Negative feelings about night nursing - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 14 Old 04-08-2007, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not sure if this post would be better suited to nighttime parenting or breastfeeding.

DS has always been up 5-10 times a night, since birth. He is now nearly 14 months and I feel like I'm going a little nuts, having to wake up every hour (or every 2 hours, on a good night) every night. It is just too much for me, and I'm starting to think we won't be able to have another child like we want to because I simply can't do this over again.

I must also say that he is currently getting 4 molars, so his sleeping is worse than it's ever been and I don't think I've got more than 4 hours of sleep each night for the past week. I do know things will improve from here, but I want them to REALLY improve. Not just go back to only 5 waking in a night!

I am starting to have some really negative feelings when nursing at night, and I hate that. Sometimes I feel like I need to just push DS away, because my skin is crawling and I can't stand the feeling. I don't push him away, instead I tell myself "okay give him 2 more minutes and then try to unlatch him" and then I just lay there hating it. I feel awful for this.

DP and I just bought a new bed because our old mattress was terrible, and I would REALLY like to sleep on the new bed. DS has a futon mattress on the floor of his room, which is where I have been sleeping - but my back is telling me to get on a real mattress. We attempted to have all 3 of us sleep on the new bed last night and it didn't work at all. All 3 of us were awake half the night becuase there just wasn't enough room. I'm a really light sleeper, and I can't stand to be squashed between the two of them at night. With DS waking up and thrashing around all night, and DP snoring and flipping around, it is just not going to work. I am also having trouble sleeping even when DS is asleep, but am not sure what to do about that either. I can't nap, even though I often try when DS is napping.

I don't even know what I'm asking for by posting here, since I know a lot of you have the same problems, but I felt I needed to write it down. I am just feeling like such a miserable person lately, and am starting to feel a lot of resentment and anger because I can't ever get any sleep.

What can I do? I never thought that I would want to nightwean this early, but I don't know what else would help. DS cries bloody murder if DP tries to console him at night, so I don't know that he can even help me.

Thanks,
winn

Mama to DS 02/15/06, and DD born 08/31/09!
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#2 of 14 Old 04-08-2007, 11:09 PM
 
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Oh Mama, how I feel your pain! The longest my DD has ever slept in her entire life is 5 hours and that has only happened once. On good nights, she'll sleep for 2-3 hours for her first sleep stretch but then she's up to nurse every hour (or more) for the rest of the night. I work full time and I'm DYING. I'm a walking zombie on the good days and anytime we have a bad night (teething, sick, etc) I'm a wreck. I get so bitter being up to nurse her all night. While I do get frustrated with her, the bulk of my hostilities seems to be aimed at DH. I, too, am a really light sleeper. DD's sleeplessness coupled with my husband's snoring is killing me. We are planning to night wean. We had actually picked this weekend as the start date but she's sick so we're putting it off for a while. Sorry I don't have a ton of advice for you. I might get flamed for saying this, but nursing should be enjoyable for both of you. If you aren't enjoying it anymore, maybe you could consider night weaning. : Don't do anything until the teething is over though, you might feel better about things once your DS is on the mend.
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#3 of 14 Old 04-08-2007, 11:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by papschmitty View Post
I might get flamed for saying this, but nursing should be enjoyable for both of you. If you aren't enjoying it anymore, maybe you could consider night weaning. : Don't do anything until the teething is over though, you might feel better about things once your DS is on the mend.
:

If cosleeping and night nursing is causing you to get little to no sleep, maybe you should consider phasing them both out. You need sleep. It's not a luxury (although it sure feels like it sometimes) it's a NEED. I wouldn't feel guilty about taking steps to ensure you get your basic human needs met.
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#4 of 14 Old 04-08-2007, 11:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses!

papschmitty, I can't imagine working full time on this amount of sleep. I'm lucky to be at home with DS, so although I can't seem to nap at least I can lay down when he does and rest a bit. I really feel for you.
Can I ask, what are you planning to do to start night weaning? I have the baby version of the no cry sleep solution, and have read Dr.Jay Gordon's nightweaning plan online (I hope that's the right name), but am still unsure of what to even try. I have always tried so hard to keep him from crying, that I can't see myself witholding something that I know will comfort him...you know?

His molars have been coming in for a month already, and just one has popped through. Hopefully the rest will come soon! Then maybe we'll try something.

DP just commented tonight that I've been negative about everything for the past week. I am now realizing that I've been taking it out on him as well.

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#5 of 14 Old 04-09-2007, 01:21 AM
 
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I had a response typed out but my DH decided to surf and surfed away while I was getting a drink. :

There are a few different ways to handle what it sounds like you're having issues with. It really depends on what is most important to you.

