Desperately seeking sleep

Hi, my LO is 7 months old, he was EBF for the first 25 weeks, until we began weaning into solids. Mostly he's a happy contented baby, good as gold. But he still wakes most nights every 2 hours. I'm so exhausted now and more often than not I'm extremely grumpy which is having a huge affect on my husband and older children. He also has an excessive amount of wind (bottom end) which I think is affecting his sleep quality but he will not settle back down without a feed. I've tried to wean him off me and onto a bottle but he will not take it so I just don't get a break. I'm rapidly heading towards breaking point and I'm so exhausted that I fear the night feeds are becoming dangerous as I'm beginning to doze and fear I may suffocate him with my boob or not appropriately support him leaving him to roll off and get injured. I just don't know what to do. I've considered doing the cry it out method but I can't bear to hear him cry as he has suspected asthma and gets so worked up he struggles to catch his breath amongst all the mucas. Any help right now would be greatly appreciated

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13 Replies

  • You have done so well to get to 7 months! I feel like you now, at 6 weeks! We are already using controlled crying, though obviously not leaving her too long as I'd never get anything done or eat otherwise.

    Has your husband tried giving him the bottle rather than you? My baby girl takes the bottle from my boyfriend but won't from me, as i guess she knows I have something better.

    I would recommend leaving him to cry a little even if it is only half an hour, just to get him used to how long between feeds, he'll adjust his intake accordingly (so my health visitor says!) and gradually make the time between feeds longer. Already, most of the time we have three hours from the end of the last feed until she next wakes up. Maybe that makes me mean doing it so young, but she's putting on weight perfectly so I'm not worried.😊

    I make myself go downstairs for a feed if I feel sleepy as just getting up and moving a bit more helps me.

    Big hugs! Xxx

  • My 9 month old went 24 hours with only 50ml of milk, I was on my sister's hen do and he wouldn't take a bottle or cup from my husband, sister-in-law or brother-in-law (they have two children). He was very cross with me when he saw me again! He was having a fair amount of food and it was only 24 hours, but he was not interested in formula from a bottle.

  • Have you tried wearing your little one in a sling during the day? I loved my stretchy when they were tiny, keeps them close to you so they feel secure and can learn from what's happening around them rather than having to be constantly in a state of anxiety of where's my carer gone. It means you have two hands free to eat and do other things. Get to a sling meet in your local area, try some out and find out more. It seems awful to me to let a 6 week old cry it out for more than a couple of minutes, they don't understand at that age, but I also understand that you need to do what seems right to you. ukslinglibraries.wordpress....

    It gets easier, the first year flies by.

  • Unfortunately your baby may get hungrier between feeds if you leave him longer, but your body won't actually produce any more milk unless you feed him every time he's hungry. The going longer between feeds is fine with formula (although I imagine the baby still gets a bit grumpy about it) but it can prevent your body from getting the frequently emptied breasts signals that triggers more milk production. For your 6 week old, I'd suggest using a sling that is comfy for both of you, so you don't have to leave the little one to cry so much. I found that hugely helpful. I remember feeling like I was going crazy around 6 weeks too. It gets better.

    steffi, can you set things up for safe bed sharing so that if he comes in for a feed in the night you can safely feed him in your sleep? Look up the safe sleep seven rules?

    I've been full time bed sharing since about 6 weeks, because it's easier with my pain and fatigue, and I find it so much easier to settle him that way. Lots of people do it for a while to help with night feeds. I also have a little one whose lungs are badly affected by wheeze and five that his oxygen levels drop much worse when he is upset as he doesn't breathe as well.

    I hope it gets better soon. X

  • I did controlled crying when my daughter was younger than yours. I would only let her cry for 10minutes before going in. I would not get her up or make eye contact just rest a hand on her for comfort then leave when she was quieter. After 3\4 nights of this it got better. My little one also refused a bottle from anyone so I got a Tommy tippee cup with free flowing spout and started her with water during the day.after a week I the introduced a cup of milk once a day and after another week my husband started giving her a cup feed prior to bed. This worked for us and although I found it hard at first I found greater success in the cup feeding challenge as it ment that i did not have to worry about weaning from bottle as well as the breast.

    I find my husband has more success at doing new things if I'm not around, I would suggest booking yourself a evening out with friends so that daddy can learn to cup feed in his own way. My husband does things differently to my but the end result is the same.

  • I never thought of offering milk from a cup, he has water from a cup at meal times and enjoys drinking from the cup. He wears more than he drinks but it's a good option to wean him from me at bedtime which will hopefully ease things a little

  • Sorry I forgot to say that I worried about being sleep deprived and accidentally hurting my little one, so I put a small TV in my bed room and used to watch news 24with subtitles to keep wake. By having to read the subtitles it kept me awake but was boring enough that when feed was finished I dropped off to sleep quickly. As there was no sound my partner was not too disturbed. If he moaned about the TV being on I would suggest that I wake him up to keep me company during every feed, which soon stopped his moaning.

  • I feel your pain, it won't be for much longer. I ebf my second until he was 14 months. At 4 months he had a growth spurt and sleep regression and went back to waking every 2-3 hours for feeds. I moved into the spare room and co-slept with him and mastered lying down feeding. Make sure you set yourself up to co-sleep safely and he will be fine. I never worried about me suffocating him! I knew my mummy instinct wouldn't let it happen. No drink, no drugs and no duvet, use a sheet and blankets. My baby and I moved back into the marital bed, but when my oh got a cold and wanted to take Night Nurse I made him move into the spare bed.

