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Calling people whose EBF babies sleep at night!!

(21 Posts)
Softlysoftly Fri 07-Dec-12 21:50:29

I need to know you exist and at what age?
DD2 is 7 months, weaned but still bf obviously. She can wake anything from 3 times a night (an excellent night) to every 45 minutes and either needs walking or feedi g to sleep.

I'm losing the will to live and need to go back to work soon.

Please tell me your routines, how your children fall asleep and ages to give me some goals, at the moment I look at all my friends ff DCs who get laid in a cot and blissfully doze off themselves and regret ever bf even though I wanted to carry in for a year sad

Essexmamma Fri 07-Dec-12 22:14:46

Hmmm, didn't make bfing that far with ds1 and not yet there with ds2 but have you tried giving her a yoghurt or some porridge before bedtime, kind of supper? I did this with ff ds1 and it filled him up a bit to help him sleep. Is she hungry or just wanting comfort?

Ouchdownthere Fri 07-Dec-12 23:37:24

Hello softly, i remember your pain. DS (now 13 months) was a nightmare and had us on our knees by 4.5 months. He was so bad we got a sleep expert to help us get him and us some sleep. We got a sleep expert as knew we'd either cave under pressure or kill each other in the process and wanted to make sure we were comfortable with how we found a way for us to get beyond the hourly wakings and permanent feeding. We'd tried co-sleeping but DS still didn't sleep!

But what worked for us? The most strict routine of sleep cues based on when he was tired, not a certain time, and PUPD. DS would only sleep in the pram during the day so I made sure I took him out for his naps (when he started showing tired cues) to encourage him to have the daytime sleep he needed. When he showed sleep cues for bedtime I would begin bedtime routine, and key for us, did not deviate from this routine. Bath, massage, breastfeed, story (same one each night) Into sleep bag whilst singing the same song, lights off (with light left to creep into the room from hall) and put down into cot, saying "sleepy time now darling, sleepy time" (you get the gist ) if he was not happy would pick up and cuddle until relaxed, singing same sleep song, until he relaxed, as soon as relaxed I put him down, and repeated as necessary.....

It was hard, we both cried, me more than him, but we needed to sleep. He did and I did. I swear he was happier once he started sleeping better, and he ceratainly fed better than ever.

I still feed DS myself now, he has refused a bottle and my principle is to challenge him not force him. I massively believe in doing what is right for you and I always questioned wether any tears were damaging for him. I realised that me being horrendously sleep deprived was worse for him and I do believe his tears were tears of protest and nothing else. I never left his side, never denied him a feed and always trusted my gut and did what was necessary to ensure comfort if I ever had any doubt he was uncomfortable etc. If he'd had a big feed and then half an hour later he wanted feeding again I would give him a short feed, so I never denied him but I gently challenged was it hunger or was it habit?

Once he started sleeping better, he fed better and then naturally started weaning himself off night feeds. I would say was confident off his night feeds at 11 months but down to one night feed by 9 months, and pretty much self weaned with some gentle challenging.

He has always taken me to the edge and then made a leap of progression so it's been an ongoing struggle but at 13 months I would now say he is a good sleeper, goes to bed tired and relaxed and self settles.

It's just the 5 am starts that are killing me now.....

I realise this is a bit of a long and rambly post but I wanted to reply as I know how tough it is to think everyone else is sleeping all night and you are still in a fog.

SamSmalaidh Fri 07-Dec-12 23:41:36

I stopped feeding DS to sleep, so that he didn't need to be fed to get back to sleep in the night, at about 5 months. Bedtime routine and routine feeds in the night (4 hourly) - dreamfeed at 11pm and a feed at 3ish. By 7 months the 3am feed was pushed back to 5ish and then I pulled the dreamfeed forward and dropped it by 9 months. He still woke once or twice most nights to get his dummy back or just to be patted back to sleep though, even with no feeds in the night.

snowtunesgirl Fri 07-Dec-12 23:47:25

OP, what does the daytime sleep look like eg when are her naps?

