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Desperately needing some MN support - night weaning/attention seeking/room sharing nightmare

(30 Posts)
DecapitatedLegoman Tue 16-Aug-11 07:54:25

DD is 11 months and DS is 4. We have a 2 bed house. DD is BF and wakes constantly for feeds. DS has started waking a few times a week with spurious reasons. I am chronically exhausted and DH works shifts so can't help much or consistently.

I moved DD's cot into DS's room thinking she might sleep better away from me. What's actually happening is she's disturbing him sometimes and I am therefore rushing to feed her, and sometimes they're both awake which ends up being a prolonged nightmare. I often take her into bed with me to settle her with a BF and save her waking him up.

DH is on night shift this week so I am alone. I was thinking that maybe DS is insecure seeing how much attention DD gets at night, so I could move him into my bed for the week and use the time to night-wean DD. I never night-weaned DS though so I don't really know where to start.

I am bloody knackered and I could really use some help to formulate a plan on how to go about this, or at 2am some night I'll cave and be back to square one. Please, any suggestions welcomed, I'm too tired to go on like this. sad

DecapitatedLegoman Tue 16-Aug-11 09:24:43

Please - anyone?

DecapitatedLegoman Tue 16-Aug-11 13:42:23

Last gasp attempt to garner some advice - am I needing to teach her to "self settle" here or just trying to teach her that she won't get milk so there's no point in waking up? Because I only have 6 nights to do it in. I don't mind settling her any which way except feeding but obviously that's not the same as self settling.

RaisingMrC Tue 16-Aug-11 14:55:11

Hi - didn't want your message to go unanswered! I'm not an expert but can tell you what I did with DS who also woke frequently to feed.

How does your DD go to sleep at the start of the night? I stopped feeding DS to sleep when he was 7 months and shush patted instead. The first night involved a lot of crying before he eventually fell asleep and after that he seemed to "get" it. Over time he has become better at falling asleep without help, though this goes out of the window if over tired.

I nightweaned him at 11 months - I offered him water and stroked / patted him instead. He only cried for about 20 minutes the first night and then after that was fine with it.

I have to say though that night weaning did not automatically lead to him sleeping through. He is 12 and a half months now, he sleeps through about 1 night in 3, otherwise he wakes 1-2 times and needs a bit of stroking to go back off.

I couldn't really face doing something rapid such as controlled crying as he does work himself up into a frenzy if left. Controlled crying is supposed to work quickly - but I don't think it suits all DCs (or parents!).

DecapitatedLegoman Tue 16-Aug-11 19:08:10

Well she's been roaring for half an hour already just because I figured self settling must be the goal rather than night weaning. She wants me to rub her back. Feel dreadful, I'm not a CC person. sad

JudysDreamHorse Tue 16-Aug-11 19:11:36

I've got my DS down to one feeda night at 10mo. I night weaned gradually reducing the time he fed by a minute every couple of nights. My DS was getting most of the milk in the first five minutes. Maybe you could feed for 5 mins for tge next two nights, 3 mins for the next two and stop on the last two. Not sure how easy it will be as it would be quite fast. It didn't stop my DS waking though - we're doing a gradual retreat sleep training plan and it's only now we're touching him less as he falls asleep that he's doing much longer stretches. Good luck.

DecapitatedLegoman Tue 16-Aug-11 19:19:03

This is it Judy, it's all mixed up. She doesn't feed to sleep at bedtime but she gets cuddled to sleepy then put down and her back rubbed or patted. I've given up and rubbed her back for a minute because the screaming was escalating so much and she's sound asleep now. I don't know what to do or how to reduce it because if I stop too soon she just sits up and we're back to square one. Also until now I've been taking her into bed with me after my bedtime when she wakes, so she feeds to sleep then. What a mess sad

DecapitatedLegoman Tue 16-Aug-11 20:00:27

I was planning to say no BFs until 5am but I'm wondering if it'll be better to start with a target of 3am and work forward gradually in the weeks to come? Sorry, really unsure what to do for the best.

