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Sleeping

09/09/2013

Belle

This is gonna be a rough, all over the place post. Apologies in advance. I’m beyond tired.

I jinxed things. From two to eight weeks of age Sabine was a champion sleeper. She would go down easily and sleep a good 4-6 hour stretch followed by one or two additional 2 hour stretches. It was fabulous. Magical even. I would tell people what a great sleeper she was and then knock on wood because some little part of me knew that it was too good to be true.

And then Sabine turned 9 weeks and all our great sleeping went out the window. For the past week she has slept in one to two hour blocks, waking in a red faced screaming tizzy to eat. She eats lazily for anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes and then falls back asleep, just to wake up an hour or two later wanting another round.

Initially I thought we were in a growth spurt. She actually looks to have grown quite a bit the past week or so, filling out more and finally starting to look like a 2 month old. In fact, I have not had a stranger ask if she was premature in over a week (seriously – anyone reading this who sees a small baby. DO NOT ASK THE MOM IF HE/SHE WAS PREMATURE. It is a horrible thing to ask regardless of if the baby was or was not born early. Not everyone squeezes out a 9 pounder.) However, if this was a growth spurt it should have tapered off by now, right?

I also worried my supply was dropping and that Sabine was not getting enough to eat so I let her stay on the breast nibbling as much as she wanted all week to boost supply and started taking Fenugreek (my armpits smell of maple syrup. Jealous much?) The Fenugreek is a wonder herb for me. In 24 hours time my supply was noticeably greater and Sabine spent more time during the day actively eating rather than passively nibbling. But still, poor sleep.

The real kicker is that Sabine has also stopped napping. I could handle rough nights if she had two or three solid naps during the day for me to catch a little extra sleep but instead our naps have gone from me rocking her to sleep and then putting her down for two hours, to two to four hour marathon sessions of her laying in my arms, leisurely nibbling at my breast and dozing while I was Sopranos. As soon as I put her down her eyes pop open and she starts to cry.

Because of the lack of naps and the mediocre day time feedings, it is taking literally from 5 p.m. to 8 or 9 p.m. to get her to sleep for “the night.” Which is really only 2 hours or so and feel so. damn. futile.

All of this is making for horrible latching. I’m too tired to correct and Sabine, well, she is on the boob so damn much that it seems impossible to teach her new ways. Her latch is unbelievably shallow, my nipples hurt and parts of my breasts are being ineffectively drained setting the stage for another boob infection.

I don’t know what to do and am starting to freak out that we are raising a terrible sleeper. You know why? Confession time: I am breaking every sleep rule that has ever been given to me via some well-meaning assvice. Let us count the ways the world tells me I am fucking up my daughters ability to sleep:

  1. We swaddle. All. The. Time. If we don’t swaddle her then she was flail and wake herself up.
  2. Sabine still sleeps in her Rock ‘n Play. Swaddled in the Rock ‘n Play. Swaddled and not strapped in meaning I am never completely asleep at night because I’m too freaked out that she is not strapped down.
  3. I let her nurse to sleep.
  4. I let her pacify on the breast.
  5. We use white noise. Everywhere.
  6. I do not let her cry it out. Ever. (In my mind, tiny babies just should not cry it out. They don’t understand yet.

I am becoming desperate. I’m ready to start transitioning her to the cosleeper where she can sleep more safely and I can more easily nurse at night but I’m afraid to rock the boat even more. On the other hand, why the hell not start the transition now, when no one is sleeping… ever?

So I turn to you, experienced mamas, breastfeeders, sleep gurus, etc. What are your thoughts? What am I doing wrong? What can I do to improve this situation. We have lots of daytime stimulation through play, toys, singing, long walks outside, etc. We have started spending 30 minutes in the park across the street each day watching other kids play (something Sabine loves to do). I snuggle her lots, tell her I love her. Keep her clean, dry, warm, etc. I work hard to keep her fed, although it is a challenge when she just wants to pacify on the boob (she has completely rejected a pacifier and won’t even entertain the idea anymore). This coming Thursday I’m going to the monthly La Leche League meeting in the Bronx to address our crappy latch problems. Is is possible a crappy latch can be causing all of this sleep trouble?

Sorry for the scattered post. I’m tired. My baby is tired. My husband is… well, not tired as the jerk is in the bedroom snoring away while I feed his cats, baby and make his lunch but THAT is another post for another day!

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44 Comments

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  1. September 9, 2013

    I was experiencing very similar sleeping and eating patterns with my daughter at 2 weeks. I am not sure if you have tried it but in between feedings I will wear her in either the Ergo or Moby wrap. They both keep her close and provide and almost swaddled feel. I also discovered the Miracle blanket and she loves it too. It’s a swaddle on steroids. Hope that helps and you catch some zzzzz’s soon.

    • September 11, 2013

      The Miracle Blanket is on my baby wish list! I have also been wearing Sabine a lot more lately. She likes the Baby Bjorne. While it is not as snuggly as the others, it makes her happy and keeps her close to me. She always will doze off when we walk with her in it and looks so peaceful. I have a Moby wrap that she has rejected numerous times but will try it again this week I think. Any tips on how to get them into those wraps? I feel like I’m shoving a square peg into a round hole a lot of time!

