Big baby bad back!(13 Posts)
I was hoping someone with less of a sleep deprived brain than mine may be able to give me some top sleep tips. At the moment I fear we are making lots of little rods for my back and hurtling towards cry it out-ville. Something I'm obviously very keen to avoid.
I am a first time mum to a almost 5 month old baby. He is mostly very smily and contented, but he fights naps with a burning passion, unless, that is, if he is on me in some way, be that on my boob or in the sling. On me, or in the buggy even he has lovely chunky naps 1-2hrs at a time, but on the very rare occasion I have managed to lure him to sleep in the bouncer, he wakes after 10-15 mins, even with bouncing and shhhing etc. I absolutely feel he doesn't know how to fall asleep without motion or sucking but am confused as to how to teach him in a gentle way.
He will rarely take a dummy. It seems to only remind him of what he's missing. I have attempted to create a lovey but I think he's too young still to make the association between 'sleepy bunny' and nap time.
Whilst at night we are persevering with a bedtime routine, during the day I am often on the go. I am happy for his afternoon nap to be in the buggy but would love to be able to put him down for an hour or two in the morning just to get some bits done, and will commit to changing plans to ensure a consistent routine. He's a big boy and my back is starting to hurt from the carrying.
At night he goes to sleep on the boob but will stay asleep for a nearly 4 hr stretch, so whilst I will try the put down awake thing from time to time (its worked maybe twice ever) he doesn't seem to freak out if he wakes and I'm not there... he self settles mostly at night and I think he is probably hungry when he does wake. Then he's up for feeding every couple of hours after that which I can deal with at the moment and I assume is fairly standard for a breastfed baby...
My main questions are:
Should we be dealing with naps and bedtime issues separately?
How do I make the transition from napping on the go to sleeping in a cot during the day? I fear the softly softly approach doesn't do it for him and when I try to calm him down he just revs up to a new level and becomes hysterical. But he really wouldn't know what I was getting at if I plonked him in his cot during the day... I think he'd be genuinely confused. Should i just bare the tears for the sake of establishing a routine? Trying to get him to sleep in the bouncer has worked in the past, but now just feels like cry-it-out with me there, which I somehow feel is worse. We have a rough routine but he wakes in the morning at various times so maybe that doesn't help...
Sorry. This is a confusing post, and the result of a confused mama, having read a lot of conflicting advise and feeling completely jumbled up. Any help would be much appreciated!
Do you BF lying down? My DD was a total cot refuser and co-slept so she napped in our bed. So for one of your naps, could you both lie down in your bed, feed to sleep and then quietly sneak away with a video monitor on?
Yes, I often end the night side-feeding to get an extra hour or two! I haven't actually tried this for naps but I'm hopeful that might work so thanks. He is a little guzzler though and doesn't stop when he's full. Indeed, he has never in his short little life refused a breast. Instead he feeds until its basically coming out of his eyeballs and is a big puker so would need to time it so that he's actually due the feed!
My worry would be that he then becomes reliant on feeding to sleep for naps as well as at night too though?! Or maybe thats just how it needs to be...?
Well I'll start by saying I'm not one who believes in the 'rod for your own back' thing. I spent months trying to get my DD to nap for longer, sleep in a cot, not feed to sleep, etc. It was miserable and just not worth it!
If you're happy feeding to sleep and have no real need to change (other than you think you 'should'), I'd say what's the harm in going with his needs? He won't do it forever, at some point he will be able to sleep without BF but it might not be now, or until he's at least a year. But if you're ok with that, that's ok!
If you want a bit of time to shower or make a cup of tea and a nap in your bed gets you that, I'd go with it. I'm honestly not trying to force the issue, but an awful lot of people get so stressed about what they perceive they should be doing that they seem to get into a spiral of more and more training.
My DD either napped in bed with me or in the sling, pram or car. Not what everybody would want but it turned out that I was happy with that! She always napped at nursery with no issues and now at 22 months, happily crawls under the duvet of her single bed and goes off to sleep herself.
How do I make the transition from napping on the go to sleeping in a cot during the day?
I'd suggest feeding lying down (as has already been mentioned) and also a cosleeper cot. You can remove one side off any standard cotbed cities and make a stable, 3-sides sidecar cot to butt up to your bed.
That allows you to teach baby to sleep in the cot by you cuddling up into the cot with her.
I absolutely feel he doesn't know how to fall asleep without motion or sucking
That's true of all babies. Certainly all under 1s.
You're "self settlers" have a dummy to suck. Your light sleepers probably have a dummy and movement (bouncy chair, pushchair) until they become deeper sleepers and no longer need the extra help of movement.
Personally I'd keep going with perserverring to get the dummy accepted. They are worth their weight in gold for independant settling to sleep.
Thank you! We are currently using a co-sleeper but are thinking of taking the plunge and moving to the cot (he's almost outgrowing said co-sleeper). I will have a fiddle with the cot to see if it marries up with our bed in a way that may help facilitate naps!
Will persevere with the dummy to help settle to sleep. Any tips? Moreoften than not it seems to just piss him off cos its not a nipple!
