Ella (and other BTDT)

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Registered: 08-24-2005
Ella (and other BTDT)
12
Wed, 07-28-2010 - 3:31pm

Ella, I'm asking this to you because I remember you saying something about Eliza's "constant nursing" at nights, and maybe you have some advice... If anyone else has, please feel free to give your opinion!

We are still having trouble at night. Here is the situation:
When we go to sleep we put Fede in a twin bed next to our bed (that's our solution to the lack of space in our double bed). I nurse him laying next to him and he falls asleep easily most nights.... BUT after a 2 or maybe 3 hour stretch, he wakes up "kind of crying". If I offer him the breast he falls asleep quite fast, if I don't he fully wakes up with full blown cries. The annoying thing is that this goes on cyclically all night, with shorter and shorter periods of sleep, so I may be waking up about 8 times a night!!!!
Most of times, instead of me going to "his bed" during this night snacks, I bring him to ours (I don't even remember doing it), so the whole point of getting him out of the bed is ruined. So lately DH is sleeping in the twin from the beginning, which I hate, because I feel like the baby kicked my husband out of the bed!!
Oh, also, he started to wake up in the wee hours of the morning totally happy and wanting to play, so you have a cheerful baby kicking back the covers and making all kind of funny sounds and screams... cute, but not at 4 am!!!!!
We talked to the pediatrician about this, and he advised us to cut back some of the short naps he did during the day, because that way he was learning to sleep for short periods instead of long chunks of time. We did that, leaving just one longer nap in the middle of the day, and he stopped waking up at 5 am to play, but he still wakes up for "snacks".

So at this point we realize that there is some (or a lot) of things we are doing wrong, but we are kind of clueless about the solution.. Any thoughts??????

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Registered: 08-24-2005
Fri, 08-27-2010 - 10:15am
Sarah, what you wrote was beautiful! I'm sorry it took me so long to acknowledge you post!
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Registered: 02-27-2008
Thu, 08-05-2010 - 9:32pm
Aww, sweet post Sarah, I always enjoy reading about what you guys do in terms of sleep. You calm my insecurities about Eliza's sleep habits (about which I honestly feel 100% fine, but other people often make me second-guess).



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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2005
Thu, 08-05-2010 - 8:49am

Mari you do not need to let him CIO, that being said, your schedule might need to be adjusted a bit. He is awake a long time before his first nap time. You really want the first nap within about 3 hours of waking up. If he is getting up at 9, you want his first nap by noon. I would feed him as soon as he gets up rather then waiting an hour and a half to nurse. Then I would give him lunch around 11:30 and have him down for a nap by noon.

Neither of mine could go 3 1/2 hours before their first nap at that age without getting really grumpy and overtired, which made naps harder, not easier. You can go a bit longer like 4 to possibly 5 hours between the first nap and the second, but I have found that 4 hours is normally best. Another thought, what about putting him to bed earlier? With Desmond he didn't go to bed till we did, with Eloise we find that she really needs to be in bed and asleep by 8:30 or so, or she gets hyper and has trouble sleeping.

Honestly I would probably do the first nap about 2 to 2 1/2 hours after getting up, the second nap about3 1/2 to 4 hours after getting up from the second nap and then start bedtime routines around 8pm or so.

That being said at a younger age, until about 14/15 months Eloise won't sleep without one of us right there, so DH use to wear her at night once she had fallen asleep until it was bedtime for us. So at 8/8:30 she would go up on his back and he would do his evening stuff with her asleep up there. When we went to bed around 10:30/11 then he would put her on the bed and I would nurse her and she would sleep until 2/2:30 when she wanted to nurse again and then go back to sleep till 5/5:30 for a second nursing. After that she would often sleep till 9 or 10am, and I could actually get out of bed and leave her there to sleep while I went downstairs with Desmond.

She wasn't ready to sleep through the night from about 8:30 till 6am till 15/16 months when I night weaned her. And night weaning with her was the easiest thing ever. I just stopped sleeping in bed with her and DH started sleeping in bed with her. Without me there she just slept through, though she does need DH there, and I do need to wake up when DH gets up for the day to move to her bed and nurse her or she wakes for the day. If I nurse her at 6am she normally goes back to sleep till 8am or so at this point in time.

Honestly he will learn to fall asleep on his own. Or at least without nursing. Desmond now goes to bed all on his own, yeah he didn't do it at 1 or even 2, but DH never minded lying with him to go to sleep, they are only little for so long. At 3, I read him 2 stories, he nurses for about 2 minutes and I leave his room and he is asleep within about 10 minutes. It does happen, and they are only little for so long. Honestly I still miss nursing both of mine to sleep, their cuddly little baby bodies snuggled up and milky smiles as they drift off. Don't get me wrong I really love the 3 hours in the evening that DH and I get alone, but I don't regret the nursing them to sleep or even DH lying with Eloise for half an hour for her to go to sleep. Soon enough they will be telling me things like "I don't like you Mom! You are so mean! I want to do xyz because everyone else is! You don't know anything!"




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Thank you for the sig Mary

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-23-2003
Wed, 08-04-2010 - 2:19pm

You don't have to do anything! Don't ever feel like you have to CIO!

