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Exhausted mommies support thread? - Page 3

Poll Results: Are you sleep deprived?

  • 58% (105)
    Yes, I have been generally sleep deprived for one year or longer
  • 19% (34)
    Yes, I have been generally sleep deprived for less than a year
  • 6% (11)
    No, I am not sleep deprived
  • 15% (28)
    Occasionally I am sleep deprived for short periods of time but generally no
178 Total Votes  
post #41 of 85
I have been, on and off, although I'm not going to complain after reading this thread. The good thing about DB is that he will sleep in...

I did just want to say a couple of things. Re: traditional cultures and sleeping, well, I have lived in two (Nepal and Senegal). And in neither culture would there be a situation where one woman was taking care of her child/ren all by herself, all day or all night. In Senegal, I actually had a couple of old women ask me how we could manage with just one wife in the family! In my village, the sleeping arrangements were very different from what they are here. We had a compound, in which several generations lived. The babies did sleep with their moms, and sometimes with older children and their dad. The little kids would sleep with their grandmas and some older sisters. Some of the boys slept with older brothers, uncles, or grandpa. (I'm not sure how anybody got any privacy to make all these babies, but somehow it worked!) There was never a situation where one person was the sole caretaker for a crying/wakeful baby. One thing I noticed - those children could sleep through anything. Perhaps because the babies are carried everywhere all day, and they are used to the noise of the village, they just learn to be deep sleepers? My DB is a very light sleeper; sometimes I wish we'd been noisier when he was little!

I forgot to say - these people also take siestas. Everybody naps in the afternoon. This is huge, it's something we don't do in this culture and we SHOULD!

Secondly - about AP and cosleeping and other people...I think as long as you're doing what works for you and your baby, who cares what others think, especially others who you interact with solely via computer. If you find out that your baby sleeps better in another room, then what's wrong with that, really? If she's not crying, if she's asleep - then great! She's getting the sleep she needs, and so are you. I'm saying this as someone who co-sleeps, by the way. To me, the whole point is to raise a healthy, secure, happy child. If the baby is constantly fighting sleep, constantly has issues, then what you're doing isn't working, and I think it's completely OK to try out different options in order to find what works best for you and for her.

I don't have any helpful advice for getting her to sleep - we're still dependent on nursing over here, too, and that's working right now. I have no idea what we'd do if it didn't, though, and it's hard to find real advice. Everything seems to be either CIO or be a martyr, and I don't think either of those are valid options.

I'm really curious to hear about your visit to Dr. Sears, Nora'sMama...
post #42 of 85
Nora's mom please let us know what he says!
post #43 of 85
ochoco, I really value what you've shared about your experience in Nepal and Senegal. One of the problems with AP is it is based on a model of parenting that doesn't fit with our contemporary western culture. True AP would take an entire village.

I also do not believe that AP means putting your child's needs first. To me it means doing what it takes to build and keep a strong attachment; if that attachment is in jeopardy because you are so incredibly sleep deprived to the point of getting sick, then something has to shift. We can't be loving, nurturing mothers if we are not also loving and nurturing ourselves.

Nora'smom, have you looked into dr jay gordon's method? It isn't working for us right now but we still intend to come back to it and try again soon. He suggests trying , if it doens't work, give it a break, then come back to it when things are settled. www.drjaygordon.com I like his approach because he is very AP-friendly but also relaistic about our needs as parents in this culture.

Lastly, I cannot overstate the importance of the nap! I never ever did sleep in the day with my firts child. thsi time aroudn though I'm hs-ing and it would be physically impossible to keep going if I didn't nap. I never thought I'd actually sleep but now, with practice, I doze off for 20-50 minutes. It is transformative! The days I skip that I'm a wreck.
post #44 of 85
I have been sleep deprived since I was pg with my twins and they will be 1 next week. I would say it has been about 15 months of sleep deprivation. They still nurse several times a night. The very, very rare case of sleep sends my body into confusion!!
post #45 of 85

midnight blues

Namaste to sleep-deprived Mamas!

Baby girl (7 mos) has always been a good cuddler-co-sleeper until recently. She went from sleeping through the nights, to teething and waking up periodically to nurse, to now moaning many, many times during the night. It's not crying, it's this grunting/moan/whine that won't stop unless I nurse her. As soon as she pops off, she will often start moaning again. I picked her up this morning to try to rouse her during a moaning episode and she was obviously not awake, it stopped as soon as she got back on my breast. I'd say she moans about 10-15 times a night. Luckily I can typically fall back asleep while she suckles, but I wake up exhausted, dehydrated, and with a sore throat from all that nursing.

I've had a few ideas, and was wondering what you folks think.

