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Thinking of giving up on AP...

2336 Views 28 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  AmieV
I am just so tired.
DD is nearly 12mo, and barely sleeps, day or nite. She will only feed to sleep at nite, & wakes to feed about 10 times thru the nite. I am about 4 months pregnant, & i feel like i'm going to have a nervous breakdown or something. I'm so emotional all the time which is making life even harder on everyone.
She's too young to wean, & she loves it so much i think it would just be too traumatic for her. I've tried other ways of getting her to sleep... nothing but the boob will work. Occasionally she will fall asleep on dh in the sling, but every single time he tries to put her down she wakes up again.
My family are trying to support, but it's in the form of well-meant advice like: "you caused this behaviour thru AP" & "you're going to harm your baby if you don't wean"
Thanks for the wonderful advice!
But now i'm starting to wonder about the AP... it seems to have created a complete dependence on me for everything. She wants to be held all day long, won't sleep w/o feeding, etc. I love the idea of AP, but i just can't take much more of this. Also, what do i do if i lose my milk?
Does it really help to create independent, stable children? Anyone with older AP'd kids that have been thru this?
I need some sort of light at the end of this long dark tunnel. I can't even enjoy this pregnancy cos every time i think about it i get so terrified about how the heck i'm going to feed 2 kids all night long & still keep a shred of sanity.

Sorry for such a long post...
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First take a deep breath.

AP does not mean the same thing for everyone and every child. For me, AP means listening to what your baby is telling you she needs and responding to this. If this means putting her in a stroller, over a sling or letting her sleep in a crib, than in my book this is just as AP as baby wearing and cosleeping if she is telling you with her actions and reactions that this is what she wants.

Some kids, AP or not, are clingy kids. In fact, many non-AP'd kids are clingy longer because they have no security in their little lives and are constantly afraid and upset. This is a short season in your child's life and one that will be over before you know it. There's no harm in trying to get her to fall asleep w/o nursing. Can Dad help you out here? You could try Dr. Jay Gordon's method of sleep training now that she's a year old.

You can do this and keep her cosleeping or you could try moving her out of the family bed. Either way, AP does not mean ignoring your own needs completely either. It's pretty doubtful that you made her this way by AP'ing her, is what I am trying to say. That's such a myth. Some kids are clingy regardless. My first was AP'd and he slept about 2/3 of the night in his crib and fell asleep on his own in it every night from the day he turned 9 months. My second it 14 months and still won't fall asleep unless I am physically beside him. He's no more or less AP'd than his brother was. Different kids, different personalities.
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I have a 9 yr old who appears to be quite happy

I know where you're coming from....everyone worries if they're doing the right thing, especially if they have unsupportive friends/family.

Some days I feel so "touched out" that I swear if DS#2 asks to see "nani" again I may lose it. Sometimes GD seems sooooo hard. Sometimes at night when DS#2 wants me to hug and DD wants to nurse, I am just soooo over it all.

Then one day you realize you're not doing this for you. And you know your kids know you love them. And it's all okay. It will pass. You will wake up with a toddler hand on your face and a happy "hello mama" and your baby sleeping next to you and it'll be worth it.

Sounds like you do need a break. Maybe let DP do more? Taking over bath time is a great help. or perhaps just letting her sleep in a sling for a while and not putting her down?
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s Couldn't read without posting.
s I wish I could offer real advice and support. But, alas, I am in a similar quandry myself.
Hoping tons of parents respond to your post!
Hang in there
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I don't think it has to do with AP. I'm not full blown AP, but my parents think that I spoil my children with the amount of attention I give to them sometimes.... well, mainly the fact that I hold them so much. Anyway, some children are just needier than others, and I am sorry that you are feeling so stressed about the situation. It will get better mama, just go with your instincts, because you know your child and what would work best for her more than your parents. You have the connection with her that your parents don't, kwim?

For example, my mom has an aggressive nature and I am super laid back, and when she is too harsh on my son, I tell her that he doesn't respond well to that, and she needs to find another way to get him to listen to her.

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I was exhausted from my dd waking every 1/2 hr to hour most of the night long. I never could nurse her in my sleep. Finally I had to set a limit due to my mental/emotional/exhaustive state. Here is what worked for us...

