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I'm beginning to think our case is hopeless.

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Sigh. I'm afraid this might be lengthy. My son is 16 months old tomorrow. For a long time now, I have been at the point where I must. get. some. sleep. I know I don't have to tell this crowd about the severe effects of profound long-term sleep deprivation, but I simply have to share in the hopes of gaining some wisdom. Scientists could seriously use me in as a case study about how lack of sleep affects mental, physical, and intellectual health. I don't like who I've become. Where I once was a stable, patient, happy, sharp individual, I am now...well... emotionally unstable on an everyday basis, I have no memory, and I can no longer speak articulately (seriously - I have developed a stutter!). I have lost my patience, I think I am suffering from depression, I don't think I should be driving (I ran over our trash can after noting 1 minute before getting in the car that I needed to watch out for it. Bust out my tail-lights.)

DS still wakes 3 times a night to nurse. In addition to that, he frequently wakes due to teething pain, a slight change in schedule, developmental milestones, etc. But the real issue is the nursing. He has slept in a crib since he was 9 months old because my husband's snoring and alarm woke him. I wanted to continue to cosleep but he truly does sleep better on his own. I tried adapting Jay Gordon's night-weaning techniques - even though we remained with him, denying him the breast during the second phase of his program was extremely traumatic for my son and affected his happiness during the day. I used the "Pantley Pull-Off" successfully with my daughter, but my son only nurses voraciously for 5 or so minutes when he wakes then pushes away and wants to go back to sleep. So there is no room for utilizing that technique. He won't take a bottle, refuses the sippy cup at night. He eats well during the day, has been tested for food allergies, is on reflux meds already. So, I just do not see how we will ever get past this. I can't figure out anything else to do, but I must somehow help him sleep for longer stretches so that I can live up to my full potential as a parent. If you have anything to offer, please please share. TIA.
post #2 of 25

Does cosleeping work for you and DS?

I can imagine that you are finding it difficult right now.

Does cosleeping work for you and DS? If it does, could you consider sleeping with him somewhere else so that your DH's issues do not affect him. DH's issues could also be making you less rested, even for the amount of time that you sleep.

Is DS in pain? Then perhaps you could find out about the possibilities of giving him some appropriate painkillers.

Do you drink beverages or eat foods containing caffeine? These might pass into your milk and make DS more agitated. This is also true for some antidepressants.
post #3 of 25
I have so been there, and I know how awful the sleep deprivation can be. I hope things get better for you soon.

Have you thought about putting a mattress on the floor in your son's room so that you could cosleep with him in there? That's what we did when my DD was about 8 months old, and it has helped tremendously. That way I can often go right back to sleep as soon as she gets latched on, and it helps me be much better rested, even though she still wakes a minimum of 2-3 times every night. And it helps me sleep a lot better than I did when all three of us were in the same bed, because at least this way there's only one other person in the bed who is waking me up.

Also, you don't mention whether your husband does any of the nighttime parenting. Is it always you that's having to go into your son's room when he wakes? If I'm with my DD, she will not go to sleep without nursing, but when DH is with her, she accepts other kinds of comforting and will go back to sleep without needing to nurse. Now DH handles the first half of the night and I do the second half. That means that he and I both get to sleep uninterrupted for at least half the night, which has made a huge difference for me. Also, since she's been getting practice going back to sleep without nursing, it's helping her learn to wake less overall.

Good luck, mama.
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your input, mamas. I really appreciate it!

mamadaan, we have given him painkillers when he is teething. It helps with the extra wakings but he still nurses 3X (between 11pm and 6am). I am completely caffeine-free (and am not on any meds) as I've been scared to exacerbate our issues, lol.

bodhitree, DH does help with the extra wakings, but if he goes to DS at a time when he usually nurses then DS gets increasingly upset (we're talking serious screaming). Did you ever have that problem?

I have thought about co-sleeping in DS's room, but dismissed the idea because I wondered whether it would make him want to nurse more. One desperate night, I did make a bed of blankets on his floor for us. DS perked right up and decided it was time to play! Maybe I should give some more thought to this idea though. I guess I would just join him after that first waking? He goes to bed much too early for me to go to sleep with him.
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChesapeakeBorn View Post
He goes to bed much too early for me to go to sleep with him.
I'm sure you have a million other things to do in the evening (we all do!) but is there any way you could go to bed when your toddler does? (Not necessarily with him, but at the same time or shortly after.) At least until you catch up on your sleep a bit?

