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I really am at the end of my tether. Please please give me some advice.

(23 Posts)
Birdsnotbees Tue 26-Jul-11 06:16:39

DD1 is 5 months. I also have a 3.5 yr old DS. DD started off sleeping well. She has a bed nest (attached to our bed) and slept 10-11 hours from 3 months. I bf her and she won't take a bottle. 8 weeks ago her sleep started to deteriorate. I wasn't surprised - 4 mo sleep regression, early teething and so on - but instead of getting back to normal it has got worse and worse.

She now will only sleep next to me, and basically wants to feed every half hour. I put her to bed at 6pm but it now takes 2.5 hours to settle her, and then I get about an hour if I'm lucky before she starts waking up. Previously she'd be asleep by 7pm and would wake at the earliest at midnight.

She barely sleeps during the day. I can't get her to nap, although she desperately needs it. She wakes 10-30 mins after going to sleep, even if she's being moved around in the pushchair, being bounced in her bouncy chair, being driven around in the car. So she spends pretty much all day screaming at me because she's tired but I could just about cope with that until she stopped sleeping at night.

I am getting depressed. I spend so much of my time angry and in tears. I sometimes hate her. I shout at my DH all the time and sometimes I hate him as well, just because I need someone to blame. He can't do anything because the baby won't respond to anyone bar me and because she won't take a bottle.

She wants to feed all the time. I don't want to feed her any more. I can't stand her being near me and yet I have to have her in my arms otherwise she screams and screams and doesn't stop. Last night I tried to settle her without putting her on the boob and she basically fought me - screaming so loudly it hurt my ear, flailing her arms and legs. I held her all the time, rocking her and singing to her but it made no difference. She just screamed and only stopped when I fed her.

I can't sleep. She wants to be in my bed, but when she is I can't sleep, basically because she just suckles constantly.

I don't understand how this happened. She was doing so well. I was careful not to let her fall asleep on the boob and she'd go into her cot awake, turn her head to one side and go to sleep. It sometimes took 2 or 3 goes but we always managed it. I always sat up with her and did this specifically so that this situation wouldn't happen. But it happened anyway.

I am starting to have suicidal thoughts. My DH thinks I have PND but it's not PND, I am just exhausted. I never get a lie in, no one can ever take the baby because she feeds so frequently, I can't sleep when she sleeps because she basically doesn't and worst of all my poor, poor DS (3.5 years) just doesn't get a look in because she's so bloody demanding and I am so bloody tired. I miss my DS. I am being a shit mum to him and clearly am a shit mum to my DD, as otherwise she wouldn't be doing this.

I don't want to leave her to cry. I don't think it would work and it goes against my parenting instincts, but I don't know what else to do. I just don't know what to do. I need a break. I don't need a great deal of sleep, I never expected her to sleep through, and I can deal with 2-3 wakings a night but it's every half hour and getting worse and no evenings to myself, no time to myself at all.

I keep reading all the books on sleep and none of them seem to apply. I've been doing the No Cry Sleep Solution since day 1.

I know this is a long rant and I'm not sure anyone will respond. But if you have any ideas or advice or even just had a baby like this - I don't know anyone who has a baby like mine and when I tell people she doesn't sleep during the day they look at me like I'm insane. And my neighbours think I'm some sort of terrible mother because every time I take her out she screams.

I never wanted it to be like this. I didn't expect it to be such a fight, such a struggle. I just want to spend time with my kids. I didn't expect it to be easy, I can deal with being tired but this? This I can't deal with and I'm worried that I will hurt myself or my baby.

3littlefrogs Tue 26-Jul-11 06:29:58

It sounds as if you are both in a cycle of exhaustion and overstimulation.

Is it possible that you are so worn out that your supply has dwindled?

I am very pro breast feeding, but in your situation, I think I would insist that DH gives her a bottle, just at bed time - she will take it, if you are not there. (Actually - although mine were all exclusively breast fed, they would take EBM from a sippy cup at 5 months). Mine wouldn't take a bottle from me because they could smell "me" IYSWIM. Your DH needs to help, not just tell you you are depressed.

You need to talk to your HV or GP urgently. You are exhausted and unable to solve this without help.

How is her weight?

