If not CIO, then what? - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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#91 of 107 Old 11-21-2005, 06:31 PM
 
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Wow! Lots of replies, so I'll keep this very brief.

I believe cosleeping is the answer; whether in the same bed or a bed or mattress next to your bed.

Two great books: "Nighttime Parenting" by Dr. Sears and "The Family Bed" by Tine Thevin [The Family Bed goes into the history of human sleep patterns, etc. very interesting!] "No Cry Sleep Solution" is also very good.
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#92 of 107 Old 11-21-2005, 09:41 PM
 
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my 5 month old is like that. She wakes up many times a night. We co-sleep, but i can't nurse laying on my side, it's too uncomfortable for me, so now she sleeps ON me most of the night. DD wakes up at the slightest moves, and wants to nurse back to sleep. I sympathize with you over sleep depravation. I get it too and she's in bed with us. I don't even know how it would be if she wasn't in our bed. I can't even get her to lay beside me most nights. When i do try i end up even more tired from even MORE frequent night wakings. She too goes for about 1-2 hrs between nursings at night.

I did slip her a paci when she was half asleep the other day. I took her off my breast after a while. She wanted back on, just to suck. I put a paci in her mouth and she kept sucking on it. Now, she doesn't use a paci on reg. basis, if she's awake she doesn't like them, she may bite them, but doesn't suck them, never has. BUT she was almost OUT, and didn't know the difference. Perhaps you can try something like that to cut your nursing sessions shorter and get more sleep?
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#93 of 107 Old 11-21-2005, 10:45 PM
 
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Kim, Sometimes our amazing lil ones know what we need more than we do and they "affect" things to make sure our lives go through the necessary changes. It sounds to me like that baby of yours went through just what your family needed and you have all grown so beautifully as a result.

Pretty awesome huh?

Congrats.
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#94 of 107 Old 11-21-2005, 11:11 PM
 
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Another reason your son may be wanting to nurse all night is just his desire to be close to you. My second son was the same way and we resolved the issue by having more skin to skin contact. Maybe if you had him in just a diaper and kept your shirt off so he could feel your skin, hear your heartbeat more clearly, and be comforted by your warmth, the actual nursing wouldn't be such an issue. It worked for us - Just a suggestion
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#95 of 107 Old 11-22-2005, 12:45 AM
 
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Addiesmom,
I sent you a PM. I know if I posted it I'd get blasted. it's some common sense sleep solutions that I've used, and has nothign to do with "scheduling" or "crying it out". Babies can absolutely sleep through the night and learn how to sleep in their own bed, with compassion, flexibility and common sense. Don't feel guilty about it!!! I personally feel that when your parenting starts to suffer because you're DEAD tired, you can find the middle road and do what you need to do to get the whole family some _rest_.

BTW, when you all get to the end of your rope, email me and i'll give you the same info!

I don't believe that AP (which i practice!!!) needs to be this "martyr" syndrome-inducing lifestyle, like "it's all your baby's needs and the heck with your own". i'm really tired of hearing that. SAy what you will if you're mad at me. I mean it all in love.
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#96 of 107 Old 11-22-2005, 02:04 AM
 
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I am so glad to read that things seem to be working. Yay - fingers crossed for you.

I'm reading this thread with interest because my almost four month old has been getting less and less sleep as the days and weeks go by. Today she had three twenty minute naps all day long - by the time I was getting her dressed for bed she was so tired that every little noise or jolt would make her startle, her bottom lip stick out and she'd begin to cry so heartbreakingly. I know exactly how she felt - because I feel so sleep deprived and on edge I think I'm going to jump out of my skin as well. She co-slept beautifully for two months, but then something changed. She'd take hours to fall asleep (lots of crying), stopped nursing lying down, and would take forever to get back to sleep after nursing at night (so we'd have to get up, bouce, sway, rock etc for up to an hour to get her to sleep). We tried the crib one day and it seemed to work, so although I missed her, we moved her in there. All was well - she was waking up once, maybe twice a night, going back to sleep easily. She even had a few nights where she slept 8, 9, even 12 hours. The past few weeks things have been crazy. She had a week or two where she'd wake up at 3am and be wide awake till 6am. Now she is just waking up constantly and taking ages to fall back to sleep. WE've begun putting her down in her crib and bringing her in bed with us when she wakes up at night, but even that isn't helping things much as she'll still not settle well in bed with us, and all three of us seem to spend the rest of the night in a semi-awake state. Not sure what the answer is - still trying to figure out what my next step should be.

