit Fri 06-Sep-13 15:01:43

If someone has switched from bf to ff and baby suddenly sleeps better its a total coincidence.

I'm not dissing anyon who ff, but there are risks to FF, because a baby has to work really really hard to break down formula as the gut is designed for human milk it means the baby uses more energy, thus putting it into a deep sleep. This is why SIDS is a risk factor of FF. Ive known parents give baby (ie try as hard as possible) to get baby to take 1-2oz more so they can sleep through and get more sleep themselves.

I will try and link some good articles on this. Keep going OP its tough, but we all get there. Som babies aren't good sleepers, my 11 month old has slept more than 4 hours on the trot less than 10 times. I feel your pain.

Will pop links up.

Flatasawitchestit Fri 06-Sep-13 15:05:00
FruitSaladIsNotPudding Fri 06-Sep-13 15:10:27

It wasn't a coincidence for us. No force feeding either.

tinierclanger Fri 06-Sep-13 15:42:01

Incidentally I am no stranger to poorly sleeping babies as DS was similar. I thought I was owed an easier sleep ride this time but it would seem not!

Anecdotally all the FF babies I know have been better sleepers but I am trying to not be too much influenced by that. I'm going to go with my plan as above for now and possibly consider a single late evening FF as a first step if I'm still struggling in a couple of weeks.

All the sympathy is helping anyway grin

FaddyPeony Fri 06-Sep-13 16:56:56

If it helps OP, dd is a dream sleeper now. She was down to about 1 feed in the early morning by about 11 months and tbh if I'd worked harder at it I probably could have nightweaned her before, I was just too lazy.

She's slept through every single night since she was 13months. And I kind of think that the night feeds helped in a weird way...because she was used to waking and going back to sleep quickly (quick feed, lie back down in cot with waves music from her mobile playing), it was really easy to transition her out of needing a feed at all it if that makes any sense.

That reminds me. WHITE NOISE! If you don't have any yet white noise is your friend. We got the Precious Planet Fisher Price mobile when DD was 4 months and it's the only sleep-aid gimmick we ever bought that was

P.S. Get a cleaner if you can afford it at all. do it do it!

Rooners Fri 06-Sep-13 17:00:12

Well you have convinced me Flat, ds has sleep apnoea and keeps stopping in the night - I wake when I can't hear him breathing and give him a shake and he still doesn't wake up, I have to blow in his face to make him start breathing again.

If FF makes them sleep deeper then I shan't even consider it! already a nervous wreck

tinierclanger Fri 06-Sep-13 18:11:02

It does help, it does!

We used white noise from the beginning. Really didn't seem to make any difference so I gave up on it a couple of weeks ago but I could try again...

YouMaySayImADreamer Fri 06-Sep-13 21:04:55

OP i really feel for you and know exactly where youre coming from. I have been completely exhausted and emotional at times from the exhaustion of ebf and the broken sleep it brings. My DS is a terrible napper and sleeper at night. He did gradually improve though so that around 4 months he was just waking for a feed at 4 or sometimes between 12 and 2 as well, although he is not predictable and does have some awful nights still of wanting to feed a lot more. He has just at 7 months started to get a bit better at napping though and has started to have a morning nap.

If im honest, i think it is the bf which makes him like he is/was, because when i have left him a few times with expressed bottles, he ALWAYS sleeps better and longer. I think it is the volume which sees him through. Also, we have this week introduced a bottle of formula during the day ahead of me returning to work and both times he fell asleep straight away into a deep sleep and didnt wake up for at least an hour. I was even scared at first because i had never seen him sleep that deeply.

Every single ff baby i know bar the odd couple, sleep through from around 8 weeks or earlier, take naps, and are generally sleepier. They have sleep patterns i can only dream of. People try to tell me that its not to do with bf or ff, but this is not my experience.

The only thing i can say is that i decided a while back just to accept that i am always going to be tired, and when i accepted this and as time has gone on and ive realised how quickly the months pass over, ive become less frustrated. Also though i think that gradually their sleep does start to improve, although in my experience it takes a fair few months, and probably way longer than any ff babies you might know.

HaroldLloyd Fri 06-Sep-13 23:04:04

A few people tell me tranquil turtles work.

Ds1 was ff and DS2 breast fed. DS1 was a better sleeper, but not by a huge margin. I find BFing at night and in the early morning so much easier than having to get up though that it almost balances out.

SubliminalMassaging Sat 07-Sep-13 06:51:08

Based on my own personal experiences and all the other stuff I have heard anecdotally and through friends etc, I have come to the conclusion that the vast majority of FF babies sleep through the night better and quicker than the vast majority of BF babies.

I know it's not what anti-FF women want to hear, but there it is.

I'm not touting it as a reason not a reason not to BF - I think BFing is wonderful if it works for you. But your baby won't be as good a sleeper as most FF babies. It just won't. In all likelihood. You pays your money you takes your choice.

GiraffesAndButterflies Sat 07-Sep-13 07:06:54

Have to confess that the ff babies I know are better than my bf dd. am convinced this wouldn't work for her though as it's gas that wakes her so I think ff would be worse.

OP have you tried changing other things? Try and get your DD to nap more during the day, move the last nap earlier or later, move bedtime earlier or later, that kind of thing. Unless you have the perfect daytime routine (in which case envy) I'd be trying different things there to see if there's a difference. Try taking her swimming, 10 mins in a pool gets my DD her longest stretch of sleep!

ZingWantsCake Sat 07-Sep-13 07:21:00

have you ruled out tongue tie yet?

how is her weight gain?

ZingWantsCake Sat 07-Sep-13 07:27:48

also if that helps mine always preferred to sleep on their sides and as soon as they could roll or crawl they would sleep on their tummies or in the hedgehog position.

I know the guidelines say put babies on their backs, but the recovery position is nearer to the fetal position and they were less likely to wake themselves up.

I also used to bf in bed, lying down on my side so baby had to be lying on his/her side - we'd fell asleep and they were safe.

christinarossetti Sat 07-Sep-13 07:34:36

I ebf both of my children and in different ways they were poor sleepers.

My friend mixed fed from early on and hers both slept for longer periods and more regularly than mine.

She seemed a lot happier than me that's for sure. Esp second time around.

CaptainUndercrackers Sat 07-Sep-13 07:49:34

Both mine have been good sleepers. DS1 had a dream feed of EBM from very early on. DS2 had a dream feed of formula from 3 weeks and now his pre-bedtime feed is formula (6 months old, sleeps 7.30 - 7). He is otherwise breastfed. However, both of mine fed lots in the day. DS2 currently feeds anywhere from 7-9 times, and just a couple of weeks ago was feeding around 10 times in the day. DS1 was the same.

Why not try a dream feed and see how it goes? It's one bottle a day so not lots of work. And your supply should be well established so if it doesn't help you can go back to BF exclusively quite easily.