Quote:
Sometimes I feel like I need to just push DS away, because my skin is crawling and I can't stand the feeling.
I was having a lot of frustration about the night nursing "feeling" but didn't feel my DD was ready to go cold turkey and nightwean. She's 18 months old, so obviously its not a nutrition issue, but I wasnt comfortable taking away her source of comfort in a way that was unpleasant to her. What I have done, and I'm sure there are those that think this is terrible, is introduce a bottle as a type of comfort. It took a couple of months to wean completely, but none of it was painful and if she was ever inconsolable via a warm bottle of toddler 'formula' I would breastfeed. She now goes to sleep completely on her own with a bottle for both naps and night time, and when she does wake up, I give her a bottle that I have ready by the bed (cold formula now) and she will drink some and go back to sleep. Sometimes lately she doesn't even need that, just wakes up, finds me, cuddles up and goes back to sleep. On that cue from her, we're gradually nightweaning now by me rubbing her back for a moment before I grab the bottle, to give her the opportunity to fall back to sleep (a moment though just to see if she will, not a minute or 2 or 3... not enough for my DH to wake from sleep is my rule of thumb) I'm sure it will take a few more months to completely nightwean her, but its been very easy for us this way, so its not really a rush thing.

I'm sure there are faster ways to wean or get babe to sleep through the night, but this is what worked for us. It was important that I didn't cause my DD discomfort, and this technique really did that for us, while allowing me to get much more sleep (DD originally would sleep on the nipple, which really made my skin crawl trying to go to sleep) Also, she doesnt need the bottle nearly as long as she needed to bf, and is generally content to drink a little bit, curl up against me, and then fall asleep.
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#6 of 14 Old 04-09-2007, 01:46 AM
 
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I really feel for you. I couldn't nap with my first baby but now can with the second so that has saved me. I also night nurse my 11mo and it's getting old. But we have a ways to go before we work on nightweaning.

There are so many ways to nightwean or decrease nursings. It sounds like your ds really fights being consoled by your dp, but you might want to keep trying it. My ds also fought being with dh because he wanted me. But we kept trying and one night it just worked...now he smiles and is so happy when he sees dh coming to walk him down for the night. It just took some time for him to realize that he could be comforted in a different way.

I would try to stretch out the nursings as a first step. Does she take a pacifier? Can your dh try to walk her down? If you can get your dh involved that will significantly ease the burden off of you.

I know that when the desperation of sleep deprivation gets bad enough, you just want the whole thing to be over. That is so understandable. But I bet you would feel worlds better if you could just get a 3 or 4 hour stretch of sleep at night. By stretching it out you can avoid the cold turkey thing which might feel too harsh to you.

You are not alone....so many of us have been there. And don't feel guilty about needing this to change. As one of the pp's said, sleep is a need not a luxury.
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#7 of 14 Old 04-09-2007, 02:30 AM
 
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I'm not sure how I'm surviving work on such little sleep. I guess I don't have much choice. Like I said, I've learned to get by but we have a very small margin of error. :

Quote:
Can I ask, what are you planning to do to start night weaning? I have the baby version of the no cry sleep solution, and have read Dr.Jay Gordon's nightweaning plan online (I hope that's the right name), but am still unsure of what to even try. I have always tried so hard to keep him from crying, that I can't see myself witholding something that I know will comfort him...you know?
I read the NCSS a loooong time ago and didn't find it to be that helpful. It was just too vague and DD didn't respond very well at all. We've decided to follow Dr. Gordon's plan online. So basically, no nursing after 10:30 pm until 6:00 am. We're planning to start on a Thursday so I can have the weekend to try to nap to catch up on sleep. For the week prior, DH and I are going to switch sides of the bed so DD can sleep between him and the bed rail. I'll still nurse her if she needs comfort during the night but we're hoping not being right next to my boobs will help the process along. I'm sure it's going to be a rough couple of nights but am hoping that it will all be worth it in the long run. I just keep reminding myself that she will be crying tears of frustration not tears of forever-lasting heartache. It's heartbreaking for me to see her upset but we are desperate for sleep and don't see any other options. We're probably going to start in 2 weeks as DH is out of town this weekend.

She's waking up as I type...I'm off to nurse! Good luck, I hope you find some useful suggestions and get the sleep you need!
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#8 of 14 Old 04-09-2007, 03:00 AM
 
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I considered night weaning my son around the same age as your son is now, and decided against it. I know that it gets really, really hard sometimes and I doubt that there is anything I could say to make you feel better... because nobody understands when you are so sleep deprived you can hardly function. I had/have pretty much the exact situation going on with my son who is now 25 months. Some nights he would wake 15-20 times, many times nursing almost constantly throughout the night. I can promise you that once the molars are in, it will most likely get much better. I just want to encourage you to do what you feel is best for you and your child. I am one of the mommas who decided to stick it out and I feel like it was worth it. Currently, my son wakes about once a night for a short nursing session and I am able to finally get some much needed, continuous rest. Also, I hope I don't make anyone mad for mentioning this, but have you tried any type of pain relief for your son? I tried sticking with just giving Hylands teething tablets, but found that my son really benefited from some Motrin on those really bad nights. As for the sleeping arrangements; would your husband be willing to sleep on the futon for a while? My husband (very sweet guy indeed) has been sleeping on the sofa in the basement since our son was born and my son and I get the new king-sized tempur-pedic. It just wouldn't work out any other way.
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#9 of 14 Old 04-09-2007, 12:40 PM
 
