DD comfort nursing for hours...and it is driving me nuts - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 12-31-2010, 05:41 AM - Thread Starter
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DD is 2 1/2 weeks old.  Pretty much the only way she falls asleep is by "comfort" nursing.  I have no problem with this.  Except when it is 3 am and she has been doing it for almost 2 hours and is making herself frantic and worn out and reducing me to tears.  If I sit up in bed and try to actually feed her, she is interested for only about 30 seconds.  If I cover myself with my shirt and lay down next to her and try to calm her with touch and words, she will cry and claw at my shirt until I give up and latch her on.  I burp her frequently and we change her diaper whenever she has dirtied it.


Maybe this is just a part of teaching her night vs day, but and advice is appreciated!

Emily--Married to the love of my life 2008--Joyful mommy to Rachel Elizabeth 12/10
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#2 of 5 Old 12-31-2010, 04:20 PM
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The good news about newborn sleep is that it changes so fast, so next week will probably be totally different.  The bad news. . . well, just the same ;-)


Is breastfeeding going well otherwise?  Are you having any nipple pain or trauma?  Is she having good weight gain?  By now, she should have regained any weight she lost and be gaining about 5-7 ounces per week (weight gain is calculated from lowest weight, not birth weight).  As long as she's having frequent wet, at least 4 poopy diapers every 24 hrs, and is gaining well, this this is likely a newborn issue and not a nursing issue.


Will she suck on a pinkie?  If she's simply wanting to suck to comfort herself, then you or your partner could offer this instead.  That would at least give you a break and she might fall asleep faster.  Or, if she's wanting skin-to-skin contact, perhaps she could cuddle on your partner's chest.  Or try motion (sling and walking, rocking chair).  She'll figure out the day/night routine soon and this will get easier.  You might also check out the newborn and cosleeping boards for more ideas.


Enjoy, despite the sleep deprivation.  It really does go too fast.



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#3 of 5 Old 01-01-2011, 08:05 AM
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My first DD was like this. No words of advice except co-sleeping saved my life with her! And it does get better. Gradually she will sleep for longer stretches. This stage is hard. Have you looked up anything about high-needs babies? That may help. Dr. Sears was incredibly helpful to me during this time.

Crunchy Christian Wife and Mommy to awesome DH and DD1 (4/25/07) and DD2 (8/13/10)
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#4 of 5 Old 01-03-2011, 12:36 PM
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I know how long and frustrating it can feel. . .but if there is anything I could convey to you it would be that these early days (week, months) will really go by so very very quickly and your DD will change so fast.  Please try not to stress or feel trapped/overwhelmed by any particular "habit" right now.  At this age they literally *need* to suck. . .not just for calories and not just for comfort, but actually to regulate their brains and their physiology.  This was the age when I desperately tried to get DS to suck on a paci, b/c I was so worn out from being sucked on 24/7.  But he never would take one (who'd want that plastic thing when they can have warm mama skin?!) and in the end I was glad.  Only falling asleep while nursing is the most normal thing in the world for a newborn. . .as she gets older you can gradually start to help her learn to fall asleep without nursing (if you want to), but at this stage, I'd say you should just nurture her need.  


Hugs, hugs, hugs. I know you're tired and worn out. Those early days are hard.  Just try to rest when she does as much as possible!  


If you are really at the end of your rope here are a couple other suggestions: a baby swing, some babes will fall asleep in a swing (motion) when they won't any other way.  Or have your DH take her for a few hours to give you break, she won't be so desperate to nurse with him and so he may be able to comfort her in ways you can't right now (he might try wearing her or bouncing her on a birth ball.)


Good luck!  

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#5 of 5 Old 01-03-2011, 01:24 PM
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Oh yes, it does get better. I can barefly remember how hard it is with such a tiny baby, but you are doing a wonderful job meeting her needs!  Believe everyone here when they say it does get better.  Yes, she is trying to figure out day and night, and she probably is comfort nursing to fall asleep, not to mention sucking to set your milk supply. 


The most thing in the short term is to understand this is temporary, and also do what you need to do to take care of yourself -- by which I mean make sure your latch is good.  If it is a good latch, you can let her nurse forever and you won't mind.  Seriously.  But in those early days, I remember how hard it is, and how sore your nipples can be when you are new to nursing, and how sleep deprived you feel!  For example, you may want to consult a lactation consultant just to be sure.  Everything was fine with us, but I had a little soreness and that shouldn't be happening ...if it is, check it out! 


Night v. Day -- It will work itself out in due time, but in the meantime, be sure to expose her to natural light so that she gets her internal clock reset...cosleeping is key --- you two can then lay in bed till noon and it doesn't matter.  Gradually she will reset.


I remember my daughter did almost exactly what you mention when she was tired.  What seemed to help was for me to nurse her, and then for us to use some kind of walking/bouncing method to get her closer to sleep.  We swaddled her and bounced while holding her on a yoga ball, walked with her, whatever we could to get her to stop crying.  My husband was key in this part, he let her suck his finger and then bounced, walked, whatever.  We would just keep this up until she fell asleep, or sometimes I took her back and she was ready to nurse to sleep.  I also didn't appreciate the importance of making a sleep-friendly environment.  Turn off the lights, maybe turn on soft music, don't talk (whisper to your husband if you need to).  All this will give her the cues it is sleeptime.   


Also -- I think there is something magic about sucking and motion-- for me it was nursing and rocking, or nursing and walking.  That was the magic combination that did (still does) guarantee sleep for my daughter.  It is probably something that is hard to get the hang of with a newborn, but just keep the concept in mind.    


My daughter still nurses to sleep and she is 14 months old -- before that freaks you out, know that is the way I want it, and it is because it works well for us -- and that after such a long time nursing, it is great.  Actually, it is wonderful to know that at the end of a long day, all I have to do is sit in my chair and nurse her and rock her and she drifts off to sleep.  Ahhhh...Don't worry...you'll get there!  And to put things in perspective, it takes an average of 30-45 minutes from beginning to end of the process to get my daughter from fully awake toddler to sound asleep.  Sometimes it helps me to look at a clock and tell myself not even to worry, just keep nursing and rocking till whatever time.  It always works. 


Hang in there!  In the meantime know you are doing an amazing job of caring for your little one!


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