How to maximise our sleep

(27 Posts)
Flappityflippers1 Wed 07-Apr-21 18:40:42

Hi all,

I’ll try and put all detail in so not drip feeding- apologies if this makes it a long post.

I have a newborn DS who is 2 weeks old, and the lack of sleep is starting to sting. Im going to describe how our nights currently look, and would appreciate any suggestions on how best DH and I can manage the nights to get the most sleep.

For background, I had post natal MH problems with my first and high risk again (although feeling good atm!)

DH works from home at present, mon-fri 9-5. Dealing with clients, can operate tired but does need to be on the ball.

I’m currently on maternity leave, but when I work, it’s part time of an evening 3 evenings a week (4 hour shifts wfh). I’m returning to work in may (various reasons, not needing to go into those now, having a long mat leave is not an option or desired)

We have an older DS who is 3, and he sleeps through (mostly!) from 7pm-6am fairly reliably.

I am exclusively pumping breastmilk for our newborn - every 4 hours, pumping takes 15-20 mins. My schedule is midnight, 4am, 8am, midday, 4pm and 8pm. I’d rather not give formula as me and older DS have CMPA so possible this DS will too. I had hoped to direct nurse at night but having trouble with latch, so putting that in a back burner for now until breastfeeding groups open up again. I’m not bothered if we don’t crack direct feeding hence why happy to put it on backburner.

Baby feeds every 3 hours in the day, but as soon as he hits 11pm, he is every 1-1.5 hours for milk 😭

The way we currently work it:

DH puts older DS to bed, then takes newborn downstairs so I can sleep - I do my 8pm pump and go straight to sleep. He brings baby back up at midnight, I do my midnight pump then take over for baby.

I “cover” midnight-6am, then DH gets up at 6 with both DC and takes them down, leaving me in bed until my 8am pump.

By 4am though I’m ready to crack. Between pumping, feeding baby and settling baby I don’t sleep at all between midnight and 6am. He’s such a noisy baby when he sleeps - constantly snorting, snuffling and squeaking.

DH has been doing the inevitable 4am bottle while I pump, so I can get back to sleep quickly. But 1-1.5 hour later, baby is awake AGAIN 😴

Is the way we are working it as good as it’s going to get for now, and we just need to ride out the crap sleep?

Any idea why baby is going longer in the day as opposed to night? And how do we reverse that?!

With the details given - how would you manage it with your DH/DP?

Any exclusive pumpers know how to go about dropping the midnight pump? I’m a bit worried about going a long stretch without pumping (I have a huge oversupply and currently pump 1300ml a day over 6 pumps)

I appreciate I have it very good compared to a lot of mums who are left to do it all.

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Upsydaisydaisydoo55 Wed 07-Apr-21 18:48:09

The lack of sleep is a killer, I have a 2 and a half year old who still doesn’t sleep through, he was ebf and still is bf. The only thing that saved me is co - sleeping. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Upsydaisydaisydoo55 Wed 07-Apr-21 18:49:45

Sorry I didn’t read you were having trouble with your latch. Reach out to la leche! They are amazing and you will get the hep you need in regards to the latch issue.

Flappityflippers1 Wed 07-Apr-21 18:59:32

@Upsydaisydaisydoo55 my 3 year old didn’t sleep though until 2, I can’t face 2 years of feeing this fuzzy headed! 😭😭

Amazing how once they’re sleeping well you forget how bad it was!

I will see how they could help, it’s really in person assistance I need as I’m hopelessly crap at latching him - he knows what to do bless him, it’s me that’s rubbish! I have been spending lots of time in bed and skin to skin etc to let him latch etc but he gets so frustrated and starts screaming, which is very triggering for the MH issues I had after my first (bfing related sadly)

I did buy some nipple shields to get him on but they’re not really recommended from what I’ve researched online, and can cause mastitis - I had horrendous mastitis with my first that put an end to our bfing journey and us both in hospital, so terrified of getting it again sad

If he could just do the 3 hour blocks in the night, that would be marvellous!

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Upsydaisydaisydoo55 Wed 07-Apr-21 19:32:03

So sorry to hear you’re struggling 😞- must be really hard and frustrating you can’t go to a support group to get the help you need at the moment. You’re doing amazing though!! Give me 10 mins, I have a friend who is bf consultant, il ask her for advise x

BusyLizzie61 Wed 07-Apr-21 19:33:35

I had latch issues and used constantly from 10 days to 4 months. Then at 4 months suddenly lo latched ok. I'd persevere with he shields as they put you in to right place if you know what I mean.
Reducing the night pumps will hopefully mean you continue to have sufficient milk but also at this point they start feeding more/cluster feeding.
Have you downloaded the wonder weeks app? I found it matched very closely with my lo. And helped me make sense of the feeding and sleep patterns.