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 07:49:45

"Although ff babies on average sleep better than bf babies, I thought the most recent research shows that bf mothers sleep better than ff mothers"

Huh? How are mums supposed to sleep better when babies sleep worse? hmm

SunnyIntervals Sat 07-Sep-13 07:52:30

Cote, because length and quality of sleep are not completely synonymous. If you look at the Isis independent sleep research website - a Durham Uni project, you will see that ebf mothers have better quality of sleep presumably as they don't rouse as fully as the ff mothers to feed.

SunnyIntervals Sat 07-Sep-13 07:53:08

Isis project says adding formula will not improve sleep iirc

feetheart Sat 07-Sep-13 07:58:18

I haven't read any posts so may be repeating things but both DD and DS were exclusively bf - DD slept through from around 13/14 weeks, DS was about 13/14 MONTHS!
Everything that 'is supposed to make them sleep better' - weaning, crawling, 1 meal a day, 2 meals a day, 3 meals a day, walking (he did that at 10 mths), dropping naps, etc DID NOT WORK - he slept through when he was ready!

If it is any consolation he is now 7, is a brilliant sleeper and has been for years.

SunnyIntervals Sat 07-Sep-13 07:58:59

Tinier just wanted to send you some thanks and say you are doing a great job - what is going on at the moment is probably a combination of a growth spurt and the 4 month sleep regression and will pass in time leading to longer stretches of sleep for you.

Cosleeping will probably start to help you get more sleep in a few weeks - I coslept and once DS got to about 6 months I barely woke up when he fed at night.

feetheart Sat 07-Sep-13 07:59:23

We also added a bottle of formula at night at about 8 mths - bugger all effect hmm

Rooners Sat 07-Sep-13 07:59:53

I'm trying to work this out.

Say ds (bf) wakes twice in the night for a feed, (between about 9-10pm and 7am) and I feed him without getting up, or even properly waking up, I'm getting an awful lot of sleep.

If a ff baby sleeps right through from 10pm till 7am, their mum is getting more! However if it wakes once, maybe twice like mine, and they are obliged to get up properly and go to the kitchen for a bottle, warm it up, etc (while holding the baby) I think if that was me I'd probably be rocking in a corner within a week.

Keeping bottles by the bed - not so bad, you could still roll over and feed without getting upright.

<on the fence>

aliciagardner Sat 07-Sep-13 08:00:32

I faced this issue really recently. I can tell you my experience, hope it will be encouraging....

DS went from sleeping blocks of 4 hours (consistently 2 or 3 night wakings) to 4, 5 or 6 night wakings just as he reached 15 weeks. He had always fed to sleep. He would go to sleep okay most of the time, but on the transfer to cot he would wake up often and would not resettle, this meant a lot of re- feeding back to sleep and trying to transfer to cot once again, could take about 15/ 20 mins to do this and I could be doing this 3 or 4 times on the worst nights each and every waking. Feeding to sleep was the only thing that worked. I wasn't getting much sleep!

We co slept for a little while but I never slept well with him in the bed and my DH had to sleep in the spare room, which wasn't great - felt more like DH and I were flat mates than husband and wife! I much prefer DS in the cot at the end of our bed.

I did some reading up and discovered the 4 month sleep regression, which I think was part of the issue DS had. I gritted my teeth and got through that (took 2 weeks, we co slept with DH in the spare room, fed to sleep. Then DS returned to waking 3 times a night). After that, I decided it was time to try to break the association between feeding and sleep, so we used the pick up/ put down method with DH being the picker upper/ putter downer so there was no milk in the room(!). We already had a consistent bedtime routine in place (nothing elaborate, just calm change of nappy, into sleep suit, upstairs to darkened room, no noise, no talking, calming atmosphere, etc.). We also make sure that bedtime is between 6 and 7 pm, any later and DS is overtired and its awful. Also, no napping after 5pm and try to make sure DS has 3 naps throughout the day. Not long ones, just 45 mins (ish) around 10am, 1pm, 4pm. We have the jokey saying here that 'sleep breeds sleep' which is totally counterintuitive but true IMHO.

It's still early days for us with pick up put down, and there has been a little crying, but DH is there cuddling DS, so I'm confident he never feels abandoned and we are teaching him how to settle himself, which is an important lifeskill. I now feed DS, put him in his cot, he then wakes up and cries and DH takes over with pick up put down. It went from 1 hour to fully settle the first night to 15 mins last night - we're on our 5th day of pick up put down. Since we started doing this he has woken once each night, so sleeping from 7pm to around 6am with only 1 waking. Nighttime settling for the last 2 nights has been immediate! He's put down awake, gurgles to himself for a few mins then drifts off, incredible. So I am feeling a lot, lot more rested. It could just be a fluke, but it feels like pick up put down has been a positive experience and unlinking feeding from sleeping was definitely the right thing to do for us.

Hope that's helpful and give you some hope. It does sound like 4 month sleep regression to me (even though it was never that great to start with for you!). Hope you can get some sleep, maybe your DH could take the DCs out for a few hours this weekend both days so you can rest. Agree that it's not possible to just sleep in the time that DC is not feeding - at 4 months babies don't just feed and sleep, they are awake, active and exploring the world for good 2 hour blocks throughout the day and naps are less than 1 hour in my experience (both children did this, maybe starlight had a more sleepy baby?).

Rooners Sat 07-Sep-13 08:02:35

I rather believe it is the co sleeping in fact that makes people sleep better.

As an aside I have found our cot is pretty useless. I put him in it while I got ready for bed last night, he was asleep. Great I thought. (it is beside my bed and has never been slept in least of all at night)

He woke up shortly after and I couldn't reach him, he was so far down!! It was hard work to get him out, I had to almost stand up to do it.

It is on the low setting as he is trying to fall out on the high setting and we use it as a containing device in the day.

Anyone want a Blooming Urban Crib?

ipswichwitch Sat 07-Sep-13 08:05:19

Cosleeping all night was the only thing that helped here. Yes I was waking every 2 hours to feed DS but at least I didn't have to get up!
He is nearly 2 an unfortunately still a crappy sleeper - introducing solids made sod all difference, and trying a bedtime bottle jut made him even more redluxy than ever. Sorry, I don't mean to sound all doom and gloom but I believe you are either blessed with a good sleeper or not, and since me and DH are both rubbish it stands to reason that DS is too.

Rooners Sat 07-Sep-13 08:06:55

'we are teaching him how to settle himself, which is an important lifeskill.'

I hope you don't mind my saying that I find babies usually learn to settle to sleep all by themselves when they are ready. I'm an advocate of going with what the child is ready for at any given time (unless it's urgent/important that they fit in with us, for instance medical needs of parent etc) so I would say that smile

I don't think children need an awful lot of training as such, and find it easier to fit around them tbh. #babyledsleeping

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 08:07:10

"Quality of sleep" grin

Where is the quality of sleep when your baby keeps waking up every hour and wails for another 30 mins before going back to sleep? Or when the mum can't go back to sleep easily once she wakes up?

