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help help help...in attatchment mama overwhelm :)

(35 Posts)
mamazee Tue 12-Aug-08 15:58:59

Hi
sorry this is a bit of a long one....

i have been breastfeeding my ds on demand since he was born . he sleeps with us and is still BF about once every 3 hours at night(sometimes more ) i really need to get some more sleep..i am really tired but don't want to wean him completely. ideally i would like to be feeding him on waking then at night and maybe once or twice during the day if he needs it AND SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT !

it isn't just the feeding ..its the fact that i am the one who has to put him to sleep (i feed him to sleep) and settle him when he wakes. even for naps ..unless he is shattered and we are out and about and he falls alsepp in the sling or buggy.my partner is struggling watching me getting more and more exhausted and teary. he feels there is nothing he can do to help ...although he can settle him ..it just takes longer and ds cries alot.

on top of all of this....today i went to the dentist as he has eroded front teeth and she told me it is breast feeding him and that his teeth may go BLACK ???

i feel crappy , tired, overwhelmed and i don't know where to turn.

i have read the dr jay gordon article about weaning at night but ds makes SUCH a fuss and cries and cries and i can't bear it.
and i am bizarrely too tired to try (go figure !!)

cannot quite believe i have got myself here...every choice i have made was based on instinct and now i feel trapped and all around me have weaned babies who sleep for 12 bloody hours and have perfect teeth...aaaahhhhhh.
please help anyone...what am i doing wrong ? or have i just lost perspective ?

thanks so much

mrsbabookaloo Tue 12-Aug-08 15:59:57

How old is he?

mamazee Tue 12-Aug-08 16:02:40

hi
16 months

policywonk Tue 12-Aug-08 16:05:14

Oh gosh, I'm sorry you're feeling so bad.

The teeth/breastfeeding issue is very contested as far as I'm aware, and your dentist is quite wrong to say that it's as simple as breastfeeding = decay. (My DS2 is 3 and a half and still bf-ing, and his teeth are perfect according to the check-up he had a couple of months ago.) Not all health professionals know what they are talking about when it comes to bf-ing - don't be intimidated by your dentist just because she wears a white coat. She could well be talking bollocks. Do you clean his teeth very thoroughly before taking him to bed? Apparently there is an issue around breastmilk clinging to the teeth overnight if the teeth have not been thoroughly cleaned.

Other than that, if your DS is older than a year or so, I'd say that you might have to grit your teeth and do the Jay Gordon method - you can't function without a minimum amount of sleep and it will be better for your DS in the long term if you are happier and healthier.

PortAndLemon Tue 12-Aug-08 16:06:38

We did night weaning by me being firmly "asleep" and DH settling DS by saying "No, Mummy's asleep, it's sleeping time, you can have a feed in the morning". It only took a few nights of consistency for it to work (DS was nearer two at the time, but 16 months should be old enough)

mamazee Tue 12-Aug-08 16:08:53

thanks policy.
is yourds2 still waking at night ?
i agree about the dentist thing...when i feel fragile i feel like evryoine is against me !
i feel a bit stupid too because when we decided to do it this way i honestly did not think ahead

mrsbabookaloo Tue 12-Aug-08 16:10:58

16 months...you need some sleep!

I'm also sceptical about the teeth thing being connected solely to bfing and it wasn't very supportive of your doctor to make you feel bad when you are already feeling conflicted.

I totally understand about being too tired to start something new and stick to it, and even too tired to make the decision; every night you think...not tonight..it's easier just to feed him.

But you must do it, for yourself and for him. Everything in your life will seem easier when you are getting more sleep and he can settle himself in the day too.

The crying seems awful, but it will just be a few days....it WILL work, and he will forget it and still love you.

policywonk Tue 12-Aug-08 16:15:53

Erm - he does wake about once a night for a feed. But then I've always given in to him pretty easily blush - have made no attempt to night-wean him!

I think if you've decided what you want (feeds in the daytime only), then you need to just grit your teeth and do it. Try to do it when your DP is having some time off work so that you can let each other nap during the day, as things might get a bit sleepless and upsetting for a few days before they improve. (I fully weaned DS1 when he was about 20 months, while he was co-sleeping and still feeding to sleep, and it was really very difficult - although I just did it cold turkey, not the Jay Gordon method, which I really regret now.)

Have you read Deborah Jackson's Three in a Bed? It's very comforting. Can't remember whether it includes weaning stuff.

