More Thoughts on Sleep

 

Thank you all for your help on the sleeping issue! I really do think that he has just got used to waking and being fed. I mean, when they are newborns they do wake because they are hungry and I really just followed his lead with it. I perhaps should have taken more care to be aware of him getting older and having different needs and developing habits. I also need to break his habit of napping in the pram – I have always put him down to nap in his pram in the daytime because that way I didn’t need to buy a moses basket! But he only has a couple more months before it turns into a pushchair (sob!) so I need to get him napping in his cot. Which he currently is, right now. Small victories! (I will come back to this point.)

 

Last night, he went to bed at 7 as per usual. He woke at 9:15 and I tried very hard to get him to go back to sleep without feeding him. This took so long that it reached almost 10pm and thus 3 hours which is as long as he ever goes without a feed so I did feed him in the end. He slept until 1am so a good 3 hours. I fed him, and he slept again until 4am. Another 3 hours! This time he fell asleep very fast and didn’t take a full feed and woke 45 minutes later for the rest. And this is the part that makes me roll my eyes a bit … he woke at 5:52 and I thought “nnnnnnngggggg I know I shouldn’t feed him again but if I can just get another 45 minutes sleep ….” so I did feed him and put him back down and then we both woke up at 7:45 when I got a text message! That NEVER happens usually! But, he was far happier this morning than usual.

 

My gut feelings at the moment are that yes, he is used to waking and feeding. But, in the daytime he only goes 3 hours and he has always fed more frequently than the suggested amount. He is a big baby. So if he wakes 3 hourly in the night, I will feed him because I think he is hungry after 3 hours. If it’s been less than that I need to get him back to sleep without feeding him. Also, I need to perhaps wake him after a feed and then settle him down again. Hmm. That’s a tricky one because although he wakes up and cries for food in the night, he isn’t properly awake and just feeds with his eyes shut and goes straight back in his cot afterwards.

 

Also I think that I just need to keep going, I’m not that tired really and feel fine. The way he learns is by repetition I think, he needs to learn what is expected of him in terms of waking and sleeping and feeding so I need to be consistent and teach him. This is easier when I am awake, I have very little resolve in the wee hours of the night! Also, it’s bloody hard to resist feeding him – physically he is very very strong, far stronger than I ever expected a baby could be and he always has been. Most of the time he is straight like a rod and doesn’t want to bend for a cuddle or anything. When he wants to feed in the day, he leans back and throws himself down to his left and pulls at my clothes. In the night, he makes himself into a ball and is a dead weight and just drops really hard and fast downwards and starts wrestling for food. If I put him back up on my shoulder he just continues like this until I give in and sometimes he grabs at my face! He has on occasion stood straight up in my arms and bellowed in my face. It is very difficult to overpower him!

(Ooh I can hear him waking up now)

With the daytime sleeping, 3 days now I have put him to sleep in his cot. Twice I have managed this without feeding him. It feels like a huge victory.

******

Ok, about 9 hours have passed since I started writing this and I have totally lost my thread.

Basically, thank you all so much for your comments, once again you have all really helped and I appreciate it no end. To clarify, TTB won’t take a bottle or a dummy but I have tried both. I persisted for a while with the dummy but he just spits it back out and always has done. He took a bottle from Andy twice but since then has just got really distressed when we’ve tried it.

I don’t think that weaning him will be a magical cure all for the sleeping really. I think he is hungrier than other babies (perhaps he has a fast metabolism) and so wants to feed more frequently to get the same amount. He is maintaining his 75th percentile line quite happily. I do think he is used to feeding to sleep, which is what I am going to work on next. But, I am happy to feed him this much through the night at the moment because he does seem to need it (takes a full feed each time) and I’m not doing badly on this much sleep. If it became more of a problem then I’ll tackle it differently. Also, things do change and if I keep being consistent with bedtime/wake time he will eventually learn what he needs to do.

Anyway I need to finish cooking dinner now! Oh and btw I actually have been crocheting lately so I will have something to show you, not quite finished yet but getting there. Exciting!