"They don't rouse fully"? You can't generalise sleep patterns over billions of women! Everyone sleeps differently and wakes up differently. When I wake up, I'm awake and can't go back to sleep. There is no "rousing" for me but "fully". Congratulations if you can BF half awake and then drop off to sleep in a second but many of us are not like you.

KatAndKit Sat 07-Sep-13 08:08:11

You have my sympathy, my DS is a rubbish sleeper. You don't need to be all or nothing about breastfeeding. It wont hurt for your baby to have a bottle or two one or two nights a week. Whilst you sleep in a different room of course! Bottles are great if someone else is doing them for you! Even just one bottle feed in the night could get you a decent sleep. From about three or four months i think DS had a couple of cartons a week and a couple of bottles of expressed milk. I would have suffered badly with depression otherwise as i don't do well with extreme sleep deprivation. Still managed to breastfeed fir 14 months and i don't think the odd formula feed will harm your supply once bf is established well

PaleHousewifeOfCumbriaCounty Sat 07-Sep-13 08:09:54

I weaned my son from BF at six months, and formula made sod all difference. I really did have an easier time when breastfeeding, because although i was waking three to four times to feed him, that blast of hormones sent me straight back to sleep. I never slept completely deeply, we coslept the level of being 'in-tune' with him was astounding.

That said, the four month mark is crap for ALL babies. Regardless of feeding. You are doing immense.

Rooners Sat 07-Sep-13 08:09:56

I do think though Cote that there is a requirement to wake more fully when you are physically upright. It is to stop you falling over I suppose. Lying down with a baby beside you doesn't require such a shift in your cognition, well, I am saying this without medical knowledge but it is how it feels to me.

I might be awake in bed or I might be dozing, but if I have to get myself onto my feet, I am awake on a very different level. iyswim

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 08:12:32

"babies usually learn to settle to sleep all by themselves when they are ready"

It is a process you can help, with results you can encourage.

Cote there's also the hormonal response - bf makes you drowsy.

tinierclanger Sat 07-Sep-13 08:14:54

Crikey a load more responses overnight! No tongue tie, weight gain fine. She does like to feed quite frequently in the day but I think that's just the way she is. Possibly triggered by all the hot weather this summer getting her in that pattern.

Last night was "better" in that I feel more rested so calmer. She slept from around 9-12, then another 2.5 hour block, all in the crib, then was fidgety and waking frequently after about 3 so we coslept the rest but I didn't get up till she woke some time after 7.

On the down side DH tried to do bedtime with a bottle of EBM and she just wouldn't have it so I had to take over. We've agreed to try feeding her before her bath and he will try and settle her for bed without milk tonight.

Can't seem to do bedtime any earlier than 8 with a view for settling down at 9. If we do it earlier she just wakes up after 30 mins or so repeatedly until 9.

Naps - around every couple of hours, vary in length, mostly taken in sling (ie rocked to sleep) although sometimes fed to sleep. So will usually nap to and from school and sometime in between, with a mini nap around 6 to see her through to bedtime.

Hearing all your experiences is helping.

Fairylea Sat 07-Sep-13 08:17:44

My own experience is that switching to formula did help my dd to sleep a lot better. She went from going every 2 hours at night to 5 hours almost immediately and then from about a week later she began sleeping 7-7 most nights (this was from about 8 weeks). However, this could be purely coincidental. I have no idea but personally I did feel the formula satisfied her for longer (and I hated breastfeeding too.... another thread!)

When I had ds I formula fed from birth. One of the main advantages of formula feeding is that a partner or relative can help with feeds easily (yes people express with breastfeeding but it's not as simple as just feeding a bottle of formula) so that enabled me to get a lot more sleep in general than if I had been breastfeeding.

Rooners Sat 07-Sep-13 08:26:51

I think the nights being disturbed don't bother me since I realised (about 10 years ago) that it passes, that it is natural and usual.

What does bother me is

1. if the child is hurting, or upset - so if he is clearly in pain from his teeth or something, I will be bothered by that (and use calpol if necessary)

2. If the child is sick - so, if it has a temperature, I will not sleep and will be shattered by that, or if one of them is throwing up, I'll be on alert and won't sleep and I'll be shattered. Those are the things I dread.

Just not sleeping in a baby sort of way is nothing compared to those experiences! I am grateful whenever there is nothing actually 'wrong', iyswim - it puts it into perspective, for me.

adagio Sat 07-Sep-13 08:28:03

Mine is 8m now. She was hard work for the first 6 months - every couple of hours every night and day - totally relentless.

I learnt that when doing a co sleep stint a cushion shoved in the small of my back helped me 'balance' at a better angle to get the boob in the right place for her without having to maintain a semi-sit up, so I could doze more.

At 7 and a bit months - after a month of official weaning (I actually started a bit earlier with rusks/odds n sods, on the basis if she gets it to her mouth herself she can eat it). When I believed there was enough real food actually going in she should go longer in the night, I did a couple of rough nights (as in noisy) where I refused boob from 11-7 - just cuddle until the crying reduced to a whimper or subsided entirely and put back down. It went surprisingly well, and she now doesn't expect boob in the night.

Sometimes she sleeps through, sometimes not, but no milk rule is now from 8-6 and in practice I tend to get her down by 7.30, some cuddle/put down overnight, and boob again at 6.30am (co sleep the first feed too giving me an extra half hour or so of doze).

My understanding (from prev MN posters) is 'old' formula like our Mum's used used a different bit of milk - one is casein one is whey from memory. The old one was slower to digest and sat in the tummy longer hence better for sleeping through, the new stuff is much more similar in digestibility to BM which is why popular wisdom (well MN) says it won't make a difference.

Good luck with whatever you decide flowers

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 08:29:17

"I do think though Cote that there is a requirement to wake more fully when you are physically upright. It is to stop you falling over I suppose"

Wrong. You wake more fully when you start thinking, reasoning, and talking - i.e. when your conscious brain starts working again. Going back to sleep after a quick pee is much easier than after you answer a question about your plans for the day after from your DH which mine has learned never ever to do for example

Rooners Sat 07-Sep-13 08:35:03

You could have a point smile

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 08:41:06

Thank you thanks

justnapping Sat 07-Sep-13 08:46:18

I had a baby just like yours and at 4 months I introduced a formula bottle just before bed... And it didn't make a difference to his sleeping. I thought formula was going to be the answer to him sleeping better but it wasn't...some babies just aren't great sleepers!! But there is no right or wrong answer, good luck whatever you decide to do.

aliciagardner Sat 07-Sep-13 09:08:05

Rooners - I honestly do think its important to help babies learn to sleep, and that this is a lifeskill.. I'm not talking about controlled crying, just dissociating feeding from sleeping. I agree with Cote, it can be helped along (we did this with DS1 and now DS2). If you're happy to feed to sleep till DC works out self settling themself, great (that sounds sarcastic, honestly not intending to be!). For me, I wanted to move this process along a bit by gently helping DC to learn and allow us all more sleep that wasn't 100% dependent on me being there to initiate. Aside from the fact that it took ages to settle him and 3 or 4 repeats of feeding then transferring to cot each time, I am going back to work in a few months so think its fairer to help DC learn now and not get a big shock when I'm suddenly not there I the day. I know this is an emotive topic so we all should do what we feel is best, I'm certainly not saying my way is for everyone.

