Exhausted after EBF for five months(37 Posts)
I love feeding my daughter and don't want to stop but am completely exhausted after EBF for five months. I am dying for a few hours off or more than just a few hours sleep at a time as I feel like I'm running in empty. I have always fed on demand but my daughter is still waking every three to four hours most nights and I am now unsure if it is due to being hungry or just because she needs feeding. I'm just wondering if any of you have any tips as all of my friends are either breast feeding younger babies or formula feeding so I don't have anyone to talk it over with. These last few weeks I have really felt like the night feeds have taken their toll and I am getting lots of headaches and feel really run down. I think I've probably been eating too much cake and not paying enough attention to my diet due to bring tired and busy which I'm sure isn't helping either. Any advice really welcomed thanks for reading x
Hang in there. Both mine started sleeping around 7 months and it gets easier every month from now on. You'll think back on these days fondly I'm sure...
Have you thought about mixed feeding or expressing to share the load? Sounds like you need more help and support - and sleep!
Ooh and dummies too - they are bloody marvellous.
I'm watching because i feel exactly the same with my DS who is just about to turn 10 months.
The night feed headaches are crap. I used to get them!!
My dd still doesn't sleep through and bf regularly but she's 8 months now are we are down to 6 or 7 feeds per 24 hr as she also eats solids with milk and protein. Means I can pop out! Psychologically I also feel ok about leaving the odd bottle of formula with dh as she's eating cow milk in food now anyway.
Re the headaches. Make sure you drink lots of water overnight. If you wake on a weekend with a headache and dh is there FOR THE LOVE OF GOD LIE IN ... 2 extra hours sleep and a pint of water can sometimes sort it right out. My mum has even popped by to facilitate this.
At 5 months I actually had stopped feeding overnight. I would feed baby at 11pm, then not feed again until after 6am. A few nights of dh settling to sleep in the night and they slept through from 11pm-7/8am. This was from around 4 months. I think it's fine for them to go 6+ hrs overnight at that age
During the day from whenever they woke until 11pm I fed on demand still. But sleeping 11.30-7/8am meant I got a good nights sleep
Thank you for your lovely replies , this is my first post so really touched to have so many speedy and lovely responses. Really happy to hear it gets easier from here on. I really enjoy feeding her and definitely don't want to give up, as I love the cuddles that go with it. I really ought to try and express more often but my little one isn't good at napping, so I often struggle to find the time. My little one was really unsettled when she was tiny so definitely loving a dummy for help with sleep. Will definitely try feeding lying down and continue to eat cake. My other half is pretty good at letting me lie in at the weekend but not always great at recognising I need a break and time to myself too. We are away next week for our first family holiday so hopefully that'll give me chance to recharge my batteries and a break from household jobs. I'm surrounded by friends whose babies are all sleeping through or much better than my little one so lovely to have a bit of reassurance xxx
Thanks Artandco will try and get dh to do some settling while we are away, I'm sure she can smell my milk when I try to settle her but dh often has to do lots of driving for work so next week is the perfect opportunity x
I found 5 months the hardest time as I was also exhausted (and mine was doing longer stretches than yours by then!), but I have to say that the turning point for me was doing controlled crying at 5.5 months to get mine to go to bed without feeding rather than spending 90 minutes faffing around to go to sleep. I know it's not for everyone but it worked for us - I believe it's not officially recommended until 6 months though. However I found any attempts by me to try to get him to sleep or back to sleep by picking up and cuddling were a disaster as he just expected milk and couldn't understand why I wasn't feeding him. I then continued breastfeeding until nearly a year on a scheduled feeding approach rather than on demand which worked for us.
Yes Try not to feed to sleep either. Feed bedtime feed downstairs, then do bedtime routine separately
I recommend the feeding lying down too, it's so much more relaxing. Not sure if an option or something you want to do, but I found I got so much more sleep at night by co sleeping, we both drift in and out of feeds and sleep and some nights it's just magical. Just an idea. Xxx
I was exhausted when DD1 was 5 months too (also EBF). She wasn't sleeping through either. From they many threads I've read on here, FF babies don't necessarily sleep better than BF or mixed fed babies - some BF sleep well, some don't, and same with FF. Unfortunately you get the baby you've got!
I was a bit less exhausted with DD2, because even though she didn't sleep through at that age either, I was much more likely to do whatever it took to get maximum sleep for me, and that meant more co-sleeping, more feeding to sleep etc etc! And I don't think it made the blindest bit of difference to her sleep - she eventually slept through, in her own bed, just like DD1 did. But I got more sleep, which was really important.
I hear you, OP. I'm feeling the same at nearly 10 months in. I'm baffled as to how anyone finds bf easy. I long for a night away. Just one!
