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  • Nursing to sleep – sorry it's a longie,

    Oh god I was going to try and make this short but it's not gonna happen i'm afraid...I really need others mums advice. I'm a first time mum, with 5 month old gorgeous wee boy. I had always envisaged being such an intuitive, natural, baby led mama and I feel that i've got unwittingly caught up in the mainstream baby schedule syndrome....

    Basically at 6 weeks into motherhood (after bollocks failure to progress (wait) labour with horrible midwife and homebirth transfer, and real nightmare establishing breastfeeding - took 3 months in total, not latching on, extreme weight loss/6days ICU, and nipple shields, agony but final success, yay), I looked to my sister for advice and support, her being an AP mother, I thought her way would be baby-led. I suppose I really didn't know anything about baby-led/parent-led at the time and just thought everything would fall naturally into place.

    Anyway, my sis put me on what she calls 'rhythm' which i've only realised since is an adapted, flexible Gina Ford/supernanny/baby whisperer routine. I say 'put me on' makes me sound like I don't have a mind of my own - I do and I question every decision I make with a fine toothcomb, to my detriment at the moment, I was just vulnerable at the time and really trusted her. So Feed, awake, sleep (but looking for cues rather than enforced timings) it became, and as I am a keen baby wearer she said sling-sleeps were the way to go.

    So when he would look tired after about 1 ½ -2 hours of being awake, I would put him in the sling. in the beginning he would then root and put his hand in his mouth, I thought he was just confused between hunger and sleep, at a tender 6 weeks of age, (and to be honest with having to use nipple shields as he wouldn't latch-on on his own, I probably hoped he was confused and perhaps overlooked this ( *slap wrist* ) and my sis didn't tell me that he was probably wanting boob to sleep - I didn't know it's a basic need for babies - despite previous post and advice on here, it didn't quite sink in. I'm actually quite annoyed with my sis about this, she was there as he was showing all the signs of wanting boob - I would liked to have known to have made an informed choice as to whether to nurse to sleep or not! god I wish i'd read more about life after birth rather than just preparing for the 'perfect' birth!

    After doing a lot of reading about nursing to sleep, and a bit of soul searching, I really believe this is the way to go. I feel awful that my LO was trying to tell me what he wanted, all those cries whilst getting to sleep in the sling that I thought were normal and him just winding down for sleeps, were his way of telling me that he wanted boob to sleep, I feel like I CIO-d him but in the sling (suppose is not as bad as leaving him to cio on own but I feel awful all the same). I wish I could go back to him at 6 weeks and start again, and see what natural rhythm he would have got into.

    So today I decided to try and nurse him to sleep and pop him down in the moses basket. Didn't work as I thought it mightn't, poor wee thing was v confused, he nursed to sleep fine but when I put him down he lifted head up and looked all around, very confused and clearly wasn't going to go back to sleep in a hurry. So i've put him in the sling as I want him to get good sleeps. I feel like I've conditioned him to sleep in the sling, is good from a closeness thing but is impossible to nurse to sleep then get him in sling, and means I can't get any sleep during the day, and I would rather sling him awake and him to sleep in bed/moses basket so I can sleep too. I have managed to nurse him to sleep for some sleeps the past few days and put him in our bed (he's used to it as we cosleep) but he only sleeps for half hour at a time and ends up knackered in the evening, and so am I!

    I'm sure that he would still be able to sleep anywhere if i'd continued to nurse him to sleep from the beginning and I really hope that the sense of trust that i've broken won't damage him in the long run. I just don't want to mess him about, he's used to sling sleeps, not nursing to sleep during day and nursing to sleep at night, and I'm worried if I try and revert him back to nursing to sleep during day it's going to make him lose trust in me more and feel like 'what the heck is going on?!'

    I don't have anyone to talk to that's along the same AP wavelength as me which is why I am yabbering away. I spoke to my dad in tears yesterday and he said that I should just leave baby in bed and tap his bum to sleep, that's what he did with us, takes a while to stop crying etc etc. I said 'no way am I not picking him up if he's crying'!!!

