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hi mommies,ftm of a beautiful ebf 5mo boy. i'd love nothing more than to snuggle with him until he asks for his own bed. but he wakes up 9x per night and nothing soothes him but nursing. he is completely off the weight charts and nurses so much that he spits up (happily) after many feeds, he sometimes seems uncomfortable with how much he's eating and he is not particularly mobile yet and his ped says it's because he's on the bigger side. he also seems cranky because of the fragmented sleep, and sadly i can't handle waking up that frequently either. i saw stars the other day when i lifted him out of his bath and nearly fell down the stairs with him in my arms. so i got a sleep training plan tailored to my parenting philosophies where i'll soothe and sing and stroke and encourage him but everything i do makes him more furious. so i just sit by him while he figures it out on his own. he really seems to be making progress but i'm so confused. i don't know when to tend to him and when to let him figure things out. i don't want to draw out the process but i also don't want to neglect a true need.a couple more details, i don't eat dairy, soy, caffeine, alcohol or excessive amounts of sugar so as not to disrupt his sleep further. my husband and i spend tons of time with him in our arms, in carriers and engaging with him. here's the weirdest part - he's been falling asleep happily on his own without a pacifier in his crib at bedtime (btw 6:30-7) for about a month, he just can't stay asleep.
if anyone has any words of wisdom i'd greatly appreciate it.
I have been there sister. You have a high needs baby. My son would sleep from 10-3 when he was 2 months old and then cluster feed every hour until about 7.
At 4 months he started waking every 40 minutes so he would get up 10+ time a night. The only thing that helped was breastfeeding. I thought oh well it will only last a few months.......At 10 months old he was still doing this. I don't ever get help from DH since he works and I had some serious post pardum depression. I was lucky to get 2 hours of sleep at once. I never ate dairy, grains, caffeine. I tried elevating him for reflux. I did chiropractic. He also refused to eat food so I thought maybe he was hungry but it has been a long road.
When he was 12 months old I took him to a naturalpath and she said he was having blood sugar issues so she has been doing treatments but he is now 17 months old and still gets up 6 times at least a night. It is overwhelming.
I am just telling you this (not to make you cry) to let you know you are not alone.
I am going to write more but my LO is crying because I am on the computer. HIGH needs.
Be back later
I just wanted to add that our naturalpath said the reason my LO wakes is because he doesnt get into deep sleep. He cant relax. Classic high needs baby. Any amount of stimulation is too much. I can only run one errand a day or its overload. I cant ever let anyone hold him. He cant be in the same room with a TV. I am obsessed with sleep after this last year.
I went to 5 pediatricians and the last one said to try melatonin. I never did because I am so used to being up all night and 6 times a night compared to the 12 it used to be is not so bad.
I had a friend with a new born and she looked bad and said oh my baby is up every 2 hours and I was actually jealous of her.
You should google high needs baby and you might get some better advice but know you are not alone.
Oh yeah I tried not nursing him when he woke and it just made him get fully awake so it would take 1-2 hours to get him back asleep so we nurse and he goes right back down for another hour or so.
Let me know if you solve your problem because I would love a solution too.
Have you tried baby wearing? I find that babywearing provides almost the same amount of comfort to my daughter and so there is less "comfort nursing" going on and she's only nursing when actually hungry. Also, you can try offering the breast last, to be sure baby is really crying to nurse. So when baby cries, you would check diaper first, temp/comfort (are they too hot or too cold?), and reducing stimulation (turning lights down, removing noise, etc). And also the hold/baby-wearing. Also for some reason I noticed the colicky babies I have babysat, many of them calmed down almost instantly if I bought them outside. Doesn't mean it works for every baby, just my experience. Heck, even my daughter now who isn't colicky still gets calmed when we go outside. If none of that works, THEN nurse.
Some babies cry no matter what you do. It's hard. It's heartbreaking. But trust that so long as you are there for your baby, the bond remains strong. Think about it this way. Let's say someone you loved died and you were crying. Having someone at your side to comfort you wouldn't make your tears go away, but having no one at your side would make you feel alone and unloved. So even if you can't stop the tears, that's good. If you need to put him down sometimes when noting is working to recollect yourself, do so. Take a few deep breaths and try again. Also keep in mind babies can sense stress, so you could be caught in a cycle--you're stressed because he's crying, he cries because you're stressed, your stress continues, his crying continues.
It's not a bad thing to hold your baby while he cries. Maybe try this: Hold him while rocking him and singing to him. See how long it takes him to calm down. Then try holding him without movement/noise. See if he calms down faster this way. If you keep trying both ways eventually you will see a pattern and that can indicate if it's an issue of over-stimulation or not.
I personally don't recommend sleep training, but that doesn't mean I think all parents have to bed share. It doesn't work for every family. I would recommend looking into THE NO CRY SLEEP SOLUTION book by Elizabeth Pantley. Maybe you can get some good ideas there for gently parenting your child to sleep WITHOUT nursing or bed-sharing.
And yes, your sleep is absolutely important. I hope you get some soon because it doesn't sound safe for you right now. I wish you had someone around who could help you, even if for only a weekend so that you could catch up on a little sleep and try tacking this issue again recharged.
Check out the Attachment Parenting Board for Effective Parenting Solutions.
PM me if have questions about autism, TTC gender swaying, natural childbirth, going "vaccine-free", or if you are looking for gentle discipline advice.
Ok so I tried everything in the book - the more I soothed him the harder he cried. I had a gentle sleep coaching plan outlined for me that didn't work. Finally one night after exhausting all strategies we left our room. After just a couple nights he now only wakes once to eat after 7-9 hours of straight sleep and then when he wakes around 430/5 I take him to bed and we snuggle and nurse for a couple hours until 6/7. The truth is my constant comforting was getting in the way of him figuring out how to stay asleep. Jumping at every whimper was what my instincts told me to do - respond to his needs! But I now realize that giving him a moment to figure things out before I spring to rescue him helps him realize he doesn't need to be rescued. He still lets me know when he needs me at night when he's hungry and when he expects his snuggles in the early morning - and he definitely knows I'm there for him.
I realized one day after he cried for 40 minutes when we tried to put him down for a nap, when I gave up and brought him out of the bedroom he immediately laughed at me. In our case he was not saying, I'm scared, I'm alone, where's my mommy? He was screaming where's my boobie where's my boobie!?!
PS I wear him a couple hours a day! I have an ergo and a beco and he spends most of his waking hours playing in our arms. We're both lucky to be home with him
Thank you both so much for the advice. I seriously never thought I'd ever leave him to cry but he ended up telling me what he needed.