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What would you do in my situation?

(5 Posts)
janine1156 Tue 07-Feb-17 18:43:10

Please help, I am really struggling. DS is 8 weeks old, he was 6 weeks prem and feeding took a long time to establish. With the help and support of my wonderful DH, DS is now exclusively breastfed and growing well.

He takes a VERY long time to feed each time (1.5-2 hours!), and he usually feeds every 4 hours at night (e.g. start feed 1am, finish by 3am, next feed at 5am) I am convinced he has tongue tie but midwives say no, I have an appointment with lactation consultant next week so hopefully may give some help.

He has started making VERY loud grunting and shuffling noises at night when he is fast asleep - literally I can hear them through the wall in the next door room even when I'm wearing ear plugs! I have tried EVERYTHING to be able to sleep in room with him but I can't.

He generally also will only sleep when either held on mine or DH's chest, or sometimes will go down in basket if one of us keeps their hand on his tummy the entire time - if we remove the hand then he wakes up! I am not worried about this as I know he is so tiny and right now he needs comfort, but I find it impossible to a) sleep with the noise, b) sleep sitting upright and c) sleep with my hand on his tummy all night. I have tried co-sleeping but being prem he is still tiny and it's not recommended in prem babies, also he is still too small to reach the boob lying down.

I am really, really struggling with this specifically with lack of sleep. I'm a terrible (anxious) sleeper and need to be lying down in a dark quiet room (with my hand not wedged inside a moses basket to get any sleep). It feels like such a desperate situation as even if we get him down in his basket, he is then so noisy and needs a hand on him all night. Plus the long feeds mean literally I would be up all night.

I am struggling also to find the patience to settle him after the long marathon feeds.

DH says he can sleep through the noises, can doze upright better than me and can also sleep with his hand on DS tummy. I'm not sure how much of this is true as I think he is worried about me and is trying to do as much as he can, I just can't believe anyone could sleep through the noise!! He is wonderful and supportive but if he does all this then I feel like he is getting the raw end of the deal (i.e. sleeping with a grunting baby, sleeping upright etc) even though he is not doing the feeds I suppose and can sleep soundly whilst I'm doing this.

DH works full time in an office job and I am on mat leave but can't sleep during day owing to above issues. We have very little outside help/support.

In this situation - what would you do? Re sleeping, where to sleep, who does what, who settles baby, how you would feel etc. etc? I have not said what we're doing at the moment to manage this situation as I am really interested in MN'ers opinions as to how you would manage it - having just had a real "telling off" from my MIL I am feeling really, really low and want to figure out whether I'm being unreasonable in the working situation DH and I have found.

Thank you x

FizzyFeet Tue 07-Feb-17 20:02:21

For a start, ignore your MIL! The last thing you need is a telling off!

I know exactly what you mean about not being able to sleep through the snuffling and gruffling. And when the baby only wants to sleep on your chest or with a hand on them. And when you are so desperate for sleep that you find your patience wearing thin.

We ended up splitting the nights in half on the basis that if you have a 4 hour chunk of sleep you can get by. DH manages better on less sleep than me, so I'd sleep from 10pm in the spare room and then we'd swap at 2.30am, then DH would sleep 2.30am to 7am. Can you express enough for your DH to do one of the feeds so you can do something similar? We decided that it didn't matter that he went to work - looking after a newborn (not to mention recovering from pregnancy and birth) is hard work too! I resorted to earplugs (silicone ones) and the occasional sleeping tablet because I just couldn't switch off enough to sleep.

Other things that helped us were dealing with wind (try Infacol and Dr Browns bottles if you go down that route) and swaddling to help with the gruffling and startling awake.

After a couple of months we moved to one night on, one night off in the spare room. Then at 6 months moved her to her own room and were reunited in our room. It does get better but it feels hellish when you're in the middle of it. For us, sharing the nights in this way really helped save our sanity and our marriage is stronger as a result. Hope you find a way that works for you too!

Eeffy Wed 08-Feb-17 19:42:52

I had a really noisy baby, he snored like an old drunk due to a little health condition - I found playing a white noise app helped me sleep through it without the need for ear plugs etc (scared that I'd miss him waking up)

FATEdestiny Wed 08-Feb-17 21:03:37

No one should be sleeping sitting up with baby on their chest. This is a huge SIDS risk.

So I would stop doing that and ensuring DH stops too.

In this situation - what would you do?

After the above, I would speak to my doctor about post natal anxiety. Because I recognise the fact that not sleeping when given the opportunity to, when sleep deprived with a baby, is A big Red Flag for there being a mental health issue.

I'd also use a swaddle.

And a dummy.

And a bedside cot (remove one side off a normal cotbed to make a stable 3-sided cot to wedge up to your bed) so that snuggling into the cot to put a hand on chest is much easier.

And finally i would make a significant adjustment of my expectations.

FraterculaArctica Wed 08-Feb-17 22:09:11

Been there, in various combinations with 2 babies. DS was a very noisy sleeper - spent the whole night literally jumping up and down in his Moses basket from a few weeks old. I also spent too much time with hand in Moses basket, and developed postnatal anxiety which manifested as inability to sleep. DD (currently 5 mo) is a much better and quieter sleeper but was 5 weeks premature.

From my experience, I would:

1. Replace the Moses basket (noisy, rustly things) with a cosleeper cot. As Fate says, a regular cot with side removed will do. In fact better - you will have room to settle baby in it and then shuffle out into your bed.

I definitely found that being able to see and touch DD directly (in cosleeper) was 100x better than having DS in Moses basket.

2. Get help to learn to feed lying down. A wonderful midwife in hospital showed me how to do this with DD, even though she was premature. It's much easier if they go to sleep in the position you want them to stay in, and probably the least risky if you do both fall asleep.

3. Do consider (well, ask for an assessment!) whether you may be suffering from PND or anxiety. I did, massively, with DS, and developed severe insomnia by the time he was a few weeks old. There is medication you can take safely while BFing, if needed.

If your DH can sleep through the baby noises, give yourself a break by sleeping in another room when not feeding. (Assuming the baby will sleep in basket with DH next to him?) I felt very guilty for decamping to a different room with DS (and didn't sleep anyway as a result), but your DHs presence will be just as good as yours for mitigating SIDS risk (my major anxiety).

I've probably duplicated a lot of what the excellent Fate says. Does any of this help OP?

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