Rooners Sat 07-Sep-13 09:10:53

Quite right Alicia - I only wanted to counter your point I think, just for my own peace of mind, so people reading this thread can see there are two schools of thought on the 'training/encouraging' thing, iyswim?

Hope that makes sense, and I do understand why you felt that way was best for you. flowers

bigkidsdidit Sat 07-Sep-13 09:16:45

I've bf one and ff one and ff one is much better. I think for us it is because I was feeding DS1 back to sleep every 45/60 minutes thought out the night - no long sleeps for us. This time if DS2 wakes an hour after a bottle I'm not going p make another so I get him I sleep by cuddling / singing etc.
So I think he has a variety of ways to get to sleep.

I taught DS1 to self settle at 6 months OP without crying and still bf. I went to Andrea Grace, within a month je was sleeping 12 hours. I recommend her of you can spare £200. It changed our life!

Bambamb Sat 07-Sep-13 09:19:29

I agree with Alicia re: the sleep training which was a godsend for my DS. He was so bad at sleeping I honestly think if we hadn't done something (pick up put down by DH is pretty much what we did too) we'd have had one of those children who still can't sleep at age 4. All kids are different I guess. And he became such a happy boy once we'd cracked the sleep. Up until then he was literally the most miserable child ever to have been born!

Basically there are more ways than one of doing things, none are wrong or right, just different.

bigkidsdidit Sat 07-Sep-13 09:24:00

We were exactly the same - did some PUPD and DS was like a different child. He and we were do happy. I really believe that teaching good sleep skills ( without crying if poss) is important

Why on earth would a baby need to learn to sleep?

How do you think they survived in the womb?

They need this no more than they need to learn how to drink, eat or poop.

How many animals do you see totally unable to sleep because they haven't been 'taught'?

Bambamb Sat 07-Sep-13 09:51:18

Yeah that's what I would've said before DS. Life isn't always that logical.

Conditions in the womb are much more conducive to sleep I would imagine than for a 6 month old baby who is now used to being fed to sleep.

Seems obvious to me but that may just be my natural intelligence?

bigkidsdidit Sat 07-Sep-13 09:55:44

Starlight you clearly have never had a baby that woke every 45 minutes all night long!

Anyway, the proof is: when I did teach him to self settle je slept 12 hours and was a happy boy.

I don't think we are that unusual. If you can feed every 45 minutes and not collapse great - I was on my knees with exhaustion and sliding into depression.

Baby in the womb is fed 24/7. I bet people on drips don't get hungry either.

Bambamb Sat 07-Sep-13 10:03:13

Me too Bigkids.

And what is it with the 45 minutes? You could time DS by a stopwatch, it was always 45 minutes. And it clearly wasn't enough he was such a misery. I actually feel a bit guilty that we left it so long to sort the sleep issue out to be honest, he was clearly suffering from massive over tiredness and I used to worry it would affect his development! !

I naively thought that a baby would sleep if tired, no teaching required (much like Starlight). Boy was I in for a shock.

I have had a baby that woke 45 minutes all night long. My 3rd. He started to sleep through at a year.

I have had a baby that fed for 18 hours out of 24 (tongue tie and ASD). My 1st. He still doesn't sleep through.

I have also had a baby that fed like clockwork every 4 hours for 20mins during the day and went 6 hours at night from 6 weeks old. and by 3 months was doing 8 hours.

They are all different. They all take what they need. Their bodies are regulated by THEIR needs, which sadly aren't OUR needs.

I'm going to ignore some of the really silly replies you've had here...

I would introduce a bottle. do a short BF before bath time, then give a small bottle (maybe about 4oz) after wards. Leave the room, leave the house if you can, while your OH gives this to your baby. Most babies will feed better from a bottle if mum is not there. Just go into the garden after you've BF, lt OH do the bath and bottle and bed. Make sure he feeds her the bottle in the room where she will sleep for the evening, so he can easily transfer her to her bed. Give him about 30 minutes to try to get her to sleep, unless she is screaming for you. Lights nice and dim, a nice warm room. If she does fall asleep, I want you to go to bed and sleep. If she won't settle, take her into the bed with you, and co-sleep all the way through the night. Then try the bottle again tomorrow.

It's not all about sleep either, it's about rest as well. You need to rest. So even if you can't actually sleep, make sure you get time to actually put your feet up and just stare out of a window for ten minutes. Don't be tempted to use your phone or iPad etc when you get this time.

Bambamb Sat 07-Sep-13 10:10:43

I feel sorry for the one that still isn't sleeping. Don't you see it as your job as a parent to help them with that?

45 minutes is a sleep cycle for a baby, it's where they come into light sleep. Seem babies will resettle after a minute or two of moaning, other babies will need more help to go back to sleep (boob, bottle, dummy, rocking etc). If I waited outside my boys room at the 45 minute mark, as soon as he stirred, I went in, replaced his dummy and left. It worked about half the time, and I would get another couple of hours out of him.

Bambamb Sat 07-Sep-13 10:13:29

Is it? That explains a lot.

Yes Bambam. It is a symptom of his Autism and I have been battling for 4 years to get him professional help with that.

His non-sleeping is pathological and a part of his disability. He is not typically developing like my other two and doesn't release enough melatonin. It's likely he didn't sleep enough in the womb also.

Bambamb Sat 07-Sep-13 10:24:25

Well that changes things completely then doesn't it?

Not really a comparable situation. I hope you eventually get  help you need.

tinierclanger Sat 07-Sep-13 10:26:09

Horse, we're going to do something like that now but with rocking to sleep I think instead of bottle. We did that for DS and then gradually weaned him off the rocking. Then maybe try dream feed either as BF/EBM/formula.

If we give one FF is it still safe to cosleep if I am breastfeeding later in the night?

DD is happy in the day so I think this is not affecting her, which is great. DS I think WAS affected by his poor sleep. Agree that babies in the womb have an optimum sleep environment that's not replicated outside so they may need a bit of help.

