my 8 month old sleeps on me all night. I nurse her to sleep and I am leaning back on a backrest and with a pillow on either side of me for my arms, so I can sleep. I'm pretty sure I see every hour of the night on the clock (when she wakes up and needs a breast put back into her mouth), but I still manage to feel like I get an ok amount of sleep. my arms sometimes loose circulation (and sometimes my legs or hips). whenever I try to put her down, she cries (wakes up if she was sleeping) and a breast in her mouth is the only thing that'll make her stop crying (i wish cuddling, hugging, or patting her would help). sometimes she lets go of the breast and cries and i have to sit up to get her to latch, and when i lean back to sleep, she gets uncomfortable and unlatches again and cries. i get REALLY annoyed when this happens.
any advice? any idea when she might learn to sleep on her own so I can sleep comfortably? her 1st 3 months she would sleep 5 hours on her back, but those days are long gone. i started holding her all night a few months ago.
Can you nurse her in side-lying position? My son is almost one-year-old, and I still have to be right there to snuggle and nurse whenever he gets restless (even during naps) or he will not sleep. That said, I was able to abandon the more rigid, sitting up posture once he was a lil older/bigger (he's huge, so probably by around 6 months). I was less worried about squishing him, latch and reflux issues, etc. by that point.
I could lay down more normally, with him lying across my body (perpendicular to me) or sometimes once he falls asleep, he will roll off me so that he's more parallel (and I can sometimes just nurse him side-lying this way when he wakes later). This way you are at least a little more comfortable, in a more normal position...
Every night is different, but some combination of these two positions is what we go through, and I can usually get back to sleep while nursing him or immediately after. (Sometimes this means Daddy is pushed into the crack by the wall, and we look like a giant letter H, though. )
Good luck, mama!
~ Lucky wife of DH and loving mama to DS (04/11) ~
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No, unfortunately she doesn't stay latched for the side lying position, she just cries and it's very frustrating. I heard of one mom who said that one of her kids could nurse while she lay on her side and the other not, so that made me feel better, because other people have told me that I should practice this side lying nursing more--but I hate it, it's a guaranteed way to make my baby cry so I really don't see any benefit in practicing. My daughter is pretty small, too. I guess I will really loose circulation as she gains weight. I tried to make her sleep on her back again but it results in immediate crying and I pretty much lose it, so it's better if I don't even try.
I understand so well how you feel. I slept with my son on my chest for the first 5 months of his life. He is 2 1/2 now. Everything you described fit my own situation to a T, and it was just not sustainable for me. I embarked on a lengthly process with the goal of having him sleep beside me, and at times to be able to sleep without me by his side, particularly for naps. The way I did this was to basically move him off of me and then away from me bit by bit, body part by body part. I learned how to nurse him on my side and that became a lifesavour and still is to this day. I hated nursing lying down at first and it took me months to get the hang of it. I would recommend you persist a bit more to see if you can eventually find some comfort with doing it that way. He still sleeps with us and still wakes frequently throughout the night and I nurse him back to sleep, but we're miles ahead of where we were at 6 months.
I started by just having him snuggled in beside me, always touching me, but not on my chest. He resisted this at first and it took a number of nights until he was ok with sleeping right beside be. Then as he became comfortable with this I started to move my legs away from him, sleeping with just my upper body and arms touching him. Once this was accomplished I began to remove my outer arm from his body. Next I just rolled my body away from him a very small amount. The next step was removing my arm from being curled up around his head. And so it goes.....It worked for me and my son and we got to the point that I could nap/night time sleep beside him and nurse him back to sleep as needed. For naps each day I would try to be just a bit farther away from him on the bed, then eventually to on the floor, then at the door, then outside the room.....We got to the point where I could put him down and when he was fully asleep I could leave the room.
It was a long process but it was the only thing that I felt would work as I could only handle small progressions that didn't cause any crying. Now at 2 1/2 I still lay with my son until he is fully asleep but I can leave the room and we have a video monitor so if he wakes up I go in and comfort/nurse him back to sleep and then I go to bed when I'm ready. The video monitor was key to helping me get through it all. It gave me the peace of mind to leave him on our bed while sleeping and know that I could zip into the bedroom if he was moving toward the edge. It was easiest to keep him in our bed as that was the sleeping environment he was used to. I recommend a video monitor!
Good luck and I hope you are able to find something that will work for both of you!