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11 months old, still breastfeeding and waking every 2 hours... Anyone survived this?

(26 Posts)
Jabbathemutt Thu 01-Jan-15 19:55:12

First of all, sorry have seen loads of similar threads but none quite the same. Has anyone been able to sleep train under these circs/have any ideas:

Still breastfeeding in the night, co-sleeping, is 1 in a couple of days. Always fed to sleep. He mostly wakes noisily every 2 hours, sometimes more often.

I feel like a dick, frankly, for letting this happen but understand why it has - we have a three year old that I wanted to keep asleep and they're (eventually) going to have to share the same room.

We're going to start pupd (I think) soon. But should I cut out breastfeeding at the same time? Just go the whole shebang and get them into the same room?

I'm exhausted and can't carry on doing what we're doing.

A bit of context - he doesn't nap in the day, unless he's fed to sleep (and usually wakes up when put down) or in the buggy/car. He's a crap sleeper, and really seems to cope well on not a great deal.

He's quite attached (cries sometimes when I put him down/hand him over) but generally a happy chap.

Saying all that, he's great at nursery and will nap for an hour or so a couple of times a day. That's 3 days a week.

I think I know what we've got to do but just got myself into such a state that I'm finding it difficult to face it.

Anyone survived something similar? Particularly at this reasonably late stage (as far as I can gather).

catkind Thu 01-Jan-15 20:35:41

Survived and here to tell the tale smile

Far later actually - we night weaned when DS was feeding every 2 hours from about 10pm at around 2 yrs old. Not sure if he was also feeding that often at 1, we were also cosleeping and at that point it wasn't bothering me and I wasn't waking up much when he did feed.

When it started to bother me, we night weaned. That totally did the trick for us - once I stopped a feed, DS stopped waking for it and the sleep period extended another 2 hours. Dropped one feed at a time over a period of a couple of weeks until he slept through.

Personally I preferred to keep co-sleeping as DS is more about contact than about food, so not having cuddles would have been far more upsetting to him than not having milk. And suited me better too - cuddling a crying child in the comfort of my own bed much easier than having to get out of bed and go and pick it up/ put it down 50 times at random intervals.

As your DS does sound rather similar to mine, I will also mention that PUPD totally didn't work for us. He'd just get more infuriated each time I tried to put him down, and not calm down for longer and longer when picked up. I think that was younger we tried it though, before we discovered cosleeping. They're all different though, you never know till you try it!

callamia Thu 01-Jan-15 20:50:30

I'm currently attempting to night wean my 14m old. He wasn't quite as extreme as your DS (sometimes, but not every night), but he time has come. Like you, he goes to nursery for three days a week, where he will happily nap, but needs feeding to sleep/a walk at home.

I feed him to sleep in the evening, then pop him in his own cot. He'll sleep for something like 7-8 hours, then wake (around 3/4am) and come and join us. Here's where I'm currently trying not to feed him. I don't want to feed him until after 5:30, when it's a more human time of day. He eats very well in the day, so I'm not convinced he needs much more than a change if routine.

I don't think pupd would work for is - I think it'd make him furious and cry. I'm currently just cuddling and patting him through the not feeding. There are tears, but he's not alone and I think it's for a greater good (me getting a bit of sleep without my nipples being tweaked). My great hope is that reducing night feeding will result in fewer or later waking.

I don't think you've 'allowed' it to get like this - you're just reacting to the baby that you've got! Don't beat yourself up about it - but start feeling confident that some night-weaning ideas are probably ok for a child of his age now.

Jabbathemutt Thu 01-Jan-15 21:11:06

Thank you so much for posting, and kudos to you both! - it's daft isn't it, you know you can't be the only one but it feels like that sometimes! And I do feel a bit stupid, like I've just made every mistake in the book. But he's a very different person and sleeper to my first, if he'd had as little sleep as my youngest he'd have gone bonkers.