PinotGrigioandaMincePie Sat 08-Dec-12 00:01:46

I don't exist anymore (iykwim!) but I did! I was incredibly lucky that my EBF DS slept from 9pm to 6am from 8weeks. I was amazed!

He is now 9months and FF apart from his morning feed and now sleeps 7pm-6am. -just don't mention months 5-7 where he woke up 2-3times a night

I have no advice as I think it was just luck on my part. I'm not naive enough to think it was anything I did although I wish it was so I could believe I will be as lucky second time around grin

ISawMummyAbroadKissingSanta Sat 08-Dec-12 00:06:05

This is probably not very helpful but DS2 slept through the night much younger than 7 months - I think it was around 3 months that it was right through, and before that he woke twice to feed and dropped right back off to sleep immediately after (we co-sleep) jnmnu876

DS1 was formula fed and in his own room, and I still shudder when I think of those zombie states I was in, he was up several times a night and took aaaaaages to go back to sleep...and that went on for years <sob>

So, in my (limited) experience breastfeeding and co sleeping worked so much better than ff and sleeping apart. I can honestly say I havent really felt tired much this time around at all.

The great thing about bf for us is that I hardly have to wake up to feed him, (it feels like I do it in my sleep!) so dont be jealous of the ffeeders for me it went like this:

get out of bed, heat up a bottle, look for bib, sit up right holding baby upright so they dont choke on milk going in to fast, FOR UP TO 45 MINUTES, stop to wind, finishing feeding, wind again, and look for dummy, rock back to sleep FOR UP TO TWO HOURS)

verses: turn over in bed, yank top town and offer boob, instantly fall back to sleep. Total time = 5 seconds. smile

Hope things get better for you soon.

soundevenfruity Sat 08-Dec-12 00:10:50

I would've found that these people exist quite disheartening if my DS didn't go along with sleep-training. I just followed him thinking that at some point it would end but not any time soon. We ended up having battles about 3am wake ups but it was when I noticed that he didn't really need milk - it was clearly a habit and I slept in his room during this phase until he was sleeping through the night - reassuring him, patting him, cuddling him and offering water but no breast. It was around 13 months mark. One NCT groupd girl told us her baby slept through the night but as we found out later she gave her a bottle of formula before putting to bed.

PinotGrigioandaMincePie Sat 08-Dec-12 00:12:48

Sorry, I realised I didn't offer any advice (blame the wine blush ). What we did which worked was to do the bedtime, bath, feed bed routine and then put him down awake with his nightlight and lullabys on. He would always fall asleep on his own.

When he started night waking I didn't find that a dream feed helped, he would wake at the same times as usual anyway which led me to believe that it was habit and not hunger. When he was 7months and I was still Bf apart from a bedtime bottle (EBM or formula) I decided enough was enough. If be woke before midnight or after 6am I would lift him out and feed him but between those hours I would comfort him by patting his head etc. I never left him to cry and after 4 nights he was sleeping through. At that point he also dropped a daytime nap and brought his bedtime forward by 2 hours so there is hope. could you try something similar?

The motivation for me was also that I was going back to work and couldn't face the thought of it while being sleep deprived. Good luck and I hope things improve soon.

Bibblebobbleparsnip Sat 08-Dec-12 00:31:11

I have had 3 EBF babies, who slept through at 13 wks, 12 wks and 9 wks. I've found that feeding them every 3 hrs til they are 4 months then every four, with fairly structured naps really helped. I know that it isn't the "done thing" but my three have done well sleeping like this. I'm currently feeding DC3 (at 5 months) like this
7:30 am Feed
9am Nap
11:30 Feed
1pm Nap
3:30 Feed
5pm nap
7ish feed then bed
"Dream feed" 11/11:30
Start all over!
This changes as to age of baby, weaning how much time they can spend awake etc and naps are in the carseat, pushchair, Moses basket- so I can still get out of the house.
The best advise I can give you I think a PP mentioned- try not to feed to sleep. I try to do a feed/wake/sleep cycle so they learn to not rely on a boob to sleep. (Once they are a few weeks old that is). Also, don't beat yourself up about it. Am yet to hear of a 14 yr old who needs feeding to sleep....!

