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Old 08-01-2014, 11:03 AM   #1
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Sleep Training or Nursing Alll Night

It has come to this. I am so torn as to what to do. I paid $50 for the Sleep Sense Program and am reading through it. It says it's not CIO, but basically you put you baby in their crib and sit beside them for an hour comforting them until they cry themselves to sleep.

Our other option is the downward spiral that we are on of cosleeping and nursing to sleep, and back to sleep and then nursing constantly to stay asleep. We are not rested anymore. She isn't the same baby she was when she was STTN. Cosleeping and nursing to sleep worked beautifully until she was 3 months old. She was sleeping 6-9 hours followed by a quick nursing to eat (not lazily sucking for comfort) and a 3-5 hour stretch. She was happy and rested. Now I practically live in bed with her just so we both can get some light, broken sleep.

I love her in my bed. I'm sad to think of her having to be in her own crib, even if it is right next to my bed. I don't want her to become happy sleeping in her crib just because she gave up hope that I would come for her.

I've waited it out for 1.5 months thinking it was a growth spurt, wonder week, sleep regression, milk supply issue, food allergy, teething, diaper rash, ANYTHING! But it is not getting better, only worse; to the point where now instead of just waking constantly for the boob, she will unlatch and lay there awake for an hour.

Cosleeping seemed natural with my newborn. Now at 4.5 months even my hippie ways loving self has to admit something isn't working /right about what we are doing.

Which is more important? A good nights sleep that is important for her brain, body and happiness or the emotional security of feeling safe and close under mama's wing? Because we are no longer achieving both.

I guess I just needed to vent. If you made it this far, please just share with me anything and everything that comes to your mind.

Thanks,
Feeling sad and helpless

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Old 08-01-2014, 02:29 PM   #2
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Re: Sleep Training or Nursing Alll Night

My daughter did this too. She is still very young so expect that she is going to go through many phases of change this first year. She is growing rapidly and her needs will change constantly. Eventually she will sleep longer but if it were me I just accept the frequent waking as a normal part of nursing and wait it out. Perhaps a little extra activity in the evening, an extra feeding during the day, but probably won't make a difference. Maybe a bed right next to yours to give her a little space? Things to try but I personally would not put her in another room especially if your instincts say no. You will both get through this phase and soon it will be forgotten. Good luck!
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:52 PM   #3
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Re: Sleep Training or Nursing Alll Night

What's more important? To me, rest. For both of you. You have to take good care of your baby's mama if you want to be able to take good care of your baby. And baby's brain needs deep, restorative sleep to develop, too (and her intestinal tract needs a rest from digesting milk all night long).

Emotional security and feeling safe under mama's wing ARE important, but as long as you are meeting her emotional needs when she's awake, that's all you can do. If she is STTN, she doesn't know if you are nearby or not--she's asleep . And you will be better able to meet her emotional needs during the day if you are fully rested, instead of crabby and foggy due to lack of sleep.

She will not "give up hope" that you will come for her, but rather learn a new habit. She will break the bad habit of waking up fully every time her body transitions from one sleep cycle to the next. Babies can sometimes wiggle around, make noises, even open their eyes when they are between sleep cycles. Eventually, their brains learn to connect those cycles so they flow from one to the next seamlessly--unless there is someone nearby who misinterprets that fussing and wiggling for being hungry, starts feeding them, and then fully wakes them up. Over time, that baby's brain learns to just wake up and eat between every cycle, because that is what it has been taught.

I'm sure many mamas can cosleep and have a baby STTN without nursing, but I have personally never heard of any. IME, separate sleeping spaces are essential so that you two don't accidentally wake one another up all night long and keep perpetuating the problem. Maybe someone else who has done it successfully can chime in, though.

I also had a baby in March . He is my fourth and I did the same thing with them all. By now, we are in a good daytime routine that I initiate, which helps with nights tremendously. I never used CIO, but you are not a bad mom if that's what you end up doing. If you are nursing too often, or nursing her to sleep for naps, she won't get FULL at each feeding and then will need to eat again soon after. If baby doesn't get plenty of good routine naps during the day, they will also be too tired to sleep well at night (sounds counterintuitive, but true).

