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Thread: Sleeping problems... exhausted? Any suggestions?

  1. #1

    Default Sleeping problems... exhausted? Any suggestions?

    Hi girls,

    My baby is 8 days old today. Since her birth, I haven't been able to catch much sleep. DH is sick with bronchitis due to exhaustion. As for me, I think I have only gotten at most 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep in total per day.

    My baby wakes up every night around 2 am and stays up until 7 am. During the day, she's a heavy sleeper but would still get up for regular feeds. However, during the times she's sleeping, I am so occupied in getting stuffs done i.e. pumping breast milk into bottles, getting her things tidied up, and etc. So, breastfeeding is another problem here because I won't be able to get her latch properly on my breast.



    Has anyone of you experience the same situation? What did you do to correct your baby's sleep cycle? How long will this continue to last because I am on the edge of getting sick (started getting a low grade fever)...

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. THank u!

  2. #2

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    Hi,

    Poor you, I bet you are exhausted. I'm guessing as she is so young she hasn't worked out day from night yet, it takes a few weeks. I know with DS it was a few weeks of being up during the night and then he started sleeping 8pm until about 1am so we started giving him a routine before his 8pm sleep and he then slowly realised this was bedtime. Then after a month or so of doing that I started dreamfeeding him at 10.30pm and he would then stretch until about 4am.

    Also during his day sleeps I kept his curtains open so again he knew day from night and for his night feeds kept the lights off etc. Gradually she will work it out.

    I think it really is a waiting game when they are so young for them to get a pattern going. As hard as it seems you must try and sleep during the day even if it's just power naps. Do you have anyone else that can help you with chores so that you can sleep?

    I sometimes felt so exhausted and down in the beginning but it really does get better and your body really does het used to less sleep. The best advice I can give you is to have a regular routine in the evenings.

    Hope that helps a bit. Keep smiling

  3. #3

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    the first few weeks are just exhausting, it is so full on its completely overwhelming and u think its never going to end, but it will... it will take a few weeks but things will eventually settle down... im repeating what everyone told me, and in time u will be doing the same, trust me!!

    try to only do what is absolutely required, don't worry about house work, try cooking easy fast (but still healthy) meals... have u got anyone to help out, like a mum close by or in laws or siblings?? if anyone offers help take it, whether its help with your laundry, or a home cooked meal, it all helps.

    it wont last forever, try to enjoy her first moments in life, it really will settle down and she will start sleeping longer stretches at night....

    i would recommend a bedtime routine though, something like bath, bottle in her room with lights down and/or nice music and then bed... whatever you do do the same thing each night at around the same time... in the middle of the night dont have any stimulation, lights, noise, just try getting her back to bed so she learns that night time is for sleeping and not playing... she will eventually get it, it does take time though.... try to accept that the next few weeks are going to be like nothing you have ever experienced in your life, but you will get thru it, and after you do you will realise that you can get through anything life throws at you.

    the first 6-12 weeks, for me, were all about survival. do whatever works!

  4. #4

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    At 8 days old we were in hospital and DS was tube fed, but that really helped as (1) I slept 10-6 and (2) he learnt day and night. We were breastfeeding, then EBM, then formula, then me pumping. He was tube-fed overnight for 2 nights.

    I would suggest co-sleeping to help regulate bub's circadian rhythm, asking a friend to cook you a meal and forgetting the housework for a couple of days. Before the cord stump falls off you can't give a full bath, but you can have a bedtime music CD, bedtime story, lullaby, routine... it's very useful the older they get, you can see DS starting to wind down after dinner now.

    Oh yes, I also right from the start had day in the sitting room, night in the bedroom for everything. When he awoke in the day I'd talk to him as he fed, played with him, kept him awake. At night we kept it quiet and dark so DS would feed back to sleep.

  5. #5

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    Oh, Carmen - I completely sympathise.

    The suggestion made by the girls above are great. Unfortunately the first few weeks are mysterious, educational and extraordinarily tiring. Just try to stay positive, it will get better - even though it doesn't seem like it ever will.

    I just said "b**gger the housework." It was hard because I am Mrs Clean Freak, but it really helped. Only do what is absolutely necessary and try to sleep when she does (I say try).

