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BF 8mo DS - I'm not sure I can carry on - please talk to me!

(11 Posts)
itisnotacompetitionyouknow Sat 04-Jun-11 20:46:46

I have breastfed my DS for 8mo and I’m now beginning to find it tough... and I’m seriously considering giving up! I need to write this down in the hope that I can see clearer what he needs and what I want, but I also hope to get some much needed advice from you all.

When he was younger, he used to wake once, maybe twice on a bad night, to feed. The 4 month sleep regression passed without much trauma... but now his sleep is horrendous. It has been going on since he learnt to crawl the week after he turned 6 months, and is still going on now, so that’s 2 months of bad sleep.

I think he must be reverse cycling, he won’t feed too much in the day, but seems to want to feed all night. I try to get him to feed in the day, and I feel bad for almost forcing the boob on him, but it doesn’t seem to work anyhow. He does just want to keep crawling when he’s feeding, no matter how calm and quiet I try to make our surroundings!! Plus this isn’t very practical as I’d really like to be getting out more than I do; I’m turning into a recluse!

Unfortunately the lack of sleep (we are talking 4 - 6 wakings a night) is now starting to affect my day-to-day life. I don’t have the energy to chase DS around. I find sometimes by the end of the day I am losing patience with him, and I know this is mostly tiredness. And sometimes I just sit on the sofa and watch him play because I can’t find the energy to play games with him. I find I am snappy and irritable to my wonderful, understanding DP, and I don’t want this to affect our relationship. I have a bad back and shoulders from co-sleeping with DS, which is what inevitably happens when I’ve been up several times. I look awful and feel awful.

Several friends of mine have had very similar problems, all of whom BF. Two of them have recently given up in the hope of getting more sleep, and it has actually worked for both of them. They say it’s because they can guarantee they are getting milk in the day, and also that they aren’t waking for the comfort of the breast. This is making me wonder if this is what I should do. If you’d have told me I’d be considering giving up BF a couple of months ago I wouldn’t’ have believed you!! I am very pro-BF, but I feel like it’s taking all I’ve got to carry on.

However, I’m not sure I can just give it up. I feel so so so guilty just even considering it. I know DS gets comfort from BF, when he falls over I can feed him, when his teeth hurt I can feed him. He hasn’t had any nasty bugs, which may be luck, but I think it may be because he still is getting my antibodies. And I'm struggling with the idea of even giving him formula (he hasn't had any so far).

Also, which may be a factor, I am BLW, which means DS probably needs as much milk, if not more, than he did a couple of months ago. I am starting to worry about nutrition, the food I offer him is good food, but obviously he’s not getting much (though his poos have changed). To me, DS has started to look “skinny” (I haven’t had him weighed since 6mo), and I am concerned it’s because of lack of milk/solids.

This is very long, I’m sorry!! Can anyone talk to me if they’ve been in the same situation? What did you do? Did you let it pass? Or did you choose this point to give up?

kimberlina Sat 04-Jun-11 22:25:57

I've not got the answer but I'm in the same boat. DD is 7mo and left to her own devices will BF at breakfast, middle of the day (never demands but can usually be persuaded) and then bedtime .... and then multiple times at night.

It's driving me mad and I feel drained. Was planning to BF up to 1 year old, but now not sure I can face another 5months.

But I also worry that if I stop then I will regret it (plus will have to buy in bottles etc) and not sure that I'll cope it the magic formula doesn;t work.

Have you thought of just trying a single bedtime feed? DH and I are discussing it as it also means that I don;t have to do every single bedtime which would be a relief. But then what if it doesnt work. I've built formula up to be a magic elixir and will be so dissapointed if it doesnt work.

KD0706 Sat 04-Jun-11 22:58:06

I'm sorry I Don't have any concrete help/advice but wanted to post to let you know you're not alone.

Could you set yourself up better for cosleeping rather than just end up doing it in the middle of the night when you're knackered? I find that if I end up taking DD in with me in desperation she ends up at a funny angle and I'm all uncomfortable. But when I set out to cosleep I set up the spare room, arrange pillows to kind of 'enclose' DD and she sleeps straight up and down the bed and I get so much more sleep.