  2. September 9, 2013

    First if all you are doing everything right. Whatever works fir your family is right. Zoe never slept well or scheduled between 2-4 months. Those were challenging — we swaddled all the time — I read a combination of books from sleep gurus–even though I was following Sears by inclination I really found Weissbluth useful AFTER the rough colicky period. I remember just chanting yoga breaths as she screamed … Which helped me. My best friend promised how it would get better at 4 months and she was right. In the meantime those LLL meetings will be so helpful for you to connect. I wish I’d sought one out. Know you aren’t alone, you’re doing it perfectly and some babies are like that. Zoe turned into a championship napper but you know what? At almost four she needs a lot of soothing but she’s happy, healthy (except right now when she has this mystery virus that has me reading blogs at 5am) and it will get easier. You are doing it right… Whatever you choose is right. Sorry this isn’t much help, just commiseration as I remember that period so clearly.

    Xo

    Pam

    • September 9, 2013

      After reading other comments and thinking more about that time I do think this is about the time that I learned to do the side lying with Zoe. It allowed for us to sleep side-by-side and I was always curled around her. We did have the cosleeper attached to our bed but truthfully my husband always joked that the only thing it held was books. It’s funny but when I first commented I was almost embarrassed to admit that Z I still nurse occasionally. She still soothes to sleep and we are working on weaning. She turns four in December. It is not what I imagined priorโ€ฆ And had no way of knowing what it would be likeโ€ฆ I just ultimately followed what I felt was what she needed and it led me to a certain parenting path. You’ll find your path and it will be the right one for all of you. I used Weissbluth not to CIO but to understand sleep needs/rhythms and patterns. I still used nursing/co-sleeping and then at 3 she went into her own room Xo. Pam We are still working on it!

    • September 11, 2013

      Dude, knowing I’m not alone is a huge huge help! I know Sabine will come around but man it is tough. I tried side lying and she loved it, although she was not able to effectively nurse. I have really small boobs and it is hard for her to get a mouthful laying like that. Instead we are trying to do our afternoon feeds sitting like normal, and when she slows to a nibble we lay down together and we side nibble and she conks out… and I conk out! Now if we can just get these damn needy cats to leave us alone ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Kathy #
    September 9, 2013

    Poor Mommy ! Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to try the co-sleeper to see if it might help. I think its worth a try. Don’t try to be super mom going through this…hand her to Dad when he gets home and take a break. My doctor used to say Calm Mommy equals calm baby. Hugs.

  4. September 9, 2013

    I don’t really have any assvice because I honestly don’t know what would help. Seamus was a crappy sleeper at the beginning but eventually turned into a great napper and nighttime sleeper. For him things improved when we moved him into his nursery. I honestly thought it would have the opposite effect, but I think he benefits from the quiet: there was just too much activity in our bedroom because my husband is an insomniac and i get up to pee a lot. Not saying this will work for anyone else – it just happens to be what worked for us because of his parents’ dysfunctional sleeping habits.

    And if it makes you feel any better, I’m doing everything “wrong” too. Seamus sleeps in his car seat pretty much every night because its the only place – other than my chest – where he’ll stay asleep for any length of time. (I’m sure I just made a thousand mothers gasp in horror.) I also use a bottle to soothe him to sleep (didn’t realize that was a bad thing..?) and I never, ever, EVER let him cry it out.

    I’m sorry you and Sabine are having such a difficult time right now. I hope you can figure out a solution soon. Lack of sleep is the worst.

    • September 9, 2013

      I love that you let your little one sleep in the car seat!!! We do that too and I always feel the horror and judgement when I tell people. I mean seriously what ever works everyone has to sleep

    • September 11, 2013

      Oh, Sabine has had her share of car seat sleeps, too! I actually feel this is a very safe place for them and it remains a major napping spot in this household. Last night we kept her in the room in the cosleeper and she did not sleep very well. Tonight we will install some gates (gotta keep these cats out) and will let her try a night in her nursery. I’ll miss my baby but she will only be 10 steps away or so – a benefit to living in a small apartment!

  5. Jen #
    September 9, 2013

    So sorry, my friend! I noticed around 6 weeks, Jodie got very fussy and frustrated every time she ate. By fussy and frustrated, I mean full,blown meltdown. Like you, I just let her get away with a crappy latch to calm her down and was left with raw nipples and a baby still crying. The solution? Nipple shields. Pain in the ass, yes, but my nipples are eternally grateful and Jodie stopped fussing when eating. So maybe the latch has something to do with it! Good luck!

    • September 11, 2013

      These are on my list of questions for LLL tomorrow! Glad you found a solution that helped Josie. fussy baby at the breast is one of the worst feelings ever.