33 thoughts on “More Thoughts on Sleep

  1. I had to say something. Do not beat yourself up about any of this. Just follow your instincts. My son would not sleep anywhere but on me for months. I got so stressed about it at the time but i wish now that i had just enjoyed the co sleeping. He is now two and sleeps about thirteen hours solidly each night. I have never had the regular day naps people mention but i do have my nights back. We found formula in the evening helped but of course he has to take bottle or syringe for that. Seriously, do what works for you and take all advice and comments with a pinch of salt. ttb is your baby and unique. You will find your own way.

  2. Hi heather, the sleep issue is a big one, we all crave sleep. My daughter went through a phase of deciding she liked a middle of the night feed, she didn’t need it as she was nearly one. What we did was my husband would go in, he was not the food source. He would calm her down, offer her water, much to her disgust! After a few nights she stopped waking as she realized she wasn’t going to get what she wanted. It was hard for me to listen to her cry but really worth it, I knew she was ok so I just had to do it, also when are you introducing solids? Perhaps a bit of solid food in ttbs tummy before bed would get him through. Take care xxBrenda

  3. Have you tried fattening up your feeds? If our eating super healthy then your not making fatty filling milk which might be why he wants to feed so much. My baby was exactly the same as yours and my midwife suggested a mars bar at about 10pm so that when he woke for a feed at midnight/1am it would be really fatty. He used to sleep till 6am after that feed!

  4. You are doing a great job, go with your instincts, the sleep deprivation can be exhausting but truly it will get better soon. My eldest son (now nearly 24!!) was just awful for the first 6 months, he wanted to be held all day (I had to learn to peel veg one handed while I rocked him!) and at night would feed until he slept. I used to put him down like a piece of precious cut glass and the minute he touched the mattress (especially in the winter if it was a bit cold) he would wake again and the whole performance would start over. I have to confess to having days when I wasn’t really sure I liked him much and certainly wasn’t sure I was enjoying being his mum because I was just so exhausted. Eventually I did the minimal contact, no conversation at night thing (think he was about 10 months) and after a couple of weeks he seemed much better at getting off to sleep on his own. Second son, by force of having to (2 year old brother running about!) got put down awake or not immediately post feed most times and always slept. Who knows if they are just different personalities, or if I was a bit more chilled about it, or if it was that he had to get himself off. I still have no real idea! I do know I couldn’t have done anything differently with the first one – I had to do what felt right and couldn’t bear to see him get so worked up which just made me feel worse. I think what I’m trying to say – not very well! – is there is not a right or wrong way to do it, everyone has their own stories and advice to offer but he is your baby and you know best how you and he feel. And really, although I know it doesn’t feel that way now, before you know it this will all be a memory. They have a knack of getting enough sleep and food – they are kind of not programmed not to. Be kind to yourself if you can and take the chance to have an odd nap with him to catch up, its definitely allowed! xx

  5. Hi Heather, I remember these dilemmas well.In the night you have zero resistance because you are so tired and just want to do the quickest thing to get back to sleep. Your instincts sound right and things will get better….hang in there .Looking forward to seeing your crochet….it’s always lovely.
    Jacquie x

  6. Heather,

    Pop an email over to me with your details and I will send you one of our Itaggy’s FOC to try. They are a comforter blanket which are perfect for little hands, they have ribbons which are tactile and perfect for development. We even have ones with elephants. They are great for settling and ensure that baby feels the same comfort when Mummy is not there. Reassurance works wonders.

