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Feeders to sleep. Did you ever get babysitters?

(11 Posts)
dorisbonkers Sun 08-Nov-09 09:24:48

My daughter is 1 year old and co-sleeps and feeds to sleep (or is walked in a sling). She doesn't sleep through and varies in how easy she gets to sleep but usually wakes every 2-3 hours, then a longer chunk at night and then is on and off the boob from 5am onwards.

I've found it very hard at times (the sheer unrelenting physicality of it) but have largely made my peace with it, accepted this is how it is with my child and that we are not going down the route of sleep training. Not yet anyway.

But I bumped into a friend in my building with a baby a similar age on her way out with her husband and they were going to leave the baby with the granny and go out properly and pick him up the next day.

I just broke down when I got to our flat. I won't lie, I felt jealous. Pure and simple. It just reminded me that we've not had time to ourselves. Ironically when we lived in Singapore my baby would settle in an Amby and we had a housekeeper who was wonderful with my baby and we had a few nights off.

Now in the UK my mother has babysat in our flat for a few hours but of course she wouldn't settle and she put her in a cot and left her to cry angry until I came down (we were at neighbours) and sorted it out. So it was stressful for both and she's never offered again. But I have other friends and may accept that it's one of those situations where her sleep will suffer just this once so I can let off steam (I'm going insane, I need this)

So, if you fed to sleep, did you ever ever use a baby sitter you trusted?

foxytocin Sun 08-Nov-09 09:35:20

I have no family to help with babysitting either. I would not leave my baby with my mum if she did what yours has done. [sad}

I also feed to sleep. Dh and I have taken dd1 to special works events and stayed at nice hotels and hired professional baby sitters to stay with dd. What I would do in your position would be to let my toddler have a late nap and then let her stay up with the baby sitter. Baby sitter would entertain her with books, toys and a little older, colouring in. She was a right boob monster so because the 'do' was inevitably in the same hotel, i'd pop up and feed her to sleep when she was getting too unsettled. I could then go back a few more hours.

As she got less dependent on me to be put to sleep, and this will vary from child to child, she'd eventually go to sleep even for a stranger. Like you I have made my peace with it and with having no help at all with my babies. You have made a hard but admirable decision.

It sounds like you had a wonderful housekeeper in Singapore who had bonded beautifully with your dd. I suspect she was from the Philippines or Indonesia?

ChairmumMiaow Sun 08-Nov-09 09:39:58

We went out in the early days (after around 6 months) by getting DS to sleep then going straight out and leaving him with someone familiar. He might be a bit upset if he woke and we weren't there, but he would get cuddled and distracted and be fine. We just went out to a film or something.

After around 15 months, if he wasn't asleep after his milk, DH would settle him to get him used to the idea that there were other ways to get to sleep. Now, while he always has milk before bed if I am around, he can settle with just cuddles (he has been in a toddler bed since around 14mo so we just lie down with him, or DH sits down next to him and DS cuddles his arm).

He even, at around 19mo, went to stay with his favourite auntie. He has different expectations with other people. He went to sleep with no problems, slept in her bed with her and was easily comforted when he woke in the night. He didn't even complain in the morning and we didn't collect him till around 9am!

Anyway, my point is that they do different things for different people and if there is someone who you know will not do things you will be very unhappy with, and who your DD likes, go for it. (DSIL does things differently, but DS is fine because she's not me!)

DS still feeds to sleep around 4 nights a week at 21 mo. Its a very useful tool I will not be getting rid of till I have to!

BeehiveBaby Sun 08-Nov-09 09:42:47

I thought it was rare to have settling as part of a babysitting session. Mine were parented to sleep in some way but at 6:45pm so less of a problem. My mum gave us one night out at 14months with DD1 but she ended up sleeping on an armchair holding DDs hand through the cot bars blush. Bedtime would be too much to ask with two so it's not really occured to me. Your housekeeper sounds lovely, you were lucky to have that rather than the other way round I think smile.

dorisbonkers Sun 08-Nov-09 10:18:17

To be fair to my mother, she was just seeing if she'd chunter for five minutes and then fall asleep (yes, I know....) She's only had one child and I was a breastfed self settler and she can't believe me when I say my daughter needs (she thinks I'm creating the problem) parenting to sleep.

Yes, it's a double-edged sword isn't it. Useful but can feel like a huge tie.

Thanks for your advice. I think I will try my mother again but keep my baby up and do an early dinner and see how that goes.

Yes, the lady in Singapore was from Philippines. Had no children of her own but grew up with hundreds and was kind and had an easy manner with my daughter. She didn't live in and was expensive for babysitting but she was lovely, DD loved her and we trusted her.

I miss her!

BertieBotts Sun 08-Nov-09 10:41:02

When I have left DS with someone, I have found that he settles better with someone he knows well who is going to respond to him when he cries and try everything rather than getting frustrated when one thing didn't work. I know I am lucky to have such a person available though - when I have left him with my partner (relationship not good) he has not settled as well. I think this is because he lacks patience TBH.

When my sister looks after DS she has managed to settle him by taking him out for a walk in the pushchair or sling, distracting with lots of physical playing to tire him out, cuddling and rocking him in a rocking chair, watching some slow-moving, soothing TV (In The Night Garden seems to calm him down when he is overtired), and giving a bottle of milk. None of them are garuanteed to work though so she just tries everything. I haven't left him overnight though and about half of the times he has waited up for me to get home before he would sleep (or has woken up and won't go back to bed without me) - I don't mind this too much as long as he is happy - it usually means I get a lie in!

tryingtoleave Sun 08-Nov-09 10:57:38

We did the same as foxytocin with ds - let him stay up and play with the babysitter. He used to go to bed quite late so it wasn't too much of a change for him. But dd (11 months) is so clingy at the moment I can't imagine doing that with her and she often wakes up 40 minutes after being put down, so I can't leave her asleep. So I am also feeling very jealous of people who get to go out and people who have family to help them. But I do think it will get better soon. Ds started sleeping much better at around 18 months...

tryingtoleave Sun 08-Nov-09 10:59:55

Just looked again at your post. I fed ds to sleep and now walk dd to sleep - but I can't see why that would make a difference with the babysitter. My problem has always been that my children don't sleep through the evening (ds started at 18 months, I think). If you have 2-3 hours why can't you go out for a quick meal?

dorisbonkers Sun 08-Nov-09 11:29:08

Yes, will try again and do an early supper and expect her to stay up. If she sleeps then that's a bonus. Will not get arseholed so can feed her on return.

itshappenedagain Sun 08-Nov-09 12:20:11

could you express and ask babysitter to put bottle under arm so baby still gets the comfort that she needs...i found that this worked when my nan looked sgter my DS when i had to go back to lectures in uni...was co-sleeper and breastfed on demand!

iamaLeafontheWind Sun 08-Nov-09 22:25:59

Can you bring the party to you? Have people round & dress up. Invite mother to babysit and go out to a club late - cheaper and quicker but still feels like a full night of fun. We did this by using a serviced apartment in Leeds & left MIL at about 10.30 to go out dancing, was exhusted and back by 2.30.

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