My almost 18-month-old still wakes several times during the night. On the good nights he goes back to sleep easily (nursing), and it's no big deal. On the not-so-good nights he becomes very restless and neither of us get much quality sleep. Some days I feel like the walking dead, but on those days I just try to go to bed earlier than normal. Sometimes much earlier. Yes, it means some things don't get done that otherwise might, but getting adequate sleep is usually more important.

Oh, and my husband has long since given up sleeping in our bed, for the time being. Obviously it's not what either of us would prefer, but in the end we all sleep better this way.
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melanie_7773 View Post
I'm sure you have a million other things to do in the evening (we all do!) but is there any way you could go to bed when your toddler does? (Not necessarily with him, but at the same time or shortly after.) At least until you catch up on your sleep a bit?
Yes, about once a week I completely break down and have to go to bed shortly after the kids do. My last few attempts were in vain though because DS was up about 10 minutes after I climbed in bed. DH took care of him but I'm a light sleeper even with white noise. I wish I could do go to bed early more often, but as it is my house is crumbling around me - laundry, cleaning, chores, etc. (Let me correct that - it has already crumbled! This place is a mess and has been for some time now. I am just doing the bare minimum in cleaning up the dinner dishes (which DH does a lot) and making sure DD has a clean school uniform.) This is also due in part to the fact that I am babysitting an infant from 7:30am-5:15pm everyday in order to make ends meet (well almost meet). While DS isn't usually up for the day until 7:15-8:15 am, I need to get up at 6:30am.

Wow. I can't believe this is me writing this. It is so far from my former cheerful positive tone!
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChesapeakeBorn View Post
He goes to bed much too early for me to go to sleep with him.
When your toddler or baby is still waking a lot sometimes the only way to get enough sleep is to sleep when they do.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChesapeakeBorn View Post
bodhitree, DH does help with the extra wakings, but if he goes to DS at a time when he usually nurses then DS gets increasingly upset (we're talking serious screaming). Did you ever have that problem?

I have thought about co-sleeping in DS's room, but dismissed the idea because I wondered whether it would make him want to nurse more. One desperate night, I did make a bed of blankets on his floor for us. DS perked right up and decided it was time to play! Maybe I should give some more thought to this idea though. I guess I would just join him after that first waking? He goes to bed much too early for me to go to sleep with him.
Well, DD did put up some protests when she started getting DH instead of me for part of the night. When she got seriously upset, I did go in to her. But there were a couple times where she was upset but not in a panic, and I ended up allowing her to cry in DH's arms. I hated it, but it was never more than about 20-25 minutes, and she did have him there with her trying to soothe her. She did learn that Daddy could comfort her even though he doesn't have the magic milk. Basically for me, it was a matter of survival. I realized that I had been taking on enormous amounts of suffering so that she would never have to be upset, and I wasn't able to continue to do that. We never let her CIO alone and did not expect her to learn to self-soothe--she always had a parent with her-- and we didn't even let her cry in arms until she was around 8-9 months old. Looking back on that time, that was the right decision for our family.

About the cosleeping in your DS's room, I would give it another try. I don't know if you're anything like me, but for months and months I was so discouraged over the whole sleep thing that if I tried something once and it didn't work, I assumed it would never work. Then a few months later, I would try it out of desperation and it would work just fine. I think I gave up on some strategies too soon, just because I was so upset over the situation as a whole.
post #9 of 25
This probably isn't a popular avenue to walk down around here, but I went to my doctor and asked for a prescription for Ambien. DD wakes up around 3-5 times a night still at 25 mo to nurse, and that is a lot better than it used to be. I used to wake up fully anytime she did and also had a hard time going to sleep at the beginning of the night. With the Ambien (low dose of 5mg) I am a whole new person I still completely attend to her and I remember every time she wakes, but I am not so disturbed that I stay up for any length of time past what is necessary. We both seem to be more well rested. I am so much more able to cope with my two-year-old and life in general.
We co-sleep, so I would imagine it would only be safe if done in this manner.
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bodhitree View Post
Well, DD did put up some protests when she started getting DH instead of me for part of the night. When she got seriously upset, I did go in to her. But there were a couple times where she was upset but not in a panic, and I ended up allowing her to cry in DH's arms. I hated it, but it was never more than about 20-25 minutes, and she did have him there with her trying to soothe her. She did learn that Daddy could comfort her even though he doesn't have the magic milk.
Our son does okay with my husband if he is waking during a time he doesn't usually nurse, but he screamed for an hour with him the other night when we tried to skip a nursing session while DH tried to comfort him to sleep. I finally went in and nursed him. The poor little guy. He melted into my breast, shuttering and shaking. It just broke my heart. Then the next day he clung to me and was weepy all day. We vowed then and there not to go Jay Gordon's route. I wonder if we should give it another try?

