sleep - I can't CIO, I can't co-sleep, I can't breastfeed, I can't nightwean!!!!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 10-24-2003, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't feel like going into the major sleep troubles that I have had with DD since she was a week old. BUT, right now, at 12 months, I can't take this. She is waking up every hour or MORE. We TRIED 5 HOURS to get her to sleep last night. She is waking up in bed, sitting up and crying and screaming while I am RIGHT THERE IN BED WITH HER. She wants to breastfeed becuase we have been trying to nightwean her. She was going to sleep on her dad and with him on the futon but that only lasted a week or two. Now she does the same thing with him.

I have had these problems with her literally since birth. I have gone to bed with her for a year and I have had no damn break. I am sick sick sick of this. I joined the local AP group here and no luck. NO one has these problems, everyone looked at me like I was crazy.

If someone has had this problem, god, I could use advice or support. There seems to be so few people who have sleep problems of this magnitude.

thanks for listening,

Jessica
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#2 of 30 Old 10-24-2003, 09:43 PM
 
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rrr recommened the magic of magnesium to a bunch of us sleep deprived mama on a couple other threads. This has proved to be very successful for many mama. I am still working on it. :LOL She also recommened taking calcium. I assume you have tried the other standards-chamomilla, cat nip tea, ect...

s

i will look for those threads now... and report back.

ETA:
ok, here you are...

http://216.92.20.151/discussions/sho...threadid=91749

http://216.92.20.151/discussions/sho...threadid=84587

http://216.92.20.151/discussions/sho...threadid=91071

these three have been great. Believe me, you are not alone!
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#3 of 30 Old 10-24-2003, 10:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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sorry all, I am raging and tired and I guess the typo shows it. Poor thing, she's just started walking and I know this is probably separation anxiety.

We tried to nightwean and I broke down and began letting her breastfeed alot more than the "Dr. Gordon" plan and then she regressed back to insisting on sleeping with the nipple in her mouth and waking up screaming and crying when I tried to pry myself lose. All this after I was just making some headway in being able to leave her for a long nap and have a few precious hours to myself in the evenings. (I have had to go to bed with her and breastfeed for HOURS or otherwise really WORK to get her to go to sleep). It really makes me wonder what other AP parents do. Do you just get the kids up, watch TV, ignore them? I can't believe that, though.

so, how many more years of this to come?
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#4 of 30 Old 10-24-2003, 10:44 PM
 
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We have had our sleep struggles, let me tell you.

A few things come to mind, which may or may not make a difference.

Is there any possibility that your dd just isn't ready to go to bed, that you are putting her to bed before she is really tired? Until my dd gave up her nap, she would routinely go to bed at 10 or so, and was often hard to get down. We found that if we tried to get her to bed earlier, it was harder on all of us and would often end up going to sleep later.

We never did much of a bedtime routine, but a rough plan of bath-books-bed has seemed to help us.

We did some limiting of night-nursing at 16 months and then nightweaned at 22 months--my dd was also a very very frequent waker at night. The good news is that now she is a great sleeper at night, and since she gave up her nap (which sometimes I really miss!) she almost always goes to sleep very easily.

Sorry you are having such a hard time, the sleep deprivation is SO HARD.
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#5 of 30 Old 10-24-2003, 11:24 PM
 
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I'm sorry about your sleep troubles. Both of my kids were/are frequent night wakers. I nightweaned my dd at about 2 1/2 and then she began sleeping well. before that, she literally nursed all night and had a "mommy sensor" that went off whenever I got up. I have the same thing with my second - I can get up for about 45 minutes after he's nursed down, then he wakes looking for his milk. He's 20 months. I couldn't begin to nightwean him- he nurses so much. I need to wait until he's more verbal- I nightweaned dd b negotiating with her. That went pretty well once she understood she could nurse when the sun rose.

Just letting yo know yo are not alone. Wish I had the answers.

Being right is not always fair, but being fair is always right
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#6 of 30 Old 10-25-2003, 05:38 PM
 
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Several months ago, I was in the same situation that you were in. I think that it is important to remember that all children are individuals and that not all can or will respond to any method of sleep or weaning training/philosophy, regardless of how gentle it may be.

My daughter would absolutely not have any part of any kind of breastfeeding modification or restriction. Perhaps I started too late but when I tried to restrict night feedings at 1 year, she would flip out every time. I was totally envious of mothers who had been able to cut out feedings or, especially, night wean.

I admit to feeling like a failure because I wanted to night wean (and/or wean) BUT I wanted to do it gradually, like all the books recommended and like I felt was the right thing to do.

What I eventually had to realize is that my daughter is not a character in one of those books and that she has her own needs and that she reacts in her own way to both of our needs.
Eventually, I just totally weaned her because (among other things) she reacted as if I was “totally weaning” her every time I tried anything more subtle. \

In the final stages of nursing, I was nursing every 35 minutes almost all day and especially at night. There was more to my situation other than the time intervals because it had been like that for almost the entire time since birth but there were other factors that made me decide to wean. Ultimately, I decided to wean because I can’t engage in intimate relationships unless I’m fully willing. I woke one morning and was not willing to breastfeed anymore, although, physically I could have gone on longer.