Try mix feeding or expressing so your dp or even dm can take baby for a night & you can get some much needed rest. EBF is only best when it's best for you both which it seems at the minute it's not, if your diet isn't the best and your run down I assume your milk supply won't be at its best either. Do whatever you need to do to make your life easier, there's no golden medal at the end for EBF until your baby is 2. You've done brilliant so far you should feel proud of yourself EBF is tough going be kind to yourself and seek some alternatives whether it be permanent or temporary.
Thank you everyone for your advice and sharing your experiences. It's so hard to know what to try. I try not to feed her to sleep during the day or when she first goes to bed, though sometimes in the middle of the night it's definitely the easy option. I have my little one in a co sleeping crib as I find I don't sleep as soundly when she's in the same bed but love having her close and it makes it easier to settle her in the night. Really interesting to hear that a more relaxed approach led to a v similar outcome for you Wigeon, I'm always worrying about creating bad habits, maybe I need to stress less and go with whatever works. Wow you guys who are 10 months in with babies who are still up regularly are doing amazingly , totally agree one night off would be bliss! Will definitely check out the website thanks springtime mamma and everyone else for taking the time to reply will test out a few different things and thank you for all the reassurance. Now for an early night before the next feed xxx
I was feeling exhausted around about 5 months, not tired/sleepy (we cosleep so I'm not awake for feeds much) but physically 'wiped out from pushing the pram for 5 minutes'.
DS is now 8 months and I'm fine (started using the sling again now, couldn't face it a few months ago) even though he still wakes in the evening, feeds during the night and is only eating a little bit of solids (blw).
Maybe it was anaemia or some other deficiency, I kept meaning to take multivits but never got round to it. It just went away.
Take things easy, feed lying down, multivits etc. Your milk will be fine the body prioritises the baby so it's you that feels the effects of you are lacking nutrients not them.
My DS is almost 8 months and is still EBF obviously aside from solids. Well done on getting this far, it's no mean feat!
My DS has over the last 1.5 months begun to speak through the night. Before that he would wake at least once and I always fed to sleep. I still do if he wakens at night, to me, it's not worth it not to!! I know he can sleep, temporary blips are not worth me losing extra sleep over!
Do whatever gets you through, it will improve incrementally from here on (hopefully!).
In order to stretch my night feeds, I gradually picked later times, before which I would leave DS for a few moments to see if he'd settle before feeding - I then pushed these back every few days. I must confess that I turn the sound off on the monitor I figure (correctly!!) that if he needs me, he'll make himself heard. It means those small stirrings don't disturb us during the night unnecessarily.
Good luck and well done again!
Bloody hell, typos!! Obviously he sleeps rather than speaks through the night!! He's not that advanced despite what I tell myself
I was the same at 5 months. Exhausted!!! BEST advice I had from a friend was to take multivits and I felt like a new woman within a week! I wish I'd taken them from the start. also I do a lot of co-sleeping and feeding to sleep. I find baby sleeps so much better when I'm next to her :-) My partner and I also agreed a lie in each on a weekend. It will get easier. X x
Thank you, I've just started taking multi vits again hopefully they'll start to help shortly. Tried dream feeding last night, what are people's experiences of this? I've previously avoided this, so as not to disrupt my little one's natural sleep cycle but it seemed to work really well, she slept through it but fed brilliantly then .... wait for it ... with some resettling, slept from 10.30pm until 5am !!! I didn't and woke really regularly from habit but this is the longest she's slept without feeding in weeks and weeks. I think some of it is a fluke and possibly helped by the fact she had a brilliant lunch time nap due to swimming yesterday but still progress and proves she doesn't need to feed as regularly. Maybe I'll start swimming everyday! Baby steps but some progress!
Hang on in there, I felt the same as you at 5 months but by 6-7 months he started going longer at night and napping for an hour and a quarter in his cot in the day so I was more rested and had a couple of little breaks in the day and life improved greatly!
Dream feeding is brilliant. Keep doing that if I were you. It doesn't disrupt their sleep cycle, that's the point, they are semi asleep when you feed them and they continue to sleep afterwards with a full belly.
Sounds like you've cracked it! Also if you have any other problems or it starts to fail then either keep asking on here or your health visitor. With babies it's important to keep trying different things and asking for advice and not just suffer until it miraculously improves, what a waste of time!
Up until very recently new mums would of had a hoard of grannies and aunties and cousins literally on tap to help them and advise them and now what, we are supposed to just figure it out ourselves and kill ourselves in the process?! NO!
Keep asking this webpage is a godsend x
Join the discussion
Please login first.