Really interesting that you've both had probs with pupd, and both suggesting night weaning first. Just out of interest, sorry if a bit nosey, are you still BFing in the day? I've had to cut it out now after going back part time, was getting too uncomfy during the day, it's been okay but daytime naps are even more of a pain.

girliefriend Thu 01-Jan-15 21:19:56

How do they settle him at nursery? I would say if he is able to settle without the bf then encourage that, maybe have it in mind when you want to keep the bf (if you want to keep going a bit longer) for example when he wakes in the morning and at bedtime.

This is what I ended up going when dd was that age I had also gone back to work p/t and didn't want to have to express at work so had cut down the bf quite a lot.

I went cold turkey on all bf at night between 7pm and 7am unless she was poorly or I could find no other way of consoling her. Normally a cuddle and sometimes a drink of water would be enough. It was weird though once I had made that decision it was like dd realised I meant it and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be!!

Iggly Thu 01-Jan-15 21:24:47

Have you ruled out reflux, intolerances, tongue tie? Cos it sounds like the sleep patterns of my two. I survived! They're 5&3 now. Sorting out the causes of poor sleep made things better.

callamia Thu 01-Jan-15 21:27:10

I still feed in the day. Before breakfast, in the early morning and then before bed on nursery days. At last once in the day on no-nursery days, I'm fine with that - it's a really good calming device for my enthusiastic toddler. I'm also too lazy/short of time to find an alternative to feeding to sleep. However, from now my husband will be doing some bedtimes too. He can do it when I'm out, so he can do to while I'm home too.

DoItTooJulia Thu 01-Jan-15 21:32:53

I only lasted 10 months, but we were the same. Co sleeping, waking all night and feeding, sometimes hourly, shit sleeper generally.

I totally weaned. Cold turkey, day and night. It was hard. He was unhappy for well over a day, refused all milk. But at about 5 am he accepted a warm bottle of formula in a nuk latex teat and that was that.

He still cosleeps, but is much better, generally sleeping for 12 hours with the odd wake up in the evening before we come to bed. I think he has issues with cows milk, although never tested, so he has goats milk instead of cows.

It kind of spoils all the good bits when you're this knackered.

Greylilypad Thu 01-Jan-15 21:55:34

OP in v similar position, including 3 year old, only my baby is 8 months, interested to read replies.
The exhaustion is starting to really get to me, can't think straight on day to day basis, feel cranky with DH a lot, and just is not working anymore.
Doittoojulia - did you see an immediate improvement in sleep? Did your baby continue to look for night feeds for a few night after you went cold turkey?

catkind Thu 01-Jan-15 21:58:26

I was also still feeding in the day when we night-weaned DS; on work days that would be first thing, when I got in and bedtime, on non-work days more. DS is 5 now so not still bf! (Well I suppose he could have been but no.)

I'm using him as my anecdote as DD (nearly 3) was never as bad at night waking. We similarly night-weaned her when it started to bother me which in her case was around 2.5, and she was/is feeding first thing & bedtime.

catchingzzzeds Thu 01-Jan-15 22:01:13

My DS was like this until 13 months old, I was a zombie and didn't know how to break the cycle. I was breast feeding day and night because he was also a poor eater and wasn't gaining weight.
The situation was taken out of my hands when I was prescribed meds that meant I had to stop feeding him immediately. DH took over bedtime and nights, sitting with him and patting until he eventually fell asleep. DS was sleeping through in less than a week! I know we may have just got lucky but I would NEVER have believed he could do it.

Jabbathemutt Thu 01-Jan-15 22:38:49

So glad I posted...

Realised what I'm hoping will happen is that he'll just kind of forget to wake up in the night. I've been hoping that every sodding night for the past nearly 12 months. Ain't going to happen.
girliefriend - I've spoken to nursery, they've been really helpful and I'm replicating what they do as closely as I can particularly for naps. No dice so far but going to carry on as I really have no other options.

Iggly - he def did have a tongue tie when he was little, we struggled a bit to establish feeding and he suffered with wind quite badly. I'm fairly sure he's grown out of those issues now though - would it be a bit late for him to have reflux? Think something like that may be part of the problem though, he realised early on that lying down was uncomfortable (he's never liked it, didn't do the Moses basket, took AGES to get even into a cot) and doesn't see bed as a nice place to be.