    Clare

  7. What a shame babies don’t come with an instruction manual! They are exhausting. I had a big baby boy too, he was on the 98th percentile and actually went off the chart for a couple of weeks ( to see him now you would never guess it!) Have you tried a different shaped bottle? When we changed from breast to bottle when I was returning to work ( at 12 weeks :’( ) he would not take the bottle we had bought, we then changed to the chunky ones and he was persuaded to take them. Just a tip that helped us. Everything will settle soon but it is such hard work when you are going through it. You hang in there xx

  8. Hi Heather, you are so together for a first time mum, TTB is a lucky baby! What lovely, supportive comments – you’ve been given great advice and suggestions. I would say that some babies just seem to NEED more than others. If we can meet those needs perhaps it helps them in the long run. One of ours needed to be held all the time. Apparently no one had told her that as a 4th child she should fit into the family routine! Also I remember being told that at certain times babies feed more frequently to increase the milk supply when they are having a growth surge. It did seem to happen quite often with mine but then babies do grow incredibly fast, don’t they :) You sound as though you are finding the right balance for both of you, gently and surely.

  9. Hi Heather, you are so together for a first time mum, TTB is a lucky baby! What lovely, supportive comments – you\’ve been given great advice and suggestions. I would say that some babies just seem to NEED more than others. If we can meet those needs perhaps it helps them in the long run. One of ours needed to be held all the time. Apparently no one had told her that as a 4th child she should fit into the family routine! Also I remember being told that at certain times babies feed more frequently to increase the milk supply when they are having a growth surge. It did seem to happen quite often with mine but then babies do grow incredibly fast, don\’t they :) You sound as though you are finding the right balance for both of you, gently and surely.

  10. Gosh, babies, trial and error really. TTB sounds like my first, feeding off to sleep everytime, not sleeping if I put him down without being asleep first etc. I couldn’t fill him and needed my sleep, so for the last feed of the night I used to sog up ‘Arrowroot’ biscuits with stewed apple and give that to him and I could get another hour or two of sleep as he had a full tummy. The other two who came after him were put down without feeding them to sleep, pushed from pillar to post and not any trouble. Our first child is our learning child, so take heart, you are learning along with him and doing a great job of it too, just do what feels right for you as all babies are different. I may add at 10 months my first born was still waking up for a feed during the night but just mucking around, so I let him cry himself back to sleep after making sure all was ok with him. He took a couple of nights but slept through after that, BUT I did feel like a big meanie :(
    xx Sandi

  11. This hint came from my mother-in-law. I didn’t need it for my daughter, but it worked for my son. When you pick him up at night, even for a feed, slip a warm hot water bottle into his “spot”. When you put him down again, remove the bottle with the other hand, check to make sure the bed is not too warm or that there has not been a leak, and then put the child down on a spot that feels as warm and cozy to him as your body did. Do not, of course, put a hot water bottle in with the child because that is not safe.

    I also want to add that if he is hungry, he may need to be fed. One of my children was too good at sleeping through the night and quit gaining as she should have for awhile. The other one, who woke up at least once for nursing during the night until 15 months, is now the adult who has to set multiple alarm clocks to awaken in the morning.

    Don’t worry about what the “oughts” are, and do what is right for you and your baby.

  12. I was a midwife and then had my children. Can I recommend a book that saved my sanity – Solve Your Childs Sleep Problems by Dr Richard Ferber. This book put us back on track with my son and then set a clear path for managing my next child so we didn’t get problems. My husband made sure that during my weakest moments I didn’t give in and I needed that support, even 20+ years later I remember those feelings! But once I’d stuck to the plan laid out in the book I never looked back. The book lays out several senarios which are easy to identify with on sleep association and I found was nothing short of brilliant -as long as you stuck to the plan. I have recommended this book to so many people over the years.

  13. Can I offer the same thought about this as someone gave me about my twins? Don’t worry – he won’t be doing it when he’s at uni! In other words it all passes so quickly, go with the flow. Within reason, whatever you do you will produce a fairly normal adult at the end of it all and that’s what counts!

  14. Can I offer the same thought about this as someone gave me about my twins? Don\’t worry – he won\’t be doing it when he\’s at uni! In other words it all passes so quickly, go with the flow. Within reason, whatever you do you will produce a fairly normal adult at the end of it all and that\’s what counts!

