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Thursday, 01 November 2007

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Aurelia

Sweetheart,

I mean this with love.

Don't send thank you cards. Don't make dinner, frankly let it go, let it all go. Don't clean the house, don't tidy the rooms, hire people if you need them. Be gentle with yourself.

Sleep when the baby sleeps, forget about day/night/what have you, just rest and nurse the baby and take care of your own body.

I'm not sure where the baby is sleeping, but I always slept soundly if the baby was beside me, either in bed, or in the bassinet beside me. (Bedside co-sleeper hadn't been invented) I can't explain it, but if the baby was far away, or just in another room, I was more stressed, and my brain just couldn't shut down.

It's like we're preprogrammed to be concerned with their lives from the second they are born, and it never turns off, but if we can touch them or hear them, we can rest a little.

In all honesty, I haven't had 8 straight uninterrupted hours of sleep in 12 years. When the kids finally slept through the night, my bladder couldn't last that long anymore after being pummeled by their heads in utero, and I can't get back to sleep without checking on them and tucking them in.

So, if I wanted to function, I have to let the unimportant things go, and worry about the basics. When life gets easier in a few months, you can do a few extra things, but then Pob will get her first cold, and you will have to be prepared to simply let the unimportant go again.

Take care, ((Hugs))

heleen

Strange that the nurse was getting the baby into a schedule that doesn't include enough feedings... We did a roughly 3 hour routine of feeding, changing, playing and as soon as the babies would show sleepy signs back in their beds for a snooze. Sometimes the whole routine would only take 2.5 hrs. So with two babies it could feel quite manic. Good thing was that they would feed up to 7 times per 24 hrs. I think Aurelia's comment is very true and sweet.

serenity

I usually have trouble sleeping when I can't turn my brain off too. About the only thing I've found as a remedy is Tylenol PM - but it's not conducive to having to be up and breastfeeding, etc.

So. Um. I like Aurelia's comment - but, at least for me, I'm not sure how to shut my brain off when it gets going. Other than drugs or a glass of wine. Which, let's face it, isn't really a long term solution.

Hugs. Wish I had better advice for you. Insomnia when you're exhausted is worse than torture, I think.

Tonya

That's a nasty one-two punch, to be so mind-numbingly tired then not able to knock off. I rather agree with Aurelia, but find that hard to implement in my life.

What I had to do when my brain just Would Not shut down was keep a notepad and pen beside the rocking chair and beside my bed. I made myself jot a quick note of everything I was afraid of forgetting, so I would know it would not be lost due to brain fog. Then, and it seemed only then, was I able to relax enough to sleep. It didn't mean everything was solved, but just knowing that I could glance at the page when I was awake again (and able to supposedly do something about it) made a world of difference.

Best wishes, my dear. The transition to feeling productive on many fronts can take a while to achieve. Go easy on yourself as best you can.

Summer

I want to add my agreement to Aurelia's advice. If you can get yourself to let those things go, let them go

Anyway, just wanted to add my voice in, in hopes that the mere number of people validating that it's ok not to do some of those things helps alleviate any "guilt" feelings you may have.

Lynnette

Just had to laugh about the Thank Yous...Managed to get DH's family's done 6 months after the fact (but only to get MIL off my back) My family and friends are still waiting, 9 1/2 months later. I actually feel like it will be a relief, a loose end tied up, when they are done. Stupid.

On the sleep. Tylenol PM for me (although Advil PM is looking better to handle the aches and pains of twins at 41). I have only taken it once since they were born. I could never nap in the day, with them. Of course, it was only offered ONCE, and there is just too much to do, when they are napping. Usually I am just utterly exhausted and fall into bed. But I have had the bouts of insomnia and lying awake at night, waiting for someone to wake me up, anyway. Since they have been sleeping to a reasonable hour (5:30 a.m.) my sleep issues have been much better, because I don't feel like I'll be interupted, I guess. Good luck. Most women I've talked to said the first 3 to 6 months are just a fog to them, and I find this to be true.

Oh, and I consider this a long-term solution: Wine in a box. I have become quite fond of having a really big glass of red with dinner and to sip after dinner. It doesn't really help me sleep, but it defintely helps me shake off the day. Do they have Black Box in the UK? Pretty respectable reds. We don't like the pressure of having to finish a bottle anymore. A beer a night might help milk production. (no personal experience for me. I was too afraid it would know me out, when I was pumping every three hours...)

beagle

I take benadryl, but I'm guessing that is not BF friendly.

