We have been bed sharing since baby was 4 months. She has never slept through the night or even close, but waking every hour since she hit 9 months (earlier this month) is a little much. She has been napping longer during the day - 2 to 3 naps a day (total about 4 hrs). She takes her first nap soon after waking. She seems tired in the morning and there is no way she is getting quality sleep at night. At 9 months, is it normal for her to nurse every 2 hours during the day, on top of 3 decent meals? and nurse every hour at night? We usually nurse first and then she eats her solids. I am a WAHM, so while I am able to feed on demand. I don't want to limit or alter how frequently she eats if she needs to eat - she in the 13th % for weight and 81% for height. She is not skinny by any means, she looks healthy and is a very sturdy baby. I don't understand why all of a sudden she wakes every hour. I'm thinking she may need her own sleep space? I really don't know. We enjoy having her with us, but at this point, we want to do what is best for her. I don't think it will be an easy transition to get her in the crib. I just want to do what is healthiest for her. I don't know what that is. Does anyone have any suggestions? Right now, I go to sleep with her - usually around 9 ish...and we get up around 8ish. Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!
I had the exact same problem, sometimes they just get into the habit of nursing all the time at night. I was going crazy for a while but I tried a few different things, and now it is much better. First, I would start with having your baby sleep next to your partner, not next to you, then when your baby wakes up you can feed her and give her back to your partner to put to sleep again. I have heard that this works for most people, it didn't work for us because DD just climbed over my partner to get to me ever hour, but it's worth a try first. If that doesn't work you can do what I did and go sleep in another room. The first few nights are hard, but it really worked. With me in the other room DD woke up much less, and when she did my partner would offer her a sip of water and then snuggle her back to sleep. If it seemed like she was really needing to nurse then I would go in and feed her, then leave again. It took about a month to get it to where she was only waking up once at about 5am. It sounds like a long time but it was pretty easy, I got way more sleep throughout the process than I had been getting. Once she was used to not waking up very often then I could go back to sleeping in bed with them, but with DD next to my partner.
Now we are transitioning her to the crib for the first half of the night so we can have some alone time. ;-) I wouldn't recommend trying to switch to the crib without getting her used to nursing less first, I think that would be to big of a transition to fast.
My son did the same thing around that age and has just started to sleep better at a year. Don't get me wrong, he's not sleeping through the night by any means, he still nurses probably every 2-3 hours during the night but at least now it's not every hour. I think it could have a lot to do with a growth spurt, developmental milestone, teething, or something similar. It was a rough couple of months for us when he was waking all.night.long but I knew it had to get better eventually and it has. For me, the benefits of bed-sharing and baby having access to the breast and being able to nurse as often as wanted/needed outweighed any benefits of moving him to a crib. It's really up to you to decide whether you are comfortable with sticking with it and want to continue bed-sharing or not. You should also consider that transitioning to a crib in itself could be very stressful and traumatic and result in less sleep for the both of you, as well as the fact that your daughter might truly need to nurse as often as she is during the night right now (she could be having a growth spurt and need all the extra milk she can get), and your supply might plummet and you could have issues with premature weaning if you move her to a crib and aren't nursing as often at night. Night nursing is a huge factor in maintaining a good milk supply and your body may need the frequent night nursing to keep up with her needs.
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Rstelle & Myname- good ideas and points! I think we will try having her sleep next to her dad to see if she nurses a little less. A month doesn't seem too bad if it helps. It crossed my mind if it could be teething - she still doesn't have any teeth, I do agree transitioning her to her crib at this point might be traumatic for her (and for me!). Myname - also a good point about the possibility of me needing her to nurse more frequently to keep up with her needs. I wonder. I mentioned at her 9 month appt. that she started nursing very frequently at night and her pediatrician asked me if maybe the baby was trying to get me to increase my supply. She usually nurses from one side only, so I did not think so, but something to keep in mind. Thanks for the responses. I am looking forward to trying this out! The longest she has ever slept is 7 hours straight, and that was a one shot deal. I am not expecting miracles, but would be nice if she nursed even every 3 hours
Rstelle - just curious how old your DD is now?
9-12 months is the peak of night-waking, so it may be that nothing is "wrong" it is just a phase in terms of development: teething, quelling separation anxiety a busy mind getting ready for more milestones, etc. Now, "normal" that doesn't make it any less exhausting! I would just pop DS on the boob and go back to sleep because DS was still pleasant during the day and DH and I were not suffering because of it. That said, once DS hit a year and naturally made the transition to food over BM as his primary nutrition, I started telling him that milkies were asleep if he wanted to nurse more than every 3-4 hours. At that time we also started having him cuddle with daddy more. We would cuddle and pat him back to sleep, but not nurse. It was a tearful few nights (and I would nurse if he got hysterical), but he quickly got it and started ever-so-gradually sleeping longer and longer (3-4 hours) and then he stopped nursing for most of the night (though he still does wake when he pees).
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It does make sense that with all the new developments at this stage babies wake more. Good point Pandd06. Oh and I will definitely be using that line - "Milkies are asleep!" haha
The past few nights have been better. I did a combination of things - I did end up taking myself out of bed to sleep in another room and I also read on Jay Gordon's website about how if you must nurse them back to sleep make sure you do it for no more than 1 minute. The combination of these two things is working for us. The 1st night was the worst (and it really wasn't that bad). She woke 1 hour exactly after I left. She cried for 10 minutes, I managed to get her back to sleep after 1 min. of nursing. After that she woke 2 hours later, then at the next wake up she went 3 hours. I was surprised at how quickly the time between wake-ups increased. She has also been a little more receptive towards my DH's attempts at comforting her...they haven't totally worked just yet, I've had to come in and nurse for a minute, but I feel his efforts will work one day very soon. I have a very low tolerance for her crying, so I am probably part of the problem. Anyways, my hope was to get her to nurse (feed) no more than every 3 hours. We are at every 3 hours right now. We will continue trying this method for a few weeks and see how it goes. Thanks everyone for your suggestions ladies.
I can totally relate to everything posted here with our 10 month old. She only naps on our shoulders, if we put her down she wakes up no matter how long we wait. Even at night she falls asleep on a shoulder and then transitions to the bed where she immediately requires a boob to stay asleep. Then she's up wanting milkies every hour or so all.night.long. Ugh.
Just wondering: where on his website did you see this? I'm thinking about starting to limit night nursing a bit like this a la the No Cry Sleep Solution with my 9-mo-old, and I'm a bit unsure about Pantley's 10-60 second guideline...so I'd like to see Dr. Gordon's guidelines for comparison/contrast. (Sorry I can't be of much help to you, though!)
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