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Extended BFers - thinking I might give up BFing but disappointed and guilty

(21 Posts)

DS (1) is a crappy sleeper, always has been. "Colic" for the first 5 months, terrible wind the next 5 months and teething badly all the time, it seems, so we've been glad of the BFing to get through all of it.

He BFs to sleep when I'm home, or at least before sleep on good days. We cosleep some of the night too, and he helps himself then. But recently he's a nightmare to feed at sleep times, pulling away, rooting again, pulling away, extending his neck backwards like he's trying to look at the ceiling/wall all the time, then reaching for his cot but howling as soon as he is put down, and fighting lying down really badly.

It's like he "needs" to feed before sleep (only when I am there) but then doesn't actually want it.

Anyway, just had the second battle of today re naps with him. The first one consisted of an hour of feeding interspersed with hysterical crying when he was put down. This time he fed then pulled away and reached for the cot, and then went mad when I put him down. Kept reaching out and rooting for a feed again but then pulling away. In bed with us he's started thrashing around all night, and sleeps in a weird position again with his neck all bent backwards. Totally bizarre and knackering, possibly irrelevant or unrelated to the BFing anyway.

Just feel like it's all gone tits up and we'd all be better off if I stopped feeding, but I really felt like we'd keep going for a bit yet and it's so lovely to have that time with him when I am working so much of the time. Also it will mean an end to cosleeping beause I can't see him sharing a bed with me without wanting fed, and I would miss that too. However, maybe that's selfishness.

Just don't know. A week or two ago he would happily feed from both sides and then be put in his cot awake and settle down to sleep within a few minutes. Now he refuses to lie down without crying his heart out, but won't feed to sleep either.

moondog Wed 06-Aug-08 12:57:16

I don't think you need to feel bad about anything! Wanting to sleep is normal. Have you thought of putting him in own cot?

He starts the night in his own cot. He naps there too. he only comes into our bed when we're too tired to keep settling him, sometime between 11 and 1 usually. He used to sleep really well thereafter, but now he thrashes around like a mad thing.

[sigh]

onwardandupward Wed 06-Aug-08 14:11:00

How about a temporary fix of having his cot mattress on the floor next to your mattress (on your side of the bed), like a sort of bed extension? So that you're right there and close but he's got his own space as well.

Or try relegating Dh to another bed for a couple of weeks to give everyone more space?

I'm just brainstorming in case I think of a crazy idea that might just work.

I wonder if he wants to lie down but be fed at the same time, and that's the whole reach for cot+scream thing. Can you take the side off the cot and sit by it with extendable boobs reaching in for him to feed from as he drops off? (I know my elasticated mammaries could do that manouevre if needed )

moondog Wed 06-Aug-08 15:14:03

I don't think sending dh off is good for anyone. At 1 I was happy to let them cry it out.

onwardandupward Wed 06-Aug-08 17:42:15

I was brainstorming. If 10% of brainstormed ideas are useful, it was a successful tactic.

The idea that sending Dh off to sleep alone is bad but sending child off to sleep alone, in fact, to "cry it out" alone is ok seems very very very weird to me. I would have thought that the person more likely to be emotionally equipped to experiment with sleeping in different places in order to get everyone happy and well rested would be the adult Dh rather than the baby.

Why do the benefits to Daddy of getting to be unconscious next to Mummy at night outweigh the benefits to their child of getting to be unconscious next to one or both of them?

I kind of feel the same way as you onward, but even if DH was elsewhere (we have a futon mattress in DS's room for dire nights, so we can get a bit of rest) it wouldn't fix the manic rolling around and thrashing and twisting. Thanks for suggestions though. I don't particularly want to stop either BFing or co-sleeping yet. Even DP admitted to some relatives recently that he likes it

Elasticwoman Wed 06-Aug-08 18:37:55

So ds is about 10 months?

It sounds to me like a sleep problem not connected with bf. Don't see how weaning him from the breast is going to help him sleep. Likely to make problem worse imo. Concerned to hear about all that thrashing about and sleeping at funny angles. Would be inclined to ask for some expert help from gp, hv at the clinic, or sleep counsellor. The latter can be expensive but some people have told me of spectacular results.

He's one. Most of the thrashing occurs during feeding (which is pretty much all the time sometimes hmm).

I think GP visit is maybe in order to put our minds at rest.

Bizarrely he's just settled OK tonight!

CoolYourJets Wed 06-Aug-08 18:58:47

Teeth maybe. Try sticking some calgel on.

RhinestoneCowgirl Wed 06-Aug-08 19:04:58

Ear infection maybe? DS has never been the world's greatest sleeper and would thrash around like crazy if he wasn't comfortable. He would also want to feed more if he had sore ears.

I reached breaking point with sleep/BF about 15 months, but we managed to get over it and went on to feed until nearly 2 yrs. I feel your pain, sleep deprivation is awful sad

We have a triple whammy of calgel/bonjela, nurofen/calpol and teething powders some nights! Doesn't make much difference TBH.

