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AP has broken me - considering CC

(55 Posts)
dorisbonkers Wed 26-Aug-09 16:17:22

I'll keep this brief. I never set out to follow a specific parenting method, and have never read any books, but have fallen into the attachment camp - co-sleeping, frequent breastfeeding, BLW, slinging. I don't even have a pram 10 months in.

My daughter from birth has only had one night of 7-hour sleep (and I think that was the jaundice...). We were happy to co-sleep, breastfeed to sleep if it were 2-5 night wakings. Well, for the past month it has been 6-8 night wakings. She's teething now and I've been feeding to sleep every 20 minutes sometimes. I spend my nights in bed seething, buzzed, unable to sleep when she's finally asleep. I'm bruised from her pinching, scratched. I've not had a shower in two days and I

My husband works nights so has to sleep in the day -- necessitating long trips out with her in the sling. So I'm alone most evenings dealing with what feels like feeding a crocodile on crack in bed.

I have had 2 hours sleep in 48 hours, with one night before that when I got a few hours. A few nights last week I never slept. I've been rowing with DH, I nearly crashed our car and I have no energy, I want to shout at my gorgeous daughter and sometimes just sit listlessly looking at her. I'm not the mother I was a few weeks ago. I've been hospitalised for depression in my twenties and can recognise the dullness, anger, listlessness. I'm not there, but can feel it coming. I have totally lost my confidence. I feel my previous confidence has been drowned out and I constantly question my decisions and sometimes feel I'm putting my principles above my daughter's wellbeing. She needs a decent night's kip too.

I was adamant that I'd never do any sleep training and I'll admit that I swallowed the arguments for AP wholesale. With my non-sleep deprived hat on, I can recognise the benefits, but think they are sometimes overplayed -- like with the routine end of the spectrum too. But it feels gentle and kind and generally suits me.

Having no sleep at all does not suit me. I have for weeks endlessly run over CC in my mind but can't quite make the leap. I almost feel ready to.

Although my husband is very supportive, he's not here. I moved back to the UK recently and my mother's not that keen on visiting. So I feel little support, no backup, any outside help. I think that's key to AP being easy when it gets tough.

Can anyone reassure me, or talk me through CC? I may not do anything but I need to hear some sensible voices.

Or is it purely developmental? In which case I should try my best to weather the storm?

dorisbonkers Wed 26-Aug-09 16:19:22

Sorry, I didn't keep that brief. Can't stop crying. I thought I was stronger.

cyteen Wed 26-Aug-09 16:21:13

Huge sympathies, you sound completely at the end of your tether

Is she fully co-sleeping or does she sometimes sleep in a cot/own room etc.?

dorisbonkers Wed 26-Aug-09 16:25:22

Hi, we had an Amby bed in Singapore but she can climb out of it. We have a cot in our bedroom but have never had any success getting her in it. So she's been fully co-sleeping.

We are arranging a new room for her but that was mainly for show as I fully expected her to co-sleep until she was an older toddler.

BlackLetterDay Wed 26-Aug-09 16:33:38

Blimey you are strong I would have been rocking in a corner long ago. Don't have any experience with co-sleeping but surely there must be a middle ground. Maybe start her off in a cot in your room, and then take her into your bed when she inevitably wakes? Much sympathy you certainly need a break.

BelleWatling Wed 26-Aug-09 16:38:14

Poor you sad

Really consider putting her in her own room before you try CC. We did this with my son at 8 months (he was much like your DD - frequent night BFs, BF to sleep, very cuddly and attached and not a good sleeper) and after 2 nights in his own room did a week of sleeping through (lots of recent trips though mean this is now semi-regular but I do get a lot more sleep). I think if they get mildly disturbed and can see you they think 'mmm boobie' and if they are on their own and only half-awake or not hungry they learn to put themselves to sleep. I have not done CC.

I did find it very hard though and still miss cuddling him at night (though he does come in bed in the morning)

cyteen Wed 26-Aug-09 16:43:29

Yes, my DS actually sleeps so much better in his own room. And he was a crap sleeper until recently, so take heart!