Thinking about it (and after all of your excellent advice) I think I'm really less thinking about sleep training and it's the night-weaning we have to sort first then see where we are.

Do have utmost respect for anyone who's lived or is going through this at the moment. I feel bloody ghastly and have done for ages. And I look bloody frightful to boot. Think I might have to change my new username to something prettier. Was having a bad day.

catchingzzzeds Thu 01-Jan-15 23:05:23

Good luck, it really is hell and you have bucketloads of sympathy from me.

DoItTooJulia Fri 02-Jan-15 07:22:49

Nope, he just got it. It was phenomenal. He kind of lost interest in milk. He Knew he was hungry, so would have it from the bottle but he never looked for it from me after that day/night where I refused and only offered bottled milk.

The sleep thing improved most when he went into a toddler bed in our room, so he can just wonder over in the night and get into our bed. He hated the cot and fought it, so the bed was the solution!

peasandlove Fri 02-Jan-15 07:34:42

mine was co-sleeping and feeding at 11 months. I'd let it carry on that long as we'd been travelling in Thailand for the previous two months so it was convenient. Once we got home, we got her a cot, and one night when she was about 12months old I put her in it. She went to sleep and that was the end of that. No more night feeds and she slept right through. I think the co-sleeping was disturbing her as well as us.

Iggly Fri 02-Jan-15 07:46:45

My dd also has a high palate, large tonsils (which make her snore and not breath properly at night) and lip tie. The lip tie gave her a lot of trouble when bf - even after her tongue tie was snipped. She took down a lot of air and still, even well past the age of 1, needed winding otherwise would be uncomfortable at night.

You can try windinf after each feed, for a good 10-15 mins. You can also try reducing feeds by one minute at time to get him used to taking less at night (Feber, credited with CC, made the analogy of trying to cut out a whole meal in one go - you'd still get hungry, so better to reduce intake gradually).

He could always have had silent reflux - my two had it. As they got older, they were happier during the day as they could do more to distract themselves (walking etc etc) but not at night. I remember my ds waking up and he could tell me he hurt (we did signing) - this would be after he'd eaten something which triggered heartburn. It runs in our family - my FIL still gets it if he eats the wrong thing.

Also don't forget about teething!

Does he sleep on his tummy yet?

I would try a combination of:

Reducing night feeds gradually but keep one at around your bedtime

Winding post feeds

Putting him on his tummy if he doesn't already

Keep a food diary to see if any patterns

Consider teething - teething was hell for mine (I was never sure but when dd got older enough to talk, she told me she had hurty teeth!)

NK5BM3 Fri 02-Jan-15 07:49:06

Been there, done that and survived. You can do it too.

I bf dc1 till 2 years old, and bf dc2 till 3 and a bit. I went back to work at 6 months both times. Both were terrible sleepers, and dc2 still pretty bad - she'd still come into our room anytime from 1am, but I let her. She still sleeps in our bed and then gets moved.

I do what I can to survive. My work is pretty stressful and being promoted meant a hell of a lot of responsibility.... And travel.

She was ok with dh, and in nursery, would sleep too... I think they know that it's us, so they play up.

In the end, we got her to her own room by sitting next to her and holding her hand.l.. I also changed my feeding bra to a regular one, and she realised things were changed.

Good luck with it all. Can't help with much solutions, but can help with lots of understanding!! thanksbrew

My DC3 was like that til 13 months - also awful to cosleep with as while still BE he wouldn't sleep unless latched in and woke when I unmatched him! I stopped BF at 13 months and it helped slightly, but he still wanted to sleep physically ontop of me (ideally on my head), took literally hours to fall asleep, woke hourly or 2 hourly...

From 13 months on I tried various things but tbh nothing actually worked until he was verbal enough to understand being told he was a boy now not a baby, and I wasn't going to sit by his bed while he fell asleep any more - at 2.5 he suddenly accepted that, with a bit of a gulp, and around the same time stated sleeping through occasionally - cue lots of praise for staying in his bed all night, which he responded really well to.

