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Time away? Out of the question?

(27 Posts)
Justanewmummy Sat 28-Jun-14 14:28:51

I have a 22 wk old who is EBF.

She wakes 5-6 times a night most nights.

Am I being awful in wanting to get away for a night? I know it's normal to wake 5-6 times a night and I should probably just suck it up. I also know it won't be forever. But right now every day lasts a lifetime, the nights are horrendous and then I wake up exhausted dreading the next day ahead.

I can't realistically get away unless I start expressing or giving formula but I'm really becoming depressed and not sure how much more I can take.

I can't talk to my OH about this as he wouldn't understand. He thinks parenting is a breeze but then he sleeps uninterrupted in the spare room every night and thinks he's a saint if he does the first nappy change to allow me an extra 10 minutes in bed.

Does anyone know how I feel? I'm probably being really selfish.

Smartiepants79 Sat 28-Jun-14 14:34:42

No you are not being selfish. Your OH on the other hand sounds like a waste of space.
5-6 wakings is still quite a lot for a 5 month old. I'd be struggling.
Unfortunately it entirely depends on whether you are comfortable with starting bottle feeding.
If you are and you feel that it would be the most positive thing for your family right now then just do it.
It sounds like your OH could do with a serious wake up call. Leave him in charge for the weekend and he can see what a breeze it is.

Poosnu Sat 28-Jun-14 14:37:31

I feel for you. It is incredibly tough. It will get better though, and soon. Although when you are in it you feel that life will never get easier.

We are just come out the other side at nearly 8 months. At 5 months we did some gentle sleep training to cut down the night wakings and it worked (from 10 down to 2 wakings which I could cope with). Before then we co slept. I was still exhausted.

It helped me to get out every day to meet people, even if it was the last thing I felt like doing. Co sleeping helped me get some more rest, but it isn't for everyone.

QTPie Sat 28-Jun-14 14:40:25


No, not selfish at all! You poor thing. sad

It might be unpractical to just go away, bbut I think it is a sign that you need help - as in practical help to get more sleep.

Starting with a long, honest talk with your other half. You may be EBF, and he may be working, but that doesn't let him off the hook with parenting.

Have you thought about expressing? Then you could share night feeds (depending on when you both go to bed, when you get up etc?). Especially at weekends (when your partner doesn't have to work the next day)

Is your baby definitely hungry every feed or just using you to get back to sleep? BF doesn't mean that they always need to feed 5/6 times a night. I BF DS and he woke once a night after 5 weeks, then slept through from 12 weeks. We always attempted to settle a grizzle/groan, but fed an outright demand. Did this from early on - so might be hard to change from 22 weeks. I also made sure that I fed him up during the day.

What happens at weekends? Does your partner take the baby so that you can catch up on sleep?

Have you tried co-sleeping? I didn't, but some BF mothers find it a good way to be able to feed without disturbing their sleep too much.

Get your OH onto the same page - he needs to help out more so that you can get some sleep.

Only1scoop Sat 28-Jun-14 14:42:41

Hi I don't know how it feels because I didn't Bf. That must be Absoultely so need a break.

Justanewmummy Sat 28-Jun-14 14:56:19

Thank you for the replies, it's good to know that I'm not being selfish.

Poosnu, glad to hear there is another side! 10 wakes must be utterly soul destroying! How did you do the sleep training?

Smartiepants, I'd be happy to use a bottle as quite frankly I will try anything to get more sleep - whether DD would take one I don't know. If anyone has experience of a decent pump let me know.

QTpie - that's the thing, I don't think she is waking for a feed every time (she does feed on every wake but not much).. But I tend to offer the boob as it is the fastest way to get her and me back to sleep.

I've been too paranoid about co sleeping but would consider it. I can't carry on much longer like this.

OH is ok but is out of the house by 7am, not back until 7pn which is when I do DDs last feed before bed so not much help there. He does take care of a lot of the household chores so I don't need to worry about that.

bumpiesonamission Sat 28-Jun-14 15:04:37


I am with you! my 22wker does the same. I express and he has a bottle but I feel too guilty to leave him the whole night. I am going to stay with my parents soon and may ask my mum to do a night.

Its f-ing exhausting and although my dh is helpful and loving, his little 'I'm tired' comments are not helpful.

