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It took 7 months for the sleep deprivation to catch up to me, but it has and I'm at a loss about what to do about it.

Background: I have chronic insomnia. After years of suffering, I started taking trazadone and started sleeping well for the first time in my life. But then I got pregnant and had to stop taking it. I am a very poor sleeper - by the definition we apply to babies (5 hours) I just barely "sleep through the night" - my pattern is to sleep for about 5 hours, then to wake up hourly after that until I get out of bed. I'm also not good at napping - it takes me a long time to fall asleep, if I manage it at all.

When DS was a newborn I did just fine. The breastfeeding hormones were a really effective sedative for me, and even though DS was a frequent nightwaker, I was able to fall asleep whie he was nursing or immediately thereafter, so it didn't much bother me. I figured all those years of insomnia had prepared me to deal with a nightwaking baby.

Fastforward 7 months. DS still wakes frequently at night to nurse, but I can't fall asleep while he's nursing or for a while after. We cosleep, and get into a horrible cycle of waking each other up (compounded by DH's snoring). In the middle of the night I'm too tired to try other ways of putting him to sleep, so I nurse him, but it's uncomfortable for me and I'm getting resentful of the near-constant nursing. And never sleeping for more than 2 1/2 consecutive hours for 7 months has finally caught up to me and I'm getting more exhausted by the day.

While the nightwaking is a problem, I feel like the problem is more with me. I don't know if it's okay to take Trazadone while breastfeeding - I don't want to mess up my baby's brain chemistry! I already feel bad because I worry that I'm teaching him my poor sleep cycles through cosleeping. DH and I are trying some of the things in the No Cry Sleep Solution to try to help reduce the nightwaking, but it's hard to be consistent and try something new when I'm so tired. And of course, DS and I have colds right now, so that's just making matters worse.

On a typical night, I nurse DS down to sleep between 7:30 and 8, then get out of bed. He sleeps anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours (lately we've been getting two hours, which is big progress). If he wakes up before 10 or 11, he doesn't get nursed back to sleep - instead DH or I (usually DH) goes up and pats him back to sleep. I go to bed between 10 and 11, and nurse DS the first time he wakes up, which is usually between 11 and 12:30. From then on he wakes up to nurse every 1.5 to 3 hours until about 5 or 6 am, when we enter non-stop nursing mode until around 7:30 or 8 when we get out of bed.

Anyone been in a similar boat and have any suggestions?
 

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I'm sorry, hon! I had a similar problem with the night-waking for a while, but DS thankfully dropped a feed. Do you use a co-sleeper? It might help for you to feel like you have some space for a while.

The other thing that might help is slipping in a pacifier once he's done feeding.

Sorry I can't be more help. I've come to the conclusion that unless you're doing sleep training or CIO -- and even then -- you're going to be dealing with sleep issues for a while. Sucks. Good thing they're cute!
 

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Sending HUGS and sleeping dust. I wish I had an answer for you. I'm exhausted also. I used to be a good sleeper and I've always needed something like 8 hours of sleep a night. Well, dd wakes up every few hours during the night and I'm too tired to do anything other than nurse her back to sleep. DH is a lousy sleeper and he wakes up almost every time dd wakes up and he's exhausted too.

I'm going to try "No Cry Sleep Solution", but I'm so tired that it's hard to find the energy to try it.

One suggestion - try resting as much as possible. Even if you don't sleep, maybe lying in bed or relaxing in a chair will help.
 

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I'll send HUGS and good sleep dust, too!

DS is 21 months old and the deprivation has finally caught up with me, too. Our schedule is similar to yours, but without the history of mamma sleep problems (poor you!!!).

Lately we've been trying the first stage of Dr. Gordon's nightweaning. Reid is falling asleep at night now after nursing and letting go...it's a baby step for him not to be on the boob, but we're not ready to go any further. I agree that it's hard to think and function when you've hit the sleep deprivation wall!

Our new issue is that I have insomnia...apparently I'M not used to falling asleep without nursing!!! I fight sleep so hard to stay awake long enough for his nursing to slow enought that I can get him to let go and roll over to go to sleep...then I lay there listening to everyone sleep. It sucks, but I hear it's normal (not that that explanation is helping me function during the day!).

Good luck getting some sleep...it's SO important to our hormone levels, immune system, etc. PLUS it is seriously affecting my patience and my ability to keep up with my toddler!

Whitney
 

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I know what you mean. My dh just began snoring about 3 months ago. DD is 1 and teething so she wakes up every hour or so. I can't seem to fall back asleep most of the time. I don't think drugs are a good solution, though. Please try all the natural stuff first. When I lived in Spain, my "madre" used to brown some sugar in a small pot on the stove, then stir in a cup of milk, heat until warm and sip it down. It will make you sleepy. Try thinking very boring thoughts. Or recite the same poem or prayer over and over. Have you tried white noise? Meditation? Yoga? Exercise? After-dinner walks with the stroller?
 
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