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4 months on / exhausted
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Posted 13 March 2007 - 01:23 PM
This feels like a myriad of problems here but just wanted some ideas, maybe some advice or to hear if this has been a problem for anyone else. I have struggled with the BFing. I was sick from the birth, I've struggled really hard with starting off the BFing and I've been exhausted the whole time. At 3 months, I finally started to have some more energy and wasn't just napping every time DD did. However, we started to go downhill a bit, DD started feeding 4 hourly overnight and I started getting tired/exhausted again. At 4 months, DD is having sleep issues - won't sleep more then 40 mins during the day and has a tendency to be up between 2 and 4 hours - and thats with a terrible up and down struggle in between - argh! Its been incredibly draining. Even feeding to sleep isn't working very well as she wakes when I transfer her to the cot. I have started letting her sleep on me just to get a break! :/ but its not really a break IYKWIM and it still means she won't sleep past 40 mins....
Anyways.. my point is that I'm seriously and utterly exhausted. DD still really drains me in the evenings wanting to feed lots before bed. In my mind I keep thinking she is loading up so that she'll sleep through the night, so I do it. But over the weekend, I just flipped out about being needed so much and not getting a break and with feeling so exhausted all the time.
Is BFing meant to be this exhausting? I'm eating heaps, I'm getting regular exercise (walking w/ pram). I've been getting 6-8 hours sleep overnight this last week (still not making a difference to how I feel). At 4 months, shouldn't I be feeling a bit more normal and with this sleep?
B/c of what happened on the weekend, I feel like I want to give her a bottle of formula in the evenings b/c I'm just so drained by then and could do with some rest.
My DD is 4 1/2 months and I'm BFing roughly 3 hourly during the day - 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 6pm, 8pm, 9pm.
Posted 13 March 2007 - 02:38 PM
Sorry to hear your feeling terrible
It does get better. Can you try talking to your MACHN or getting professional help. Maybe try having a break for a couple of hours, just to give you some time to yourself.
The other thing you really need to do is rest, especially in the afternoon. Thats when i noticed that my girls really feed alot and me resting was making more milk.
Hang in there, hope you feel better soon
Posted 13 March 2007 - 02:51 PM
Not too fun sometimes is it?
My baby has been a catnapper from the start and 3 months on I'm pretty tired also......so I feel your pain.
A few things come to might that may help you:
* When I feed her to sleep, try not to move her for 25 minutes as this will get her past the first stage of her sleep cycle. You could try lay-down feeding her on your bed and leaving her there until the 25 mins is up then transferring her.
* Try expressing a full feed first thing in the morning ( as your milk is best then) and give her that bottle each night when she is tanking up. It will give you a bit of a break as well as saving you from turning to formula
* have you got a Baby Bjorn, sling or swing. I've found these things to be great 'breaks' for me when I really really need it.
* Maybe your DH can get up for one of the nights feeds for you with bottled EBM
From everything I've read these babies seem to go nuts at 4 months and then settle down....so you may be okay in a couple of weeks....hopefully.
But yes to answer your question - I do find BF tiring sometimes.....I just keep telling myself that it will all be worth it when she's the healthiest kid on the block!!
Good luck - I hope it gets better for you.
Posted 13 March 2007 - 07:48 PM
I hear you Catherin, I'm tired too. I have a 4 1/2 month old and I also get plenty of sleep (broken by 2 night feeds). I've just assumed my tiredness was because of the broken sleep, not necessarily BFing, but now you've got me wondering. Even if DD only wakes once I still get up in the mornings and stager around like I've been doped on valium. Topping up with formula might work at getting her to sleep longer in the short term. I supplement and it doesn't seem to make much difference in my case but then I've been supplimenting since week one and I guess she's used to it. Who knows, it might give you a few nights reprieve?
I agree with Mumtriestoohard about waiting to move bub after she falls asleep. If I try and move Nadia before she's been asleep for about 15 minutes, she wakes up. There seems to be a window where I can move her easily. If I move her too early (or too late) she wakes again.
And she also catnaps for about 40min during the day so I pretty much just let her sleep on me, I've given up trying to get anything done for now. God, I remember just a few short months ago (before Nadia) blithely suggesting to a friend of mine who was exhausted with a 5mo 'why don't you just sleep when she does'. She hasn't thrown it back in my face yet but boy do I feel like a d*ck.
Sorry, not much help, I just wanted you to know you weren't the only one...
Posted 13 March 2007 - 08:24 PM
I agree what PP have said, just a couple of other ideas from me:
* are you taking iron tablets? What you say about exhaustion rings warning bells for me. Maybe get iron/thyroid levels checked out?
