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Old 04-16-2004, 01:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We're in a bedtime nightmare. Maybe this should be in Nighttime Parenting, but it's a bigger series of questions than that, so mods please read it before you move it.

My 23 month old has always nursed to sleep and it has always worked just fine. Now she won't fall asleep. I'm spending two hours every night trying to get her down. We nurse, we lie down, we snuggle, she pops up, she cries, we start over. It's a disaster and I'm ready to scream. Add to that a bunch of new and insufferable nightwaking, and I'm just right at the edge. I felt impatient with her all day today because I was too exhausted-- and that's WITH my mom here with me all day long to help. Something's gotta give, and I can't figure out what. This, kids, is why people let babies CIO. I am absolutely not going to do that, but I haaaaaaaaate the feeling of resenting my sweet-hearted, perfect little nursling.

This all goes with lots of nonstop nursing at night lately, and I am struggling with feeling like it's not okay for me to have limits. I have always, always nursed her when she needs it and when she asks, and I love it and so does she. It's so essential to her. Somehow this has morphed into feeling like it's not okay to ever tell her no, or to stop, or to take a break. It breaks her heart and confuses her, but it can't be my job to keep her asleep all night long. I will happily nurse her down and nurse her when she wakes, but come on. At some point, my boobs and I need a little space and some sleep of our own.

Right now she is screaming in my mom's arms while I try hard not to lose my mind. I am in tears and feeling such dread every time evening rolls around. This is complicated because I KNOW she isn't feeling well (which makes me feel like a horrible parent given that I'm so mad at her), but it's not just that. We've been in a transition for a few weeks now with bedtime and nursing in general, and it's getting just intolerable.

I want to nurse her until she is ready to stop, so I'm not looking to wean. But we cannot go on like this. I can't spend hours every night working on bedtime, and I can't stay up all night, and I can't be the kind of parent I am committed to being on no sleep and no space to recharge my own batteries.

I feel desperate and despairing and angry and just generally . I don't know what to do, and I don't know how to move forward from here.

I love her with all my soul, and this is just awful.
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Old 04-16-2004, 01:55 AM
 
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Is she still napping? Mayb she is ready to give that up. My little guy was about that age when I tearfully said goodbye to a nap.

Also, I used to let him cry He had to cry to unwind at the end of the day. I would give hi the option of nursing, but if he wasnt really focused on it, I would put him in the playpen, right next to me. He would play and fuss and whine. I would continue to ask him if he wanted to nurse. eHe would eventually be ready. Then (and only then!) would he go to sleep. Maybe not the most ap way in some peoples eyes, but I feel that I was respecting his body's needs to wind down. I would have just given him free run of the house, but when he was that tired, he would hurt himself and destroy property. So, I ws attentive to him, and always available if he asked to get out, but I let him cry if he needed to.
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Old 04-16-2004, 01:58 AM
 
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Rachel, I feel for you. It's tough. My dd went through a phase of never letting go. I'd try to eventually (after she had been asleep for over half an hour) slip my breast out of her mouth so I could shift my position a bit and get to sleep, but NO - she'd just wake up again.

I remember getting to that "this can't go on" state. I remember telling her that I must sleep, too, and that not getting sleep makes me grouchy and not the mother I want to be (and not the mother she wants). I put all this in terms she could understand, of course. I guess it worked - I was so sleep deprived that I don't remember how it happened but I do know that phase passed and we did end up sleeping better.

I think it's important to realize that nursing is a partnership, and that YOUR needs count, too. Telling a toddler that "no nursies right now" is NOT the same as weaning them. It's a matter of renegotiating your nursing partnership so that it once again works for both of you. That's not to say that this renegotiation is easy, but is it a valid thing for you to do and doesn't mean that you are forcing the child to wean.

Good luck, dear. Take naps. Go easy on yourself.
"This, too, shall pass!"

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Old 04-16-2004, 01:59 AM
 
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That sounds tough. I'm glad you have some help from your mother.

I can't tell if you want advice, I think you do. Ignore the following if you want (of course!)
Pretend you are well rested. Pretend it's two months ago if you have to. Picture your perfect daughter, so sweet and wonderful. Once you are in that state of mind, decide what you can do, really. If that's limited nursing time, or not in the middle of the night, or only in a certain chair or all she wants if she holds still, it could be anything. It could just be not in the middle of your dinner if that's the part you most dislike. Try to make is a little logical, just for simplicity. Then stick to it. She will be unhappy, but she's already unhappy right now. Consistency is the key. She won't be cranky forever.
Yes, it might be less nursing than she is getting now. But you already decided that was as much as you could do, if you were in a perfect mood. Fake the perfect mood, do what you can, stick with it, and it will get better. It has to get better from here, 'cause it's hard right now.