I know what you mean about feeling that people are getting to you. You're knackered and emotional, you're worried about your son, and some bint in a white coat is telling you that you're destroying his teeth - who wouldn't be upset? wink

mamazee Tue 12-Aug-08 16:28:03

thanks policy..once a night would be heaven.
i am really pleased that i have resisted weaning totally when desperate.
so important to have people around who have made similar choices.
deb jacksons book solidified my instinct to co sleep...such a nurturing, sweey book

do you feel that this type of parenting affects ytour relationship ? please feel free to tell me to back off if i am being to nosey
we have not been out for an evening without him yet and i only go out for 3/4 hours at a time without him.
it is really recent that i am starting to resent it all which make sme feel so so sad.

PortAndLemon Tue 12-Aug-08 16:29:07

Mothering Your Nursing Toddler is another good book.

mamazee Tue 12-Aug-08 16:29:42

thanks mrs baboo.
i think that is what i am afaid of...that he somehow will be deeply traumatised . i feel selfish for wanting more time and sleep.

mamazee Tue 12-Aug-08 16:37:01

thanks port and lemon.
will check it out.

SuperSillyus Tue 12-Aug-08 16:43:30

I'm in a similar situation with my 17 month old. He has broken front teeth too as does ds2.....dd and ds1 teeth are fine so I just presumed ds2 and ds3 have very soft baby teeth. Never heard that breast feeding can cause it hmm

I am starting to wonder if ds3 will ever lose interest in the breast. I want to cut down gradually and let him self wean but I'm having trouble getting there....I don't want to reject him but he is a boob monster!

SuperSillyus Tue 12-Aug-08 16:45:36

And obviously I have no helpfull advice grin

mamazee Tue 12-Aug-08 16:54:43

thanks super...i giggle when i hear the term 'self wean' as i cannot imagine my ds CHOOSING to stop
the broken teeth get sharp too !

onwardandupward Tue 12-Aug-08 17:16:18

I don't know about this Jay Gordon person, so their ideas might suit you better, but from an AP perspective, I'd be thinking about approaching this transition really gently.

Pushing the envelope so you are away a little longer than 3-4 hours in the daytime but the child isn't distressed (actually, at that age I'm not sure I was leaving a nursling for more than 4 hours on the trot). Beginning to find more interesting things to do than breastfeeding a lot in the day time - it might take a lot of some favourite food to be more attractive than the breast (chocolate mini milks?! Lots of good calcium in there!)

And then for the night time, I would think first in terms of giving a huge feed about an hour before bed time, and then disappearing to a cafe around the corner with a book so that your Dh can help your child go to bed. I'd recommend lying down with the baby, and reading lots of favourite stories and then singing lots and lots of lullabies, giving as many cuddles as needed. No pressure on the little one to fall asleep, but just Daddy being there to help. And if it goes wrong, you can be called home to help, and try it another day! It would be a lot of work for your Dh to start with, but needn't be distressing for your child.

Same with the mornings - do whatever normal feeding happens and then any morning when you wake before your child, you just slip away, leaving water and biscuits or something even nicer to eat, and Daddy snuggled next to the baby, and see how Daddy does. Are there any foods which your child would take in preference to milk? Chocolate buttons? (this is at breakfast time, after all, you can always clean their teeth afterwards) And something to help them get out of dozy dozy mode really fast (a favourite DVD on a portable DVD player, maybe?)

All of this requires a lot of creativity on your husband's part. It might be that daytime naps would be a better place for him to start learning how to help your child to sleep rather than the night - get together with your husband and brainstorm like mad about things which are really comforting which aren't your breasts.

And Attachment Mama burn-out is really really classic. The big thing is to learn how to absent yourself so the Daddy can learn how to do some comforting and soothing - and I think us AP types just do that rather later and with more unnecessary guilt *deep sigh* than many.

mrsbabookaloo Tue 12-Aug-08 17:18:05

You are not selfish mamazee. You are a person with needs. And ds needs a full nights sleep too: he needs to break his habit and then he will sleep better and evreyone will be more cheerful and human.

I believe in sleep above all things.

mrsbabookaloo Tue 12-Aug-08 17:18:07

You are not selfish mamazee. You are a person with needs. And ds needs a full nights sleep too: he needs to break his habit and then he will sleep better and evreyone will be more cheerful and human.

I believe in sleep above all things.

mamazee Tue 12-Aug-08 17:25:14

thank you thank you.
in my heart i know that i have to hand some of it over to DP but i can be quite neurotic about my dp meeting my ds needs. when i am retsed and on top form i see what an amazing papa he is but at the mo i feel overwhelmed ?!!