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When we night weaned around 15 months it was an absolute blessing. I have one of those non sleeping babies as well... it wasn't by any means tearless but I held him in bed and rocked him and snuggled him and made it less of an in your face thing by not wearing pjs tops that exposed any skin. I had a snack for the middle of the night to start with, and water.. if he wanted either he got it. He eventually took less and less of each and after a few mos only needs sips of water occasionally. He didn't wake any less frequently though until I moved out of the bedroom. I'm 34 weeks pregnant and right now he is 18 mos.. a couple mos ago I simply could not take the sleep deprivation any more, not to mention DH and I were terrified of what it would be like with him being like this and the new baby being around.... so I moved out of the bedroom and DH took over night duty and the little guy wakes far less frequently and except for certain instances it barely takes anything for DH to put him back to sleep. Just a hand on his chest or back usually and a voice telling him it's ok. We found that he also sleeps much better when I'm the one who puts him to bed at night even though DH is the one who continues on for the rest of the night. When dh goes away on business and ds sleeps with me he wakes every 30 minutes and wants to be IN my arms snuggled right up with me.... I would have night weaned a little earlier I wasn't making milk anyway due to pregnancy but we went on a month's long vacation on another continent so I didn't want to introduce that. I'm all for night nursing for a looong time if it works for everyone but sometimes I think with these really wakeful babies it's better for everyone when the boobie temptation is just not there at night. We all sleep more soundly.
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#10 of 14 Old 04-09-2007, 05:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by winnie View Post
I am just feeling like such a miserable person lately, and am starting to feel a lot of resentment and anger because I can't ever get any sleep.
This is where I am right now. I never thought I would feel like this. I used to be totally fine with waking up at night. Now it just makes me want to scream. I am so tired all the time. DH has said things to me about it too. Don't know how it is going to work out, but he offered to ket me sleep in another room and he is going to take DS for the night. (This is the first time ever... don't know if it will work or not.) But right now I just want ONE night of sleep so badly that I would do anything for it.

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#11 of 14 Old 04-09-2007, 09:48 PM
 
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Just adding my support for nightweaning at this age, if it will improve your nursing relationship during other times of the day.
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#12 of 14 Old 04-09-2007, 10:00 PM
 
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I have always felt that if nursing consistently got in the way of restful nights for us then I would night wean. It sounds like you are well beyond that point.

I say this as someone who has rarely slept in longer than 3 hour spurts for 6 mos. But nonetheless we are still RESTING at night. It doesn't sound as though you are. I wouldn't hesitate to night wean in your situation.

Best of luck.

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#13 of 14 Old 04-09-2007, 10:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by winnie View Post
Can I ask, what are you planning to do to start night weaning? I have the baby version of the no cry sleep solution, and have read Dr.Jay Gordon's nightweaning plan online (I hope that's the right name), but am still unsure of what to even try. I have always tried so hard to keep him from crying, that I can't see myself witholding something that I know will comfort him...you know?
My older son never nursed to sleep at bedtime (his choice, I would have been happy to do it, because we ended up walking him to sleep instead), but would suck continuously through the night, after his first longer sleep (maybe 2-3 hours) and it just got to me, and I was also working full-time and felt like I was going to crack some nights. Even reading winn's first post was enough to bring it all back!

What we did when he was 8 months old was to transition to putting him to sleep in the bassinette next to the bed by rubbing his back and keeping a gentle hand on his back or tummy, depending on which way he was sleeping, so he wouldn't sit up. And we would sing and sing, until we finally put a stereo in the room and put in a sleepy music cd. Anyway, he went from needing to be walked to sleep for at least 20 minutes (talk about back-breaking!), to going to sleep within 10, and went from 5-6 wakings/night to 1-3 (and never nursing, he never even asked for it again, and I was never engorged or anything, which reinforced my belief that he hadn't been actually nursing, just sucking during the night).
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#14 of 14 Old 04-09-2007, 10:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much everyone. I really appreciate all of your thoughts!

I have tried some pain relievers on occasion. Advil a couple times, and other nights Hylands teething tablets. Last night I gave him Hyland's, and he slept a 4 hour stretch (!) at the beginning of the night, so am not sure if that's what helped...but I have him some tonight before bed as well.

Last night was not as bad, although he did wake a number of times, I was able to get him back to sleep pretty quickly (with nursing). Plus I was able to nap with him today, which is rare. He went to bed super early tonight - asleep by 7:15, so we'll see how it goes.

I am leaning towards trying to nightwean but am really not sure that I could refuse nursing all night, I may try to limit nursing somehow. I'll have to think more on it and talk with DP. I do feel that something must change!!

Anyways, thanks again.
winn

Mama to DS 02/15/06, and DD born 08/31/09!
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