Is this considered CIO? Am I being cruel? Help!

(13 Posts)
cosmicdancer89 Fri 25-Sep-15 15:54:47

My 5 month old is a textbook high needs baby that demands 110% of my attention, all the time, day and night. He's a frequent feeder (bf), hates the usual baby entertainment toys other kids his age enjoy (he's OK with the playmat, though only for about 15 mins). If he misses his nap window he is overwhelmingly cranky, yet he is also a nightmare to get to sleep (doesn't sleep in sling or stroller, only fed + rocked to sleep day and night, often fighting it). I've becom a former shadow of myself, my day revolving around making sure he's not awake for more than 1 hr 45 min (otherwise it's a disaster) -- unable to have lunch with friends because he doesn't let me sit still for more than 5 minutes.. I feel like I have a toddler trapped in a baby's body.

Because he's so difficult and because I am alone with him 90% of the time I need some perspective. As wonderful as attachment parenting is, and I'm following it as much as I possibly can, there are moments when I feel it is completely unrealistic and particularly draining on me.

Sleep is one of those things. I need to be able to get away from my baby at least once or twice a month, for a dinner or a movie, otherwise I will lose all sense of self. I'm already afraid that I may be depressed. But he doesn't sleep without me. My husband can rock him to sleep (it's a battle) but after a 30/40 min sleep cycle he will wake up and if there's no boob in sight he will be wide awake and freak out.

Cue desperate want to sleep trains Pu/pd just doesn't work on him, he gets more and more annoyed (tried it for an hour). So last night , I rocked/ fed him to drowsiness and put him into his bedside crib (we have a Snuzpod). He naturally woke right uo from his drowsy state and after about 10 mins began to wimper. I lay next to him, with my hand on his tummy, stroking his hair, telling him to sleep and Ssshing..he began to properly cry and I just kept going, not picking him up but cuddling him. He would have moments he would quieten down the cry but he never stopped crying. I lasted about 20 mins and then picking him up and rock/fed to sleep...

I just want to know whether letting him cry whilst cuddling is the same as CIO?? It feels just as awful really but I am so so so desperate to have him learn to nod off by himself.. He wakes up 3/5 times a night right now because he can't self soothe, his naps are entirely dependent on me, I feel trapped and absolutely shattered. But I also don't want to traumatise him.... Don't know what to do!

Boosiehs Fri 25-Sep-15 15:59:11

Have you checked for tongue tie? My DS was clingy and fed constantly until we had his tongue tie snipped.

He wasn't able to feed enough so only slept on me after feeds when he was tired out, then woke up stupidly hungry and needed feeding again.

Once he'd had it snipped it was a lot better.

ThighsofThunder Fri 25-Sep-15 16:14:56

No, crying it out is just pitting them down and walking away, leaving them to cry. That would be horrific, especially for a 5 month old baby.

What you're doing sounds fine and gentle, but if you're going to pick him up and rock and feed him eventually it seems a bit pointless, because you're not teaching him to fall asleep alone. Just that he has to wait a bit longer for his rocking and feeding. I know that sounds rude and harsh I honestly don't mean it that way though!

Purpleboa Fri 25-Sep-15 16:21:09

It sounds really really tough OP. You have my full sympathy. DD is 3 months and has similarities. Can't settle without me, naps are sling or pram and wakes always wanting boob.

Like you, I'm craving a night away! My new mums group friends are having a night in with prosecco tonight but there's no way I can go. It's only the formula feeders who can go - us breast feeders are tied to the demands of our babies. I know they say it only lasts a short while but when you're in it, a few months feels like an eternity!

I resent it when well meaning people advise me to put DD down 'sleepy but awake'. The boob association is a really tough one to break! I'm guessing your LO won't take a bottle of expressed milk either?

I don't think you are being cruel at all. You're doing what you have to do and it's best for both of you.

I would say that you should try and get me time where you can. Mine is during the day when she's calmer and I can get away with an hour or so. Tomorrow I have a massage booked which I'm much in need of. If he cries while he's with your husband, as long as he's safe and has been fed, he will be totally fine and your hubby will just have to put up with it! I used to feel so guilty about doing that but then realised there are 2 of us who are parents, and I needed to have some alone time for my sanity.

Is there anyone else who can help? My family life far away so it's just us and that an be hard.

Hugs and flowers to you. It is so tough xx

fluffikins Fri 25-Sep-15 17:00:11

I think they transition from light to deep sleep at about 10 mins in so, although this will probably mean that mine will never settle themselves, I always hold for 10 mins and then transition into the crib. DS sleeps well like that and almost sleeps through the night now. So personally, for your sanity, I'd give up on the 'put in cot sleepy but not asleep' stuff.

cosmicdancer89 Fri 25-Sep-15 17:02:34

No tongue tie, I had a lactation consultant over when he was very little and she checked my latch and for his tongue tie. He's also been thriving well. She thinks the frequent feeding is due to me having a smaller "storage capacity" but I'm still producing enough.

His night wakings aren't all feedings though, he just has a very strong sucking need to settle himself to sleep. So it's comfort sucking. He spat the dummy out when he was 12 weeks old and hasn't taken one since.