If dd had just nursed in the last hour I would say "We just had 'mamas' (her word for nursing). Now it's time for binkie and cuddles." The first night was *awful* and she cried so hard and I cried and felt like a terrible parent. But I held her, rocked, cuddled, sang to her, told her stories, and eventually she fell asleep. The next night she fussed for maybe 10 min (again w me holding, singing etc) and went to sleep. After that it has always been pretty ez. She might object for about 20 or 30 seconds and then she decides to just cuddle up and go back to sleep.

Now she sleeps most of the night. Granted we started this around 15 mos and she is now 23 mos and is night weaned.

I wouldn 't night wean a 10 mo old, but maybe you could have daddy help out, give her a binkie if she will take one, just cut down on some of the night feedings and try to feed her just at certain times in the night *if* she wakes at regular times. This could eventually lead to night weaning when she is over a year (just my opinion and what worked for us - but then I wasn't pregnant either)

We also found it helpful to give dd a good bedtime snack - maybe some oatmeal or something hearty to stick in her belly for a while. Then around 5 AM we would have a snack of mashed banana or applesauce. (Again she was 15 mos - she didn't do much food at 10 mos so whatever works for you - this is just what helped us). Anyway, she would wake at 5 hungry, nurse, and then want to nurse every 1/2 hr til about 9 when we got up. So exhausting! So having a very quick, lights still out, 5 Am snack really helped!!

What other things calm her? DD likes having daddy rub her back and tell her stories. When she was 10 mos or so she would go to sleep in the car w animal noises. Basically me or dh saying softly "cow says Moo Moo. Sheep says baa baaa" etc I actually had it down to a method where I would go thru animals in the house, around the house, at the farm, in the woods, and then around the world.
But it kept her still and quiet long enough for her to fall asleep.

HTH and good luck!
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Being pregnant, and nursing a 12 month old is hard, no matter what....

I will say....I have a 14 year old DS. He was AP'ed, although back then, there was not the phrase AP, I just did what I thought was right. He and I have a very close relationship. He is a regular bratty, full of attitude, somewhat lazy teen, however, there is another level to our relationship I attribute to AP. Even his teachers over the years have commented to me they see a connection between us they do not see with other families.

Now I have 2 at home, and there are days I want to lock myself in the bathroom so DD can't yank on my shirt to ask to nurse, and DS2 ask to be carried. There are always those times. But looking at the big picture, I still would not have changed a thing

I'm going on 14 years now of co-sleeping, with just a 2 year break somewhere in between!
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Oh you poor thing, sounds like you are really going through a tough time right now. Sleep deprivation and preganancy will do that!

My first two children were not AP and they went through waking periods at night around that age as well - most all kids do, just some parents will comfort their babies back to sleep and some will let them fend for themselves by crying it out
Can you get your SO to help you at night like a PP suggested so that you can get some sleep? Maybe if s/he can dance with the baby or try other soothing methods that will stretch out the time between nursies so you can sleep a bit longer. Also are you able to nap during the day with the baby? That helped me a lot when I was going through what you are now.
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I think pumpkinhead's post was awesome advice.

I hope things get better for you soon... I know how hard it can be to be pregnant and have a baby to care for, especially in the first trimester. My ds2 just had his 1st birthday yesterday, and I'm due Aug 4th. I can honestly say that the first trimester was harder on me than the last, mostly due to the exhaustion and hormones.

Somehow, someway, things will work out. If nothing else, just hold on to the realization that this is only temporary.
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I've been in your shoes recently - I know how you feel!! <hugs> For me, the one piece of advice that totally made sense to me was given by one of my favorite authors, Dr. William Sears. In several of his books, he mentions that attachment parenting isn't cut-and-dry, and nighttime nursing and co-sleeping are a 2-way relationship: once they fail to work for one of the two partners, it's no longer effective. In other words, it's only effective if it's working for both you and your daughter. For me, my 23-mos-old son naturally self-weaned by about 13 mos, but continued to co-sleep. He became restless from 12-18 mos trying to co-sleep and would wake often at my husband's snoring or alarm, and wasn't able to get comfy in our bed. Many times I awoke to find him sleeping on the floor or in weird positions. So, we weaned him into his crib, but with us nearby, he didn't want his crib. So, we moved his crib into his own room by about 18 mos or so, and he now sleeps beautifully. In fact, we're all sleeping beautifully.

It was sad giving up the family bed and nursing, but it stopped working well for us. We're still very much attachment parenting, and nighttime parenting hasn't stopped if he's restless in his room, but it's simply changed. Like I said, AP isn't cut and dry - you can pick and choose what's right for your family. Just because we don't co-sleep anymore, I don't consider myself any less of an AP mommy. In fact, we're expecting in 4 mos, and I'm not even going to consider another crib/cradle.

