Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Ongoing (Lack of) Sleep Saga

I am blogging one-handed again as Baby Boy takes a little snooze in my lap. The good news is, we've finally found a way to get him to sleep in his crib instead of only with us in our bed. Baby Boy has never been able to sleep well on his back, so we finally got a sleep positioner that helps him stay in place on his side. He's slept great with it, although he will rarely stay happy in the crib without a pacifier, and wakes up when it falls out of his mouth. I probably plugged it in about two dozen times last night when he started to squirm, wanting it. So the bad news is that I am not sleeping well at all...about 3 hours total last night, but that was in bits and pieces. Even when Baby Boy is doing fine, I lay awake listening to the light snores and other sounds he makes in his sleep, wondering if it's worth it for me to try to get to sleep when he'll probably wake me up one way or another in a few minutes.

Baby Boy is still nursing twice a night. He's a chubby 17 pounds, so I know he has some reserves and doesn't really need nighttime nursing, but I'm clueless how to get him to stop waking up wanting to nurse. Plus, I'm not entirely sure I want to cut out nighttime nursing, as we're currently using only the lactation ammenorhea method for child spacing, which requires nighttime nursing to be effective.

But something's got to give. Does it have to be this hard? Will I ever feel rested again? Any ideas or encouraging words will be quite appreciated today.


prayzgod said...

If you're doing lactation amenhorea, then you'll need to keep having at least one night time feeding - OR... ;-) Get a double electric breast pump (the one by 'The First Years' is great, and low cost) and get up and pump then go back to bed. Pumping only takes 15 minutes total, with a double electric breast pump (since it efficiently pumps both side at the same time) :-D

As for sleeping during the night, he may need to have a fuller tummy. Have you introduced rice cereal to him yet? My baby is nearing 20 pounds herself, and is quite chubby. I just started her on rice cereal a few days ago, and she loves it! :-)

Also, is he waking you up with all out crying at night, or is he just "talking?" My 3 month old sometimes wakes up and night, and talks, then 5 minutes later she is back to sleep. In fact, that's how she often falls asleep, is to chatter for about 5 minutes. And some babies actually need to cry for a short time to get themselves unwinded for sleep. Next time he wakes you up, don't give him the pacifier, just wait 5-10 minutes and see what he does. If he gets really upset, then comfort him, and give him his pacifier, but he may surprise you.

If he wakes up acting hungry, also wait 5-10 minutes and see what he does. If he persists, give him a few ounces of spring water, and see if that helps. Babies get thirsty too. It may not be hunger, it could be dry mouth.

Meanwhile, during the day are you demand feeding, or feeding him on a schedule? If you're not on a schedule, I suggest that you may want to try one. Since you need to keep your milk up, nurse him every three hours. Set up specific times each day for nursing him, at three hour intervals, and keep at it.

Give him his last feeding right before you go to bed. Make sure he is well-burped and changed, then tuck him in. Don't wake him to feed him at night, feed on demand at night. (The trick here, is that during the day he will learn to wait for you to feed him, instead of him telling you. AT night, he'll soon wait for you to wake him up to feed, instead of the other way around. This way, you can feed him his feeding between 5 and 9 in the morning, depending on when his last night feeding was, before you went to bed.) - Again, only get up if he's crying. Sometiems babies just talk for a bit, or may even seem awake, but are actually still asleep, in what's called "active sleep." (Baby's alternate between "sound sleep" and "alternate sleep" through the night.)

If your little one ins't sleeping through the night by 16 weeks old, then I'd suggest that you want to let him "cry it out" for a few nights. Remember, he needs his sleep too, and if he is keeping you up, then guess what? He's not getting enough sleep either. :-(

I know well about the pacifier game. Sometimes my little one does that with me. On nights she does this, I notice she seems to have a tummy ache. Giving her a bit of Fletcher's Castoria (senna root) (a VERY small amount) fixes her up, so that her digestive system moves along, and the next night she is sleeping good again.

Also, he may have some acid reflux. Have you tried having him sleep in his car seat, or with the head end of his crib elevated?

