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My friend needs some sympathetic advice about stopping bfing her 20mo DS and also hopefully helping him sleep in a recognisable pattern QUITE LONG

(7 Posts)
BellaBear Wed 09-Sep-09 11:41:10

I am posting this for a friend of mine who doesn't really get a chance to internet for any length of time. I am going to try to set out her problems clearly, apologies if anything doesn't make sense!

I'll start by saying that my friend is so so so so soooooo tired!

She has a 20mo DS. He is a really really bad sleeper. She is still bfing him. She has no problem with extended bfing generally but she really really wants to stop. This is mainly because she can't leave him for any significant period of time either day or night and because she thinks that it is contributing towards his sleep problems.

She probably feeds him 2-4 times during the day and a few times at night, on his request.

He has never slept well and there isn't really a pattern to his sleeping. Sometimes he goes to bed really late, sometimes he is up in teh middle of the night for a long time, sometimes he wakes very early. Recently he has got into having a daytime nap but sometimes he goes without. He is quite a big 20mo and holding and rocking him is becoming a problem because of this.

Her DH does help but he gets up super early for work (she doesn't work).

She really wants to stop bfing him and to get him to sleep better. She has had a lot of advice from HVs and GPs who are suggest things such as CC which she (a) finds difficult to implement from an emotional point of view and (b) finds difficult froma physical point of view, ie she is so exhausted after trying it that he 'gives in' and feeds him to sleep.

I really want to help her as she is so so shattered and I suggested MN as a place she might get advice without being criticised for still bfing and for being 'weak' with regards sleep training (she doesn't have a great relationship with her HV as you might guess!)

So can anyone help? She would be ever so grateful
Many thanks in advance

1of4 Wed 09-Sep-09 15:05:15

I read "the no cry sleep solution." can't remember the authors name but it was great and I would recommend it to anyone. Not a quick solution but it is a gentle solution. the only problem is trying to find the time to read it!

BellaBear Wed 09-Sep-09 20:30:01

thanks for replying, I will see if I can get a copy to lend her

any other suggestions? Particularly about the bfing

Pennybubbly Thu 10-Sep-09 05:53:13

Sounds like my DS! (are you my friend?!)
DS has been a terrible sleeper since birth (is now 20mths) and still loves skin-to-skin contact when he wakes in the night. Thankfully I realised about 4-ish months ago that he doesn't need a night feed (well realised this a long time ago, but was only brave enough to implement it when I was back at work and NEEDED sleep more than ever).

So I gradually cut down on the night feeds, bringing him into my bed when he cried and letting him fall asleep on/around/near me. Generally he now only wakes once in the night and is back asleep within half an hour (usually. Occasionally (teething?) will scream for longer and then I might breast feed).

I too read the No-Cry Sleep solution and found nothing there that I hadn't already tried. (Not saying you shouldn't suggest it to your friend though).

TBH, I don't know if there really is one "solution" that fits all children. I read sooooo many things and spoke to EVERYONE I could and found that what really seems to be working is - age! Ie, as he is getting older he is gradually improving. When I think back to 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, I can definitely see an improvement.

Schedule seems to help a little too. When I went back to work, my DS was 14mths and he started going to nursery where all the kids have an afternoon nap. After 14 months of struggle at home, he accepted this routine with no fight whatsoever ... just took himself off to his little futon (we're in Japan) and went to sleep! I was shock when they told me this.
Having a 4 year old DD too, (who never has sleep issues) I was unable pre-nursery to stick to a rigid routine and perhaps that didn't help.

The downside of this now is that he will happily take a 2-hour nap there four times a week but then is awful at bedtime because he is not tired enough to sleep before 9pm (I want the kids in bed waaaay before this time). On the days he is with me all day, I usually get him to have an hour or so max (recently he seems to be going frequently with no nap at all) and when he does, he goes off like a dream at 7pm.

My bedtime routine has always followed the same pattern too, which (all the books say) is important. So dinner, short play, bath, wind-down, breast, bed (when awake). I have a night-light on all night (that's when he stopped waking so frequently too. Coincidence?). Most nights I have to lie down next to his cot until he falls asleep. At first this involved jack-in-the-box popping up over and over again and me laying him back down, tears etc and now he just messes around until he's comfortable then drops off.

Also tell her to check room temperatures. My DS likes it quite cold and tosses away blankets etc.

Phew that's all I can think of for now.
Let me know if she wants more help / a shoulder to weep on - I've been there, hell am there!

BellaBear Thu 10-Sep-09 19:00:31

thanks so much for your reply. I do think that some sort of childcare might really help her, but I don't think she can afford it without going back to work and maybe she will but it's not an immediate plan. I will pass on all your helpful comments, thank you

LovelyBertha Thu 10-Sep-09 21:32:57

I stopped bf ds at 22 mths, mainly because I was pg and knackered and was terrified he'd still be waking in the night wanting to be bf when the new baby came. Ds had no sleeping pattern/routine and I'm not into sleep training either.

For daytime, I made sure I always wore quite high necked tops, so I could give him a cuddle without him feeling my skin - it seemed to help take his mind off it. I took him out in the car/buggy at nap-time because then he'd fall asleep without a bf - he always seemed to want to bf more when tired.

Bed time was the toughest - for a month or so, kept 1 feed before he went to bed but did it with him wrapped in his special red blanket. Later dropped feed but kept using the blanket and just cuddled him to sleep.

Bought a 'big boys bed' so dh could go to him in the night and lie down with him until he went back to sleep. (Usually dh would fall asleep in there and I'd have to go and fetch him.)

Did it gently and gradually, and within a couple of mths he was sleeping through the night. It also was not nearly as bad as I was

BellaBear Fri 11-Sep-09 07:22:24

That's really helpful LovelyBertha, thanks for replying.

I will pass on these response to my friend

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