You sound like you really don't want to do CC - if that's the case, I have a copy of The No Cry Sleep Solution that I'd be very happy to lend you (we don't need it just now [fingers crossed emoticon]). It's v good for gentle ideas to improve sleep, including co-sleeping babies and toddlers. Email me on challengeher at hotmail dot com if you'd like me to post it to you

dorisbonkers Wed 26-Aug-09 16:44:48

Thanks Belle

I've never put her in the cot awake though. Is that what you did?

Every time I've put her in the cot she goes ballistic.

She has NEVER self settled apart from twice in the car seat.

dorisbonkers Wed 26-Aug-09 16:47:00

Thanks Cyteen. Been there done that with the NCSS, but thanks for the offer. In fact, it's right on the shelf next to me.

I am beginning to feel like I could do CC, but yes, something is holding me back. It just feels so different to how I parent in the day. And although you hear miracle stories of it working in 2 days, I wonder how many cases there are where it doesn't -- and actually DOES cause distress.

But I can't take much more.

Breizhette Wed 26-Aug-09 16:51:47

When is your husband back? You need someone else to take over for a bit. It's very difficult to suddenly change how we handle our DCs.
DS, 13m, had never slept the night or self-settled until he was 9m old. I tried mild CC but I gave in straight away. The only thing that workd for us was for my mother to come over and take over at nights for 3 days.
This didn't completely solved the problem but it was a start.

We did the same for DD when she was 10m old and it worked miraculously.
Good luck.

cyteen Wed 26-Aug-09 16:52:25

I would definitely suggest working out a strategy for getting her into her own room/cot and trying it out consistently for a while before trying CC. Like you say, it's so different to what she's known up until might just make her more confused?

A lady on my postnatal thread might have better advice actually, I shall point her over this way...

Chin up chuck

belgo Wed 26-Aug-09 16:56:22

Sorry to hear you are feeling like this. You are doing very well to be the best parent you can possibly be, and sometimes we need to draw on a variety of parenting methods to find something that suits us the best.

Regarding the sleeping, I also co-sleep and bf, and with my older two children, when they were somewhere between the ages of one or two, I got fed up with the night wakings, gave them to dh for a few night,s and he got them sleeping through within three or four nights. There is hope - sleeping can be improved. I don't know specifically about cc, but I do know my dh's support was vital in improving my children's sleeping. My older girls are now 5 and 4 and sleep mostly very well.

Regarding the sling- I love carrying my babies in a sling. I carry ds aged 10 months about three or four times a week in a sling, and the rest of the time I put him in the pram where he sleeps very well, and lean against it myself when I am tired!

I would still describe my parenting method as AP, but I've made things up on the way to suit my baby and myself, and the rest of my family. There is no shame in doing that, it's sensible.

Good luck, I do really think you need your dh's support in this.

BelleWatling Wed 26-Aug-09 16:59:09

no, I BF to sleep and then pop him in the cot. If he wakes at night I do the same. He can put himself to sleep for naps in his buggy, car seat etc and I'm hoping that he will learn to do this eventually for nights. Could you buy/beg/steal a buggy with back recline and use that for walking her to sleep?

I think the hardest thing for you is not have your partner around and little support. I don't have any words of wisdom on this score I'm afraid.

I'm not sure how CC would help you unless DD is in her own room ... I don't know anything about CC btw but your post made me sad and wanted to try to help.

Good luck. smile

BelleWatling Wed 26-Aug-09 17:07:07

Something to add - although I too am definitely in the AP camp, I do have nighttime "rules" for DS after dinner and bath - no noisy or hard toys, books & cuddlies only, lights low, nursery only - no taking into the living room or our room after his bath, certain stories, songs & rhymes specifically for night, lots of stroking and soft voices... it sounds harsh having rules for a 10m old but they are really for my DH who can play noisy & rough and want to jiggle him about in front of Mock the Week at 10pm when he should be winding down...

belgo Wed 26-Aug-09 17:07:56

I'm sorry, I'm a bit confused as to how much your husband is around to help.

If he is physically there, he really has to help you.

Do you give her calpol to help with the teething? I would give it at the start of the night if you anticipate her being awake the whole night due to teething pain.