Non-nursing related advice. Get a book and a chair and a book light. Calm her when she wakes up with your voice and your presence. The book will entertain you so you are awake (ha, sortof) and can parent her extra in the night during this rough patch.


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Old 04-16-2004, 02:01 AM
 
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you have a lot of choices

you are sleep deprived and that makes it difficult to make a good choice

In my experince I would first figure out a way for YOU to get more sleep and THEN work on baby sleep/nursing habits

sounds like grandma is there, can you buzz into the shower a bit to relax and then have a cup of tea, perhaps then you can hit a rocking chair to grab a couple winks???

then come on back here later and we will all have advice for you

please please do not think your child is unusual, YOU have not wrecked her sleep habits, or spoiled her by nursing on demand, she sounds like a normal 23 month old


(((HUG)))

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Old 04-16-2004, 02:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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She still really needs a nap. She wears out and asks to sleep. I think it's transitional-- she's interested in learning to sleep without nursing, but she doesn't know how and I don't know how to help her.

I'm feeling embarrassed at all the views with only one response (although thank you for that!). Surely I'm not the only devoted mama to feel angry with my child? And pleeeeeeeeaaaaaaaase tell me I'm not the only one who has faced a bedtime struggle. She's sleeping now but I'm still crying at my keyboard.


ETA: Oops! Lots of responses while I was posting. Thanks, mamas.

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Old 04-16-2004, 02:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by RachelGS
She's sleeping now but I'm still crying at my keyboard.
You're doing great! Now, can you sneak into bed as well? I'm sure you could use some sleep right now.

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Old 04-16-2004, 02:17 AM
 
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I've been there - and I feel your pain!
For us it was teething molars. It lasted a good two to three months, and then finally all of the molars were in, and he is completely done with teething, and his sleeping and personality improved drastically.

At the height of teething his 2nd year molars, he was waking 2-3 times during a two hour nap, and waking hourly or nursing continuously at night.

Now that he has all of his teeth, he can sleep a two hour nap uninterrupted sometimes (but usually wakes once to nurse, towards the end) and at night he is sleeping 3 or more hour stretches, which is longer than he has ever slept his whole life. (He sleeps through the night, of course, but has always woken to nurse several times).

All I can offer as advise is to take advantage of your mother or any other person who can help, and make your sleep a priority. Nap whenever you can. I don't have any great teething remedies, though.

Also, as far as getting your ds to sleep, she can probably sense your stress or is getting stress through breastfeeding, so it is important for you to find ways to relax as much as possible. And to help her relax, you could try massaging lavender scented lotion on her before bed. Play relaxing music, and keep the lights dim for a half hour or more before bedtime, to help her transition to sleepytime.

Hope some of this is helpful. And I hope this hard time passes soon for you!
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Old 04-16-2004, 02:24 AM
 
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I'm sorry you're having a rough time!
Have you checked to see if your daughter is teething? Does she have molars coming in?
My son is two months younger than your daughter (to the day). I have been setting limits on nursing over the past few months, and he has reacted very positively to those limits. You might consider it. When I can't stand to nurse any longer, I tell DS that it's time to stop, and I count to five. He goes to about seven, then pops off (most of the time). We've also started to nightwean. I can't sleep at all if he's nursing at night, so I can understand your sleep deprivation!
When DS won't fall asleep nursing, I ask DH to rock him to sleep. DS fights it, and sometimes cries, but DH often has better luck than I do at night. Do you have someone who can help your daughter fall asleep without nursing? I think someone else doing it might be more effective, since she expects breastmilk from you.
Perhaps she smells your milk when you're cosleeping, and latches on in her sleep as a result. You could move her to her own bed/crib at night, or turn over so your back is to her. That might give you a break from so much nursing at night.
You said she still takes naps. Are they early enough in the day? Are they more than an hour long? You might consider changing the nap schedule, if you think that's affecting her nighttime sleep habits.
Does she have a chance to unwind before bed? If my son won't nurse to sleep, I will sometimes put him in his room alone to chill out for a few minutes. That way, he's not stimulated by my presence, and he can calm down. He doesn't cry - just sits and flips through a book or plays with his toys. That gives him a chance to go potty, too. Sometimes that's all he needs to do before he's ready to sleep.
Last suggestion: Check her diaper. We had to switch to sposies at night, since the wetness was waking up DS. We still have to change his diaper at least once a night. Wet diapers can be very uncomfortable!
I hope that helps! I'm no expert - just making it up as I go along on this parenting journey. Good luck!