    I'm at my wits end, I never wanted to become someone who conditions my baby out of his natural balance, and I feel that I have and don't know how, or if it's even fair, to revert back.

    Any advice gratefully received.

    Note: i reread previous replies to post when LO was 3 weeks, how i wish i'd absorbed the info better from you all on nursing and 'if in doubt nurse!'

  • #2
    Hello,
    A lot of us has had a rough start -with our first especially. I know it is hard without any real life people giving you support too.

    I'm not exactly sure what you would like to do now....
    I'm sure that he would still be able to sleep anywhere if i'd continued to nurse him to sleep from the beginning and I really hope that the sense of trust that i've broken won't damage him in the long run. I just don't want to mess him about, he's used to sling sleeps, not nursing to sleep during day and nursing to sleep at night, and I'm worried if I try and revert him back to nursing to sleep during day it's going to make him lose trust in me more and feel like 'what the heck is going on?!'
    Are you worried about making a change? It is OK to make changes, gradual and with sensitivity. Could you slowly move into another kind of sleep routine? I know the first few attempts to do things a new way (nurse to sleep etc) may not work but that does not mean you can't keep trying gently. Each time it does not work you can then do the 'old' way, but I would still try the 'new' way.

    He may be a little confused at first just because of change but I'm sure you are still avalible to him. YOUR CLOSENESS (attentiveness) is consistant even if the routine is changing.

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    • #3
      Hello,

      It sounds like you think you've 'conditioned' your child one way and that you want to 'condition' him to a different way now that you have more clarity about how you want to parent BUT you think it may be harmful to your son? Is that correct? My first thought upon reading your post was that if you wanted to change his sleep routine a bit that you certainly can and that the process will not 'harm' your baby. Babies are very adaptable during those early months when we parents do things that we perhaps think better of now Your son may not take to changing his routine very easily or quickly but if you strive to learn and follow his cues while implementing what you think is better for him (and you!) that the two of you will eventually land somewhere satisfactory for both of you, it just may take more time and patience on top of all the effort you are already putting in as a new mom. Don't beat yourself up too much for anything right now, you're being the best momma that you can be. Good luck!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by naomifrederickmd View Post
        Hello,
        Are you worried about making a change?
        Yes I'm scared of change!!! Today has already been pretty hard going I slinged him for the first sleep (now he's only sleeping half hour when he used to sleep hour) and tried nursing to sleep with the next sleep. Didn't work at first, he just fed and was awake (he had been yawning previously and showing signs of tiredness) So I put him in bed and lay next to him. He was ok then fussed a bit so I picked him up and he asked to nurse, perhaps he realised what i had been trying to do!

        He again only slept for 25 mins, I stayed close so he knew i was around, when he woke he cried and I nursed him again and he fell asleep on me but when I tried to put him down he cried so I gave up!! I'm scared of change as he looks so so tired at the moment, big bags under eyes, and is yawning as I type. I know how important sleep is to babies, and he's only had just under an hour in total since 6.30 am and it's 1pm now! It's v v hard to move away from the routine we're been on as when i see he hasn't slept very long i get worried he's not getting enough sleep. And i've read too many books on how much sleep babies should be getting at this age, and length of sleep is important etc etc. Arrrgh. Do other mother worry as much as me???!!!! I wish i wasn't so analytical. If only I'd just let him get into his own rhythm from the start. Despite all this he's a very happy little baby, which is why i'm thinking, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, but there's the not nursing to sleep guilt again. Arrrgh!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ed9000 View Post
          Hello,

          It sounds like you think you've 'conditioned' your child one way and that you want to 'condition' him to a different way now that you have more clarity about how you want to parent BUT you think it may be harmful to your son? Is that correct?
          Yes!!! Exactly!