Quote:
Basically for me, it was a matter of survival. I realized that I had been taking on enormous amounts of suffering so that she would never have to be upset, and I wasn't able to continue to do that.
Wow. I never thought of it like this before, but can totally identify with it. The part that I just can't stand is that I know I would be able to give so much more to my children (esp. my older one) during the day if I was better rested.

Quote:
About the cosleeping in your DS's room, I would give it another try. I don't know if you're anything like me, but for months and months I was so discouraged over the whole sleep thing that if I tried something once and it didn't work, I assumed it would never work. Then a few months later, I would try it out of desperation and it would work just fine. I think I gave up on some strategies too soon, just because I was so upset over the situation as a whole.
Yup. That's me. Sounds like we're a lot alike. The foggy-headedness doesn't help too when it comes to making decisions about strategies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by echoecho1528 View Post
This probably isn't a popular avenue to walk down around here, but I went to my doctor and asked for a prescription for Ambien. DD wakes up around 3-5 times a night still at 25 mo to nurse, and that is a lot better than it used to be. I used to wake up fully anytime she did and also had a hard time going to sleep at the beginning of the night. With the Ambien (low dose of 5mg) I am a whole new person I still completely attend to her and I remember every time she wakes, but I am not so disturbed that I stay up for any length of time past what is necessary. We both seem to be more well rested. I am so much more able to cope with my two-year-old and life in general.
We co-sleep, so I would imagine it would only be safe if done in this manner.
I wish I had thought of this when DD was younger! I definitely went through what you described back then. I think I am too exhausted to have insomnia now though. I am a light sleeper so wake frequently, but get back to sleep pretty quickly (barring no waking baby or rough-housing cats or snoring husband or....)
post #11 of 25
How long have you given any changes? (be it nightweaning or having your DH take over). Also how was your own state of mind during those attempts? I didn't have a chance of changing anything with my DS' sleep until I was sure it was our only option. When I nightweaned him I feel he could sense my calm and certainty. I had half tried before that but I was scared and felt guilty.

Good luck to you. It's OK to change things even if your DS doesn't like it! He'll adjust!
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
D_McG, you might be onto something there. We only tried the "Daddy-Comfort-Instead-of-Milkies" thing once. Just last week. It was so traumatic we decided it wouldn't work for us. In the past, when I have tried to replace some of my son's daytime nursing sessions with meals, he became very distraught. I literally tried that for weeks (wasn't trying to wean him, just increase his solid food intake). I went back to nursing him on demand and low and behold he was happier and started eating more food too! As DH says, "we just can't deny him the booby!"

But your post got me thinking -- I am not ready to wean him (though I wouldn't mind night-weaning) and while I am desperate, very desperate for sleep, am not ready to hear him cry like he did either. And he is clearly not ready. I still cherish the bit of babyness that remains. I wonder if this is somehow keeping us from making progress on some level... maybe that is why the situation seems so hopeless to me too.

On that note, I better get into bed.
post #13 of 25
I really think parental readiness has to come before child readiness! See you how do. Also when I was weaning DD down to 3x day (she's 18 mos now) she was definitely a bit clingier but I gave her lots of snuggles because I KNEW 100% that I would wean her completely if I couldn't get some sanity into our relationship. She adjusted in time.

So I would say to spend more time getting your own head in the right place (whatever the right place is for you) before you start thinking of a plan for your DS. He will come to wherever you need him to be.
post #14 of 25
Our miracle with our hourly-waking-all-night-long 16mth old has been a great classical homeopath. We tried everything. I was a mess. A month into treatment and we have been getting consistent stretches of between 6 and 9 hours! And she assures me it's going to keep improving!

I know it won't work for everyone but I think it's worth a try! By the time I got ds to the homeopath, I was only half joking about feeding him sedatives...I was desperate!!!
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
I can't thank you enough for all of your support and encouragement, mamas! It is so comforting coming here and reading your words.