  15. Hi Heather, I know you have so much advice already but I haven’t seen anyone mention “silent reflux”. Basically instead of vomiting up, silent reflux is tummy acid washing up and down the eosophagus without coming out (heartburn). It causes baby to feed very frequently and put on big amounts of weight. Another indicator is when baby is put down to sleep, the acid comes up and they never sleep any longer than a few hours at a time. When baby is upright they are happier. This problem is apparently common in babies born in difficult births. My youngest son was diagnosed with it at 3 weeks after a long labour and emergency caesarian. He was prescribed liquid Zantac and Prepulsid before feeding which thickened the milk in his tummy and helped keep it down. We had to put a wedge under his mattress in his cot and keep him on a slight slope in his pram. He stopped the medication at 6 months when we started solid feeding. It might be worth checking with your child nurse. Best of luck :)

  16. This is fast be becoming my favourite blog – every time I read it I’m taken from the business of life with big teens and work to that beautiful time of a first bub x I shall offer no advice -seems to me you are working out the best way for you and yourittle family x I’ll just say thank you for sharing this magic time x

  17. Thought on helping

    Dear Heather,

    as so many other people mentioned before I can only agree that listening to your own instincts is the best.
    There are lots of children who refuse the bottle (maybe it works better without you being around) or the dummy. And giving the bottle or weaning does not necessarily mean that it is going to be better.
    Just in case you don’t already know about it, I can recommend Elizabeth Pantley “No cry sleep solutions”. She shows an approach to bring babies to sleep without breastfeeding. I found it really helpful.

    Always keep in mind TTB is such a strong little person because of you, your love, your care and your milk … You can be proud, if somedays he is going to be such a strong personality.

  18. Hi Heather,

    I’ve been reading your blog since long and have never commented in the past. Your son’s sleeping habit seemed similar to my daughter’s(she is now 7 years old). I corrected her sleeping habit by offering the bottle(infant formula) in addition to my milk. And she really gave me immense trouble taking the bottle, but I kept persisting and she took it ultimately(at about 6 months of age). Also her sleeping improved once I started her on solids(baby cereal) at 4 months of age.

    I strictly followed the feeding regimen, of supplementing my milk with infant formula and about 8-10 feeds throughout the day for my second baby(he is now 22 months old). He started sleeping through the night from 2 months of age.
    So I think TTB’s sleeping will improve when you start him on solids.

    I know how hard it is to keep sane and be a good mother when you have so little sleep. I admire your patience and effort in writing this blog. And also your beautiful hooky creations. Its good that you have maintained this space to write your outpourings. I never did that when I had my daughter and lost my sanity due to lack of sleep and rest. Things will get better, take it easy. Thanks for reading.

    Sapna

  19. Every baby is different, and there’s sure enough mom’s out there to give advice. So here’s mine, and it’s just a repeat of what my mom told me. She said, “let the baby tell you what he wants and when he wants it, when he’s ready to sleep through the night, he will”. I NEVER put either of my babies on a feeding schedule or a sleeping schedule, and I never woke them up to feed them. My first slept through the night (11:00pm until 6:00am is all night believe me) when he was about 4 months old. My second slept thru the night around 5 months (he was a more hearty eater than his big brother, still is). For both of them, I started putting cereal in their bottles at 6 weeks. it was either that, or feed them every 3 hours. with the cereal, i could get them to go 4 to 5 hours between feedings. I never breast fed either, so I can’t begin to imagine what you go through. Not to mention, you can’t add cereal to your breast, unless you’re pumping and bottling. Just stay “tuned in” to him, as you are, and before you know it, he’ll be sleeping thru the night, and a nice long nap mid-day. But again, most importantly, every baby is different, what works for one, may not work for another. And if you ever have a second child, that one will probably be a totally different experience and different child than TTB.

  20. Someone else may have suggested it already, but there are so many comments! Have you tried expressing milk and giving that to him in a bottle? If you wanted to eventually get him to take a bottle, that might help him accept it. I used to express in the morning when I felt I had more milk (sometimes get a bit low in the evenings due to tiredness etc which is why he might be needing to feed frequently), and then I’d give that to him at about 10pm. I’d have to wake him up for that, but i think because he was sleepy he almost didn’t realise it was a bottle and not a boob! that would usually get him through until about 2/3 am, then another feed and then he’d get through til 5/6am so it was more like one wake up a night!

