We're buggered!

A place for anyone who is supporting a breastfeeding mother - partners, siblings, friends, in laws, parents, etc.
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We're buggered!

Post by Cam'sDad » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:15 am

OK, well I'll have a crack at being the first bloke to enter a question in this new forum thread.

I am the proud father of Cameron. Cam is 4 months old tomorrow. He has been a healthy little chap, and generally enjoys things EXCEPT going to sleep.......particularly for anything longer than about 3 hours (at night time).

My lovely wife is breastfeeding Cam exclusively, and he has gained weight excellently (he's now around 7kg, with a birth weight of 3.1kg 4 months ago.

Problem is, he's now 4 months old (17 weeks old), and has never really slept at night longer than about 3 hours. There's a very occassionaly 4 or 5 hour stretch, but generally is 3 or less. My poor wife is worn out. She has slept in the Nursery since Cam was born and our time is often tag team - I'll take Cam while she sleeps, then head off to work and so on.

Now there seems to be plenty on web pages who's bubs sleep through the night. I reckon they are the only ones who have time to write stuff on the net! However I'd appreciate hearing from people about their experience with bubs sleeping habits that are exclusively breastfed, and how they get on during the evenings. Are we experiencing a normal situation at 4 months?

Would offering Cam some rice cereal help keep him content for longer?

We've seriously done everything else - nice dark room, wrapped, dummy / no dummy, bath, feed before bed, radio white noise etc etc.

Any comments appreciated.

edited to remove brand name - mod team

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Post by Baby Blue Eyes » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:18 am

Sounds pretty normal to me. have you thought of co-sleeping.

I remember reading a study (will try and find it) that while co-sleeping mums don't get as much deep sleep they get more continous sleep which helps them feel refreshed.
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Post by Bex » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:23 am

We co-sleep, because if we didn't I would have gotten no sleep! Sleep deprivation is the pits! My 2.5 year old, has started sleeping through in patches (I have to remember not to brag :roll: - or show ANY excitement!) so it does get better!

Congratulations on your baby, and welcome to the forum!

ETA We have a matress on the floor in our room, which he sleeps on most of the night, I can either lay on it with him, or he gets into bed with us, now he is bigger I try to lay with him on the matress
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Post by mum2Eli » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:35 am

Hi, yes my first child never slept linger than 2 hours at night, even after he started eating some food. He did this until he was 2.5.

Like others have said, co-sleeping can really help, rather than having yo get out of bed and sit up with bubs, mum can simply continue laying down while feeding. My baby feeds every 2 or so hours and she feeds quickly and rolls over as soon as she has finished and goes back to sleep.

I'm still tired, but co sleeping does make a difference.
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Post by breastfeedingisnormal » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:36 am

Hi Cam's Dad
Welcome to the forum. Yeah, those first first few months can be pretty torrid. 4 months can be a particularly difficult time, too. (Have a look at www.thewonderweeks.com ) It sounds like everything is following a pretty normal course and Cam is clearly thriving. That said, it sounds like his parents are having a bit of a rough ride.
You asked whether giving him rice cereal would help him sleep longer and the short answer is probably not. I know it seems counter-intuitive but there is no food more nutritionally dense than breastmilk and the transition to solids often leads to more wakefulness as babies' guts get used to processing something unfamiliar.
The key is to find some strategies to help you guys through this ride. Things like preparing double dinners in the morning when bub is more settled freeze half and reheat half for tea; asking friends or family to take away a basket of washing and bring it back clean and ironed; leave the vacuum cleaner in the hallway so when someone asks if they can help out, ask them to vacuum; sleep when the baby sleeps, no matter what else has to be done; shop online or better still, phone a shopping list through to a mate and have them do it while doing their own.
You might find it helpful to call the helpline 1800 686 268 - a counsellor will be able to give you some more suggestions.
This will pass ...
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Post by Ducks » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:46 am

From about 4 mths, our little boy stopped sleeping for long stretches at night and has only once (that I can remember) slept more than 4 hrs in row since. The 4 hrs sleep was last night when he was exhausted after a day with only 3 x 10-20 min 'naps' (he had a cold and couldn't breath easily). The other long sleep was 8 hrs after we'd been travelling all day and he was exhausted again.

Apart from that, 2-3 hrs at night is normal for us and 1hr when he's teething (pain relief has no effect on his sleep).

How do I cope? I don't really know...I fall asleep quickly after feeding him back to sleep (we don't co-sleep, although I have done so at times and I do get more sleep that way but it isn't something that would work longterm for us for various reasons) and on weekends, my DH gets up with him and I get a little more sleep. I go to bed early (mostly :roll: and regret it if I don't!).

I used to sleep 9hrs straight before he came along and now I guess I've jsut learned how to function on less :D
Recently during the day he's started sleeping for 2hrs at a time and this is great for me, I can relax for a while or get something done around the house if I choose.

I haven't found that introducing solids (at 6mths) has changed his sleep patterns. I've heard some people say that their baby slept much better after solids were introduced but most people I know have found that they don't sleep any better. As BiN said, solids don't have as much nutritional value as breast milk (or formula) so they won't stopped the baby feeling hungry. They might fill up his tummy and keep it full for longer as they are harder to digest...

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Post by strolltotheshops » Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:07 am

A three or four or five hour stretch of sleep doesn't sound unusual. Of course it can be tiring, but it's not unusual.

Here are a few links that you might find useful: In terms of offering rice cereal, the current recommendation (http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/exc ... eeding/en/) is that your baby receive only breast milk for the first 6 months of his life.

