HELP! 15 months of sleep deprivation!

Sarah - posted on 06/20/2011 ( 26 moms have responded )

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I thought i would ask you ladies because usually when i ask this question i get 'it's probably time you weaned her' or 'she needs formula!' They really aren't the answers i'm looking for lol!
My daughter is a pretty good sleeper. She has 1 or 2 decent day sleeps and about 11 hours at night.. The only problem is her sleeps are broken. She wakes up at least 3 times a night for breastfeeds and then happily goes back to sleep in her cot or my bed. She slept through the night once at 4 months and that's about it. She's gotten a lot better, 3 times a night seemed like nothing! But now it's really affecting me! I can't concentrate on my school work and i often fall asleep on the couch during the day with no one watching my daughter.
I feel like i've tried everything! I've tried extra food before bed, bottles of warm milk before bed and during the night, cups or bottles of water, comfort toys, blankets, my clothes, and letting her cry it out! :'(
Nothing works. We have to share a room which doesn't help!
I'm sure it's just comfort feeds! She eats like a machine during the day lol!
She CAN settle herself but in the middle of the night she just won't!
Does anyone else have this problem? WHAT DO I DO?! Any advice or your stories would be greatly appreciated! xxxx

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Anna Marie - posted on 06/20/2011

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We found that bedsharing helped immensely with the sleep deprivation. With both our youngsters we had (have) them in bed with us. This helped as night nurslings because they would wake up and root around, I would semi wake up to help them latch on and then we would both fall asleep. Sometimes before the feeding was over! This definitely helped when I went back to work each time to get the sleep needed to function!
My youngest is 19months and still wakes throughout the night to feed, so you are not the only one. It will get better :)

Sarah - posted on 06/22/2011

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Liz my daughter wsas doing that at 9 months too! I was so grateful when it turned to 3 hourly and now blocks of 4-5 hours sleep are amazing!
I wish i could give you some advice but i really don't know what helped! co-sleeping and routine were brilliant but that's about it!
It all got better when she started walking a lot which was around 11months! I think the older and more active they get, the more they eat and sleep! Now that i take my baby to the park or local oval or outside every day she's down to 3 wakes and last night there were only 2!!!!
It's winter here so i'm a bit limited but i try to get her out if it's over 10degrees C! :)

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Nicole, I'm curious -- how did your babies sleep around 9-11 months? My 9mo son is waking every 1-2 hours, and I'm going nuts. I keep hoping he will get better soon. By better, I mean just waking a few times at night. I can handle 2, 3 or even 4 wake-ups.

Nicole - posted on 06/22/2011

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You definitely can't compare your baby to others if they're not BF. I've BF 3 babies and it does get easier. But slowly and with time. I think part of it is keeping a positive mindset abuot it and accepting the situation (and doing what you can to get through it). In the longrun, the time is so short though I know it doesn't feel like it! For me, cosleeping was the easiest way to get the most sleep. Like others, I would be semi-awake and often fall back asleep before he/she was done. Also, try to go to bed a little earlier if you're not already. This always makes a huge difference to me, BF or not, when I'm feeling tired and rundown.

As a side note, it wasn't until they passed a year that they started giving me more time at night and even then, they were waking up on average once a night at 18 months and finally weaned 20-24 months (because I was pregnant again so I sped up the process b/c of pain and exhaustion).

[deleted account]

My daughter didn't sleep through until 18 months. I know it's hard. We got to the point where we just did what worked. She was waking a couple times at night and nursing. Sometimes she would nurse for a few seconds and then fall back to sleep. Other times she would nurse until she was done nursing and still be awake. I would rock her, snuggle her or rub her back until she went to sleep. This helped us transition into just rubbing her back to get her to sleep. On really rough nights I laid down with her and we slept together. Now she's in a huge daddy phase and she sleeps with her daddy in her room at night. Does she sleep better with you? I wish I had realized much earlier that I should just do what works.

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Janice - posted on 06/24/2011

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I personally put a stop to night feeds when my daughter was 10 mo. That is when we stopped letting her co-sleep too. (although she still does at 20 mo. when sick) Anyways CIO is heart breaking! But we did it and it worked. I think your daughter being in the same room is the issue, one I know you can't change. I stayed with my daughter when she cried but didn't feed her. I just hugged her while she stood in her crib and encouraged her to lay down. Sometimes I rocked her (or daddy rocked her) in the chair next to her crib. It took about a week but once my daughter realized I wasn't going to nurse her back to sleep she started to accept other comfort and then began sleeping through the night. Even when she got sick and would end up back in our bed she wouldn't "look" to be fed.