  6. September 9, 2013

    12 hours sleep by 12 weeks by Suzy Giordano is supposed to be a great sleep training program. It was recommended to me by a friend who used it for her singleton & her twins, and she swears by it. We’re waiting on the girls to be eating enough to properly start it, but the pre-training stuff has been helpful so far. She uses a “limited crying solution,” which sounds like it might appeal to you more than cry-it-out plans. Good luck!

    • September 11, 2013

      Thank you! Added to my list of possible references for when we get a little closer to sleep training age!

  7. September 9, 2013

    Lack of sleep is so hard and threatens to rob you of your new parenting joy. Especially if she’s not napping and letting you at least catch up then! I by no means have a championship sleeper, nor am I any kind of expert. We’ve had our ups and downs, but now, at 6 months, things are relatively predictable as far as the sleep/nap time routine (unless we travel- then alls fair in make mommy crazy land). The one thing I might suggest is, starting with naps, let her get good and tired, full belly, and swaddle her up as tight as you please, then put her down (wherever you and she are most comfortable) before she falls asleep. I’m not suggesting letting her CIO, but there’s a deifference btw walking out of the room and listening to a couple of minutes of crying vs letting it go 15-30+ minutes! You may be surprised. Mine would cry for a few minutes then give up and sleep. She learned to self sooth because of this and it’s something I’m very very glad I did.
    She needs good sleep as much as you do. I hope the LLL will help you with the latch issue, bc I’d not be surprised if that did have something to do with the new sleep problems. If nothing else you’ll get great support and learn a lot. Also- do you pump and let daddy give her a bottle at all? My LO wants nothing to do with a bottle, but I know I’d get much more sleep if she did because my husband would be taking shifts (if he knew what was good for him;)
    Good luck and remember to be proud of the wonderful love and care you are giving Sabine every day. She’s a lucky little peanut!

    • September 11, 2013

      You know, I do pump a little and do have a stash, but I’m afraid that a bottle right now iwth the latch issues will only make the latching problems worse. Thoughts?

      • September 11, 2013

        Well, I think the lactation nurse at my mom and me group would say you can still practice good latching with a bottle… of course you’d try to find a nipple that most resembles the ones she is used to ๐Ÿ™‚
        I know I regret not letting my LO take pumped milk from a bottle when she was still newborn, because now she refuses to take one at all… ever. I’m wishing she would now and then, so I could leave her with my husband or mom for more than 3 hours at a time. Flexibility is not overrated. Just my experience, though. Might be a good topic to bring up at your new group.

  8. September 9, 2013

    Belle, everything changes at 6-8 weeks. Everything. This is completely normal. It can also be a lagging effect of 6 week immunisations.

    But.

    Ok forget all assvice. Do not sleep train. Listen to her. Follow your instincts! She doesn’t need training. She needs comfort! Just trust yourself.

    But look after the boobs. See someone professional ASAP , get the latch fixed up, and another thing I think would help is make sure she is truly hungry before putting her on. Don’t automatically assume hunger. With settling for the “night”, go to bed early and hand her to the prof. Fill up your sleep bank 8-11pm, quick feed, back to sleep with prof doing final settle, then take over the night shift. She might just be sorting herself out, changing schedules and finding her own rhythm. Support your girl in finding her own rhythm, you don’t need to create stress for yourself by forcing on on her of trying CIO.

    Have a look at Pinky McKay on Facebook. Her parenting advice and followers might give you another perspective on settling.

    Big breaths, go with the flow, it is not going to stay like this…it changes again at three months, and it gets easier.

  9. September 9, 2013

    I agree with anyone who says you are doing everything right. YOU ARE DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT.

    1) We swaddled our babies ALL THE TIME. Sometimes they slept swaddled in the crib. Sometimes they slept swaddled (unbuckled!) in the rockers. They were swaddled except when they were eating – and honestly, sometimes we kept them swaddled while eating, if they were getting too wild and just needed to focus. That was during the “wonder weeks” – the swaddled eating – because sometimes we knew they were hungry but they were thrashing and we didn’t know what to do and swaddled eating seemed to work sometimes. (Bottles only, though, not breast) We stopped swaddling them for sleep when they seemed to want to be unswaddled – I can’t describe what that looked like, but it became obvious. That was around 4 months I think.

    2) We use white noise to this day. Why not? I don’t know why not to use white noise. Imagine you are a light sleeper and other people are awake and moving around the house while you are trying to sleep. It’s not fair to hold babies to a higher sleep standard. YOU try taking a nap in a busy apartment! — This is what I keep saying to my MIL who keeps insisting the babies are “too sensitive” to noise, when she insists on banging in the kitchen 2 feet from their heads, or stomping around their room, and then is baffled when they wake up, and complains they’re too sensitive. What!?

    3) I don’t think 9 weekers should cry it out. Our sleep specialist says don’t bother sleep training until 4 months. Until 4 months you do what you need to do, you do what works. It seems like a long time but she says that they just don’t “get” sleep training before 4 months (or really 3 months but she doesn’t even talk to people with babies younger than 4 months).

