A.P. asks from New Port Richey, FL on May 18, 2008
Im a Walking Pacifier, Help! I'm Also Needing Advice with Weening Frm Co-sleepin
I'm nursing exclusively only because my baby will NOT take a bottle. My daughter is almost 7 weeks old and refuses any bottle or pacifier. When she needs soothing, I'm it and theres nothing else that will satisfy her. She's to the point now of wanting to suck so much (of me) that she's taking in extra milk which later makes her spit up ALOT. Help! Any suggestions? I tried to introduce a paci at about 2 weeks of age although most of the literature online suggests to wait atleast 6 weeks till after birth. I'm also still co-sleeping which I'd like to start weening from but she wont sleep or nap unless she is with me. I've tried putting my worn clothes by her so she'll still "smell me", swaddled her, and done anything else I could possibly think of. Usually the only way she'll fall asleep is if I lay her on my bed and wait for her to fall asleep completely and then I can get up quietly and carefully. Both of these issues are starting to effect my marriage, espepcially since my husband cant feed her with a bottle and swaddler her for some quality time.
E.W. answers from Stationed Overseas on May 19, 2008
please don't let your seven week old cry by herself until she passes out. It will do more harm than you'll ever realize.
My mom said the same thing about my brother, that he would nurse until he was spitting up blood, not from hunger but from a STRONG sucking reflex. She eventually got him to use the paci or her finger, and went on to nurse him well past a year, (and he gave up the paci and finger sucking before a year with no trouble), so it can be done, just takes a bit of perseverance. Keep offering, but don't stress too much if she is not interested.
The only advice I have about you being the only one that can sooth your newborn is, enjoy it while it lasts! Try to find a good carrier that you and your husband can both use (or separate ones for each of you if you're completely different sizes!), and that should help immensely b/c baby is close and secure without you having to actively pay attention to her, and H should be able to soothe your DD much faster if she's in a sling or wrap. Being close and secure is going to be your baby's favorite for a long time, and that is the way God intended it to be! Many people thought my baby would not want to leave my side until he graduated because I "spoiled" him so much as an infant, but let me tell you that he is now 2 years old and VERY independent and personable with everyone. I feel strongly that if I had deprived him of my unconditional love, security, and on-demand nursing in that first year he would be a different child today.
I co-slept out of laziness for the first few months, and when we transitioned to a crib by my bed I found that if I waited until DS was REALLY asleep, he would stay asleep much easier than if I tried to put him down as soon as we were done nursing. He nursed to sleep for about the first year of his life and it was a slow transition to going to sleep on his own and eventually sleep through the night without nursing. We followed Dr. Jay Gordon's approach except slowed it down a lot, and it worked really well for us.
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C.E. answers from Stationed Overseas on May 27, 2008
as far as the walking pacifier, the only thing i can recommend as well is a carrier...sure it's a pita sometimes, but they are wonderful and you are still able to get some stuff done, and baby is safe, secure and next to you. i have btdt with two of my three boys, so i completely understand. i exclusively nursed #2 till 6mos and #3 until one year. they were both cosleepers, and it was difficult. hubby got home from deployment when #3 was 6mos and he wouldn't settle down or let hubby soothe him at all. tell your hubby to just be patient, your baby is used to your smells, sounds, ect with only being 7wo and your baby needs that comfort right now. as far as the nursing till baby throws up, it's something that you can either regulate, but not accurately, by stopping the feeding at a certain point. for the co-sleeping, #3 was 10 months old when he started to sleep alone at night. one night we tried it and i slept pretty much outside his door to hear him if he got up, and he slept all night long. gl mama...and hang in there!
M.A. answers from Miami on May 19, 2008
This is a very common problem. Moms want their babies quiet and happy, so we do just about anything to get that. BUT, we then pay a heavy price.
First of all, your baby is young...and she probably needs to feed every two-three hours? (I forgot...check on that with your doctor/lactation consulatant) But, other than that, she does not need to use you as her security blanket, and it sounds like that is what you are establishing by co-sleeping with her. I found this great book, which now I can't remember the title...it's been eight years ago...but, it advised to "let the child cry until they soothe themselves and fall asleep on their own." It is the hardest thing to do, but we did it. The first night, our baby cried for 40 minutes, until she fell asleep, the second night it was 20 minutes, the third night, it was 5 minutes, and after that, my baby would give me a look that said, "Good night," and rolled over to sleep! The was the best sleeper after that. Before we got brave enough to do that, it was a nightmare that kept me awake practically all night, and I was so sleep-deprived.