This was a challenging choice and it was the one I made. I’m not recommending it, per say, but I wanted to say that you’re not alone when you say that all the recommendations haven’t worked for you. They didn’t work for me and my daughter and I was left to take a chance.

This is just my story. I just wanted to say that I relate. I also want to let you know that you may just have a high needs night baby. I had a high needs night baby and, for me, this did NOT change after I weaned. Luckily, I didn’t expect it to. Now, I just fulfill my daughters need for contact in other ways. I'm not getting much more sleep now but I was not willing to poison our beautiful breastfeeding relationship with resentment.

Good luck. I know how hard it is when you’re on the outside of all the “advice” books and etc.

One more BIG HUGE thing…this may just be a bad sleep stage for your daughter, regardless of what choices you make (or have made). My daughter’s sleep situation has been stable for several months and she still has good weeks and bad weeks. The only difference is that I’m not stressing on the feeding thing. Actually, I’m not sure what is worse; thinking you could do something to help or knowing that this is just how things are.

Take care. Until you find a solution, get some sleep when (and when) ever you can.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#7 of 30 Old 10-25-2003, 07:54 PM
 
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The book "The no cry sleep solution" might be helpful.

Also, consider her non-nursing nighttime comfort: would disposables keep her drier than cloth? Do you need all cotton or the really warm polyester jammies? I think there's a list of this kind of thing in the Sears baby book.

My dd was not as tough as yours is, but I got all kinds of lectures from people whose kids slept much more easily than she did. Really, it's not your fault. You will survive. She will grow out of this.

You and dh can also take turns - if you need to have a 30 minute break and she just nursed, he can take her even if she cries. This is not cruel or inappropriate even if she might be comforted by nursing. You need to meet your needs if you can! You can take a bath or eat or read or just chill. Sometimes that can make it much easier - to take shifts.

As a last resort, you could have her evaluated by sleep experts. I know Notre Dame University has a sleep lab. I imagine they're also at other university medical centers. I think that ND has a website for their sleep lab - it might include links to other places or people you could call for a referral.

Good luck! You are such a good mama to be sticking with an AP perspective rather than just letting her cry. It will get better!!

Can't give up actin' tough, it's all that I'm made of. Can't scrape together quite enough to ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love. ~ Neko Case

 
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#8 of 30 Old 10-25-2003, 08:32 PM
 
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I have been where you are!!!! My dd, who is now 4, woke every night like that from birth until she was just over 11 months old. I tried everything, I researched until my brain hurt, I had everyone telling me to just let her cry. We tried family bed, we tried having dh put her to bed, we tried massage, we tried music, we even tried feng shui. She just wanted to nurse all night. When did she finally sleep? When I quit working days and starting working overnights (so I could be with dd during the day), so I literally wasn't available and she had to rely on dh for comfort. Within 3 nights of being out of the house overnight, she was down to waking only once a night and completely nightweaned.

Now, I'm not saying you have to go get a third shift job :-) But I do think that sometimes when a mom is so desperately tired that she can't parent the way she wants and *needs* to get more sleep in order to function well, and she has a particularly persistent child, she might just have to let daddy take over completely at night and make herself unavailable. When we first started (before my nighttime job began) I would just walk out the door, wait until she was involved in the bedtime routine with daddy and couldn't see me, then go back in. Then in the middle of the night, it was dh who got up with her. This may sound harsh, but she did have her daddy to give her all the comfort she needed and, although she didn't know it, I was nearby for backup.

This is what worked for me, and it was what we had to do as a family. It may not be right for anyone else. And my dd was ready to handle it. We had also already explored the many possible causes of nightwaking (teething, illness, night terrors, etc.), and didn't believe she had any "disorder" that was responsible for her waking. She just needed company, and preferred that the company be me and my breasts.

Most importantly, eventually it will pass, no matter what. Dd still isn't a great sleeper, but she's much better than she was. I'm home full time now (have been for more than 2 years), and she has gone through many phases of nightwaking in those 2 years. Each time she's worked her way out of them. We've just given her the support she needs and done our best to take care of ourselves. Babysitters so you can take a nap are great! Family who can visit while you rest. You've heard it all, I'm sure. Mostly, my heart goes out to you, because I know how terribly hard it can be. People do need sleep, and when you aren't getting it it's very difficult to function.

Michelle
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#9 of 30 Old 10-25-2003, 11:37 PM
 
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Have you checked for food sensitivities? I know that dairy is one culprit in the mom's and baby's diet that can cause frequent night waking with plenty of crying.

Wishing you some sleep.
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#10 of 30 Old 10-26-2003, 12:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your replies and advice. It made me feel much better.

Mona, thank you for those three threads. There was alot of comfort and information in them. I have tried calcium, chamomile, even baby valarian (which wasn't effective at all, the chamomile was much better.)

I have a solid nighttime routine and I am pretty good about it. I tried putting her to bed later but that was worse. I am talking about a baby who could go with NO nap from 8am to 6pm and not be cranky at all.

And MamaMonica, you are a stronger Mom than I am. I don't know if I can do this for another year and a half!

