WWYD DD needs more sleep! - Mothering Forums
Co-sleeping and the Family Bed > WWYD DD needs more sleep!
kdescalzi's Avatar kdescalzi 02:30 PM 01-27-2010
Ok, I really need your advice! DD is 8mo and sleeps with me for naps as well as co-sleeps. She seems to always be tired but up until today just thought that there was nothing I could do about it. She only will nap on my back in the ergo but because of the daily noise as well as her 3 yr brother, she often wakes after 30min. At night she uses me as a paci and needs to be on the breast ALL NIGHT LONG! I was and still am willing to do this but this morning I had a realization that she would sleep much more soundly if she was not always scrambling to find my nipple. She is constantly semi-awake rooting for my nipple. I know as soon as she gets into a light sleep phase she will partially wake and need to be latched back on. She cannot be getting good quality sleep like this. WWYD How do I approach getting her to sleep without my nipple in her mouth all night. I really need your advice on my first steps. My only thought is to try the pantley pull off at our first nursing to bed.... but I would love to hear what you wise mamas have done or would do in my situation. TIA

kdescalzi's Avatar kdescalzi 08:26 PM 01-27-2010
Please mamas...I need your advice!
Natsuki's Avatar Natsuki 08:40 PM 01-27-2010
I think you're right that she sounds overtired. An overtired baby is not a good thing, and it's good that you're looking for a solution.

Some ideas...

1. Can your partner help put her to sleep? My DH will sometimes lay down with DD for her nap or at night and she'll sleep soundly that way.

2. Can you help her fall asleep without nursing in the car or stroller (and then just stay in the car with her or next to the stroller while she naps)?

3. Do you have a white noise machine like the Sleep Sheep? That can help babies sleep longer.

4. Do you have another sleeping area (crib, pack n play) where you could put her to sleep and see if she'll have deeper sleep cycles that way?
Maluhia's Avatar Maluhia 09:31 PM 01-27-2010
I would caution that you are coming up on a big sleep regression time so be wary of any hopes for big improvements in the next month at least

That being said, can she sleep in the ergo on your back longer? I think you may be really successful with the No Cry Sleep Solution's Pantley Pull Off method, try that book!
kdescalzi's Avatar kdescalzi 12:09 AM 01-28-2010
Sometimes dh will put dd to sleep in his carrier at bedtime but once she wakes after that she NEEDS me and the boob. She will sometimes sleep longer if I lay down with her for naps but having a 3ty old limits the feasibility of that. She hates her car seat and only is happy in it if she is NOT tired...same goes for the stroller. We do use white noise..huge fan of white noise (no pun intended). As for her crib...she has never slept in her crib because she wakes everytime we try to set her down. If I am successful in getting her to sleep in our bed at night or nap time she wakes about 20min later looking for the boob. Once I go back in to nurse she wants to stay latched on all night or for the duration of her nap...which is the problem itself. How can I get her to sleep in another sleep space or even beside me if she only stays asleep on the breast?? I am so lost as to where I should even begin
Natsuki's Avatar Natsuki 12:03 PM 01-28-2010
I would recommend the No Cry Sleep Solution book.
lizzylou's Avatar lizzylou 10:51 PM 01-28-2010
I think you are on to the problem - she needs new sleep associations.

When I look back at my son's pictures when he was that age and up until just a few months ago, I often notice that he looks really tired. I still feel bad about it - I was trying to meet his needs in one way (nursing, co-sleeping, being very responsive) but it another way I was not meeting his needs (he clearly needed more sleep). I won't lie, it can really be tough to change associations. She won't be happy about it at first. It might take a few nights before she begins to accept it... and even then she might protest. But I have found that once my son had new associations (rocking, etc.) his sleep really did improve.
kdescalzi's Avatar kdescalzi 04:49 PM 01-29-2010
lizzylou....Is it possible to co-sleep and still nurse at night with new associations at initial bedtime?? What associations did/do you use in replace of nursing??
LadyCatherine185's Avatar LadyCatherine185 07:44 PM 01-29-2010
IMO, sleep "associations" are not true. Or, more along the lines of, if you stop helping her to sleep by nursing, you are going to have to replace it with something else. Like rocking, bouncing, etc. If she needs help getting to sleep, she is going to need help regardless of whether or not you nurse her to sleep. For us, nursing laying down is the easiest solution.

FWIW, 8 months was the hardest sleeping time for us. He was very restless all night, like you described your DD. He woke every 15-30 minutes all night. Around 9 months it got better, thankfully. We haven't gone back to that bad of waking, but we still have regressions and he still doesn't sleep well.

