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Please help me carry on EBF until 26 weeks - I am beyond exhausted,

(37 Posts)
peppapighastakenovermylife Sat 24-Jan-09 19:39:30

I would be so grateful of any advice or words of encouragement or just a plain "its realy hard isnt it".

DD is 20 weeks. She is a big baby - in 9 - 12 mnth clothes and around 21 pounds in weight (but just as long as well). She has been exclusively breastfed so far but I am exhausted. When she hit 16 weeks she started feeding 2 hourly (she would go 3 or even 4 hours at night before), then dropped it to 1.5 and this last week it has been hourly. I am absolutely exhausted with it.

She will not take a bottle so expressing doesnt work. I dont want to give formula, nor solids (both of which I know wont make her sleep but at least someone else can do it for me). I really want to carry on exclusively breastfeeding til 6 months (will feed for longer after that). I gave DS solids at about 19 weeks as he was feeding the same way - but he was a different baby - could sit up unsupported, feed himself, grabbed your food etc etc. DD shows no signs of being anywhere near ready.

As you can imagine its really tough being so sleep deprived. I have to deal with a hyper toddler too - and to top it off Im trying to finish off the last 6 months of my phd so as soon as they are both in bed I have to start working on that. Everyone around me is shocked I havent given solids or formula and acts like it would solve all my problems. Friends with babies the same age or younger have started solids or give formula for the last feed and it all seems so much easier but I am determined to get to 6 months (Im very stubborn lol).

Anyway -have rambled away here I know but I am so tired and just need to hear that other people managed it and I will survive this!!!


fishiedewar Sat 24-Jan-09 19:44:27

you poor thing, if any comfort is classic growth spurt time so you should be getting a rest quite soon. hourly is a lot though, have you spoken to a bf counsellor?

i had two hourly feeds with ds for many months but i know that my supply was not as good as it could have been, did not get off to a great start.

peppapighastakenovermylife Sat 24-Jan-09 19:51:21

Hi Fishie - thanks for the support. I think its all I need really as I dont think I have a lot of choice in the matter!

Im positive my supply is fine - overly fantastic in fact and shoots out - hence huge baby - shes like the michellin man. I may chat to a friend who is a bfc -I think, thank you. I myself have nearly finished training to become one and still cant see a solution in it!

The only other thing I can think of is that she is teething and I think maybe the pain wakes her up but the sucking soothes her in someway. She does only feed for 10 minutes max at a time - but always has done from birth as I have an extremely fast letdown and she gets a lot of milk quickly I think

christiana Sat 24-Jan-09 19:52:49

Message withdrawn

bohemianbint Sat 24-Jan-09 19:57:50

Hello - am in the same boat, and yes, it is really hard isn't it! DS is 22wks, also have a hyper toddler, am sleep deprived (am co-sleeping, although who's to say that things wouldn't be worse if I wasn't) also won't wean early or use formula.

Perhaps we just have babies that like to latch on and know that we are there, and I like to think that all this hard work now will pay dividends later when they turn out really secure and well adjusted. They better bloody had after all this! Also, bad as it is, can you imagine if you had to get up and start wandering about in the night and pissing about making bottles whilst your DD kicked off? Small mercies and all...grin

whomovedmychocolate Sat 24-Jan-09 19:58:45

Hello - I had exactly the same situation - I'm tandem feeding a toddler and DS who is just now six months. He's a bit heavier than your daughter.

Can I suggest you try a couple of things?

(1) Drink more water. Quite often nursing mums are too busy running after their kids and don't get enough fluid. Drink half a pint of water every time you nurse.
(2) Repeat the following 'this will pass' - this growth spurt is a killer but it DOES pass, I had it with DD and then DS, and yes it's bloody horrible but it does get better. You need to take every single opportunity to sit down and rest.
(3) Encourage your DD to nurse while you read to your DS - that way you are sat down and you can rest a while with both of them being (relatively) quiet.
(4) EAT MORE FOOD! If you are knackered, make sure you are eating enough and not just sugar either. Proper food will help you cope with it.
(5) Identify and eliminate anything that is hampering your sleep (watching TV in bed - snoring partners etc.). I know you will still be woken by the baby, when it gets really bad I co-sleep with DS and find he helps himself and goes back off without waking me.

Good luck, you are over the worst bit by now I'm sure.

fishiedewar Sat 24-Jan-09 20:11:07

funnily enough i look back on that hellish time with a bit of nostalgia, i had a special book for middle of night feeding (hammer of the gods). at the time i read similar posts and thought the poor women had stockholm syndrome or some sort of disorder caused by sleep deprivation. but really there isn't anything much more important than to feed a baby. so not like you are wasting your time on the internet....