I've noticed in talking to many mamas that some just handle the inevitable sleep deprivation better than others. Some women just roll with it, co-sleeping or not. I don't. I've always had a hard time wiht lack of sleep - my mom says even as a child if I stayed up too late a few nights in a row i'd get sick. I can't function on this little sleep, I can't drive safely, I can't carry on conversations, and most of all (just like you mentioned) I cannot be an attached, responsive and gentle parent to my four year old OR my sweet babe. It breaks my heart to feel like I am failing dd#1, and not living up to the expectations she has based on our relationship over the past four years. But - I just don't feel like I have anything to pull from when I am this tired.

It took me four years to be ready to have another baby because it was so hard for me the first time around - I seriously just about had a breakdown between 4-6 months (when my dd was waking about 15+ times per night). She rarely nursed to sleep (rarely comfort nursed at all) and would never co-sleep.

I was at my wits end - when my ped explained that if she is used to waking and nursing then she has a legitimate hunger cycle that needs to be addressed to help her sleep improve - so just trying to cut out nursing sessions is almost guarenteed to fail, even if it seemed to be helping at first. Just like an adult skipping lunch and then snacking constantly until dinnertime, a baby who is not fed when they've grown to expect it will make up for the feeding somewhere else. She suggested we gradually decrease the length of nursing sessions - which we did with great success. I paid attention for a few nights to see how long dd would nurse for, then started ending the nursing session just two minutes earlier. Once she was settling easily I reduced it a few more minutes. It was NOT a quick fix - it took about two months, but by six months she was sleeping about 12 hours and taking two naps during the day of about two hours each. All this was accomplished without crying, without ignoring her needs for closeness, without traumatizing her. The end result was a much happier daughter, and a MUCH, MUCH happier mother. Once she was sleeping I finally felt like I had hit my stride and could really do it.

I can't even express how much it frustrates me to see that your request for help was met with repeated suggestions that the problem is yours, that there is nothing gentle you can do to encourage better sleep, and that co-sleeping will solve everything. I've seen this time and time again, with an attached and loving mama at the end of her rope, just about begging for help and being told that the only AP solution is to just live with it.

Being an attached parent is about the bigger picture, not just where everyone sleeps at night, or how often a baby nurses - if gently and respectfully helping your baby to sleep better enhances your overall relationship with him and with the rest of your family - how can that not be AP and in the best interest of everyone involved?

I don't believe in CIO (we did some CIO with dd#1 - in a fit of uninformed desperation - but would NEVER do it again, and will always feel guity) - but I also believe that periods of good, solid sleep are very beneficial for most babies, and that they can be achived in a number of gentle and respectful ways, ways that honour the needs of both baby AND mother.

Best wishes for a good nights sleep.
Jeanette
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#97 of 107 Old 11-22-2005, 02:13 AM
 
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As soon as I co slept all of my sleeping issues seem to go away. It's too bad you are unable to. It seemed strange to me at first but with my second baby, now three months old I wake up well rested every morning. I no longer have false expectations of my baby. I am much more relaxed and am enjoying the journey however it chooses to unfold. With my first I coslept and nursed till he was two and he sleeps in his own bed now. He requested that so I honoured his wishes and got him a bed. He sleeps great right through the night now at almost three. I believe that the cosleeping helped him learn to eventually sleep on his own on his timetable. Every baby has different needs.Now I let my daughter tell me what is next by following her cues. If you follow your baby everyone wins in the end.
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#98 of 107 Old 11-22-2005, 02:00 PM
 
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There IS one and only one time when it is OK to let your baby cry. Know what it is? It's when the sleep deprivation makes you so crazy that you feel like you could hurt your baby. ANyone else been there? I have.

My ds did not want to cosleep--it was playtime all night if we tried. He wanted his peace and quiet (ds is very different and wants to be snuggled more, and calms down that way, so we do it more--but we still are teaching her slowly to sleep in her cradle--next to our bed for 5 months until SIDS risk is over--and fall asleep on her own). Once we learned this we were all a lot happier and more well rested. I struggled with terrible guilt, though, because of responses like most of the ones here, that somehow Addiesmom is not "paying attention to her baby's needs" and not practicing attachment parenting.

I got over it. I ask you all: What is the more "attached" thing to do: to assume all children benefit from the same routines, or to truly listen to not only your baby's needs, but your whole family's, so that one is not striving against the other? Of course this takes time and is a transition--nothing about parenting is easy (OK, except for those smiles, giggles, songs, hugs... )--but I'll say it again: we're parents, not martyrs. It's the principle, not the method.

The thing I always keep in mind is to snuggle my kids lots and tell them i love them in all contexts, both happy and hard. That way every decision is framed in love.

Why do we assume that teaching a child to sleep is a *bad* thing? Like JeannetteL said, it can be done with gentleness and respect.