HannahSims, I took a ton of comfort in reading your reply. I might need to wean her, I am kind of ready to. On the other hand, she might not change, like your dd, and that I hadn't thought of. Very insightful of you. Did you end up weaning quickly? How did it go? I would love to hear.

Her father and I switch back and forth and take turns, but a few nights it has taken At this point, it may not be the best time for her, but I have really been losing my patience and getting more resenful every night. I hung on a long time, but I am burned out right now.

Mumsymimi, the idea of actually leaving the house is interesting. It might just work. However, I don't think my husband has the patience to tend to her lovingly for the whole evening. He's already exasperated and he's only been doing this for a month. But I will certainly talk to him and consider it.

I wasn't really clear in my post about what's going on. She is nightwaking, but the real problem is GETTING her to sleep. That and getting her to sleep by herself for any length of time. It is getting better, though. Sometimes it's hard to see the pattern improving, but it is.

Thanks to all of you! I really feel supported and listened to and you have given me more strength to keep going!
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#11 of 30 Old 10-26-2003, 01:10 AM
 
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Jessica,

I just wanted to say that I feel encouraged that you took the time to post your situation to the board, rather than just suffering alone. This shows me that you value support and personal experiences of others! On that note, my oldest son, now 4, was an extremely "difficult" nighttime guy. I feel happy for you when I read, "I am talking about a baby who could go with NO nap from 8am to 6pm and not be cranky at all." How great, that during the day, you have someone pleasant to be around!!

For my son, going to bed was a trauma, and he would wake every 1-2 hours. Even now that he's not nursing, the same holds fairly true. He DID turn out to have dairy issues, and once that cleared up, we had much better success with staying asleep (though not giving it up to go to sleep!) Many babies have difficulty transitioning and falling asleep. Their brains are SO hungry for learning---they're wired for attention and life in general!

From the bottom of my heart, I'd like to say that weaning might only make the situation harder on everyone. She will still need you, perhaps even more. At least breastfeeding offers you an "easy" way to meet her intense needs. This is the only time in her life that she will have the chance to be breastfed and have such a close connection with you. The stress you're feeling might be even worse w/o the oxytocin and prolactin your body currently produces. We often underestimate how helpful these hormones are to us until they're gone! Weaning before your child is ready often causes more trouble down the line. The easy way often turns to bite us back down the road. I know many, many nights I would think, I just can't
*do* this anymore. I hope it's helpful for you to read my personal experience. I don't mean to imply that my "way" is better or the "right" way....just something to consider.

I know how hard it is to keep perspective when you're exhausted, angry and frustrated. Look at your deep needs. What, other than sleep, are you needing? How can you get it? Who can you enlist to help you meet YOUR needs so that you can have the fortitude to continue to meet your baby's very real needs for her mother? Her needs are real, just as yours are. You have the advantage of understanding in an adult way why you're not offering her the breast as she's always had before. To consider it from her perspective, I'm sure it's scary to not have the same comfort she's always had. I understand you're not leaving her alone to cry (good mommy instincts!), but I'm wondering if somehow she's telling you that the nightweaning is definitely something she is NOT ready for? I wonder if you can reach a compromise? 12 months is really young to have any idea what's going on......

Can someone else can help with the nighttime ritual or even during the day so you can have some time? Give you a break so that you can come back into it with renewed love, acceptance and affection? It's so hard to meet everyone's needs--especially when we're at the end of our rope. I hope you can start brainstorming some ideas that might help.

All the best,

Amy

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#12 of 30 Old 10-26-2003, 01:51 AM
 
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I have been there . . . (other than the no-napping-- DD has always taken naps in some fashion). I was SO frustrated for a loooooong time. My DH wanted to let our daughter CIO, but I refused, so the whole nighttime thing was on me. At 14 months, I finally said no more-- I needed serious help or I was going to have a breakdown.

Here's is what we did:
(1) DH took over the nighttime routine. Once my daughter nursed for the evening, she didn't see me while having a bath, reading, etc.
(2) DD slept in her crib.
(3) When DD would wake up, we tried having her sleep with just DH and when that didn't work, I ended up nursing her and back to frequent night wakings.

Finally, at 19 months, I nightweaned. DD did cry for 2 nights-- she was very angry, but we soothed her every other way possible. This has been our absolute magic solution. DH still continues to do the night routine, but when DD wakes from her crib (though occasionally she actually sleeps through the night) we sleep with her, but she just sleeps, cuddled and cozy.

She actually has developed a more peaceful attitude about sleep. Before, she'd wake in a panic if she realized she wasn't nursing, and I'd nurse her back to sleep. I think I was teaching her that sleeping was something bad by doing this, like nursing after a fall or something.

A couple more things to add to my novel here . . .I did wait until my DD was very verbal. She was very verbal by 14 months, but 12 months would have been too soon for her to nightwean, I think. Also, once I decided to nightwean for good, I decided there would be no going back because it would make things confusing for everyone (this means I never ever nurse in bed at anytime or even lying down). One more thought is that our daughter, who never seemed to need to nap much or have any sort of schedule is actually taking longer naps during the day and more regularly.

PM me if you ever need to vent some more!