SweetEm Sat 24-Jan-09 20:15:09

Oh, it is hard/tiring ebf isn't it? I remember waking up to feed my ds in the night when he was around 20 weeks old thinking "I just can't cope with this for another 6 weeks". But I did. I think things actually improved before the 26 weeks were up - so hope the same happens for you. Good luck and don't give in!

madmouse Sat 24-Jan-09 20:20:02

Just want to say well done for persevering. It must be a strain, your dd is a few lbs bigger than my titchy one year old ds, but she still needs plenty of your milk, big size or not.

Sounds like you have a good picture of her needs and are just very tired. My ds until recently woke 5-6 times a night so I sympathise.

I also think you know that bottles of formula may not even solve any of the problems bar winning you a few hours of sleep while dp does a feed.

walkinthewoods Sat 24-Jan-09 20:23:04

Blooming eck dear, you are doing a phd and becoming a bfc with a toddler and ebf. Not suprised you're knackerdd, give yourself a break! ( is there anyone who can do that for you?)

You go girl and ebf (you know its the best thing) I was determined with both mine (but didn't have so much on my plate... had finihsed my degree whne pg with #2)

As pp said 'this too will pass' and one day you'll look back and just be amazed (and nostalgic).

I second the looking after yourself, food and drink me dear, good old chicken soup... does anyone do a good chickn soup?

I coped because that's what you do when you have kids, all repsect.

peppapighastakenovermylife Sat 24-Jan-09 20:24:16

Thank you everyone SO much. It really helps just to hear that people have survived it.

Bohemianbint - I am cosleeping - DH sleeps in spare bed as needs to be alert for work (often up on scaffolding and the roof) and I snuggle and feed DD. I love it but do wonder if she would sleep better without me there. But saying that I dont think I could drag myself out of bed to feed her and if she has a day time nap and I sleep with her she (if can get DS to sleep too) she sleeps better. She does like sleeping with my nipple in her mouth though...hmmm!

WMMC - interesting point you have made about water. I have stopped drinking so much in the past week or so - and she has fed even more. Will try and see what happens. I find I am naturally eating more - but much more than I need. I am so sick in pregnancy and lose lots of weight then pile it on when feeding. Doesnt help people are making snide comments about my weight gain (only really talking a stone at most) but I cant possibly cut the chocolate out too on top of all this. I tend to eat a very healthy diet but with lots of chocolate in it if that makes sense!

Fishie - you know, thats a lovely idea. Have been watching random tv in middle of night but may get one of the books I am desperate to read and a torch (and feel like a 6 year old reading under the duvet lol!!). You are right too - I know I will hate it when she stops. I kind of like the middle of the night feeds just not the exhaustion that goes with it.

Sweetem - so lovely to hear you made it through! Fingers crossed DD stops for me soon too!

whomovedmychocolate Sat 24-Jan-09 20:32:26

Try hot chocolate - combines the needs for fluid with the chocolate fix. A stone can be lost very quickly when the time is right - tell others to feck off.

DD (2) would still happily sleep with a nipple in her mouth - some babies are just more 'sucky' than others.

You are doing great. DS is now six months and has started on food and he's gone from feeding every two hours to going four hours hurrah hurrah. You are not far away from this point - hang in there!

bohemianbint Sat 24-Jan-09 20:37:38

fishie - as in the Led Zep book? I was bought that when DS1 was born, but I still haven't read it! Always done night feeds in the dark, I think... Must read it asap!

SibhismarriedtoaBurnsscholar Sat 24-Jan-09 20:39:29

If it helps, about half the women on the aug08 postnatal board are going through the same thing. Both of my older children did this, and the newest one is doing the same. I sometimes comfort myself by thinking 'When they are at university and don't call me for a week, I'll want this time back' but of course that doesn't help much with the practical aftermath the next day. It sounds like you are doing a great job under difficult circumstances.

Can you get your PhD supervisor to give you some extra time? I'm also doing academic work after the three are in bed and switching focus from one version of yourself to another all the time can be draining in its own right.

Lots of people have given sound advice here so I just wanted to say you're not alone, and do come to join the Aug08 postnatal thread if that would help.
Take care.

nkf Sat 24-Jan-09 20:41:53

I'm surprised you can even stand up. Respect. It will pass. I would suggest buying in as much help as you can, drinking lots of water and eating well. I found bowls of muesli type cereals were good for energy.

bohemianbint Sat 24-Jan-09 20:49:29

I've been seriously questioning my wisdom in co-sleeping of late, I'm feeling a bit tied, because he'll stir, snuffle about and if I'm there he'll just latch on and go to sleep as you say, nipple in mouth. If am not there, he'll wake up, so am currently spending most evenings either in the bed with him from half 6pm, which is fairly limiting, or with him not sleeping properly downstairs with us. It is lovely though, and he's so content, and it won't be long before he probably can't be doing with me and wants daddy all the time instead like DS1, sigh...