MujerMama, we have a homeopath here in town who is an acquaintance of mine. I would love for her to be our doctor, yet she is very expensive. I had not even thought of that route for sleep trouble, but at this point I am willing to go into debt to sleep! What sorts of treatment are you all receiving?
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoecho1528 View Post
This probably isn't a popular avenue to walk down around here, but I went to my doctor and asked for a prescription for Ambien. DD wakes up around 3-5 times a night still at 25 mo to nurse, and that is a lot better than it used to be. I used to wake up fully anytime she did and also had a hard time going to sleep at the beginning of the night. With the Ambien (low dose of 5mg) I am a whole new person I still completely attend to her and I remember every time she wakes, but I am not so disturbed that I stay up for any length of time past what is necessary. We both seem to be more well rested. I am so much more able to cope with my two-year-old and life in general.
We co-sleep, so I would imagine it would only be safe if done in this manner.
Ohhh, popular or not...is it safe to co-sleep when "on" a sleep med?? Because i have a VERY hard time going back to sleep after DS nurses, and have thought about getting/taking something but assumed it was not ok for co-sleeping. But i have no idea who to ask since most people think co-sleeping is not safe anyway.
Sorry, not trying to derail the OP.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by larzanna View Post
Ohhh, popular or not...is it safe to co-sleep when "on" a sleep med?? Because i have a VERY hard time going back to sleep after DS nurses, and have thought about getting/taking something but assumed it was not ok for co-sleeping. But i have no idea who to ask since most people think co-sleeping is not safe anyway.
Sorry, not trying to derail the OP.
I think it depends on a lot of factors. Age of DC, your size, how hard you generally sleep.
My DD is 2 and I am not a very big person. I know that she panics if held down at all, so I am pretty sure that she would fight big time if I somehow ended up on her. I still wake up fully whenever she does, but going back to sleep comes really really easy.
When I began taking it, I started with 2.5mg and made sure my DH slept in the room with us for a few nights (which he usually doesn't do). So, I felt safe in that if for some reason I didn't wake up to attend to her, or if she were in a panic, he would be there.
It ended up working out great and has really changed my whole life since.
post #18 of 25
I know you said he doesn't like the sippy cup at night, but I just wanted to share how I night-weaned our son at 15 months. I decided he was going to be weaned and I offered him the sippy cup of warm milk instead of nursing. He refused and screamed for about an hour before he finally gave in and drank the milk from the cup. After that, it was only about a week of substituting sippy cup for nursing before he decided it wasn't worth waking up for. I know it won't work for every little one, but this was my experience.
post #19 of 25
Another vote for you sleeping with ds and have dh sleep in a different bed. This has worked really well in our family (with a dh who snores loudly, tosses and turns, and wakes up early with an alarm).

At your ds's age my ds was a serious night-waker. 4 times a night would be amazing, 10 times a night would be all too often. I would have just died of exhaustion if he wasn't sleeping right next to me so I could roll over and nurse him. At a certain point I would sometimes say no to nursing and he would be sad but I would hug him and he'd fall right asleep (this was usually earlier in the night). In the early morning if he asked to nurse I would nurse him because otherwise he'd really freak out (I took this to mean that he REALLY needed to nurse at that point), and also because by that time I was seriously tired and just wanted to do the boobie quick-fix.
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChesapeakeBorn View Post
I can't thank you enough for all of your support and encouragement, mamas! It is so comforting coming here and reading your words.

MujerMama, we have a homeopath here in town who is an acquaintance of mine. I would love for her to be our doctor, yet she is very expensive. I had not even thought of that route for sleep trouble, but at this point I am willing to go into debt to sleep! What sorts of treatment are you all receiving?
Firstly, your son must be pretty special...he and my son have the very same birthday. Maybe it's a sleepless solstice sixteen-month old thing!?!

Our treatment has been so simple. DS has seen the homeopath twice and we've tried two remedies. The first one was ok and improved things marginally but the second one was exactly what he needed. Your homeopath may charge a lot for consultations but the medicines should be very inexpensive - that's one of the very attractive things about homeopathy.

I'm very impressed with our homeopath - while I thought her consultation prices were a bit high, it's been completely worthwhile as she is available via email (and actually asks for reports throughout the week AND makes new suggestions and organises new remedies between consults without charge) 24/7. I love her.

Like you, I'd pay just about anything for sleep! Good luck.
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