    She's only little and completely new to the world. When she was in your belly, she was never cold or hot, never hungry - everything was on demand - and day/night did not mean a thing. She has to adjust to her new world with your help.

    It's extremely difficult to help someone who simply refuses to properly articulate their needs. They should come out with a white board and pen - if you can't say it, at least write it!!! (I'm not sure I'd want to give birth to the white board, though.........hmmmmmmmmm......... I digress.)

    Just stay positive - you will be rewarded for your persistence and love ten fold, I abolutely guarantee it.

  6. #6

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    Yep, I've been there, too. Not much fun, is it. Hang in there - it will improve! First of all, relax about the housework - it will wait. Or get help, if it really makes you crazy. Co-sleeping is definitely a sanity saver. I nurse in bed, and just fall back to sleep again until baby starts fussing again.
    Also, try wearing your baby in a wrap or snugli or something like that when you are up. They seem to settle better that way.
    One other thing that my midwife mentioned - she said she's had mothers from all different backgrounds say that it works, even though it sounds totally bizarre. Try turning your baby over in a complete somersault. Crazy, I know, and I haven't tried it, but it certainly won't hurt, and as I said, apparently lots of women say it works when bubs has their days and nights backwards.
    Hope things improve sooner, rather than later. All the best!

  7. #7

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    Like the other girls have said, hang in there, it gets better!! Our first 10 days were chaos, his unsettled time was between about 7am and about 11am and it was slowly driving me insanne, I just could not get him to sleep, but slowly over the last week things have improved a lot and I have my sanity back!!

    I pretty much have the same advice that's already been given...She will work out night from day pretty soon - start a bedtime routine at night (we do feed, awake time and a bit of a cuddle etc, bath, then a top up feed, then put him down. He generally settles pretty well) and remember during the night to keep lights dim, limit talking and stimulation etc and she will soon work it out.

    It honestly does get better, even though you can't see it now - a week ago I couldn't see it either but things have turned around very quickly.

    PS - we've never been told that you can't bath a baby until their umbilical stump falls off??? Not sure where that advice is from Ryn, maybe a UK thing? Both my babies had their first full bath before they left hospital and DS was less than 48 hours old when we were discharged. I have bathed him every night since as it helps to settle him before he goes to sleep. His cord fell off after about 7 days.

  8. #8

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    Hi Carmen

    I hear you on the housework - I am one of the world's easiest going people when it comes to housework so didn't think I'd have a problem just leaving stuff and concentrating on the baby. BUT, I had a personality transplant and found that as I barely left the house, the state of the house really bugged me. Like the other girls have said, just do the minimal. For me, as long as things were relatively tidy (so learn the art of piles), I could cope.

    I was pumping like you too and it's exhausting - feels like having twins. I read your other thread - I had similar problems (long story) but don't have any advice unfortunately except ring the ABA. You are coping with a lot on your plate especially if your DH is sick so please be kind to yourself and as the others have said ... it does get better.

    You do need to look after yourself. Sometimes I would have a big spag bol for breakfast because I was starving then and it was easier to eat a big meal then to have energy for the rest of the day. Can you get people to drop around some meals to shove in the freezer or get takeaway or even just some Lean Cuisines or similar? I normally wouldn't touch those things but when you're hungry and exhausted, they can be a life-saver. Places like Lite n Easy can deliver a week's worth of meals too. Might be worth doing just for a little while to take the pressure off a little.

    On the night/day thing - it's hard because they tell you not to deliberate keep your baby up during the day but I worked on the theory that I would try and make daytimes seem really interesting (lots of talking, carrying around the house) and night-times pretty boring (dark, hardly any talking, soft voices etc.) They do work it out. Sometimes when you're only getting two hours sleep, the idea of giving your baby a bath at the end of the day when you've been pumping all day too, is all too much. Don't worry if you can't do it just yet. I have a dodgy pelvis which until the last couple of weeks has made it impossible to bend down to bath my baby (she's now 13 weeks old) and my partner works night shifts. So she's never had a bath before bedtime and she's a great sleeper. So don't stress if you can't do it - just find something else that your baby will associate with sleep.

    Carmen, you're doing an absolutely terrific job. Just go easy on yourself and don't worry if you can't do 'everything'. Just find a balance that feels right for you.