    4) Also, yes, it can still be a growth spurt. It doesn’t have to be the feeding frenzy part of the growth spurt. Have you read the Wonder Weeks? It’s the only baby book I have ever recommended, and I only liked it for the first few baffling months. The best part is the description of what it must be like to be a baby during a growth spurt / mental leap. Imagine waking up and the world looks TOTALLY DIFFERENT than it did the day before. This is what it is like for a baby going through a mental leap. Suddenly they can hear things they couldn’t hear, or see things they couldn’t see, or feel things they couldn’t feel. TERRIFYING. After reading that part of the book I actually had a nightmare that this happened to me, and I instinctively reached out and grabbed my husband and woke him up to comfort me lol. So… I am an adult and that is my reaction to even a glimpse into that experience, I can’t imagine that being my reality. Some growth spurts last a long time, like 2 weeks. You might be near the end of it.

    YOU ARE DOING A GOOD JOB. Sleep is one of the hardest things about babies. You are sensitive and caring to Sabine’s needs. Set a high goal for the number of episodes of Sopranos and see if you can do it, because you are going to be sitting with a baby on your boob for a while for the next few days… Also, if you can learn side-lying nursing and nurse her in bed (take off all the blankets and sheets if you are nervous), you might catch a nap.

    โค โค โค โค

    • September 9, 2013

      I second the wonder weeks. There is an app too. She may be sleeping badly if she is learning a new skill.

      • September 11, 2013

        Wonder Weeks is amazing! You guys, I had no idea! We had some extra good playtime after I read about her leap to Patterns. Such a sweet girl. We will get through this and eventually I will sleep again ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you!

        • September 11, 2013

          We will All sleep again one day ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Amy #
    September 9, 2013

    I was just going to mention Wonder Weeks! Don’t have the book, but the app’s helped a lot of times, just to realize that it’s all normal and expected and most of all that it will pass (before it comes back around again, anyway!). You are doing great – the only thing you need to do is ‘whatever works,’ and only think you need to change something when it really isn’t working and you can’t just wait it out. I STILL nurse to sleep a lot of the time and have yet to really let him cry much on his own save a few times when I was going to lose my mind if I didn’t walk away for a minute or three. You are doing great – NOT doing anything wrong!

  11. APE #
    September 9, 2013

    For the first four months our son slept in a cosleeper. It was easier to nurse at night and sleep, and I felt safe having him close to me. Just like everyone else is saying, follow her cues and do what feels right. I started to notice a change at about four months and that is when we moved him into his own room. He started to sleep better and longer, I think it’s because he couldn’t hear our breathing/snoring/tossing anymore. A girlfriend told me she remembers her kids being the same way so she placed their cribs in the hallway right outside her bedroom door.
    Do what’s right for you guys. You are doing great! And – I am proud of you for venturing out and going to the La Leche League in your new city. A good latch makes everything better!

    • APE #
      September 10, 2013

      Totally forgot! The best advice I ever read was that sleep begets more sleep. Being overtired will totally screw everyone up, but if she gets good naps she will sleep better at night. This might be more for an older baby, but keep it in mind. It was true for our son, and still is at 3 years old. Everyone always says “oh he’ll sleep great tonight since he’s been so busy today.” Not true! The more tired he is when he goes to bed, the more likely he will wake up during the night.

  12. September 9, 2013

    I really have been happy checking out TroublesomeTots dot com with its guides for all different ages. We had a champ sleeper for some months (swaddled in her rock n play, not once did she have any trouble not being buckled until she got too long for it… alas) and then we switched to the crib and she started waking up every 2 hours for a few weeks. We are now doing music all night (previously just let an album play through once), the fan is on for white noise, and soon the dehumidifier will also be on for white noise. It’s helping us at least (at almost 7 months old). I have a perpetual snack nurser too and I just stick a pacifier in her mouth when I think she’s done nursing. She often only keeps it long enough for me to reassemble my bra/shirt but it is a decent distraction. Don’t think pacifiers are gone for good because she’s on a paci strike! My babe did that too and was back to loving them at about 14 weeks. Little sneaker.

    So you are doing everything right, get help with the latch ASAP and try your best to just stop her from badly latching. Whatever your best looks like is enough, I promise.

  13. September 9, 2013

    First you are doing nothing wrong. If baby sleeps all is well and all are happy. Swaddle to your hearts content and as long as she is safe all is well (and I think she’s way too young to flip out of the rock n play – you’re fine).
    I will try to give my best possible advice, but take and leave what you want – at the end of the day you have to do what works for you. And hopefully it means sleep!
    I would transition her to the co sleeper now, hell she’s not sleeping anyways, why go through it again later?
    The thing we did that was huge was we went to bed when she went to bed. We got all ready and we all went to bed at 9. I swaddled her (sans arms because she liked arms out) and nursed her then put her in her bassinet next to the bed and we all went to bed. I think she liked just knowing we were close. Sometimes she was half asleep, others wide awake, but she always went to sleep. Another, only get up for her when she cries. Don’t get up if she makes little squeaks or moves around or grunts. Babies have sleep patterns and they sometimes wake up, adjust, and go back to sleep. Just like us. Only if we get up and feed them immediately we are teaching them to wake up and eat. Lastly, when you do get up, change, feed, burp and back to bed. Try not to cuddle or play or rock. You don’t want her to look forward to it!! And keep the lights low and keep her swaddled if possible (hello woombie!!).
    As for naps….well I am no help there. Next baby hopefully I will be hitting you up for your secrets because we had to resort to CIO for naps at 7 months. But if I were to do it again, I would try to put her down semi asleep in her crib instead of letting her sleep on me all the time.
    Good luck!!!