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#13 of 30 Old 10-26-2003, 11:01 AM
 
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Jessica,

I was thinking about this some more last night, and I just wanted to add that I'm hearing "she just wants to breastfeed more now since I'm trying to nightwean her." Is that fair and accurate? If so, you might consider backing off from this plan of action. A need met WILL go away. A need denied will keep returning, more and more intensely. It seems as if you are a very caring mom who wants what's best for her daughter. Maybe it's just hard to see what she really needs right now, since it seems like you've probably lost sight of what your own needs are during this time of stress?

For a point of reference, my second son is 12 months right now. He doesn't "go to sleep" until around 11 pm. It's not very convenient for us as a family, but we've had to work around this because otherwise, we would have the whole 4 hours to fall asleep thing. I would def. grow resentful and angry if each night I expected him to be on a convenient schedule. I know for me personally, it was hard to let go of what other people's children were or were not doing. So and so's baby falls asleep at 7 pm, sleeps thru 'til whenever.....as a parent, I had to come to terms with the baby I had (as I'd written earlier, my first ds was quite challenging!!!). Sometimes it can be helpful to let go and realize this is who you have....and she has you as a mom for a reason, and vice versa!

If you ever like to read, I'd like to recommend Mothering Your Nursing Toddler, Nighttime Parenting, and I know lots of moms have enjoyed the No Cry Sleep Solution. All are great for some perspective.

For the greatest good,

Amy

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#14 of 30 Old 10-26-2003, 11:47 AM
 
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If it's taking you five hours to get her to sleep, five hours during which everybody is getting more and more frustrated and stressed out, why not just wait the five hours out by playing, watching TV, or whatever?

My baby went to bed at around 11 pm for most of her first year. It wasn't always when *I* wanted to go to sleep, but there was no point in trying to get her down when she simply wasn't tired. She was happy to play, and that's what we did, until she was ready for sleep. Then she went down very easily.

Mind you, just lately she's been staying up when she really is tired, and she's not happy - she is cranky and miserable. So we have just started instituting a bedtime routine and trying to get bedtime to "stick" at 9 pm. It's going relatively well so far.

I also wanted to second what succotash said: this subject comes up in our LLL meetings alot, and what we all say is that it may not be want we want to hear, but sometimes the child is making it very clear that they are simply not ready for what is being asked of them. Time goes by so fast as a parent, and yet when times are tough it can seem to last forever. Big hugs to you!!

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#15 of 30 Old 10-26-2003, 01:30 PM
 
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hey jessica,

it's mary from api. sorry you are still struggling with this. i was hoping it was really getting better for y'all.

i know you have tried staying up with your dd pretty late, but i can't remember all the particulars. i thought i'd tell you how it went with our dd (2.5) in hopes that it might help you some.

first off, early on, i gave up having any time to myself. i mean, i did initially try to do things like go to the grocery store by myself (when dd was 4mo or so), but after awhile i realized that was making me nervous and dd sad. you know my dd is _very_ attached, more so than your little rambler, maybe, so take all this as only my personal experience. don't know if it would apply at all to you and yours.

all that said, dd made it clear to us early (first week or so) that she would not sleep anywhere but the bed with us and my boobs nearby, so we quickly gave in and went with that in the interest of having a good night's sleep. likewise for naps i couldn't leave the bed until she was well over a year old. she had that "mama's not here" radar and would wake up fussing and crying if i tried to sneak away. dh bought me a laptop while i was pg, so i just took that to bed with us and did a lot of reading, too.

dd has always been a night owl, so we went with that, too. most nights she just goes when we go to bed. i usually hit the hay with her about 11 or 12 these days. sometimes, though, it's 1am, occasionally 2 or 3, but i am really beat if that happens. that's really rare these days. i just don't have the patience to try to get her to go to sleep at 7 or 8 or 9 if she's not sleepy. it does happen occasionally if she misses her nap, but more than likely she's down after 10. dh is more of a nightowl and will take over if it's a really really late night and i'm beat. i usually try for about 20 or 30 minutes tops to get her to go to sleep. if it doesn't happen in that time frame, my patience is usually gone and my nipples are sore so we just get up and play.

when she was little (less than 2 mo old probably) we discovered she loved to be bounced on our old antique bouncy bed with these really squeaky, noisy box springs. we also have a noisy old antique rocker, but dd preferred the bouncing although rocking was okay sometimes. sometimes dh still bounces her to sleep if she's having a rough night winding down. the bouncy bed saved us so many times. it was great for little hurts and for fussy times and for sleepy, but couldn't go to sleep times, too. maybe you could try something along those lines? the exercise ball with a little white noise (fan, vacuum, washing machine, dishwasher, white noise machine)? when i did the bouncy bed with her (not now at 34 weeks or so) i would sing "hush little baby" or sometimes another lullaby.

now, when it's time for bed (eyelids getting heavy, lots of nonstop babbling and talking) we have sort of a bed time routine. we brush teeth, put on PJs and daddy has to read books in the bed. (we don't do the bath at bedtime because she likes to take a shower/bath with me in the morning and it just seems overkill to have two baths in a day.) then we nurse and if she doesn't go right out i sing "hush little baby" and usually that does the trick combined with dh's gentle snoring. (he usually falls asleep for about 15 or 20 minutes and then wakes back up for another couple of hours). if she doesn't go out and is just too wound up (happens if we push a nap more often than at night) we just give up and play or daddy tries the bouncy bed or the rocker. i think maybe she came to associate "hush little baby" positively with the bouncy bed and being taken care of.