I would try to talk to your oh and be honest. I find if I bottle it up I explode at him see last nights thread re reading the room'

Xcountry Sat 28-Jun-14 15:08:47

I would express if I were you, even if not for a full night away at first what about just a night out? MiL babysat with our first at 8 weeks old to let us go out for dinner and a drink after to get some couple time and it did us the world of good. At 22 weeks your baby should have a good latch so shouldn't be too fussy with a bottle (I hope, for you). Wjat about trying it first and see how you feel?

onestepbeyond Sat 28-Jun-14 15:19:51

I know exactly how you feel, I've also got a 22 weeker who is waking up 5 - 6 times a night, she is also a bottle refuser so dh can't help.
All I can think about is sleep, I think we're just at a stage that it's been going on so long we can't see it ever getting. I keep telling myself it can't last forever - one day she will sleep through the night.
So no you're not selfish (or if you are I am too!!)

Justanewmummy Sat 28-Jun-14 16:26:59

It's really at the point where I can't go through another day or night like this, I think I've reached breaking point.

CultureSucksDownWords Sat 28-Jun-14 19:16:17

Have you told your DH how you are feeling? Can he take any annual leave eg a Fri and a Mon to give you as much of a break as poss, so you can get some sleep?

bearwithspecs Sat 28-Jun-14 19:29:45

5-6 times a night is a lot of waking at that age. Very few people would cope with that !!!!

bumpiesonamission Sat 28-Jun-14 19:53:31

Does your HV team have a sleep specialist? ours does and I left her a message on Friday!

Preserve with the bottles, my lo took a while and still takes it better from daddy!!

QTPie Sat 28-Jun-14 20:09:05


You have to tell your OH - you poor thing.

I think - if you are desperate to do something - then I would consider one of the following:
- expressing and getting your partner to do some night feeds.
- you going in the spare room tonight (assuming your OH doesn't work Sundays). He has responsibility tonight and tries to settle your baby when she wakes (shushing, patting, handholding, gentle to rocking etc). It may work. It would work a a LOT better than you doing it (if you try, she will smell your milk). If DD definitely is hungry (and won't settle after considerable trying and reassurance), then your partner brings her in to you for a feed and waits to take her back and settle. Not only will your DD settle easier and quicker for your partner, your partner may also get an appreciation of life. Shame it isn't Friday - you would have two weekend nights to do it. This is not an easy option, but would pay off in a few days.
- co-sleep, so you can feed I a half awake state. I never fancied this (wasn't comfortable and always too nervous).

You also need to really maximise what sleep you get during the day, especially at the weekend when you have OH around.

Have you tried dream feeding? I didn't (didn't need to), but might mean that you can help tank her up more to your schedule than hers.

I may be controversial here, but I always saw breastfeeding as "Feeding" and tried to separate it from "comfort" (at least at night). My sanity wouldn't have taken that many night feeds over an extended period.


fairylightsintheloft Sat 28-Jun-14 20:31:51

5-6 x a night at 5 months is a lot and you need to do something, whether that's formula / expressing (just get any pump according to budget, there's not that much difference), then get your OH on board to do at either the pre or post midnight feeds BUT look at how you can reduce the number, as another poster said, some very gentle sleep training maybe, just a small sip of milk or none at all if you know she's not actually hungry. May mean longer wake-ups for a couple of nights but you'd be amazed at how quickly they catch on. Please please try to forget you ever heard the word "guilt". Its absolute bollocks that we should turn ourselves into gibbering wrecks to meet our baby's every need. A balance has to be struck between the needs of ALL family members.

olivo Sat 28-Jun-14 21:03:03

Yes, I feel your pain. I have suffered from sleep deprivation for nearly 8 years, being woken up to 8 times a night at its worst. I absolutely relish the twice a year when I go away due to work, overnight. I go to bed at 8 and don't surface until I wake naturally.

You must talk to Dh and get a plan in place for some time out. You will be a new person!

Justanewmummy Sat 28-Jun-14 21:10:10

I have spoken to OH and he has agreed to sleep in with DD tomorrow night and I'm in the spare room.

Plan is, he'll try to settle her with cuddles each time she wakes and if she shows no sign of settling he'll bring her to me for a quick feed. Ideally this will 3 out of the 6 or so wakes and then we'll reduce this to hopefully 2 over the next few days.

I will also be buying a pump to try and express as this means that I could then have an entire night I disturbed if by miracle DD is happy to drink from a bottle at night occasionally.

I am feeling a sense of hope through the despair and I will keep you updated.

If any of you have any tips for these next few nights that would be great. It didn't even occur to me that DD would be able to smell my milk etc!