I want to reiterate that I am NOT expecting sleeping through or anything. I know it's normal for babies to wake 2 or 3 times a night while they're under a year. I just need to get to that level of waking. And I have probably read every bit of sleep literature under the sun smile

If/when we do 'sleep train' it will be gentle, NCSS/gradual retreat/Jay Rayner type gubbins.

tinierclanger Sat 07-Sep-13 10:31:04

Is Andrea grace "gentle"? I presume it's all done by phone? I have mentally set aside some money for help if necessary in a few months.

bigkidsdidit Sat 07-Sep-13 10:35:36

Yes gentle. We did a bit of pUPD then gradual retreat. I can't recommend her enough.

CaptainUndercrackers Sat 07-Sep-13 10:35:51

Starlight, in what other ways do you think we should model our childrearing on what 'other animals' do?

I think the links between FF and SIDS are more to do with the fact that FF mothers tend to smoke, and not to plan cosleeping, they end up doing it accidentally. Obviously, that is just my own view, dont take it as gospel! Is your bed and sleep arragemnents set up for co sleeping? Light blankets, firm mattress etc?

I breast fed and formula fed and co slept (still do sometimes!) with no issues.

A dream feed is a great idea, we used it to great effect until about 7 months. I think the only issue with rocking to sleep is that you will effectively be teaching her that that is how you go to sleep, so you may be back here in a few months time going "how do I stop rocking my baby to sleep?" I didn't want to rock my boy, so I lie down with him instead.

So maybe do BF, bath, then sit in a quiet warm room with baby until she falls asleep. If you are happy rocking to sleep that's fine, but I didn't want to get caught in the trap of rocking a two year old to sleep. Babies get heavy!! I do think you will find it hard to settle her down without a feed or a dummy of some sort though. Have you tried a dummy dipped in breast milk?

We did BF, bath, then BF or FF all within 40 minutes, baby in bedroom by 6.30pm. He'd then sleep till 10-11pm, when I would give a BF dream feed, in his room, no noise, no lights.

I did CC at 5 months. It was hard, but I was having psychotic episodes due to lack of sleep! So it was very important to teach my baby that it was time to go to sleep, but I would be there if he woke up.

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 10:43:47

Captain grin

tinierclanger Sat 07-Sep-13 10:58:07

Yes we are set up for cosleeping - carefully located pillow, sheet and cellular blanket on bed.

I just thought rocking/walking as an alternative because we did manage to wean DS off it. I'm not sure she would ever fall asleep just being held- she certainly won't in the day, just starts crying. Maybe it would work at night though.

She just pushes a dummy out if I put it in. Will suck a finger, or on DHs shoulder though!

LadyEdith Sat 07-Sep-13 10:58:48

I agree with Visualise (aka the voice of reason). I had similar problems OP at around 4m, and introduced a bottle at 11pm, and he then slept for 6 hours. Milk supply not affected. Then after a few weeks I bf him at bedtime instead of the bottle and he still slept for 6 hrs as a routine seemed to have developed. Worth a try.

Are you denying that we are animals now?

Biology and evolution are a key part of our motivations to act and behave.

In some cultures babies NEVER cry and the thought of it is shocking to mothers/women. They are kept close and fed on demand and there is no whinging about lack of sleep, and those mothers often are engaged in physical labour during the day.

In many of these cultures babies feed on average every 23 minutes, and the women just get on with their sleep/work/eating/showering whatever. They don't have the luxury of the additional stress of trying to make their baby behaviour against their biological instincts, nor do they rate their parenting ability on how many hours they have away from their baby.

Are you denying that we are animals now?

Biology and evolution are a key part of our motivations to act and behave.

In some cultures babies NEVER cry and the thought of it is shocking to mothers/women. They are kept close and fed on demand and there is no whinging about lack of sleep, and those mothers often are engaged in physical labour during the day.

In many of these cultures babies feed on average every 23 minutes, and the women just get on with their sleep/work/eating/showering whatever. They don't have the luxury of the additional stress of trying to make their baby behaviour against their biological instincts, nor do they rate their parenting ability on how many hours they have away from their baby.

Are you denying that we are animals now?

Biology and evolution are a key part of our motivations to act and behave.

In some cultures babies NEVER cry and the thought of it is shocking to mothers/women. They are kept close and fed on demand and there is no whinging about lack of sleep, and those mothers often are engaged in physical labour during the day.

In many of these cultures babies feed on average every 23 minutes, and the women just get on with their sleep/work/eating/showering whatever. They don't have the luxury of the additional stress of trying to make their baby behaviour against their biological instincts, nor do they rate their parenting ability on how many hours they have away from their baby.


HaroldLloyd Sat 07-Sep-13 11:00:41

There is nothing wrong at all in wanting a bit of sleep at 4 months.

Projecting other situations into the OP isn't that helpful.

She only wants to get to three night wakings.

Babies needs are different to ours but they still need sleep, and they also need a functioning mother who isn't run into the ground with exhaustion either.

Thank you Bambam. Unfortunately, he needs replacement melatonin, but it isn't licenced for use for sleeping (not sure what it IS for though).

Mostly we just get by without him sleeping, though I need, and always have a good 9 hours. More or less I get it, and always have, even when each of my babies are little.

Sleep is extremely important to me and takes priority over everything, except my babies instincts. So it is the other things that have to go.

HaroldLloyd Sat 07-Sep-13 11:03:00

"How many hours they have away from their baby" really???

No. Sleep is important. But there are plenty of hours in the day to do it, if you're flexible and not too rigid about it.

Yes. Our culture is rife with messages that a good mother is one who is able to separate from her baby at the earliest opportunity, who has a baby who is 'independent' and who is able to 'self-settle' without her there.

Products are made for this purpose, and sold as if they will give the mother independence from her baby.

Picture of perfect homes are portrayed, as are women who have obviously found time to pluck their eyebrows.

SunnyIntervals Sat 07-Sep-13 11:06:54

There was a very interesting comparative study done in a scandi country iirc Denmark where they showed the mothers tended to pick their babies up much faster than mothers in the uk. At 6 months and later the Scandi mothers' babies actually cried less than the UK mothers.

SunnyIntervals Sat 07-Sep-13 11:07:26

Uk mothers' babies cried more ie

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 11:11:17

We are animals who have learned to modify our own nature and behaviour, taking control of our lives in ways that other animals can't even comprehend.

In other words, it is silly to expect people to raise their children like animals do because we are animals, too.

Should we also leave them to their own devices once they start to walk? That seems to work for animals.

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 11:14:53

"Sleep is important. But there are plenty of hours in the day to do it"

Not all babies are like yours. Many don't let you sleep when they are awake.

Not all people are like you. Many can't just sleep whenever. (I can't sleep at all during the day, even with shutters closed and in complete silence, even if I haven't slept at all the night before. There have been about 5 exceptions to this, mostly when I had high fever)

You are being completely unreasonable with your judgemental posts here.