* in the same vein, I swear by multivitamins and also nursing/herbal teas like fennel or fenugreek to keep up supply - made the evening feeds easier for me
* co-sleeping - depends how you feel about this one. We had the cot set up near our bed, but once we brought him into bed things really improved. He would feed overnight without me barely waking and I felt far more rested. I know it's not for everyone but it did work for us.
Posted 13 March 2007 - 08:25 PM
CatherineG / TaniaD - I remember reading about your breastfeeding experiences right from birth and just wanted to say congratulations on doing so well till this point.
At 4 months, DS started feeding more often, and I just felt so exhausted. It seems that it is a pretty normal stage and I can tell you that it does get better.
The one thing that has got us through with both the sleeping during the day issues and the frequent feeding was mastering the art of feeding when laying down.
It allowed me to go to sleep if he fell asleep feeding and also allowed me to leave him asleep where he lay if I wanted to get up.
It does get better and it is definitely worth persisting. Congratulations on such a great job so far and hope you find some helpful advice on EB
Posted 13 March 2007 - 08:28 PM
You have some great replies already here.
Although it is really hard, what you are describing with your little one sounds really normal for her age. I had a very similar experience with my first bub, and felt like the only one with a baby who slept/didn't sleep! like this. As it turns out, we are not alone, but I think lots of mums don't admit it (i know, it's not a competition but some see it that way).
The William and Martha Sears baby book has some great ideas for babies who want to be near you. I remember reading in it not to put your baby down until they are well and truly asleep (like you can pick up a hand and drop it).
The other thing I think is that the expectation spoils the joy. In that, some mums just give in to it, sleep when bub sleeps, and are gladd for the day/time when bubby can manage to sleep next to them rather than on them. I think there are so many expectations on mums and bubs these days, and that some how it is seen as 'right' to control our babies and make them adhere to what we see as the ideal routine. Some just wont do this. Loving them through it and being with them can be really rewarding. It's a different way to most go, but it has so many rewards.
Sometimes giving in is the first step to becoming happier with where you are at.
Best of luck with it,
Posted 14 March 2007 - 08:21 AM
Catherine, I so hear ya!
We're at 5.5 months almost and I feel the way you do. Some people just DO find breastfeeding exhausting - it's a fact. Everyone can breastfeed their baby but some people find that it is pretty much ALL they can do for the time period their baby is exclusively BF - ESPECIALLY if you are a slightly older mum.
I would definitely try expressing in the morning and then topping up with that feed for the last feed at night. Could your partner do it so you could go to bed after 8pm and grab another hour?
Even if you are getting 7-8 hours sleep all up, it is the BROKEN nature of the sleep that does get to you. I feel VASTLY better after even 7 hours UNBROKEN than 8 hours broken sleep. You just get to transition seamlessly between the sleep stages rather than having to be pushed into action.
Some babies get the hang of feeding lying down, others don't - like my DD so I have to sit up for every night feed.
It's also the fact that the sleep deprivation has gone on so long. You do rack up a "sleep debt" that can take a long, long time to pay back.
Posted 15 March 2007 - 09:10 AM
I guess I am wondering if it is fair enough to still be so tired at 4 months.
MTTH - Thanks for the timing tip.
TaniaD - Oh, I feel bad! I don't want you to worry about your milk supply! Thanks for your support, its great to hear more on how you are going as well. I agree that there seems to be a time window - not too long and not too short!
helly - I'm looking for a reason as well. I am seeing my doctor this afternoon and hoping to get iron and thyroid tested and see if she has any other ideas. My DD fell asleep while feeding yesterday morning and for the first time I left her to sleep there with me and she slept about TWO HOURS! LOL I feel very strongly that if I hadn't of been there with her, that she wouldn't have done it. I'd only consider it for that first morning feed though - tried today but she didn't sleep afterwards!
RachelP - uh-huh.. the other mums in mothers group all seem to be brimming with energy and I'm the only walking zombie! I'm especially jealous of the FF ones at the moment as I realise how taxing the BFing is on our bodies. Thanks for your thoughts..
semantics - as above, going to get iron and thyroid tested today. I've been wondering about maybe taking multivitamins again. I've been taking iron tablets during the end of the pregnancy and after the birth. My ob never said how long to take them for, so when I started feeling better at 3 months and started forgetting to take them, I went along with the thought that maybe it was time to stop. I'm back to taking them again and will discuss with GP today.
tinkerbelle* - I might try feeding from bed tonight from 7pm onwards.. just hope she goes down before 9.30pm! Eeeps..