You have my sympathies and I hope you get some good sleep soon.

Kay/Hanazono

My afternoon nap assvice: the first CD of the Andrew Wei1 breathing set always, *always* puts me to sleep. I've actually never gotten all the way through it. I also regularly fall asleep to the second CD that has the exercises on them. Plus, even if it doesn't have the same effect on you, the breathwork might help you feel refreshed.

BTW, not sure if I'm on the pending thank you card list, but I don't need one since I know that you've received the package ;) I'd rather you take that time to sleep! xx

Lindsey

Yoga is my failsafe,steadfast answer to every problem without a good answer. I'm sure you don't have time for a yoga session, but perhaps you might use some yogic breathing/visualization techniques to fall asleep. I remember you had a private prenatal yoga teacher. Perhaps that person might be a good resource?
I imagine that the adjustment is difficult and never ending, but it sounds to me like you are doing the very best you can at everything, likely above and beyond the norm. I hope you find your sleep secret. You certainly deserve it.

Motel Manager

I have had lots of sleeping problems since my son has been sleeping through the night. I think I got trained to wake up in the middle of the night, and now I can't un-train myself, and now I also have problems falling asleep (I think because of the worry I have about waking up at 4am).

Anyway, I got referred to a clinic at the local university hospital - it has a very Orwellian name: cognitive rehab. I am seeing some neurologist focused on sleep who may allegedly be able to help me get out of these habits. First appt. is Monday - I'll let you know if I learn anything more helpful than counting sheep.

And definitely ditch the thank-you notes - new moms get a free pass from everyone!

Carla Hinkle

You know, Aurelia is totally right but I could never actually *implement* that advice. I never successfully napped during the day with a newborn even when I had the chance. Mentally, I could never relax when the house was a wreck/laundry not done/no food/dirty dishes/etc. It just bothered me so that I wanted to be doing things during naptimes (short as they were).

What I did was make sure I had plenty of can't-miss TV on the DVR for those nighttime wake ups, and a cozy place to watch lying down (read: our bed). I found that focusing on trying to watch a favorite show usually relaxed me enough that I fell asleep. Or, if I stayed awake, at least I got the treat of my show.

I think you ARE making progress on BF Pob -- you are zeroing in on a system. It isn't easy -- keep up the good work!

DinoD

Have you had your thyroid function checked? Just a thought.
DinoD

Jenn

I had the same problem. I didn't want to take anything because I was breastfeeding. I got all sorts of advice and wanted to punch the next person that said to sleep when they slept because a) they never slept at the same time and b) when they did, I couldn't sleep.

The one thing that helped (other than time) was covering all the clocks in the bedroom. If I didn't know what time it was, I didn't lay there thinking that I'd just be woken up in XX number of minutes anyway.

Bea

Not being able to sleep when you're tired (and have the chance!) is a horrible thing. I can't add to the comments above, but I hope you get a good rest soon.

Bea

waiting line

Oh gosh... I would just run myself ragged until I HAD TO FALL ASLEEP. So no good assvice from me!! ;-)

You'll work it out.

Cheers!

soralis

We should get together as I am not sleeping either! If you find a solution please let me know! We should have an on/off switch on our brains! :)

Take care

alice

Hi There -
I have been there - twice! - with the weight gain issue. Both kids were born in the 90th centile and did rapid drops to the 5th within the first three months. I was told to pump to check supply, to supplement, to quit BF etc with the first and we took her for a weigh-ins once or twice weekly. It was a hell of a lot of stress worrying and hoping and seeing periods of little or no weight gain. Know what? I have a skinny five year old who looks much like her very skinny dad did at five. She was a perfectly healthy baby and was just skinny. Her growth was never "good", but it seems to be her own pace. She too had enough wet diapers and I wish now I had been spared the stress.
The second started the growth chart dive and the doctors and health visitors started in on us with the advice and we plugged our ears and paid attention to our instincts. She was happy, healthy, peeing and pooping, playing, alert, sleeping well.... and skinny. She is still small, and is gaining at even more of a snail's pace than her sister but frankly, this time I don't care.
So my only advice on this is to trust your instincts. Yes, you do need to pay attention to your child's health and growth, but bear in mind that all babies are different and if yours seems happy and not hungry and is not dehydrated, she might just be a slow grower. We come in all shapes and sizes and there is a range of normal and healthy for babies. Some will be big and fine and some will be tiny and just fine.
Good luck with it - it is incredibly stressful.
a.