Softlysoftly Sat 08-Dec-12 02:17:49

Thank you all so you do exist! My routine isn't great as with DD1 at preschool/classes every day is different but it's usuall 2 naps a day at 11 and 2 which can be anything from 2 hours (only when Mil has her) to 5 minutes!

Feeding at night I think is one big feed for food all the others for comfort but it's the only way she knows how to sleep, if I just cuddle she screams and screams it has to be walking (which my back is too bad to do) or feeding.

Tried putting her down awake/settling in cot cue more screaming.

I need to break the feedi g to sleep by the sounds of if from all your experiences but not sure how without hysteria.

ATouchOfStuffing Sat 08-Dec-12 02:37:45

I was bfing until 11mo, and noticed if I ate a few cream cakes/more cheese etc then the milk seemed to keep her going longer. No idea if this is at all possible or medically proven, but worked for me. Wishes DD would sleep as well at 16mo as she did at 2mo

snowtunesgirl Sat 08-Dec-12 10:26:00

OP, google Pantley's Pull Off Method if you haven't heard of it. I started doing this with my DD when she was about 3 months old. It took a few weeks but she then got used to NOT falling asleep on the boob.

NoBloodyMyrrh Sat 08-Dec-12 10:39:30

Reading with interest, DS is 10 months and up what feels like 10 times a night, we were co sleeping but I'm now trying to get him into a cot, looks like I need a stricter routine, he feeds far too much for his age.

prettybird Sat 08-Dec-12 10:54:23

Ds tried to sleep through slept through from 2 weeks - I had to wake him to feed him! shock

Once we were happy with his weight gain and stopped waking him, his reoutine was roughly (he's 12 now!) wake and feed at 7, another feed at 9 or 10, morning nap, another feed, feed about 12 or 1, nap, cluster feeding in early evening and strict bed-time of 8pm. He had a dream feed at about 10, which was dropped by about 6 months.

We had a rule about not going in to his room until he'd been crying for 10 minutes, which he never did which meant that we only found out about the time he had D&V a couple of hours after he had cried for 5 minutes blush

We also made a point of, once he was asleep, being noisy around him - going into his room, even switching the light on to get stuff (it was also a general storage room).

Also, following the example of my best friend (who has raised 4 lovely kids), we never bought a baby monitor and live in a nice solid stone house. That way, we never worried about little snuffles and stirrings! grin

His day time naps were never in his cot, so that he knew his cot was specifically for sleeping. During the day we would either wrap him up and he would sleep in his baby gym or in the "pram" bit of his Mountain Buggy (while he was smaller), or in his travel cot for his naps.

I managed to feed him till he was 13 months old smile

prettybird Sat 08-Dec-12 10:55:16

Should have mentioned that he did sleep in the same room as us till he was about 5 or 6 months old.

Indith Sat 08-Dec-12 10:58:34

Ds1 only ever really woke for feeds after the first few weeks. He had the usual routine of bath, feed and bed. At first he woke often but dropped a feed with each growth spurt until by 5/6 months he was doing 13 hours a night. It was bliss. He would be put down in his own bed then come in with us after waking then gradually he stopped waking so was in his own bed all night.

Dd though, same parents, same parenting didn't do sleep at all and was over 3 before she even began to reliably sleep decent amounts at night and still only sleeps maybe 50% of the time.

Ds2 (9 month) wakes constantly too. <<sigh>>

My friend has a 5 month old bf baby who has done stretches of 4/5 hours since birth and has been sleeping all night since a few weeks old. If I didn't like her so much I'd hate her grin.

ThoughtsPlease Sat 08-Dec-12 22:02:51

I have 2 DDs they were EBF who slept through from 7pm to 7am from 12 weeks, I had been waking them to feed at 10pm but I gradually reduced it and then I stopped at 12 weeks and they didn't wake at all.

