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No Sleep...ever again?

February 14th, 2014 at 05:53 am

I'm not looking for advice on this one, I need to vent and try to mentally prepare for the next few days. The sleep patterns of my baby is getting worse. Her eating is getting worse. Pretty much the misery in my life is mounting and she is smiling, wiggling and happily causing it, as babies tend to do.

She is 3.5 months old. I am a breastfeeding mom. She sleeps in a cradle beside our bed.

At her best point around 2.5-3 months old she was sleeping in 4 hr stretches. She would give me a 4 hr stretch and then a 2 or 3 hr stretch. I was excited, she was slowly increasing her night time sleep stretches. Husband and I decided that once she was sleeping through the night we would transition her to the crib in her bedroom.

Then the week before I started work, so at 3 months- her sleep steadily deteriorated. She was waking more constantly, and her longest sleep stretch would be 3 hrs max. I knew it could be work related and knew we would get through it. But it's been almost 3 weeks now and it has not improved.

Lately she has been waking to feed at night and she will eat for HOURS. Previously she would wake and feed for 30 mins- 1 hr. The last few nights she has nursed for 2 -3 hrs straight in the middle of the night. On top of nursing for 2-3 hrs before going to bed. It's miserable. But I think it is related to problem #2.

Problem #2: Eating
She's a breastfed baby, but at 1 month we introduced her to the bottle and she took it like a champ. Husband would feed her from the bottle while I would be away from the house. The only problem we had was him running out of milk because she took the bottle so well.

The day I started work- baby REFUSED the bottle. All day long. She would play with it in her mouth, but act like she had no clue what it was. Eventually she would tire of husband trying to get her to take it and she would cry, push it away. Apparently the sight of the bottle now sometimes makes her get hysterical.

Its been 2 weeks of me working and baby has not taken the bottle. She would just scream from hunger during my 8 hr shifts, but refuse the bottle.

We tried reheated milk, fresh milk, daddy giving her bottle, mommy giving her bottle, different feeding positions, different bottle brands.

I have found that baby will take a liquid eye dropper and swallow milk inserted in her mouth. Husband thinks that method is ridiculous and time consuming and refuses to do it.

He has been driving her the 30 minutes each way to my work so I can feed her on my lunch break. Not very cost effective.

We thought maybe she is eating so much at night because she is not eating enough during the day. But I was off from work Wed/Thurs/Fri this week and she has been fed plenty during the day- still waking up every 2-3 hrs at night to feed for hours.

So last night I decided maybe she has outgrown the cradle. She can still fit in it fine but its a tighter fit. Maybe its waking her up often because she can not stretch out.

So last night at 3am I made the decision to move her into her crib. I decided this because she has never been fond of the cradle. She will scream and scream if she wakes in it. And often transitioning her from my bed to the cradle makes her wake and instantly cry to be returned back to the bed. Last night after nursing her for 2 hrs and putting her sleeping self into the cradle only to have her instantly awaken and cry to be picked back up- I decided it's crib time.

I nursed her and put her sleeping- into the crib. She slept for 3 hrs and woke. I nursed her again and put her back in the crib. She slept for 10 minutes and woke. And has not fallen back asleep since. It's like she is onto my game and refuses to sleep so she wont be transferred to the crib.

She's not afraid of the crib. She plays in the crib every morning as part of our routine. She is placed in the crib and all her toys are given to her to hold and put in her mouth. She enjoys that time.

So basically I have a baby that is:
Sleeping in shorter stretches.
Nursing for much longer between the stretches.
Refusing to eat from a bottle even if it means she goes for over 8 hrs without eating.

And now I'm putting her in the crib in the hopes that she will sleep through the night because she has room to stretch out.

This is not good. I don't know how long it will take for her to adjust to the crib. A week? Longer?

And once she is adjusted then maybe she will sleep in longer stretches or nurse for shorter periods between sleep stretches. Or worse case- maybe she wont and I am dooming myself to sleeping in the nursery on an uncomfortable twin bed for eternity, getting up every 2 hrs to feed the baby for 2 hrs at a time.

Or much worse case- maybe she will make the association between falling asleep in my arms at night and waking in her crib- and refuse to fall asleep at night completely. She's already nursing for 2 hrs straight- I imagine she can do it for 5 or 6 hrs if she became determined.

I just thought her sleeping would get better and better and better. Not worse. I never even got the luxury of 1 full nights sleep! I feel so jilted and deprived. Especially knowing that the crib transition is going to make it worse before it might get better.