There are a few things that have helped Liam sleep better--

white noise
blackout curtains
bedtime routine
making sure he gets worn out during the day
making sure the temperature is comfortable for him

A baby waking that much and seeking comfort that much sounds like she could be in pain. Have you looked into reflux or allergies? My DS has allery/intolerance issues that we are still working through.. I'm hoping once we get them figured out he will sleep a little better.

Lastly, I recommend reading The No Cry Sleep Solution, and Sleepless in America for more ideas to help your baby sleep in a gentle way and still meeting her needs.
rzberrymom's Avatar rzberrymom 09:28 PM 01-29-2010
Originally Posted by LadyCatherine185 View Post
IMO, sleep "associations" are not true. Or, more along the lines of, if you stop helping her to sleep by nursing, you are going to have to replace it with something else. Like rocking, bouncing, etc. If she needs help getting to sleep, she is going to need help regardless of whether or not you nurse her to sleep.
I totally agree with this. When my DD stopped nursing to sleep (naturally, at about 16-17 months), it didn't make anything change like I believed it would (because of all the sleep books I had been reading)--she still needed me to get her to sleep, only then it became more tricky because nothing knocked her out as easily as the nursing had. At some point, she began demanding bananas in the night every time she woke, and I remember DH and I laughing that now she had to "banana to sleep" instead of nursing to sleep.
kdescalzi's Avatar kdescalzi 08:02 PM 01-30-2010
I still believe that she just wants to suck all night long but only will use my breast. She never cries or seems uncomfortable in any way she simply realizes the nipple is missing!! I still do not know what to do. I spoke with a sleep consultant (she happened to be at a friends house) and she said that she could help me get her to sleep without my breast but basically that would mean night-weaning and I am so not ready to night-wean. Why can't there be a happy medium?? I want to nurse to sleep and then roll over and lay on my belly for a few hours. I would not mind nursing back to sleep every 2-3 hours I just want those hours to myself!! Is this possible?? My only thought is the pantley pull off but that is the only solution that I can come up with.
Kuba'sMama's Avatar Kuba'sMama 09:40 PM 01-30-2010
My kids both did exactly what your dd does, but I remember my son more clearly. I'm not sure about the Pantley pull-off (I only skimmed through the book), but I did my own version of a pull off, lol.
Basically I would let them fall asleep nursing and when they were sleeping I would pull the nipple out. Then invariably they would wake, look for the nipple, I would nurse them for a shorter while then previously, then pull out again. And again, shorter again. And what they say is true, they got sick of my shenanigans, lol. Just gave up and went to sleep. Or I guess nursing for a couple of seconds at a time was just not worth the effort of waking up. It does work, the first couple of evenings might be a bit tricky, but not anymore than you are already doing.
good luck!
LadyCatherine185's Avatar LadyCatherine185 10:08 PM 01-30-2010
I wish I could just nurse every 2 or 3 hours and go back to sleep too.. unfortunately I haven't found the happy medium either.

I think you should definitely start with the pantley pull off.
jackiev0626's Avatar jackiev0626 10:46 PM 01-30-2010
I feel your pain! I'll just tell you of my experience and hope that you can get something out of it. When ds was around that age, I stopped nursing him to sleep because he would simply not go to sleep from just that. He would get his fill, then roll around, and play and it would end up being a 1-2hr. battle. So, instead of nursing him to sleep, I started bouncing him on the edge of the bed (with sound machine on "rain"). Some nights it would take like 30 min. or more, but I also realized I had to wait till he was in a deep sleep (limp limbs, no facial expressions) before I tried to lay him down or else he would start rooting around to nurse, and I'd end up laying there for another hr. or so. So, I just learned that it was easier for me to get him to sleep without the boob, and just go back to nurse when he woke which was at first about 1-2hr. after he went to bed.

Now my son is 18mo. and dh has taken over nighttime (started when ds was around 12 mo.), because it is much quicker for him to get him to sleep. Dh just lays ds on a pillow (vertical) on the bed, lays beside him, and gently bounces him till he goes to sleep while saying "shhh" and "go night-night" in a low voice, and we still use the sound machine. He's out every night in 10min. or less. I think a consistent sleep schedule is extremely important though. Ds goes to bed every night at 9pm, is up by 8:30am, and nap is 1pm-3pm.