JoyS Tue 12-Aug-08 18:05:24

When we nightweaned dd1, dh did the first few nights, it only took 2 or 3 wakings really. After that, I could put her back to sleep without nursing so we traded off.

Also, we nightweaned with the caveat that if I felt she really needed it, I would feed her. So we had some stopping and starting but got there in the end and i didn't feel like dd1 was being traumatized.

onwardandupward Tue 12-Aug-08 18:43:52

Advice from a friend of mine - I told her about my post in this thread. She says:

"Sometimes doing something unusual helps change the routine.

It is important that the focus of the mother is on nurturing herself when she is away from the child, and not on being away. I find it sort of hard to articulate, but I think it makes a huge difference to the whole relationship dynamic if the mother leaves home to go to the coffee shop to read something and is very keen on reading, or if she is thinking anxiously about whether the baby will survive without her. And it is important that the father is confident that the baby will be fine and is happy about staying, and not resentful. I think the father or other carer should focus on having fun, not on avoiding distress.

I always find it amazing how when one is keen on doing things, one finds a way, but when one feels trapped, one is trapped..."

She also says

"I think "getting away" is not the one and great solution. (though it will probably play at least a part)

And I don't think alternatives should always be food, if the sense is that it is an "I'm bored" default.

I think offering non-food alternatives when child is bored can be extremely hard, but play and being engaged in doing can be a great proative alternative to getting bored.

Hope this makes sense!"

I think she's a wise lady, and she was happy for me to pass her words on to you! (and yes, they certainly improve on the advice I gave upthread grin )

policywonk Tue 12-Aug-08 21:11:03

Sorry mamazee, I only just saw your question about the effects on the relationship. Co-sleeping was a big stumbling block for us - DP thought it was something we would do for six months or so, so when I was pregnant with DS2, still co-sleeping and still feeding DS1, he had a bit of a fit and we did fall out quite badly for a while. I felt very strongly about the co-sleeping and wasn't prepared to compromise on it, which is why I weaned very suddenly instead (as a sort of half-arsed compromise that didn't really suit anyone). We're over it now, and DP no longer seems at all bothered by the co-sleeping/night-feeding - either that or he has decided that there's no point making a fuss about it (the latter is more likely if I'm honest), although he does squirm at the idea that DS2 might still be bf-ing at school age.

lou031205 Tue 12-Aug-08 21:36:10

Mamazee, my DD was feeding 6-8 times each night. I night-weaned using a cobbled 3 step approach:

Night 1&2 - No feed but big cuddle after 5am.
Night 3&4 - No feed but big cuddle after 3am.
Night 5 on - No feeds but big cuddle after 10pm.

I used the phrase "Thank you for a lovely big cuddle" when she wanted to latch on (making sure I had the duvet firmly wrapped around my boobs).

When she started to get cross, I said "I know, you really want it, but your a big girl now and I know you can do it".

Night 6 she slept through the night.

I stopped BF completely 4 weeks ago and now she goes from 07.00 through to 06.00. Until then, I couldn't get her into her cot before 11pm.

phdlife Tue 12-Aug-08 21:44:32

hmm this thread is very interesting

my ds is 16m and also still feeding a few times a night - he'll have the odd night where he doesn't but soon as his teeth start paining him it's back to feeding central.

I've wanted to night wean a couple of times but have heard his tummy rumbling at 3am and couldn't stick it out.

am going to watch this thread and ponder...

sorry, no good advice mamazee, just hope you get some sleep!

mamazee Tue 12-Aug-08 21:53:52

thanks lou
your approach sounds exactly like the jay gordan one
http://www.drjaygordon.com/development/ap/sleep.asp

onward..thanks so much...a wise friend indeed.
i know intellectually that i need to still be a woman AND a mama and that i have a right to space and time to myself but something in me feels i don't deserve it...have a feeling it may be to do with being a stay at home mama...

motherhood seems to have bought out alot of amazing stuff in me but alkso complicated stuff !

thanks for the reply policy. i too feel strongly about co sleeping and we have our kingsized mattress on the floor with a small mattress stuck on the side but ds is in with me and dp is either on the mattress or on the sofabed. TBH i am starting to resent it a bit as i miss my dp and our shared sleep.
dp respects my choices but does not totally get it (guess that is where the instinct part comes in) i don't want my parenting choices to be devisive to us either...what a pickle eh !!??

policy do you mind if i ask you some more questions ? just about age gaps and ap with 2 ??

don't want you to feel like i am nosing around in your life.

thanks so so much for all your responses...beyond helpful x

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