Anyone doing nighttime parenting alone??? How do you cope? I need my kid to sleep! (long) - Mothering Forums
Co-sleeping and the Family Bed > Anyone doing nighttime parenting alone??? How do you cope? I need my kid to sleep! (long)
LoveOurBabies's Avatar LoveOurBabies 10:27 AM 10-22-2012

I'm partnered but my partner is tired. Yeah, I know.. Aren't we all? I'm the resident breastfeeder/rocker/putter to sleep-er/everything when it comes to babies. My 7mo DS is becoming a real pain the rear end - and that's putting it lightly. I have three older children WHO. REALLY. NEED. MY. ATTENTION. RIGHT. NOW. and not for me to constantly shush them because their light sleeper brother is asleep in my arms and regurgitate ad nauseam 'I can't go and see what you're doing right now/sit with you right now/talk to you right now'. It's pathetic. Three children are being neglected emotionally day and night because one child refuses to sleep. And to top it off, I'm getting reaaaaaallly touchy these days and just want five minutes to myself. I don't want to nurse the baby for the 5th time in an hour!!! He doesn't even nurse properly.. just sits there clamping down on my breast from the side of his mouth like it's a freaking toy.




It's 3am and I'm not asleep. Why? Because DS just went to sleep now - And I had to force him. I refused to take anymore sh*t and just cuddled/rocked him without nursing. He kicked up a stink and I'm sad to say that there wasn't an ounce of guilt in my mind. I really can't take the popping on and off the breast every goddamn minute (literally) anymore for 2 hours at a time. That's it. My boobs officially hurt. My brain hurts. I just want to sit alone.. Hey, sitting with my other kids would be great too. rolleyes.gif


Tonight the second DS left my lap, my 3yo DD climbed into my lap asking for hugs. She had been trying to go to sleep for over an hour (to a movie) with no luck. Within a few minutes she clonked out in my arms with a smile on her face. Then the guilt struck. She has been having sleeping and behaivoural problems for a few months now and even regressed with pooing on herself.. Why? Because mommy no longer has time for her. She will do anything to get Mommy to give her some attention these days. Mommy is always either feeding baby or putting baby to sleep or holding baby while he sleeps.. Mommy often tells her to be quiet and go play with her siblings so said baby can STAY asleep.

I held my little girl tonight even long after she went to sleep. I held her and cried and apologized for my 'absence' mentally and physically. This is not right.


I'm over it. I'm over the BS that has come with nighttime parenting alone. I envy those parents who whine that their child wakes up once or twice a night and needs a feed (AND they have the priviledge of the parents alternating with night wakings). I want to slap them stupid when they tell me they're so tired and they 'had' to resort to CIO. No, you don't know what sleep dep is until you've met my kid and gone at it alone. Sh*t up idiots. I would pay for my DS to wake up once or twice only in an 8 hour stretch!!


I'm over how tired I am, how irritable I've become and how neglecting I've been of my three other children. Something needs to change.. Unfortunately, it can't be my partner.. He's got enough as it is and I'm at this alone... So... Anyone else in this boat? As in, do you have a completely non sleeping baby (day or night) and other children to look after? If so, how do you cope?


To put it plainly, I don't have a baby sitter nor can I hire one right now. I don't have family/friends who can take the kids and my dh comes home from work, cooks, works on the stupid house (we're renovating) and is exhausted come 12am. He can't stay up with a baby who thinks it's fun to play until 5am.


Suggestions? I'm sooooo ready to just carry on with rocking DS to music with no nursing (because it results in a baby that ACTUALLY sleeps for a whole hour), whereas if I nurse him to sleep, he seems to wake up after a very short period (15-20 minutes) over and over and over again. This is after I've spent hours putting him to bed. The only problem with no nursing while rocking is that he doesn't think it's such grand idea and cries in my arms for about 10 minutes. Anyone have a better solution? I don't have time to read books, so please just give me your ideas instead.


Also - We co-sleep. I'm cool to continue with that, so if you have any good co-sleeping techniques that help in allowing babies to sleep for longer, that would be great. I really don't want to put baby in his own crib (I know a lot of sleep techniques rely on this).


If you've made it this far, thanks a thousand times over. And apologies for the rant. If I don't say it here tonight, I may yell it out tomorrow morning at unsuspecting minors. That would be totally uncool.

skycheattraffic's Avatar skycheattraffic 11:29 AM 10-22-2012
First off, BIG hugs to you, mama! Sleep deprivation is absolute torture!
I don't have older kids yet, 18 month old DD is my first. My DH is epileptic though so zero help at night. We found out the day we took DD home from the hospital. I was pumping at the time, before DD learned to latch, so DH did a shift until 2 am while I slept. We switched and at 3 am he had a seizure. 911, hospital chaos plus newborn. Not fun. Anyways...
I know you want to cosleep but some babies do better in their own space. Would you be willing to try? Even if you could borrow a crib mattress for a couple of nights, put it on the floor and lay him down on his own after he falls asleep, you could see if he does better or if being in bed with you is better for his sleep.
I don't know your feelings about it but would you be open to trying a pacifier? Even if you can just sneak it in after he passes out, it could help with the popping on and off. If he gets enough milk otherwise, rocking to sleep with music plus the paci might be a workable routine for you.
My DD sleeps in a crib in her own room and I come and nurse her down again in a recliner when she wakes, then place her in the crib. She sleeps in a sleep sack and that really makes it easier to put her down once she is sleeping. It also keeps her covered much better than a blanket and she has cut down on waking at night. In the summer she was up 3 (rare) to 6 times a night and now in the sleepsack it's usually twice.
She was a bit sensitive to sugar in my diet at that age (she would be a bit harder to settle) but caffeine REALLY made her sleep horrible. Are you drinking coffee by any chance? It might be a contributing factor.
My other thought is what kind of diapers are you using? Disposables were fine for her sleep, as were stay dry pockets. Prefolds and fitteds felt more wet and would bother her.
I hope something in here is helpful to you. You sound soooo burned out. I can sooooo relate. I'll try to think of some other ideas. Hang in there. Maybe he is teething or about to reach a milestone and might improve on his own. Hugs to you, tired mama!
greenemami's Avatar greenemami 12:06 AM 10-23-2012

