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Is giving up breastfeeding the only way to get her to sleep?

(79 Posts)
LottyLikesWindows Tue 30-Dec-14 19:45:23

Evening all. My nearly one year old DD is a terrible sleeper. We co-slept until 9 months and then with a bit of help she got used to sleeping in her cot at night only. I no longer feed her to sleep, but she wakes every night, normally every hour or so and screams blue murder until I put her on the boob. She won't go to DP and won't settle on her own.

We both work full time and the lack of sleep has well and truly taken its toll. I feel quite trapped because we are in the pokey flat and share the bedroom with our baby, so even if DP tries to settle her, she sees me and cries until I breastfeed her. Hiding under covers won't fool her either blush As soon as she goes on the boob she does a lovely little laugh and usually feeds herself to sleep within a short amount of time - normally five minutes to half an hour.

DP seems to think that stopping night nursing will magically solve her sleeping, and I disagree. I don't think that she wakes for milk, but that it's the only way she will settle back and that she wakes because she's tweeting, or a light sleeper or any other plethora of reasons. He thinks that she wakes because she's used to feeding in the night. I would love to hear from anyone who went through this, and came out of it sleeping. Please help.

bettyspaghetti33 Tue 30-Dec-14 19:58:08

Hi there, I saw your thread and it brought back memories of me and my baby DD. I was in a similar position to you, high needs and attention seeking baby who I breastfed and put down to sleep in cot quite happily until the sleeping problems began at night.

There is no magical formula, and like you say it could be one of a plethora of things. For me, even though co-sleeping had its annoying issues it worked out to be the best solution all round for everyone to get a bit of sleep but did require 'on demand' night feeding. I personally found no success in any other ways of distracting her attention towards something else to get her to stay in the cot without crying, breastfeeding was just her comfort and there was no way of taking it from her!

Do you think she could be teething? I say this because it can cause a riot at night particularly, even if she's not screaming in pain the sensation can irritate them and keep them awake.

Writemove Tue 30-Dec-14 20:02:02

I know how you feel. My ds would not sleep for more than two hours at a time. Three weeks before I went back to work I decided to night wean. He could feed whenever he wanted in the day and feed to sleep but from 8pm til 5am I would not feed.

I decided I'd do anything else but. So I wore a high neck nightie and would rock, sing, stroke etc but not feed. The first night was awful. From 11 til 2 or 3 he was angry and cried. Dh and I did 30 min shifts each but I stuck to my 5am line in the sand.

Night two he was up 11 til 1 ish then woke at 5 and I fed.

Night three he did 8 til 5.

Barring illness that's what he's done every night since - about three months. Has a feed at 5am then a 2 hour snooze and up for the day at 7.

I wish my line in he sand had been 6 or 7am now and will look to push it back but I'm happy, he's happier cos he's sleeping.

It was hard but it worked.
That's not to say it will work for you but three nights of consistency and we all sleep so much better.

Writemove Tue 30-Dec-14 20:15:39

I should add, he's now 14 months and I still feed morning and evening - just not at night.

LottyLikesWindows Tue 30-Dec-14 20:20:45

Thank you so much both, for replying. I know that there is no easy solution at all. Since I posted she woke and cried as if in pain so of course I feed her back to sleep. betty I do think that teething is an issue - I can sympathise with the pain. God knows I want to cry when I have a toothache so can only imagine how painful growing teeth is.
And write I like your suggestion only fear that the night screaming would wake up the other flats and that perhaps this is something to try once we are finally in a house. I will definitely give it a go - I particularly like the concept of timing the feeds, so I'm not banning breastfeeding altogether, only trying to offer it during civilised and social hours!

bettyspaghetti33 Tue 30-Dec-14 20:28:05

You're welcome OP smile

The important thing is to do find something that works for you and her, get yourself some sleep and not feel guilty because it sounds like you're doing a great job.

Writemove Tue 30-Dec-14 20:30:03

Oh yes, of course we medicate when teething and offer lots of cuddles. I couldn't just shut the door and leave.

I just figured it was time to teach him that feeding happens in the day and night is for sleeping. I knew he wasn't feeding because he was hungry. He had three good meals, two or three bf In the day.

However I also know i read dozens of posts like mine on mn before I night weaned and always had a reason that the timing wasn't right. It only worked when we were both ready.

Iggly Tue 30-Dec-14 20:33:06

Have you ruled out reflux? Food intolerances?

She sounds like my two and if they ate the wrong foods they'd be awful at night. Also if I didn't wind properly.

Iggly Tue 30-Dec-14 20:37:09

Oh and teething made things worse.

What I would do is give them peppermint tea after dinner (very diluted) and when they woke at night as it relaxes the tummy muscles. Works a treat - works on me too!

Not feeding didn't make a difference (I BF)

unclerory Tue 30-Dec-14 20:43:19

I think since she's not quite one she's still pretty small to be STTN. Out of my three only the eldest STTN reliably before one, DD2 would have short periods of it then wake at night again, she only stopped wanting a BF when she woke when she had all her teeth, at five she's still a light sleeper. DS is 2 and STTN consistently but didn't start STTN until he was 15-16 months.

Do what you can to survive, if that's cosleeping keep doing it, if it's night weaning then plan it for some days off work and get your OH to take her out of the room so at least you can get some sleep.