Addiesmom, do what you need to do for your sanity.
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#99 of 107 Old 11-22-2005, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Vesper and Jeanette
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#100 of 107 Old 11-22-2005, 02:26 PM
 
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Just this last week my 7 month old son decided he could no longer last longer than 1 1/2 hours before waking and he naturally wants the breast to go back to sleep. This was killing me. One night he was up 3 times in 4 hours.

We used to co-sleep all night long. Once I went back to work he got on a more regular schedule at night so he would go down at 7:00 after a bath and I didn't like the possibility of him falling out of our bed so I put him in his room at night. We had established that a mattress on the floor is THE WAY TO GO and sold the crib and the un-used bedding promptly.

My son goes down like a dream. No real issues. When he wakes it takes moments to nurse him to sleep. I used to fall asleep a lot in there...but the mattress (from an old hide-a-bed couch we had) was beginning to get awful hard on my hips. I then really tried to concentrate on nursing him, pulling him off and puttin in his pacifier (yes...we live for that thing and it has been a huge life saver for us. Not always for everyone...you will have to decide) but my son sometimes uses it and sometimes doesn't and we put it on a leash so he can (and does) put it in as needed when awake.

After the week from hell as I like to call it I would bring him back to bed with us earlier than I usually did. He honestly sleeps better when not next to me as it seems he wants to nurse even more in our bed. I did some reading about sleep in the baby book by the fab. sears pair and I did a few adjustments to his daytime routine. First, being the boy he is, he is so easily distracted when eating so I make sure my stay at home husband offers him food at least every 2 hours. Especially my pumped breast milk. He seems so obsessed with solid food that this can be a little difficult. I also noticed that my little man liked to take some seriouse power naps during the day (probably from inadequate sleep at night) so he would take a nice hour long one in the morning and then a sound/solid 3 hour one in the afternoon. I cut them both to one hour at a time and yes, I wake up my sleeping baby. That changed the waking almost instantly.

I also addressed his teething situation. He is teething...all the time it seems. So every time I go in when he wakes I give him a homeopathic dose for teething. It has chamomile in it and it's supposed to soothe him. I also put a little natural teething remedy on his gums when he goes down. If he has trouble going back to sleep I will use numbing ointment but I try not to do this often.

My son has only slept through the night (from 11-6) 2 times and that was last month. He isn't going to be doing it any time soon. But this won't last forever.

I had considered renting a hotel room for just one night. Just to get a full nights sleep and a well needed break. My husband could be on night duty with expressed breast milk and when I returned all refreshed he could nap. We didn't need it but it's still in my back pocket if I need it. Sometimes you just need a break.

Hopefully you and your baby will get to a good place. No 2 are alike...so much of what we talk about here may not really help too much but at least you know that most if not all of us don't have the magical baby that "sleeps through the night". It to me is make-believe.

good luck!
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#101 of 107 Old 11-23-2005, 04:25 PM
 
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My son nursed every hour to hour and a half for the first six monts of his life as well. I understand the total sleep deprivation you are feeling as I scrambled to figure out ANYthing that would give me a few hours of rest to look after baby and 2 1/2 year old as well. This isn't a recommendation by any means, but I got so desperate, I put baby in his porta crib on his tummy against all advice and got 4 hours sleep! For some reason, sleeping on his tummy was really soothing to him and then helped me to space his feedings to four hourly during the day and got us into a better routine between feedings. I am not a regimented nurser, but he was 6 months after all and very capable of going for four hours between feed. He is now a healthy, still very energetic 8 year old. Good luck
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#102 of 107 Old 11-23-2005, 04:41 PM
 
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I am 33 and I am not capable of going 4 hours without eating or drinking.
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#103 of 107 Old 11-24-2005, 03:09 AM
 
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I'm so happy to hear the OP is getting some sleep! I admire your dedication, honesty, and persistence.

A couple ideas in case anyone rdg is still struggling --
One PP touched on a concept that has worked well for our family in a variety of challenging situations. I think it's called association. The basic idea is to introduce a new consistent stimulus to replace the one you want to avoid. So in the OP's case, she mentioned her main goal was to help her child fall asleep without nursing / suckling. To begin building an association, she could play the same music each time she nursed, use a special blanket or fabric doll/ animal, maybe scented with a particular essential oil (lavender tends to induce relaxation)... and eventually the child begins to feel the same way when s/he encounters the new stimulus as she does when s/he's nursing, so at some point the mama can slowly transition from nursing to just leaving the child with another soothing presence.

Another important idea that's come up is patience. So many times when I've thought "this can't go on forever!" (using diapers, spreading food all over, pinching our faces when she felt frustrated...) one day I wake up and its over. Yeah!