You have done really well to breast feed her till now, but you have to think of your own health and sanity.

Sorry to post and run - I have to go to work now, but didn't want to leave your post unanswered.

Happygomummy Tue 26-Jul-11 06:43:29

If you don't mind me be direct, then I think the first thing you need to do is book an appointment with your GP. You do sound depressed (and even state it yourself).

I think you should also speak go your health visitor. Have you considered weaning?

I totally understand the not wanting to leave your baby to cry however I think you MUST allow your husband to take her more often. Do you have any other family or friends nearby who could help? I also think persisting with the bottle is important. It probably means it may get harder before it gets better, but it will get better.

I think the key thing is to get a practical solution in place which focuses on YOUR need for sleep. This is not being selfish, you need your sleep to function as a mum.

Finally, and very importantly, you are NOT a shut mum. The fact you are so tired indicates just how much effort you are putting in.

You can, and will, do it. But you must get help. To repeat, please see your GP.

Best wishes xx

SittingBull Tue 26-Jul-11 06:53:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SonicMiddleAge Tue 26-Jul-11 07:01:59

Not taking a bottle is hard. I remember pumping, and actually crying as I handed over the bottle to dh to try and feed her saying something along the lines of "do you want to try and feed her first or shall we just pour it straight down the sink". Firstly, I also remember phoning all the allegedly supportive breast feeding numbers (leche league etc) becasue she had to take the bottle as I was going back to work, and being told "why are you going to wok if bf is going so well"...
In the end, taking the bottle will almost certainly need you to leave the house (not just the room) for long enough until the baby gets hungary enough to take it. And your dh needs to set aside the day to do so knowing it will be frustrating and hard work, (and emphatically not give in an hour later and call you to come home). Prob will need at least a morning, if not most of a day. Idelaly on a weekend when you can repeat the next day. After that, try and set aside a specific feed (I always liked 8pm as meant I could have a glass of wine) that is always a bottle feed from your dh. My girls by the way never took bottles from me, only dh. But that had a plus side too, as when they got to one and I weaned them, he had to do all the night duties...

That being the case, why don't you try and make a virtue of a necessity, and take a couple of hours out for you (something restful), then take your 3yr old out for a special morning together, while dh cracks on with introducing the bottle? Once you can share feeds the situation will be, while still hard work, at least work you can both share.

DialMforMummy Tue 26-Jul-11 07:06:13

I second what has been said above. Book GP appointment and get yourself some help (husband, family friends) so you can get some sleep.
I understand that your DD won't take the bottle at the mo but no child will let themselves starve if offered with an alternative (it will probably hard work though). Your priority should be to get some sleep. Good luck.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 26-Jul-11 07:17:22

lots of good advice here already

you are not a shit mum. you are exhausted. They use sleep deprivation as a form of torture, it is not surprising you feel so bad.

I would also try taking the baby to see a cranial osteopath, just to rule out any physical problem causing this continuous waking. I think it would be worth doing just in case. It made all the difference to my DD sleep, the change was instantaneous.

Also do think that you need to hand the baby over, after a feed, get your DH to take her and your DS out for a walk and go back to bed at the weekends. He will cope, the baby has not been left to cry, she is with her father (or someone else who loves her). You need to prioritise your need for some sleep.

flimflammery Tue 26-Jul-11 07:49:31

That sounds utterly horrible, anyone would struggle to cope with it. If you can afford it, you could try the Millpond Sleep Clinic. I found their book very good, but yours sounds like such an extreme case maybe you need professional help from them directly. Good luck.

Northernlurker Tue 26-Jul-11 07:57:40

Ok I agree with everybody else - you are NOT a shit mum. You are a lovely mum who is very, very tired.
You do realise your ds won't ever remember this time? He is too young. He is not thinking that you are letting him down - and you aren't.
I agree it would be good to see the GP or HV - just for a listening ear and a check over. You must be physically wiped out with all the feeding.
I would start to wean as well. As a mother of three stubborn breast fed girls I reckon your chances of introducing a bottle at 5 months are fairly low tbh. So weaning is your other option. I think your dd is exhausted too and if you can break your current cycle up a bit it will help both of your relax a lot.
Do you have a sling? Will she sleep in that if you go out for a walk in it? If so I would take ds to the shops to buy smarties or something and see what you can find to look at on the way. You need to get out too - fresh air will help both of you.