  9. #9

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    i just wanted to give you a and say keep up the good work!!!
    Everyone told me the first 6-12 weeks is a blur and its true Make sure you look after yourself and try to be a little bit selfish! If you don't look after yourself then you can't look after your baby or your DH so relax and have a coffee at least once a day!
    Take care and good luck
    sending you lots and lots of
    xox

  10. #10

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    Hi, Carmen,

    You are doing a brilliant job, under very trying circumstances. The fact that you can sit up at the computer keyboard and have the wherewithall to even type out your post attests to this. but you need help and support, and you need it now.
    Your baby is acting like a normal 8 day old baby. She has no idea of day or night - normal. You have a double workload with her not attaching and having to express. First you've got to get it out, and then you have to get it back in. And your baby will learn to breastfeed (honestly) but she won't learn to breastfeed by bottlefeeding, even on expressed milk!
    Can you call a friend or your mum to come and help you? You might want to get to the dr re the fever, or ring the maternity ward where you had your baby for advice.
    Your first priorities are to get yourself well, and to sort out the breastfeeding. I could recommend you a lactation consultant in your are if I knew where you were - send me a private message if you like

    Warm Regards
    Barb

  11. #11

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    Girls, thank you so much for all your encouraging words and support. After having read all your posts, I must say that I felt comforted. I remember crying the first day I got home from the hospital as DD was so unsettled no matter what I did. I have been feeling emotionally overwhelmed especially when she starts with her crying fit. Today wasn't an easy day either. She fell asleep at 4:30am and woke up again 6ish. It was really hard because the moment she fell asleep, I had to pump breastmilk. So of course, there was no time for rest.

    Then during the day, she's up but was in a bad mood. I told myself to stay as calm as possible but I still find myself feeling down because she just wouldn't settled down. I tried to get DH rest as much as he could because he has to go back to work Monday so I really want him to be in his best shape.

    Tonight, DD decided to fall asleep at 6pm after her feed. She was sound asleep and when I tried to wake her up for her feed at 9ish-10ish... it was just impossible. Am I doing the wrong thing for attempting to wake her up for feeds? Some times, she tends to sleep right through her feeding time... they always say to feed every 3-4 hours, but what if DD sleeps through that time and there was no way for me to get her up?

    DH has been my emotional support these past few days because he could see that I am drained physically and emotionally. I kept telling him I feel so useless and guilty because DD could not breastfeed and that I don't know how to settle her down.

    My parents are living with me right now so they could help me as much as I need. Fortunately, all the cooking, housechores are taken care of. But I still find myself not coping well. I can see that if I do continue such way, I will end up feeling depress... so, I have decided to post on BB and hear from all the experienced moms as my role model and for support.

    I look forward to changes even though I still have some time to go. Hopefully, this time will go by quicker than I imagine!

  12. #12

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    Oh Carmen, you poor thing - no advice for you unfortunately, because no doubt I'll be in exactly the same boat in a few days time, but sending you huge huge hugs.

    I hope that you are able to get some much needed rest and that DH gets better quickly.

    You're in my thoughts sweetie...

    Oh, and you just posted while I was writing part 1 - it must be so hard at the moment and it is fantastic to see that you are doing everything you can to stay positive - especially getting support from all of the mums who've been through it themselves. But if there's anything that an equally inexperienced almost mum can do to help - please let me know! :-)
    Last edited by suse; November 18th, 2007 at 04:21 PM. Reason: reply to Carmen's post

  13. #13

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    HI, Again,

    I don't know if you read my last post - maybe you missed it? You baby can, and will breastfeed if you get the right support. It can seem like a great idea to express and feed the baby the milk - but as you are finding out, it is stressful and exhausting.
    Can you tell me, how much milk is she having at each feed? How many feeds would she be having per day? Have you had her weighed since she was born? Is she back to her birthweight yet? (she may not be - usually by 2 weeks) If she is getting plenty of milk, and growing, then you could let her sleep longerif she will. Usually you find that babies this age will have one longish feed in 24 hours, which might be 3 hours, and then they will have another time in the day or night when they seem very unsettled - and want extra feeding or sucking. Sucking is very soothing for babies. It's about more than just food.
    As others have suggested a baby sling is a fabulous thing. Maybe get your mum or dad to wear the baby, while you go and get some sleep!

