Considering giving up breastfeeding due to sleep issues - need honest input(184 Posts)
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
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...
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.
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
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
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?
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!
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
I have SAID I am going to try and carry on! 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.
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.
Hopefully solids may help then you only have a couple more months to endure!
DS is a little better after solids.
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.
Sorry I didn't mean to say the wrong thing...just trying to help.
Sorry Rooners wasn't aimed at anyone! I genuinely appreciate everything everyone has said
FF absolutely helped my babies sleep better. Which is not to say it will work for yours.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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