Spoke with the HV today who suggested cutting back on some of the night feeds as well. Apparently 2hrly is a bit much (I sort of knew this!)
Everything so far has felt pretty instinctive so it feels a bit daunting taking the reins in terms of who is leading who!
I'd disagree with your HV. That's not great BF advice. 2 hourly isn't ideal from an adult point of view; however, it might exactly what your baby needs at this stage, in this phase.
Do you want him to have a dummy? If so, you need to persevere. Fate is the expert on this though.
If you're not bothered about a dummy (I wasn't), then don't offer it and just offer a boob.
Also 'cutting back on night feeds' basically means starting to night wean which isn't recommended until at least 12 months. Obviously you hope he'd start to cut back himself along the way.
You mention your instincts- it's perfectly ok to keep following them if you're happy with that!
Hm. Is it really night weaning if they are breast feeding for comfort? (I'm sure a lot of his feeding at night is because he doesn't know how to to get back to sleep - hence the dummy being a useful tool!) I suppose what I mean is, for example if he wakes 1 hr after Ive put him down, I shouldn't be feeding him (which I sometimes do for an easy life :-/)
Gosh I don't know. I mean he really loves breastfeeding to the extent he'll be sick whilst feeding and then without drawing breath want to carry on. I think maybe putting up with some tears (lots I fear) to get him used to being rocked to sleep if he's recently fed may not be a bad thing...
A lot of modern parenting ideas are heavily based on formula feeding. The 'problem' with BF babies is that you have no idea how much they're feeding and when they're really taking the milk they need. You also don't know what they're preparing for - are they feeding so regularly to boost your supply for a growth spurt/developmental leap that hasn't even happened yet? BF is massively comforting for babies, obviously, but it's also how we've evolved and managed to get this far, with babies leading the way. So it's very difficult to say that your son needs the milk when he wakes at 10 but not when he wakes at midnight (for example) as you've got no idea how much he's taken at 10 and why he's asking to feed at 12. If that makes sense!
If you think it's too much, then you will need another way to get him to sleep. This doesn't necessarily make life any easier for you as he might still be waking.
If you're willing to go with it and feed as often and as much as he asks (bearing in mind that you cannot overfeed a BF baby), then there's lots of interesting things to read on pages like kellymom and the Milk Meg which might reassure/inform/comfort you. Most people tend to go with some form of co-sleeping in order to keep everybody rested.
It really depends which way you want to go!
Will persevere with the dummy to help settle to sleep. Any tips?
So I had a cosleeper cot. Night wakes/feeds would go like this:
- baby stirs, even only slightly, I'd reach an arm over into the cot, get dummy (attached to sleeping bag with a ribbon), put dummy in. Shuffle across my bed and encircle baby in my arms (in cot). Shushing, holding/tapping dummy. All done without opening my eyes.
- the purpose of this ^ has several benefits. Firstly it's to get into the habit of re-settling without feeding. Secondly it gets into the habit of settling baby in the cot, without being picked up. Thirdly, it gives me 2 or 3 minutes to come round, before needing to feed.
- if baby drops back to sleep with dummy, great.
- after a few minutes (when I've had a moment to rouse from my sleep, I'd scoot baby, in sleeping bag, into my bed. By "scoot" i mean two hands under baby, lift a few cm, move across. So not really lifting, more sliding. I slept in top of a towel with my top off - free breast acess. Latch baby on (I prefer feeding from the top breast at night).
- I'd probably fall asleep while feeding. So would baby.
- At some point later (it might be 20 minutes, it might be a couple of hours) I'd realise I had a sleeping baby next to me. I'm not a big fan of cosleeping, so preferred baby in the cot. So I'd scoot sleeping baby back across into cot.
- That ^ is when dummies are most useful. Not instead of feeding, but to aid transfer. Like all babies, they don't like being moved when asleep. Scooting baby back into the cot will rouse a sleep8bg baby. So I go back to where we were before the feed. Dummy in, me encircling baby (baby in the cot though), head to head, stroking, patting, dummy holding/tapping to encourage comfort sucking.
- once asleep, extract myself into my own space in bed. Until next wake, and start again.
So, while I don't advocate actively not feeding in the night, I definitely do advocate getting used to trying to resettle to sleep in the cot first, before feeding. Then after feeding, it does no harm to do in-cot settling to get baby used to going to sleep in there.
I might add that I had stopped night feeds by 5 months old (DC4) and 6 months old (DC2) in my two EBF children.
My formula fed child (DC3) stoppstopped night feeds by 7 weeks. And just to balance the books, mix fed DC1 was still having night feeds until over 2 years old.
Sorry. I meant to reply sooner to say thanks for the dummy tips! I have persevered over the last 3 nights and its definitely been a helpful tool. Touch wood, he is staying down after his last feed for 4-5 hours which is a major improvement. The plan is to tackle nap times once bed time is totally solid. Fingers crossed the dummy will help!
Teaandbiscuits, I've not followed the HV advice (as usual if I'm honest!) I think once the routine sinks in and he feels more secure in his cot and in himself (all these crazy leaps must be really mind-blowing) things should settle naturally.
Thanks again! Claire
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