NaturalStudy Wed 07-Apr-21 19:39:52

It sounds like getting a private lactation consultant would be worth the money to drop the pumping and just be waking to feed (although I appreciate that's still going to be very tiring). Waiting until breastfeeding groups open doesn't seem feasible.

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Upsydaisydaisydoo55 Wed 07-Apr-21 19:41:03

Are you on Facebook, join a group called breastfeeding yummy mummies, she’s also sent me this video - globalhealthmedia.org/portfolio-items/attaching-your-baby-at-the-breast/?portfolioID=5623

sleepslikeababy Wed 07-Apr-21 19:41:25

Hi OP,

Sounds like you’re having a tough time. We had a similar start so I can sympathise! I pumped every four hours overnight too and was often out of sync with baby so would some nights feel like I was just awake all night long!

I eventually thought my health was taking a hit and dropped one pumping session overnight. Just to get a few straight hours of sleep when the baby was sleeping.

My partner and I also had a similar routine to you. Except he would get up when the baby woke up, anytime after 5am. He had to start wfh at 9.30am so I would get up at 9.15! Some nights, knowing I’d get 3-4 hours of sleep in the morning is all that got me through. If you’re really struggling, I’d suggest asking your partner to get up an hour earlier.

On the weekends, I didn’t set an alarm and just got up when I woke up. We thought this was fair as I did all the nights by myself cause a) I was up pumping anyway, and b) my partner doesn’t wake up naturally when the baby cries but I do. Seemed silly for me to wake him up and then lie there awake while he dealt with the baby.

I hope things improve for you. The lack of sleep really is torture!

MazekeenSmith Wed 07-Apr-21 19:46:12

If your supply is good can you skip the 4am pump?

Flappityflippers1 Wed 07-Apr-21 19:49:01

Thanks all for the support - it really is appreciated!

Sadly we can’t afford to go private with a lactation consultant or that would be my first port of call (one of the reasons I can’t afford to go beyond 90% mat pay, COVID hasn’t been kind to us financially)

Yes I’m hoping once he gets a bit bigger he’ll latch without shields much better - I’m more of a hindrance than a help! He is tiny though born at 37 weeks and 5lb 1 - although safe to say the pumping is working for him as he didn’t loose any birth weight and was 5lb 6oz by day 9 🎉

I’m not on Facebook, however I shall check the video out - thank you!

@sleepslikeababy did you just drop the pump outright, or did you gradually reduce it/bring it towards an earlier pump?

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Flappityflippers1 Wed 07-Apr-21 19:50:52

@MazekeenSmith I suspect I would be ok to drop one of the nighttime pumps, it’s important to do at least 1 middle of the night pump due to hormones or something I’m told! I’m not sure if I’m best dropping the midnight or 4am pump - I could actually look at meeting halfway and dropping both midnight and 4am, and pump at 2 instead 🤔 hadn’t actually considered that until now!

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LapinR0se Wed 07-Apr-21 19:51:07

My god I don't think you can keep going like that, you will drop of exhaustion. I think there are a few things going on...Your baby has days and nights mixed up by the sounds of things. Have you got a routine going in the day (not just the 3-hourly feeds but what happens in between)

Flappityflippers1 Wed 07-Apr-21 19:59:22

@LapinR0se routine..? blush he mostly sleeps in between feeds - we do endeavour to keep him awake and he has his play mat, or we sing, or read stories with my older DS

Happy to hear any suggestions though!

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LapinR0se Wed 07-Apr-21 20:03:02

At two weeks it's not really a routine per se but too much or too little daytime sleep can cause issues with nighttime waking, also not enough daylight exposure.
3 hourly feeds are great, limit awake time to 1 hour max and then it's time to go down for a sleep. Getting out for a walk in the pram is good too so the nap is in the bright daylight with plenty of noise and hustle and bustle.
Come bath and bedtime from 6pm make everything dim and quiet. In the night, make feeds silent and very calm and immediately back to bed. Also try not to feed to sleep but finish the feed with a good burp and into bed awake.