          Originally posted by ed9000 View Post
          it just may take more time and patience on top of all the effort you are already putting in as a new mom.
          That's what i'm thinking, is going to be hard to change as he expects me to take lead with when he sleeps rather than regulating himself and that's going to be hard to turn around. I'm just wondering how much of a biggie is it, maybe i shouldn't be trying to change things...i guess it's the not knowing what effect my actions are going to have on him in the long run and yeah trying to do my best as new mum! Argh!

          Comment


          • #6
            Try to comfort yourself that babies change a lot anyway so even if you were not starting to do thing different he would likely throw you for a loop anyway. Try not to internalize it too much (thinking "I did this, I messed it up, I'm making it worse") because the things you describe are very subtle and seem pretty gentle. If I was there I would give you a hug!

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            • #7
              Are you nursing in the sling? If not you could try that so he can go right to sleep in the sling after nursing. Or are you not wanting him to sleep in the sling?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by naomifrederickmd View Post
                Try not to internalize it too much (thinking "I did this, I messed it up, I'm making it worse") because the things you describe are very subtle and seem pretty gentle. If I was there I would give you a hug!
                thanks that means a lot. I'm glad you say it's not as bad as i'm feeling it is!! need someone to put it into perspective, sleep deprivation makes things grow legs!!! I just keep cringing at remembering him crying to sleep in the sling and me dumbly thinking it was normal! duh! but yes musn't beat myself up whats done is done...so good to be sharing with likeminded people.

                Oh and this afternoon i put him in sling he protested strongly so i took him out. Soon after he asked for boob and i nursed him - and he fell asleep on my lap! Yay! I was too scared to move him in case he woke, despite being incredibly uncomfortable, so I just sat and let him have his sleep, half hour later he woke looking very confused. 'what mama, I wasn't in the sling/bed and i was asleep?!' Result... Felt good today to finally be doing what I had wanted all along in our breastfeeding relationship, nursing on cue rather than by the clock! If the bf had gone smoothly in the first instance i know this is what i would have been doing.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by connerleesmom View Post
                  Are you nursing in the sling? If not you could try that so he can go right to sleep in the sling after nursing. Or are you not wanting him to sleep in the sling?
                  yeah i was thinking about that earlier and yes I love having him sleep in sling although i would like to have the bed as an option too, for if i'm tired and need to lie down too. It has been pretty intense the past months him sleeping in sling and me not being able to 'sleep when the baby sleeps'!

                  I have a beco so i could try nursing him to sleep in that - might try that tomorrow. I have been using stretchy wrap much more as find it more comfy but can't seem to figure out a way to feed in PWCC which is the carry that I use. Is there a forward carry that is easier? He is a big boy now (prob 10/11kgs) so it is more tricky as ii can't use the newborn carries, he would rebel i think - although perhaps i should try again - if he was tired and had a boob in his face he probably wouldn't be fussy anyway !!! I have just got a woven too and am still mastering it! ...

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                  • #10
                    Oh and another thing - I have found his feeding cues a challenge to figure out - the only way I know he wants boob is if i am holding him and he roots, it's become more of a nodding head thing recently, he doesn't smack his lips/ stick his tongue out or any of the other cues i've been told about... going back to the 'missing' his cues in the sling, i think he was giving me more visual cues in the beginning and perhaps he will again, but as i wasn't picking up on them i feel like maybe he gave up with those cues (ok don't beat myself up, don't beat myself up!)

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                    • #11
                      Felt good today to finally be doing what I had wanted all along in our breastfeeding relationship, nursing on cue rather than by the clock!
                      GOOD! You should feel good. You are a very attentive mother. SMILE!!!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by koru25 View Post
                        yeah i was thinking about that earlier and yes I love having him sleep in sling although i would like to have the bed as an option too, for if i'm tired and need to lie down too. It has been pretty intense the past months him sleeping in sling and me not being able to 'sleep when the baby sleeps'!