1)Perhaps she is not getting enough calories from nursing exclusively during the day and she is moaning with hunger
2)The tea I am drinking in the morning is having some effect on her sleep cycles
3)Growing pains
4)Could she have nightmares?

Any similar experiences?? Thanks to anyone who reads this!
post #46 of 85
Dr. Sears wrote a forward in Pantley's book and I remember reading a comment of his that was something along the lines of, he was so happy that there was now something out there that he could offer to parents for helping baby sleep without crying it out or just living with it.
post #47 of 85
*raises hand*

Yup, another one of the sleep deprived here.

It has been getting slightly better though, and I'm hoping it will continue to improve. For a long time, 3-6x waking per night was our norm, with several nights of cluster nursing after 3:00-4:00 thrown in to make me totally batty. I often considered nightweaning but procrastinated. Then, about a month ago, we both got sick with a nasty cold, and for whatever reason, DS slept totally through the night - like from 9:30-6:00. Of course I didn't sleep through the whole night (LOL) but I got a couple good blocks of sleep. For the next couple of nights, he made it to 4:00 without nursing, and that was a huge difference for me.

Unfortunately, it didn't continue. But now we have occasion nights where he makes it to the middle of the night without nursing...and I think that I can tell a difference even when it's just until 2:00 or so. On a good night, he might only nurse twice - once at 2 or 3 and then again at 6:00 or so. But these are still interspersed with nights when he wakes up an hour after we go to sleep (which is very difficult for me) and then continues to wake up several more times. Overall, it's just a tiny step over the line between going crazy and being able to tolerate it. I'm not constantly obsessing about nightweaning anymore, though I still consider it on occasion. My latest goal is maybe to do it at two years, depending on where he is in getting those evil 2 yr molars.
post #48 of 85
1)Perhaps she is not getting enough calories from nursing exclusively during the day and she is moaning with hunger
2)The tea I am drinking in the morning is having some effect on her sleep cycles
3)Growing pains
4)Could she have nightmares?

The only thing about this I have to contribute is that breastmilk (even though its a liquid) had WAY more calories than any solid food. A's sleep changed radically at about six months due to not enough nursing in the day (too much going on!) and needing to catch up at night. Have you looked at kellymom.com? There's some good info on there.

I've been having some luck this past week by nursing A in her sleep when I come to bed. She goes to sleep at 7:30 and I give her the "moon boob" at 10:30 or 11:00. That way, she doesnt wake up at 12:30 wanting to nurse and we skip that waking for mama and baby.

The other thing I've been doing is offering water at the other waking, wearing a nightshirt (so she can't see my boobs) and it's working! She will still not exactly cry, but complain, but last night she was asleep within 5 minutes. Also, that 2nd waking keeps getting later and later. So, now she's able to go six or seven hours without nursing. Progress!

Keep in mind that she still nurses to sleep, nap and nighttime, but is somehow able to get herself asleep in the night. Maybe it's all those months of saying to her, "it's time for sleeping now" and the way I lay her down and immediately head back to my bed. I dunno. I'm too sleep deprived to do an analysis....
post #49 of 85
I feel your pain too! I have a newly turned 1 y.o. and a 2 1/2 y.o. Both boys....both don't sleep throught the night. I have to tell people i haven't slept in two and a half years. It's the truth! I know what you are going through. My older son will off and on sleep through....I don't get excited anymore when he does...I know the next night I'll be getting up. My one year old is just getting (in the past two nights) where he is getting up maybe once after 11pm. It was 3-4 times.

I have really nobody here to give me a break. Not even a mommy group. My parents live down in GA (fortuantely, they are coming up in 2 days)

I feel like a sob story sometimes...but I've noticed a behaviour change in myself and I know it is due to lack of sleep. I'm hoping one day it'll get better. So hang it there!
post #50 of 85
This is such a great thread. I agree that the whole AP thing is really, really hard to do in western culture. Unless you like being a martyr mother who never takes care of her own needs.

Nora'sMom, I also question what I will do with baby #2. There are times when I feel like things have gotten so bad that I feel like I'm going to pop that next kid in a crib, put him on a schedule, and even sleep train. But I probably won't really. The temptation is definitely there though. I'm barely functional enough to parent one baby. How could I parent a baby and a toddler on even less sleep?

On a brighter note, Alden has been sleeping slightly better. I started an elimination diet a week ago, but I don't know if it's just coincidence that he's also sleeping better. He doesn't cry at night until I rock him for 20 minutes anymore, just nurses back to sleep. He also only got up 4 or 5 times last night, a big improvement! I hope it continues.
post #51 of 85
Haven't read the whole thread yet but just had to say ...
Sleep? What's that? I can't remember sleep....
Actually, things have recently gotten much better. We had to break down and give him meds for reflux. I hate to medicate him, but it's so nice to have him not in pain. For the first time in his little life, he's not in pain. It makes me want to cry every time I think about it.
post #52 of 85
I spoke too soon...last night had so many nursings, I lost track. I'd guess 8-10 times. Argh.