HaroldLloyd Sat 07-Sep-13 11:15:14

My hamster ate her babies.

LadyEdith Sat 07-Sep-13 11:20:10

Perhaps in the UK it's the mothers that cry more.

Mendeleyev Sat 07-Sep-13 11:20:48

I had this with my DD many years ago. She had never slept well and at 4 months was up hourly in the night for a feed. I read the baby whisperer and what I worked out was that I needed a bit of a routine to get her to sleep better in the day so she would sleep better at night. Nothing as strict as Gina Ford, just 4 hour repeats of wake up, feed, play, sleep. We also swaddled. Maybe I was lucky but within a week she was waking much less often at night -I can't remember how much exactly as it was 8 years ago - and by 6 months she was sleeping through. It seemed that getting more sleep in the day helped at night. She also didn't feed to sleep in the day, just used PUPD. Not too bad for me to do as I only had her and toddler DD1 I suppose if may be more difficult if you are having to take older children to school.

LadyEdith Sat 07-Sep-13 11:22:07

Should we lick them when they're born too, and carry them by the neck with our teeth?

CaptainUndercrackers Sat 07-Sep-13 11:27:48

Starlight - not denying that we're animals, no. But using unspecified 'other animals' as examples of why humans shouldn't have sleep issues is pretty pointless. As is using unspecified 'other cultures' where babies BF every 23 minutes. Well maybe they do. And maybe they have no sleep issues. But I bet they have myriad other problems which come from their culture, as do all human societies. There isn't a culture in the world which lives perfectly in tune with our biological imperatives, because humans aren't solely instinct-driven.
I do agree with you about the expectations placed on women to be the perfect mother/wife/worker etc etc. But I think the pressure of 24 BF/closeness/putting a babies needs above all others, including other children in the family, is as dangerous as the pressure to separate from baby unnecessarily. I am not going to sacrifice my need for sleep (and subsequent mental and physical health) on the altar of 'perfect motherhood' for the sake of a bottle of EBM or formula. Some babies sleep, some don't. If they don't then their parents (plural) need to work out strategies to ensure that everyone stays healthy and happy. That might be co-sleeping, might be PUPD or whatever.

SunnyIntervals Sat 07-Sep-13 11:27:54

Actually funnily enough there is a study showing that human mothers licking babies can be very effective where there has been a bonding problem - will try to find the link.

And carrying constantly in a sling has been shown to reduce infant crying in some studies

'I can't sleep at all during the day, even with shutters closed and in complete silence, even if I haven't slept at all the night before.'

So why is it okay for YOU to refuse to sleep when it is convenient to your baby, but not okay for your baby to not sleep when it is convenient to you?

Perhaps you should consider some sleep training or behaviour modification. You are old enough and educated enough to be able to understand the benefit, and why you need to be 'trained', unlike your baby.

I've explained about my children already. One was on the boob for 18 hours. I did struggle in those days enormously and the reason I know it was 18 hours is because I kept a diary as the HV didn't believe me.

Turns out it was a combination of tongue-time and ASD. I had 6 hours to accomplish everything other than feeding in each 24 hour period. It nearly killed me, but certainly put my other two babies needs into perspective.

Sunnysummer Sat 07-Sep-13 11:37:20

Can you try ff for a week while pumping? I had two weeks on formula for medical reasons and was a bit sad to find that it didn't change DS's sleeping, but did wake me up more than rolling over to feed, and I missed having the extra soothing tactic of bfing.

That said, 5mo DS is currently regressing to waking up hourly, so I have no answers either - although things are improving with time and the No Cry Sleep Solution.

All babies are different - I get really frustrated when people talk about the cultures where ALL babies apparently don't cry - our DS has been worn in the sling and with me all the time, cosleeps on the few times he doesnt sleep in the sling, has been fed on demand all the freakin time, and still had hellish reflux, masses of colic and barely sleeps.

In the end, whatever keeps you and your baby healthy, happy and rested is best.

'I am not going to sacrifice my need for sleep (and subsequent mental and physical health) on the altar of 'perfect motherhood' for the sake of a bottle of EBM or formula.'

No-one is asking you too. I never sacrificed my need for sleep. But I re-prioritised the other things in my life to make sure that I got my sleep, just not my babies demands.

A very simply way to get extra sleep is to go to bed when your partner comes in, having the baby brought to you for feeds, until midnight when you take over the baby care leaving your partner to get a good stretch of sleep.

Nothing wrong with EBM of formula when needed, though bottles can affect the way the pallet develops and the ease of access can encourage overeating or the overriding of the baby's appetite instinct as you can get more milk in, so it has to be a considered risk and the alternatives, as above should imo, at least be thought through first.

Animals don't need to be specified because I mean pretty much ALL animals.

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 11:44:24

"So why is it okay for YOU to refuse to sleep when it is convenient to your baby, but not okay for your baby to not sleep when it is convenient to you?"

Fuck off, Starlight hmm

This is not about what is OK and it is not about what is convenient. It is about survival of mum and baby. If mum isn't functional, neither mum nor baby can survive.

So parents encourage baby to sleep longer stretches and then go through the night. There is no fucking medal for martyrs who reach clinical depression because they haven't slept for more than half an hour per night over several months. And their babies don't live to be rulers of the world while the ones who were sleep trained perish and die.

What happens is babies sleep through, they are happy and their parents are happy. The only ones who are not happy are judgy busybodies like you who think it is any of their business what loving parents do to encourage good sleeping habits in their children.

bigkidsdidit Sat 07-Sep-13 11:53:47

Genuinely, I don't understand your 'you have 22 hours a day to sleep' post, starlight. Today I have taken DS1 to swimming, taken him to buy new shoes, cooked a healthy lunch, put something in the slow cooker for dinner. Soon I will change all the beds and take the boys to the park for a run about. These things are IMO important for the bringing up of healthy, active, clean children. When are you supposed to sleep in that? What about food shopping, cleaning, homework help? It's not all plucking eyebrows ffs

HaroldLloyd Sat 07-Sep-13 12:01:55

Starlight your post to cote was really rude.

You are still projecting your own situation onto other people. It's really fantastic you can manage your family to sleep during the day. It's great you can switch off and cat nap.

Not everyone can.

Stop being so blinkered.

It wasn't rude. You just disagree with it.

I wonder if you could explain why it is okay to insist on a baby to go against his/her natural sleeping patterns, but refuse to change your own.

Why are babies expected to make the change instead of you simply because you are bigger than them so can make them?

Rooners Sat 07-Sep-13 12:06:59

I've heard of that study, Sunny. The one about attending faster to babies who cry in their first 6 months and the subsequent less crying in second 6 months.

I'm glad someone else has heard of it too, I keep referencing it without any backup!