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Post by Rani's mum » Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:13 am

I think this is the link BBE was talking about (I read about it on the forum)...
http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/healthy- ... sleep.html

I also co-slept with my first child. I set up the cot as a side-car which helped a lot with sleeping with a small infant. Certainly got a lot more sleep that way. When DD woke up for a feed, I would just attach her and go back to sleep. Eventually, we both got so use to it that neither of us would wake fully for those midnight snacks.

Oh, and giving ABM (formula) to help bub sleep longer is a myth - new studies have given solid numbers from what I've read in a leading parenting magazine.

It's a tough time...it WILL get better. Only about 10% of babies before 6 months sleep longer than 4 hour stretches, so you're not alone.
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Post by Andypandy » Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:27 am

The only thing i have to add is that i found getting some quality naps in really helped me. Is there anyway you can help your wife get some good naps during the week and on the weekend?
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Post by MamaMagoO? » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:40 am

I agree with all pps. I only advice I would add is for you guys to go to bed early and get up late. When I was going through this I found that if I went to bed by 9:00 pm and didn't get out of bed until 9:00am I could usually get in a good 7- 8 hours sleep. We achieved this by having Little Magoo in our room- at first we co-slept and then from when he was about 3 months old I had him in a little crib next to our bed. When he woke for a feed I would bring him into bed with us, feed him (usually falling asleep myself during thre process) and then popping him back into his crib when he was asleep (and I had woken up again :D ). Also day time naps are a big help. Again your DW could bring your LO into bed with her and have a snooze while he feeds. Of course all of the above requires that she learns to feed lying down, if she doesn't already. Some find it a bit tricky at first but it really is worthwhile once you get the hang of it.
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Re: We're buggered!

Post by FiveInTheBed » Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:00 am

Hi Cam's Dad! Firstly, welcome to the forum, you sound like a great supportive Dad for your boy and your partner.
Secondly, sleep deprivation sucks, and is very exhausting for everyone in the house. I can completely understand you wanting to find ways to get more sleep, but like everything with kids, I think its a case of "this too shall pass". If Cam has a 3 hour stretch during the day of sleep, does your wife nap then as well? Day naps keep me sane during the early months.
Cam'sDad wrote:
Now there seems to be plenty on web pages who's bubs sleep through the night. I reckon they are the only ones who have time to write stuff on the net!
Totally agree! That, or they are lying ;)

Cam'sDad wrote:However I'd appreciate hearing from people about their experience with bubs sleeping habits that are exclusively breastfed, and how they get on during the evenings. Are we experiencing a normal situation at 4 months?
Yes. There's a really wide range of "normal". :)
My daughter slept through from 6 weeks until about 4 months, when she started night waking again (and we started co-sleeping). She's only just "Sleeping through" again now at 2 years, 4 months. And that's not every night. Some nights she still wakes for a drink/cuddle/chat.
My son is almost 5 months and slept through once a few weeks ago, but mever again. We've co-slept since birth and I wake for only moments to attach him, then we both go back to sleep very quickly (thankyou breastfeeding hormones! :) )
Cam'sDad wrote: Would offering Cam some rice cereal help keep him content for longer?
Maybe. Maybe not. Still a bad idea though, I think some others have mentioned why (also, it's ghastly stuff IMO, have you tried it? ;) )

Hopefully your wife and yourself can get more sleep soon. Or she can sign up herself to the forum, and join those of us who are often about at 3am feeding babies. :smt024 :smt015
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Post by Monicat » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:01 pm

Hi Cams dad

My DS has only started sleeping for longer stretches (ie 4 or 5 hours) now at 16 months. He still wakes up anywhere between 2 - 8 times some nights.

Sleeping for 3 hours stretches at 4 months is pretty normal :)

For what it's worth my DD who slept for 10 hour stretches from around 3 - 4 months old, started waking up a lot during the night from around 2 years old. Quite often she wakes more than my younger son now at 3 years old. So having a baby that "sleeps through the night" now, doesn't mean they always will :wink:

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Post by Monicat » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:02 pm

Also food made no difference to my sons sleeping habits at all. The only thing that has is time :)

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Post by aelfgiua » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:05 pm

Hi and welcome to the forum.
I also have a 4 month old and it can be exhausting.
That amount of waking sounds very normal to me and like other I cope by co sleeping. My DH helps out by being a great dad to our 3 year old and doing meals and tidying etc so I can get rest when I need to and not sorry about that stuff. He even sleeps in our older daughters room so baby and I can have the whole bed to ourselves and be comfortable. It also means they both get a good nights sleep too. I also rest on the days at home with just bub (while DD1 is at childcare) and make no appointments. I know I should go to bed when baby does, but I am greedy for me time. If I really get tired I have a 'holiday' week where I go to bed at 8 each night, especially useful if I have a cold or something.

My first daughter only slept 2 hour periods until she was over 2 so it seems a breeze to me to just be 'up' a couple of times a night (feed before I sleep at 11 then 2ish and 5ish) with this one. DD1 is now a great sleeper at 3 years.

Re rice cereal, it is just ground up rice with added iron, it is not as nutritionally dense as breast milk and there for it will not really help with waking due to hunger. It might make his little body struggle to digest it therefore meaning a longer sleep (like on Christmas afternoon after a big lunch) but it might also mean more waking with tummy ache and constipation. As others have said the world wide and Australian recommendation is breast milk only until 6 months.

Best wishes on making it work for your family, it does pass and they all sleep eventually, or just don't need you as much when they wake.
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Post by mone » Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:33 pm

i agree with what everyone else has said. any chance the budget would allow for a cleaning lady so your wife could rest easier and sleep during the day when your son does? or something similar? it will eventually get better my boy got better somewhat after solids but his sleep became excellent (at night anyway) once we moved and he has his own room and a much darker area to sleep. i think it was probably a coincidence and we still do have nights where he is up constantly
hope this makes you feel like you are experiencing normal cos from what i can see it is :)
ta mone

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