Chooster Tue 16-Aug-11 21:00:35

Hi legoman - I'm in a very similar boat although you're a step ahead in that you aren't feeding to sleep in the evening. DS3 is 8 months old and despite having quite a good sleep routine with DS's 1 and 2 I've cut corners with DS3 mainly due to needing sleep and panicing in case he woke up the older 2. So the result is that he feeds to sleep and wakes about 4 times a night, and becasue I'm so so tired I just bring him into bed and feed him to sleep. But its a vicious cirlce because as soon as he stirs he seeks out milk to nod him back off.... I've become a big human dummy.

So, I've no advise so far other I would think that teaching them to self settle would be the first thing to try to crack. Because if they can slef settle then they should be able to get back off to sleep when stirring in the night. I've just dug out my no-cry sleep solution book and I'm going to skim read it tonight. I'll let you know what I find out but perhaps we can share some tips over the next few days as I really really need to crack this. I getting so tired...

NormanTebbit Tue 16-Aug-11 21:12:25

Hi I have three on one room aged 2,4,7. Some ideas:

Can you put the four year old in your room to sleep temporarily?

Could you and your DP sleep in the front room temporarily and give the kids a room each?

I went for the easy life option - DD3 in cot and then in bed with me once she wakes. She is now sharing with her sisters but regularly wakes and gets in with us. Fortunately she was easy to wean off the breast at 12 months.

We chose the path of least resistance after trying CC which disturbed the other two and led to DD 1 feeling tired at school. DD3 is gradually starting to sleep through in her cot but it hasn't been easy.

DecapitatedLegoman Tue 16-Aug-11 21:56:37

Thanks for your replies. Chooster, it sounds very similar. DS was like that, BF to sleep always. DD has always been easier to get to sleep than DS (we weaned him off BFing to sleep by 12 months but onto rocking instead - big mistake!). IKWYM about being so tired you bring them into bed and it becomes a vicious circle - DS still took night feeds at 2 years old, even after he'd given up feeding in the day - it was daft. But when you're so exhausted you do it before you're awake enough to even realise you're doing it. I've dug out my NCSS but haven't had time to sit down with it for any length of time today.

Norman, I've got DS in my bed for the next few nights so I can persuade DD to go to sleep without her disturbing him. Which will bugger up his sleep all over again doubtless but I feel he needs extra reassurance just now anyway so we'll cross that bridge in time.

I should go to bed now and prepare for the onslaught ...

NormanTebbit Tue 16-Aug-11 22:01:14

Oh it's horrible isn't it.

But just remember this will pass. It really will.

DecapitatedLegoman Wed 17-Aug-11 02:32:52

So. She's awake and howling but not asking for milk. She just wants to be rocked. If I lie her down she gets up. But if I fed her in my bed now we'd both doze off. Even though that's not what she woke up for. So I can't see what this will achieve confused and howling but not asking for milk. She just wants to be rocked. If I lie her down she gets up. But if I fed her in my bed now we'd both doze off. Even though that's not what she woke up for. So I can't see what this will achieve confused

CamperFan Wed 17-Aug-11 09:25:54

Legoman, how was the rest of your night? I had to feed my 9.5 month old 3 times last night. Nothing else would work. I only had to feed him twice in the night when he was a newborn! His room is right next to DS1 but thankfully he doesn't seem to disturb him - yet! But I really don't want to have to feed this many times in the night and I am not sure how to night wean either, or whether I should just stop bfing completely.

Have you got the Elizabeth Pantley book - gentle methods for sleeping, something like that? There are lots of suggestions in there, but I think the most useful thing is the printed plan, that you complete. 2am is not the best time to make a plan. So if you do it beforehand and agree it with your DH, it gives you something consistent to stick to. I don't have any specific ideas sorry, I have to do something soon myself though, before I go mad!