    At 10 months we all got a horrible cold and I got fed up of night feeds. My oh had moved into the spare bed, so when baby woke up I talked to him, saying no milk, go back to sleep, then when he continued crying I put him in his cot which was still in our bedroom. I told him he could come back into my bed and have cuddles but no milk. After a minute I'd pick him up and bring him back into bed, to begin with he kept crying for milk, but I did the whole thing again until he just snuggled next to me and went back to sleep, it took three or four nights, but then he started sleeping through. Then we started working on sleeping in his own cot in our room. He consistently woke at 12:30 ish and I just wanted sleep so would bring him into our bed and he'd sleep the rest of the night.

    At 13 months I was fed up of being kicked in the back as he had taken to sleeping across the bed with his head on my oh side! So I put up the travel cot in his own bedroom and moved him. Since then (he's almost 16 months now) he has only woken a few times over night and generally settles quickly again after a hug. He sleeps until 7:30/8am every morning, far better than my first was at this age.

    Do what you need to do to get some sleep! Talk to your health visitor see if they've got any ideas.

  • Bless you :( I completely understand how you feel. Have you considered/do you use a side cot on your bed? We found it so much better as our DD felt more secure and so slept better.

    Babies don't just cry for nothing, they cry for so many reasons but always when they need something, even if that is just a cuddle. There is overwhelming evidence of how damaging controlled crying is on a baby's brain, even for a few minutes. It is a completely outdated theory from the 19th century and up-to-date medical research completely contradicts it. It will also be increasingly dangerous for your son because of his asthma- there's the possibility that he will get himself so stressed that he'll have a serious attack. There's plenty of research out there for you to read on the subject.

    I know how hard it is, though, I really do. But as hard as it is to hear this right now, it will end. Could you ask someone close to you to look after him, even just for one night? They might lose a night's sleep but at least you'll get some well needed rest.


  • His asthma has been my biggest concern. Unfortunately there is know one else that could look after him, my husband is a bit useless at night time and doesn't know what to do when baby's upset. the rest of the family are smokers which isn't going to do his chest any favours.

    I don't think he's waking cos he's hungry though, I think it's more for comfort. Last night I tried comforting him without picking him up, stroked his chest in a circular motion and spoke softly to him When he moaned, left him when he was quite and picked him up when he sobbed. It seemed to work, just have to see what happens over the next few nights

  • I can understand that, you must get so worried. I've had asthma since I was a baby too and my mum said how worrying it was, just praying my little girl doesn't develop it. I think you're absolutely doing the right thing by not sending him to a smoking household, always sets me right off and does with a lot of asthmatics. I feel so alone sometimes when looking after LO at night so can only imagine how you must feel with the extra worry.

    It's only natural for him to want and need comfort, he's such a tiny baby and the world is a scary place to them. I found keeping our little girl in our room with us for the first six months really comforted her and gave her the reassurance she needed, she's now 7 months and absolutely fine in her own room. You know your lo better than anybody so just experiment, you'll find something that works. My fiancé bounces the mattress in her cot slightly when she's disturbing, as if she's being rocked, and it really works for her. You're doing the right thing by giving him the comfort he needs, it will benefit him so much.

    I've just found that just 'going with it' is a huge benefit to me. When I resent the fact that she wakes up because I'm tired and try everything to put her down, it just makes everything so much worse. Babies can definitely sense how you're feeling, so if you're uptight it winds them up. If I just relax, accept it's going to be a long night and go with it, she's so much calmer and goes down easier. As hard as it is, it's worth a try.

    He will sleep through when he's ready. There's no magic wand or trick to get them to sleep, and it's not unhealthy (just really hard to cope with!). Sending you lots of hugs and strength, hope you find something that works for you. You're his mummy and you know best! X

  • If you decide against the controlled crying then how about splitting the night into two shifts. Daddy can give milk from a cup while you sleep. Start your night at 7pm with daddy taking care until 12 then switching with you. That way you will both get 5hours of unbroken sleep.

  • Thank you all so much, I do really appreciate it. There have been some very helpful suggestions I will be trying over the coming weeks.

    I think the night feeds themselves are generally becoming an issue, he feeds so much at night he is refusing milk throughout the morning, it's after lunch before he has his first milk feed of the day. He has also started associating feeding with sleep, no matter what I try he will not stay awake and uses me to get himself to sleep, which is adding to the issue.

    Co sleeping isn't for me, I've never cracked feeding lying down and had a bit of a fright with my oldest when he was a baby with him wriggling under my pillow. We did have a snuzpod which made life so much more straight forward. But he's a long baby and out grew it before he was 6 months. So he is currently in a cot at the far end of my room (it won't fit anywhere else).

    We started controlled crying last night, albeit our own variation taking account of his asthma,so today both my husband and I are walking round in a daze but it went ok considering. We did controlled crying with my oldest at 6 months, I think I was stronger then cos I don't remember it being so hard.

    He woke three times (which in itself is an improvement),. The first time after over an hour, he got so worked and started sobbing uncontrollably so I picked him up to prevent him struggling to breath, but he settled and went to sleep without a feed, hopefully a step in the right direction. The second time he just moaned before eventually falling back to sleep. The third time it was just under an hour of settling before he got himself to sleep. Fingers crossed in a few nights he will be able to settle him self and won't be wanting those night feeds.

    I do like the idea of giving him milk in a Cup at bed time and we will certainly be trying this soon. He has water in a cup with his meals so hopefully he will be happy for this change.

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