Have any of you noticed your child having a sensitivity to the air in the room? We noticed this with DS when he was younger...if we didn't air out the room before bed (w/open window, regardless of the temp), he'd wake up and cry more. I thought he was over that...but maybe not. Our furnace isn't working, and it was below freezing last night, so we didn't air out. I kept the bedroom door open...but maybe it wasn't enough.
post #53 of 85
I took dd for cranio scaral therapy yesterday. she absolutely loved it, and the therapists felt strongly that she needs to work on me and dd together to balance things out. what was really interesting was afterwards dd was so happy and relaxed and kept coming to me for cuddles (non-nurisng cuddles are unheard of from her usually, she just doesn't stay still long enough!). also interesting was even though the therapist didn't work on me directly I came out feeling completely different, like something shifted in me at the same time, and today the cold that i had has vanished overnight.

so maybe it's a great therapy to deal with the impact of sleep deprivaton, even if it's not directly for your dc?

I think dd actually did sleep for a much longer stretch at the beginning of the night, but after that it was back to usual and now she's up, unusually early. we have another appointment for the two of us in 2 weeks, we'll see how that goes...
post #54 of 85
Hi everyone. I voted sleep deprived for over a year. Actually, it's been over 6 years now.
post #55 of 85
subbing! Don't really have time to catch up and post too much, ds is asleep, must go nap. My ds is 19 months old and used to sleep 4 hour chunks. It has gotten worse, now 2 hours is the longest stretch, every 1/2 hour being common. And I am feeling so sleep deprive! More soon. Thanks for starting this thread!
post #56 of 85
Originally Posted by muse View Post
True AP would take an entire village.

I also do not believe that AP means putting your child's needs first. To me it means doing what it takes to build and keep a strong attachment; if that attachment is in jeopardy because you are so incredibly sleep deprived to the point of getting sick, then something has to shift. We can't be loving, nurturing mothers if we are not also loving and nurturing ourselves.

I have been really conflicted about this issue. I've been sleep deprived for 2.5 years, sometimes being woken 10+ times a night, more often between 3-6 times. My son's personality radically changed when I tried Dr. Gordon's method. He also didn't sleep any better. Nine nights of no nursing, and not one iota more of sleep. He just wasn't ready. We tried it a bit after age two. (His personality went back to itself after returning to nursing at night). We've tried feeding him food at night (his stomach always growls; he's actually hungry; that worked temporarily). I've tried to just live with it, and sometimes I've been OK with that, sometimes not. My husband's support is the only way I can do it. If I can sleep late in the mornings I am a sane (well, almost) person.

But then, just recently, we moved to a new house and my husband got a new job. He can no longer cover while I get some extra morning sleep. Also, I just sort of reached my emotional limit with losing sleep. I became angrier and angrier at ds; I became less physically able to just "push through" -- maybe because parenting a newly willful toddler takes it out of me in new ways? Anyway, losing sleep and feeling angry at ds was changing my mothering and our relationship. AND in our new house we have the option of me sleeping in a room (didn't have that before). So we tried that for the first time, with me sleeping in the other room to start and then joining them at his first waking.

Miracle! Ds started sleeping longer during his first stretch. Then he started waking again. So our last ditch effort was to have me sleep in the other room and dh to do all nighttime care and tell ds that "Mama is sleeping. I'm here to take care of you tonight." We told ds this would happen ahead of time. We just told him that I can't lose sleep anymore, and that I need sleep in order to be a happy mama. The first night, at his first waking, he cried with dh for an hour. DH was great, very patient and just kept repeating that I was asleep and that he could take care of ds. Ds knew I was down the hall, and the door to my room was open. After an hour of protest (I was freaking out the whole time), he went to sleep for the rest of the night. The next night was just a few minutes of crying, dh reminding him that I was sleeping, and then he cuddled with dh and went to sleep for the rest of the night. We had three nights of this before they both got sick and I've been doing night nursing as needed while they're sick.

During those three days of almost a full night's sleep, I was a changed mother. I was myself again. I loved my son again (not that I ever didn't, but you know how the resentment can take over...). I was thrilled to see him in the morning, and ready to start our day. I was more willing and happy to nurse during the day. I just can't describe how different it felt. I hope we can return to that pattern after the sickness is over.