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Old 04-16-2004, 02:28 AM
 
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I am soooooo right there with you. Ugh!!!!!! My DD is 27 mos. I would say atleast 4 or 5 nights a week it takes me about 1-2 hours to get her to sleep. Most naps take atleast 1/2 hour ( if they go beyond 45 minutes I just give up--I'm not spending the same amount of time trying to get her to sleep as she actually sleeps at nap time)....

Unfortunately I'm no help at all because this has been going on for like 6 mos. Some weeks are harder than others and yes it's so upsetting to get angry at her. She's just innocently talking and climbing all over me and I just lay there so furious, sometimes I do snap at her and I hate myself for it

As far as nursing her to sleep..I will do it for about 1/2 hour then stop 'cause I can't take it anymore. She'll talk and play for awhile occasionally she fall asleep at this point but more times than not she'll talk for about an hour, then when I can't take it anymore I let her nurse again and at that point she will finally go to sleep.

I think it's just the age, so much is going on......life is so exciting. Also molar are most likely to blame as well.

My husband checked into sleep habits of toddlers on line and it is pretty normal. I also have a friend with a baby who is the same age and she is having just as much trouble getting her daughter (who just weaned a couple of months ago) to sleep. So, weaning, as my husband seems to think is not the answer.

Just try to get more naps in during the day. It has to stop at some point right????
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Old 04-16-2004, 02:37 AM
 
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Hey, I just have a sec. before I need to go put mine to bed, but to you.

REally and truly, it WILL pass and you will regain your sanity. This sounds inane, but stop fighting it. It's a stage she's in and/or some kind of phys. discomfort. My 17 mos old is 110% clingy right now and we assume it's b/c his little body & brain is growing at such an incredible pace that it's freaking him out a bit. Hence,the cling on child...

I just give up on him. I go to bed w/my other son (dh on the other mattress :LOL ) and nurse ds2 for a few minutes. Then, I let him run around or bounce next to me. Sometimes, I'm asleep before him. He's really settling into a routine where as soon as his excess energy is off, he just flops over and sleeps in my armpit.

I know it'll drive you insane to listen to her cry but try to distance yourself. You're there. You love her. You're comforting her. Just stay calm or she'll feed off that bad energy. It WILL get better. Try drinking some chamomile tea (steep it a long time) in the evening and right before bed. It'll help you both.

Can you (sorry if offensive ) move the TV into your room and watch a mindless show or video? That helped me tons.

Hang in there!
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Old 04-16-2004, 04:08 AM
 
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I cannot offer any advice that hasn't already been given here, but I just wanted to say that I'm completely in your shoes as well right now (except my babe is much younger)... she refuses to sleep, she just screams... and screams... And I just cry and cry!

I SOOOOOO feel your pain! HUGS!!! And I hope your baby girl comes around soon for both your sakes.

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Old 04-16-2004, 04:19 AM
 
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to you.
I don't think I have any advice, because my DS is only 9 months old, but I wanted you to know I'll be thinking of you. I know how much you've helped so many other moms with their nursing/parenting questions (on the other boards where I don't go much now that I'm here all the time). So, I guess I just wanted to send some positive energy your way.
I think it would be good for you to give yourself some time alone. Treat yourself to some things you love (lunch with a friend, a long bath, or some of the things some of the other mamas have suggested, or whatever makes you feel relaxed and happy). Your mom can spend some time with Abigail and let you get relaxed enough that you can figure out what you want.
It is okay for you to have limits. It's more important for Abigail to have a mom who's happy than it is for her to nurse non-stop. Can your mom help you out by rocking or singing to Abigail as part of your nighttime routine. My little man nurses to sleep most of the time, but my MIL bounces him to sleep sometimes as well. I'm taking a class once a week, so she started bouncing/walking with my little guy when he cried while I wasn't home. Now he loves having her bounce him to sleep. In an ideal world, I wouldn't have to be away from him 4 hours/week, but since I am, it's nice to know he has other ways of being comforted and/or going to sleep. It's also nice for me to know he has family members besides DH and I who can be a safe place of comfort for him.
I'm not sure if any of that made sense. I'm just trying to brainstorm.
Here's another
Hang in there!
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Old 04-16-2004, 04:44 AM
 
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OH, OH! I just remembered something I did to get through a similar time. (I had posted that I didn't remember exactly how we got through, but that it will pass.)