Also, every time you stick a pacifier into her mouth, think of the bad habits and future teeth problems that you are possibly encouraging. Don't...she doesn't need it. Just my opinion, based on reading all the baby literature.
Good luck! You can do it! M. A
C.D. answers from Stationed Overseas on May 19, 2008
All I have to say is just let her cry in the crib till she falls alseep I know it is hard you just have to try to zone it out. IF she is still crying after a hour yes go get her she will figure out that mom isn't going to leave for good, every kid goes though not wanting to be seperated from mom, is sounds like she is dueing it early in life. Or try again once in a while with the pacifier once in a while, but don't be surprised that she finds her fingers and sucks on them that is what my first born did. Or have you tryed putting one of your fingers in her mouth as a pacifier I know some people don't like dueing this but it does work. I also have rubbed the bottom of the foot with my finger tip below the knuckle part of the foot (at the top part of the arch (wear it would be)can also try the hole arch area.
L.K. answers from Stationed Overseas on May 29, 2008
We had a similar problem when our daughter was very little.
she would not sleep unless we cuddled her to sleep..so we tried using a rocker and that worked..so we would lay her down after she was asleep for about 10 mins..and then with the bottle transition..try expressing your breast milk in the bottle, we had good luck with Aveeno bottles. We had problems with getting her on a Paci, we called it a binky, it took time but with patience she took it ..then then it came time to give it up that was the hardest thing to break her from!!
I wish you the paitence to get your lil one to take the changes ..just only try ONE change at a time..too many changes usually cause a refusal of EVERYTHING new...
T.S. answers from Stationed Overseas on May 19, 2008
Welcome new Mom. Listening to your baby cry, especially your first child, can hurt your heart or make you think you are doing something wrong. My first child was colic for the first 4 months of his life. I swear I am scarred from the experience! That was 11 years ago. First, she is a baby and babies cry. Second, find some books on the first year of a baby's life. Read more than one. You will get ideas to try and can get information on when you need to be concerned and when not to be. Third, if you feel your baby cries more than when she is tired, hungry, needs a diaper change, or those 1-4 hours staight many babies do at night then start wondering why and ask her Dr. as well. Do you think she has gas or some other intestional pain? Find other ways to calm your baby. Does she like the baby swing, listening to a heart beat or the sound of a fish tank? Does she like to go for stroller walks or be carried around in a chest pack. (These are things your husband can do for her as well and will be ways he can calm her down.)
My advice on the over eating is to stop doing it. You know when she fed last and how long she fed. If she is crying but you know there is no way it is from hunger then go to another stategy. It can not be good for her to overeat to the point of throwing it up again.
In terms of sleeping in her own crib I would definately put forth the effort to achomplish that goal. My biggest advice is to TIGHTLY swadle her in her blanket (as they did in the hospital) to give her the close warm feeling she felt in your tummy. Then go ahead and rock her to sleep.
A first child turns a person's life upside down. We know nothing when we thought we had a good understanding of what we were getting ourselves into. I know you are a good Mom. Be patient with yourself. All three of you are learning how to work with each other. Best of luck!
G.L. answers from Stationed Overseas on May 19, 2008
There are many different parenting philosophies and we all have to mix and mash them together to come up with the version that works best for us.That said, I strongly AGREE with everything that Karen Z said in her posting. I am a mother of 4 and a believer in Dr. Sears and attachment parenting. I have been a walking pacifier for many years and now that I know this is my last baby, I am starting to regret the few times that I have been frustrated with my "attached" babies. You will never get that time back.
You can nurse the baby and read to the 2 year old. Nap with all (Daddy too) of them for some family closeness that you will fondly remember when you are packing them off to college.
Your husband can cuddle with both of you for closeness with baby ... soon the baby will get used to Daddy and transition between the two of you more easily. Bath time is a great way for Dads to get one on one time with baby as well.
My fourth child is the only one that has taken a pacifier. And I know it is because my daughter and my cleaning lady held it for him and kept putting it back in his mouth so that I could shower or make meals for the other three. He would not take it from me.