  14. September 9, 2013

    I feel you sweetie. The first week Zoรซ was a great sleeper, going 4 hours at night as a newborn. I was so impressed! Well the last 3 days she has decided she needs to eat every hour and a half. At first I thought a growth spurt as well but now I’m realizing she is just trying to pacify herself. So yeah…I’ll be reading your comments and checking on how your correcting your issues so that I can get some sleep as well ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. September 9, 2013

    First off, those rules were created for well meaning folks who generally believe in structure and schedules. That isn’t necessarily the right thing for babies. I believe they need their needs responded to. Period. And I know it’s so cliche but I have always just told myself “this too shall pass”. And it always does. Around 7 weeks archie would only sleep 30 minutes at a time. Seriously, it was awful. It last a week and a half and then we went back to our 2-3 hour stretches. But even at 6 and 7 months he had random weeks f up every hour, probably all related to leaps or growth spurts. He’s a great sleeper now in my opinions. I put him down around 9pm and he wakes to feed when I come to bed around midnight. Then he usually will sleep until 5ish and then be in bed with us until he wakes up after 7. Sometimes he’s up around 2 and comes in bed. Whatever we do it generally doesn’t affect how tired I am because I’ve got the crib side car’ed to the bed so I never get up. Seriously master the side lying breastfeeding. It’s the greatest thing and allows you to both get rest.

    As for the supply thing it’s most common that wine believe their supply has dried up sometime between 2-3 months because that’s when it’s regulates to stop over producing and just make what baby needs. It’ll feel like your boobs got smaller but that’s ok. No need to over produce. My friend is a lactation consultant and says that 90% of supply issues are actually perception, trusting our bodies and they way it works with babe is so important.
    Keep your chin up and nap when you can ๐Ÿ™‚ thinking of you guys!

  16. September 9, 2013

    All those rules are valid rules that are appropriate to consider somewhere down the line, but Sabine is too young for you to worry about any of that right now. Swaddling especially is absolutely vital in the early days.

    About the shallow latch – was Sabine inspected for tongue and/or lip tie?

  17. tchrgrl05 #
    September 9, 2013

    First and foremost…you’re doing what is right for your baby and that’s the most important thing! You are a good mom!!! Secondly, you’re going to get a ton of sleep advice and what I’ve found is that you have to mold them together to do what works for you and Sabine. If you don’t have the Wonder Weeks app, download it now ๐Ÿ™‚ When D has been going through fussy stages/no sleep, I find that he’s in a wonder week or growth spurt and as soon as he’s through it, he’s better. We swaddled until four months, and then I swaddled his legs until 6 months. I still nurse to sleep (he’s almost 7 months).

    She sounds like she’s just in a funny phase right now. I agree with transitioning her now, and maybe try regulating when she eats? That may help her sleep better if she knows she can’t eat all the time. This worked for me, but as others have said, it may not work for you. If we were in between feeding times and D was fussy, I would try pacifying first to see if he was really hungry or just fussy or pretending to want to eat. It was around 9 weeks where he looked hungry all.the.time but I started to learn that that was a sleep cue for him. He associated sleep with boob.

    We didn’t CIO until 6 months–I agree with you that she’s too little yet. We started CIO (only had to do it 3 times) because D would literally wake up and look at the door, waiting for someone to come in. He was definitely old enough. I remember he had a rough 10 week growth spurt and then around twelve weeks his naps finally got regular. But like others have said, they change so quickly. D has been napping for only 30 minutes at a time lately, but this weekend, he took only 2 1.5 hour naps…so who knows what this week will hold.

    I think lastly…have a nighttime routine. Even if she’s not down for the night, technically, do bath, book, whatever, and then say night night. As she gets older, that will be her marker to go down for the night. We take D into the bathroom now for his bath and he gets so excited for bedtime.

    Again, do what is best for you and Sabine!!! If that means nurse and swaddle, then do so. She will get through the funny phase. She’s too young to “manipulate” right now ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. September 9, 2013

    I think you’re doing fine – check out this link for more info. http://www.troublesometots.com/newborn-baby-sleep-survival-guide/ Hands down the best advice out there.

    Those 6 bullet points you wrote out? We did ALL OF THEM as well, and our child has turned into a great sleeper. I really wouldn’t worry about it. We swaddled non-stop for 6 months. SIX MONTHS. And she slept in a swing most of the night most of that time. And she transitioned out of it fine.

    Seriously, I could write a book about this, but check out troublesometots – Alexis is a wealth of information.