He's 3.5 now and sleeps through about 50% of the time, and on the other nights sleeps til about 3 am then comes into our bed, and understands he can sleep next to me but not on me, so it's fine. He has his own room in theory but he and his brother like to share atm and DC3 sleeps better in the room with his brother than alone. He never wakes DS1 when he gets up to come to us (though if DS1 wakes with a nightmare or ill he does wake the youngest, as he remains a very light sleeper).

Eeeeeowwwfftz Fri 02-Jan-15 08:22:10

We had about two years of this (waking every couple of hours and being very particular about what sort of attention was needed to be soothed). Maybe every 2-3 months it would get better for about a week (with the very occasional tantalising 12 hour stint) and you'd feel you turned a corner before inevitably going back to where it was before. Then somewhere around 3rd birthday we're now reliably asleep before 7 and most days get through to 6ish, which we consider a "result". Not sure what happened. We got longer stretches from around 2 years, but there would still have been at least one wake up per night at that stage.

Still a totally rubbish sleeper though. The best days (and the ones that tend to be followed by the longest sleeps) are when we get a nap in at some point in the day. Any suggestion by us to nap is flatly refused, though. But we know he does at nursery, so it's clearly just playing up to mum and dad... Very frustrating. Had quite a lot of early starts over Christmas, but that could have been excitement kicking in.

But I wanted to post this to let you know it can get a lot better, suddenly and without you "doing" anything. Each and every attempt to sleep-train led to things getting much worse for everyone so in the end we just decided to let things run their course. I didn't believe we'd ever get this far. If someone had been able to tell me at the start that things would sort themselves out after three years, and there was very little you could do to improve things before then, it would have made the first couple of years much more bearable.

Also family life is so much fun when everyone's has a decent nights sleep. Makes up for all those dark days which I have now forgotten. So hang in there - though of course if you do find a trick that makes things better then obviously keep doing that. We found the first improvement came when he got his own room, and then the next one came when he moved from the cot to a bed. But after that it just seems it was developing the mental capacity to understand that we were still there and loved him.

flossieflower Fri 02-Jan-15 08:30:26

I had exactly the same but with twins! Got to 17 months and couldn't do it any more so did the Jay Gordon night weaning method and moved them into cots at the same time.

Did three nights of a quick bfeed then into a cot, then sat with them until they went to sleep (they did cry but were never left alone) then three nights of a quick cuddle (no boob) and back into the cot (again, stayed with them but didn't pick them up again) then after that sat by the cot but didn't pick them up. It took about a week but they've slept through the night with no tears (literally into the cot/bed wide awake and they just went to sleep) ever since. Was awful hearing them cry but they were never alone and we spent a lot of time during the day talking about how they wouldn't be having milk at night any more so they knew and understood what was happening.

Good luck- it's a killer having no sleep for that long!

Jabbathemutt Fri 02-Jan-15 20:55:27

You're all so kind to take the time to post - don't want to gush but it's such a relief to know 1) not just me/us and 2) it won't last forever (and actually, having people say yes, no sleep does make you feel horrible is strangely comforting too).

Eeeeeowwwfftz (DO hope I've got that spelling right) - that is helpful - not least because at the moment there's at least a hint of fear of failure around the whole business. Having a crapulous sleeper on my hands is all very well but what if I can't fix it? Weird actually, when I think about it. Big part of the whole business is that he's a happy, physically affectionate little thing, who doesn't need a lot of sleep. Sounds like quite a nice person really! I've been giving him (and wanted to give him) the chance to sort himself out happily if poss, it really is that I'm just getting soooo hanging. Sure it's cumulative in some way. I'm just not coping with the bad(der) days as well as I was a couple of months ago.

Iggly - interestin, very. I've always thought he might have a high palate, when he was a newborn I could just hear him gulping air down. The other thing is that he does not sleep on his front, ever. He doesn't roll and he doesn't crawl. He bum shuffles but mostly sits like a bag of wet sand, 'talking', pointing at things and smiling. Each to their own. Rolling onto and sleeping on his front was THE thing that sorted my first out re settling day and night, so I've been hoping and hoping, but nothing...

My plan I think is to reduce duration of night feeds first then frequency with help of my husband. Keep him well fed and watered in the day (baby, not necessarily husband) and persevere with copying nursery for nap time. Have the same bedtime routine for him as for his brother, but keep him in with me for now rather than some hardcore bedroom change/sleep training combo. Which frankly sounds a bit horrendous.