HandMini Tue 26-Jul-11 08:36:52

You poor thing, nothing to add to the above other than to second the recommendation that you see your GP and perhaps also get your DD checked over too, for your own peace of mind (incidentally, I'm not sure why HumphreyCobbler recommends seeing a cranial osteopath to check any physical problems, surely better that a doc does this in the first instance?). Good luck and I hope this is temporary and all will seem brighter soon.

jenrendo Tue 26-Jul-11 08:50:04

Cranial Osteopathy worked wonders for my nephew who wouldn't sleep for more than 90 mins without wanting fed and going crazy. He had a traumatic birth and the osteopath 'straightened him out'. There was an improvement immediately. He went home and slept for 5 hours non stop and after 6 sessions he was much more settled and in a better routine. My poor sister was at the end of her tether and tried this as a last resort.

OhHelpOhNo Tue 26-Jul-11 10:10:50

Birdsnotbees, your post has brought tears to my eyes....I was in the exact same position as you 18m ago. You've had lots of good advice already, you are a brill mum, I can't promise it'll get better quickly but it will get better eventually. Do see gp / hv and do try and get a break...and baby over and go far away for a bit, your baby needs you to be calm and help her through this too.

I can so relate to the feelings of hate and not wanting her close but have you tried a sling at all? It was a bit suffocating to me but the only break I got.

Also I know folk are suggesting bottles but I know that mine, no matter how hungry never took one...he survived though- I even went back to work ft at 10m (the peace and quiet!) he had v small amounts of water/milk in a cup there but mainly bf at night to make up for it.

Our crunch point came at 15m when we decided to get him out if our bed...DH took over after eve feed til 5am, it was noisy and there wasn't much sleep by anyone but after about 2-3wks it got better, it's still (a 22m) not great but so much better than the every 45mins that it was 7m ago.

You're not alone, it will get better and by sticking it out you really are the v v v best mum you can be. Big big hugs and chocolate/cake is your friend grin

OhHelpOhNo Tue 26-Jul-11 10:13:20

Also Oesteopathy did help a bit- make sure you fine one who specialises in babies/kids and book yourself an appointment too, I waited 20m before I went and feel so much less old/achey/uncomfortable for it. Feel free to pm me if you ever need to offload, etc

OhHelpOhNo Tue 26-Jul-11 10:13:46

Fine = find, sorry

bigkidsdidit Tue 26-Jul-11 10:41:41

Oh you poor thing

My DS woke every 45 minutes too, after the 4 month sleep regression. It's unbearable, isn't it - so many nights DH would find me collapsed sobbing on the floor by the cot. Now, at 6.5 months, he generally sleeps through, bar teething etc. It can be done!

Firstly, find the sleep nightmares III thread here and go on it - there are lots of women in te same position and you will get lots of support. Everyone on it is going their own way, so you should find a method that works for you. For me, it was gradual night weaning and getting DH to do half he night, so DS gradually stopped needing to suck to sleep. It was tough but the worst night of 'training' - I never let him cry so I don't think it is real sleep training - was better than the hopeless nights before.

Good luck

bigkidsdidit Tue 26-Jul-11 10:43:35

P.s. Pm me if you want any more details x

CinnabarRed Tue 26-Jul-11 10:52:07

As an interim measure, have you tried carrying her around in a sling? She can cat-nap in a sling when she needs to, and breastfeed too with a bit of practice. At least it would allow you to spend a bit more time with DS.

I had the Kari-Me sling, and found it to be excellent.

(((hugs)))

dm1mum Tue 26-Jul-11 14:16:24

OP this sounds awful - I really, really feel for you. Had similar (but much less severe) problems with my DS2 from about 15 weeks. I was lucky that he still napped and would sleep some reasonable spells if in our bed. He didn't feed all night like yours and I was still totally miserable. The feelings of guilt about the time I wasn't spending with my DS1 were overwhelming too.