i think you or one of the other posters mentioned a child maybe associating nursing with boo-boos being taken care of and hypothesized that if the nipple wasn't in the mouth then the child was afraid that the boo boo wasn't being taken care of. maybe introducing another element, lullaby or white noise or something could help provide another positive association? dunno -- just a theory.

what time do you usually start trying to get her to sleep? if she's happy during the day maybe you could find someone she could stay and play with for an hour or so a day while you nap? it does a mama no good to be too sleep deprived. if that doesn't work out, maybe dh could be in charge when he gets home from work and you could nap then? if you being in the house doesn't work maybe you could go somewhere else. do you have family near here? or the car always works if you're tired enuf. your dd always seems so happy when i see her seems like something like that might work. i know our dd would never have cottoned to somebody other than dh. i was just able to leave dd with dh comfortably when i had to have a series of dental appts (don't put off going to the dentist for 8 yrs ) after dd turned 1.

anyway, i hope some of that might be of some meager help. see you 'round the neighborhood! and hope that you can find something that works for you.

(edited to fix typos)

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#16 of 30 Old 10-27-2003, 11:41 AM
 
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I just wanted to add that a baby who is overtired does not *act* tired. In fact, an overtired baby acts WIRED. I find it hard to believe that *any* 12-month-old could get by with no naps at all (and I'm sure that must be hard on you too!). Sleep begets sleep. The days when my babies nap well, they are much easier to put to bed at night. When they sleep well at night, they go down for their naps easier during the day.

I highly recommend the book "The 7 O'Clock Bedtime" by Inda Schaenen. It's not so much a book of procedures (it won't tell you how to make your baby fall asleep), but a parenting philosophy in regards to sleep. This book really changed the way I was thinking about sleep (I was just going with the flow, putting my babies to bed after they had fallen asleep nursing). I began to think of sleep as the priority.

Previously, my babies were sleeping about 10 hours at night, and taking one to three 30-45 minute naps during the day. They are now sleeping 12 hours at night, and taking two one-two hour naps during the day. We are all so much happier during our awake time.

I don't agree with all of Inda Schaenen's ideas (at one point she refers to the family bed as creating bad sleeping habits--we LOVE our family bed), but overall I am just so glad to have found her book.

Good luck!

Lex

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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#17 of 30 Old 10-27-2003, 12:56 PM
 
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Hi again. I didn't catch that the problem was getting her to go to sleep in the first place. We had tons of trouble with that too (even after nightweaning and after her nightwaking reduced), and it never seemed to be about nursing. I could nurse her until the cows came home and it didn't help her relax to sleep at bedtime (though it did in the middle of the night). My dd wasn't, until recently, a good napper and it always seemed like on the few days she napped well, she slept better at night. She always seemed like she was overtired and couldn't relax enough by bedtime to go to sleep. We'd sit with her for hours, sometimes. We (thought) we did everything to help her relax, including a nightly massage.

What we (finally) learned about our dd (after much trial and error) was that she really needed a good, solid nap during the day (getting there was tough), eating things with the food dye Yellow #5 made her very cranky and prevented her from falling asleep and sleeping well, and she needs to talk about her day before she can relax enough to go to sleep. The more exciting her day is, whether it was a good exciting or a bad exciting, the more help she needs to let it go and unwind. And sometimes, if she naps too late (wakes after 3 pm) or for too long (more than 2 hours), she just isn't tired until 10 pm.

I know it's hard to have a conversation like "what was the good part of your day? what was the bad part of your day?" with a 12 month old, but maybe you could find some way of helping her release all her tension in another way? It's so exciting and scary to be at an age where you're learning to walk and becoming independent. It might be hard for her to relax and separate from you at night.

Do take a serious look at her diet, like another poster suggested. Food allergies/sensitivities can be hard to find but do affect a lot of children. Dyes and other additives can be the culprit, or it can be a food like dairy or soy.

As for gettiing her to sleep by herself for any length of time, well we're still working on that. We have reached the luxurious point of being able to leave dd (4 years old!) to fall asleep on her own and stay asleep by herself for *2 whole hours*. We get time to ourselves from about 8:30/8:45 -10:30 most nights. This just started about 3 months ago. It's tough, and my heart goes out to you. But we found that trying to get her to sleep by herself (in her own room or ours) because that's what *we* were ready (desperate) for set us up for more battles. I still resent sometimes that when I really want to go relax I have to stay with dd for sometimes 45 minutes to help her vent about her day, then go back upstairs to "check on her" (give her another hug and kiss), and talk to her on the intercom twice for reassurance. I just want her to go to sleep, but she just can't do that. Her brother does, but she isn't like that. She truly needs us to be there, checking in on her. Even at 4 years old. We don't tell a lot of people that because they think she's manipulating and controlling us-we shouldn't have to go back upstairs and she should be sleeping in her own bed. But we know our dd, and we know this is what she *needs*. And fighting her needs just makes all of us miserable.