Basically, child training starts at birth. Your baby learned how to nurse efficiently, he learned how to move his bowels and stay more still for a diaper change, he's learned the sound of your voice, and is probably learning the sound of his name, if he doesn't already know.

Now he is learning how to use his hands better (guess what? Soon he will learn to put his own pacifier in his mouth. :-) )

Just remember, with each passing month, things do get a bit easier. In a few months he will be learning to sit (this means he may be self-burping at that point), and around 5 or 6 months a lot of babies "suddenly" do better. Something just seems to switch on with them neurologically and digestivly.

You are past the hardest parts. Each month gets easier - really. :-)

prayzgod said...

Oh, I forgot to add one thing.:-? How much is he sleeping during the day? Try to keep him up a lot during the day, so that he's good and tired for night time. If my little one naps to long and too often during the day, then that also will initiate the "pacifier game."

Anonymous said...

My first baby had an awful time sleeping also. She was very little and only weighed 17 pounds at a year and a half! Have you tried giving him some teas from a dropper? Spearamint and peppermint are very soothing to a baby. Peppermint also helps them sleep. I also gave up on the crib with her. We would put her in a swing and she would rock all night long. IT worked like a charm! The swinging motion helped soothe her fussiness and she slept longer. We had no problems moving her to a crib later on. BY then she was used to sleeping through the night and it was just routinge to her. MY heart goes out to you. IT is so hard to go with lack of sleep and it makes it harder to function through the day. The Lord and I had some really great talks in the wee hours of the morning! He will give you strength. Before you know it this stage will pass and you will start to enjoy life more! Take all the help that is offered to you, don't be shy!

Anonymous said...

*sigh*...memeories :-) I remember the "pacifier game" well with my first one. My second one never took to a pacifier though.

I successfully maintained lactation amenhorea for 8 months after my last pregnanacy (my goal was 12). But even once I got my period back, I was ovulating only every other month.

I found the advice of the book "breastfeeding and natural child spacing" by: shelia kippley to be very helpful. I highly recommend you read it, it doesn't cost much off Amazon.

I rarely suffered sleep deprivation with my last newborn, we slept together on the couch and in such a way that he had access to the breast all night long. I slept and he slept and ate and everyone got plenty of sleep.

You may want to set up a seperate bed for you and baby...I would normally put baby to sleep around 9pm (after a nice big feeding) and then go to bed with my hubby and then baby would get up around 12am-1am and he and I would sleep on the couch until hubby left for work, then we'd hop back in the bed. This way everyone was happy...the marriage bed was kept warm, I didn't ovulate and I was getting plenty of sleep :-)

We did this for the first 4 months and then we weren't sleep well together anymore, we kept waking each other up. That's when I knew it was time to move him into his crib, in his own room. I would feed him only once a night, and increased the feedings during the day. If he woke up more than once a night I'd simply lay him back down each time and tell him "night, night". It took only 2 nights for him to get the idea and then he and I were both sleeping good again.

It worked good for us and I plan on doing the same thing when my newest blessing is born :-)

Anonymous said...

oh yeah, I almost forgot. I didn't start feeding my little guy solids till he was 8 months old...that was also the time I started ovulating again. Coincidence? I think not :-)

When you do decide to feed solids, checking out the section at the back of "Nourishing traditions" called "Feeding babies"....they have excellent advice :-)

Amatthia said...

I really recommend that you try to get the baby on schedule as Candy and Stephanie suggested. With my first two I nursed them on demand all day and night and I had no problem with them making their own schedule. However, with my last baby, I did the same and it went horribly. I had (and still have) problem with her waking at night wanting to nurse and also wanting to nurse very fruenqtly throught out the day. NOw that she is 20 months I can just tell her no it is not time to nurse, but that did not work when she was younger. But I would try to start the schedule as soon as possible.
Also, I have always done lactation amenhorea, however, I ALWAYS got my period at 4-6 months after the baby was born. So I don't think that works for everybody.