  19. September 9, 2013

    Why do you think all of those things are what NOT to do? I went to a sleep class once and a lot of the things on that list were what we were told to do. Swaddling is great, especially at such a young age. So is white noise. The Rock n play was not mentioned but I will say that my daughter slept in hers for four months. It was a godsend and I’d recommend it to anyone who is having a baby. The other things you’ve heard not to do, like nursing to sleep or pacifying at the breast are not recommended when you’re trying to get your child to sleep through the night, which you are not yet trying to do. So stop being so hard on yourself. You’re doing what you need to do.

    Just remember, nothing is forever in parenting and sometimes you’re not going to know why something is happening. Nothing needs to chane unless YOU need them to change. If this is unmanageable to you, you should look at ways to change it, otherwise do what works for you and your daughter. That is pretty much always true, of any thing in parenting. Try not to worry so much what other people tell you you should do and figure out what works for you and your daughter. That isn’t to say you might not want to change her sleep habits. If she seems tired and cranky all the time, or if you’re losing your mind, research and make changes. Otherwise, just go with the flow and remember…this too shall pass.

    Good luck!

  20. September 9, 2013

    My sleep advice. Up until about 4 months DO WHATEVER WORKS, swaddle, nurse, rock, DO IT ALL, you’re not going to fuck up her sleeping in the future. Come 4 months I have different advice for you.
    My next piece of advice, learn how to nurse sidelying. That way she can suck away as much as she wants and you can sleep and you don’t have to try to transition her from your arms to another sleeping surface, and trust me when you’re really exhausted you’ll happily sleep with your boob in the baby’s mouth. If you’re too nervous about doing this at night then at the very least it’s great for napping.
    Good luck Belle, it might get worse before it gets better (fucking 4 month sleep regression!!!) but it does get better!!!

    • September 9, 2013

      Oh, yes! Side-lying! I was (and still do) definitely able to get much more sleep than many others I knew because I could fall asleep with the boy when he was attached to my boob and I was on my side. My neck and back did hurt some (sometimes worse than others), but it was only a short while. And when I was able to stay awake long enough that the boy fell asleep, I could detach myself (slip in a paci, if needed/taken) and then sleep next to the boy. (We always had something on the side of the bed, crib or pillows, so he wouldn’t go anywhere!)

  21. September 9, 2013

    Big hugs, Belle! And many deep breaths!
    Listen to everyone’s assvice, but follow/do only what works for you and makes sense.
    I remember having horrible nights with my boy when he was 4-5 months. The nurse wouldn’t even consider talking to me/us about sleep training until he was at least 6 months old. Which, we’ve never done. We did try two different nights of CIO and it was pure hell for me, hubby and the boy!! Never again, ever! When I relaxed and realized that what my boy was doing was normal for him, we all slept better and it did change in a month or so and things slowly got better.

    Even now, at 1 year old, I still boob him to sleep for naps and bedtime. I’ve been told I need to stop doing it or else he won’t ever learn to go to sleep without my boob in his mouth. It might happen that way, but I am sure that he won’t be starting school and still needing my boob. Plus, he is taking naps in daycare without me or my boobs and doing just fine. These days, he generally goes to bed at 7pm, wakes up sometime around 3-5 and won’t go back to sleep in his own crib, so I bring him to bed with me, where he touches me and falls back asleep. Sometime after that, before 7 he gets more boob (I generally just give it to him and fall back asleep myself) and we both wake up at 7am. It works for us!

    Oh, binkies (paci’s)…he wouldn’t take one until he was about 6 months old. Now he gets them only when he is going to sleep. And even then, sometimes he refuses them and they make him scream.

    We never swaddled because the boy would freak out if I pinned his arms and/or legs. It just didn’t work for us. I have also given him a lightweight blanket almost since day one and I have read in so many places that that is a big no-no. Again, it works for us and I worry he gets cold. ๐Ÿ˜€

    It will get better, Belle. Just don’t stress. That will make it worse.

  22. karaleen #
    September 9, 2013

    You are not doing anything wrong at all. Seriously….nothing. Babies just do this. Here is my assvise to you on all the things you think you are doing wrong from a former nanny (10+ years…with 4 infants) and a mom of 2 (one a great sleeper…one not).
    1.We swaddle. All. The. Time. If we donโ€™t swaddle her then she was flail and wake herself up. – whoever told you this is wrong? eeek. babies love to feel held in….swaddle away….I did not swaddle the first…he hated it…I did the 2nd for like 5 months. Do what YOUR baby loves.
    2.Sabine still sleeps in her Rock โ€˜n Play. Swaddled in the Rock โ€˜n Play. Swaddled and not strapped in meaning I am never completely asleep at night because Iโ€™m too freaked out that she is not strapped down. – And this is a problem why? The rock and play is AWESOME….whereever your baby sleeps (especially at this age when she is not mobile) is fine. I highly doubt she will be jumping out any time soon.
    3.I let her nurse to sleep. – so? Again….is this working for you? if it works…yay…if it doesn’t work…try something else.
    4.I let her pacify on the breast. – this is a tough one. There is really nothing WRONG with this…babies are meant to be snuggled and pacified….it really is about personal preference. If you feel like you are not able to do anything…then your frustration may be an issue…but I’m sure your baby is perfectly happy. This is where you get to make the choice to either let it continue or try to find another solution.
    5.We use white noise. Everywhere. – my daughter is almost 3….i carried around the darn sleep lamb everywhere we went and tucked that rain sound next to her. She still sleeps with it.
    6.I do not let her cry it out. Ever. (In my mind, tiny babies just should not cry it out. They donโ€™t understand yet. – Totally agree. I am a huge believer that babies can be left to fuss and grunt and protest and many times they will settle on their own ….but the full blown cry (especially at this young age) is just cruel and doesnt’ really accomplish anything.