Also, have you joined any groups at all? Do you have any friends you can talk to?

lou031205 Wed 26-Aug-09 17:09:43

Hi, I'm being lazy (BF DD3 so one-handed), but here's how we did it with DD2 - we used a bedside cot (normal cot with one side removed and attached to the bed frame would do). DD2 is now just 2, and sleeps in her own room.

"Sorry in advance for the long post. I have been in the same situation with DD2, who is now 11 months. Here are copies of my posts since June, so you can see our progress. She now sleeps through, although last night I was out, so nanny got her up when she woke. Fairly upset when I got in at 23.15, but went to sleep quickly with a cuddle, and slept through and is still asleep catching up on her sleep:

By lou031205 on Fri 20-Jun-08 19:02:12
I had DD 1 month early, and she has/had reflux. She slept through the night from 3 weeks old, up to 14 hrs, which was amazing. Then she started to wake for feeds. At 4.5 months she suddenly got scared of her crib, and wouldn't be put in it at all. She came in bed with us. At 8 months we bought a bedside cot, which has helped.

She won't go to bed in the evening. If I do try, she will only BF to sleep, then I have to slip away. She wakes within 30-40 minutes. If I try and settle her, she will only settle by feeding again, then the process is repeated.

She will feed to sleep on me in the lounge, and stirs regularly to 'plug herself in'.

When I go to bed, I feed her to sleep, and her night wakings are getting worse and worse. Between 11pm when I go to bed, and 7am, she wakes 4-8 times. Each time she will only settle with a feed.

In the day she will go for a nap if fed to sleep, and it lasts anywhere from 20mins to 1.5 hours. Sometimes she will wake after 20 mins, but then fall asleep on me feeding straight after.

The 16 hour day followed by waking every 1-2 hours in the night is slowly draining me of life! I can't imagine it is doing much for Jasmine, either. She wakes up distraught sometimes. She can be very fractious with others, because she is tired and wants my breast for comfort!

Please help! I did have a stab at PU/PD and easy when she was 8 months, but obviously did something wrong.

By lou031205 on Tue 08-Jul-08 18:41:28
7 nights ago I decided that after I was sure she was not hungry i.e. had already fed alot that night, I would say no to a BF, but give a big big cuddle. I made sure that my duvet was over my breasts. She wasn't keen on that idea, but everytime she tried to nestle in I said "Oh, thankyou, a lovely cuddle.

Then 2 nights later, I stopped feeding her in the night altogether. She feeds until 8-9pm, as she still won't go down in the evening (YET), but then when she falls asleep on me, I don't feed her again that night. Even when she wakes before taking her up to bed.

She accepted it really well, and last night even accepted a simple rub on the back at 02.30 rather than a big cuddle.

My hope is that she will gradually need less and less input to settle.

By lou031205 on Sat 12-Jul-08 09:14:03
I just thought I'd give a quick update to give hope to all...

After cutting out night feeds two weeks ago, DD2 had started to sleep much better at night, but still not settling in the evening.

She is now 11 months, and I decided that yesterday was her last breast feed.

For the first time last night, DH managed to put her to bed at 20.00, and apart from being woken by her sister's ripcurling scream at 00.43, which woke us all, she settled and slept through until 07.30!!

I am pleased, and glad that I have made a decision about breastfeeding, but my boobs are rather tender!!

By lou031205 on Sun 13-Jul-08 18:30:47
Hi twinkleymum - it's hard work, isn't it. I have to say that I have two DDs, and with the first one, I really felt that she still needed milk in the night, and that if she woke she was genuinely hungry. She was always little for her age, too.

With DD2, she is well up on the centiles for her (corrected) age. She eats well in the day (although really at 8mo she hadn't been, so don't give up hope!). Because she didn't settle in the evening, and breastfed on me, I knew she was getting lots of milk. What I did was this (we have a bedside cot, so she has her own space but I could roll over and feed/comfort her):

Night 1: Fed her whenever she woke, then from 5am onwards, refused to feed, but gave her big cuddles, and hugs with reassurance. Told her she was a big girl now, and I knew she could do it. Took 1 hour to settle, but more ranty than crying. Never left her or ignored her.

Night 2: Same as night 1, but took 45 minutes to settle.