Oddsox - I'm feeling a bit bereft of help at the moment (apart from a fabulous hubby who is trying very hard!) - my sis is well experienced with kids but has a lot of troubles at the moment and my Mum is way too busy with a self-inflicted heavy workload (grr!).. I never get the chance to phone friends (with this no sleeping thing!) and definitely feeling a bit on the outer at the moment.
Thanks for the reassurance LOTL. I will consider expressing, just haven't had the energy to bother yet(!).
Posted 15 March 2007 - 09:09 PM
Glad to hear your thoughts. I was that same mum in the new mums group... everyone elses baby sleeping through. At first i let myself be tortured by it, but after a while I realised that it was normal! My lovely MCHN even said to me that other mums may not be telling the truth about how well their bubbies sleep, and that they are not telling me about each time they got up to put the dummy in!
And the formuala bubs mums will be jealous of you when your liitle one gets over a cold in a matter of days, and theirs takes much longer ( a generalization I know.... but the benefits of BF are long term and many)
The other thing... i reckon it is being a mother that is tiring! Not necessarily the BF itself. You could still have a FF bub who was waking as much as yours... and then you can't feed them everytime they wake... that would be even harder.
Run your own race here....
If your little one needs you now they do. Lots of bubs who sleep well early on will change as they hit the 8-9 month mark, so they'll all be with you then.
Do take some multis. or even Floradix (the iron and herb supplement) which is fantastic for your energy levels (you get it at health food shops)
In the mean time, get ready to nap when baby naps, and hang in there. It will all be worth it in the longer term.
You are doing a great job!
Posted 16 March 2007 - 11:49 AM
My doctor has said the same thing to me yesterday about it possibly just being general new-mum tiredness. I was also given the impression that dealing with stressful situations is a lot harder given the lack of sleep etc. Doh! Doc is testing me for a myriad of things just to give me the peace of mind and then its just up to me to accept my lot. I have been speaking with MCHNurse and friends yesterday and we think its primarily the sleeping problems thats having a knock on effect with everything else. I am trying to get into a sleep clinic to help with the sleeping troubles and trying everything under the sun in between. So, I hope its a relief to people that I'm not going to give up breastfeeding or start supplementation just yet and will struggle on using a few tips from everyone and see how things are going with the sleep stuff. It is good for me to have identified what the real problem is.....! Husband gave me a bit of a break yesterday as well and DD has been an angel so far today which takes a bit of pressure off.
Apologies if above doesn't read very well - no time to edit properly.
Posted 16 March 2007 - 08:23 PM
Good to see that things are getting checked out - hopefully everything comes back nice and clear (or easily fixable!)
I also agree with other PP about people in mothers groups not necessarily saying what they actually do, but rather what they think they should be doing...
Thinking back I actually think that I found b/feeding tiring up until about 6 months. After I think it was a combo of fewer feeds, DS sleeping better (as they grow their tummies can hold more for longer IYKWIM) and other things, anyway I found it a whole lot less draining than I had before.
Good luck - I do suggest the multivitamins though, I still take them now!
Posted 16 March 2007 - 08:39 PM
Oh Catherine, I'm sorry to hear that you've been feeling so exhausted but it's great that you've got a supportive GP and MACHN. From my experience (which admittedly isn't all that great !) it seems to be quite common for breastfed babies to have a bit of a growth spurt at around 4 months and to begin feeding more frequently day and night. It also seems to be quite common for sleep problems to kick in at around this time - for both FF and breastfed babies.
I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Pantley's books on sleeping - she gives a large range of different options for encouraging better napping and night-time sleep and I've found that putting some of her suggestions together really worked for us.
Good luck with everything sweetie and I really hope that you get your bounce back soon.
Posted 16 March 2007 - 09:25 PM
I agree with one of the other replies, it would be good to get your iron/thyroid levels checked. Extreme tiredness is a symptom, and women can get thyroid problems after having a baby, and it's quite common to not be picked up. If your doctor hasn't arranged for your thyroid levels to be checked, it may be worth you asking to get them checked.
With my daughter I found breastfeeding lying down in bed worked for me when I was tired. She was never a good sleeper either, so I ended up letting her sleep on the bed sometimes (I know you aren't meant to do it - and I was in the bedroom checking on her every 5 minutes!). Sometimes I would transfer her to her cot, but often she would wake up then. I remember doing what you do too, letting her sleep on my lap after a breastfeed, I would just watch TV with her there.
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