                        I have a beco so i could try nursing him to sleep in that - might try that tomorrow. I have been using stretchy wrap much more as find it more comfy but can't seem to figure out a way to feed in PWCC which is the carry that I use. Is there a forward carry that is easier? He is a big boy now (prob 10/11kgs) so it is more tricky as ii can't use the newborn carries, he would rebel i think - although perhaps i should try again - if he was tired and had a boob in his face he probably wouldn't be fussy anyway !!! I have just got a woven too and am still mastering it! ...

                        Which woven wrap did you get? Buying carriers can be addicting! I have more than I should, but I love bwing!

                        You're doing a great job. I know it's hard to not beat yourself up. We all have things we wish we could change about the way we have parented. We all have regrets. Time will help you move on. It sounds like you did what you could with the information you had and now you're trying to do better. You can't ask for more than that.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by connerleesmom View Post
                          Which woven wrap did you get? Buying carriers can be addicting!
                          I just got Amazonas, the blue one - I want the yellow one now!. I love it but keep doing crap wrap jobs with it! Will be easier as well when he can sit up and I can do hip holds and more back stuff! Yes addictive! I am trying not to become a neurotic worrier mum.......calm, peace, relax, ahhh!
                          Last edited by koru25; 01-28-2010, 02:17 PM. Reason: forgot last bit

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                          • #14
                            I understand where you're coming from with the new mom guilt. I also listened to too many people tell me that nursing to sleep and napping with my baby were bad 'habits' that would ruin his sleep for life. I eventually decided to ignore all these comments and follow my instincts, and my DS and I have been much happier since! Good for you for deciding to do the same.

                            Yes, all babies need sleep, but some babies (mine included) preferred to take a few short naps during the day rather than the hour plus naps that a lot of sleep training programs say they need. Every baby is different, and I have found that most babies find a way to get the amount of sleep they need, even if it doesn't come in the form that those baby books say. My son only started napping for more than 45 mins at about 7 mths, and this was only every few days, and usually with me in the bed with him. Have you tried laying down to nurse him so you don't have to move him once he is asleep? This was (and still is) the only thing that keeps my son asleep and gets him to nap longer.

                            I know it's hard, but try to let go of all that guilt. Babies don't come with instructions, and we are all just trying the best we can to figure out what they need! You're on the right track now, keep following your instincts and it will all work out.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LLMom View Post
                              some babies (mine included) preferred to take a few short naps during the day rather than the hour plus naps that a lot of sleep training programs say they need. Every baby is different, and I have found that most babies find a way to get the amount of sleep they need, even if it doesn't come in the form that those baby books say. My son only started napping for more than 45 mins at about 7 mths, and this was only every few days, and usually with me in the bed with him. Have you tried laying down to nurse him so you don't have to move him once he is asleep? This was (and still is) the only thing that keeps my son asleep and gets him to nap longer.

                              I know it's hard, but try to let go of all that guilt. Babies don't come with instructions, and we are all just trying the best we can to figure out what they need! You're on the right track now, keep following your instincts and it will all work out.
                              yeah it's so hard, I've read too many books! In the beginning my mother said 'you're lucky to have so much more info than we ever did' now she's saying 'there's too much info available, it's just confusing things'
                              That 'no-cry nap solutions' just freaked me out with all the diff stages of sleep and if you'r baby has had less than an hour-half sleep then it's no good and he'll be brain damaged for life arggghh !!! I'm trying to run with more instinctiveness but LO won't always nurse to sleep in the day - i think he's so used to not being that he doesn't expect it any more he expects the sling - which isn't a bad thing either, I miss him when he's down in the bed! Met up with some of the ante-natal girls today and it breaks my heart to see them on baby-led and I'm on this routine - albeit flexible. My LO is so used to the way things are it's going to be diff to turn it upside down.... But I am where i am now and as you say we're all just trying the best to figure out what they need! Yeah i def need to let go of guilt and am working on it, v v hard tho as I just want to do it right, don't we all!!!

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