Breastfeeding and co-sleeping with mental and physical illness. - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-13-2013, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm pregnant and looking for insight from anyone who has learned from their breastfeeding mistakes of the past that don't fit into the "norm" of brestfeeding.

 

For me, breastfeeding was and will again probably be all about feeling anxious and hormonal.

Aside from the wonderful and indescribable bond it gave me which was amaaaaazing. But at a cost.

 

I have hypothyroidism and a minor anxiety disorder that disrupts my sleep patterns and makes me an extremely light sleeper, so much so that naps during the day are a virtual impossibility.  

 

Still, I co-slept with and breastfed my son almost exclusively until he was about 9 months and then started to supplement with formula a little.  I weaned him at 13 months and stopped co-sleeping around 1.5 years, but we are still in the same room and he is 2 now.

 

I did it. It was an accomplishment, huge, but I have mixed feelings about whether it was worth it, and think abut what I can do with my next baby to avoid the problems I had last time.

 

First of all, co-sleeping after the first few months left me incredibly sleep deprived.  Once my menstruation came back and I began the decline of the endorphins and super mom hormones that gave me a blissful first few months (despite sleep deprivation), I simply did not do well with my son sleeping right next to me.  

 

As time progressed, my thyroid levels went sky high before I realized it.  I was too sleep deprived to remember to even get my levels checked.  This in turn strongly boosted my anxiety, a symptom of too much thyroid compounded by my own GAD, and it became a viscious cycle.  I feel that cosleeping in this condition was actually bad for my son and I.  I had too much brain fog to even begin to figure out how to separate him; even contemplating it was hard.  This is because each step of the weaning and separate sleeping process was started well after it should have been in my case.  

 

I became an angry sleeper, my son woke several times a night during the first year to feed, and I would wake up angry while breastfeeding, and was hostile and irritable towards DH at all times.  This in turn made me feel incredibly guilty that my son might sense my negativity and fatigue.  I think he must have a few times, especially if his teeth scraped me and I shoved him by reflex. I feel heartbroken and ashamed as a mom in that regard.

 

This time, I plan to demand my husband help at night after the first few months (or whenever I need it), I plan to schedule pumping and go ahead and stock frozen breastmilk right away before I hopefully need it, and I also plan to bottle feed within the first week or two after giving birth so that the baby accepts it more readily.  I will still mostly breastfeed but want to establish more structured habits in advance of needing them this time so that I am not overwhelmed by the time I need them.

The thing I did not know to prepare for was how overwhelming simple routine changes were and how long it took to make them.  Now I know and will be more disciplined next time.

 

I also plan to prepare to feed formula in the event that I have PPD this next time, since I am a candidate for it and would prefer not to breastfeed if I find medication necessary for my mental health.  That would be HARD.  My heart goes out to any moms who had to stop breastfeeding or couldn't due to things beyond their control.  

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Old 05-13-2013, 02:34 PM
 
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Hugs to you Demeter. That must of been really hard for you. I could relate to a lot of what you said and felt. Wow though, you got through it. Congrats mama and kiddos to you for planning to do things a bit differently so as to make sure you and your babies are taken care of mentally and physically . It's hard to be  a good mama when things are all topsy-turvy. 

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Old 05-13-2013, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Awwww, thanks:-)

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Old 05-13-2013, 08:19 PM
 
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First off, kudos to you for persevering with nursing your first and I think it shows incredible foresight on your part tO be planning for difficulties you might face rather than simply trying to cope in the moment. Although I think it can be wonderful, I firmly believe that cosleeping isn't for every family or every situation. After initial nursing issues, I happily nursed my firstborn to age 2 but we never formally coslept. The few times we did, she woke more often and slept less than when we slept apart. In your situation, I'd think about sleeping apart from baby to see if that helps you both get more rest. Yes it means getting up more completely but it might mean 2-4 nursings a night instead of many more. If it doesn't work for you, you can always go back to cosleeping. Also, try to line up PP help if you can and look into community resources, such as counseling, breastfeeding or other support ahead of time so you don't need to search when you're already busy or overwhelmed. Also, introduce a pacifier as a backup for when baby needs to suckle and you need a break. It was a lifesaver for us in the early weeks.
I wish you a healthy and happy pregnancy and birth and hope your baby is a good sleeper. Don't be afraid to experiment and try different things and make self care a priority. Best of luck to you and hugs.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skycheattraffic View Post

First off, kudos to you for persevering with nursing your first and I think it shows incredible foresight on your part tO be planning for difficulties you might face rather than simply trying to cope in the moment. Although I think it can be wonderful, I firmly believe that cosleeping isn't for every family or every situation. After initial nursing issues, I happily nursed my firstborn to age 2 but we never formally coslept. The few times we did, she woke more often and slept less than when we slept apart. In your situation, I'd think about sleeping apart from baby to see if that helps you both get more rest. Yes it means getting up more completely but it might mean 2-4 nursings a night instead of many more. If it doesn't work for you, you can always go back to cosleeping. Also, try to line up PP help if you can and look into community resources, such as counseling, breastfeeding or other support ahead of time so you don't need to search when you're already busy or overwhelmed. Also, introduce a pacifier as a backup for when baby needs to suckle and you need a break. It was a lifesaver for us in the early weeks.
I wish you a healthy and happy pregnancy and birth and hope your baby is a good sleeper. Don't be afraid to experiment and try different things and make self care a priority. Best of luck to you and hugs.

