On the edge - can anyone hold my hand?(8 Posts)
I'm having a truly horrible time of things today. And yesterday. And for the last however many days.
My DD is 6 months. EBF, won't take a dummy or bottle. Only naps after feeding and usually on my lap/in buggy/in a carrier. She doesn't really know how to get herself to sleep as I've always done it for her. I didn't set out to do this, it's just what happened. I didn't want her to cry and she fell asleep easily feeding, so it just seemed like the path of least resistance. When this began it was also a couple of times a night when she was very little so probably just hungry. Since 4 months though she wakes up every couple of hours and wants to feed back to sleep every time. If she doesn't she'll scream for a good while before exhausting herself.
She rejected dummys and though we persevered a bit, I decided not to push it too much as I thought it was one less thing to wean her off when she was older. Tried a bottle with expressed milk but I have this enzyme that makes it taste rancid and soapy after its expressed so she regurgitated/rejected it every time till we gave up.
A few weeks ago she was sick and waking up constantly so I started cosleeping with her so I could get more sleep whilst she fed back to sleep. I'm happy to do this if it works, but can't figure out what's best for the long term.
She's stopped napping easily a week or so ago. Whilst never a great napper she would fall asleep whilst out or if I sat down to feed her when she was sleepy. Recently though she fights every nap, cries all the time because she's tired, and is desperate for bed at 5pm. We pulled bedtime back in the hope it would allow her more sleep but she's often waking up at 3am and struggling to get back to sleep. She's also started howling and crying if she can't fall asleep easily as she's so wound up.
I know I've created some difficult habits- I had no idea that I was at the time but I now feel like an absolute failure. I just wanted to be there for her and hold her and do whatever I could but I feel like I've ruined everything.
My husband is great but busy with work. We moved across the country when I was pregnant so I don't have any family or old friends nearby. I've made some friends recently but don't want to appear needy or clingy by phoning all the time, so am trying to push through this by myself as best I can.
I just honestly don't know what to do. She was up for 6-7 hours today before eventually falling asleep on me. I've started feeling dizzy this last week or so... I'm just starting to lose it I think.
I'm hoping someone can offer me some advice or hold my hand, but am feeling lousy enough as is so please don't lay into me for my parenting choices.
You haven't created any habits, every baby is different and you're doing a great job. If you're happy to keep co-sleeping and it works, then do it. I did it 2 years with ds. People said I was making a rod for my own back, but I had a baby without getting out of bed at night for 2 years, and then he went straight into his toddler bed, so I never had a problem. At 6 months and EBF he may be getting hungry. Have you thought about introducing some food? Baby porridge or pureed veg? Babies are hard, it doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong.
You sound like you're doing a great job. It is hard at that age and I think the most important thing is to remember the rod for your own back stuff re cosleeping/feeding to sleep is pure nonsense. IME babies either learn how to settle alone with time or sleep training (when developmentally appropriate) sorts it out. So chuck the guilt and just carry on doing whatever works. It won't be forever!
Re daytime naps, I found the 2-3-4 method really helpful from 6 months for spacing naps and ensuring DC didn't get overtired. First nap 2 hrs after waking, second nap 3 hours after that and bedtime 4 hours later. So, wake at 730, nap around 930. Wake at 1030, nap at 130. Wake at 330, bedtime at 730. Obviously this is an example & it won't always happen but it's a good structure.
I'd go with whatever most reliably gets them to sleep - so sling & a walk or buggy/ walk for naps 1 & 3, and perhaps cot for nap2? But don't sweat the where. All that mattered for my two DC was that they had a sleep during their sleep Windows.
Agree with pp who mentioned weaning, introducing meals might help to give structure to the day and help to fill her up a little bit so you can space feeds out a bit more?
But mainly lots of solidarity, and hand holding. You're doing great and it will become a lot easier quite quickly. I remember 6 months as a time when I thought "I can't do this anymore" re the sleep deprivation, nap nightmares and general unpredictability, but there was a bit of calm round the corner soon after.
You've ruined nothing and are doing a great job. Sounds exactly like my two and completely normal. Mine were very, very hard work at that stage. I don't honestly think there is much you can do other than to do what works now and remember that this is just a phase. They really do start to do so many new things at this age that you will probably feel like you have a completely different child by next month.
It's hard if you've moved, but if you have met new people don't worry about seeming needy, just get in touch! If they also have small babies they will probably leap at the chance of a coffee. I knew no one when I had my first dc and I also worried about seeming needy. The two people I felt I probably seemed neediest to turned out to be fab and I subsequently gained two wonderful God children.
Thank you. I think it's all just catching up with me. I'm crying a lot and just feeling like I have no more ideas or patience or sanity.
I've just started weaning her onto food, though she gives the appearance of being pretty disgusted by everything so I feel like we have a way to go before she's filling up a bit more. I was so determined to breastfeed, up until she was 4 months old I had repeated blocked milk ducts and developed mastitis once. I'm now wondering if I should give her formuler, but in my heart of hearts I really don't want to.
I'm just desperate for her not to cry so much and to get some sleep.
Don't want to stop cosleeping or bf as I really do believe they're the best thing I can offer her. I appreciate the support - thank you.
It is hard when you first start weaning as they still have as many milk feeds but you're also fitting in solids too so I remember if being a bit of a treadmill of feeding. But it's really not long until it improves. Bf gets easier as they start to reduce feeds a bit and you'll soon find you can satisfy them with a snack. Sleep also got better for both of mine once they started moving which happened at 6-7 months for both. Keep going - when it got too much for me, I'd put the baby in the pram and just walk, normally with something g nice for me to eat
Please don't give yourself a hard time, you've trusted your instincts and done what has felt right to you, FWIW, I think I'm a similar 'cave woman' type - baby cries, I cuddle, offer feed, keep them close (so the wolf won't get them it's primitive I reckon!)
I was also going to suggest the 2-3-4 as pp says. At around 6-8 months I used it with dc3, (although I think a lot of people find you might need to add an additional cat nap in initially if your baby doesn't take long naps yet). I needed the structure to work with, as up to that point, ds2 happily slept in the school runs and with feeds, but when he started getting wriggly and interested in stuff it didn't work so well. For me, I needed the flexibility of knowing he'd sleep out and about when needed, so I set aside a week to go out for a walk with him in the pram twice a day, roughly the same time, then after that I started putting him in the pram in the kitchen-diner at the same times, and now at 20 months he still has his one nap in his pram in the kitchen if we're not out and about. Simple nap time routine, - nappy, rock-a-bye baby cd on, plus white noise app or washing machine (he often fell asleep to the wash in the morning when I had it on! Now it works quite well as a cue!) then push him 5 mins or so and he's off.
Can't really suggest anything for the evening, still working that one out dc3 @ 20 months and I still haven't learnt!
If you think the dizziness could be more than exhaustion then maybe just consider iron deficiency? I got this at around 5 months and felt much better with supplements. I was taking supplements but wasn't absorbing them properly (IBS). May well not be relevant to you but just thought I'd mention.
I think it is a hard time about 6 months because it feels like you've been doing it forever, sleep deprivation is really bad and there's no sign of dropping any feeds yet. Personally I did controlled crying which worked really well for us but I know it's not for everyone.
I hope you feel more positive soon - good luck.
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