For us it was just what we needed to do so that Theodor could get the sleep that he needed. Now that he knows how to fall back asleep on his own, I can nurse him, and put him in his bed either awake or asleep and he stays asleep once he is sleeping until he is hungry.

We just reached a point where he was absolutely exhausted and miserable and crying a lot no matter what we were doing and we knew something had to change. Now he is happy all day and often doesn't cry at all before he falls asleep.He also is making big leaps in terms of development because he isn't exhausted the whole day.

I knew that he was really suffering from lack of longer stretches of sleep so I did a lot of research and found a method I was comfortable with. You can also do things like staying by the bed and soothing him the whole time but not taking him out- the only problem with a method like that is that it can take a few days to experience success and in that time you might get so exhausted and overwhelmed that you just give up. Whereas CIO with checks normally has success very quickly (and if it doesn't then the method isn't being used correctly/isn't working).

I think a schedule is a great step in the right direction. Oftentimes if you get the wake times just right (which can be a science in itself) you never have any problems with tears or short stretches of sleep.

You also might want to try stretching your nursing sessions to always 3 1/2 or 4 hours apart so that he is used to going at least that long during the day and night. At his age and with solids there isn't any reason he shouldn't be able to handle that but you are his mom and know if he is hungry in shorter intervals:)

Good luck I hope you find something that works well for you!!

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Registered: 08-24-2005
Wed, 08-04-2010 - 1:10pm

Girls, thank you so much for all the thoughtful advice! It took me this long to answer because I don't have much time, and really wanted to answer to each of you!

SARAH- what you describe is something another friend told me. That until I night wean him, he will continue with it. I agree with you, it seems too soon to wean him, so I guess I'll wait a couple of months.

ELLA- We tried the crib this weekend, but it was worse. Half of the times I put him in the crib he would wake up screaming his ass off. The other half he woke up after 40 minutes... also crying... Besides, when I had him in the crib, I spent half of the time checking his breathing, the covers, etc... So I suppose neither of us is "ready" yet. But I will keep in mind your experience and try again in a couple of months.

ASH- I discussed your advice with my DH, and we agreed that only one nap a day was not enough for Fede. So we changed to two 1 hour naps distributed evenly through the day. We are also trying to stick to a schedule. ours looks like this right now
9:00- wake up
10:30- nurse
12:00- lunch (solids)
12:30/13:00- nap
13:30/14:00- wake up
15:00-nurse
17:30/18:00-nap
18:30/19:00-wake up
19:30-nurse
20:30/21:00-dinner
22:30- nurse then bedtime
So far that's working, but we can't get him to fall asleep on his own.... Do I really need to let him CIO?? It totally breaks my heart and my nerves!!!!

CARA- I've tried not nursing him back to sleep, and so far I've been able to do so half the times, only when he's still really sleepy, but if he has his eyes wide open, he wants his boob.... (sigh!). It's actually kind of funny to see him fumbling in the dark with my pajama, looking for the nipple!

ADRIENNE- As I said, we took yours and Ash's advice on the napping.

BRITA- Maybe you are right, and I should move his first nap to before lunch... Also, how did you manage to make him fall asleep without crying it out???

Anyway, something that is also against us is that we are in the middle of a cold winter... Our winters are something like California or Arizona, but this year we've had a lot of frosts, and some snow days, and our houses are NOT prepared for it, so some things like waking up in the middle of the night to rock the baby, or nurse him in a glider instead of the bed are kind of chilly.... So that's probably another reason to postpone the night weaning for a couple of months.

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Registered: 03-19-2007
Fri, 07-30-2010 - 2:30pm

Mari,

We dealt with similar but not identical (we didn't cosleep) night waking with Barrett. One thing that really helped me keep my sanity was to have DH deal with Barrett if it had been less than 2 hours since the last time I had nursed him. If DH couldn't manage to get him to sleep after at least 30 minutes of rocking, I would then nurse him. This worked for us and managed to get Barrett down to only about 2-3 nursings at night and by one year it was more like 1-2 times at night. Plus suddenly DH had much more sympathy for all the night time parenting I was doing :) At some point I also changed up the order of our before bed routine so that Barrett didn't fall asleep nursing. I did this so I could clean his teeth after nursing (my sister is a dentist!), but for some babies it helps them not to be too dependent on nursing to fall asleep. Also when he was nursing at night I would pull him off as soon as his feeding slowed (and I'd put him back on the breast if he fussed).

As for naps, one thing that helped me get Barrett taking longer naps was to put him down early for his first nap of the day. I won't let him be awake more than 2 hours before that first nap. He usually takes a nice long (1.5 hours) morning nap. So even though it seems backward, maybe try putting Fede down earlier in the morning. Then he should have lots of time to get nice and tired before a second nap, and then plenty of time to get nice and tired again before bedtime.

Good luck with everything! I got frustrated a lot with Barrett's sleep this past year, but I can tell you that he now sleeps through the night more than half of the time, is night weaned, and falls asleep in his crib, by himself for naps & bedtime without ever having to do any crying it out.