Upsydaisydaisydoo55 Wed 07-Apr-21 20:06:51

I hope you get there OP. My boy woke like yours right up until 4 weeks ago when I stopped bf’ing him at night (he 2 and a half though) I think your DS wakings are normal, but if you can your latch sorted, f’off the pumping, maybe try co- sleeping, might make his wakings easier. BF’ing babies learn the difference between day and night pretty early on as the milk you produce is different, at night time your milk will produce sleepy hormones, unless, where you’re pumping, he’s having your night milk during the day and your day milk at night?!

Flappityflippers1 Wed 07-Apr-21 20:23:25

That’s amazing advice thank you @LapinR0se - especially the walks - we haven’t been out too much as I’ve been recovering from a c section, can certainly do little walks though!

@Upsydaisydaisydoo55 thank you, me too! He has night milk through the night, day milk in the day. I tend to pump 120-150ml per side, so one boob covers the feed plus a little, and the other boob milk gets put in a storage bag and frozen (hoping to donate to milk bank as I’ve lost two drawers in my freezer already!)

OP’s posts: |
LapinR0se Wed 07-Apr-21 20:28:34

oh yes c-section recovery is tough (i've had two. hideous.)
Just little walks in the fresh air, nothing hectic at all

sleepslikeababy Thu 08-Apr-21 00:09:39

Yes I just dropped it straight. My supply wasn’t as good as yours though. If you’re pumping a surplus I’d definitely try it and see how you get on!

Flappityflippers1 Thu 08-Apr-21 00:55:34

@sleepslikeababy thank you - I think merging the midnight and 4am pump is the way to go, and just pump once at 2am.

Thanks so much all for the advice and suggestions 🙏

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Sairafina Thu 08-Apr-21 01:24:14

Heya! Exclusive pumper here, happy to share my experiences as they sound quite similar to yours.

DH and I had a very similar routine where I would pump at 7pm then sleep until 1am when I would take over and do the rest of the night so he could sleep before work. The issue I had was getting back to sleep after the 1am pump. Some nights I didn't get back to sleep at all and it nearly killed me.

In order to change this I gradually moved the timings of the pumps. I brought forward the 1am pump to 9pm over several nights and moved the 7am pump to 6am.

So, old schedule was
7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm, 1am

And new schedule
6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm

As you can see I also added in an extra session to make up for the loss of the mega MOTN pump although as you say you have an over supply this may not be necessary. Just need to be wary of mastitis going so long between milk removal but touch wood, all fine here so far

Flappityflippers1 Thu 08-Apr-21 03:27:30

@Sairafina thank you for reaching out, it’s so hard to find any help with pumping so I really appreciate it.

I’m thinking of combining the midnight and 4am pump, starting with gradually leaving the midnight pump later and later until it’s 2am. Then with the 4am pump, ditching that altogether but between 2am and 8am just pumping if I need to? I’m terrified of getting mastitis as that happened with my first (direct feed ds1) and it killed my supply and put us both in hospital sad

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Sairafina Thu 08-Apr-21 15:13:34

Goodness that sounds terrible, it must have been really tough dealing with that plus the worry of your son being in hospital too.

With the pumping, I really recommend quite rough breast compressions, I squeeze mine in to all sorts of shapes in order to work out any lumps and bumps, I don't think you can really do that with a baby as the milk does shoot out sometimes!

What time do you usually wake up in the morning? A 1am and 7am might be better if you're willing to leave it 6 hours?

jamie980 Thu 08-Apr-21 21:34:16

@Flappityflippers1 could you use shields for the night feeds so you’re not having to pump AND feed while you could be getting some sleep, and continue pumping in the day? Until you can get some proper support with the latch? I was exclusively pumping for my first week until I got shields for inverted nipples - I’m still using them now for most feeds at 9 weeks and down to expressing once a day in the morning for my husband to give a couple of bottles at night (we sleep in shifts so I sleep 9.30-2.30 and he sleeps 2.30-7.30 - he’s wfh too and is an amazing support). I’ve had no issues with supply or transfer from using the shields, I wish I didn’t have to use them but it’s easier than exclusively pumping was for me. I can still usually get 300mls in one 20 min double pump session x

Flappityflippers1 Fri 09-Apr-21 03:49:29

@jamie980 I’m doing that tonight (using shields) baby isn’t coming anywhere close to draining my breast so I’m going to need to pump anyway I think?

He did inexplicably sleep 4 hours after his last breastfeed though! 🙌

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