DecapitatedLegoman Wed 17-Aug-11 18:10:40

Hi Camper smile

I lifted her and fed her at about 10.30ish (in her sleep) and then she woke at 1am (settled with a cuddle), 3am (screamed blue murder but wasn't looking for a feed, just crying for some reason), and then again at 5am, and that was us for the day.

Round 2 tonight!

I'll be honest and say that I didn't do anything bar survive at the 9 months stage because their sleep goes tits up anyway - she was awake every night for 90 minutes around 2am, for a couple of weeks!

Chooster Thu 18-Aug-11 21:42:20

hows it going lego? any improvement?

camper , im also thinking of giving up breastfeeding because ds is only bf to sleep because of the association ive created. he doesnt need the milk but when he wakes nothing else will do. last night for us was awful, he only sleeps about 20 mins at a time from about 4am and cries for the boob. thats on top of waking 3 times before then! grrrrrrrrrr

DecapitatedLegoman Thu 18-Aug-11 21:47:58

Hi Chooster smile

I can really sympathise with the BFing to sleep thing - my first was the same and it was dreadful. It's like some sort of nightmarish survival challenge.

Last night went like this:
1030 fed her in her sleep
0200 she woke up
03something she went back to sleep after big tears sad
0511 up for the day

My awesome husband came home from night shift at 5.45am, took one look at me and took the children downstairs until 8am. I almost wept!

She's woken once so far this evening - off to bed soon, will feed her in her sleep again I think.

Woodlands Thu 18-Aug-11 21:49:21

I sympathise legoman. I don't really have any constructive advice for you. I cut out the night feeds at about 10 months - I kept the 11pm feed going longest, but cut out the 4am feed over a couple of nights. The first night I slept in the other room while DH slept in our room with DS (this was before we moved him into his own room). He cried for about 25 minutes before going back to sleep. The next night he cried for about 5 minutes. The next night he woke up but went straight back to sleep. The next night he slept through. We did similar with the 11pm feed.

DecapitatedLegoman Thu 18-Aug-11 22:10:42

She's just woken up gain already. Settled with a cuddle. She's just sore I think, no red cheeks or anything but she tosses her head from side to side and gulps. It has to be teething but it's all the bloody time sad

DecapitatedLegoman Fri 19-Aug-11 09:32:44

Well last night sucked ass, she was awake loads, fed her around 4.30 in the end, not that she settled any better after that.

Feeling quite despondent today - maybe the feeding is nothing to do with the waking and I'm cutting off my nose here sad

Chooster Fri 19-Aug-11 22:26:21

oh legoman! nightmare! we had a shitty night too and he's already woken twice this evening. i just know its going to be a rotten night but at least dh here tomorrow so i can snooze in the morning. hope you can do same. perhaps it is just teething with your dd? dropping night feeds has to be the right thing at your dd's age so you are def doing right thing! lets hope for a better night tonight

DecapitatedLegoman Fri 19-Aug-11 22:53:17

Hey Chooster smile

She woke half an hour ago but settled OK. Will feed her shortly. Cross fingers and persevere etc. Hope your night turns out better than you expect. smile

DecapitatedLegoman Sat 20-Aug-11 08:48:35


Last night went like this:
10.30 awake, settled with a cuddle
11.00 fed (in her sleep)
03.45 YES REALLY! awake, cuddled to sleep. Woke again after 15 mins then another 10 mins later so fed at 04.30 and went to sleep after that
07.10 awake for the day

So she slept a 5 hour stretch! And I had over 4 hours of sleep in one go, more than I've had for months and months!

It might be a total fluke but I'm not giving up yet <grits teeth> grin

DecapitatedLegoman Sat 20-Aug-11 08:49:55

May I just add, Chooster, you have beautiful children smile

Chooster Tue 23-Aug-11 21:27:15

Thank you legoman!! They are rather cute... Even DS3 although less so at 4am smile.

How are things for you??

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