Fwiw I have always tried to respond asap to them...I've had a moderate cryer, a non cryer (twice - literally twice in his first 6 months, that was I presume wind or pain of some sort) and a great cryer till about 3-4 weeks when it lessened very rapidly - I don't know what it was caused by and all the MWs and HVs I asked said 'it's normal' but I knew it wasn't...I had no way of knowing how to help him, but he was attended to instantly and fed on demand and slept by me all night every night.

I think, I hope, that I taught him not to be afraid, once whatever was hurting him stopped hurting, because though he was crying a lot in those first weeks, he was never ever alone doing it. Always held.

One HV said maybe he had a headache, I'm not sure - but anyway. He is calm and very un-cryish now (8mo) and very happy and he sleeps excellently, next to me, fed on demand.

22 hours of is too much time to sleep. But if you took 8 of them, you'd still have 14 hours to do those other things you mentioned Bigkid.

Honestly, I don't understand this whinging about sleep. I REALLY don't.

I had probably the worst experience of everyone with my child with ASD. In fact the HV didn't even believe me as she'd never heard of it before, and yet, I STILL got 9 hours sleep in a 24 hour period. DD was born when ds was still under 2 and I STILL got 9 hours sleep. DS was born when the others were under 5 and I STILL got 9 hours sleep.

And everyone else can too, you just have to prepared to compromise a little and think a bit laterally.

HaroldLloyd Sat 07-Sep-13 12:08:58

No, it was rude.

She's told you she struggled to sleep in the day and tried and you just twisted it to make a rather snidey dig.

HaroldLloyd Sat 07-Sep-13 12:10:55

Oh bully for you. Is there a sleep depravation Olympics? Why don't you go and claim your gold medal.

If you don't understand all this whinging about sleep I can see no other reason for coming on this thread apart from trying to make people feel bad for wanting some sleep.

That's not really very nice is it.

How could I have made the same important point in a way you wouldn't consider snidey?

The point is an important one. Why is okay for a baby to have their sleep patterned forcibly changed by an adult who says that they can't change their own? Seems a bit ridiculous.

YOU are rude and twisting things.

There is NO reason why people can't have as much sleep as they want.

They are not asking for sleep. They are asking for their babies to sleep to their schedule.

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 12:13:06

The stuff you say on this thread makes you look like a complete moron with a horrible personality imho but since you seem to be OK with that, let's go along with it:

How would you like to sleep train me? I can't sleep easily, when I wake up I can't go back to sleep, and I can't possibly nap. Mum says I haven't since I was very tiny. How would you like to get me to nap? Tiredness doesn't work - I barely slept a wink in the night for DD's first four months and still couldn't nap.

Please Starlight. Sleep train me. Tell me what to do hmm

Then we can go and try the same on my dad, who also can't possibly go back to sleep when he wakes. If he wakes up for something at 4 AM, he is up for the day. How do you think we should train him?

Then we can go on to DD (8), who hasn't had a single nap since she was 18 months old. Even when she was sick, even when she is jiggled around in the car for several hours. How would you like to sleep train her so she doesn't grow up to be a horrible mother like me who demands to have a little sleep in the night? hmm

And then they are 'pretending' that their baby not sleeping to their schedule means that they are deprived of sleep. When actually it is inflexibility on their part that is depriving them of sleep.

I don't know Cote, but if you have sleep problems, you are an adult, you do not have the biological need to feed or check that your mother is close. I suggest you go to your GP. Perhaps melatonin would help!?

But you knew I'd say that right?

Rooners Sat 07-Sep-13 12:16:50

I have a slightly different angle in that I hate to see people being made mugs out of by the sleep training industry.

I really do.

It's like anything - someone publishes a book claiming to change your life and people queue up to buy it, and then there is a trickle down of pressure on other parents to do the same or they are missing out an important part of what their child needs.

It's an industry based on exploitation - the tiredness and the guilt of new parents make them very vulnerable imo to this sort of shite campaign.

Anyway. We're all at the mercy of marketing unless we know better.

HaroldLloyd Sat 07-Sep-13 12:19:21

There are LOTS of reasons why people can't get enough sleep.

Can you really not see that?

Yes. I can see that. But adults non-sleeping issues should not be imposed onto their babies development.

HaroldLloyd Sat 07-Sep-13 12:22:35

It's not hampering a babies development to give them a bottle of expressed milk to attempt to get slightly more sleep.

Your totally overreacting. Honestly. No one is suggesting anything outrageous on this thread whatsoever.

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 12:24:13

I don't have "sleep problems". This is how my brain works and it is also how my dad's and DD's work. There is clearly a genetic component to this.

DS, on the other hand, can just say "I'm a bit tired", curl up on the sofa and go to sleep whenever he likes.

You need to wake up and realise that the entire world isn't like you and your children. It wouldn't hurt to also realise that how other loving parents raise their children is none of your business.

LadyEdith Sat 07-Sep-13 12:27:44

"Why is it OK for a baby to have their sleep pattern forcibly changed by an adult who says they can't change their own? Well, babies tend to have nothing else to do. Mothers tend to have plenty to do. How does your theory work Starlight when there are several children? Should the mother fit her sleep pattern around the baby and ignore the needs of the other children?

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 12:29:39

Enlighten us, Starlight. How exactly have people here hampered their babies' development?

DD (8) is trilingual and she is in a special school for musically gifted children. DS (4) is also trilingual and has known his alphabet & numbers since the age of 2, and now likes to write & do simple arithmetics. They are both loving and well-loved children full of enthusiasm and laughter.

I would really like to know how exactly you think their development was negatively affected.

SunnyIntervals Sat 07-Sep-13 12:34:51

Sleep is a cultural construct. In medieval England people used to sleep in two slots of four hours. People in various cultures wake at night to pray.

No one is saying going without sleep is easy, but I am more confident in my ability to go without sleep than I am in my child to be happy being sleep trained.

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 12:34:55

"Why is okay for a baby to have their sleep patterned forcibly changed by an adult who says that they can't change their own? "

Because babies do eventually sleep through the night. That is the natural progression of things. Sleep training is only about moving them on this path a bit quicker.

Whereas there is no rule that says all adults can and should be able to nap in the day. There are people like me who can't. There are others who can nap anywhere and anytime. There are many in between. There is no "normal" that people like me need to be sleep trained towards. You are entirely unreasonable and too blinkered to even see that.

SunnyIntervals Sat 07-Sep-13 12:36:23

It's all about how individual children and parents can cope best. Every parent knows their own child better than anyone else does.

Speaking for my family, we've chosen not to train and that has worked for us.

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 12:36:29

In which cultures do everyone get up every night to pray? I'm curious.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 07-Sep-13 11:39:37

Anyone got anything to say about this point, or are personal attacks as an attempt of defence all you've got?

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 12:42:33

What point?

CaptainUndercrackers Sat 07-Sep-13 12:48:36

Sleep is NOT a cultural construct. It's a biological necessity.

