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Breast Feeding and Sleep

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Sleep, oh, sleep, where for art thou, sleep?
The Bear is now 7.5 months and has decided that in the middle of the night he wants to party. We had a few good months– months 3, 4 and 5– where he slept through the night. From 6 pm to 6 am he dozed away, uninterrupted. It was sheer bliss. But then, sometime this past summer, he fell off the wagon. Now, he won’t go back to sleep unless I breast feed him. He’s up at least once during the night. Sometimes twice. I’ve been trying to do the Ferber sleep training thing, but it’s not working yet.
I know there are many different approaches to teaching your kids to sleep. I’ve bought the books. I’ve asked the pediatrician and friends for advice. Still nothing is working yet. As The Bortski would say, “Help, Please, Help!”
Any and all advice is welcome. Or if you don’t have any specific recommendations, simply tell your tales of sleepless nights. This might not be Shakespearian, but I’m sure it will make for good reading. Misery loves company, right?

9 Responses to “Breast Feeding and Sleep”

I am having a second baby now,who is 5 month old and we are breastfeeding every 3 hours during the night and he never, so far, did not sleep through the night. I am completely against Ferber method even if I know it is hard to wake up every night so often… so when I am just nearly collapsing because of lack oh sleeping:) I just think: it will be “soon” over, kids will grow, go, but now they are still here, with me in my lap, and all they need is mom or dad to hug and they are happy. Is’t that wonderfull? If we could be happy just by huging eachother, the life would be a fairytale:)
Many regards, Barbara, Ljubljana – Slovenia – Europe

I can sympathize…Elnora started sleeping through the night at 7 weeks. (10pm-6am)
By 10 weeks, it was 7pm-7am. She never woke up until sometime in the 7th months, then suddenly it was once a night 3-5 nights a week until she was 14 months.
It sucked…but as the previous commenter said…they are only young once and in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t last long. Now that Elnora is big enough that she rarely wants to cuddle and rock, I miss those days. This time around I’ve noticed that I have a much easier time surviving the sleep deprivation if I go at it from that attitude…
With Elnora it was “I just have to survive one more night, eventually, she’s gonna stop this.” With Emmitt it’s “Some day, he’s not going to need this anymore, I better try and enjoy it now…”

I hate to give advice since I hate receiving it, but since you asked….We had success with Weissbluth’s book Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child. He recommends letting your child cry at night without ever checking in. I did not believe in any cry it out method, but going in repeatedly to reassure our little guy, only prolonged how long it took for him to sleep. After only 2 nights of this, we have not had a problem since (it’s been 5-6 mos). This book is NOT for everyone. I still feel a little uneasy about letting a baby cry, but it worked for us. Just a suggestion. Good luck!!!

It may help to know that MANY babies, even those who previously were sleeping long stretches at night, start to wake more often around the 6 months mark because of teething. It makes no difference how you are feeding your baby – he wakes up because teething hurts.
Some of us can remember getting our wisdom teeth… yes, it hurts just like that!
During the daytime it is easier to be distracted from the pain, but everything always seems to be worse at night when it is dark.
Nursing your baby will help to soothe him and get him back to sleep quickly so that YOU can go back to sleep soon.
This is just a passing phase – he will not be doing it for the rest of his life!

I crave sleep. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since our first daughter was born six years ago.
Daughter no. 2 still comes into our bed in the early hours every night.
Baby no. 3 is now 15 months old and wakes every two hours.
If someone has a cure for sleepless children please share it!!

How about “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley?

My now 6 year old did not sleep through until I weaned her when she was almost 3. My now almost 2 year old still does not sleep through the night. It is all about self comfort. Everybody awakes at some point during the night and rolls over and goes back to sleep, but for our little ones we have trained them that they have to nurse to sleep. It all pretty much comes down to either you can let them learn to self soothe (by many different “methods”) or resign to the fact that there will come a day when you wish you were nursing your little one in the middle of the night.

Baby #1- now 4/weaned- was such a good sleeper for us. I did breastfeed him through the night for quite sometime. I think I hit a wall around 6 months or so and then he moved into his new room! As soon as he could roll over, he started sleeping through the night. Oh, and we discovered the Healthy Sleep Habits book and it worked wonders with him. The best part about this book was learning to put my kids to bed early! They thrive on sleep (not all kids do, apparently, but mine must have it or else!). He’d go to bed at 6:30pm and sleep till 7am the next day. I was in my glory.
Baby #2- now 2 and weaned- was a bit more tricky. We tried the Weissbluth method and it took a bit longer- a lot longer. Nothing seemed to work with him- he really had problems sleeping from day one! It took about 11-12 months to finally get him to a point of not waking up at all through the night and now he sleeps from about 7:30pm to 6:30-7 am. He’s my early riser.
Hope things improve- sleep is such a tricky thing to teach kids, I had no idea it would be like that before I had them!
my best advice- do what works best for YOUR family!

I have a 19 week old daughter who is breast fed, from 12 weeks old she slept through the night(7pm til 6 am)for the last 2 weeks she has woke up twice every night for a feed, tried to calm her every other way but she does not go back to sleep until she has fed, as soon as she has finished feeding I put her down and she goes back to sleep quickly.I’m considering stopping breast feeding but feel guilty.

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