I would never encourage anyone to do what we did if their dc reacted badly to it (like my ds did when we tried Dr. Gordon's way). But I just wanted to share that it looks like it might be the right decision for us. Ds does great with more sleep, too. He is so well-rested that he either skips his nap or naps two hours later than normal.

Just wanted to share...
post #57 of 85
Originally Posted by Nora'sMama View Post
She literally has never ever in her life laid down and gone to sleep. Sometimes she can be rocked to sleep. Rarely nursed to sleep. She needs Big Time parenting to sleep.

BUT that's no big deal...if she would just *stay* asleep. <sigh>

I'm late to this conversation, but you have my total sympathy! I've only earned almost 7 months of sleep deprivation , but I can feel your pain. I know the numb, zombie-like feelings you speak of. Usually as long as I maintain inertia, I don't notice it -- but I definitely can feel it if I'm just sitting there not moving. Like when I'm waiting at a stoplight! It doesn't make me feel terribly confident to feel so zombie-tired in the car...

My stepfather-in-law once asked me, "Does she (DD) ever just fall asleep on her own if you lay her down?" I laughed and responded, "Never in her life has she done that! Not even if she's exhausted!" She either needs to be nursed, bounced, walked in the stroller, or walked around the house to fall asleep. And it's often not an easy process.

I understand what you mean when you say you felt mislead by Dr. Sears saying that co-sleeping allows mom to sleep more... I sometimes feel the same way, but I also realize that if I *didn't* co-sleep, I'd be dragging my butt out of bed every couple hours to nurse DD anyway. Since I tend to deal with insomnia in the middle of the night a couple times a week, it's much easier for me to fall asleep co-sleeping and nursing than walking into the next room, nursing the baby in a rocking chair, and then coming back to bed after she finally gets back to sleep and I lay her in a crib. So while I'm not getting much sleep these days, I'm still getting more than if my daughter were sleeping *outside* our bed. That's also the excuse I use when my husband talks about moving baby out of our bed.

The woman who cuts my hair made me feel a little better (or maybe a little worse) by telling me that sleep deprivation never totally goes away as long as you have children at home. She has two teens and a pre-teen and she says she's still awake at night, except now she worries about the teens who are out with their friends.

I've gotten to the point where, if we have a good night and DD only wakes me up a few times, I'm grateful for the sleep I did get. Just the other night, DD managed to go all night without asking to nurse! BUT she did wake me up several times flopping around and kicking me. I definitely have those days where I feel like I'm at my limit for exhaustion. At those times, I try to figure out a way to squeeze a nap in, which sometimes requires DH entertaining the baby for an hour. It doesn't cure the sleep deprivation, but it does make me feel a tiny bit better.

post #58 of 85
I'm right there with you all. My 5 yo DD was the most horrific sleeper in the world and still doesn't sleep through most nights. Whe she goes to sleep overly tired, she is horribly restless and wakes every hour or so. She has to have me touching her all night long or she cries. My 2 1/2 yo DS is a much better sleeper, but still wakes usually once a night for water or to go to the bathroom, then needs me to lay with him to fall back asleep. They share a room, so it is basically bed-hopping all night. I have a new baby coming in November and I am starting to get nervous about getting less sleep than I do now.

The only thing that ever seems to help is early bedtimes for the kids. They sleep better at night when they are out by 7:00. But they are still tough.
post #59 of 85
Thread Starter 
You guys don't know how good it is to read your stories. (NOT that I'm glad other mamas are as exhausted as I am, of course...but to know that this is a fairly common problem among AP moms).

I went and re-read the sleep part of Sears' "The Baby Book". And you know what? He is *totally* not in favor of martyring oneself to one's child, at night or any other time. He suggests that if co-sleeping is not working, you can change that. If all-night nursing is getting you down, you should consider nightweaning (past a certain age, I mean you wouldn't nightwean a small baby of course).

I found it very sensible and in line with reality...not some impossible ideal. Why did I forget this?? I read The Baby Book in its entirety while pregnant and consulted it again after Nora was born. But yet in my mind I had remembered something totally different than what Dr. Sears really says about sleep.

We are going to be trying a variety of things in the next week or so...I will let you know how it's going with the sleep. I am pretty sure that all-out nightweaning is impossible right now so my goal is just to space out the nursing and see if we can get DD to accept DH doing some of the nighttime parenting.
post #60 of 85
OK, I just got paranoid that it sounds like I'm advocating CIO -- I'm really not. Our son is very verbal and is able to converse with us about what's going on. Anyway, I'm sure there are a million different ways to approach sleeping, and I guess what I'm advocating is flexibility, responsiveness to one's particular child, and compassion for the needs of everyone. HTH clarify.
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