Sunnysummer Sat 07-Sep-13 12:50:25

Seriously Starlight, if you were able to get 9 hours sleep in a 24 hour period that's great, but doesn't mean that everyone can do the same. 'Sleep when the baby sleeps' is certainly useful, but some of us have children who sleep fewer than even 9 hours, or others take so long to settle that a nap is ended before the mother can lie down herself. And getting someone else to care for the child while you catch up is not possible for people with partners with tricky schedules, no partners or family close by, and/or no ability to pay for outside help. How would you recommend these people go about getting sleep?

It sounds like you did a great job in a really tricky situation, and that is impressive. Wanting to help others with what you've learnt is great. But coming on here to berate other people currently going through their own really tricky situations without taking into account their individual circumstances is not helping others. What are you looking to achieve?

diege Sat 07-Sep-13 12:54:33

Genuine question for starlight. Baby no.6 due in 7 weeks, and will be returning to work 4 days a week in Feb (primarily financial reasons but would have been returning at some point anyway). I'll be starting my own thread on the pros/cons/is it even worth trying bf with dc6 but was curious as to where you 'sit' on the total LACK of flexibility for those returning to work to sleep during the day. I'm not trying to add controversy re: working out of the home but this is a very real issue for me and I imagine a great number of other women smile. I have been fortunate with my ff dcs to have them sleeping through the night by 12 weeks (mainly luck but also gf wink) but would like to give bf another go (successfully efb dd1 for 9 mths) smile.

Christian nuns and monks get up to pray in the night.

Sleep might not be a social construct, but "getting all your sleep in a particular day all in one go" is.

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 13:08:26

Nuns and monks are not an entire culture and they do other irrational & arguably other unnatural & pointless things like celibacy.

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 13:09:14

Nuns and monks are not an entire culture and they do other irrational, unnatural, and pointless things like celibacy.

They were the only religious example I could think of. I don't know if very observant Muslims have a night prayer except during Ramadan.

There was a report on the BBC fairly recently about having sleep in two lumps with sex and/or a snack inbetween and how that might be a healthier way to conduct oneself.

K8Middleton Sat 07-Sep-13 13:30:57

Have you considered a cosleeping cot? They go next to the bed so baby has own space and you too. That would let you roll over afterwards?

I understand you can rent them from NCT? They also sell them but renting cheaper

Sympathies about the sleep. It is a bastard isn't it?

HoleyGhost Sat 07-Sep-13 13:35:09

Nuns and monks have also been known to use other forms of mortification of the flesh - fasting, self-flagellation etc.

I sometimes wonder if the pressure on mothers to put our own needs last comes from a similar place.

CoteDAzur Sat 07-Sep-13 13:46:19

No, Muslims don't get up in the middle of the night to pray.

bigkidsdidit Sat 07-Sep-13 13:54:34

OP your thread's gone a bit mad. Feel free to pm me if you have any questions about Andrea Grace.

Rooners Sat 07-Sep-13 13:58:58

I often feel that doing what the baby wants actually works best for me too.

It's weird.

But then I don't have so many other pressures perhaps as other parents. I don't think our society is very well geared to the needs of really young children.

tinierclanger Sat 07-Sep-13 15:46:55

Have pmed you bigkidsdidit. Threads gone a bit crazy. I'll be tuning out posts that reference "whinging" as a bit lacking in empathy. grin

Am just working my way through all these posts, but loved that I have been called 'the voice of reason!'

MinesAPintOfTea Sat 07-Sep-13 20:12:57

I can't read 6 pages but just wanted to say have you tried not Co-sleeping? Ds always settled faster Co-sleeping but woke up a lot more when next to the all you can eat milk buffet me.

HaroldLloyd Sat 07-Sep-13 21:00:55

tinier good for you. I've heard someone else talk about that lady as well think she's going to get in touch with her too.

Good luck.

ab00 Sat 07-Sep-13 22:01:35

Op I just wanted to let you know you are not on your own. Ds2 is 5.5 months, we had an awful time to start with ad he had reflux so spent most nights holding him upright or feeding, for us to have a few improved Weeks of sleep after tt wad resolved at 14 weeks only to hit the 4 month sleep regression, teething, attempting to roll in sleep but getting stuck followed this week by a horrendous cold & more teething. Unfortunately ds is a complete bottle refuser or dh wound happily do a feed or 2 for me.
Sleep deprivation is awful & at times makes you feel desperate. It is hard beyond words. Some people say ff helps others say not. You just need to find the way that works best for you & your family, that you are comfortable with to maximise the rest you all get. Fingers crossed things start to improve very,very soon.

loveroflife Sat 07-Sep-13 22:29:34

This thread is so timely! OP I have just decided this week to give up breastfeeding as ds is about to turn 5m. I am, like you, utterly exhausted from 3/4 feeds through the night and that is with co sleeping after the first wake.

I ff ds1 from 8 weeks and he conked out like a light after every feed and slept through from 4m. I have given ds2 a couple of bottles and he has gulped it down like a dehydrated plant and seems very satisfied after, he also, has slept well after the bottles.

I feel bad that I am 'giving up' before the 6m mark as I wanted to bf until then but I really can't cope. I have headaches when I'm driving, my weight is increasing as I crave carbs and sugar first thing because of the exhaustion. I'm short tempered, pissed off and not very nice to be around. It got to the point this week where I dreaded getting up to face the day which is just awful on ds1 who is a lively toddler and doesn't deserve this. I think those that CAN cope with little sleep sadly don't really understand how depressed one can feel when they are starved of it.

One idea you may want to consider would be to introduce a bottle say at bed and see how dc gets on and see if it makes any difference, if it does, go from there and see how many feeds you want to replace with formula or work out a plan for mix feeding.

One other point is that I went out for the afternoon and dh gave ds a bottle of formula. I went out at 1 and came home at 6 and pumped - my boobs were sore and leaking and I produced a whopping 3oz!! That's all I got over 5 hours - seems such a little amount! No wonder ds gulped down 6oz of formula, he was probably starving all the time wanting to feed every 2 hours as he wasn't getting enough from me which made me feel awful for silently cursing his crying.

Good luck OP - you've done so well as it is.

loveroflife don't feel guilty! Expressed production is rarely the same as "live" production. You stopped at the right time for you and you never starved your baby.


loveroflife Sat 07-Sep-13 23:16:12

thank you horry, that is so kind and has made me feel better as i pump away and get another measly 3oz...

Remember, what you pump is not an indication of how much milk baby gets while BF. Some women do extended breastfeeding, but will never get more than an ounce when pumping, so please don't feel that 3oz is nothing!!

When you're giving up BF, you need to pump enough just to relieve the engorgement and pain, don't pump until you're 'empty' otherwise your body gets the idea that it needs to keep producing.

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