Monday, September 18, 2006

I could be another Lincoln

If I only had a brain.

Olivia has stopped sleeping through the night. After a six week honeymoon in which she went down at midnight and up at 6:30 or 7:00 a.m., making my schedule workable if not exactly good, she has stopped sleeping. And not just at night: she has also stopped napping during the day. I am on the verge of collapse. On Saturday, she went 18 hours without any sleep at all. I got an hour and five minutes in total last night, including three nursing sessions between 1:50 and 5:30. It's been getting progressively worse for the last month. Finally, I couldn't make it to work today. I cannot function. End of tether.

It seems like the more I feed, the less milk I make. She's going through the frozen stash at an alarming pace when I'm at work, and I seem to get less and less when I pump.

She isn't fussy, exactly, just awake and hungry.

She is so active, never wanting to sit still, scooting around on her back like a demented caterpillar, jumping up and down while holding onto our hands, flipping off her Boppy, sitting up and testing her balance, banging her little toys around, grabbing and kicking and watching all the time. Perhaps she's burning up the calories at a mad pace and needs to carbo-load like a swimmer? We've given her tastes of things--mushed bananas, applesauce, root beer floats (yes, we did)--but she doesn't seem to want anything in quantity (except for the float). Just scrunches up her little face in a perfect caricature of disdain after about six miniature spoonfuls.

For the love of Mike, what can I do? Domperidone? Formula? Earplugs? Vodka? Please help me. I am nearly incoherent, my head full of nolthing but stuffing.


Blogger Suz said...

I don't know! I wish I did. When you put her down for bed or a nap, what does she do? Does she cry? Do you use pacifiers or try to feed her right before bed? We've found giving the boys a full tum at around 6:30pm - 7:00pm and then putting them down can work.

6:45 PM  
Blogger k said...

I'm so sorry you're in the "no sleep" zone. I hope you and Jeff can switch off and get some naps over the weekend, at least.

I second the 1st commenter: what does she do when you lay her down? Does she seem hungry (the rhythmic "hungry" cry)?

We try to do some sort of "solid" (peas, sweet potatoes) supper for our 6-month-old around 5pm. Sometimes that works. Sometimes she's more interested in blowing raspberries.

Then we do a bottle at 7 or so. Whatever she'll take. Sometimes she'll take it all, sometimes she'll just take 2 ounces. Then she usually will fall asleep if we do all of her favorite little things (I'm sure Olivia has her little favorite things ... eyebrow stroking, fuzzy blanket by the face, burp rag draped over her eyes ... whatever it is).

Then we just let her sleep until about 10, when we nudge her awake, top off her tank as much as we can (again, sometimes she eats a bunch, sometimes just a few ounces), and usually that will get us through until morning.

However, I realize this is all totally unhelpful if the issue is that you simply can't GET her to sleep.

Teething, perhaps? Maybe a quick Pediatrician trip to ease your mind (check her tooth buds, check her ears, check her throat, etc).

I hope things get better. The world is a foggy hell without sleep. I feel for you.

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Wavery said...

Mmmmmm, I am perhaps a bit 'touched' in the head, but I'll pull a tag team for you. Of course that is only a very fleeting respite and not actually a cure at all.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Tine said...

Sounds like a growth spurt to me...both physical and cognitive. Do you have any vacation/sick days left? Could you stay home for a day or two and nurse the living daylights out of her? That would (hopefully) have the triple effect of ramping up your supply, tanking her up, and giving her the extra mommy time she might be needing right now.

Thinking of you. What an exhausting place to be.

7:32 AM  
Blogger chris said...

When my son started being able to move on his own things just went completely south for a couple of months. Then, once he'd mastered crawling and standing up (and more importantly, being able to get back down), things were fine again. Sounds like she's just got some things to figure out. But in the meantime, I think I take all the extra help that was offered.

Hang in there.

9:03 AM  
Blogger S. said...

I don't know that I have anything to offer other than sympathy.
K is doing the same thing except he wants to play for 1 1/2 hours.

I sooo know how you're feeling with no sleep.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

My first son, who was a big baby, outran my milk supply when he about 5 months old. He had been sleeping for fairly long blocks of time at night and then he suddenly switched to needing to feed every 2 hours around the clock. That's normal for a growth spurt but it's supposed to stop after a day or two when the kid has pushed your milk supply up. He just didn't stop and he started to get thinner relative to his height although he continued to grow. I'd been told to give him nothing but breast milk until he was 6 months old. When we finally started feeding him baby cereal, he was so hungry that he ate and ate. We went right to 3 meals a day because he wanted it and I continued to nurse him. As his weight increased, he started to sleep for longer blocks of time at night. I'm small and thin and I have small breasts. I had no problems nursing and easily produced enough for a small baby. I just seemed to max out a little ahead of the standard time for introducing solid foods. Since we have no history of food allergies, we started feeding the 2nd and 3rd children solid food along with breastmilk when they seemed interested in eating it at 5 months and avoided the desperately hungry 6 month old syndrome.
Some children need much less sleep than others. It runs in families. My husband is perfectly happy with 6-7 hours of sleep. I let the first kid take 2 long daytime naps so I could do my course work. As he got towards 1 year old, his bedtime drifted towards midnight. It took me a long time to figure out that if I wanted him to go to bed at 9, he could only have 1 nap during the day. We actually had to wake up our preschoolers who fell asleep after 4 because otherwise they would stay up until 11.
Good luck! Everything is so much harder to deal with when you are tired. I think Tine's suggestion is excellent if you can afford another day off.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ITA that this is a growth spurt of some sorts. Or she may be reverse cycling a bit. One thing that has helped me remain functional during the day is co-sleeping and nursing that way. I can nurse my 9 month old while partially asleep, so that we both get a lot more rest than if I had to haul myself out of bed to pick him up.