Oh boy-this brings back memories.  Lots of no sleep blurred, fuzzy memories.  I remember getting so MAD in the middle of the night because a kid wouldn't sleep and then feeling guilty about it the next day.  With ds, I was so desperate for sleep that anytime he laid down during the day, I would immediately stick dd in front of the tv just so I could doze and I felt guilty about that too.  Dp never got up with the kids at night-he was either gone at work or would just sleep through it (how, I still don't know!)


I agree with experimenting to see if your babe sleeps better apart from you, at least for part of the night.  I was dead set against this, but ds actually did (and does) sleep longer if he is in his own bed.  That is not to say he doesn't come frequently to my bed (is there right now), but it is worth a shot. 


I don't think it is terrible for you to stop nursing at some point during the night-that popping on and off is crazy-making.  If he is not actually nursing, take him off the breast and rock him.  I don't think that fussing in arms is the same as CIO.  If it helps him sleep better/longer, than this is what he needs.  Obviously, if he is actually hungry and nursing, let him nurse and hopefully a full belly will help him sleep.  Have you tried nursing on the same side for several hours (google block feeding).  This helped SO MUCH in terms of ds popping on and off and being fussy at the breast-although that might have been when he was littler than 7 months.  Something about him not getting enough hindmilk and therefore being really helped though.  Essentially you nurse on the same side for 4 or 8 hours or whatever and then switch so that he is really getting all that hindmilk and is satisfied. 


As for your other they cosleep as well? Would you try that for some extra cuddle time while sleeping? Can you sit with the baby sleeping on you and just make physical contact with the other kids even if they are doing something else (coloring, playing quietly)? Can you try and make one nap a day a nap in the sling or stroller so you can take a walk with other kids or something? I'm sorry this is making you sad-try to remember it is not forever and they will not be forever emotionally scarred! You are probably doing more with them than you think :)


good luck.

LoveOurBabies's Avatar LoveOurBabies 07:49 AM 10-23-2012

Thank you so much for the support skycheattraffic and greenemami. The personal stories and support bought tears to my eyes and gave me strength. luxlove.gif grouphug.gif


I'm so sorry to hear of your husband's epilepsy SCT. hug2.gif


Just to answer quickly:

-Don't drink coffee, do have some dark chocolate though.. I'll cut that out.

-Not opposed to paci's at all :) He wouldn't take one though

-I use disposables

-I've noticed DS does like to be in his own space.. There may indeed be something to that! Not ready to give up on co-sleeping but will ensure he has plenty of space to move about at night (all my kids are wrigglers)

-Can't fit all four in the bed, but I'm now alternating sleeping buddies every night so everyone gets their own night/chance with mama.. so me, baby and one other child. DH sleeps on the couch.


OK, I took some of the advice on board and I have a happy update - DS went to sleep with no boobie twice today. Just now, I rocked him to music with no tears. thumb.gif I ensured his belly was super full and danced around and sung and he was lulled to sleep. Now, if I keep this up, I think he will slowly lose the association with boobie and sleep. Gosh I hope he does. Fingers crossed! I will update tomorrow night with how the sleep situation is going. Hopefully this thread helps other mamas out there too. Thank you again, I feel a lot more human today xxx

stephbrownthinks's Avatar stephbrownthinks 10:36 AM 10-23-2012

Glad its getting better! DS2 (who is now 10 months) was also a non sleeper. DS1 was 18 months old when he was born and my husband was working out of town 5 days a week so I was handling it alone. I know you said your husband can't do the nighttime parenting because he's working and renovating, but maybe just for ONE night he could take the baby while you get a 4 or 5 hour stretch of sleep? Will he take a bottle at all? You'd be amazed what a little sleep will do for your mental state. Otherwise I don't have much advice. The book The No Cry Sleep Solution was a lot of helpful ideas. Both DS1 and DS2 started sleeping WAY better once they were in their own beds. I think because they were such light sleepers it just worked better for them to have their own quiet space. Also white noise machines. There was never anything that really helped DS2... I kind of just powered through and around 9.5 months he started sleeping better.

skycheattraffic's Avatar skycheattraffic 10:54 AM 10-23-2012
I'm glad to hear you had a better day, LOB. It's so great to hear he was able to drift off without nursing - we are not there yet!
DH's epilepsy is well under control with medication and he has his driver's license back now, which makes a big difference to the family logistics. He just HAS to get his sleep, so nursing or not, I'm the nighttime parent. It's also kept us from cosleeping but on tough nights I just stay with DD.
With pacis, we had good luck with gumdrops (I think first years makes them now) and they actually are shaped much like a nipple. He may accept one when he's mostly asleep but if the rocking works, I wouldn't mess with it.
I gotta run; DD is up from her nap. Wishing you many blissful hours of sleep tonight!