And whats up with the $350 electric pump I bought to give her bottled milk? Was that a total waste of money or will she eventually take a bottle again?

That's it. This is the biggest problem in my life. This is what is (literally) keeping me awake at night.

22 Responses to “No Sleep...ever again?”

  1. just a thought Says:

    I know you didn't ask for advice, but I'd call your pediatrician. S/he may have some suggestions.

  2. TashaC. Says:

    I will if this continues much longer. I'm trying to hang in there until babies next dr appointment March 10th. I'm afraid the dr is going to tell me to quit my job. Husband already wants me to quit so the dr saying it will be a professional opinion I wont be able to argue.

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    You don't want advice?? Big Grin My youngest went on complete bottle strike when I went back to work. We had to end up buying other bottles until we found one he would take. I don't remember the brand, but just google "baby won't take bottle". You will see what the recommended brands are. (I just had to share that in case it is helpful). Aside from feeding him at noon every day (I always went home to feed for lunch), we let him starve. I think between the "starving" and the new bottles, we sorted it out in a few days.

  4. MonkeyMama Says:

    P.S. Doctor will not tell you to quit your job. !! That is not a realistic solution for most working moms. If it's going to work, you do need your husband's support.

    To be fair, I Was not the one who had to "starve" my baby and it was very hard on dh. But, you know, this is just for a few days until baby gets adjusted and maybe for bottles to get sorted out. This is not forever. Tell him to suck it up!

  5. TashaC. Says:

    Thanks Monkey! Google tells me babies spontaneously refusing the bottle is common. Thats how I got the eye dropper hint. I'm hesitant to buy more bottles because I feel like I already wasted $350 on pumping/bottles. But I'm encouraged that your baby started taking the bottle again. And yes- starving the baby is really hard on husband- he'd rather I quit my job than endure the hours of screaming. I tell him he is being short sighted- the baby will be on solids in a month. Worst case the starvation is just for a few more weeks.

  6. TashaC. Says:

    Well my writing down this problem has made me realize I'm actually moving her to the crib so husband can get a full nights sleep. He has been a champ about waking when I wake since she was born. But now that she wakes more frequently and is awake for hours- it doesn't seem fair to make husband go through this given he cant do anything to help the baby. If he sleeps soundly at night maybe he will have more patience during the day while I work. Writing always helps my clarity.

  7. ThriftoRama Says:

    I agree with MM. This isn't forever. You aren't going to quite your job over this.

    My oldest was a sleep nightmare, and also breast fed and took forever to do it. He didn't sleep more than 20 minutes at a time 24 hours a day for six months. It was one of the worst times of my life. There is a reason sleep deprivation is used as a torture method. It works.

    At about 5-6 months old, you can try sleep training. It worked like a miracle for us. I highly highly highly recommend the book "Solve your child's sleep problems" by Richard Ferber.

    Thanks to this book by the time our second came around, we had him sleeping better at a younger age, because we knew what he was capable of, and how to set the stage so they know nighttime is rest time.

  8. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    You can also try differently shaped bottle nipples on the same bottle. And nipples made of different material, e.g. silicon vs latex. And you can change the flow of bottle milk by making the hole(s) on the nipples larger with a red-hot needle.

    Also, is she really nursing that entire 2-3 hours, or is she dozing and lightly suckling for comfort without taking much milk? If she's doing that, you might see her let milk pool up in her mouth a bit without swallowing. If that is the case, you might try gently substituting a pacifier (try different ones!) while she is still in your arms. Prewarm the pacifier in your hand. If she can become comfortable with the pacifier to meet the non-feeding suckling habit, she might in a few nights of that be able to handle the second disturbance of being put into the crib. And could the crib be prewarmed with a hot water bottle or electric heating pad, so that she won't be startled by the temperature change?

    Funny how babies' basic biological needs seem to conflict with parents' basic biological needs. Frown Errg. It's hard.

  9. snafu Says:

    Tasha you've a very smart baby. I too suggest checking with your paediatrician for possible solutions to try. I wonder if it's ok to mix a tiny bit of honey with expressed milk. I'd try offering a bottle only from a chair you don't use for nursing while using a specific chair for nursing. Perhaps baby would accept a bottle's nipple that flowed faster or of a different texture. Rather than feed on a schedule, would it be better for DH to feed when baby indicates hunger by wailing?

    It's hard on the nerves but 22 years ago new parents were told to let babies cry until they fell asleep in the crib exhausted as they transitioned from bassinet. DH made it routine to take DS2 for a short drive every night to transition going to crib for the night since unlike his older brother, he was a terror to put down for the night. Infant would fall asleep and be groggily put down in crib. Of course by tween we could hardly get that guy out of bed in the morning.