    AS for the latch….maybe using a breast shield for a couple days will help her open up and get that deeper latch. My daughter was a great nurser…but every now and again, I had to pull out the shield to retrain her latch. it usually only took a day or so. Hopefully the LC can help. As for naps….I remember the 2-4 month time for both my babies being really really difficult here. It just seemed like they were having such a cognitive and physical growth sequence it just totally made naps suck. I did have some success by putting blackout curtains in their room….I would then go in there to nurse before nap and the darkness seemed to help a little (not much…but a little).

    I will send you good thoughts and baby sleeping dust. Hang in there mama. I wish I had a magic solution for you…but a lot of this sounds like you are having a very normal experience. Just dont’ try to fix too much at once. work on one thing at a time and see where it gets you.
    kd

  23. September 9, 2013

    I have little ass-vice to give because I’m so new at this myself…but I will say that we swaddle Shira a lot too. Her arms flail, even during the day, and she gets extremely agitated and can’t even nap. I swaddle her a little more lightly in the afternoon than we do at night (at night we bring out the big guns with the velcro swaddle) She is sleeping well (the EXACT same schedule as Sabine was on, actually!) but I’m waiting for that “Wonder Week” around 8 weeks when the sleep regression starts to kick in. At this young an age, I don’t think there is any way to “sleep train”–just do what works for her to let her sleep, and it will all work out in the end. Shira has always slept well in her co-sleeper–we roll up two Aden Anais blankets (like Tootsie rolls) and put them on either side of her body, angle her slightly towards one side, and then tuck her in with another Aden Anais blanket around her to keep her tight. She also gets swaddled. We also make sure that she’s good and passed out before we put her in the co-sleeper. I’ve never let her cry it out at this age. I think you’re doing the right thing! And as for HUbs and his sleep…I’ll tell you all about as soon as I’m finished rinsing the dishes, folding the laundry, rushing to the super market, mopping the floors, and trying to eat something before I starve. DEFINITELY a post for a different day ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Nene #
    September 9, 2013

    The first year is brutal. Try not to over think it. Do whatever you need to do to get through it – it will sort itself out later. My son slept in 45 minute bursts probably until he was five months old, and two hour bursts until he was almost 1. We also swaddled until he started rolling over, and let him sleep in a swing, and let him nurse to sleep. We worried we were creating bad habits. By 14 months, he was sleeping from 7:30 pm to 6:30 am in his crib in his room, happy ad a clam, unless he was sick. He was eating more food during the day and was less hungry at night, and he knew I would come if he cried. He didn’t feel the need to test the system anymore.

    You will sleep again. It doesn’t feel like it now, but you will. Hang in there. There is a reason they use sleep deprivation in torture situations!

  25. September 9, 2013

    All of the points you think you’re doing wrong – we’re doing most of them. We didn’t with Matthew – we followed every rule – and he’s a shitty sleeper. we’re breaking mist riles this tome, and Bryson is a pretty good sleeper. You may just have a shitty sleeper. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    This is hard, but it will pass. Right now, just do what you can to get sleep. My hubby is in a hotel right now, after a fancy work dinner, while I pat a sick baby to sleep before laying with Matthew for 45 minutes to get him to sleep. GAH!!!!

  26. September 9, 2013

    I can’t even start to explain how many times in the first 6 months I convinced myself that I was totally screwing up my daughters sleep…same stuff swaddling every night, white noise (which we still use) rocking to sleep, well you get the idea and now that’s she’s almost one she is finally a good sleeper. I honestly believe a lot of what you are dealing with is just your little babe being a little babe. Sucks when you are living it in but I don’t think you have to worry about raising a terrible sleeper or feeling like you are doomed.
    My only advice would be to do whatever you can to have her nap so that she doesn’t get over tired and then not able to settle in to a good sleep. For us that meant me sitting and holding her for every nap for months but she slept I didn’t get anything done but she slept.
    Seriously the first six months are just hard because each day can be so different what worked well for a whole suddenly stops working and you have no idea but if you think about it their little brains are doing so much work and changing and growing so much each day. I don’t think you have an awful sleeper, I’m guessing you probably don’t have a supply issue either. Try to trust your body and trust your instinct and what does work. Don’t get trapped in the “I should be doing something different” circle because honestly you will always find someone who thinks what you are doing is the worst thing ever and someone else thinks its the best so all you can do is trust what you know and what is working.

