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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Mamas -- I am looking for some advice on how to make our nights easier. Nate is just shy of 4 weeks old.<br><br>
We have an arm's reach cosleeper and Nate goes down pretty easily and will sleep for 2 or 3 hours at a stretch. BUT, when he wakes up in the middle of the night it's not really working very well. In order to let DP sleep, I have been jumping out of bed at the first fuss, and taking Nate out into the living room to change and feed him, then I go back to bed afterwards. But this really seems to defeat the purpose of having a cosleeper! I want to find a way to make it work where I can stay in the bedroom.<br>
DP had to be away last night so I tried a full night with the babe in the bedroom. And it went like this:<br>
He sleeps for a while (~2 hrs), then starts to fuss a bit.<br>
I offer my pinky to suck on, which often lets him settle again, but if he doesn't it means he's wet/hungry.<br>
I check his diaper, and sure enough he needs to be changed, but to do this without some serious gymnastics I have to get up and out of bed and stand at the end of the cosleeper to get him changed. I just can't seem to manage to change him while staying in bed -- maybe because I am still healing from c-section. However, the cosleeper is low, and it kills my back to lean over like that to change him.<br>
By now he's usually got some pretty good crying going because I have committed the heinous act of removing his blanket and diaper. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> So I get his clothes back on, and get him swaddled back up in his blanket.<br>
So now I need to feed him... I climb back into bed, get my pillows arranged so that I can sit up with my back supported, get my shirt up, nipple shield on (I'm working on weaning him off the shield, but we need it for now, especially when he's already crying when I try to get him latched), and then I reach over to pick him up and he starts to nurse. But now I'm sitting up in bed for the next 45 minutes, in the dark, while he eats. I am afraid to fall asleep sitting up like that, lest Nate slip out of my arms, and it's not exactly exciting to do this 2 or three times in the night!<br>
I have tried side-lying nursing, and it doesn't really seem to work... getting ourselves arranged is hard, and switching sides is killer because rolling over hurts on its own, but is doubly hard with a baby in my arms. Plus I seem to fall right to sleep, the nipple falls out of Nate's mouth, and he ends up fussing again for me to get us rearranged.<br><br>
It's almost seeming easier to just do his nighttime feeds out in the living room where it's easier to sit upright in the rocker or on the couch. And I can read or use the computer to keep myself awake. Even if we both fall asleep while he's nursing, he's supported by the boppy and I'm at an angle where he just ends up nestled on my chest -- I'm much less worried about dropping him.<br><br>
Any ideas about how to make this easier? Am I missing some tips/tricks for making the cosleeper work better for us?<br><br>
thanks Mamas!
 

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I don't have a co-sleeper (we bedshare) but I want to say that even at 4 weeks you're both still learning so it's normal that you're having difficulty. Keep trying the side-lying nursing. It's hard at first but eventually you can do it. I couldn't get it to work at first until I started out nursing sitting up and then managed to transition into a semi-side-lying position. Once they have good neck strength it becomes a lot easier. Here's a site with pics and advice on how to do it properly: <a href="http://mother-2-mother.com/tut-layingdown.htm" target="_blank">http://mother-2-mother.com/tut-layingdown.htm</a>. Maybe some other mamas can give you more tips particularly on how to do it after a c-section.<br><br>
I understand that you want to be considerate to your DH and his sleep, however, please consider having him help you out at night. He can help with changing the baby, especially since you're still recovering from your c-section.<br><br>
In the end, remember a lot of this stuff gets worked out through trial and error.
 

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i absolutely agree with the pp.<br><br>
until almost 8 weeks, i slept with dd in a recliner. healing from a c-section is not easy and all those twists and turns are really hard on your body. after 8 weeks side nursing was much easier for both of us and nighttime got much better.<br><br>
also keep in mind that this is a very temporary situation. your baby is growing and changing at an incredible rate and you are learning so much! adapt as you can and ask your dh to help you at night now while it's really difficult. it's not permanent!
 

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The big key here is going to be the side lying nurse. I also had two c -sections .In the beginning when my belly was still achy I would take a small throw pillow and push it up tight against my belly and it would help that "my guts are going to fall out of me" feeling you get right after a section.<br>
This allowed me to lay on my side. Also I would keep one of those travel diaper pads in the end of the co-sleeper with wipes and diapers. Baby fussed and if they were super wet I would sit up in bed lay the pad down in front of me and change the baby right there. Wrap up the diaper throw it on the floor till morning. Since I kept the baby in the dark and in the bed (the sleeping spot) they never got super revved up. Good luck Mama!
 

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My ds is 2 months and I am still heading for the living room to nurse and change him. It is more comfortable for me to nurse him in a chair, and he has so many digestive issues that I want to be sure to nurse him while he's at an angle and burp him after. Toward morning I will often nurse him in the side-lying position so we can both keep sleeping. I still need light to nurse him, though. Once you can do it in the dark, you can either nurse in the side-lying position or sit up in bed with a pillow behind you. Then, especially if your partner changes diapers for you, you can stay in bed.<br><br>
It will get easier as your baby gets older; later cosleeping is a great help for everyone getting sleep and not having to get up and down.<br><br>
There are other compelling reasons for cosleeping, however.
 

