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Support group for gentle sleep "training" - Page 3

post #41 of 68

Thanks! I really like it too.

Last night she didin't sleep any sounder just b/c she put herself to sleep. She was actually up MORE! I think, though it was her new nightlight. It may be too bright. We were using the hall light but my husband has trouble sleeping with that on. So we put a low wat in her lamp but it still might be too bright.
post #42 of 68
Thread Starter 
Hipumpkins: For whatever it is worth, our sleep counselor advised that we get black out shades for ds's room to use at nights and for naps (if we ever get to the point of having him nap in there). She thinks he may sleep better in darkness. But every child is different.

Well, ds has a cold, so after his initial sleep in his bed tonight, he will be in our bed. Time to put this sleep training thing on hold until he feels better. Poor little guy.
post #43 of 68
We have also ditched the night light. I had it because dd was waking so often and because we live in a rural area, it's pitch dark at night. However, I've read that all people sleep better in darkness, so as of about 5 nights ago, it's gone.

DD slept a 4-hour stretch 2 nights ago!! First time in about 5 months. I had her in her pram box...it comes off the wheels. She woke a few times and cried out but just rolled over and went back to sleep. The pram box is where she has most of her naps.

Tonight I put her in the box and bounced her on a ball. The full buggy doesn't seem to work in the house. I'm hoping for a repeat of the 4-hour stretch tonight!! Positive thinking. Last night was horrendous, but we were sleeping at my sister's house so everything was unusual for dd.
post #44 of 68
nightnursing is a unique kind of independent behavior in a baby and toddler.

whatever busyness, errands, social distraction, mother working, or other things that influence awake time nursing........

the baby can go to autopilot in the night and balance himself, meeting his innate need for nursing, (which is not just food) and for a certain amount of breastmilk.

especially when she starts to eat solids, it is very easy to get out of balance and end up with too much food and not enough breastmilk.

there's nothing wrong with healthful foods, and they're fun to eat. but not one of them is as complex as breastmilk, or nearly as appropriate for baby's nutrition, digestion, immunity, etc.

baby can also be somewhat dehydrated from this imbalance and not able to process the food for lack of liquid. intestinal discomfort certainly wakes her up to nurse.

the baby seeks enough breastmilk to grow a human brain, which is made up of those special fats and amino acids, etc. that are only in the breastmilk, not in any awake time foods.

they are rarely nursing just for comfort, they are independently managing their lives to the best of their abilities by making contact with you and taking in your milk.

if you read the history of infant feeding, you could see how an infant "sleep counselor" is just another in a long line of "experts" who think they know better than the baby and undermine the intuition of the mother.

co sleeping is an important foundation of the breastfeeding relationship. cosleeping supports breastfeeding. it is important in the more independent lifestyle of the older nursling as described above. you can think of other ways, too.

there are lots of things you can do to reduce night waking, by prioritizing awake time nursing, including at bedtime.

there are a lot of things you can do to get more sleep and wake up better rested, including magnesium supplement at bedtime and in the night. (experiment until you get a dose that makes a diference, full water)

anyone set on weaning, will do so. those with ambivalence, trust your baby.

post #45 of 68
RRR, thanks a lot. This is exactly the kind of post that makes me feel like crap.

You see, we were not able to exclusively breastfeed because my son was in the hospital awaiting heart surgery for his first 3 weeks of life, and I could not pump more than 8oz a day, no matter how often I pumped, what herbs or drugs I took, or any of the other things the LCs I talked to suggested (and yes, I saw about 4 of them). Our situation was such that my son had to be fed at least every 3 hours a certain amount of liquid to keep the heart shunt the surgeons put in open. The smallest amount of dehydration could have killed him. I could not meet this demand, and I could not do the kind of "marathon nursing" that often works in this situation because of that shunt and his weakness. Add his tiredness and trouble latching and I kept pumping rather than switch to breast only for several months.

After the shunt was no longer necessary and his heart was "fixed" I tried to reduce formula supplements slowly and spent hours and hours nursing and nothing helped.

Now he is mostly FFed, but nurses all day and all night long. Many other women would have weaned. I haven't. Yes, he is probably trying desperately to get more milk out of me but it isn't working and it never will. So I'm sure you didn't mean it, but these kinds of generalizations don't really help me at all, true though they may be. "prioritizing awake time nursing at bedtime" certainly doesn't work for us since he gets maybe a teaspoon of milk.

