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Old December 17th 03, 10:53 AM
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Default Sleep routines and nursing baby to sleep

"Sarah Lee" wrote in message

... However, the past few weeks
she has started to wake 2 or 3
times a night and I know she isn't hungry - just looking for a 'comfort
suck'. She hasn't really taken to solids and the nurse said it's probably
because she's getting extra at night, even though she's only comfort

and not having a full feed, and that I should let her cry/sleep train her.
Incidentally she hasn't increased her number of day feeds, and generally
feeds every 3 to 4 hours, sometimes going 5 hours without wanting a feed
(usually around the middle of the day).

Last night we had a hell of a night, my baby went down at 7.30, woke at
10.30 for a
feed, then 12.30 and then 2am - I knew she wasn't hungry at 2am and my
husband and I went through 2 hours of hell starting 'controlled crying'.

really hate hearing her cry, but am led to believe that this is what we

must do. I'm wondering if anyone on the newsgroup can offer
advice/tips/words of wisdom?

I'm not clear on how you know she's not hungry at all (or even a tiny bit
peckish)? Is it the way she nurses (or doesn't nurse?) If it is solely for
comfort, is this a problem (because you have to get up in the morning and
your sleep is vital to your work performance), or is it okay for you to
accept that she nurses because she needs that kind of comfort (because of
discomfort, teething, developmental growth spurt)?

Some babies don't "take to solids" until they are much older - even as old
as 18 months, and certainly 8-10 months is common. I wouldn't rush to lay
the blame on the extra at night, myself. I have a daughter only a couple
weeks younger than yours, and I won't even begin offering solids until she's
6 months - if then - unless she shows an undeniable interest in them. Solids
tend to have fewer calories and less balanced nutrition in the same volume
as breastmilk, *and* solids take longer to digest. I don't know what kind of
solids she's being offered, but if she's not taking to them yet, there's no
reason to push them. At her age she's better getting formula than solids
(yes, I know you said she won't take a bottle, but the nutritional issue

Also, during the day I often lie with her for her day naps and nurse her
down - usually because I'm tired and need the sleep myself! Otherwise I

out for a walk in the pram. I've found the latter is no longer working as
her ability to fight off sleep has become very strong. Anyone got any
ideas, or am I going to have to face the music and let her cry it out

I've done on occasion when she's overtired and doesn't want to be

I am no proponent of leaving a baby to "cry it out". I've no objection to
leaving my daughter to fuss to sleep, which she often does, because she gets
*more* upset if I try to hold her until she falls asleep. Yet, if I take her
up and lay her in bed, she'll cry fitfully and then just conk out. To me,
that is not "crying it out". That is meeting her needs - if I insist on
holding her, it just upsets her more. And I can't just vanish into the
bedroom and lie down with her (barring a hysterical breakdown on her part)
because my other 3 kids need supervision.

But if you hear baby in bed, getting *more* upset, instead of less - if her
voice takes on that edge of hysteria, you know the sound - at that point, I
can't see the value of leaving baby or offering anything less than complete
comforting to the point of calmness. I wouldn't leave an adult or an older
child to cry themselves to sleep that way, and I won't leave a baby. So
obviously I've had to come up with other strategies! Mine basically consist
of: if the baby wants to nurse at night, we nurse at night. I tend to fall
back asleep during these nursings, as the babe is in bed with us and I just
roll over and offer her the breast. I don't see it as a problem, so for us,
it isn't a problem. In fact, I *want* my daughter to make up any calories
she missed during the day, especially as she gets more interested in doing
all the new skills she's developing, and forgets to eat (she often goes as
long as 6 hours at a stretch between nursings in the middle of the day, like
yours). So even though it means broken sleep for me, I know she's getting
all the calories she needs. I also know it's not forever. By the way, we
also found that when baby cried and cried like that, even when obviously
tired, there was *always* something else wrong. Always. Either baby was wet,
or dirty, or hurting for some reason, or had become hungry during the time
she was crying, or had been crying so long that she forgot why she started
in the first place, and was now crying because she was crying, and was
incapable of self-soothing by that point.

If you suspect teething discomfort, or any other discomfort during the night
(even a mild earache, ignored by the baby during the interesting day, can
become intolerable during the quiet night), you might want to try
paracetamol/tylenol and see if it helps with the night waking. We find
teething-times to be times of much night waking. (Also growth spurts in
older kids, with the growing pains in the legs.) I suspect my littlie of
teething now. She's been waking multiple times a night, or not waking but
crying out repeatedly until soothed with the breast. I don't know what it
is, but as long as the breast soothes her, I won't resort to pain-killers
(and she still spits out the homeopathic teething tablets).

I do not believe at all that sleep training is your only option. For *me*,
it isn't an option at all, or not with a baby so tiny, so other options must
exist. I realise your nurse is making these recommendations, but ask
yourself: for whose benefit are these recommendations being made? Are they
for baby's benefit? Mom's? Nurse's? Is it to fit into cultural expectations?
Do they consider the child as an individual? Do they consider the child's
developmental stage, nutritional needs? How necessary is it for her to meet
your expectations regarding sleep and solids intake at this stage of her
life? (For some families, it is vitally important; for others, not at all -
only you can assess your own family's needs).

I can tell you that my oldest daughter slept through beautifully from 8
weeks until 7 months, and then began waking (with teething) once a night,
then twice, then three times....but eventually, it reduced down again and at
the age of 2 she was sleeping through fine. One of my twins slept through
from the time she came home from the hospital (at 3 months) but she was
getting NG tube feedings all night, no need to wake hungry. The other twin
didn't sleep through until she was older than 2. Not once. I survived. I was
horribly ragged for a while, but I survived. This newest of mine (born July
29) wakes several times at night, or cries and nurses rather, but I'm
getting enough sleep, so it works. Every kid has been different, and I've
learned not to have expectations, but rather to go with the child's
individual sleep patterns. I know from experience that they'll settle
down...eventually. (Though the twin who used to sleep through the night, now
wakes 1-3X per night to go to the bathroom, poor kid, and often requires one
of us to get up with her - but her situation is unique.)

Now of course I've rambled on. To sum up: If she isn't taking to solids, she
may not be ready for them yet; this is certainly within the range of normal
given her age - I would put her on the 'young for solids' end of the
readiness spectrum. She may be making up lost calories at night, because of
developmental spurts that distract her from eating in the day. She may have
discomfort of some sort that's causing her to seek comfort - denying the
breast will not address this; however, the breast itself may not address it
either. Letting baby fuss to sleep may be the best way to meet her needs,
but "crying it out" may be chosen for cultural reasons, resulting in a real
need being ignored. A baby who cries and won't sleep when you know she
would ordinarily be sleeping needs some troubleshooting: diaper, check. Too
hot/too cold, check. Can't self-soothe, check. Wants another top-off at the
breast, check. Lonely, check. I don't know, dear. It's what I still go
through, every time, and I'm on kiddo #4 now.

So I hope some of this has been useful, or insightful, or something. If you
have any suggestions what I should do with Scootcher Moocher upstairs, who
moves across the bed like doing the backstroke - backwards and headfirst -
I'd love to hear 'em.