I started doing Yoga! Seriously, it helped!

I got a book, something like 28-Day Yoga Plan (I'll look it up and post the actual title, with author, if anyone requests it.) It only took 15 minutes a day usually - some days were longer, some shorter. And some days I didn't finish all that day's yoga at one time. I had to stop and deal with dd, and then try to go back to it later.

But it really helped me to be more calm in a situation that was threatening my sanity from lack of sleep.

Hm...maybe I should go back to it. My dd is now 8 and there are days when she and I just really lock horns, and there are days I'm not as patient as I want to be. I'll wait until the Mercury retrograde is over, and then I'll start my 28-day plan again.

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Old 04-16-2004, 04:58 AM
 
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No advice- just some support. My DD 12 months started this nursing thing at night a few months ago- everything was fine, than BAM nursing 4 or more times a night- sometimes I dream of the mothers that can fall fast asleep with their baby hanging on their tit- but it is not me! I feel so tired and run down and to top it off I have my 5 year old VERY ACTIVE nephew during the day to boot! I am tired and stressed- not only do I feel like I am up all night nursing a baby that seems to be asleep but when the delatch comes- she starts crying- but I am dealing with a billion request of my time during the day- and not only from DD (she is the least demanding during the day- lol..) it is everyone else needing a slice of my time- I just want to

Okay I feel better- I like you am not going to stop nursing, I am just soooo tired!

I feel for you- hugs

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Old 04-16-2004, 07:12 AM
 
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That was the age when my little ones were making the transition from nap to no-nap. Not being able to settle at bedtime was a cue for me to start changing the nap routine. If she needs to sleep, fine, but how long is she sleeping? I used to prepare the evening meal in the morning so I wouldn't be busy in the late afternoon. Sometimes I would wake up my toddler after an hour's sleep and be prepared with a yummy snack and something interesting to do (usually outside). That waking up time was sometimes hard but never as hard as the never-ending-bedtime-nursing-routine! Also, if my little one wasn't falling asleep until mid or late afternoon I would go to any lengths to keep him or her awake - again, a cranky toddler was easier on everyone than a cranky toddler and a crankly mama a few hours later. Some people might say this is not AP but I was convinced that my fatigue and bitterness came out through my milk and whole body if my needs for rest and personal space were not met. Toddler needs are different from babies' needs. I found that once bedtime was better I could snuggle in beside my little one and sleep peacefully.
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Old 04-16-2004, 07:53 AM
 
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I really hope things start to get better for you.
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Old 04-16-2004, 12:34 PM
 
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You're definitely NOT the only one. About a week ago, we went through three night in a row of constant nightwaking and marathon nursing. I was seriously ready to wean, and then suddenly she went back to "normal". Even now, however, with being PG I'm facing my own issues.

I'm going to move this to the breastfeeding forum, since I think it's more appropriate there than nighttime parenting. YOu'll probably see me venting there with you, lol.

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Old 04-16-2004, 01:57 PM
 
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Hey, I thought of something after we went to bed. Yep, the evil TV really helps me. But, we only use cc-no volume. And, it's up high (safely) so not a toy.

Yoga's a great idea. How about getting a tape for you or a kids yoga and doing it before bed? We love the kids Gaiam
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Old 04-16-2004, 02:37 PM
 
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What else do you do before you start nursing her down? Is there a ritual, a routine?

What do you do when she doesn't go to sleep?

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Old 04-16-2004, 02:38 PM
 
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My daughter is younger, but I've been struggling with the same problems lately. Not sure if what I've discovered lately will help or not, because its not the "traditional" AP answer. But I'll share just in case.

First, echoing the idea that nursing at this stage is a two way street and you have the right and responsibility to do what is best for BOTH of you (and other family members too). If that includes putting limits on nursing so you can be a better mommy all around, you should do it.

I finally had to realize that my daughter will actually go to sleep faster and better away from my arms. After we nurse, I put her in her crib (she's always spent part of the night there and part with us). She will cry for less than a minute, then go to sleep. If I try to rock her or nurse her to sleep, she will kick, scream, hit ... It was getting really ugly because I was trying to be the "perfect AP mommy" and it wasn't the right answer for her. Putting her in her crib and walking away even though she was crying turned out to be much better for everyone.