But thanks. Ear infection is something lingering in tha back of my mind. Which is why I think we need to see the GP, because I'll feel like shit if I stop BFing and he's actually got an illness of some sort. They have no appointments until next thursday apparently hmm but I will hold out for a cancellation.

Keep thinking this is normal and I'm just being a stresshead but I know he can sleep better than this and something doesn't feel right. Hope we can keep going.

RhinestoneCowgirl Wed 06-Aug-08 19:48:42

Does your surgery have a minor illness clinic? Ours is run by the practise nurses and often easier to get an appt (usually same day). They tend to be better with DS too.

Pannacotta Wed 06-Aug-08 21:58:40

It also sounds to me like it might be to do with teething or an ear infection.
My DS2 is 14 months and breastfed and partly co-sleeps (after he wakes at 11-12 ish). He tends to thrash around at night when he is teething, even when we give him teething gel/calpol/chamomilla etc.
I think pain is generally worse/more intense at night and there are fewer other distractions.
Having an ear infection could mean that the action of feeding itself was uncomfortable for him.
We are struggling at night with our DS as well but am not giving up bfeeding, DS1 was awful at night at that age too and then suddenly a couple of months later he suddenly started sleeping much better and even through the night.
Hope you can keep going and that things get easier for you all.

theyoungvisiter Wed 06-Aug-08 22:11:01

don't feel guilty! You need to do what's right for you - and getting this far is really heroic.

Having said that - I've been bfing my DS for 2+ years and he has gone through phases like this for no apparent reason - and he's always come out the other side and gone back to being a reasonably good settler with a few weeks (he's always been a frequent waker but he's not normally hard to get back to sleep).

Sometimes bad phases have only lasted a week or two, sometimes they've lasted a month or two.

I'd say

1) look for a reason. Ear infection? Teething? Oral thrush? This doesn't just affect tiny babies btw - DS got his first bout when we was 13 months.

2) try changing the routine - at about this time I introduced a tooth brushing between the last feed of the evening and DS being put down to sleep. I wanted to soften his association with being fed to sleep (although of course we didn't brush his teeth at midnight!)

3) Make your DH take a turn at settling - this doesn't mean you can't still feed

4) if you don't want to give up bf then is there a feed which works particularly well/badly? Can you identify what's different about those feeds? Is he particularly calm/hungry/sleepy/unhungry? Then you can try to work the same techniques into the problem feeds.

Good luck - and if you really feel that stopping bf is the key to solving this then don't feel bad - but it sounds like you aren't convinced that that's the case anyway?

theyoungvisiter Wed 06-Aug-08 22:14:33

btw if it is oral thrush, that might explain why the calpol doesn't help - because it isn't that sort of discomfort if you know what I mean.

It's fairly easy to spot though if you're looking for it - white patches on the inside of the cheek, gums or tongue. The stuff on the tongue can look like milk/yoghurt deposits but it's always there, whether or not they've eaten (in tiny babies the advice is to try to scrape it off with a finger and if it doesn't come off it's probably thrush - but I wouldn't recommend this if your DS has teeth!)

TheNinkynork Wed 06-Aug-08 22:20:40

My DS is nearly 15 months and has never slept for more than 3 hours at a time - fine when they're little but is getting very wearing now hmm

He also helps himself all at night and I know how hard that can be.

For the pulling off, if you think it might be teething I've found that putting Anbesol gel on my nipples before the onslaught can help. He doesn't like the taste much but will take it after a few seconds. Do make sure you use the right stuff though especially you have Anusol in the medicine cabinet grin

ChukkyPig Wed 06-Aug-08 22:24:00

My DD is just one too and still BF, but only in the mornings now.

Just wanted to say that nap-wise things have really gone wonky lately - she used to have two like clockwork and now screams and screams when I put her down. She obviously doesn't need two naps any more but I think she needs one but still the screaming. I just think that it will settle down in time to a new one nap per day routine and this is just adjustment.

As for the neck thing, DD has been in own room for ages we always check her last thing she is always fine.

We were on hols last week though with cot in room and as she was there we kept peering at her. Loads of the time she was up the end of cot with head going 90 degrees to body. We kept trying to shift her but she wriggled and thrashed etc back to original position. Guessing she was doing this before but we weren't there so not worried! Think therefore is probably normal sleeping thing at this age. She is fine so I'm not going to worry.

ChukkyPig Wed 06-Aug-08 22:28:14

Also if you stop BF it would only be a temporary stop to co-sleeping. If you are happy to share your bed then all children will be in like a shot until they're nearly pubescant! So if that's what you want to do the loss of intimacy at night need only be temporary while weaning.

RhinestoneCowgirl Thu 07-Aug-08 10:07:51

I still co-sleep sometimes, and it hasn't been a prob with stopping bf, DS doesn't ask for milk anymore. He starts the night in his cot then joins us if he waskes up during the night (like last night). Usually we then all settle down and go back to sleep.

Thanks all for your input.

Things feel a bit easier today. DS has had one of his spectacularly good days, and these rare treats cheer us all up! However, we've managed to get an appointment for him to be checked by a GP tomorrow.

As fot the Anbesol suggestion - loving your work, Ninkynork!

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