Pat yourself on the back for a job incredibly well-done so far!! It's not easy choosing to AP; oftentimes it's way more work on us than sticking a bottle of formula in their mouths and letting them cry-it-out. Look how long you've nursed her for! Hooray for you - you ROCK!! It's not easy being pregnant (I soooo can relate!!) with a toddler, and you're not any less of an AP mommy if you adjust the master plan. It's a working relationship.

Keep smiling - sleep will get better; just find a groove that works for you guys. For us, we had to experiment to find the right fight once he became restless.

Proud SAHM to Benjamin Michael, 07-29-2005
Awaiting William Alexander, 10-16-2007
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I feel your pain, and I'm so sorry you are going through this crisis! I know how it feels to constantly be judged and second guessing your parenting style! It can get worse when your hormones are out of whack, ie postpartum, during depression or when pregnant. First and foremost, you need to take some time to yourself. I have a very needy 7MO and I was living alone with her for the first five months, not getting much help. That led to PPD, and also led to me wanting to give up on AP and I even let her cry it out a couple of times because I was just SOO burnt out. And at the time I thought, "I just need a break, even if it means leaving her to cry right now, so I can be a good mom for the rest of the time."

I moved in with my DP after that and had my first breaks from DD longer than half an hour. I took two full days off away from her to do a workshop and each night when I returned I just felt SOO much better and refreshed and really ready to give AP my all again... I realized that the early AP had really established a strong bond between us, so strong that I couldn't give it up now! Then I started seeing results from the AP... I'm convinced it is because of the AP. Everyone kept criticizing me that she was too attached to me, but now she is actually starting to be VERY good with others. I can leave her with someone else and listen in from another room, and whereas before she used to be very fussy, now she seems very secure, already at 7 months.

Stick in there, I'd say. You're going through a rough patch to say the least, but it will be worth it in the end.
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I want to second Jennifer's post, and add that if your dd is barely sleeping day or night as you say, then the cosleeping may not be working for HER either. I think it's crucial that babies get good sleep so that they can function well when they're awake and handle all the stimulation and new learning that occurs. She may not be so clingy during the day if you can find some way to help her get better sleep. Big hugs mama! It's hard, I know.
Just wanted to say I hear you and I understand...

I was not an AP parent with my older kids (now 10 and 14). I was very young and too "busy" to be AP. Honestly, I didn't even know a thing about AP. It had never even occurred to me.

Once I got educated, I realized that I believed a whole lot in the AP principles, and I was determined to find an AP style that matched our family, especially once we had our baby (she's now two weeks).

Well, this morning, I actually laid in bed, having gotten about 1.5 hours of sleep last night, completely unable to settle my baby, nipples sore and going out of my mind with exhaustion...and I said to myself: "Screw this. I'm going to make her a forumla bottle right now. I can't take another minute of sleepless nights or breastfeeding. I just can't. I can't do it. I quit."

Honestly, I let DD lay in her pack 'n play for a few minutes and went into my other daughter's bedroom (no one else was home, just me and the babe), and cried...for about 5 minutes.

Then I got up and went back to my baby and took her out of her bed and sat down and offered her my breast (this kid wants to eat all the time--it's all I do), and she nuzzled into me, and I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.

I made it through that moment of frantic craziness, even though I was convinced I couldn't do it, that I wasn't cut out for this AP stuff...

I figure I'll be faced with many more situations like this, and in each instance, I will--hopefully--make the choice that is best for my family, me included.

I'm sorry you're not getting any rest and feeling overwhelmed. Try to take it one moment at a time, making the best decision you can in that moment, rather than trying to determine the "final answer" for the rest of your might find that you don't feel so overwhelmed tomorrow...
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Originally Posted by bens_mommy_2005 View Post
the one piece of advice that totally made sense to me was given by one of my favorite authors, Dr. William Sears. In several of his books, he mentions that attachment parenting isn't cut-and-dry, and nighttime nursing and co-sleeping are a 2-way relationship: once they fail to work for one of the two partners, it's no longer effective.
I LOVE Dr. Sears, and "The Baby Book" has been SO helpful to me since my DD was born.

And I love that he advocates what is healthy for the entire family, not just one rigid dogma that is supposed to turn out the "best" baby.