Thank you all.

bearwithspecs Sat 28-Jun-14 21:30:20

Your dd is likely to refuse a bottle unless hungry and you are NOWHERE near ! If she smells you and your milk first she will probably go into melt down. Any pump is fine - I had a cheap manual avent one that was second hand and it was great twice over.

bearwithspecs Sat 28-Jun-14 21:34:30

My only other tip is to grit your teeth and remain focus on the end result. You may have a battle for a couple if weeks but it will be worth it

QTPie Sat 28-Jun-14 21:43:05

Good for you smile

As fairylights says , this is very changeable. And feel no guilt whatsoever. It is very unlikely that she needs 5/6 feeds a night. Although some say that we should've baby-led, I am honestly not always convinced of this: often a baby needs "guiding" and encouragement. So helping to gently teach a baby to settle again without the boob is good. If they can settle without the boob, then chances are it is the first step to self settling and ultimately sleeping through.

Your OH needs to be patient and persistent. Not give in too easily. We used to have DS in a crib/cot next to the bed and I shushed, stroked, patted, hand held a grizzle/whinge (often I was half asleep). Only fed a full out demand.

We found that most "new things" would take 3 days/evenings to start to really work. So I would expect a rough couple of nights (and warm your OH that he is likely to be working hard for a couple of nights), but from the 3rd night onwards you should definitely see an improvement.

If you can get your DD to take a bottle, it would be great: definitely gives some freedom. We introduced a daily bottle at 4 weeks: sounds bizarre, but during the night feed, DH fed DS an expressed bottle whilst I expressed more. If I breastfed DS, at night, it could take 1.5+ hours to feed, wind and settle him (he just liked suckling). If DH fed him and I expressed, we were all back asleep within 30 minutes. I also expressed more than DS would take - so we built up a reserve in the fridge/freezer. The reserve meant I could go out and leave a bottle (occasionally went out with DH - with the inlaws babysitting - or went to the gym whilst DH looked after DS). It gives you more options, IF they will take a bottle.

I hope this works for you. This us a real opportunity for your OH to shine: both in your eyes and in DD's eyes (ie a real bond maker). I can still remember my Dad singing to me (badly!) as a babe in arms to soothe me. I am now 40 and my dad died 10 years ago.

Very good luck.

QTPie Sat 28-Jun-14 21:44:15

Agreed. Either your OH or someone else should give DD the bottle - when you are well out of he way.

Theyaremysunshine Sat 28-Jun-14 21:50:36

Glad your DP has stepped up. I have had 2 EBF bottle refusing non-sleepers and feel your pain.

If your plan doesn't work I would recommend the no cry sleep solution for gentle ways to teach falling asleep without suckling, which is usually the problem.

The Avent Comfort manual pump is excellent for once a day type use. More than that you might want to invest in an electric medela. Some people can hand express better than pump so worth trying that first. I've always struggled to express much despite babies feeding fine, so it doesn't always work and that's where formula is a godsend.

If you're reaching your limit tonight then just cosleep. Do it safely, covers off etc and it's actually pretty lovely IMO. Both DC barely woke me when they latched themselves on and as soon as they were I just went back to sleep while they finished the feed.

Smartiepants79 Sat 28-Jun-14 21:51:21

I did something similar to qtpie with DD1, expressing whilst DH bottle fed. Even that system still meant I got more sleep as I was back in bed in 10 minutes or so.
With DD2 we just used formula for the one bottle a night.
I'm glad DH is prepared to step up.
It may well be a battle for a week or two. She may not take to it easily.
I would hope that the fact that boob is not on offer all the time will cut down the amount of night wakings.
I suspect that at least half of these wakings are for comfort rather than hunger!

Poosnu Sat 28-Jun-14 21:59:20

How does your baby fall asleep at night? Is it always while feeding?

My DD2 slept with me, and always fell asleep feeding. I had to feed her back to sleep every time she woke, which was every hour or so.

I was advised to settle her in her cot without feeding, but to stay with her. So I put her in her cot (fed, clean nappy, right amount of wake time) and sang and shushed, patted her, etc until she fell asleep. She cried (for about an hour) but eventually fell asleep. Every time she woke in the night, I tried to settle her in the same way without feeding for 10 mins, if that failed then I gave her a short feed but made sure to put her back awake, then settled her as before. She very quickly got used to it and the wake ups decreased a lot.

Yes there was crying, but i stayed with her all the time, and she was fed at night if she needed it. I had reached the same breaking point as you. My DH was never around to help at home, and I also had an older child to look after.

findingherfeet Sat 28-Jun-14 22:36:57

Not selfish at all, it's bloody hard work.

To be honest unless your baby will take a bottle, then right now it might not happen. But it will and you will sleep again! It's a huge adjustment having a new baby and

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