If your baby is making you sore, I can recommend an awesome product. Earth Mama Angel Baby makes "Nipple Butter". It is far, far superior to the lansinoh icky, sticky stuff. The main ingredient is shea butter (I think). I am using my leftovers for my lips and dry cracked hands.
Try the babywearing without delay. It is easier to get used to when they are tiny.
K.Z. answers from Stationed Overseas on May 19, 2008
Hang in there for another month or so and things will calm down. The first three months are the toughest. Do you have a sling or baby carrier? If not, get one. I like soft-structured carriers like the Ergo and Beco best (they are kind of like the Bjorn but have several important differences that make them more comfortable for both you and the baby). You should be able to find a wrap-type carrier in Japan on the economy and I believe there is at least one mom who is making slings in the military community. Wearing your baby can help you get things done and give her the closeness she needs. Check out www.thebabywearer.com or http://www.askdrsears.com/html/5/t051100.asp for more information on babywearing's benefits. My son is 20 months and I still wear him sometimes. Sometimes babies just need to be with you. Dad can try baby wearing also. Put the baby in the carrier and start moving. Within 5-10 minutes (or often much sooner) baby will calm down or fall asleep. You can also learn to nurse in the carrier. You may be able to lay her down after she falls asleep as well and if she still won't go, she can nap while you are doing other things. My son can nap anytime, anywhere in the carrier. Being so close to you makes a baby feel secure.
As for getting your baby to take the bottle. Use pumped milk instead of formula and don't give her a bottle when she is hungry or fussy. Nurse her for awhile so she is relaxed and not desperately hungry and then use patience and let her try the bottle. It may be more successful if your husband tries to give her the bottle. He needs to be very patient. Don't yell at her if she doesn't take it right away. Don't get tense or stressed. Stay calm so you
can help her stay calm. Just keep offering the bottle. Don't worry if she doesn't take to it right away. Repeated exposure for small amounts of time will usually solve this problem.
As for weaning from co-sleeping, my advice is don't try to get her to go from sleeping with you to sleeping in a crib in another room. Set up the crib/bassinet/Pack-n-Play in your room. Since you will have to get up during the night to feed her, you will get much more rest if you co-sleep or have the crib in your room. An Arm's Reach Co-sleeper is also a nice compromise. It attaches to your bed but gives her a separate space.
Some things to keep in mind:
1. Babies needs change as they get older. Don't think that just because she won't take a bottle now that she never will. You need to stay calm and work with her. If you fight her needs and preferences and then give in you are teaching her that she needs to fight for what she wants, security and attention from you. That does not mean that you shouldn't try to steer her towards taking a bottle or taking a nap without you by her side, but do it gently. It will be better for both of you if you go slowly ad gently.
2. The first few months are the hardest, but breastfeeding is worth it, especially as your child gets older. You can go more places with less stuff, faster than your bottlefeedng counterparts. You can soothe a hurt or stressed child quickly and easily and you are giving you child the best nutrition at the lowest price. You can do it.
3. Pumping takes practice. Make sure you have the right sized flanges. Think about or look at your baby when you pump. Your baby can get more out of you than a pump, so if you can't get much out, don't worry, it is not indicative of your supply. Also, you don't need much in the bottle to start with (half an ounce to an ounce). You could try pumping on one side when your baby is nursing on the other, both to save time and take advantage of your baby's work.
4. There are other ways that dad can be involved such as bath time, babywearing, tummy time, etc. other than bottle feeding. He can do these things immediately and he can gradually work with her to give her a bottle.
If there is a lactation consultant or La Leche League group or even just another experienced nursing mother around, talk to them for support and ideas.
Check out web resources like:
Building on what Emily said, some people will tell you that carrying your baby will make her walk late or be dependent. Like Emily, I carried my son a lot until he was about 15 months old (I still carry him at 20 months just not as much). He pulled himself up to standing the day he turned 7 months and was walking holding onto furniture shortly after. He was running by 10 months. Babywearing acts like tummy time and provides security. When your baby walks has more to do with physical, genetic structure and personality. Babywearing is much more active and engaging than putting the baby in a carseat carrier or swing or playpen, all of which have their places, but are often overused.