I really need some help. I feel like I've done everything wrong.
I have been co-sleeping and breastfeeding on demand since my 8 month old daughter was born. She and I sleep in her room, on a mattress on the floor. My husband sleeps in a different room, partly because he sleepwalks which is unsafe, and partly because he needs rest for work.
Anyway our situation is unbearable and I feel like it is killing me. I know that sounds overdramatic but it's true. I can't remember the last time I actually fell asleep. I must doze off here and there or else I'd be dead by now, but I never actually sleep deeply enough to lose track of time passing, and it's driving me insane.
My daughter nurses all night. ALL NIGHT. I cannot leave her side, or pull the nipple away, or she starts fussing immediately. When I try to pat her back and sing to her to put her to sleep without the nipple, she escalates to hysterics. She has two teeth now, and I am afraid that the constant nursing will rot her teeth as they come in if this keeps up. Not to mention that my nipples are so sore - they were not meant to be used for hours at a time! She will not take a pacifier either, I feel bad to admit that I even tried it, but I did. No luck.
When she cries like that...I've tried other ways of getting her back to sleep but I am always so tired that I just let her nurse so that I can lie down.
Speaking of which, I don't know how some moms sleep while nursing. I find it so painful for my hips and back! And holding those positions for hours all night hurts so much. Actually my whole body hurts - I think it's just falling apart. Each morning I find it harder to move. All my muscles are sore as if I've run a marathon (and I know - I've done it a few times, in my previous life). I think that the daily wear and tear just never heals because my body never gets a break. I am disintegrating.
I have no idea where to start making a change or how; we have a crib we've never used but when she's fallen asleep for naps in her sling, I have tried to put her down in the crib to sleep and she is always awake within a couple of minutes.
All of this is making me angry and crazy, and I hate my husband for no reason other than that he gets to sleep by himself, which is obviously unfair of me. He would help if he could. He takes our daughter for walks on his days off, but I`ve never been able to nap so I just end up using the time to clean up the house. If you know how to fall asleep quickly, I`d try it.
I read Dr Sears` "nighttime Parenting" which seemed to be a long-winded defense of breastfeeding and cosleeping, as if they would solve all my problems. NO! I think those things are the causes of my problems! Which is insane because how can they be wrong? If breastfeeding and cosleeping feel so natural then how can they be wrong? It feels so terrible to let my daughter cry alone in her room. I can't believe that is the right answer.
I read "the no-cry sleep solution" as well but it all seems to hinge on recording everything during the night. I guess I haven't given that a fair shot yet but it seems like a lot of work.
I am afraid to do anything harsh because I don't want to hurt my daughter, but I feel this is ruining my life and my marriage. Each night I literally wonder if I am going to die from lack of sleep, like maybe my body will just run out or something, and I have begun to look forward to that rest. We don't want to have any more kids anymore because we do not want to deal with this again, but even with just one...it feels like it's never going to end. I don't know how anyone can manage this, or why I am doing so poorly. Why I can't do it. I don't know what to do differently or where to get the energy to begin.
I don't know where I went wrong but I know I trapped myself here...somehow I dug this grave.
Thank you for reading this. I think it will make me feel not so alone, just sharing it, but if you know where I can look for help that would be a bonus.
I'm sorry you're having such a terrible time, I have experienced something similar with my eldest child and know how hard it can be. I completely understand the resentment you feel toward your husband for sleeping, it's a very natural reaction! I just wanted to point out that for us, allergies turned out to be the culprit which kept our baby up and wanting to nurse ALL NIGHT.
It's hard to say what is normal waking, but I think in this case it would be a good idea to first rule out any underlying medical conditions. For us I think one of the main things that kept our child up was his eczema. It sounds obvious because it's something you can see, but in a very sleep deprived state your brain just doesn't function as it should! :)
Hugs. 8 mo is a tough age. You didn't do anything wrong, you did everything right! Imagine that instead of nursing your dd through the night you had to wake up and go to her room every hour or, even worse, rock her to sleep for hours, if you didn't nurse. Your dd sounds intense, and she's lucky to have you as a mother.