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Registered: 05-11-2010
Thu, 07-29-2010 - 10:12pm

"I think Fede should still be taking 2 naps as 7 months is very young to already manage to go so many hours without a break. "

Agreed--at the daycare I used to work in, kids would go from having 2-3 naps a day to only having one afternoon nap between 12-15 months old (when they were walking and moved into the 1 YO room). Even then, it was a TOUGH transition for them and most of them were not quite ready for one nap a day at that age. A seven month old (IMO) should be taking at least one morning and one afternoon nap.

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Registered: 06-15-2003
Thu, 07-29-2010 - 8:23pm
I agree with Ash that part of the problem is probably that he doesn't know how to get back to sleep once he wakes which is a pretty common problem. Do you ever try putting him to bed/nap awake and letting him go to sleep rather than nursing to sleep every time? This is key in getting them to learn how to put themselves to sleep in my opinion. Also, I would try maybe not feeding him every time he wakes in the night if possible, try to soothe him without nursing when he's waking very frequently and he's not really hungry to get him out of the habit of nursing constantly throughout the night. Anyway, I'm obviously no expert, these are just the things I would try if I were in your shoes (and some nights I am!) Good luck!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-23-2003
Thu, 07-29-2010 - 12:12pm

We definitely had the same issues going on with Teddy. He was waking up every hour and clearly wasn't hungry every hour, he just didn't know how to fall back asleep on his own. So we started a real schedule- never awake for more then 2 hours if possible (for a baby Fede's age this could be closer to 3-31/2 hours), and trying to only feed him every few hours so that when he ate he was really eating and not just snacking. This is what our day looks like if everything goes well.

7am- up for the day
7:30/8- nurse
8:30/9:00 down for first nap
10:30/11:00- up
12:00- nurse/solids
1:00pm down for 2nd nap
2:00 up
2:30 nurse
3:30 down for 3rd nap (this doesn't always happen and if it doesn't happen by 3 I try not to let him nap as then he won't go down at night well- A 7 month old definitely wouldn't need this 3rd nap)
4:30: Up/feed
6:00 Bedtime routine of book, bath, nurse, song starts
7:00 Lay him down in bed -awake!
7:15 If all went well asleep
8:00 Nurse (he hasn't gotten the hang of doing a big feed at 6 yet so I feed him as he is hungry)
11/12pm: awake/nurse
3 or 6:00am depending on how the night goes: awake/nurse
7:00 up for the day

(The nursing on the schedule is a bit off- I feed him whenever he is hungry which is normally every 4-5hours during the day but it isn't really at set times)

We did let Teddy cry a little bit in his crib but we comforted him often and the point was not to let him cry but to help him figure out that he can fall asleep by himself without us rocking, nursing, or doing anything else. It only took about 3 nights for him to start sleeping much longer stretches on his own.Now he falls asleep great and is so much more well rested. It was really the right step for all of us.

However no matter what you decide to do I think Fede should still be taking 2 naps as 7 months is very young to already manage to go so many hours without a break. AND babies know the difference between day and night sleep the problem is not that Fede is used to sleeping short stretches the problem is that Fede can not fall back asleep on his own- we ALL wake up multiple times a night, we just know how to fall right back asleep and often don't remember it- babies also need to learn this skill eventually. Some babies figure it out without any help and some babies (like mine LOL) need a lot of help to get there.

I hope things improve Mari!

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Avatar for berry81
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Registered: 02-27-2008
Wed, 07-28-2010 - 11:09pm

Oh I soooo feel your pain, Mari! We were in your place a couple of months ago. And - don't get me wrong - Eliza still wakes up to nurse at night, but it's gotten better. She used to wake up about every 1 to 2 hours, which was soooo rough. I finally decided it was time for her to try sleeping in her crib for at least part of the night. So now, when she goes to sleep (I nurse her to sleep in the glider), I put her down in the crib and she sleeps the first part of the night there. I think this really helps her wake a little less frequently, as she will usually sleep 4-5 hours in the crib before she wakes to nurse the first time. Then, I do bring her into bed with us for/after her first night feeding(or, at least the first night feeding AFTER I've gone to bed, so, sometimes it's technically her 2nd feeding of the night), but I've been able to get some good sleep up until that point, so I end up feeling much less tired in the morning (and throughout the day). I felt she was ready for the change and so was I. We're technically still co-sleeping, since she really does spend about half the night in our bed still, but for some reason she is sleeping better, even after she comes to bed with us (wakes about once more per night after I bring her into bed)... I don't know what helped - it could have been coincidence - but I do think that it has something to do with her having more space and the fact that it is really quiet in her room.

I wish I could help out more - but if nothing else, I can totally commiserate! It's still totally normal at Fede's age to wake at night - and who knows, he could be going through a rapid growth spurt at the moment and needs to nurse more frequently?

And yeah, like the PP said, it won't totally stop until we night wean our LOs, which I have a feeling I'm not going to be ready to do for quite a while. I'm sure other BTDTs will chime in, I know we're not the only ones who have gone through this!




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Edited 7/28/2010 11:12 pm ET by berry81

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