It's a long road, but it will get better. The key is to do your best to figure out what she needs, do your best to meet those needs, and do your best to take care of yourself. Switching off who does the bedtime routine so the same person isn't with her for two hours every night, take turns within the same night, keep a book light handy and read while you lay down with her (I've done it. At least then I felt like I was meeting *both* our needs). I'll even watch t.v. while I lay down with dd upstairs from time to time, or have her lay down on the couch with us downstairs so we can continue to do our own thing. It's not ideal, but it's better than sitting up in a dark room with her being resentful because I can't get something done/talk to dh/watch a movie with dh/read a book. Get out on your own once in awhile, even if you don't get to rest it will leave you refreshed. Take care

Michelle
(who, despite all the sleep problems, is actually having a third baby soon! It does get better.)
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#18 of 30 Old 10-27-2003, 06:00 PM
 
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I am working on nightweaning my 21 month old. It actually has not been too traumatic, but I am sure it would of been unbearable at 11 months (he ate very few solids, only could nurse at lunch on the days I WOH, refused a bottle). Your situation is stressful enough without comparing her to all the "good sleepers". That said I think it is generally unrealistic to nightwean any baby under a year unless your willing to CIO. All the stresses of life collect til nighttime and your little girl probabily needs the comfort that she gets from night nursing.
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Today, I couldn't get Luke to take a nap. He was soooo tired. Over-tired. He was crying and crying. I lay down with him, and nursed him, and he fell asleep, but whenever I tried to get up, he would wake up and start crying. It took me two hours to get him to sleep! I couldn't believe it. He had been so tired, why wouldn't he fall asleep? Usually it only takes 5 minutes to put him down for a nap, or to put him to bed at night. But he had been showing signs of tiredness for about an hour before I actually put him down (we were running errands). I had missed the window.

So, I know I already responded, but I wanted to reiterate my point about over-tired children having a hard time falling asleep. I was lying there with him, and thinking about your situation.

HTH!

Lex

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#20 of 30 Old 10-28-2003, 12:17 PM
 
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Originally posted by JessicaSpalding
HannahSims, I took a ton of comfort in reading your reply. I might need to wean her, I am kind of ready to. On the other hand, she might not change, like your dd, and that I hadn't thought of. Very insightful of you. Did you end up weaning quickly? How did it go? I would love to hear.

Her father and I switch back and forth and take turns, but a few nights it has taken At this point, it may not be the best time for her, but I have really been losing my patience and getting more resenful every night. I hung on a long time, but I am burned out right now.

I wasn't really clear in my post about what's going on. She is nightwaking, but the real problem is GETTING her to sleep. That and getting her to sleep by herself for any length of time. It is getting better, though. Sometimes it's hard to see the pattern improving, but it is.

Thanks to all of you! I really feel supported and listened to and you have given me more strength to keep going!
I don’t have any good suggestions about helping your child fall asleep if she is used to nursing to sleep. I remember that with my daughter nothing would replace nursing, especially after 6 months. She would fall asleep bouncing or in the car but after 6 months old she wouldn’t even fall asleep in the car without my boob in her mouth (I wasn’t driving!)
I could offer you all the advice I had given to me but it didn’t work so I’m assuming you’ve had lots of advice also but aren’t having success with the nursing down.

As far as sleeping at length goes, I can stretch that out by doing one of two things but I have to refocus every month or we loose it:

#1 – I move away from my daughter in the night so we have no physical contact in the bed. Starting from scratch, it would only last 15 minutes before I would have to move back next to her but after a while I could get her to be okay without touching me for several hours.
#2 – Leave the bed completely in the evening. Practice with a movie with your partner or something that you won’t hate to have to get up for. Maybe just read in the room but on your desk or whatever gets you out of bed. Edited to clarify that when I said out of the bed, that's all I mean...in the same room is fine. For us we do a movie in the next room.
Oh…I just remembered that my daughter sleeps well when I’m out of the bed if she can hear me chatting on the phone from the next room. We live away from family so that can be about 3 nights a week if I’m lucky.

About the night weaning, I did eventually “cold-turkey” wean my daughter (the horror!) at 18 months. It was short and miserable. We had three days of hell which consisted of extreme physical pain (me), and my daughter being beside herself. I would not recommend it unless you really think, like I did, that your alternative is a LONG and miserable weaning process.

In retrospect, I think waiting longer could have been a better choice but I’ll never know. For all I know waiting longer would have resulted in a worse experience for us AND resentful breastfeeding in the meantime.

It’s so very important to remind yourself that your child is not like anyone else’s. My child also does well with some sleep during the day but I have been advised by other parents that restricting daytime sleep helps their child sleep through the night.

Another mother made some great points in favor of continuing to breastfeed. I especially think the advice remembering your nursing hormones as one advantage of continuing. If you decide to night wean or wean, remember that you’re replacing one way of feeding and soothing with another, which is often more challenging. I very often missed the advantages of breastfeeding.

I hope I am coming across as neutral on this issue because I am but I will mention one great advantage to weaning, if you’re still thinking about it. For us, the father and my daughter rapidly became partners after I was not breastfeeding. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have a more equal parenting relationship.

Okay, I’ve said very much. How are things going?