  21. Mars bar before bed sounds like a good one to try :) You are doing a great Job most Mums who say they breast fed there babies only do it for the first few weeks so big pat on the back for keeping that up.

  22. Good luck – I seem to recall no one could ever have explained how tired I was when my son was small (he’s 15 and 6ft tall now!). But I thought it would be the first few wicks which were the most difficult, but actually it was about 3 / 4 months that it got trickier, and then easier again at 6 months or so. He never took a dummy or bottle, or slept in his cot during the day for that matter. He would sleep in the pram during the day, or car seat if I was driving (but had an amazing ability to wake as soon as I stopped walking or driving!). My health visitor kept reminding me it was only a “phase” and would pass, no matter how tough, and was probably the only time in my life when daytime TV was a good choice! She also suggested having possibilities rather than plans until the phase passed. Good luck.
    With each different phase comes new challenges (but you do get more sleep), and going with your gut feeling sounds good to me. x

  23. Good luck – I seem to recall no one could ever have explained how tired I was when my son was small (he\’s 15 and 6ft tall now!). But I thought it would be the first few wicks which were the most difficult, but actually it was about 3 / 4 months that it got trickier, and then easier again at 6 months or so. He never took a dummy or bottle, or slept in his cot during the day for that matter. He would sleep in the pram during the day, or car seat if I was driving (but had an amazing ability to wake as soon as I stopped walking or driving!). My health visitor kept reminding me it was only a \"phase\" and would pass, no matter how tough, and was probably the only time in my life when daytime TV was a good choice! She also suggested having possibilities rather than plans until the phase passed. Good luck.
    With each different phase comes new challenges (but you do get more sleep), and going with your gut feeling sounds good to me. x

  24. Hi. Just trust yourself that you are doing the right thing and don’t listen to all those people at baby groups that say their babies are sleeping through the night. It just isn’t true. Long after I stopped going to those groups I found out that “sleeping through the night” meant something like sleeping for 4 or 5 hours at night and only recently I heard someone say how her baby was sleeping through the night (apart from the 3 times she got up to feed her!). You are doing fine – it won’t last forever and remember to give yourself a massive pat on the back for every day you have breast fed him. Bx

  25. Hi. Just trust yourself that you are doing the right thing and don\’t listen to all those people at baby groups that say their babies are sleeping through the night. It just isn\’t true. Long after I stopped going to those groups I found out that \"sleeping through the night\" meant something like sleeping for 4 or 5 hours at night and only recently I heard someone say how her baby was sleeping through the night (apart from the 3 times she got up to feed her!). You are doing fine – it won\’t last forever and remember to give yourself a massive pat on the back for every day you have breast fed him. Bx

  26. Going with what baby wants isn’t weak, he’s learning you always comfort him, 16 wks is known for a grotty growth spurt. My youngest never had a bottle and managed a sippy cup with meals and a doidy cup once he was sat in his high chair. Weaning is not a cure all because hey pureed carrot, not high in calories compared with breast milk. I know from experience that the warfedale la leche league is really supportive and their leaders very no nonsense, I have always found more helpful advice from people who’s default position is not wean him or get hubby to give a bottle. The ilkley meeting is the first Friday of the mnth ( still taking my 21/2 yr old) but am sure there is one in skipton too

  27. I just wanted to share my experiences (as a mother of 4, oldest soon to be 26-youngest 12), that I very much, against well intentioned advice, pretty much was baby/toddler led. They all slept with me from day one, were carried in slings, fed on demand, never left to cry (as that just made my stomach go into huge knots, and was maybe more for me than them), of course there were times, especially with no.4 when they maybe did have to take a back seat. I’m sure my life would have been easier had I had a strict routine, and many a time I envied those mothers who were able to, and who seemed to have such pliant, contented babies, but for me it just didn’t feel right. At times I still have my 12 year old in with me when he wakes with night terrors or feels ill. For all my so called ‘pampering’, they have all grown into very secure, confident adults and teenagers. It was hard, but given the chance I would never do it any other way. I hate to give advice to anyone, but I would like to say, just go with the flow, go with your instincts, and do what works for you and yours, whatever that may be…..and enjoy!!!! :-) xxxx