Night 3: Same as night 2, but stopped feeding from 3am. Took 30 minutes to settle.

Night 4: as night 3.

Night 5: No feeds after midnight.

As of stopping feeds on Friday:

Friday night: DH settled for the first time at 8pm - took 30 minutes - Slept through the night (except for brief waking when disturbed by DD1 crying, but settled with gentle pat for 5 minutes).

Saturday night: DH settled at 8pm - took 45 minutes - Slept through the night (except for brief waking when disturbed by DD1 crying, but settled with gentle pat for 5 minutes).

Sunday nap time: DH settled her, and it took 20 minutes, she slept for 1 hour and 20 minutes (she normally had been falling asleep on my boob, and then waking 30 minutes later)

steaknife Wed 26-Aug-09 18:22:11

I don't think you need to go down the CC route as there are other methods you could try first.
It sounds like co-sleeping is not working for your family at the moment so moving to a cot might be helpful.

I found this book very helpful in developing a strategy to help DD with sleep.

The book had lots of case studies and lots of discussions about why babies wake whether in cots or co-sleeping.

There is also advice on how to develop a strategy that suits your family. It offers two basic methods - gradual retreat, where you stay with baby until they are asleep and reduce the contact over a period of time or CC, popping in and out to reassure them over gradually lengthening periods of time.

I found it gave me the confidence to tackle DDs sleeping all by myself and although some days are better than others I now know I have a method that is consistent if we have disruptions.

Good luck.

Miamla Wed 26-Aug-09 18:42:33

hi, i'm cyteen's previously sleep deprived friend from post-natal...she's summoned me so here i am!

DS is almost 13mths and up until about 6 weeks ago, had never slept for longer than 2 or 3 hours. My parenting v similar to yours, except i do have a pushchair. i rarely use it but i do have one!

An average night used to be about 10 wake ups. It made no difference when we moved him from our room to his own. I tried early bedtimes, late bedtimes, lots of daytime naps, no daytime naps. i tried feeding to sleep, rocking to sleep etc etc etc

Basically i was a zombie and running out of ideas. DP was away one weekend and the Saturday night was awful. So Sunday I had a new resolve to crack it. My new 'rules' were once he was in the cot, he stayed in the cot until 5am (or when he woke up if later ha ha). I've just found one of my posts from the first night i tried settling him in his cot...

well, i'm happy to announce that DS is asleep, in his cot and he actually fell asleep in his cot tonight!!! woo hooooo!! It took almost an hour and a half and i've lost my t-shirt in the battle (DS is currently clutching it like the trophy it is!) but I won this one! My cunning technique was to lie him down again every time he stood up. He started getting really screamy so i walked out, posted a message on here and went back in again. I gave him a little cuddle and then lay him down again. This happened a million few times until eventually he gave up and just lay in his cot giggling at me. I managed to resist smiling, continued humming his lullaby to him and rubbing his back. His eyes started getting heavy and hey presto!
woo hooo i'm about to have a celebratory pimms
i'm sure my method breaks all the settling rules but hey, its worked and i figured it can't get any worse than having to rock him every night so <clink> cheers

arse! he's awake already <sigh>

i'm having a screaming break already. he's got himself so worked up already. i find that if i leave him to scream for a minute and then go back in, he calms down. but if i stay in there he gets more and more worked up

stop the clock! he's asleep again!!! only 20mins this time!!!

DS awake AGAIN!!!!

stop the clock!
woo hoo 4mins that time! i like this game! he had a bit of a whinge, rolled over and went back to sleep! didn't even need to rub his back this time
he may be starting the battles but i'm winning them!

only a 10min settle needed

the following morning....
he slept from 10.40pm until 4.30am
longest he's ever slept!!!!!
my first thought when i saw the clock this morning was 'oooh, i can't wait to tell the girls!'