Kimmer

I feel like a zombie to T, I don't know. I just usually fall out because I'm so exhausted. I think I'm getting use to the zombie state. Maybe some chamomile tea? Hope you are able to catch up on some zzz's..

T

I have a terrible time sleeping - except when on PIO or pregnant (and when not, I use the oh so healthy Ativan or Red Wine prescriptions).

Relaxation cd's helped me a bit. I could never sleep when the baby was sleeping when it was just us - I was too afraid I wouldn't hear her wake up AND, I needed a little 'me' time. Even just to sit there and read for 10 minutes. Always found it much easier to nap when I knew someone was taking care of her. Huh, not much has changed!

louise

I have the same problem! Let me know if you find something that works for you.

I've also found myself AFRAID to go to sleep some nights, knowing the baby will wake up soon and ruin the sleep! :-)

It's a lot better now that our little one has gone on a schedule and sleeping longer. It will get better!


Anna

What has worked for me (and Mr. R) is to try staying awake. As soon as I get it into my head that I need to stay awake, I suddenly can't keep my eyes open.

I also used to imagine that I was sleeping on a cloud, and just visualized white blankness (which was fairly easy after a coule of weeks sleeping on the recliner with Bee on my chest).

I'm wishing you very deep sleep!

Sandy

Put the baby on formula, quit breastfeeding, sleep when she sleeps. All will be well. This hell you're putting yourself through to breastfeed just isn't worth it. Breast is best but not at the expense of sanity.

Mary Ellen

I don't have any advice, but I do hope that you are able to get some much needed rest.

Em

I found it so hard to switch off. My mum was over for four weeks and she virtually forced me to have an afternoon sleep, ehich I did do when we were down at my in-laws in Padstow for a week when baby eggs was a week old.

I never have been one to rest much and I didn't at all in the last few weeks before the birth (I wish I had!). I just felt like there was too much going on!

It is hard. There is so much to think about. Feeding just consumes your time!

Some DVDs that you are keen to catch up on is always good for the late nights. I used to watch Law and Order episodes!

The thank you cards! Yes, it is nice to acknowledge the beautiful gifts and help and wishes but just don't worry for now. I got mine out when Baby Eggs was about 9 weeks old. Most of my friends have done this at a similar time...even three-four months. It is okay!

carrie

I agree with everything that's been said, especially the first comment, and comments about CDs, yoga, etc. Something that helped me was to take a few minutes before I went to bed and make a to-do list for the next day/week that covered all those things that I couldn't let go that would be jumbling around in my head as I tried to sleep. I would keep a notepad next to my bed and if there was something that kept popping into my head I would write it down to think about the next day. Even with some problems I would write on my list "call (friend) tomorrow to discuss (insert small or big problem here)." I'd even put in time for myself: "think about problem with husband during morning feeding." Then when I would be in bed listening to my sleep cd, when I would start to obsess about the problem with my husband, I would say to myself "not now, I'm thinking about that tomorrow," and then gently (as the meditation tapes say) guide myself back to quietness. I used to roll my eyes at all that yoga-meditation-new age nonsense, but the eye rolling stopped when it worked! But don't give up if you get one of the relaxation or sleep CDs and it doesn't work the first time. Keep listening to it. Sometimes, just the boredom of listening to a CD for the 50th time is enought to put you to sleep. Other ideas that are pretty well-known: don't do anything but sleep in your bed (no reading, watching TV, etc), no caffeine several hours before, try lavendar aromatherapy: incense, candles, lotion, etc (I like lavendar scented linen spray that I spray on my sheets.) Make sure your room can get really dark (I have to cover my IPod thingy because of the bright blue light it emits.) Exercise earlier in the day can help with sleep, but like you'll have time for that. Keep your bedroom cooler than you would normally think and make sure you have nice pillows, mattress, linens, etc. Your bed should be an oasis to treat yourself each night. If your not having bladder issues, have a cup of chamomile or "sleepy time" tea before bed. (but not if your going to have to wake up to pee in the middle of the night--I learned that).

fisher queen

Having a new baby is so overwhelming! It takes time to figure out how to juggle everything-I'm not sure I'll ever really get it. In the meantime, stop trying to do so much! Take advantage of every little bit of help that is offered and let other things go undone. Spend your time snuggling with that precious little one. None of the other stuff is nearly as important.

