Breaking the nurse-to-sleep association. No-Cry Sleep Solution.

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by Xtina, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    I've been reading the No-Cry Sleep Solution book to help with my 9-month-old son's HORRIBLE sleep problems. Yesterday, I started trying to use the author's suggestions for teaching him to fall asleep in bed and for breaking the nurse-to-sleep association that makes him think he has to breastfeed all night long. So far, it's not going well. It's barely any easier on me and him than the cry-it-out method. I'll tell you, there was quite a lot of crying last night. I think I might be doing it wrong, but trying to read a long book full of every possible scenario of child-rearing that don't apply to my situation is difficult with a needy child whining that I'm reading and not paying attention to him! So I thought I'd come here for tips from anyone who's done this.

    Last night, I got him to go to sleep in his bed after an hour of denying him the breast. That was his first night waking at 9:40. Then for his midnight wake-up, I did breastfeed him, since it had been six hours since his last meal. I thought I would be able to deny him the breast at the next wake up. I rocked and walked him for 1.5 hours and had to give up. I went to sleep feeling like I had utterly failed and wasted an hour and a half of our sleep time by trying this.

    This evening has already been rough. Dogs barked, cat meowed, and baby has been woken up twice so far. I soothed him until I started to feel frustrated at how VERY awake he was so I called in reinforcements (daddy). Now, to be fair to him, I had not really explained the book or my goals. So his idea of helping was to take the baby into his office, with the computer playing music and the lights on until he falls asleep. I finally went in there to a very awake, cooing, playing baby and explained to husband what our goal is here (falling asleep in his bed) and that lights and music might not be conducive to that. Now he's in the nursery, lights off, walking and rocking a screaming, crying baby.

    Help! What are we doing wrong? Besides, of course, the lights and music. What can we do to help him get over the thought of breastfeeding all night? He wakes me up 3 times or more every night, sometimes up to 7 times in a night. He's just awful. I also need tips on getting him to nap longer in the day, since the author says that's part of the problem, and on helping him get rid of his gas at night, which I think is hurting him and keeping him up. Today, I took him on an hour+ car ride to get him to nap because nothing else was working. And at night I've been giving him simethicone and it doesn't seem to be working. I'm at my wit's end and ready to just give up and let him wake me up a million times every night for the rest of his life. It's been so long since I've gotten any sleep. Or maybe I'll just run away to Mexico.
  2. turney31

    turney31 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2008
    palestine texas
    Gosh, I'm gonna be no help. I just wanted to give you a [​IMG] . I remember that frustrating feeling all too well.
  3. BlacksheepCardigans

    BlacksheepCardigans Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 11, 2010
    Southeast NH
    How often/how much is he breastfeeding during the day? What's his weight gain like? It's possible that he actually NEEDS to nurse all night; some babies eat sparsely through the day and then tank up all night and you just have to live through the torture until they outgrow it. Has he been checked for GERD (reflux)? That's another really common reason they nurse all night; they get what feels like heartburn and drinking milk helps, so they keep asking for nursing to help them get back to sleep. Are you keeping him on only one side per feeding? If you switch breasts, he's getting the watery milk from both breasts and he's going to wake up faster. Make him stay on one breast per feed so he gets the hind milk, which is fatty.

    I've been where you are - four times. None of my babies slept through the night until they were well over a year, and they were pretty sure nighttime was the best nursing time at all. I got through it by having them in our bed - so I could wake up for just the five minutes of the feed and then both of us could go back to sleep, and sometimes the babies would stir only enough to realize I was there and then go back to sleep themselves without feeding. I would also try to get a really, really good cluster feed before bedtime - try to keep waking them up and getting them back on for a good half-hour or so. If they were really full they'd usually go at least 3-4 hours, so I could have one decent run of sleep before the every-two-hour wakings.

    Remember that the right solution is the one that gets you sleep! Him being in his own bed is not "better" than him being in bed with you - if co-sleeping gets you more rest, do it. Have a realistic goal - he's not likely to be able to sleep through for 12 hours, but you might get one four-or-six-hour stretch pretty reliably. If you define success as feeding him twice instead of feeding him six times, you'll get there. And I really would have him checked for reflux if he's not just waking but waking and crying.

    I remember being SO MAD that people would say "It'll pass, just be patient." I was threatening to go sleep in the run-in shed, so having somebody tell me that it would be over in a year was not helpful! But, on the other side of it now, it DOES pass. It's a very difficult season in your life but it's very short. My youngest is now turning three and it really is true that they don't nurse forever, they don't stay in your bed forever, and before you know it you've got a toddler who barely wants a hug, much less the hours of nursing.

    I hope you can get some sleep - let your husband do it "wrong" for a few hours, if it means you can get a good deep nap.
  4. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    I agree with BlackSheep, you may need to re-evaluate your goals. I'm pregnant with my 4th. My babies didn't sleep through the night until they were much older than 9 months and that was fine with me, you just need to find ways to get more sleep yourself and you won't mind,either. Personally, I think our culture puts too much emphasis on forcing babies to do what's not natural to them.

    What worked for me was keeping the babies in bed with me. I took the rail off the crib and arranged it right next to my side of the bed, like a side-car. When the baby woke up, I'd just roll over and nurse the baby while laying down and we'd both fall back to sleep right after he latched on. We both got plenty of sleep and he gained weight beautifully. The best part about sharing sleep with your baby is that you share a sleep cycle - when you're in deep sleep, he's in deep sleep; when you're in light sleep, he's in light sleep. Babies do their night wakings when they're in light sleep and if you're also in light sleep, it's not as hard for you to wake up. In fact, I often woke up to him stirring, but not crying and was able to get him settled before he woke up completely. If you sleep seperately, waking up out of a sound sleep repeatedly is miserable.