We continued nursing during the day (only 3 feeds) till 17 months old. So you can night wean with completely stopping.

Does she go to bed/ put in bed awake? I found that if my daughter falls asleep on me or dad, then she will wake up freaking out in the middle of the night. The nights she is on routine and puts herself to sleep she sleeps with out an issue. However, I know for sure that if her bed was in our room and she could see us when she woke up she would freak out until we put her in with us. Unfortunately, you may be stuck until your sleeping arrangements change. Good luck!

Amanda - posted on 06/24/2011

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Yeah, 19 months is close enough. My supply was WAY down, and she wouldn't nurse during the day at all. When she did nurse at night, it was just for a minute or two to get herself drowsey. For some women, nursing for 2 or 3 years is fine, but not for me. And each kid is different. My son gave it up all on his own at 11 months. I was all gung-ho to nurse for a minimum of 18 months, but he didn't want it.

My daughter had major seperation anxiety issues, too. I left her father when I was 5 weeks pregnant, so I'm the only parent she knows. If I left her with my mom, I'd have to get her distracted and sneak out so she wouldn't scream.

I'm not saying you should wean, but if you choose to, your daughter will forgive you. Like I said, she got mad and threw a tantrum because I wouldn't nurse, but it only lasted a few days. She weaned, but it didn't help her seperation anxiety, she was still stuck up my butt. lol She is 2 and a half now, and is much better about me being away. I'm still her favorite person, though.

Sarah - posted on 06/24/2011

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lol well that sounds perfect :) If she was happy then it's not cruel.
My daughter would certainly not go for that! She has separation anxiety from me because no one else has ever been willing to watch her for more than an hour or 2 per month.
If i went away she would never talk to me again when i got back lol!

Also i'm glad you got your vacation :) I could do with a night off too i reckon lol!

Yeah after around age 2 they don't need it anymore nutritionally. It's beneficial for as long as you do it of course but they don't need it. 19 months is close enough lol :)

Amanda - posted on 06/24/2011

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She was fine. Since she didn't associate nursing with my mom, she slept just fine. When she woke up, she snuggled instead, and went back to sleep. When I came back, she was a bit angry that I wouldn't nurse her anymore, and would throw a fit, but that lasted less than a week. Since she was eating solid food during the day at that point (no bottles either, she was 19 months)) she really had no nutritional need to eat in the middle of the night.

And I'm a single mom of two kids, I definately needed a vacation! lol

Sarah - posted on 06/24/2011

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Oh Elizabeth you are the best help lol :)
Yes i do know about Melatonin but wasn't aware you could get it as a supplement!!!! :D I will most definitely look into that first thing on Monday :D
I know the problem with teenagers is that it doesnt kick in naturally until about 11pm, then doesn't peak until about 6am? Some kids have to get up by then! Then it's not out of your system until late morning! I always had the hardest time getting up for school lol
Do you think if i took the supplement it would come eariler, peek earlier and go away earlier? That would be great :D haha

I have tried milk at all temperatures but maybe i haven't heated it enough? I will try that too :)

Yeah i hear that no computer/ tv/phones before bed is helpful but all my homework is done online :( Maybe i could do my homework during the day and housework at night or something!

No i don't wake up during the night unfortunately! If she wakes me up i'm awake for ages but i never wake up for anything else.

Wow that really means a lot to me! :D Thank you so much! xx
I definitely wasn't ready for this! What 15 year old could be? (I was 15 when i fell pregnant)
But i just did my best to make it work and so far so good! lol
I don't actually work.. Well not paid work anyway! I do a lot of editing for a photographer, he has a a magazine. Just to get started in the photography business but it's more to get my name out there :) I'm also doing my 2nd last year of highschool online which is hell lol but i have no other options! I can't get to a school or child care or baby sitter or anything because i'm too young to drive! It's ridiculous really lol. Her dad works between 5 and 7 days a week 8am-7pm to support us but because he's 17 as well he only gets half a wage! Sooo i'm also on government payments for single parents (which is the norm here and isn't optional for non-working single parents in school)
I'm in Australia so things work a bit differently here.
It gets hard but i could be a lot worse off :) We have a nice home with my mum and grandma and i'm able to afford nice things for her. :D

Sarah - posted on 06/24/2011

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Oh gosh Amanda i couldn't possibly do that! Was she okay? :(
I can definitely understand why you did but i just couldn't lol :) oh well i guess i'll just have to wait it out!