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I agree that you will both get the hang of it in due time. It takes practice. But I also agree that DH can and should help you out more.<br><br>
Soon you won't need to change DS at every feeding. If he's not soiled or leaking, you can skip the changing. Keep working on the side lying position and weaning from the nipple shield, which will help nighttime feedings tremendously.<br><br>
When DD had been home for less than a week, my husband and I got a horrible stomach virus and I only left the bed to go to the bathroom for 2 days. I don't think DD left the room for that time either. She was 5 pounds and had just gotten the hang of breastfeeding after being in the NICU. We made it work because we HAD to. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I night nursed laying on my side with DD laying next to me. I would fall back to sleep after she latched on, wake up and she would be done nursing and sleeping next to me. We both slept comfortably this way.
 

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I could have written this post six months ago, except I had a sidecarred crib rather than a co-sleeper. My advice is to just be open to changing your setup to whatever works, time and again, and eventually it'll settle down.<br><br>
I had to disconnect my sidecar at first because after the C-section I couldn't get out via the foot of the bed like I had planned. Plus too I was up to change the diaper anyhow, so having the baby at arms reach didn't help. My DH has MS and can't walk right away when he wakes up, nor feel his fingers, so it worked better for me to do the night diapers. So I'd get up, get the baby, change him, then sit on a couch to nurse. We had brought a small couch into the bedroom. That way, I could just sit down and not deal with all that pillow arranging.<br><br>
I was able to wean him off the nipple shield when he was seven weeks, but didn't master sidelying nursing till he could control his head at three or four months. In fact I posted here in the bfeeding section about how I couldn't get it to work, and the consensus in that thread was that head control made all the difference. At that point, I re-sidecarred the crib and also had enough of my own abs back that I could sit up and change him in bed. Now he's seven months old and can get thru the night if I change the diaper around 7 as he gets ready for bed and again at 1 am (I set an alarm on my phone). All the other wakings/nursings I only half wake for.<br><br>
So, give it time, expect it to take time by getting as many naps and early bedtimes for yourself as you can, and don't hesitate to rig up temporary solutions for a few weeks at a time!
 

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This sounds like our first month and half or so. It really helped once DS was completely weaned from the shield and could latch himself on by smell and instinct. I practiced side lying nursing in the mornings when we were both pretty well rested, but didn't want to get out of bed yet (but only after he consistently didn't need the shield). Around that time, I also started noticing that the diapers weren't dirty, and sometimes not even wet, when I went to change him at night, so I stopped changing him (we use disposable diapers at night, but he is often dry until the early morning hours anyway). Give it a few more weeks, and everything will be much easier and the whole convenience of co-sleeping will suddenly make sense (before about 2 months, I did not understand co-sleeping at all -- I was afraid of smothering DS, or loosing him over the side of the bed, I didn't get how I could nurse him and sleep myself, and I didn't see any benefit from having him next to me since I had to get out of bed to change him at each waking. Now, he sleeps next to me, gets rolled over my chest to nurse on the other side if necessary, and I hardly wake at all after he joins us in bed, even if he eats 2 or 3 times). Good luck on getting it all to work for you.
 

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I put diapers and wipes on the bed, so that when he needs changed I don't have to get out of bed. The first ~6 weeks he didn't nurse sidelying well at all, so I ended up in the living room as well. Once he got the hang of it, it got much better. Also, we always have a very dim light on in the room, so if I need to, I can read while he nurses back to sleep. I can't imagine trying to deal with my high-needs newborn as well as healing from a c-section <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"> good luck! You will figure it out <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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One thing that helped me with the night changings was that we switched to the halo sleep sack swaddles. I could unzip her legs and change the diaper, but her arms stayed swaddled so she wasn't as disrupted. You can do the same thing with the kiddopatamus ones, but it is harder. I also put one of those reading pillows with arm rests at my spot in the bed so that all I had to do was sit up with the boppy and nurse her after I changed her. I admit that I did all asleep like this a few times, but the pillow helped keep the boppy in place so she could never move. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
nak<br><br>
Thanks for the ideas everybody! It's also good to hear that others had and overcame similar challenges. We'll figure it out! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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For sidelying, you shouldn't have to roll over to nurse from the other side. I face the baby, both of us on our sides. I tilt forward to let him nurse from the top breast, and tilt backward to let him nurse from the bottom breast. But, at this age (he's almost 3 months) he still doesn't nurse from both sides in one sitting. My older son didn't nurse from both sides for months, either.<br><br>
I do want to say that even though I was "experienced" with nighttime nursing, my new baby wasn't... and it was rough going for the first several weeks. It took me an hour to nurse him every time he woke up. It was awful! I didn't have that experience with my older son -- I was always able to sleep through our nursing sessions. It's finally gotten better in the past few weeks. SO much better. And I know it only continues to get easier! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 
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