Good luck, it will pass. Take care of yourself so you can be the mommy you want to be all day long!
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Old 04-16-2004, 02:50 PM
 
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Evan&Anna's_Mom, Do you think that might be the answer, then? That this is the age where their "true" sleep personality is developing?
What you like to do is fine for the first X months because you're the Mommy and perfect, after all. But at some point their own physiology kicks in and they know what they don't like, but can't put a finger on what they do like?

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Old 04-16-2004, 03:07 PM
 
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Well, I'd be uncomfortable making a flat statement about children's development in general. But I can say that children change over time, that their wants and needs become clearer, and that our job as "AP" parents is to figure out what those are and respect them as much as possible. Without getting hung up on what other parents are doing or other kids are doing. For me, this means listening to the fact that Anna didn't like being held before sleep. I'm not entirely happy with what she's doing now either (because I'd like her not to cry at all), but she is certainly happier than she was last month. And sleeping better too. It may just be that she needs to cry a little before she sleeps. I don't know, she can't tell me in so many words yet, so I keep working at it.

The one thing that I would say without hesitation is that all children are different, all families are different, and its important to keep searching for a good fit for everyone concerned in these situations. For your individual family, it may not be the same as mine or the person down the street. And we shouldn't be afraid of doing things differently.
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Old 04-16-2004, 03:33 PM
 
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hey rachel!!


Hows it going today??, you figure out a way to sneak in a nap for you??
one thing, the morning after it is really easy to down a bunch of coffee, that makes me crabbyer in the evening then

today mebe
Make a mellower day, you are calm and not crying tonight you will have better luck, toddlers pick up on mama stress right away

make sure she gets enough to eat regularly during the day,
look in the mouth to see if teething,
look at the ears to see if ear infection,
rule out pinworms if your child could have been exposed,
think about reg bms, is she gassy or crampy during the day from food allergies
is she having trouble breathing at night due to stuffy head that would cause night waking

make sure she gets enough large motor play outside or wherever, take her for an early ride in the car with the heat on so she gets an early 20 winks herself- she should be sleeping somewhere between 10-14 hours a day

white noise- get one humidifier, fan, cassette tape of ocean whatever, get one and play it

get a hot water bottle and nurse her drowsy, lay down beside her and then rub her back while transitioning her next to warm spot by HWB

make sure the bedroom is dark, has right temp and humidity level

check out her pjs, does she have special clothing to sleep in that is soft comfy, not itchy, no zipper from blanket sleepr cutting into baby's foot, is she too hot, too cold at night???

rash is another night waker, so is a wet diaper, if she is night nursing a lot she will be peeing all night long and the cold wet diaper wakes them, desperate enough, consider a dispoy insert for night

start a bedtime ritual - this is a flexible routine not a schedule,
you sing a certain song, tell a story about the stuffed animal she likes best that will be a sleeping buddy, use a certain calming bathtime herb, you both wear certian clothing listen to a certain tape while rocking her what ever you chose that suits your lifestyle and if you have a s/o be sure the both of you are consistent about the time of day you do the routine so it becomes a trigger to induce sleep
Mary

and check out this info from dr sears site about dinner time ideas, this worked well for me to get my husband to be able to go to sleep when he was uncomfortable from lower back pain, we changed his diet a lot-

You can take advantage of this biochemical quirk by choosing protein or carbohydrate-rich meals, depending on whether you want to perk up or slow down your brain. For students and working adults, high protein, medium-carbohydrate meals are best eaten for breakfast and lunch. For dinner and bedtime snacks, eat a meal or snack that is high in complex carbohydrates, with a small amount of protein that contains just enough tryptophan to relax the brain. An all- carbohydrate snack, especially one high in junk sugars, is less likely to help you sleep. You'll miss out on the sleep-inducing effects of tryptophan, and you may set off the roller-coaster effect of plummeting blood sugar followed by the release of stress hormones that will keep you awake. The best bedtime snack is one that has both complex carbohydrates and protein, and perhaps some calcium. Calcium helps the brain use the tryptophan to manufacture melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.