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#21 of 30 Old 10-28-2003, 12:41 PM
 
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Originally posted by JessicaSpalding
She is waking up in bed, sitting up and crying and screaming while I am RIGHT THERE IN BED WITH HER.
I just read your OP again. I had an epiphany! My daughter went through a strange stage around a year where she NEEDED to cry before she would fall asleep. It was so long ago that I had forgotten about it. I can’t believe it. I promised myself that I would never forget because it was so hard for us to figure out.

We are so programmed, as mothers, to stop our babies from crying that I think it is really easy for things like this to go over us. Perhaps your daughter needs to cry.

For about 1.5 months my daughter would pull off the boob and turn away from me and just belt out a big cry before sighing and falling to sleep.
After I figured it out we had a great few months until she had a different need that I needed to get hip to.

We’re in the nightmare stage right now. Let me tell you that it’s different, but not much easier at 2 years.

Luckily, there is an ebb and flow to the challenges and you will soon find yourself on an easy stretch. It’s so easy to get caught up in thinking that we are doing something wrong or that we could do something to help when I think often the challenges are just there to wade though and wait out. It will be over soon even if you choose to do nothing more than wait.

My father, who’s youngest iof 5 is 11years old, tells me that parenting never gets easier…the challenges just change around. BUT you will be sleeping through the night when she’s 11 !!!

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#22 of 30 Old 10-28-2003, 03:03 PM
 
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My daughter went through a strange stage around a year where she NEEDED to cry before she would fall asleep.
HannahSims, that is such a good point. I have always fallen into the trap of thinking that I MUST stop my children's crying, that if they're crying I am doing something wrong (maybe I wasn't allowed to cry as a child?). What I have learned and have to always remind myself of, is that sometimes kids need a good cry. Especially at the end of the day. It helps relieve their tension. When they're very small, and often even when they're older, they can't just sit there and tell us with words how they're feeling or what's all bottled up inside them. So they cry. They need to vent too, like we do when we come home from a bad day at work, or have a horrible dream, or have a conflict with someone in our lives. The times I remember to just let my kids cry, to get their feelings out, while being supportive (instead of trying to fix it) we all feel much better.

Michelle
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#23 of 30 Old 10-28-2003, 03:54 PM
 
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Not any real advice here--just extreme sympathy. Nothing feels right when you don't get your sleep & it makes the whole day miserable (if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy).

My 2 have been fairly good sleepers, with pockets of resistance here and there (this week for example!).

I did read the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child"--(I forget the author's name--starts with a W??). I didn't like all of it & ignored bits of it completely, but did like the main gist of it--that putting our kids to be EARLIER--before they get wound up & overtired will = better sleep. Sounds similar to other books mentioned here. Mine both go to bed at 7:30.

Well, I am sure you have plenty of other things to read & try, but basically I just wanted to offer my support. Good luck!
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#24 of 30 Old 10-31-2003, 01:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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oh my gosh. What fabulous, wonderful, insightful comments!Thank you all so much.

HannahSims, that is really great information about the crying. And I recognize that exact "venting" with dd. In fact, DH is better about having a complete "conversation" with her in this regard: she cries, "wah wah wah" and dh replies, "yeah, wah wah wah, you played with Madeline today". She isn't really crying, she is doing the baby version of "blah blah". And he validates what she is saying with the tone of his voice. It's really sweet and they are totally communicating. He says that she pats him on the arm while they are doing this. Which brings me to mumsymimi's comments about telling us about her day. Wow, what insight!

Let's see, Beanma, I have tried to let dd stay up late. And she is a night owl, it's something she inherited from me. The problem is, I have a sleep problem. I will go to bed one hour later every night, and wake up an hour later, so I have to discipline myself to get up at the same time every day. It's just too depressing otherwise, and we were missing storytimes and playgroups and other fun stuff. And I can't do the open ended day. I need an ending. I did that for almost the whole year, and it's getting me down, with the lack of a "nap break". What you described with your dd is exactly our scene with the nap - intense "sneak away" radar.

I haven't really nightweaned. I still think it's too early, and I just hate to take something away that she so obviously loves and needs. That just seems so unfair.

So here is where we are. We didn't really plan on doing this, but this was the one thing we hadn't tried: sleeping in the "dreaded crib". She had begun to take these really long 3 hour naps. I don't think she EVER took a 3 hour nap after 3 months old. Meanwhile, I was nursing her to sleep sometimes, but when that wasn't working I would call Daddy in to rock her to sleep. It seemed that she would fall asleep easier, faster and deeper in his lap. We went through a month of this, letting her sleep on Daddy for a couple of hours. Then we started putting her down, first on the bed, then we tried the crib. The first night we got her to sleep in the crib (no CIO) she slept SOOO soundly and so well that I layed in bed and wept and sobbed because I missed her so very much. I love sleeping with her. But she slept for 5 hours for 3 nights in a row, and those days she took 1 1/2 to 2 or 3 hour naps. I just couldn't believe it. My conclusion is that she wasn't sleeping well in bed with us AT ALL. I wasn't sleeping well, either. I actually think that she was sleeping so poorly (co-sleeping) that she has been overtired, heck, maybe for months. Certainly since 7 months. It was the last thing I wanted to try, but man, it is working. And she seems to love her "little bed". Her Daddy is able to pat her back to sleep, and on a couple of occaisions, she has done her monotone "sleep moan" and put herself back to sleep!