He's had formula on the occasion when I didn't manage to pump but had to be away from him (due to emergency hospital visits). I don't think it had much of an effect on his sleep though -- the sucking sleep association is too strong!

Purpleboa, I know exactly what you mean. My friends think I'm overreacting when I tell them I can't make a dinner or party, even when I know my partner or his sister can babysit. They don't understand how stressful it is to be out knowing that your baby is probably screaming because he can't settle himself to sleep without the breast -- and even if he does, he'll wake shortly after and be upset again. There's no way I can enjoy myself and go out with the knowledge that he's likely to be that upset.

But I am desperate to have just some time off, maybe it makes me a shit mother, but I feel like I'm going loopy, losing friends (most of them are childless and just don't understand), snapping at my husband (he works in hospitality so gets to have a very "social" work life whilst I feel totally isolated) and just desperate for some kind of miraculous change of sleep behaviour.

I think I'm going to start weaning off breast around 6-8 months, initially was planning on doing it for a year but if this maintains I'm not going to survive. I want my husband to be able to look after him for 3 hours or so at a time without me panicking that my baby is desperately in need of breast comfort.

Also, thighs of thunder, I know it's probably counter productive but I stopped because I suddenly felt like I might be scarring him by letting him cry, despite the fact I was right next to him and cuddling him. I'd never let him CIO alone I think that's horrendous. But because he was still crying whilst I was right there I thought maybe it was cruel...

cosmicdancer89 Fri 25-Sep-15 17:08:37

Fluffikins,how long before your LO wakes though? I think mine wakes every 40 min between his 8.30pm bedtime till about 11pm, and then goes for longer stretches. This means he stirs at 9.15, then around 10, then around 10.45.. And after 11 it's like 1am, 3am, 5am.. Shatteringly exhausting! Sometimes it only takes 2 mins to resettle (offer breast) other times, like last night, it took 45 mins of rocking and feeding..

shiteforbrains Fri 25-Sep-15 17:11:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fluffikins Fri 25-Sep-15 19:46:57

I've got to the point where DD only wakes once in the night now but I'm not being smug as she's just about to hit 4 months so I'm sure it will all go TU at that point. She also tries to fall asleep at the boob but I always wake her (often to screamy protest) quickly read a VERY short story if she lets me/I can be heard over the screaming (!) and then I hold her and sing a song and stick on white noise. Now she associates the white noise and the song with sleep not the boob even if it makes for slightly unpeaceful bedtimes.

Once I've got her to sleep I wait 10 mins, then pop her into bed (snuzpod with sleepyhead in it, the latter made a massive difference for the better to her sleeping patterns and was the best £99 I've ever spent!), I leave her with white noise playing until we go up to bed so is on between 7.30 and 9.30ish. I think this helps her transition between cycles and also covers up some of the noise from us downstairs watching tv etc.But as I say I'm sure this will all go to pot and she's also unable to settle herself just yet as I always hold and sing her to sleep which I'm sure is 'wrong' but tbh it's working for now so I'm not going to get too het up about it.

CottonSock Fri 25-Sep-15 20:02:04

With my DD I got my self into a pattern where she would only fall asleep on boob, wake every 45 min, refused to nap. I was depressed and i'm sure it was a massive factor. I never ever thought I would, but I did sleep training and it saved me and my relationship with my daughter. Please don't be hard on yourself. My baby cried less in the end because I think she was more secure and in a routine. She's two now, and I would not hesitate to do it if I had another child. Good luck and do what is right for you both. You will be a better mummy if you get some

CottonSock Fri 25-Sep-15 20:06:48

P's. I just wanted to say one more, I almost gave up bf so many times because of how you describe, but weaning can start at 6 months and it really gets much easier. Feel free to pm me, I was in such a similar situation hugs

sleepyelectricsheep Fri 25-Sep-15 20:20:59

OP could be worth getting a second opinion on the tongue tie. A recurring theme on mumsnet is how poorly diagnosed tongue tie is, people are sometimes told multiple times it's definitely not tongue tie before finally being diagnosed.

As the sleep pattern matches the one of the poster above who had tongue tie, in your shoes I'd push for an expert second opinion.

Also as actually the main problem might not be the feeding to sleep problem after all - is the main problem actually that he's not staying asleep. Maybe the feeding to sleep wpuld be bearable if only he stayed asleep. I've always fed mine to sleep and not felt overwhelmed like you are because they only wake once or twice a night. I can't imagine how exhausting what you are having to do is.

So, why's he waking up? Again hunger from tongue tie sounds like a good explanation. If it's not that then what is it? I've not heard of "storage issues" before is this a thing?

Regardless, if you haven't seen a professional about this since your baby was little, yet you're still having significant issues, time to seek some expert advice again I'd say, but from someone else as the last lactation consultant doesn't seem to have solved anything.

NannyOggsHedgehogs Fri 25-Sep-15 21:34:23

You're there, he knows you're there, he's obviously loved.

Stupid question, have you tried putting him on his side or front?

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