Sorry, bit of a sidetrack here. But also, anyone who says anything about your weight is fecking rude. angry What's wrong with people?!

peppapighastakenovermylife Sat 24-Jan-09 20:52:13

Thanks Sib - I may pop over (although DD is a september baby). I try to keep telling myself that this stage doesnt last forever and thats both good and bad. DS already doesnt give his mummy cuddles any more so am trying to cherish this time.

Phd extension a no go unfortunately - already extended twice. Was probably a bit daft to have two babies during it lol!!

peppapighastakenovermylife Sat 24-Jan-09 20:55:38

NKF - lol - I try to stay sitting down as much as possible. Off to kitchen now to investigate muesli.

Bohemianbint - I keep telling myself that I did this with DS and when we decided it was time for his cot he went straight in there no problems and has been the best sleeper ever since (touch a lot of wood). And thanks for the support - I know they are rude and I know deep down I havent put a huge amount on and what I have put on is for the best of reasons. DS still says im pretty anyway lol

TooMuchTV Mon 26-Jan-09 15:45:02

So nice to read this - have an 18 week old ds who is feeding 2 to 3 hourly day and night and am so exhausted by it. Am going to try drinking more water as I know I am not drinking enough...

serant Mon 26-Jan-09 16:18:13

Well done, A, you are doing great!!

I too managed a big bf babe , i did find getting plenty of water and food helped me!
I also gave babe a dummy which setttled him rather than letting him use me iyswim?

We did make it to the 26 weeks wean and he's now much better at sleeping.
Keep going, get as much help with your toddler as possible too. Good luck

peppapighastakenovermylife Mon 26-Jan-09 18:41:29

Thank you - dont know whether it is coincidence or not but drinking more water has put her back to every two hours (when did waking up every 2 hours become a good nights sleep lol??). I am just soooo desperate for a full nights sleep but keep telling myself one day it will come!

iwantitnow Mon 26-Jan-09 20:00:57

I feel for you the same happened to me, had an enormous DD feeding at least every 2 hours started at 14 weeks by 20 weeks I did give her some solids and it did help (shoot me all but something had to give I was dead on my feet). However, she was sitting up on her own and grabbling food. From an allergic point of view veg and fruit much safer than formula - I got advice from a consultant as DD born with ezcema. I would be a millionaire if I had a pound when everybody (especially MIL) told me to give formula. I never did and DD self weaned at 23 months. Pregnant with no.2 and worried about it happenening again. Remember 26 weeks is a guideline, two consultants and a dietician said it was fine from 17 weeks but as they didn't "trust" women to not give before 17 weeks they give the 26 week guideline.

peppapighastakenovermylife Mon 26-Jan-09 23:21:17

Iwantitnow - sounds like your DD and my DS were very similar. I cant quite remember when I gave DS solids but it was around 18 - 19 weeks. I belive in the whole developmental readiness route - Gill Rapley writes a lot about it. DD, although probably feeding a bit more than DS and a bit heavier is not ready for solids however. She cant sit up, doesnt give a second glance to your food, cant really get things in her mouth etc. DS however was fine to baby led wean at 20 weeks and we did a bit of both. He would sit in his highchair and feed himself from the bowl (albeit very messily) at 20 weeks - DD would look at me as if I were insane if I did that to her I think.

I too went for the fruit and veg over formula route. I reasoned he was still getting lots of breast milk (he didnt cut down that much but did go longer in the night - but could have been a coincidence) then it was safer to introduce fruit and veg than cows milk based formula.

At the moment my mum seems to think a bottle of water for DD would solve all my problems..
Gosh Im good at rambling!!!

iwantitnow Tue 27-Jan-09 18:19:06

I just don't know what I would do. Again I will be shot but how about giving up co-sleeping, she can smell the milk when she stirs. All babies stir around 5 times a night and they need to settle themselves (I wish I had known it at the time). She may be waking and need to boob to get back to sleep as doesn't know any other way. Could your DH comfort her - pat and say shhhh worked for us without picking up when she wakes for a few nights and try and stretch the time between the feeds very gradually. With another child to look after you must be really exhausted I really feel for you.

We ended up doing gradual retreat with DD from around 6 months and worked after 6 weeks for a while...

tassisssss Tue 27-Jan-09 18:24:38

you're doing're clearly exhausted...

can i suggest spatone? i find it a FAB pick-me-up!

and agree with the eat and drink lots

(personally i'd be thinking about starting solids in the next few weeks, but realise that may not be what you want to's certainly so much harder to hold off when you're exclusively BFing).

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