Now, I don't know how long this will last. And while I haven't decided to nightwean, I kind of have. But she has been making up for it by needing to BF a whole lot during the day and needing to snuggle. I don't mind at all, because I need that closeness, too, now that I can't snuggle her at night

Another conclusion is that although she needed better quality sleep, she also needs her loves and cuddles. I'd bet this is true of all babies. On a side note (I know, I am rambling now) my SIL said that her 12mo ds was crying to come back into their bed (she didn't want to co-sleep) and she said, "I checked him, and he wasn't sick, he didn't need a new diaper, he was fine. He was just manipulating us because he wanted to be cuddled". She was saying that her baby's emotional needs just didn't count. How terribly sad it was to hear that.

We will see how this goes for a while, IF it goes for a while. I sure do miss her. It's so weird having breaks.

Again, thank you all for your considerable time in responding to my woes. You are all awesome Mommies!!
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#25 of 30 Old 10-31-2003, 02:20 AM
 
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jessica,

i meant to say, having the REALLY big bed helped us a lot, can't remember if i mentioned that or not and i'm too lazy and it's too near bedtime (past midnight) for all of us for me to look.

we have a queen mattress and a twin mattress on the floor squooshed together. the twin is on a little frame of 2x4s i pounded together so it's the same height as the queen. we put a blanket over the crack so it's virtually seamless. we all sleep much better in this big bed than we did when we just had the queen. if we go out of town or have to sleep in just a queen for some reason, i can't sleep very well at all and dd tends to want to nurse all night because i'm so close. in the REALLY big bed, though, we all have our space and it works out much better.

you could try sidecarring your crib and see if that works and you get some sleep, but still get some closeness in, too.

sounds like things are working out better for you. hope it holds!!

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#26 of 30 Old 10-31-2003, 05:34 AM
 
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Hey, beanmama...

We have the same exact bed. We got Aya a twin about a year ago but just decided to move it on the floor with ours becasue we weren't using it otherwise. It's great.

JessicaSpalding...great news about the crib! Now that my daughter is 2, I have lots of days where I'm away for a while and I begin to miss her (something that didn't really get to happen at 1 year). I LOVE to miss my daughter! It fills me with love and energy to be with her fully.
I'm glad you found a solution.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#27 of 30 Old 10-31-2003, 06:10 AM
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hi, it's nice of mona to send you those threads. wish i knew how to do that.

calcium can be helpful or not, MAGNESIUM has a different purpose.

start by taking 250 mg magnesium oxide at bedtime with full water and another 250 in the middle of the night when you get up to pee.

if you can nap with baby, take a 1/2 tablet with water then, too.

even if nothing were to change with baby (but it will, of course), you will feel more rested and like you're getting more sleep.

a few of the problems addressed by magnesium:

sleeplessness, skeletal-muscular tension and pain, anxiety, depression, headache/migraine, constipation, asthma

and what i call the "nursing jitters".

you have to experiment with dose. if it sends you to the toilet, take less at a time or take a better absorbed form of magnesium, like magnesium glycinate. i would recommend starting with that, except that it's $20 for 100 tablets instead of $2.49 for 100 tablets.

if you google magnesium and depression, you'll find a guy who knows a ton about magnesium who has at least 2 sites.

let me know if this seems to help at all.

rrr
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#28 of 30 Old 10-31-2003, 06:28 AM
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ideas for reducing night nursing:

1.NURSE FIRST, FOOD SECOND. or, offer food when the child is full of breastmilk. an imbalance of food to breastmilk leads the child to replace that milk at night. it takes a lot of liquid to process food, and there is no food as complex and easy to digest as breastmilk. of course, she's ready for food, just nurse first. babies will make up at night what they need.

2. PRIORITIZE AWAKE TIME NURSING SESSIONS. how can you make them more productive? are you stalling nursing if you're busy? are you offering food snacks until you can take a break to nurse? more breastmilk in the day, means less at night.

3. BREASTMILK AND WATER, NO JUICE or other beverages. she just can't get what she needs from these foods, and they can be very, very sweet. so she feels full and doesn't nurse well.

4. EVENING AND BEDTIME NURSING ARE BETTER THAN MIDNIGHT. make the most of all the nursing sessions that you are already awake for.

5. HAVE A NURSING DAY. a busy day filled with errands leads to a sleepless night, when it's unavoidable, follow up with a nursing day, where you get back on track.

when applied consistently, these actions can make a big difference.

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#29 of 30 Old 11-01-2003, 01:26 AM
 
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have you tried wearing your toddler to sleep? like you could nurse your toddler and then but her some type of body to body carrier like the baby trekker.
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#30 of 30 Old 11-10-2003, 01:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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natashacat, I used to use the sling constantly when she was little, but now that she is 25lbs it's difficult to use the sling. I have two backpacks, but I would wake her up getting her out of them. I wish, wish I could still do this - she loved it and always slept.

However, I do use the sling to get her calm before bed if she seems overly excited, and that works well.

Jessica
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