    I know our culture frowns on bed-sharing, but after reading about James McKenna's sleep studies of mothers and infants, I feel safer having the baby sleep with me. Not only do we share a sleep cycle, but a very young infant patterns it's breathing after the mother, so doesn't have those scary stop-breathing episodes.
  5. lotzahenz

    lotzahenz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    I too was a co-sleeper and preffered it that way. I would barely wake up to latch baby back on, and she/he would sleep tummy to tummy with me. Once asleep, all my babies were good about "barely" waking up to nurse. The BIG mistake I made with my FIRST child was getting up to nurse her in the rocker, like you see in the movies. I would change her diaper, nurse, change her diaper, try to get her to sleep, no luck, try to breast feed agan, no luck. Try sugar water, LUCK! but then NO MILK! Not as smart as it might seem. SO, I threw away the bottles, took the baby to bed, kicked her dad to the far side of the KING bed and we slept that way until she no longer woke up in the middle of the night, then to the crib. By my third baby, I used the crib twice, but I couldn't sleep well with my baby in a room far far away from me. (right next door) It did not seem natural. No way is right, or wrong, you just have to do what works for you and every single baby will be different. I remember how it feels, but hey, my baby is now 10 and just yesterday I thought about walking out the front door and walking just like Forest Gump, until I could not take another step. NOT looking back. Those feelings too pass, right??? Wait till you get teenagers, no sleep with them either. But that is another long long story. We are here for you!
  6. PaulaJoAnne

    PaulaJoAnne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    I agree that forcing a baby to do what it cannot naturally do, is asking way to much of both parent and baby.
    And its just not healthy physically or emotionally.

    You might find some excellent help over at in the community section.
  7. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    I breastfed my dd in bed and had her bassinett next to me. Many times than not, she ended up sleeping with me.

    With all the horror stories that mothers rolling on their babies to death, I just can not see unless you are drunk as a skunk. My "alert" button was still on even I had some sleep and not hearing anything (HOH). Hubby on the other hand, he would let me know if dd was fussing in her bassinett and I would go and gather her up. He could hear the coos, sucking, giggling....he had to smile while I was sleeping. At least it was a happy time for all of us and no nights of endless nights. It stopped when she was six months old, didn't want the breast, fussing and I was getting tired of her "activeness" of digging her fingers and toes into my tummy, bronc kicks and squealing of delight. So I "kicked" her out of our martial bed into her crib. We played music in her crib, an hour long of the lullabies....she was happy and slept most nights. The only time she would be up some nights is when she was over stimulated about the events during the day, like Christmas and birthdays, it was a bit much fo rher to gather all that information up.

    Your decision and its your baby is what you think it is BEST for you and baby to be. What one would work for them may not work for you.
  8. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    For thousands of years, mother and child slept together.......I am guessing the old Victorian ways are still here. No wonder they were "cold" toward their children.
  9. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Thank you guys for all the advice.

    After posting this, I went to bed and tried to re-read the pertinent sections of the book and found that I'd been doing something completely not recommended anywhere. I don't know where I got the idea from that I was implementing, but it most certainly wasn't in there. At least, it was more like step five, not step one. So I'm going to calm down and start over, and take it slower.

    A couple of things were brought up by you guys:

    1. His weight gain. Something his pediatrician isn't concerned about, but I sort of am. Now, because my husband's family is obese, I haven't been trying to force him to eat (how do you force a baby, anyway?), but he's been low on the percentiles his whole life. And at this last weigh-in, he came in at his lowest, at the 30th percentile. It's likely just because he's crawling and moving around a lot now, but it could also be that he's not getting enough. I don't know.
    2. His cousin had reflux, so it's a possibility.
    3. I'm not angling for a 12-hour stint of sleep. I'd really enjoy two five-hour stretches though!
    4. We co-sleep for part of every night. My frustration comes when he can't sleep even after being brought to bed with us. Some nights he's crying and bracing himself standing up on my body and shaking me. The more I try to get him to lie down, the more he screams. It's really unpleasant. I've actually resorted to getting up and taking him to his room to play at 5 a.m., after fighting him to go back to sleep for an hour. That's just too early.
    5. I'd really love to have a side-car arrangement, because we had that when we were on vacation in Greece and it was wonderful. But our room is too small and our crib is too large to allow for it. I tried to bring home a bassinet to make it possible, but I was too afraid to use it because he can just stand up and fall out of it.
  10. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Both of my boys slept in my room next to our bed in their bassinette until they were only getting up once in the middle of the night for a feeding. This was around 3 months. Between 4 and 5 months both were sleeping thru the night most nights, at which time they moved into their cribs in their own rooms. When it was time for bed in the evening they had a little toy that hung on the crib rail that played soft, peaceful music and had soft glowing lights. I also put them down with a small bottle of water. As they got a little older they knew they could grab the bottle of water to suck on if they woke in the night. My youngest even learned as a very young baby to jam his water bottle between the crib bars so it wouldn't drip! This worked really well for us and we had very few nighttime/going to sleep issues. Even for my youngest who had terrible colic. If your son is still having colic issues at 9 months I think I'd definitely have a talk with his pediatrician and see what they recommend.

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