  10. MonkeyMama Says:

    With my youngest, I didn't work for 6 months and he was already on solids. He just decided he hated all our bottles. IT's possible we gave bottles to him early on and then got lazy. That is why I put "starving" in qoutes. He was still at an age where mostly consuming breast milk, and it was quite traumatic.

    I think bending over backwards at night while spouse has rough days, is a good compromise. I am assuming this is a very short-term problem, of course. (& like you said - what can he do anyway?). It's hard to think straight through the sleep deprivation.

    Buying new bottles was *priceless* - but that is hindsight 20/20 knowing they worked like magic. !!! Some of them feel more like a real nipple I guess, and are designed more for breastfeeding babies.

  11. ceejay74 Says:

    Sleep deprivation is the worst! I went back to work part-time after 4 weeks and remember quite a bit of crying (me) while at work, just because I was so tired and emotional. These days seem to stretch out endlessly, but it IS a relatively short period of your life. Once you get on the other side of it you'll feel OK, but it's VERY hard to cope while it's happening.

  12. MonkeyMama Says:

    P.S. ((HUGS)) It is hard.

  13. just a thought Says:

    Do not use any honey with the bottle. Honey shouldn't be given to any child under one year of age because of botulism concerns.

  14. Looking Forward Says:

    ((HUGS)) This is very hard, but the baby stage does pass relatively quickly.

    I know you didn't ask for advice, but I can't help but throw these thoughts out to you.

    I would at least call the doctor. And nobody is going to tell you to quit working, so don't let that stop you from getting doctor's advice.

    When she is "nursing" for 1-2 hours it's more likely a comfort thing.
    As crazy as it seems she could be havign teething pain. Even though those teeth won't be coming out for a few more months, there is aching and pressure. That means your breast probably gives her counterpressure and makes her feel better. This could also be why she doesn't like her bottle - it hurts her.

    As far as bedtime goes, with both our children, we had a very set bedtime routine - every night exactly the same. Bath. PJs. Feeding. Book. Snuggle. Then we'd lay them in their crib. Usually they'd still be somewhat awake, so I'd sit next to them and just lay my hand on them for a few minutes. Then just sit without touching them for a few minutes. And last I would leave the room. Always coming right back in if they cried, but not pick them up (usually) just rub their tummy or sit next to them. As they got older 6-7 months I didn't sit next to them anymore. That worked very well for us, but there were ups and downs. It is hard to be patient especially when you are worn out yourself.

    As a note - we always used Avent bottles/nipples. Our doctor recommended them.

    Good luck!!

  15. TashaC. Says:

    wow I appreciate the support! Lots of good ideas. I appreciate that so many people have gone through this and now feel like it passed quickly. I have a bedtime routine that we'll keep up with. Tonight is a big test to see how it goes. I'm learning that whatever success we have, we'll have regression as well. Just hang in there.

  16. Suzanne Says:

    Babies are tough sometimes Smile But, like the others I know from experience that it will pass, and then you'll be wondering where the time went! Hang in there.

    Suzanne

  17. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    It's stupidly hard to have care for a baby so one day at a time. Definitely no honey for babies. It's not safe. Be gentle with your self and your SO.

  18. PatientSaver Says:

    OH, gosh, that all sounds so difficult and hard. I'm not going to give you advice becus I haven't had children Smile but what I CAN give you is a big virtual hug. Hang in there, as everyone said, this shouldn't last for long. It sounds awful. I know how grouchy I am after just one night of poor sleep.

    If it's any comfort, just wait til menopause. Smile

  19. ThriftoRama Says:

    Okay, whatever you do don't put honey in that bottle. I love you Snafu, but that is a terrible idea. Children under 2 cannot have honey. They will end up in the hospital, because they do not have the intestinal bacteria to handle honey, and they will end up with serious food poisoning!

  20. snafu Says:

    apologies about suggestion of honey, I had no idea it could cause botulism in infants and toddlers. With DS in their 20's I'm woefully out of date.

  21. ThriftoRama Says:

    Well, clearly you know more than we do, because you've managed to keep kids alive longer! I had no idea about the honey thing until I had kids. My sister wanted to take them to a honey festival when they were little and I had to put a stop to it!

  22. ROXY1976 Says:

    I had the same exact situation. It was not easy. I switched to working third shift while baby slept. It was not easy. She ended up nursing 18 months and never took a bottle ever.

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