Please start gathering support. I think you need to get your DD checked by the GP to rule out any physical causes. You also need your own appointment to discuss how you are feeling. My GP and HV were both good once I told them - they obviously couldn't solve the sleep issues overnight but just talking to someone understanding did help a bit. Have you any friends and family that can even just be there during the day? I understand the bfeeding problem but, even if you are stuck on the couch, having someone to play with your DS, make lunch, bring you tea, help round the house might make things brighter. Re the bottle I agree that this will be really hard and you will need help from DH and others to switch her over.

Please phone the GP today x

Birdsnotbees Tue 26-Jul-11 14:49:05

Thank you all so much for your support and kind words. I didn't think anyone would actually read my essay. I can't tell you how much it means to me to have you tell me I'm not a shit mum.

I have booked an appt (for me) with the GP. And I have also asked DH to come home on time and put DD to bed half an hour later - I'm going to go for a run every day to try and get some me time/raise my endorphins (I love running so it's not a horrible thing for me - I've really missed doing it).

And I have bitten the bullet and started DD on baby rice today. She loved it, gobbled it down and I actually stopped feeding her before she wanted to, so maybe some of this is due to hunger. I don't know, not getting my hopes up, but at least if she starts on solids it will matter less about the bottle, at least during the day.

On bottles: I have tried since she was about 10 wks old, and have now tried every type of bottle going. Part of the problem is that I can't get much/any milk when I express, mainly because I'm so tired and she feeds so frequently. I get 1oz in 20 mins if I'm lucky & usually don't get 20 mins during the day anyway... have also tried formula. Nadda.

I'm just so tired and so confused, I can't see a way out. And maybe there's not, maybe it'll just take time, but I keep thinking what if it's not? What if sitting it out will make it worse and it'll never get better? I'm tortured by the thought that I'm doing it wrong, making it worse, but equally by the guilt that if I leave her to cry I will damage her. I know there's much debate about CC and i don't judge anyone that does it, but I absolutely can't do it to her - if I leave her to go to the loo she is utterly, utterly terrified - it's heartbreaking. DS was never like that (he just got cross) and so for her CC would be awful. Or maybe it wouldn't, maybe I'm just a soft touch, and round and round the arguments go in my head...

I will also try osteopathy etc. - worth a try. Anything is!

Thank you again. I'mabiggirlnow - thanks for the PM.

Flippingebay Tue 26-Jul-11 14:57:11

You've had loads of great advice on here so I won't add to it.

As others have said, use your support network, it doesn't mean you can't cope!! Being exhaused is horrid and I feel so much for you.

In a non MN way hugs

TerrysNo2 Tue 26-Jul-11 16:07:51

Has your DH tried with the bottles, as others have said, if she knows you are an option because you are giving her the bottle she won't bother but if your DH tries it might be more successful. My DS had a bottle from 2 weeks old but occasionally he would flat out refuse and scream until I came and breastfed him, at times to make him get used to the bottle I used to take my nipple out and pop the bottle in instead, this is a bit pointless to do all the time (as you still do it) but you could try it to see if it works?

If the bottles aren't working also try a Doidy Cup, these are very good for BF babies.

You are not a bad mum!

And this will pass, honestly smile

Good luck!

Lastyearsmodel Tue 26-Jul-11 16:19:54

Along with all the good advice here... please don't doubt your supply. Being tired will not affect it and feeding as often as you are will only increase your supply. Expressing can be a poor indicator of supply and can just be about how well your body does expressing.

The sleep deprivation is sooooo grim. It will slowly get better. Keep on getting those little bits of time to yourself too - it makes a real difference.

Teaandcakeplease Fri 29-Jul-11 20:49:56

My 2 year old son is sleeping badly right now (need to drop his final nap) and I'm on my way to bed. I just wanted to say my son was ebf until 6 months and wouldn't take a bottle. I finally found one at 6 months by NUK that he took with some ebm in and within days I changed it to formula blush I was exhausted blush (The only breast pump that would get enough milk out for me was the electric medela swing btw first thing in the morning.) He also wouldn't take a dummy at all which I found hard as it worked wonders with my DC1. I really feel for you. You've had some great advice and I'm glad you're going to the GP. I remember the feelings of anger with my son like it was yesterday when he fed all the time and slept badly but then feeling bad for feeling like that. This too shall pass, you do sound like a wonderful caring mum. Just tired x

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