SNOOZE FOODS
These are foods high in the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan:

Dairy products: cottage cheese, cheese, milk
Soy products: soy milk, tofu, soybean nuts
Seafood
Meats
Poultry
Whole grains
Beans
Rice
Hummus
Lentils
Hazelnuts, Peanuts
Eggs
Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
BEST BEDTIME SNACKS
Foods that are high in carbohydrates and calcium, and medium-to-low in protein also make ideal sleep-inducing bedtime snacks. Some examples:

apple pie and ice cream (my favorite)
whole-grain cereal with milk
hazelnuts and tofu
oatmeal and raisin cookies, and a glass of milk
peanut butter sandwich, ground sesame seeds (It takes around one hour for the tryptophan in the foods to reach the brain, so don't wait until right before bedtime to have your snack.)
BEST DINNERS FOR SLEEP
Meals that are high in carbohydrates and low-to-medium in protein will help you relax in the evening and set you up for a good night's sleep. Try the following "dinners for sleep":

pasta with parmesan cheese
scrambled eggs and cheese
tofu stirfry
hummus with whole wheat pita bread
seafood, pasta, and cottage cheese
meats and poultry with veggies
tuna salad sandwich
chili with beans, not spicy
sesame seeds (rich in tryptophan) sprinkled on salad with tuna chunks, and whole wheat crackers
Lighter meals are more likely to give you a restful night's sleep. High-fat meals and large servings prolong the work your digestive system needs to do, and all the gas production and rumblings may keep you awake. Some people find that highly-seasoned foods (e.g., hot peppers and garlic) interfere with sleep, especially if you suffer from heartburn. (See gastroesophageal reflux). Going to bed with a full stomach does not, for most people, promote a restful night's sleep. While you may fall asleep faster, all the intestinal work required to digest a big meal is likely to cause frequent waking and a poorer quality of sleep. Eat your evening meal early.
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Old 04-16-2004, 04:29 PM
 
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hijack why is this thread here in this forum???

I am SO WIERD, I know but went to shower and do soemthing and then the forum name flashed into my head and I got a little ticked cause I am touchy on this right now as a DF irl is going through this and has been led to believe that BFing was the cause and her childs night waking was somehow her fault and not a noraml phase of behavior or related to any health or other cause


I do not want this mama to be encouraged to night wean as a solution
23 months old is not extended nursing IMHO

I do not want mamas considering EN to think that their child's sleep habits will be changed/different because of that choice to nurse at night
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Old 04-16-2004, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am just getting a chance to check in, but wow. Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful, supportive responses. It really does make a difference.

Here's what happened last night, ultimately. We are visiting my mom, and when I started to lose it, Mom took her and snuggled and rocked her. Abigail was hysterical, but she was loved and comforted by someone she adores, and I got a little while to type my post and count to a million. Then we nursed (again) for a few minutes, and she conked right out and slept like a dream. It's the second consecutive night where she's fought bedtime tooth and nail, screamed herself silly, and then slept wonderfully the rest of the night.

I am better than I was last night, although when I was talking about it to her this morning, she commented, "Mommy angry." I told her that I love her so much and that I am always happy to snuggle her and to nurse for a while, and that, yes, I do feel angry when she won't go to sleep when she's tired. And then we talked about alternatives: we can nurse for a while, we can rock or snuggle, she can hold or suck on her blanket, we can lie down and cuddle and close our eyes, we can sing softly, but that we have to go to sleep at nighttime. She asked me to repeat that about twenty times-- she really seems to be working it out.

Then today we had lunch with one of my best friends, whose 15 month old got sleepy at the table. He's a born sleeper, and my daughter watched as his mama picked him up, snuggled him, popped his paci in his mouth (she's pregnant and he just self-weaned), and he went right to sleep. Abigail was totally fascinated. We talked about it for the next twenty minutes, all the way home. She went down for her nap easily with nursing and snuggling.

This is a transition. I'm sure of it. I just need to find a way to survive it. It's not easy.

FWIW, I don't blame breastfeeding for this. It's the best thing I've ever done for anyone, me included. I know that this is developmental and I know that it will pass. I am considering nightweaning in the next few months if she seems ready, but if she doesn't, then I won't. And I wouldn't expect that if we didn't nurse, suddenly all this would be different.

But here's what I'm wrestling with: first, I can't spend hours every night trying to get her to bed, and it can't be my job to keep her asleep all night long. I know that I need rest, too. I also need space. Not much, but a little. And I need her to eventually be willing to receive comfort from someone other than me when she's tired. I don't expect her to chuck the way we've done things her whole life without a care, but I want to keep an eye on the goal of helping her feel safe and supported even if mama isn't the one holding her at that moment.