Do feel rather more hopeful about the whole business, I must admit.

imip Fri 02-Jan-15 21:14:05

Ah op, I've been there 4 times! Night weaning was always the key, unfortunately :-(

Dd1 at 10 months, night weaned over 2 weeks. She'd cry as soon as my nipple came out if her mouth. I was beyond tired but it helped adjust to having 3 more!

Dd2 night weaned at 12 months. I tried at 8 months, thinking I should do better now, I've read the books - I know what I'm doing. Wrong. Far too distressing for her and me.

Dd3about 14 months. She was the best of all only waking for a couple of feeds a night, but she ended up being the worse sleeper and had us over a barrel between ages 1-3.

Dd4 night weaned about 16 mths. Still waking a bit til just after 2.

All my kids are brilliant sleepers now, dd3 comes up to me at about half seven almost every night and dands to go to bed! Oh the irony.

Over the past 6 weeks we've had very bad nights with all of us with terrible sleep - reminded me of how hard it was - don't know how we coped.

I never knew about jay Gordon, I just developed my own way and it is a lot like his. Even the 4th time around I doubted my ability to do it again, eventually you get there!

Eeeeeowwwfftz Sat 03-Jan-15 07:16:26

Jabba - glad my confused ramblings were of some comfort.

I know it can feel like failing when everyone else you meet talks of 12 hour sleeps 7-7 from 6 months. Or moans about having a hard time because their LO has been waking up at 5am for a few days and you're just thinking to yourself "try every two hours for 18 months". And then offers helpful advice like "have you tried rubbing their head. Worked for me". Or "have you tried suspending them from a bungee in a vat of dried sick. Worked for me."

Sleep deprivation is the most miserable thing ever because it affects everything. And made even worse when a child goes through a phase of only wanting one particular parent after waking up. This is hard on both partners - the favoured parent because they get no sleep, and the unfavoured parent because they can offer no comfort to their child or relief to their partner.

And people look at us incredulously when we say we're not having a second!

Like I say, things are much improved for us now. And I hope they improve for you and everyone else in your situation soon. But please don't see this as a parenting fail. If there was a simple magic bullet, you'd have found it by now.

ipswichwitch Sat 03-Jan-15 08:11:47

Op this sounds almost exactly like DS2. He's 12mo and was co sleeping and waking at least very 1.5-2 hours for bf. We had been quick to respond to him waking as our 3yo is also a crappy sleeper (due to health issues), so didn't want to risk waking him. I think that's contributed to this problem. I've ended up with insomnia because of the constant waking, so we decided to try and tackle it.

PU/PD didn't work, as he'd get enraged every time I put him down, and took longer and longer to settle with each pick up. I tried just putting him in his cot and shh/patting him which also enraged him - I think he couldn't understand why I was there but not picking him up iyswim.

I didn't want to do cc, but felt it was the final option. Nothing else was working, and we were all suffering from lack of sleep. The first 2 nights were hard, but he did fall asleep relatively quickly, I just kept the intervals between going back in to settle him quite short at first, then gradually went longer. The plan was to keep him in his cot all night (I think co-sleeping wasn't working as we were all disturbing each other) and just bf at bedtime, then once in the morning. He doesn't bf during the day, he's just not interested and would much rather have food! He is a very good eater.

We are in week 2 and the improvement has been drastic. He is sleeping for longer stretches, and is now able to settle himself a lot of the time. Bedtimes are easy - bf then into his cot and he's asleep within minutes. It used to take a good hour to settle him, and I'd end up going to bed early more often than not, so he could co-sleep. I know cc is not for everyone, but we were at the end of our tether, and after being signed off by the gp because I couldn't function any more, something had to change.

Serendipity71 Sat 03-Jan-15 14:17:13

sleepbabies.co.uk/html/resources/case-studies.html

Have a look at the link above for night weaning, case study Millie.
We used Sian Thomas and our night weaning took longer, about two weeks but we then had success. Saved our lives. Good luck

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