Sarah Lee

I really, really feel for you. With my first child I put her in a cot, in her bedroom, but nursed her to sleep all the time. I got so tired with sitting up to nurse her back to sleep in the night.

With my second child, I followed the 'Montessori' thinking and never put her in a cot. She has a double futon and I feed her to sleep, then go to bed later with my husband, but on her first waking transfer to her bed and spend the rest of the night there. I feed her in the night, but do it practically in my sleep. I absolutely adore this and she has always been an extremely happy, easily settled individual as a result. I wake feeling rested and revived. Did you know breastfeeding actually makes you feel sleepy? It's nature's way. When you breastfeed your body release 'prolactin' and it's nature's way of making you feel relaxing and 'telling' you to rest.

Check out 'Dr. Sears' for articles on attachment parenting, co-sleeping and breastfeeding - I enjoyed his book on 'Nighttime Parenting'. This may not be for you, but ultimately listen to and trust your instincts and go with what feels 100% right for you and your baby. I read books at both extremes and by the time my first daughter was 6 month's old I finally listened and did what felt right for me. We are all different and I don't think there's a 'right or wrong' way. I do think a happy parent makes for a happy baby - and vis-versa!

Another book I found, which I loved, is Elizabeth Pantley's 'No Cry Sleep Solution'.

Good luck in finding your own way and being happy - it will come. You're doing great!

I hope I've been of some help!

Sarah

Kristin

Amen to Aurelia. Buy pre-made meals. Put off thank you notes. I was the same way after I had my first, and before I learned that sleep should come before almost everything.

Also, please consider letting yourself off the hook on pumping. I can trace all the troubles I had with BF to overpumping and anxiety. I wish I'd just fed the kid when I could, then given formula when I couldn't. What about only pumping when you're away from her, which is a more natural rhythm for both of you?

BE kind to yourself. You're doing a great job.

Lut C.

I had really hoped to read a victory post on BF here. I'm very sorry to hear it's still a struggle.

BF isn't going too well for us either. Supply is definitely the problem. Am currently trying to feed Linnea every 3 hours, followed by supplemental feeding and then double pumping for 15 minutes. That takes roughly 1h30min on my own, leaving precious little time to sleep.
Thank goodness, I can sleep when an opportunity presents itself. I haven't bothered with the household or anything else.

I'm not ready to quit BF yet.

I'm sure someone has pointed you to the WHO's growth charts for breast fed babies? Perhaps you mentioned them yourself?

Hang in there!

Drowned Girl

Hypnotherapy relaxation CDs, for sure!

Though I never managed to nap in the day if I was "on duty"

pixi

During the tough early months of motherhood, a friend told me that things most always turn a corner - some time around 6 mos. Turned out she was right. I wouldn't say it gets easy, but you know, some days it actually does feel fairly easy, and the problems are more dealable.

I do hope you get some decent rest soon, though.

statia

I know this is going to sound extremely stupid, but I have a horrible time falling asleep. I actually just create some fantasy in my head. Be it a tropical vacation or mentally decorating the home of my dreams. Works like a charm. My brain can't be bothered keeping me awake for something that I might have fun doing.

Emily

I think a lot of the sleepless stuff is just postpartum hormones. I went through the same thing when Asher was 6-8 weeks old, and after a few weeks, it got better. But I would just lie there for HOURS in the middle of the night, without being able to get back to sleep. My mind raced. Once the hormones started getting a little more even-keel, it got better. Do what you can to get rest, but know that it will go away on its own eventually.

a happier girl

I like to lay in bed with just a reading light on and read. I like that I get involved in thinking about the book and not all the stuff that needs to get done. I only turn the light off and lay down when I feel relaxed enough to go right to sleep. Good luck!

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