I now have a DS who is 7 months he is EBF but now also eating solids, he has slept through from 7 weeks, roughly 8-7pm. He is subjected to the school run and after school activities but I do keep a routine of feeding and sleeping for him.

I have found as another poster said, regular feeding and regular sleep works well for me. In the early days I crammed as much milk in as possible in the day, and I believe that is part of why they slept well at night. And also the regular daytime sleep. I have also had them all in their own room from the start (controversial I know) but I think it really helps with self settling.

DS has always napped when we are out and about in the morning, and then in the afternoon he always has a 2 hour ish sleep in his cot in his room. I think sleeping the cot in the day actually helps as he just knows and has done from the start that he sleeps there, it calm and dark, I have 2 black out blinds and curtains!!

What is the daytime sleep like? I think the day is a good time to try to help self settling, they have roughly a 45 minute sleep cycle and may wake up in the day after that time and then cry, if left they will most likely go back to sleep, but if you go in too quickly it doesn't aid the process of learning to go back to sleep themselves. Sometimes it can take 20 minutes before they will go back to sleep and i think you have to be prepared to do this blush. Again some people don't agree with this method, but on the occasions when this has happened to my DC in afternoon naps, I have listened to the crying and tried to judge what it is, i.e. not ill or distressed, but perhaps just grizzly which to me indicates it is simply waking at the light sleep part of the cycle and trying to settle back to sleep. There have been times when I have gone to get them when it doesn't seem to be this, but mostly they would fall back to sleep again and sleep for at least another 45 minutes usually longer.

I think this really aids night time sleep, as they are also not then overtired. It is also easier to make a sensible judgement on why they might be crying in the afternoon than in the night when I would probably just get up and feed them to get back to sleep quickly. I also think that by doing this in the day and listening to how he may cry, it helps in the night, and if they do wake you know better what it is likely to be. My DS has woken a handful of times in the night since he started sleeping all night, each time he has had a bit of a cold and I genuinely thought he probably actually needed a drink, so I have fed him briefly then put him back to bed and he has gone straight back to sleep. Oddly he is far more likely to wake in the afternoon nap and cry after 45 minutes but not wake in the night and do this. I also think that without decent daytime sleep, the last feed may not be enough as they may be very tired and not feed well so may then actually be hungry in the night. From the start, and I still do it now I really try to prevent that from happening by planning feeding and sleeping as best I can.

Sorry I've gone a bit there, but it is entirely possible for EBF babies to sleep well from a young age, I know not all babies are the same, but my experience of 2 girls and a boy has been that this has worked for us.

ThoughtsPlease Sat 08-Dec-12 22:06:17

*obviously I mean 8pm-7am!

teacher123 Sun 09-Dec-12 07:05:56

DS is 7mo and weaned, and I'd say he sleeps through maybe 20% of the time (6pm-7am) and the rest of the time wakes once or possible twice. He now has some formula during the day but still bf morning and evening. He was a TERRIBLE sleeper for the first 5 months of his life and things have gradually been improving. Things that worked for us:
Leaving him to self settle at bedtime-I just cracked one evening after months and months of sitting in a dark room feeding and cuddling to sleep. One evening I fed, winded and cuddled, put him down and left the room. I was sitting on the sofa downstairs sobbing convinced I was a terrible mother. He was asleep within 5 mins. He sleeps SO much better now when he doesn't feed to sleep-last night he self settled-slept through. Night before he fed to sleep and was restless ALL NIGHT. They expect what they fell asleep with when they wake up.
Try NOT feeding when they wake. Sometimes it works, often it doesn't!
Routine routine routine!
Hope it improves soon smile

Softlysoftly Sun 09-Dec-12 19:46:50

Thanks all that does help, I won't let her CIO but will wait a while longer to see if she can settle. She currently goes from asleep to scream instantly and can't seem to calm herself. She has max 1 hour in the day and that's in bursts, she's a terrible sleeper. Will also add more routine into the evening if I can work DD1 into it.

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