I agree that if you're BLW then he probably does need the milk. We're in a similar situation, DD is now 13 months but still tends to wake in the night for a feed and often needs to sleep with me to go back to sleep. But a few months ago she had frequent night feeds, was awake for long periods of time snd I was just knackered.

I don't have any words of wisdom. We just somehow rode it out.

I'm sure it will pass. It must be some sort of developmental spurt, tied in to the crawling etc.

I'm rambling now. It's bedtime! Well done for bf for so long and I hope you get through this. I'm sure you will and will soon be looking back on this thinking 'thank heavens that's over'

KickArseQueen Sat 04-Jun-11 23:08:49

Hiya, I had this with 3 of mine at about 11 months, my solution was to cut the bedtime feed and give water at night. I B/fed every morning before breakfast, but not before bed and during the night. It took about a week and after that all 3 of them were waking once at most ( dp helped me out that week by going to them in the night) they all started eating more solids and I got them into a mummy friendly feeding pattern that fitted round activities etc.

I carried on feeding for a reasonably long time with them, No1 13 mnths No2 18 mnths, No3 2 yrs 9 months....

I'm not saying its THE answer there are other solutions, but it did work for my 1st 3. No4 is still fed to sleep at 22 months and wakes randomly, but I'm happy with the situation and so thats fine. smile

KickArseQueen Sat 04-Jun-11 23:12:29

Oh! and although I can't (obviously!) see your son, I wouldn't be overly stressed about him looking skinny! Go get him weighed and be reassured! If babies carried on putting on weight at the same rate they would be enormous by the age of 2! If he's more mobile he will be burning a lot of calories, and the "crawling" when you ar trying to feed him in the day could be overtiredness - mine all did this when they were trying to stay awake..

TheSnickeringFox Sat 04-Jun-11 23:17:57

I think there's an 8 month sleep regression isn't there?

I've had a similar dilemma recently with my bf, blw 7mo who has been regularly biting me when tired. As he feeds to sleep, it's been quite problematic! More than once I have thought about weaning him, but as I have no idea how I will ever get him to stop crying ever again I will only go there if truly desperate.

If you want to continue, I second the suggestion above to try and set yourself up for more comfortable co-sleeping while you ride out the regression. Perhaps in the spare room if you have one? I find that the right pillow is absolutely crucial!

PenguinArmy Sun 05-Jun-11 03:21:37

It's tough especially since it makes sense for babies to feed at night and play in the day when our society is not set up that way.

DD up to the last month (15 months tomorrow) always woke up every 2 hours (average). Gaining not as much weight is normal when they start getting mobile and solids tends to slow things down as well. Just remember this is a normal stage. DD decided to only put on 1lb between months 6 and 9 (she did learn to walk in that time as well)

The fact that you're writing the post seeking validation suggests you're not ready to wean. There is a middle where you could night wean and give him a formula bottle when you go to bed to make sure he's had a lot of calories

PenguinArmy Sun 05-Jun-11 03:23:09

Also can DP take over to give you 1.5/2 hours to yourself in the evening? I think this is quite important

flimflammery Sun 05-Jun-11 04:37:55

It is possible to carry on bf in the day and teach your DS to sleep through the night. My DS's sleep dramatically improved when I used the Baby Whisperer 'pick up put down' technique to wean him off feeding to sleep at night - and it was at 8 months too. check the website here. You need to be absolutely sure and consistent with whatever approach you use. This one doesn't involve leaving him to cry, but being with him while he learns to get back to sleep without 'props' like the boob. You wouldn't be able to co-sleep while you do it, however.

ilovemountains Sun 05-Jun-11 05:17:58

How about continuing to breastfeed but doing a combination of finger foods and mashed food for the solids? There is nothing wrong with this approach (in fact when I weaned my dd three years ago it was what everyone I knew did.)
That way the solid intake may increase, which may make him feel fuller, may improve the sleep, and then allow you to feel able to breastfeed for longer.

Cosmosis Sun 05-Jun-11 12:33:39

If you think it is down to him not getting enough food in the day, I would give up blw before giving up bf personally.

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