  27. Britt #
    September 9, 2013

    What you & Sabine are going through is, unfortunately, totally normal and expected! You’re doing everything right – at that age, I think you just do what you can to get the baby to sleep and don’t worry about sleep habits, CIO, sleep training or any of that till later. We swaddled every. single. night. until the boys were able to roll from back to belly while in the swaddle, which was around 5 or 6 months. We did the rock n play in the first few months whenever it was helpful. Heck we even let them sleep overnight in the swing a few times when things got really desperate. We still use white noise (at 18mos) and used to actually put the white noise machine in the crib near their heads before they started moving a lot and busting out of the swadddles. And we use blackout curtains – in the early months we even used duct tape on the tiny lights from the monitor and white noise machine so that their room was effectively a sensory deprivation chamber. Oh, and nursing to sleep, YES, why pass up on such a natural healthy sleep aid? All this and and, yes, they did learn to sleep through the night. Sabine will too, just not tomorrow. I firmly believe that the babies who are sleeping through when they’re very young are just born that way. You can’t sleep train a 9 week old and I’ve never really heard/read anyone recommend it. When she’s more like 4 or even 6 months is probably a better time to start and things will probably change a million times between now and then. Hang in there and know that none of this is because you’re doing anything “wrong”. It’s all par for the course.

    OH and if the swaddle in the rock n play makes you nervous – have you tried the the SwaddleMe? It has a slit in the back so you can put the harness straps through and around the baby inside the swaddle. Might not work if you also have to nurse/rock/sway to sleep and then gently set her in the rock n play, but just an idea…

  28. jak #
    September 10, 2013

    just catching up now – wow, sabine is looking great and healthy and bright:)

    on sleep and schedules – i am going back to work next week. so even though our wee ones are only about a week apart, i couldnt dick around and i had to get a schedule going. it is still a work in progress, but getting there. chupacabra does not sleep through the night by any means, but he is also not a nipple noshing mess all day, so for what its worth, here it is:

    6am – alarm off, chupy starting to stir, take him 10-15 to really wake. dad takes baby while i get 30 minutes to shower, etc. but not dress for work
    630am – i feed him. it really does not take an hour to feed anymore. this was a newborn thing. now if he is f-ing around and not eating, i dont let him sit there and destroy my nipples. it’s piss or get off the pot. and he responds. when he’s hungry he eats, when he’s not, he really doesnt.
    7am – hand off to dad, mom dresses
    710am – leave for train with baby in car seat. nap may ensue. no big deal
    730-830am – dad gets ready for work, some napping, some playing
    830isham – drop off to caretaker, nap
    930-10ish am – wake
    10am – eat, then stay awake
    12pm – nap
    1ish pm – eat, awake
    3ish pm – nap
    430ish pm – awake, pickup from daycare house

    after that it is a little all over the place for the evening but generally awake until 730pm bath, dozy after, down around 830. he eats when he wants in the evenings. no schedule. sometimes he doesnt go down easily around 830 and we lay with him in our bed trying to convince him to sleep, taking turns, while trying to shovel some dinner into ourselves. then at 10pm, he will usually go to sleep even if he hasnt slept a wink from when he “went down” at 830. we dont let him cry it out. i really disagree with that.

    at night – he wakes when he wants and eats each time he wakes. again, no nipping noshing, or nipple napping. it’s quiet business at night. if he wont go down, i swaddle him. if he fights the swaddle, i nurse him to sleep side-laying. if he flails too much but is generally sleeping with his eyes closed, i move him to the packnplay (or in your case cosleeper), so that he doesnt flail me awake. yes, i’m low on sleep and only getting about 6 hours total through the night, but that’s not so bad you know? better than third trimester, so i cant complain!

    anyway, that’s it, for what its worth. to get chupy into the schedule, i just started it at 10 am one day and tried to kind of stick to it (with reasonable flexibility) and we kept it going from there. some days are disasters. some are fine.

    good luck!!! so glad you’re in the big city now. you and the bean are going to have such and awesome time!!!! so happy for you:)

  29. jak #
    September 10, 2013

    just thought of one more thing – if she’s waking in a red-faced tizzy, and then eats lazily rather than heartily, it is unlikely that hunger is what woke her/her problem. now that chupy is on *some* kind of schedule, it is easier for me to predict what is annoying him. whereas before, i always thought he was hungry, now i know, he’s just plain tired sometimes and unable to put himself to sleep.

  30. ckatz201 #
    September 10, 2013

    You aren’t doing anything wrong. I suggest you consult the book that you mentioned you had- Dr Sears, I think it will make you feel comforted and confident (which is really the thing you are in need of right now). Forget about the westernized ideas of “rules” (anyway, Sabine is too young for them even if they werent malarky). Your baby is a human, and does not need to be “trained.” All those ‘rules’ just make women feel bad and bring out bizarre competition among moms. Bring in the co-sleeper if it helps. Our twins slept in their rock n plays (unstrapped!) for 5 months, btw. And, pass baby off to DH for a bit, you need your rest.

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