And, as the OP modeled, persistence. Reaching out, trying different things, studying your child's temperment to understand what s/he really needs.

Also, one PP mentioned alternate care, which has been so helpful for our family. We have an official group that formed out of a local mom's mtg, but I also know lots of parents that trade on an informal basis. Our group spends plenty of time getting to know new friends to be confident that they will treat our children the way we do, so we can rest assured that they are well cared for.

And for mamas having trouble sleeping at abnormal hours, progressive relaxation is a great tool - even if it doesn't lead to sleep it reduces anxiety. Focus on one part of your body (I usually start with my head since that's where most of the stress is); first tense each muscle, then relax it. Move down through your whole body - I'm usually asleep before I get past my shoulders . If you do make it to your feet, you can imagine soft light or ocean water pouring over your whole body from head to toe. It's very relaxing for me.

If you have time, and your older children are interested (or you don't have any), a few yoga postures can help relax parts of you that are especially tense.

I also have had success with the meditative focus (see PP) - I use the moon as my peaceful image to block out all others. It has a very cooling, creamy, nightime effect.
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#104 of 107 Old 11-24-2005, 05:10 AM
 
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I'm not sure if my experience will be helpful to you but we all sleep very well. My son slept with my husband and I until he was around 2 yrs then my lovely dh got his own room. We figured if anyone could understand where we all were at night it would be the 30 yr old. So now my daughter is 1 1/2 yrs, my son is 4 1/2yrs and I sleep with them in a queen size bed and my husband is in his room. I would suggest removing the clock from your bedroom. Nursing happens at any time. When my husband moved rooms he took the clock with him and I am much happier not knowing what time it is when I am awoken. Don't worry about sleeping in. If it happens I am grateful. When it doesn't I am not surprised.
I also wanted to congratulate you on trying something new. I think it is brave to realize what you had done isn't working and a new solution must be found. I wish you good sleep.
Meghan
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#105 of 107 Old 11-28-2005, 10:49 PM
 
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I read Pantley's book when DD was about seven months old. After a couple months of her waking to nurse 8-12 times a night.
We also do not co-sleep because it just doesn't work for us.

Pantley states in her book, if I remember correctly, that it is completely normal for babies this age to wake up several times in the night. THAT is not the problem. Really there is no problem... they just need to be taught how to go back to sleep. Obviously, CIO does not teach them anything but that no matter how hard they cry, you are not coming to comfort them. YUCK!

Your son just needs to have a balance of having his needs met and learning at his own pace, how to put himself to sleep.
Pantley is also very clear that you only have a sleep problem if it is actually causing problems...not because every old person you meet asks you if your baby is sleeping through the night!
It sounds like you ARE having a problem, if you and DH are not functioning well during the day.

The most helpful thing in the book to me was keeping a log. What time she woke up, what I/Dh did, how long she was awake, etc.
We started with not nursing her before like 2:30 a.m., and DH would go in and comfort her. Then we gradually moved the time back as her needs required. We got down to one nursing in the night and DH only needing to go in there once or twice if she was hot or cold or wet or something.
It took at least a month to see any real progress, but keeping it written down helped us to remember what we had tried and what worked/didn't.

HTH

Missi

mom to Arwen and baby due sometime soon!
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#106 of 107 Old 11-28-2005, 10:53 PM
 
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I also forgot to mention the importance of a bed time routine. Around the same time every night we gave dd a bath and then dressed for bed and cuddle time with daddy, and then i would nurse her.... without the tv being on! DH and I would sit and read together while she nursed and once she was sleeping, would transfer her to her crib.

The routine signals that it is time for bed. Now she is 15 mo. old and LOVES bed time. She actually asks to go to bed sometimes as early as 6 pm.

Anyway, parenting comes with so many trials and we must be patient and let it work patience in us, and know that the nights are long, but the years are so short!

HTH again,
Missi
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#107 of 107 Old 11-29-2005, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Missi!

Good advice on the sleep log - I think we'll try that. After a particularly good or bad night, I'll try to think back about what we did or what I ate the day before, but my memory isn't too good these days Now if I can just remember to write it down!

He was doing great for a couple weeks, then went back to waking around 12 or 1, then 3 or 4 and up at 5:30. Better than getting up every 1-2 hours, but still not ideal. I really need a good stretch of sleep for myself. I've been working hard at getting to bed by 9pm, but if he wakes at midnight, it's only 3 hours for me and feels like nothing. My mother loves to tell me how I slept for 12-13 straight hours when I was a baby, so I guess I've always just needed a lot of sleep. I envy those that can operate on 5 or 6 hours.

Thanks for the advice!
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