LJBrownie Tue 30-Dec-14 20:45:49

My 3 kids woke every hour and were fed back to sleep up until 11months ish (with co sleeping being essential in order to survive at work!) - they all immediately improved without major issue or crying once moved to their own rooms and given a bottle instead at night to go to sleep smile. Everyone is different but for mine, it did seem that being close to their mum meant that they wanted to hang out together and once in a nice cot with a bottle they were pretty happy to just go back to sleep. I was amazed! I get the sense from your posts, that your baby having their own room might not be an option for you - if that is the case, I guess it could possibly be an option to try sleeping in the living room for a few nights to see if it worked...?

Unfortunately, I have never managed a good sleeping baby who is breast fed at night but everyone is different of course so might be my bad luck or bad management. Good luck!

LottyLikesWindows Tue 30-Dec-14 21:03:16

Thank you so much everyone, I can't tell you how helpful your posts are. I'll try it all out sooner or later I think. We do wind her and she loves food so I never considered a possible food intolerance. Something to consider perhaps.

I think that sleeping in the lounge might help too. Honestly I'm willing to try it all. It has really hit me over these school holidays how stressed out and exhausted I've become because I'm getting hardly any sleep. Going back to work will be hard so in think I'll use the rest of the break to try out few of your suggestions, while I have the luxury of not having to stand in front of my classes and attempt to teach on two broken hours of sleep.

I'll definitely stop moaning now, and try to get some shut eye before the next feed.

Writemove Tue 30-Dec-14 22:01:10

Good luck. Whatever happens eventually they will sleep.

LottyLikesWindows Tue 30-Dec-14 22:07:22

Just settled her down for the third time since 7 pm. aaaaaarrggghhhh!

Iggly Tue 30-Dec-14 22:11:23

Also worth ruling out tongue tie even at this late stage.

The worst things food wise were onions, green veg (especially peas and broccoli), anything spicy, dairy and soya. So worth keeping a food diary.

AliMonkey Tue 30-Dec-14 22:19:18

Agree you should try sleeping in lounge for a couple of weeks. DD slept 11-6 from 6 weeks so DS was a bit of a shock still waking for feeds at 10 months. So agreed with DH that he would go in every time DS woke and I just kept away. After a few days DS stopped waking. I carried on bf morning and evening (and during the day when not working).

LottyLikesWindows Wed 31-Dec-14 19:15:28

We had the grand total of nine nightly feeds last night. Went to see the doctor today, just to rule out anything sinister, but it seems DD is in good health. He also suggested cutting out nightly feeds to see if that helps her sleep better.

I really hope we have the stamina for this...

Writemove Wed 31-Dec-14 19:40:54

Good news he ruled out anything.

You've had the stamina to cope with broken nights for almost a year. (If I remember your lo's age rightly).

All you need is the stamina for three nights if your lo is like mine (or say five - worst case scenario). You can split it with your oh if that helps. Then you've taught them feeding happens in the day, you enjoy the evening and morning feeds better and all three of you get better quality sleep.

Does it help to think of it that way?

Good luck

LottyLikesWindows Wed 31-Dec-14 20:28:55

It really does write! Good pep talk, thank you so much smile I'll let you know how it goes.

Writemove Wed 31-Dec-14 21:00:18

Thinking of you.
Once you've made the decision the key is to be consistent.

Do post for support the night you start it. I nearly gave up but I'm so glad I didn't for all of our sakes.

feekerry Wed 31-Dec-14 21:27:27

I am pretty much in same boat as you. Ds is 11m nearly and still sleeps in our room as we have 2 bedrooms and toddler dd sleeps so well now I don't want to disturb her. We are looking in to buying a sofa bed for living room at present so ds can stay in our room.
Honestly, dd sleep transformed when I totally weaned her at 15m. This was due to a week emergency hospital stay on my part. I came back to a dd who slept thru the night!! Dh said no tears. She just seemed to know I wasn't around and slept better and better every night.
Ds is on the whole a better sleeper but loves sleeping in our bed. I hate it. He doesn't feed loads but he faffs and kicks and grabs my face etc. I prob attempt to put him back in his cot 5-10 times a night. Often I give up.
I have the benefit of knowing whatever you decide to do, it will eventually get better either way as it did with dd.
I have an operation scheduled for mid feb which will be 2-3 nights in hospital. I will use this to wean ds!!!x

Pusspuss1 Thu 01-Jan-15 20:24:22

I night weaned my 15mo recently. It has helped with his sleep, and it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. Worth a try!

LottyLikesWindows Fri 02-Jan-15 18:22:55

feek and puss, thank you for posting. We are biting the bullet and starting tonight. Last night was awful and I finally resolved to just get on with it. I might end up posting here all throughout the night just to keep myself sane...

Writemove Fri 02-Jan-15 18:48:48

Good luck.

My tips are to think what your 'rules' are - perhaps even write them down. Because at 2 or 3am it's easy to think one little feed won't hurt. We said no feeding 8 til 5. (At 5.04 I was feeding!)

We decided rocking and cuddling and patting were fine but feeding wasn't and we'd stay in the room so he knew he wasn't alone.

We also took it in turns so when one of us couldn't say no anymore the other did the rocking and cuddling.

When we thought the crying wouldn't stop we knew we were too far through to change the plan and we also held on to the thought it wouldn't last forever.

Night two was so much better and night three was amazing.

You can do it!

LottyLikesWindows Fri 02-Jan-15 19:29:48

Thank you write flowers. You are an angel! We were just talking about the rules. We'll take either the united we stand approach or when it gets too much, half an hour shifts. We are all in the same room so we plan to rock and cuddle DD till she calms down and falls asleep and then put her back in her cot. She's got a very strong will but I'm hoping that exhaustion and cuddles keep her calm in the end smile

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