And I'm wrestling with my beliefs about nursing at the moment. If anyone asked, I'd say what you've all said: nursing is a two-way street, and mama has rights. But it's harder in practice. For her whole infancy, if she was upset, my milk let down. My body said, "Nurse this baby!" and I did, every time. And I felt great about it. And it worked. But I think it kind of got ingrained in me that if she asks to nurse, that's what I should do, no exceptions. I KNOW that's not the end of the story, particularly with an almost-two-year-old. But it's hard to remember that it's okay to deviate from that way of doing things every now and then, especially if she's sobbing. And that sets me up to feel like utter crap for telling her no, even if we've been nursing for two hours and my nipples ache and I just desperately need to put her down.

So I'm struggling. If you're still reading, bless you. Shr's pretty amazing, even with all of this.
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Old 04-16-2004, 04:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vanna's Mom
hijack why is this thread here in this forum???

I am SO WIERD, I know but went to shower and do soemthing and then the forum name flashed into my head and I got a little ticked cause I am touchy on this right now as a DF irl is going through this and has been led to believe that BFing was the cause and her childs night waking was somehow her fault and not a noraml phase of behavior or related to any health or other cause


I do not want this mama to be encouraged to night wean as a solution
23 months old is not extended nursing IMHO

I do not want mamas considering EN to think that their child's sleep habits will be changed/different because of that choice to nurse at night
ITA. Shouldn't this be in Nighttime Parenting??
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Old 04-16-2004, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know. I couldn't decide, and it doesn't seem all that categorizable. It's about nursing, it's about sleeping, it's about parenting, it's about toddlers. It's also a plea for support from mamas who understand. I went with TAO, myself.
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Old 04-16-2004, 05:15 PM
 
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Another thought I had:

Something else that has been going on with my ds since around 23 months is major language development. Along with that is new expressions of fears and even a description of a nightmare.

Has something changed since your dd's sleep problems started? You said you were visiting your mom - maybe she is afraid to be alone in a new bedroom? My ds started resisting sleeping in the bedroom bc he dreamed that a car was chasing him in the bed, and he I'm sure doesn't realize that a dream is not real. (I tried to explain that a dream is like watching a video).

Also, language has been making him wakeful - when language started to boom he would wake often to tell me different things in the middle of the night.

And, language has exploded his imagination. He makes up songs and stories; he talks to his toys; he projects feelings and needs onto them.

I spend a lot of time - especially during meals - talking to ds about what we did that morning or that day, and that is when he tells me different revealing things.

Maybe your dd is also expressing a lot verbally now, too, and you could somehow find out different things like fears she might have. You just can't ask directly, IMO, at this age. It just comes up in conversation.

As for getting her to sleep at night without nursing: I actually started waitressing a couple of nights a week when ds was 22 months, and dh was home to feed, bathe, and put him to bed. He waited for me to come home to nurse him to sleep in the beginning, but we kept telling him that I would nurse him as soon as I came home and that he could go to sleep before that, and finally, he did. Now he goes to sleep at least half the time I work. It's starting to help!!!

And lastly, developmentally I think 2 to 2 1/2 is an incredible time, with language and imagination. I keep hearing stories about kids in this age range who finally decide to go to sleep on their own, or ask for more privacy or seek more independence. My ds is actually starting to tell me when he wants to go to sleep!!! This is a HUGE development for us. It's not just the usual yawning/rubbing eyes - he will actually say "sleep, Mama" and lay his head down.

So, once again, I will say that in time things should improve. And definately take care of yourself in the meantime.

Also, when I was at my wits end with the nursing, I did give in like one poster recommended, and when I gave in and stopped obsessing, it did seem to be a little better. (But I can understand being so tired from continuous night nursing - I've been there hundreds of times.)

HTH!

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Old 04-16-2004, 09:36 PM
 
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My dd is 23 months old as well and we are having the same problems!!!! Last night, it took me 2 hours to get her to sleep. Usually, it takes about 20 mins. She is also fighting naps which she needs.

And she nurses a lot at night. And I am a zombie. I have been literally forcing myself to nap with her. Usually, I do a couple chores, get on the computer and then think about napping, and of course she is awake by then.

Twice in the last 9 mos, I have started to nightwean her but she ended up sick from a cold both times and I abandoned my efforts.

So, I have no advice except that I can totally and completely understand what you are going thru.
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