I'll also tell you though that when ds was younger, he would use me as a paci throughout the night alot. I would wake up some mornings and my nipple would be so sore. I'd have to wait till he was really in a deep sleep before I detached. Like, the sucking was dwindling, and then I would detach and hold my boob to where i wasn't touching him at all, cuz if there was any skin contact he would root till he got my nipple again. So I pulled my self off completely, then layed there for a min. till I could sneak away. I think it's just something they do less and less as they get older. He does still do it sometimes but only when he is sick or doesn't feel good. Other than that, he goes 2-4hr. stretches before i need to come back in to nurse, and once I'm in the bed with him he just nurses till he's full, then rolls over. I use to think I would never get to that point, but like I said I think once they get older they don't need it for comfort as much.

Sorry if I'm rambling or it sounds confusing, but I hope I've helped even if it's just to let you know that you're not alone, and it will pass. She's not going to be nursing all night at your breast forever.
LadyCatherine185's Avatar LadyCatherine185 11:36 PM 01-30-2010
I also wanted to add that most nights (up until the last week or so..now he only wants Mommy to put him to bed again..) DH has been putting Liam to sleep as well. I nurse him, then he asks for "DaaaaddYYY ni-night" and DH holds him and bounces him on the bed until asleep. But in the middle of the night, DS will only accept Mommy. It hasn't helped him sleep any longer, but maybe for you it could at least give you a break until her first wake-up?
prancie's Avatar prancie 12:34 AM 01-31-2010
the pantley pull off worked for us, but it takes time. Give it a few nights or more.
alisoninparis's Avatar alisoninparis 08:11 AM 01-31-2010
We are going through exactly the same thing with 8 mo DS. He co-sleeps and instead of sleeping for longer stretches at night, has regressed to needing to be attached to my boob pretty much throughout the night. Neither of us is getting anywhere near enough sleep. DS takes mammoth naps pretty much all day to make up for it! He naps in his crib (next to our bed) no problem, but refuses to be in the crib at night. Last night we tried an experiment, having DS not between us or between me and the crib, but between him and the crib (i.e. NOT next to me). When DS wakes up next to me, he roots like a little madman and screams when no boob is forthcoming. Next to DH, he cries and whines a little and then falls back asleep! He did nurse once, around 2 a.m. and would probably have slept through if DH hadn't got out of bed at 6 a.m. to find out why DD had turned all the lights on in the apartment, which woke up DS who really insisted on getting boob. But he went back to sleep afterward and slept until almost 10 a.m.!!!!! So I have really high hopes that this new technique will help things get better and better.

Co-sleeping is wonderful but it doesn't work for everyone. DD co-slept very well (nursing frequently but detaching and going back to sleep between feeds) until around 9 months when she got way too restless in bed with us. DS basically has not been able to cope with having my boobs in his vicinity all night. He used to sleep for 2-3 hour stretches, but has regressed terribly over the past month. We have no choice but to "wean" him on DH's side and then transition him to his crib. I plan on BFing past one year, but co-sleeping just won't work out any longer.
kdescalzi's Avatar kdescalzi 12:25 AM 02-01-2010
Thanks mamas for all the replies. I feel better knowing dd is not abnormal. She is the way she is and I just need to figure out how to alter her sleep habits a bit. I have tried moving away from dd after nursing to see if she will sleep longer without my boob if she can't feel or smell me...no dice. Every single time she wakes she needs the breast...even if dh has initially got her to sleep which is the hard part. Everyone says that if she falls asleep without nursing she won't need it all night long but that is not true. To make matters worse she does not make up for it for naps...she usually does 3 30min naps a day. I guess the pantley pull off seems to be the best bet. Wish me luck. Any more advice/tips/commiseration will continue to be greatly appreciated.
chocolatefish's Avatar chocolatefish 12:51 PM 02-01-2010
Def the pantley pull off - it took a long time to work consistently for us but I was determined that DS would learn to sleep without a nipple in his mouth! It has worked, from 3 months on I could leave him to sleep at the start of the night and then have him feed and latch off during the night. There were however several times when he did want to stay latched on all the time - l suspect a few of them did come in the 9 to 12 month stage sorry!
MiaMama's Avatar MiaMama 07:01 PM 02-01-2010
As everyone around me was telling me to wake her early from naps to get her to sleep better at night, I was SHOCKED to discover that sleep begets sleep in babies (or at least my baby).

The #1 biggest thing that helped my DD get better quality sleep at night was to make sure she got time to nap during the day. I noticed what helped her nap, and made sure I did it 3 times a day. So, in your case, I would try to have quiet time in the Ergo during the day at the times your LO is most likely to nap.

IDK, no one else I've talked to has told me this before, it is just something I noticed with my babe. It's at least worth a try, right?