PS he eats about a tablespoon of "healthy foods" per day, maximum. He doesn't like solids very much.
post #46 of 68
Sleepymama, PLEASE do not take offense to what some of these mamas say... Some of them give absolutely wonderful, heartfelt advice. But others are on a "natural mama high horse" and don't think about what they say before they say it. We are all wonderful mothers, and we all have the right to have our own opinions. Whats is "right" CAN vary from family to family, and I think it is the good mothers who realize that.
I think you and your DH are exceptional parents, taking care of an exceptional child. You have been through so much- it's awesome that you've continued nursing through it all! Even if there's no milk coming out, your son obviously has the bond to the boobie LOL! And, contrary to the belief of some, babies DO nurse for comfort- it's not always for nutritional needs. They want to be close to mama, they want to pacify their sucking needs- so they will breastfeed. If let down occurs, of course they'll keep nursing.
My son "comfort nurses" all the time since he doesn't take any kind of pacifier other than myself. While I do believe he is genuinely hungry at least once at night, he wakes up several times and roots for the breast. My problem is my selfishness. I want to sleep, I don't want to get up out of bed, get DS out of his crib, nurse him to sleep, put him back in bed, etc, etc... I just like to roll over, nurse, and go back to sleep! DS takes all his daytime naps in his bed... But when it comes to night time, he likes to sleep between Mama and Daddy. But, I am going to start putting him in his crib in his own room at night- then I'll actually have to get up and nurse him. I'm glad to have this "support group". Reading about your progress is motivation for me to actually "sleep train" DS once and for all! I don't need to night wean him, but I would very much like him in his own bed at night!
post #47 of 68
Sleepy mama! What I think rrr doesn't realize is that this thread is for SUPPORT of gentle sleep training. I respect you for doing all you could for your little baby. It could not have been easy and I feel you are trying to do what is best now.
My night last night was more difficult as I chose to not feed her back to sleep for 2 wakings. I am trying that 11 to 5 thing. She fussed initially then I showed her a little picture book and she flipped through that while I rubbed her back or belly. It took an hour both times but she did go back to sleep and she didn't nurse and she didn't cry. She DID fuss a bit but it more of protest then crying. No tears even.
post #48 of 68
the baby seeks enough breastmilk to grow a human brain, which is made up of those special fats and amino acids, etc. that are only in the breastmilk, not in any awake time foods.
Does this mean babies who don't get breastmilk won't grow a brain? My poor baby !!
post #49 of 68
I also have been working with my dd to get her to sleep better at night. I have to have her completely weaned by early Dec (due to some medication I need to start taking soon). I haven't been having quite as hard a time as some of you, but it's been quite a process.

I started about 2 months ago when I was still nursing her to sleep, then night-nursing probably 4-5 times, and the again in the morning. (BTW, dd is 20 months old, so my experience may not be helpful for you parents with younger kids). The first phase was the longest (and really isn't completed yet), where I tried to get her to fall asleep without nursing. While she will go to sleep now, it will take her an hour sometimes to go down, and I often have to walk or rock her to sleep. Just 3 nights ago, I decided I could handle cutting off the tap at night. The first night was the hardest, since dd woke up every 2 hours or so demanding to nurse. My dh had a wonderful idea to give her a sippy cup with some water, just so she'd have the sensation of drinking something, as well as to put a little something in her tummy. It worked most of the time! Men do know something! :LOL Anyway, we've been up a lot the last few nights, but it's been getting easier and easier every night, until hopefully we can stop nursing altogether and get some sleep too.

As to the all night nursing marathons, I have a suggestion for that as well. At about 12 mo. I started taking my dd to a chiropractor who specializes in pregnancy and pediatrics. The way this need to suck was explained to me is that as the cranial bones shift in a growing baby's head, sometimes they get jammed. Specifially the bones related to the ears will cause a baby to want to suck to relieve that pressure, kind of a natural way to move those bones and uncram them. My chiropractor did some cranial-sacral (sp?) work on my daughter and that issue was a lot better for us. She still nursed several times a night, but not for an hour at a time anymore, and never for the entire night like before. One way to tell if this might be an issue for your child is if you can see a flat spot on their head, or if they pull on their ears a lot (almost as if they have an ear infection but without the screaming pain). If this is something you are interested in pursuing, let me know and I can try to get my chiro to log on and give you more detailed info.

Good luck to all of you! When it gets really hard, try to remember, this too will pass!
post #50 of 68
Thanks...I just get kind of irked at people who give me generalized advice and know nothing about my situation. Yes, all those things are true, but they don't mean a whole lot when your baby is waking you up every hours for months on end.