    Warm Regards
    Barb

  14. #14

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    Hi Carmen

    Although I've already posted, I'm going to reiterate some of what Barb says. If you have your parents staying with you, take advantage and concentrate on feeding if that's what's concerning you most. You haven't said too much about how you felt about your breastfeeding experience but my hospital attempts were quite traumatic and the nurses were quite invasive. For me, as Barb says, expressing seemed like a great idea at the tiime - my baby would still get the benefits of breastmilk and I wouldn't have to go through the trauma of breastfeeding again. However, as time goes on, expressing becomes more difficult. If you are fearful about the actual breastfeeding experience, please speak to someone at ABA or post on here again. By the way, the ABA are very good listeners - they know that breastfeeding can be difficult - if it all came perfectly naturally there would be no reason for them to exist!

    No-one actually explained to me that to build up a decent supply of milk, you're meant to be expressing about eight times a day even if your baby only wants five or six feeds a day (Barb please correct that if it's wrong). At first, I could express what she needed for her feeds but as time went on, my supply went down and meanwhile, she needed more. So I always felt like I was playing catch-up. Also, while your baby is a newborn, she's not very interactive but when she gets older, you will want to play with her and not want to be spending up to five hours per day expressing as I was. So, if at all possible, if you would like her to have breast milk it's best to jump back on the breastfeeding horse while you can. I expressed for two months and believe me, you don't want to do that if you can avoid it. It's too hard.

    Carmen - please don't feel guilty because you're having difficulties breastfeeding or settling your baby - that's pretty damn common. But if you do feel like you're getting depressed and if you don't feel that there's any improvement, then please keep posting and/or seek additional help.

  15. #15

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    Hey Carmen - I just wanted to add that your hormones are still all over the map, most likely, as your body adjusts to not being pregnant, and breastfeeding. It's normal to feel somewhat overwhelmed and teary. Don't stress too much about that either - when you need to cry, just go ahead and cry for a while! (Just watch that you don't find that you are unhappy, tearful, and hopeless ALL the time. Then you should definitely look for some extra support/help.)
    And, I would agree with the others - try breastfeeding again! This pumping/bottlefeeding business can really only work short-term, I think. You can't live like that! (As you are seeing.) Otherwise, perhaps a compromise would work in your situation? Maybe pump during the day, and formula-feed at night? Breast is best, as they always say, but an exhausted sick mother doesn't do much good for a baby either!
    hun! You'll be OK!
    ETA - re: baths - they used to tell mums here not to bathe their babies until the cord fell off to prevent infection, but they've stopped that now. They found it made no difference at all whether baby was bathed or not, so feel free! And, if bending over is an issue, try the baby bath on the counter, or just use the kitchen sink! (cleaned out of course!)

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barb Glare View Post
    HI, Again,

    I don't know if you read my last post - maybe you missed it? You baby can, and will breastfeed if you get the right support. It can seem like a great idea to express and feed the baby the milk - but as you are finding out, it is stressful and exhausting.
    Can you tell me, how much milk is she having at each feed? How many feeds would she be having per day? Have you had her weighed since she was born? Is she back to her birthweight yet? (she may not be - usually by 2 weeks) If she is getting plenty of milk, and growing, then you could let her sleep longerif she will. Usually you find that babies this age will have one longish feed in 24 hours, which might be 3 hours, and then they will have another time in the day or night when they seem very unsettled - and want extra feeding or sucking. Sucking is very soothing for babies. It's about more than just food.
    As others have suggested a baby sling is a fabulous thing. Maybe get your mum or dad to wear the baby, while you go and get some sleep!

    Warm Regards
    Barb
    Barb,

    I have been feeding DD every 4 hours at most. At each feed, she gets about 3-4 ounces. But yes, it does take time to feed her especially if she doses off during feeds. She has been weight three times already since birth. She has been gaining 30 grams, 60 grams, and 50 grams. So far, weight wise, she's doing great. But of course, I've been forcing myself to feed her as long as I could last because I am so afraid that she will lose weight which may require her to be hospitalized.