My son wakes around 7:00, nurses right away and then I keep him up until 8:30 or 9:00 for his morning nap. Then he wakes and eats late morning, naps again early afternoon, wakes and eats around 3:00, naps again late afternoon, and wakes around 5:00 or so. I nurse him one last time before bed around 7:00pm and then put him in his crib in his own room. He sleeps solidly without waking most nights. That's a grand total of 4 nursing sessions in 24 hours. I know most EBF moms here will read that and pitch a fit, but it is a routine that works well for babies all over the world and I assure you he is not malnourished--he weighs 20 pounds .

If I were you, I would start by NOT jumping up to feed her every time she fusses or acts hungry. Watch and wait to see if she even needs it. Maybe she's bored, or tired, or if it is nighttime maybe she's finishing a sleep cycle. Start easing into a daytime eating and napping routine. Try to feed her when she first wakes up (during the day) instead of nursing her to sleep. Push her to get FULL each time she eats (I do single-side feeding now to make sure he gets all the fatty hindmilk at each feed and totally empties that breast--which has the added benefit of making the other breast about bursting at the next feed so she will have more to eat the next time). Based on your description of your daughter's nighttime habits at 3 months, I am guessing she would have started STTN on her own shortly thereafter if she had been in her own bed. You are NOT being neglectful or selfish if you decide to do whatever you need to do to get to that point. Good luck!

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Old 08-01-2014, 03:32 PM   #4
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Re: Sleep Training or Nursing Alll Night

One of my twins was a latched &/or nursing all night little barnacle around that age. The other twin slept in the crib in our room most of the night. I did tolerate it for a couple months. Then I got sick & DP took nighttime duty for a couple nights. She put the more-independently-sleeping twin in her own room...there was some crying, but we're on the same page about what's acceptable (we go get them if the crying lasts more than about 5min). Then my barnacle went into the crib in our room. It hasn't been a perfect transition; some nights are still rough, especially if we're off schedule, but we got to where we'd nurse at bedtime, I'd put her in her crib, she'd wake once overnight & sleep in the crib otherwise. When she wakes, she comes into bed w/ me & usually stays for an hour or two b/c I fall asleep. We just moved & her crib doesn't fit in our room, so both girls have been sleeping in their own room...and they sleep so much better, even though Barnacle Baby still wakes for a feeding.

I appreciate the closeness of cosleeping, but I think that proximity & baby's ability to smell your milk mostly means it's an all night milk bar...mine would even scrabble across the bed & paw at my breasts if I tried to sneak away. We've been pretty gentle, but Barnacle Baby & I both needed the space & sleep. I figure I lead my older kid all the time...to be safe, touse her manners, to change her underwear. Why shouldn't I [gently] lead her toward a routine that works or works better for both of us.
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Old 08-01-2014, 03:47 PM   #5
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Re: Sleep Training or Nursing Alll Night

I can honestly say I have never met a breastfeeding mom that can get away with 4 feeds a day at 4 months. It's amazing that you can, and that's great if it works for you but I know if I nursed that little we wouldn't have been able to nurse so long.
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Old 08-01-2014, 04:27 PM   #6
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Re: Sleep Training or Nursing Alll Night

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pal2012 View Post
I can honestly say I have never met a breastfeeding mom that can get away with 4 feeds a day at 4 months. It's amazing that you can, and that's great if it works for you but I know if I nursed that little we wouldn't have been able to nurse so long.
I think perhaps it is because so many women get it drilled into them that it's not possible, or not good for the baby, or will ruin their supply, or all of the above. I have known many EBF moms who nurse only four time a day--the ones who came to me, as an experienced breatfeeder, begging for help. Their babies were not gaining well, or were sleeping poorly, or always gassy, or their supply was dropping. Every single time, when they cut down the nursing sessions while ALSO making sure that their babies were getting FULL feedings (not just falling asleep, or bobbing off so mom assumes baby is full and puts it away), the babies thrived. I dug into this a bit further and found this is a worldwide practice, feeding babies less often rather than more. Of course, in some cultures they DO feed a baby every hour, but both methods can work well so I think it's important to consider all the options
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Old 08-02-2014, 07:23 AM   #7
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Re: Sleep Training or Nursing Alll Night