And many people have suggested chiropractic or cranio-sacral therapy, especially if the baby had a difficult birth (DS was posterior and had a vacuum extraction). He does pull his ears a lot and I have definitely considered trying to get the insurance to cover it--paying for it ourselves is a little out of reach (we just paid off his neonatologist bill! They won't repossess him now LOL)
post #51 of 68
Wow, Sleepymama, you have been through a lot. I'm so impressed that you continued to nurse under these conditions. Probably by now you are over the fear you must have felt when your baby had this heart problem at birth, but reading your description, I could just imagine how scary it was and my eyes filled with tears. Thank God he's okay now (even if he isn't SLEEPING!) I love it that you call him Captain Chaos!

This is a big piece of chutzpah on my part, but maybe a pacifier would help your little guy? My son also won't sleep in the crib, but so far it's been okay for me that we are moving toward getting him in there only very slowly.

rrr, even though your post was totally off base for Sleepymama, it was just right for me. I needed to know that it was okay for me to continue to night nurse. All of the stuff I'm reading--even Mrs. Pantley's rather lovely and sweet book--says to try to break the sleep association with nursing. I'm happy that there is a way of thinking that says this is okay. I'm just looking for him to get more sleep over all, including naps and fewer (not none) night wakings. So far, so good--though he woke up at 4 AM and babbled happily for an hour before we both went back to sleep, this morning . Then I got up at 6:15 to get ready for work.

Thank goodness for the person who figured out how to roast those pretty red berries on the coffee bush!
post #52 of 68
Let me just add this...
everyone is entitled to their opinion (and even to present facts) if you ask for it, although you may not like what you get! rrr was simply making a case for a more natural approach to nightime parenting, rather than all this scheduling and training that so many people seem to be relying on--which exhausted me just to read!
This website is dedicated to "natural family living" and you're subject to ALL the opinions expressed therein--if you want nothing but reassurance that you're doing the right thing by sleep training your child, then visit a mainstream magazine website--hell, you'll come out feeling like mother of the year!
You need information to make informed choices (see how the two words sound the same?) and without it you can't possibly do what's in your child's best interest--unless of course you can figure out how to follow your instincts, which, through years of "child-management" have been nearly erased in most of us--I learned to just trust my kids, as they haven't been "trained" by society just yet. Of course every family must do what is right for them, but some of us have a firm belief that the child's need for mom doesn't stop between the hours of 8 pm to 8 am, and should be respected and treated gently. Can I have my "natural mama high horse" now? I'd be proud to ride one...

sleepymama, kudos to you for realizing that nursing is important to your son, even though he doesn't get much milk--he sounds like a pretty high-needs sleeper and I'm sure the closeness with you will pay off big time in the long run. Your son is still very little (under one, right?) and you should do all you can to help him sleep better, but I don't think you can expect more than 4 or 5 hours from a kid that age (on a good night!). that said, I don't think it's fair of you to attack rrr for giving general advice (and information) to everyone in the discussion--she didn't address it to you personally.
My DD was a round-the-clock, every-2-hour nurser, and didn't start sleeping through the night (5 hrs straight) until she was 3.5 (and at four still has nights where she wakes a few times to nurse). My 2YO son has always been what I consider to be a good sleeper, and usually wakes about 2-5 times (between going down and getting up) to nurse. they do both sleep better if they're not touching me, so we put a bunk bed next to our queen and it works great. I know it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you're sleep deprived, but they will get there eventually, all on their own, and from what I've read, the kids who have the fewest lasting sleep problems are the ones who are allowed to go at their own pace when it comes to sleep. My kids love to sleep, in total darkness, and have peaceful, happy nights.
I don't mean to change the focus of this thread--I came here wondering if anyone had a magic remedy for better sleep, but realized (thanks in part to rrr, thanks in part to all the crazy tactics I've read) that my kids are doing just fine and it feels better to me to simply meet their nighttime needs as willingly as I do their daytime needs, and before I know it they'll be sleeping on their own until noon every day...
Good luck to you all!
post #53 of 68
But our main objectives are to help him take regular naps and to be able to sleep in his crib when we aren't in the bed with him.
this is exactly my main objective. I have read everyone's posts while DS sleeps, so I am very very lucky in that he will sleep in the middle night with just DH in bed, not me. I have to encourage him to get as much breast milk as he can bcz we have a mysteriuos problem with our breastfeeding that I am now at peace with in my heart, but anyway, I have the luxury of sleeping in & napping with him, so I can be up in the middle of the nite & nite weaning would be bad for us.