 

Thank you for all the great tips and support!

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Old 05-16-2013, 11:46 AM
 
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Just wanted to offer my quick support. I have sleep apnea and chronic fatigue and toss a lot at night but can be dazed too. Getting good sleep is very hard for me. I also have anxiety and other issues so its hard to know what is the biggest factor with my sleep issues.

I am expecting my first in a couple weeks. I have decided its crucial for the baby's health and also my own that the baby not sleep with me. I would like to, but between the tossing which is dangerous to baby, and misery I already go through, it is just a bad idea.

I will have a full size crib in the bedroom, and he will sleep there from day 1. He will get tons of love and I will breast feed him to my hearts content (I have an ikea poang chair in the bedroom but may sit on floor, lay in bed, or go out to couch....most likely lay in bed but not fall asleep). However, despite all he breast feeding, him sleeping in bed with me is something he will never get used to. He will always know his crib, so I won't ever have to transition him. I plan on swaddling or using the woombie to soothe him. Besides, I will be right here!!! He will always hear my voice And he will bf often.

Worst case, if he doesn't take to the crib, I will go buy a Moses basket.

Good luck! You are not alone. I don't think the bf ing is the issue....it's prob the co sleeping. It is obviously not right for 100 percent of women. I may change my tune after he is born, but for now my intuition tells me he needs to be in his lovely crib I have set up right here in my bedroom. Honestly, I will prob try to move the crib down the hall around 8 weeks ish, and continue to dote on him, all while preserving my sleeping sanctuary.
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:46 AM
 
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Just wanted to offer my quick support. I have sleep apnea and chronic fatigue and toss a lot at night but can be dazed too. Getting good sleep is very hard for me. I also have anxiety and other issues so its hard to know what is the biggest factor with my sleep issues.

I am expecting my first in a couple weeks. I have decided its crucial for the baby's health and also my own that the baby not sleep with me. I would like to, but between the tossing which is dangerous to baby, and misery I already go through, it is just a bad idea.

I will have a full size crib in the bedroom, and he will sleep there from day 1. He will get tons of love and I will breast feed him to my hearts content (I have an ikea poang chair in the bedroom but may sit on floor, lay in bed, or go out to couch....most likely lay in bed but not fall asleep). However, despite all he breast feeding, him sleeping in bed with me is something he will never get used to. He will always know his crib, so I won't ever have to transition him. I plan on swaddling or using the woombie to soothe him. Besides, I will be right here!!! He will always hear my voice And he will bf often.

Worst case, if he doesn't take to the crib, I will go buy a Moses basket.

Good luck! You are not alone. I don't think the bf ing is the issue....it's prob the co sleeping. It is obviously not right for 100 percent of women. I may change my tune after he is born, but for now my intuition tells me he needs to be in his lovely crib I have set up right here in my bedroom. Honestly, I will prob try to move the crib down the hall around 8 weeks ish, and continue to dote on him, all while preserving my sleeping sanctuary.
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:00 PM
 
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Ps-- my plan is for hubby to get up and hand me the baby if I bf in bed while the crib is in our room. Or if I get up, I may nudge hubby awake for a diaper change...but if the crying wakes hubby, I am hoping he will bring me the baby hen maybe I will do the change after bf ing???

And who knows, maybe bottles or formula will have to be a part of this, my understanding is that I will save myself effort by just using my breasts
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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bobcat,

 

I think for me it comes down to having a  plan but not feeling bad if it doesn't work out.  The first few months were not so hard for me I think because of the hormones.  I don't think I could physically keep up with nighfeedings if I had had my son in a crib because of having to get up.  my husband is such a heavy sleeper that I'd probably be better off calling an ambulance than getting him to help at night...but it sounds like yours is more apt to work in your scenario. i would have to sleep in a separate room and for me that was an impossibility to even contemplate for the first several months. i have no idea how some women do this! kudos to them tho.

 

I am probably going to put our mattress on the floor and get a noah basket like you mentioned.  last time we had a regular high bed and i would startle awake several times per night simply out of fear that the baby might be falling.  it was bizarre since he was in the middle.  if i have a c-section THEN we might just have one incredibly tired husband and mama.

 

The other thing about bfing is yes, it is much easier than pumping in the night, but my foggy brain at the time couldn't understand that it was getting baby used to waking up for the comfort of Mom-Boob. i believe this could create  a night waking habit.  the easier it is for baby to wake up and get boob, the more likely it is going to happen:-)  it was the hardest but most important of all bfing transitions i made and not until well after 9 months last time; this time i hope to start by 3/4 months.

  

I know how hard it is to go against what felt natural so for me personally I will not transition to a crib or that much separation until bebe is bottle trained and i have an established supply of frozen milk. so at least a few weeks.

 

i am glad you reminded me of a noah basket; i gotta order one i guess.  

 

I wish you all the best in what will be a really awesome adventure most likely no matter what:-)  PM me if you run into questions maybe we can bounce more ideas off each other. 

 

also, i did not mention the wonderful, natural aspects of just breastfeeding whenever baby is hungry, but there are many too.  don't feel like you are missing out if that's the direction you take. sometime surrender to the baby boss is the only logical option.

 

Oh, and my lifesaver was the lansinoh nipple ointment for the first few weeks and massage with heating pad when too swollen.

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