Take care of yourself. Have your dh watch her while you take a nap. Sleep in on weekends. Ask him to be on night duty for the first part of the night while you get a couple of hours of uninterrupted sleep. My dh used to work evening shift for a couple of years while we were cosleeping with dd; so I used to start the night in bed with dd, and when dh was back from work around 2 am he would wake me up and take over cosleeping, while I had 5h of uninterrupted sleep in the spare bedroom. It was bliss!
I feel like I could have written your post myself about my 6 mth old. I also feel like his constant waking/all night nurse-a-thons are really taking a toll on me. Coupled with a 3 YO who is typically up at the crack of dawn, there are some days when I count the minutes until I get to go to bed....but even then only get about 30-45 mins of rest before DS is awake again looking for my sore over worked nipple. Sorry, my post isn't just to complain, I do have a suggestion for you . Some of the pp's mentioned allergies, and I would for sure take a look into this further, as this is a definite cause of both of my kids night issues. Both of them suffer from dairy/soy intolerance (DS1 grew out of it at about a year), so I have to eliminate all dairy and soy (even products which 'may contain'). I don't know how familiar you are with allergies in BF babies, but some things to look for are green mucousy poo (consistently), spots/specks of blood in poo, eczema/dry skin, spots/rashes on the skin, or runny noses. I might also try keeping a food diary of what you and baby eat (if she eats solids) and tracking her sleep-or lack thereof- for a few days.
It's beyond hard when your children don't sleep. I feel like some days I can't take it and I feel so awful for really seriously considering just leaving DS to scream himself to sleep for hours. I am ashamed to admit we tried this with DS1 (who was also a terrible sleeper) and it didn't work. Not even after a month. Yep, DH insisted that we try 'sleep torture' for an entire month. I cried every night, all night, and we ended up co-sleeping and BF on demand again after anyway. Your children's sleep habits are not your fault. You are responding to her genuine needs, and making her feel safe and secure when she needs it. With that said, this is often REALLY difficult and really wears you down. Maybe DH can help out a few mornings a week by getting up with her and giving you even an hour of sleep. It doesn't hurt if you ask him to make you breakfast too . Good luck, please know that there are a lot of other mamas out there in the trenches with you (not that that makes it any easier!)
I HEAR you mama. I too co-sleep and BF my DS2 to sleep, when he wakes in the night which can be up to 8 times a night, it is rough. He is 14 months and getting his molars arrrrggghhhh. I too have a 3 yr old who is also in our bed. Although he doesn't get up super early.
So here's what I do at the moment to make things a little more comfortable for me. I wedge a pillow behind my back to keep me on my side. I tuck my arm under my pillow. This makes me a little more comfy, as your LO likes to sleep on top of the covers (like my DS1) I would put a blanket just on top of me and kind of tuck it around me but keeping them free. I also like to be snuggly under the covers.
Ok these are all just temporary things to help alleviate the discomfort. With DS1, he was also BF to sleep, but I started to work on night shifts when he was 1 so his dad had him all night. He would give him a sippy cup of BM when he woke and had him in his arms, he would cry but because I wasn't there he had to eventually learn to settle without me. It was heart-breaking, but he loves his dad and he did get used to it. Now he can happily go to sleep without even a drink, just lie down and go to sleep. I NEVER thought we would get to that stage. I am not in anyway suggesting CIO, he was always with his dad (who is firmly against CIO) cuddling and hushing him and being there for him. You are helping them learn a new skill and they will find it frustrating.
That is what we happened to do with DS1, we won't be doing this approach with DS2 because I am not going to work nights. So this is a question we are facing. What I have started to do is while he is falling asleep with nipple in his mouth I have started to rub his back very gently trying to get him to assosciate both. Daddy has also started to put him to sleep by cuddling him in his arms before bed, getting him really snuggly. It took a while for it to work but he goes to sleep in about 10 mins that way. This was with minimal fussing. Daddy just started doing this at about 13 months old.
Sorry for the huge long post. I also remember around 8 -10 months were really tough, it coincided with him walking. I find that their sleep becomes erratic when they hit a developmental milestone. Hang in there mama, it WILL get better.