report on the following night:
i appreciate you're all on the edge of your seats waiting to hear how last night went..... He had a v late nap at 6 in the car so DP gave him a bath and he was ready for his bf at 8. 15mins of milk, 15mins of settling in his cot and he was asleep! I came downstairs, surprised at how quick it had been and i heard screaming. I went back up, he was standing and screaming in his cot. All i did was lie him down, rubbed his back for literally 5seconds and he was asleep again until 11pm! 10mins of settling/stroking. next one was at 2.45 (15mins of settling) and then next wakeup was 5.30. gave him a long bf and he then went back to sleep til 7

so summary.. not as good as the night before re periods of sleep but alot less settling was needed for each wakeup and there were fewer wakeups oh and i managed to snooze him til7. i'm marking last night as a success!

next night:
DS settled in five minutes woo hoooooooo!!

so as you can see from my above, it took alot of patience for the first night and i had to leave the room a few times, breathe and then i went straight back in again. Was this a very minor form of CC? possibly but i never left him for longer than a few seconds and i never let him get properly upset ie more than just a loud whinge. i actually find that if he's upset that its useless me staying in the room because he just gets more wound up that i'm not picking him up and getting him out of his cot. if i leave the room for a few seconds and go back in, he lies down calmly waiting for me to put my hand on his back/tummy (depending on what he's not lying on!)

i'm not sure how much sense all this will make but i'm more than happy to have a chat via phone if you would find it helpful. i'm by no means an expert but i really do sympathise... surviving sleep deprivation is no mean feat!

gypsymoon Wed 26-Aug-09 19:10:10

Oh you poor love. My experience with my first DD was very similar...attachment parenting can be very exhausting and is a commitment that few appreciate how mentally and physically draining it can be.

It seemed that my daughter was awake more than she was asleep and like you i really questioned the merits of atachment parenting. Trust me when I tell you, ap is for the long haul and the benefits for both you and your bubs will be felt further down the track. CC is very much a short term solution...and for a mother who has followed her gut from the outset and trusted the gentle mothering instinct, cc will feel wrong and alien. Not to suggest it is wrong or alien, all I know is I did try it when DD1 was about 10 months and it didn't work, didn't feel right. But I knw it does work for others...

My DD1 sleeps like a little lamb now - I never thought she would. In fact at 2 she slept through my labouring less than a foot from the end of her bed. Long story, but we were living with my parents and all in one room. The child didn't twitch and I was letting it rip! She has only recently moved into her own room and DD2 will be shortly following her as we're expecting DC3!

If she is teething try the homeopathic remedy chamomillia. We have used this for both our girls and swear by it. It is also very useful for calming a distressed baby. It's easily found in a health food store. I alsoo swear by cranial osteopathy. Miracle workers! My DD2 was a nightmare around 3 months old, and the osteopath fixed her right up. She's had the usual sleep disturbances consistent with age and development, but nothing like her sister...wish I'd known with DD1

Remember this too shall pass. In those early years there are always huge hurdles and obstacles and lots and lots of sleepless nights. It can seem never ending. Have you got a supportive network of friends in your area? I found a wonderful attachment parenting group when I was going through exactly what you were when DD1 was 10 months old. Through common experience and support I managed to get through it. This was in Australia though, maybe there are similar groups in the UK....

Having said all of this however, co-sleeping isn't for every baby. Like you I don't own a pram, co-sleep still breastfeed, babies were in cloth nappies. I thought in order to be ap, I had to follow all the tenets...attachment parenting is not about some set of rules to follow in order to be a gentle parent. Choose what works best for you and your family. Unfortunately, in my experience, ap works best when you have a very hands on dad around. Not to say yours isn't supportive, but not being there at night is a huge stumbling block...

Sleep with your bubs during the day, if you can. Might make the nights easier? My heart goes out to you, and I hope you can find the strength to 'weather the storm'. But if you can't, if it's all too much, please don't make yourself sick trying. Wearing your baby extended bf are wonderfully bonding experiences, you've given bubba 10 months of co-sleeping - what a lucky baby.

dorisbonkers Wed 26-Aug-09 19:25:33

Thank you so much for taking the trouble to reply. It really means so much to me.

My DH is wonderfully supportive, but does have punishing night shifts four times a week. Some shifts are 14 hours and of course he needs some kip in the daytime. So for much of the week he's effectively 'not there' when I need him!