However, I am concerned about his safety napping in the big bed. My solution right now is to stay in bed with him during the entire nap. Sometimes it is ok for me, sometimes not & then when I have to go potty or get bored, I get up & he wakes up. I also worry he doesn't get enough good sleep bcz when he falls asleep on my lap, shifting wakes him up & then that 20 or 30 minutes is all he gets. The few times he falls asleep in his carseat, I just run inside to get a book & read in the car next to him until he wakes & he gets some 1-2 hr naps that way.

So, maybe I should start a nap thread over in LwaB, but napping & sleeping/night parenting seem so tied together.

Good luck everybody, Maria
post #54 of 68
rrr did not address sleepymama or her particular situation.

i expounded on the role of night nursing in older babies, which is poorly understood and rarely discussed.

popular myths like. "infants are able to sleep through the night at 8 weeks", (ezzo), are much better known, than any legitimate reasons to nurse older babies and toddlers at night. and there are many helpful and healthful reasons.

pediatricians are ignorant on this topic and habitually ask if baby is sleeping in his own space at every appointment. it's rare that a dr. would cite the research that shows that babies of any age are less likely to die of sids, for example, if they sleep with the mother.

they are not familiar with reverse cycling, which is really a healthy pattern for babies whose mothers are away or busy during the day. they nurse in the morning, and when the mom gets home, at bedtime, and frequently during the night.

some toddlers become so busy during the day, that they start a kind of reverse cycling on their own, making up the breastmilk at night that they need.

prioritizing daytime nursing can help reduce night waking for some babies.

mothers who take magnesium at bedtime will probably get more rest, regardless of what the baby is doing.

what is the value of an open discussion?

what is the value of an open discussion?

your experience will help someone, but maybe it's not for me today.

my experience may be good news for someone else participating in the thread.

post #55 of 68
Yes, your points are very valid tiffani. I know no one was addressing me in particular, and I was feeling pretty low yesterday morning when he kept wanting me instead of the bottle, then screaming because he was hungry. I know all these things about the value of co-sleeping, night nursing, etc. But I don't think anyone here is advocating an ezzo style or ferber style CIO. No one here would even consider letting their baby cry alone in a crib (I think?? Why else would we be here?)

And I completely agree that sleeping more than 4-5 hours is not reasonable for most babies in their first couple of years. But most of us here (well, me at least) had a baby that woke up every half hour. If he would sleep 2-3 hours at a time I would do a happy joyous dance!! With some gentle routines (which I don't even like to call sleep training but sleep teaching--like I teach him how to eat and pet the kitty nicely) he now sleeps 3-4 hours at the beginning of the night, but still wakes up every hour after that. I have taken this as the first step towards waking maybe 2-4 times a night, which is what I would be very satisfied with.

I know it is very common, but I just don't think it's healthy for babies to wake up every half hour. When he did this he was so cranky all the time and slept so fitfully, refused to nap and was just generally an unhappy baby (from about 4-5 months on). Now he naps better and is generally happier. We still cosleep, though we did briefly try the crib and soon decided it wouldn't work, and I night nurse on the nights that I'm with him though I try to get him back to sleep without nursing first, and try not to let him fall asleep nursing but remove the nipple and hug him back to sleep. Dh and I switch nights so we each get a full night's sleep every other night. Obviously DH doesn't have any boobs so he doesn't nurse on those nights but does get a bottle once in the early morning when he wants it.

He has not suffered, as far as I can tell, any detrimental effects from my gentle methods (many taken from the no cry sleep solution) but is generally happy (except when teething of course) and is his normal playful high-needs self. Happier even!! I really do think that a baby under 6 months or so should be left to sleep however he/she needs to, and it does depend on the baby, but there came a time about a month ago when I sensed he was "ready" to be taught to fall asleep differently. I used my instincts on this, not what any book told me, though I did follow many methods I read in books or on the 'net. Instead of being carried around, he now falls asleep while laying next to me or DH. This is a huge improvement. And he sleeps more soundly. We still have many bad nights, but on the whole I think we are a happier family and isn't that the point?

Those of you who can live through half hour wakings for 2-3 years are better moms than me, and I freely admit my weakness. It has made me feel better to do something about it rather than feel so helpless and trapped by it. I don't need to blather on about my PPD struggle but our BF relationship and lack of sleep was a big part of it. I really took Dr. Sears' advice to heart: when you resent it, change it! For a long time I didn't think he was ready, so I didn't. Then I didn't know how. But I ignored my doctor's mainstream advice, did a lot of research, and did it my own way, trusting my baby but also trusting that he could sleep better and for longer periods.

