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Desperate- long (apologies)

(10 Posts)
kiwikaterpillar Sun 20-Oct-13 09:22:44

I am desperate for some help. My DD will be 6 months old next week (although she was a little early-5 weeks). She is ebf on demand at present and still feeding around 2 hourly during the day (sometimes she may go 3 hours between feeds). This I can cope with, my big issue is night time.
She wakes up every 1-2 hours at night and it is killing me. I feed her to sleep (bedtime routine of bath, story, lullaby and boob starts at 6ish so in bed by 7). I manage to get her to sleep in her cot for the first bit and maybe after one wake up (this in itself took me ages to sort as she is a Velcro baby at heart) but then I crack and bring her into the bed with me. She continues to wake and feed every 1-2 hours during the night until she wakes properly for the day at 7am.
I don't want to stop bf as I love doing it but I really need her to stretch out the sleeps between feeds as I'm a walking dead person and finding it hard to function. DH thinks I need to get tough but tbh I don't want to leave her to cry and also I'm so shattered that when she wakes I offer the boob as I know it will get her back to sleep hmm. The past two nights for one waking I have managed to settle her by holding her hand but this is the exception not the norm. I can't even night wean as she is only 5.5kg and the nurse says she will need to feed at least once at night as she is still small.
I don't know where to begin or what to do. I don't think she needs to feed as often as she is at night but I can't in all good conscience not offer in case she is hungry. My DH thinks I need to get tough, easy for him to say- he works nights so I don't have support then ( and he gets 8 hours unbroken sleep a day, god that sounds so bitter).

Any help or thoughts would be appreciated. I fee like something had to give- not helped by most of my ante natal class whinging if they get woken up once a night.

SlightlyItchyBraStrap Sun 20-Oct-13 09:49:24

When dh gets home can he take her for a bit before going to sleep so you can catch up on rest?

What stood out for me from your post is how unsupportive your dh is. "Getting tough"will not solve the problem; this is normal baby behavior that she will outgrow. You are being a great mum, but you need support so you can function.

kiwikaterpillar Sun 20-Oct-13 10:08:16

Thanks for your kind words.

DH takes her for an hour maybe twice a week so I can cat nap. That sounds more unsupportive then he really is. Things are a bit unsettled at the moment, we are staying at a friends as our house is being repaired (we are in christchurch, NZ and it was damaged in the big earthquake) and what with moving out and dealing with insurance, project managers etc it seems like most days there just isn't time for a nap for me (not helped by the fact that DD will only nap on me during the day). I feel like I have done everything wrong...

minipie Sun 20-Oct-13 11:59:17

First, you have my sympathies - DD was like this for a while (and she was prem too with all the associated stress and reflux etc) and it near killed me.

Most likely it is not hunger that is waking your DD (if she feeds well in the day she might need one or two night feeds, maybe even three, but not what you're describing). What's probably happening is that she is semi waking every time she comes to the end of a sleep cycle. She doesn't know how to drift off into the next sleep cycle without your boob, so she wakes fully and calls for you. If you can teach her to self settle without the boob, the wakings should drop dramatically (at least they did for us) - she should then only wake when genuinely hungry or teething etc not just to get herself back to sleep.

So how do you teach self settling? We used controlled crying - very difficult and many on MN don't approve, but it worked within a day, dd went immediately from 6/7 wakes per night to only one. There is also gradual retreat, this also involves crying but you stay with her (though we found this actually upset dd more). or there is the no cry sleep solution, I haven't tried it but have seen lots of recs on here - I believe it's an even more gradual version of gradual retreat - no crying but takes a loooong time and lots of patience so depends on how "walking dead" you are really.

minipie Sun 20-Oct-13 12:04:46

cross posted. You haven't done everything wrong at all, you've done what was absolutely the best thing at the time. it's easy to look back with hindsight and think "why didn't I do x instead" but, as a good friend said to me, if you could have you would have.

oh and your DH should be taking her for more. It's not right that he gets 8hours unbroken sleep and you get the mess you're getting. if he works nights then he should take her for at least 2 hours every day so you can sleep. He can manage fine on 6 hours sleep for a while (unless he's a fighter pilot or brain surgeon or something).

SlightlyItchyBraStrap Sun 20-Oct-13 12:37:53

Agreed - if there's time for dh to sleep, there's time for him to hold the baby while you sleep!

It's really hard to change what you're doing when you're so sleep deprived, so I would say focus on getting more sleep yourself for a couple of weeks and then turn your attention to a long tern strategy,.. Read up on various approaches to decide what will work for you. No cry sleep solution worked well for us.

SlightlyItchyBraStrap Sun 20-Oct-13 12:39:45

And hang in there. I know how hard it is. My 4 month old is doing the same thing. But having been through it before with dc1 I am coping better this time!

EmmaLL25 Sun 20-Oct-13 13:35:14

We had/have the same with 5 month boy. Waking every hour or so to feed/resettle (bf). We are making very slow changes - started with pulling off boob when almost asleep. Now I'm lifting to burp and then putting down I'm cot - this wouldn't have worked a month ago but now is. We also managed to get Dad to do first wake up of night - again never would have worked a month ago.

Last night we got 2 x 3hr chunks of sleep! Did feed back to sleep for these wakings. We have also weaned (our boy is over 7kg though).

Not sure if its the gentle pull of method working, the weaning or just developmental/age. Also I dont feed to sleep for naps (pram or sling).

So it can get better without horrible crying! Stick in there, you're doing great by your wee one!

kiwikaterpillar Sun 20-Oct-13 19:55:01

Emma, Slightly and Minipie thank you so much.
I think I will ask DH to not go climbing this week so that I can catch up on some sleep in a couple of afternoons. Hopefully then I may feel like I can make a start at tackling the problem.
I may try pulling her off the boob before she is properly asleep first and see how that goes. It's good to hear that you guys have managed to crack things and that there are different ways to try if one doesn't work.
Just knowing that this won't last forever and hearing the words of encouragement has made all the difference after another night of maybe 2-3 hours of broken sleep. Thank you. smile

minipie Mon 21-Oct-13 09:16:55

Good luck kiwi. Am a bit hmm and shock that your DH would even consider going climbing every week when you are walking dead but I'll leave that one up to you!

sounds like Emma has some good ideas for moving gently towards self settling - pull off before fully asleep and using non boob related methods for naps sound good.

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