I use a german wrap for her, but bought him an Ergo a few weeks ago and he takes her out once a day for one of her naps. He tends to sleep better with him than me. I've walked her for 2 hours without any sleep. She nods off within 20 mins with him.

He is now home for a three night stretch and I shall try the cot suggestion.

I think the co-sleeping means that as she is frequently waking, I'm frequently feeding. As much as 10 times a night/morning. Maybe the cot can reduce this.

I think you're right. Everyone, including my mother, think I'm barmy to do what I do. They laughingly call me a mug.

I want to continue breastfeeding but I think that's part of the problem. She was a prem, small baby and so I've always fretted about her weight. So instead of thinking 'no she's not hungry so I won't rush to feed her' I've always erred on the side of caution, thinking she never fed that much the last time I fed her, or 'she's not piddled that much, better feed her'.

So I'm still feeding her as much as some feed their newborns. Day and night.

I plan to go back to part time work (I'd really rather not and won't if terms aren't agreeable and DH supports that fully) so want to continue bf as that's a lovely way to reconnect.

I'll let you know how I get on.

mumcah Wed 26-Aug-09 21:36:13

I wouldn't recommend CC for a baby that has been Co Sleeping since birth.We did do it last month but DD had been a good sleeper and had got into bad months(she's 16 months).
It did only take 1 night to work and about an hour of crying where I went in every 15 minutes.Amazing results but she has been in her own room since a few weeks old.
I think you need to get her used to her cot first.

dorisbonkers Wed 26-Aug-09 21:49:42

That's a very good point mumcah. Like I said, I didn't think I could actually do it, but needed to hear some responses, encouragement, or discouragement.

I kept her up later, read stories, bf her til asleep, she never settled really so I gave up and have left DH to settle her in her cot. I can hear crying, but it's whiney, not scared, and intermittent.

I just got the feeling me being in the room, the way I feel and how tired I am, was detrimental to her getting to sleep. I bfed for about 30 mins and still no dice.

Umlellala Wed 26-Aug-09 21:51:27

Hey there, I have improved my ds's sleep without leaving him to cry alone (ie CC) though he has cried to let me know he is finding it hard. He is slightly older, at 13mths (started a month or so ago). At 10 mths I'd say he was feeding like yours.He gradually (without me really, though I did try and put him down/latch him off quicker after feeding him or rock him to sleep instead a few times) went to two times a night waking, though more on the odd day. A month or so ago I decided to stop bfing at night and just morning and bedtime, has been surprisingly easy, and he now mostly goes from 6/7pm to 4am without waking (then wakes and wants to feed for an hour hmm but we'll deal with that next...). I ssh and cuddle him and stroke his hair, and he goes to sleep that way.

He still sleeps with me. I did try him in his cot the other day, he had been playing in there during day, had been playing pretend sleep games and goodbye/hello games. And he seemed to want to go in it, so I gave it a go - that was the first night he slept 'through' BUT tbh, physically getting up when he did wake at 3am and dealing with him was more exhausting than having him bfing!! And he is now back with me though still sleeping well, and not bfing at night still.

Anyway, you can teach her a different routine and she might not be happy about it but a) you don't have to leave her necessarily and b) don't forget that crying is not the goal. You are trying to teach her to go to sleep happily without you? So think about what might help, a comforter? Games during day? Gradual retreat?

Of course, CC might be perfect for your situation but don't do anything because you feel you 'should'. Do what gets you the most sleep and makes you comfortable. Good luck

Umlellala Wed 26-Aug-09 22:08:18

PS I have definitely got dh to take over when I can sense that my anxiety and wiredness is actually keeping ds awake. It is good for dh to be able to get him to sleep (sometimes I do go back in when I am a bit calmer though smile)

Umlellala Wed 26-Aug-09 22:13:04

Also, have found am enjoying bf again now that it's a bit less 'full-on'.

And also, you need to prioritise rest. Tough shit if dh is sleeping during day (IMVHO) - with one child you MUST sleep/rest/read when they are asleep, seriously. You and your dh/someone else absolutely need to make sure you have a chance to rest.

Also also(!) think about going to the doctor early if you sense the depression coming back... I have left it slightly too long, and have now got some great tablets but went a bit mad trying to struggle alone.

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