  28. p.s…..mine never slept, at times I would be in tears through exhaustion…..25 years on from my first and it takes 3 alarm clocks to wake him :-)

  29. Hi! Nobody has mentioned that there are dummies shaped differently for babies who are breastfed, although you probably find out by now. My neice had these as she woudn’t take a regular dummy – my sister complained because they were more expensive! TTB might not want one anyway…..

  30. Hi Heather, just seen some of your comments on Twitter and I wish I could remember the name of a sleep training book I bought about 12 years ago. I didn’t want to do it but this book explained the science (my baby was WELL over the weight that meant she could sleep through the night without being hungry – but this was when solids started at 4 months and she was five and a half months old); that ideally you should sleep train before your baby was in a bed and could just get out of bed and join you on the sofa (I saw this when I flicked through the book in the shop and this is why I bought it!) What was good about the book was that it had a plan – on the first night I put her down in her cot, said night night, let her cry for 1 minute (I had to time it because I wanted to go to her after 10 seconds), went in, said night night, rubbed her back, went out, cried for 1 minute 5 seconds, etc. Didn’t pick her up. Needed Nerves Of Steel. Night two, we left her for 2 minutes. Night three, 3 minutes. The tough thing is that you do the 1 minute, 1 minute 5 secs thing EVERY time they wake up in the night, which is tough because you just want to pop them on your breast because you’re desperate for sleep. If I did feed her, I had to start with the one minute thing again. It helps if you and dad take turns with this (damn, the one with the milk hasn’t come) And then I carried on in the day for naps because it was the falling asleep by herself that she needed to learn. By night 3 she wasn’t really crying, she was sort of murmuring in an angry way, I could almost hear her saying I am really cross with you. I was starting to think I couldn’t hack it when on day 4 she had a morning nap and an afternoon nap, like other babies did, and we were go!! Reasons I think it worked so ‘quickly’ – me knowing she wasn’t hungry (def check this with HV), she was old enough for this, her having her cot in a separate room so she couldn’t smell my milk and me being DESPERATE. Incidentally, did the same feeding all night / daytime zombie thing with baby 2. Oops. Slightly more bearable knowing I had the sleep training up my sleeve for later. Sorry, I went on a bit. If I can remember name of book I’ll tweet it to you. Gave mine to a single mother friend. With twins.

  31. I discovered your blog through Lucy’s via the Ripple Along and had to go back to the very beginning and read the whole thing! Almost current…lol. But when I got to your sleep posts tonight I had to comment…I see a lot of similarities with us and our babies! Mine is slightly older…in fact his birthday was yesterday, February 1st (*sob*), but he was also born fairly big (8 lbs 13 oz). We had MAJOR sleep issues and I felt like I was reading my own words, thus saying hi now! You keep saying you think he’s just used to it and I kept saying the same thing…for ten months. 10 months he was constantly waking and I was a wreck! I had him in our room up to that point and he’d wake and scream and I’d feed him and he’d pass back out for an hour or two. Finally I put him in his own room…the first night he woke I let him cry. Took “only” 30 min and me going crazy and he laid back down…slept the rest of the night. The next night, 5 min! Now he wakes once in a while and I watch him on the monitor to make sure he doesn’t really need me but he always goes back to sleep fairly quickly. Anyways, lol, my point is to go with your gut! If you think he’s waking out of habit, he probably is! Try not to wait as long as I did…at that point I was so so tired that I was def not as good of a mommy as I wanted to be!
    Keep up your blog! It’s wonderful! I live in America but lived in England for a few years (15-19) and lovvveeeeeee it there!

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