    Expressing milk, cleansing of the bottle are indeed exhausting. I've been getting a lot of help from my parents so I could catch all the rest I need. Tomorrow, DH will resume work again so I am hoping that I could get myself on the road.

    I will definitely get the baby sling as it sounds a great idea. My arms are starting to get sore just from holding her. Last night, DD has improved. She fell asleep at 2:30 and demanded to be fed at 5. After her feeding, she got up at 9. Like others mentioned, I think it will take some time before DD gets to know day and night.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by fionas View Post
    Hi Carmen

    Although I've already posted, I'm going to reiterate some of what Barb says. If you have your parents staying with you, take advantage and concentrate on feeding if that's what's concerning you most. You haven't said too much about how you felt about your breastfeeding experience but my hospital attempts were quite traumatic and the nurses were quite invasive. For me, as Barb says, expressing seemed like a great idea at the tiime - my baby would still get the benefits of breastmilk and I wouldn't have to go through the trauma of breastfeeding again. However, as time goes on, expressing becomes more difficult. If you are fearful about the actual breastfeeding experience, please speak to someone at ABA or post on here again. By the way, the ABA are very good listeners - they know that breastfeeding can be difficult - if it all came perfectly naturally there would be no reason for them to exist!

    No-one actually explained to me that to build up a decent supply of milk, you're meant to be expressing about eight times a day even if your baby only wants five or six feeds a day (Barb please correct that if it's wrong). At first, I could express what she needed for her feeds but as time went on, my supply went down and meanwhile, she needed more. So I always felt like I was playing catch-up. Also, while your baby is a newborn, she's not very interactive but when she gets older, you will want to play with her and not want to be spending up to five hours per day expressing as I was. So, if at all possible, if you would like her to have breast milk it's best to jump back on the breastfeeding horse while you can. I expressed for two months and believe me, you don't want to do that if you can avoid it. It's too hard.

    Carmen - please don't feel guilty because you're having difficulties breastfeeding or settling your baby - that's pretty damn common. But if you do feel like you're getting depressed and if you don't feel that there's any improvement, then please keep posting and/or seek additional help.

    You are right. Tomorrow, I will be seeing a lactation consultant. Hopefully, I will get some good advices otherwise I will be suffering for a long time. I will keep you girls posted when I finished my apointment with the lactation consultant. Like you said, I too hope that this issue will settle soon because I don't think I will be able to express milk and do chores and take care of my baby at the same time especially when DD will need more milk as she grows.

    I have been talking to DH and my parents about me feeling down. They have been very encouraging, and I have been telling myself to take it one day at a time because there's other positive things that I should concentrate on. Although it isn't easy to do so, I will write on BB to get the extra support and advice I need. That way, it will definitely help me to stay more positive.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cricket View Post
    Hey Carmen - I just wanted to add that your hormones are still all over the map, most likely, as your body adjusts to not being pregnant, and breastfeeding. It's normal to feel somewhat overwhelmed and teary. Don't stress too much about that either - when you need to cry, just go ahead and cry for a while! (Just watch that you don't find that you are unhappy, tearful, and hopeless ALL the time. Then you should definitely look for some extra support/help.)
    And, I would agree with the others - try breastfeeding again! This pumping/bottlefeeding business can really only work short-term, I think. You can't live like that! (As you are seeing.) Otherwise, perhaps a compromise would work in your situation? Maybe pump during the day, and formula-feed at night? Breast is best, as they always say, but an exhausted sick mother doesn't do much good for a baby either!
    hun! You'll be OK!
    ETA - re: baths - they used to tell mums here not to bathe their babies until the cord fell off to prevent infection, but they've stopped that now. They found it made no difference at all whether baby was bathed or not, so feel free! And, if bending over is an issue, try the baby bath on the counter, or just use the kitchen sink! (cleaned out of course!)
    Cricket,

    I definitely will try breastfeeding as much as I could... I've been doing that since I saw the family doctor on Thursday. DD still has a difficult time on latching and then she gets frustrated because she expects the milk to flow right into her mouth without working for it. Nevertheless, I will keep trying.

    Regarding the bath, DD doesn't seem very appreciative about it either. When do you suggest the best time for a bath?

    Sorry, I have so many questions!

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