I just want to agree with previous poster. My DD only nurses 5-6 times in 24 hrs. She has an excellent nap routine and sleeps about 9-11 hours over night wakes eats and then sleeps again for a total of about 13 hours sleep over night. I started out co-sleeping with both of my girls and both times we went quickly to the crib and it was so much better for everyone after that. I never had to let either of them cry it out. I would, just feed her and then settle her back in the crib. Yes it made for a couple long nights, but they learned quickly and when they weren't right next to the boob they slept much better.
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Old 08-02-2014, 07:50 AM   #8
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Re: Sleep Training or Nursing Alll Night

In your situation I would do some sleep-training. IMO good rest is very important to mama and baby, and you can still have a very close and fulfilling relationship with your baby without co-sleeping. I totally understand not wanting to do it, but it could be that your LO will just sleep better by herself. How often as parents we have these desires and expectations of how things will go and then these little people throw us crazy curveballs!

With my oldest I was determined not to co-sleep but she ended up in bed with me for at least half of every night for several months. Around 9 or 10 months old I mostly night-weaned her because she was waking both of us up all.night.long to eat and we were both miserable and crabby during the day. It took a couple of weeks but once she was sleeping all night in her own bed (waking once to eat during the night) we were both SO MUCH HAPPIER! lol

With the next one I assumed we would also co-sleep but she learned on her own to self-soothe very early on and always slept better by herself.

With #3 (almost 6 months old now) I didn't really want to co-sleep but was prepared to if necessary, and he has slept with me the least -- he is very restless in bed with me but sleeps great on his own.

It sounds to me like your LO needs to learn some new sleep associations. You've gotten good advice from PPs but if you haven't already, I recommend doing some reading about sleep associations and patterns. Dr. Ferber's book is really good in regards to that (you can skip the CIO stuff if that's not your thing.) I have done CIO with all of my kids but when DD1 was a baby we were in a one-bedroom apt. with a neighbor who complained about the crying, and I was able to successfully night-wean/sleep-train with very minimal crying. It took a couple of weeks but like I said, we were so much happier and well-rested afterward.

GL with whatever you decide, and remember that it might get harder before it gets easier so don't give up! I really like what PP said about guiding our children -- some babies need sleep guidance!
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Old 08-02-2014, 08:04 AM   #9
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Re: Sleep Training or Nursing Alll Night

The nursing question is very interesting. I know her sleep is not an isolated event and since we do nurse a lot it probably plays into our struggle. Like we nurse a LOT more than 4 times. I just don't know how else to get her to sleep so I feed her one side when she wakes up and one side when she goes to sleep. How can I be sure that she is getting full and not just bobbing off?

Last night I started a mini trial run because if I'm going to think about sleep training, I'd rather ease her into it as gently as possible. I decided no more nursing while laying down. Recently her new thing has been when I lay her back down or roll away after nursing her to sleep she will wake up within 15 minutes and that starts our constant nursing session.

So last night she had 3 night wakings where I sat up in bed to nurse her. Each time I laid her down, as normal, she started fussing /crying. Usually I'd try to get her nursing as quickly as possible to avoid her fully waking, but last night I just let her be and WOW! I want to say in 2 minutes she had squirmed and fussed around and cried out a bit and was back asleep! The 3rd time it was literally 2 little wails and that was it. I didn't feel like it was CIO at all because it was more, "I want to be asleep" fusses than crying. I know that is a tiny thing, but it felt good to reverse a little bit of our issues!
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Old 08-02-2014, 08:11 AM   #10
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Re: Sleep Training or Nursing Alll Night

Your daughter is 4.5 months? At that age it is natural for them to wake at night. My crunchy doc said natural night weaning occurs at 18mnths and so that is a good time to encourage like you suggested. At 18mnths we held them, crying, to sleep, offered water, and it took a couple nights.
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