That's what this thread is for I think. All of us would go to mainstream parenting boards if we wanted to ferberize our kids. But we know that is wrong, and that's why we're here (forgive me for speaking for anyone else on this thread). There are few places we can get support for these kinds of gentle methods and I'm glad this thread was started.
post #56 of 68
I agree with you sleepymama. We are not trying to force our babies into some unatural state of sleep. WE are trying to teach them how to sleep. If I don't show her how to sleep (getnly..no CIO) Will she just magically sleep one day? If that day isn't until she is 5 years old I can't do that. I can't wake every hour or 2 all night for the next 5 years. I am a better mommy when I have some sleep. Also I would like to sleep through the night so I can TTC #2 and not be a zombie.
Last night she made it to almost 4 hours!! Both wakings were almost 4 hours apart! I am thrilled. When she woke I did nurse her both times giving up my 11-5 rule before it even got a chance simply b/c she had gone so long it was a natural way to get her right back to sleep. The fitful every couple hours wakings are the ones I want to to do wthout.
post #57 of 68
Steph, (and any others who are interested)

I am a massage therapist and also trained in infant craniosacral work. Even if you can't afford a professional to help your baby, there may be some things you can do yourself. It helps to have good instincts, and it sounds like you do from your posts that I have read.

1) When baby is mellow, lay him face up on the floor, and sit at his head. Put 2 or 3 fingers (palm facing ceiling) under his neck (below occiput for those of you who know anatomy) and put 3 or 4 fingers under his sacrum (tailbone). Close your eyes and see if you feel any pulsing or movement. When any movement "steadies" itself, or feels "right", take your fingers away. If you think you feel something, you do!

2) Put one hand on either side of baby's head, thumbs in front of the ears, fingers behind the ears. Again, close your eyes and see if you feel any pulsing, or expanding motions. Wait until you feel a steady beat, or it feels "right" and remove your hands.

Those are just 2 simple things that can help the cranial bones readjust and the cerebrospinal fluid circulate more freely. I'm not making any guarantees that it will help your baby sleep, but many people have had good experience with craniosacral in general.

Good luck!

post #58 of 68

i can't find any info threads on magnesium and when and how and why to take it for sleep. I got some but how much to take, how often? what does it do?

post #59 of 68
Kimba thank you! If I can get him to lie still (always a major event LOL) I will definitely try it. I know what places you are talking about. I actually put my own fingers under my occiput while lying down and it relaxes my neck (always my favorite part of the massages I get about once a year). I think if I try it right when he wakes up from a nap, or maybe even while he's asleep, he might be more willing. Of course it will wake him up, but if he's about to wake up at the end of the nap it just might work.

Those of you with almost toddlers know what I mean about the not lying still...he thinks that he laid still for months and shouldn't have to do it anymore! Diaper changes are olympic wrestling events!
post #60 of 68

wow, did i get that right? hard name.

we've discussed magnesium extensively in a couple other threads recently. you could search the commune for magnesium.

there's one called "does anyone else's baby wake 10 times a night?", or similar.

google magnesium and find "magnesium deficiency catastrophe" and "rapid recovery from depression using magnesium"

magnesium oxide works well for me, although it is not very well absorbed compared to some other forms. there are several forms of magnesium. magnesium glycinate is chelated with the amino acid glycinate, and is to be very well absorbed. it is also expensive. so it's ok to start with magnesium oxide or mg citrate and see how it goes. the poor absorption is demonstrated by a laxative effect

if you're brestfeeding, you are probably taking a calcium supplement that adds up to 500 or 600 mg a day. the supplement may or may not have mag in it. if it does, it's likely to be in a ratio of 2:1. this is the ratio found in our bones, and that's why they make the supplement that way. but it doesn't take into account that magnesium is often poorly absorbed and also lost from the body due to any kind of stress, including sleeplessness.

there is good evidence to support taking cal : mag in a 1:1 ratio. your body relies on magnesium to perform many, many processes. making breastmilk is certainly one of them. you can research this easily on line.

if you have mg oxide, 250 mg., try taking 1/2 tablet in the evening, a whole tablet at bedtime when you take your calcium, and them another 1/2 or whole in the middle of the night if you get up. for me, it was the difference between laying awake and falling right back to sleep.

ALWAYS drink a whole glass of water, you are eating rocks, after all.

what kind of mag. do you have?

let me know how it goes.

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