Amanda - posted on 06/24/2011

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Quote Sarah: "How did you wean her off her night feeds?"



I left the state for 4 days. LOL



Seriously though, I left her with my mom for four days, and she had to learn to go back to sleep without her titty. My mom slept with her, so she still got comfort from snuggling someone, but no titty. When I came back, the titty was off limits.



Sounds harsh, I know... but nothing else worked. She ONLY nursed at night to help her go to sleep. For some women, that's fine. But I didn't like being a human pacifier.

Erin - posted on 06/24/2011

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she most likely doesn't need to feed so often anymore, and her waking is mostly for comfort. i suggest you look up sleep training techniques (i borrowed super nanny book from the library) and it changed my life. it was a week of stress listening to baby cry, then she eventually learned to put herself back to sleep, but always there was the reassurance that mommy was close by (a quick pat on the belly and quick exit). good luck!

Elizabeth - posted on 06/23/2011

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I just read where you have a teenagers sleep cycle. Have you heard of melatonin? It is the natural hormone that causes sleep. You can get it in supplemental form at almost any drug store or walmart/kmart type stores. I imagine that if you asked your doctor, it would be safe for breastfeeding. If you do try this, make sure that it is one with a B vitamin with it or that you are getting B vitamin supplement, it works much better that way.

When you've give her warm milk, was it cow's milk and did you warm it up to the point where the milk smells different? That's when you can tell that it's released the chemicals that help with sleep and then it has to be cooled down. That might help you to.

Keeping lights dim and getting off the computer and tv a while before you want to try to sleep help most people because the the type of light interferes with the melanin production.

Do you yourself wake up in the middle of the night? Like to go to the bathroom or just wake up and turn over? If you do, what about gently arrousing her and trying to nurse her then. Then maybe you would both be on the same sleep cycle during the night.

I've read that to get a baby to sleep longer, that when they are sleeping deep, you stimulate them just a little but not enough to bring them awake and it will reset the sleep schedule and they will sleep longer and after a while it will become habit. If you do wake some without her, that might be worth a try.

I could never have done what you are doing at 17. I had my first at 25 and even then I didn't feel ready and I don't think I could have worked and gone to school and raise a baby while breastfeeding. I bet a lot of mom's would agree. I hope you realize how amazing you are that you can do all of this.

Sarah - posted on 06/23/2011

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Oh so many errors and 'lols' in that post and it's not letting me correct it Sorry guys haha!

Sarah - posted on 06/23/2011

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Elizabeth, thanks :) Yeah i always wait tto see if she'll go back to sleep. It's not until she stands up and cries that i go and get her because sometimes she will make a few little noises, roll over and go back to sleep. She's a very good self settler when she wants to be lol.
No i can't express.. like at all anymore! I have no almost no milk left. Not that anyone would do it for me lol
I don't think she's hungry, i think she just wants the comfort because as i said, i've tried bottles of cows milk which she likes during the day but they're hopeless at night! She has like 2 sucks, realises it's a bottle, spits it out and cries LOL!

Thanks Candace! I hope that helps me lol! I'll try and force her dad to get up during the night, the one night a week he's here! I don't imagine he'd be too happy about that though lol! I think i would be very happy with 3 full nights sleep a week lol :)

Amanda that sounds like me lol :) Well technically i'm not single, i'm with her dad but we don't live together so i dont have a love life for it to affect either :D
I used to do be able to do that in my sleep but now i wake up! Not sure why lol
How did you wean her off her night feeds?
I don't necessarily want to wean her completely but if she would sleep through the night either in her cot or my bed i would be very grateful! :D

Amanda - posted on 06/23/2011

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I co-slept. (Of course I was also single, so co-sleeping didn't affect my love life) My daughter would wake up, root around, find her titty, and go back to sleep. Half the time I didn't even wake up. She nursed until 19months. (She was strictly comfort nursing at that point, so I chose to wean her) It was still a while before she would sleep alone, but cosleeping helped her sleep through the night. She was in her own bed all night long by 22 months though.