Reverse cycling is also not uncommon in breastfed babies when mom works -- that's where they nurse all night long to make up for nursing less during the day. My son's been doing this to me since I went back to work last month. He drinks pretty small amounts of pumped milk during the day, but then nurses the entire night. The ONLY way I've made it through this is with the co-sleeping. He sleeps about 12 hours at night, with 4-5 nursing sessions.

Hang in there!!!

12:37 PM  
Blogger Anna H. said...

No ideas, just looooove.


2:17 PM  
Blogger MC said...

Beautiful photos.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous T said...

I'm not the only one with psycho, energy ball! 18 hours though - ouch.

Have you tried fenugreek to increase supply? I ran dry at 5.5 months. I didn't find that solids increased her sleeping though. Growth spurts are tough, teething is tougher. I'd be interested to hear what she does when you try to get her to sleep too (I had to teach mine to nap, that was fun).

Good luck!

5:50 AM  
Anonymous Menita said...

Bugs, it may be time to start solids. We went through something that sounds very similar in Polly's fourth month, and it turned out that she was just hungry (just milk or formula wasn't doing it for her anymore). We started giving her green beans and baby cereal in the middle of month four and she went back to sleeping through the night. Good luck!

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Menita said...

Stupid me - posted before I read the last part where you HAD started solids (banging sleep-deprived head on keyboard).
OK: it may take a LOT of tries for her to get pastthe disgusted face, but she'll figure out eventually that the green thing on her spoon takes away the hollow feeling in her tummy.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Must be something in the air...we got 3 great ngihts of sleep with James then it all went to pot and he is up 2 times a night at least and when he wakes up at 4:30 a.m. he is ready to start his day! UGH! Fenugreek can be purchased at your local health food store and is suppose to be wonderful for increasing your milk supply. Best wishes!

11:14 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

My supply dropped for some reason around 4 months and domperidone worked wonders for me. Before I figured it out, I had similar issues with my girl--she stopped sleeping and was fussy all the time. It turned out I had been semi-starving her for a couple of months. I supplemented with formula until the domperidone kicked in and she was a happy girl again.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Alexa said...

Well, yes, vodka works for me. But then I'm not a baby...
Sorry I have no useful advice, but you have my sympathies.

9:17 AM  
Blogger smashedpea said...

My sympathies, life without sleep is not much fun and I remember it well. My babe had always been a good sleeper at night (though she never thought very much of napping) - until exactly 4 months old. That's when she decided to be awake a lot during the night. Wide awake and ready to play. For 2 hours or more. Nothing we did fixed it - giving her food, not giving her food, walking her, sitting with her, whatever, nothing made one bit of a difference. This lasted for 3 long months, very long months. And then just as suddenly as it had started, it stopped and we blissfully started sleeping through the night again.

She's now almost 16 months and sleeps well, mostly. She's gotten used to a regular short nap (we cut her off after an hour or else she'll be up until midnight) and has been sleeping through the night for months. Every once in a while she's got a bad night and wakes up for anywhere between 30 - 90 minutes, but it's rare.

Good luck :)

12:15 PM  
Blogger steph said...

Oh, doll, here too.
Noel seems to just eat all night long, and we were sleeping through before. There's a growth spurt at 6 months that I think we're in... I hope we get through it someday. I'm zonked.
I'll second the co-sleeping. We have the Arm's Reach (little sidecar doojob), but about 3AM or so, Noel ends up draped across my chest, and I just let him stay. Usually because I fall asleep about 2 seconds after he starts eating- it's a win-win (at least for now).

12:36 PM  
Blogger Katie (WannaBeMom) said...

Gah! This is horrible!

But I'm a big believer in vodka...

7:11 AM  
Blogger scissorbill said...

Formula won't help unless you want to start weaning from the breast. Keep nursing and your body will catch up. Try oatmeal, plenty of fluids, plenty of nursing esp using both breasts and maybe even mothers' milk tea.

I ran into a similar problem with pumping when my son was around 7 months, I suddenly couldn't pump much at all at work, I'd be lucky to cover the bottom of the bottle. But he was getting it out, he was always off the charts.

I hope you all get some sleep soon!

10:32 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Maybe my experience might be helpful? At around 5 months I had to start splitting the nights with my husband. Nothing was working at night to keep her asleep, including feeding. We started dividing the night at 2:00 am, with the idea that both of us at least get some sleep during our "off" hours. Things got better slowly over time. At 7 1/2 months, nights and days are better. I'm still breastfeeding, but she loves her solids. Good dinners seem to be associated with better sleeps.

4:10 PM  

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