If you can get your hands on any of Dr. Sears' parenting library, I totally recommend it!
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I just want to let you know that my daughter is 18 months old ... and yes, I'm in the same situation as you, only 6 months later.

But I have to say that it has been worth it this whole time. She truly is a great kid and a wonderful blessing. I think she is a "naturally clingy" (or "demanding"?) kid, so she seems pretty high-needs. But, it's OK. The important part is to ask for help when you need it, admit that you are only human, and some days just give up and hang out in bed all day with your toddler. Everyone has their limits - just do what is right for you. I know it was hard to stick with it when I had less-than-supportive people around me, but ... like I said ... now, at 18 mos, I look back at the things I stuck it out through, and they all just seem like blips.

I think you just sound like you need a rest day to recover yourself.
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I agree with all the PPs that it isn't an either-or kind of thing. You can always continue to practice the principles that make sense to you and are right for you and your children.

You have to be a whole person in order to take care of your daughter, and in order to be healthy in pregnancy. Sleep is a huge part of being healthy, and you should all be pursuing sleep.

Night-weaning (which most 12 month old children are ready for) will not cause you to lose your milk. When my kids night-weaned, I never even had any engorgement. I don't think they were nursing for food, they were nursing to suck, so I wasn't producing very much at night anyway.

I really feel for you. Let me know if you would like some ideas for getting your 1yo to sleep without sucking.

Originally Posted by Jane Plane View Post
Night-weaning (which most 12 month old children are ready for) will not cause you to lose your milk. When my kids night-weaned, I never even had any engorgement. I don't think they were nursing for food, they were nursing to suck, so I wasn't producing very much at night anyway.
I had a very different experience. My DD weaned completely not long after I nightweaned her. In retrospect, it's something I wish I had kept in mind when I nightweaned her. But, of course, all children are different.
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Parenting a baby/toddler when you are pregnant is SO much harder than just about any aspect of parenting, imo. I was so relieved when I had my third because having three under 4 was easier than having 2 under 4 while pregnant.

I have two littles now, 18 mos and 3.5 and 3 older kids. I co-slept and AP'd the older kids too and at 16, 14, and 13 then are normal, stable, loving kids who keep me informed of their whereabouts and are loving to their younger siblings.

AP gives kids a lifelong core of stength and self-esteem that allows them to weather the storms of growing up.
I had the same kinds of issues with my daughter at 12 months. I remember feeling the same way - should I give up on this? I found throughout my parenting journey that often at just the point where I feel ready to give up, I'm almost through the tunnel. If just held on a little tighter, if I just embraced it and let her nurse as often as she wanted and gave up fighting it, I found that it wasn't long before the problem seemed to be gone before I knew it.

I have a very independant four year old. It's hard to believe when I think back to how much she asked of me when she was little. I think that far from AP creating a dependant child, AP allowd DD and I to retain the close relationship we have when she moved to into her independant phase. I compare my relationship with my DD to my cousin and her DD (my cousin is a babywise person) - she complains constantly that her kids never hug her - my kids are just as independant, if not more so than hers, but we have a much better relationship because of AP. I didn't AP because it was going to be effective or easier, I did it because it was what was right for my DD and it has paid off for us.

I think its important to remember that you do need to think of your own well being as well as your DD. It's okay to consider night weaning, or at least encouraging her to nurse less at night so you can get more sleep. Pantley's book has some great suggestions on how to do that. The point of AP is to honor that relationship between you and your DD, embrace the attachment, it doesn't mean mommy gives everything she has and keeps nothing for herself - you know your child best and you can try different things and see what works for you.
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Thanks for all the wonderful support mamas.
I know i'm overwhelmed & need some time out - dh is being so great at the moment, doing practically everything at home as well as working. I just can't seem to get it together enough to even think about cleaning anything!
And you're all right of course... the reason i chose to AP was because i agreed with the principles & it just felt right. But it's so hard to believe in myself when it doesn't seem to be "working", & everyone keeps pointing that out to me. I would never let dd CIO, but i look at all my family who do that to their kids & they all sleep like 10hrs a nite! Hard to argue with that when you're sleep deprived! And dh sees how tired & emotional i am, & wants to try more conventional parenting with the new baby. At least we've got lots of time to talk about that before the birth!
Deep down I know i'm doing what dd needs, but i also know i need to start taking some time for myself. And i think i'll experiment with our sleeping arrangements and try to find something that works for all of us.
Again, thanks for the support. I think i'd have gone mad by now if it wasn't for all you other *crazy* AP mamas!

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