Candace - posted on 06/23/2011

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My son is a pretty poor sleeper too. He is 21 months old now and sleeps through the night about 3 nights per week and is still up once or twice about 4 nights per week. At this age, I let him cry for a few minutes and he often will go back to sleep, but I just started doing that very recently.

When he was younger, however, he used to be up every 3 hours by the minute to nurse. At 8-9 months, I slowly stopped the night feedings and he began sleeping better. When he woke up, it would be just a couple of minutes and he just needed a cuddle to fall back asleep. Also, in the first couple weeks, I let my husband get up to soothe him so I couldn't try to nurse him. Soon after that, he was up only once per night or so which was a huge improvement for us. If your daughter is eating well during the day, she shouldn't have to nurse at night now. Like you said, it's mostly for comfort. If it was like with my son, she may even start eating better during the day without the night feedings which also helped him sleep better I think. Good luck!

Elizabeth - posted on 06/23/2011

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I do not have this problem so I am only going by what I have read will help. Are you allowing her time to try to get back to sleep on her own before you nurse her. My son wakes at intervals during the night and stirs and fusses(lightly) for a few minutes then normally soothes himself to sleep. Its only when he really begins to stir that I will get him and nurse. Supposedly everyone even adults wake multiple times during the night but we have just learned to put ourselves back to sleep so quickly most of us aren't even aware that we've woken. Have you tried one last nursing to top her off right before you go to sleep? Even if she normally goes 3 hours in between feeds and its only been an hour since she has nursed, this might allow you 3 straight hours instead of 2 and every hour straight is precious. Have you considered trying to pump enough milk during the day for someone to take over one of the nightly feedings or at least an occasional one?

Good luck.

Nicole - posted on 06/22/2011

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Sarah - just try going to bed even 15 minutes earlier. You might be surprised. Or try slowly going to bed earlier but getting up earlier to get your stuff done. This is helping me so much with my 3 kids (and pregnant again).

Liz, all 3 of mine at 9 months nursed like newborns. It was so hard but it'll ease up soon. That age is so tricky because you have a big growth spurt, separation anxiety, lots of development going on, and possibly teething. It seemed to last forever but like Sarah said, between 11-12 months, it eased up and became much, much better.

Sarah - posted on 06/22/2011

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Thank you :) Oh i'd love to go to bed earlier but i get so busy at night! House work, school work and work work all packed together at the end of the night lol. I have sleeping problems anyway which is mostly because i'm 17 and i'm still stuck in the damn teenage biological sleep cycle! There's no kind of sleeping pill i can take is there? lol

Vanessa - posted on 06/21/2011

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I've started making the night feeds shorter - purposefully giving her a little drink then unlatching and then patting her back to sleep (she's 7.5mths) and we co-sleep. If she wakes up after about 10mins still it itching for a feed THEN i give her a longer one ----- but 9 times out of ten she's slept for about another 2 hours and I haven't had to.

Sarah - posted on 06/20/2011

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Oh i am so happy to hear i'm not the only one! THANK YOU!

I don't know any other exclusive 'extended' breastfeeders and every other baby in my play group sleeps perfectly!

I thought i had a dud sleeper hahaha!

Yeah the co-sleeping thing is great isn't it?! :)

She sleeps in her cot during the day and the first few hours of her night sleep but then she comes to bed with me :)

I don't know that she sleeps better, it just seems easier to roll over and let her do the work when she wakes up, than have to get up and get her out of her cot, come back to bed, feed her and get up and put her back lol nightmare!

[deleted account]

I'm in the same boat, but my son is only 9mo. He's a terrible sleeper so I imagine I'll be where you are at 15mo.



I know it's tough. :( We bed-share and I try to go to bed early. I also threw out my alarm clock so I couldn't watch the clock at night. Some dill tea before bed seems to help me too -- I mean, with getting back to sleep easier and staying drowsy through the nursings.



You could try Dr. Jay Gordon's gentle night-weaning methods (google him) -- they're for older babies, 1-2 yo. Maybe it will work for you.

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