I'm seven or so weeks into Paleo and Crossfit. I started when my [second] baby was 4.5 months and now she is 6 months. During this time (likely due to my amazing increase in energy) we have tackled the family bed to crib transition. When we were co-sleeping I hardly noticed when she woke but after moving her to her crib it was quickly apparent she slept much better alone.
That leaves me to actually get up and tend to her in the night. Some nights are better than others (waking three times; she typically goes to bed quite early 6-6:30pm and will wake every three or so hours while maybe one longer stretch) others she is up every 2-3 hours. Thus I am very much missing out on the caveman cornerstone of deep, restorative sleep.
I don't stay up late; typically asleep by 9:30pm and I get up at 5:30 on Crossfit mornings (3x per week), between six and seven otherwise. I think I'm doing the best I can do in the situation, does anyone know how severe the effects of this uninterrupted sleep could be? Seeing as I'm a new(ish) mother does my body expect it? I notice I want to eat more when I'm tired, so I'm glad I'm not reaching for cookies anymore. I am also exclusively breastfeeding and am fairly active so it's hard to tell what's tired-induced and what's just hunger.
I think I'm most worried about missing out on this elusive growth hormone produced in the first few hours of sleep each night. Without fail I'm awoken less than an hour after I fall asleep.
asked byrobust_ly (30)
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on June 12, 2011
at 04:26 PM
Hi there, I am a mom of four. In my experience co-sleeping is the natural thing and helps mom, dad and baby sleep better. It allows for quick nursing with little disruption, no need to turn on a light or disturd the sleep pattern unless you need to do a diaper change. Our foremothers did not rush to get baby into it's own bed or room. While the child was still nursing it would have slept close to mom. If you feel more rested when co-sleeping why not do it? You say your baby is sleeping better alone in her bed but it is possible that that is more of a maturing thing than a sleeping alone thing?
I am not sure your finances and if you could (or would want to) get one, but with my last child I used a co-sleeper. This thing was awesome. It was the best of both worlds. My son was close at hand and I could touch him if he just needed comfort or pull him over to nurse, yet he was in his own space when I needed him to be.
on June 12, 2011
at 05:22 PM
I hear you! My first slept with us for way too long (2 years) the second wanted to be put down on his own within a few months. Nursing during the night became very tiring, though.
I initially made the mistake of getting up and turning on lights, getting a drink, nibbling on something after nursing him to sleep which made me too wakeful to get back to sleep quickly. Things got better when I nursed in complete dark, kept my eyes closed while he nursed and then hopped right back into bed. This helped my sleep quality tremendously.
I've read that during lactation sleep "architecture" is altered. Maybe this helps enable our bodies to withstand the temporary sleep deprivation.
Also, it has been studied that prolactin and oxytocin suppress acute cortisol response.
My take is that breastfeeding may actually be protecting you from the ravages of sleep deprivation.
on July 13, 2011
at 05:33 PM
I co-slept with my first-born for roughly a year. Now my second is four months old and we recently switched from a traditional full sized bed to an organic wool mattress pad (king size!) that we just lay on the floor. I would really recommend it. I was worried that it wouldn't be enough "padding", and while it's definitely different than a normal bed, I'm sleeping great on it. My husband and I can cuddle while the baby is on her own side, and it doesn't matter if she rolls off. I know the original poster's baby is older now, but as far as concerns of SIDS and co-sleeping, there is some evidence that newborns are so premature in development that they need help regulating their breathing at night by sleeping next to a parent. I think that was touched on in "Our Babies, Ourselves" by Small or "Mother Nature" by Hrdy (highly recommend both of those books both either way).
on June 12, 2011
at 07:35 PM
Co-sleeping, breastfeeding mothers get the most and best quality sleep. Also, your milk supply will be a lot better if you still night nurse and you'll continue to have the natural birth control benefit http://www.scienceandsensibility.org/?p=1398
Have you considered side-carring a toddler bed or crib? Then you'll get the benefits of co-sleeping so you don't have to get up but she'll have her own space. I'm planning on doing that with my little one pretty soon. He's 6 months. I would be sooooo off if I had to get up everytime he wants to nurse. 4.5 months is too early too separate, imho.
Here's instructions on how to do it http://www.freewebs.com/sidecarcrib/
and here's a video on how to do it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPqpbSoqvbQ ???
Co-sleeping is the most natural way to do parent. Cribs are the neolithic thing. Not that all your parenting decisions should be re-enactment but most primates and tribal peoples are practically attached at the hip/boob for at least 2-4 years.
on June 12, 2011
at 06:20 PM
I think I was/am really just looking to hear that, yes, this frequent waking could be effecting my progress and perception of the Paleo lifestyle. I still love and am in awe of it with no plans to stop but it's helpful, I think, to understand that I may not yet be receiving optimal benefits. It's also helpful to think that there is something biological protecting me from the full ravages of frequent night-waking.
Especially because I am living with and generally surrounded by non-believers, I feel like I need to keep an (at time overly) upbeat attitude and avoid mentioned tiredness or fatigue lest it reflect badly of Paleo itself. it's kind of a pickle.
Thanks for the help and support.
I look forward to the day when I can experience Paleo AND a full night's sleep ;)
on June 12, 2011
at 05:27 PM
In an Underground Wellness podcast interview with T S Wiley (author of "Sleep, Sugar, and Survival), she mentioned that women of childbearing age are biologically adapted to frequent night-wakings due to the necessity to feed babies. (This was in the context of an older woman who needed to wake frequently to tend to hospice patients or some such. Wiley suggested that if the woman supplemented with the proper hormones to get her body hormonally similar to a 20-30-year old woman, she night wakings would be less problematic.) That being said, you are feeling exhausted, so you need a fix to your problem.
You didn't say for sure that you are nursing the baby at night, but like has been stated before, if you're still night nursing, a cosleeper or sharing a bed is your best bet for good sleep. If you're not nursing at night and just going in to comfort the baby, I would look into sleep training (of course the "no-cry" method) and helping your baby learn to comfort herself back to sleep. You said she slept better when in her own room, but waking every 2-3 hours doesn't sound that great.
on June 12, 2011
at 05:20 PM
I am also curious about your choice to end co-sleeping...you are saying that your baby sleeps better alone, was she waking a lot more often? My solution with one of my babies was to lay her in her crib at first, where she would sleep for anywhere from 4-8 hour stretches, then take her in bed with with me when she woke for the remainder of the night. This worked well for our family...she was wiggly, and that initial long stretch of sleep each night did us all good. My son was a more mellow sleeper (actually, more mellow in general ) and he slept in our bed until a few months after his second birthday. Find what works through experimentation for your family. Mama getting as much sleep as possible is so important!
on July 11, 2011
at 08:50 PM
I feel like I should mention that I'm a straight up co-sleeping advocate provided you make your bed baby safe i.e. a firm futon free of flame retardant chemicals, keep baby away from pillows, etc. I've been doing it for more than 2 years, and still loving it. I am also impressed by and supportive of parents who have the stamina to get up and tend to a baby in another room.
The one thing I have noticed is that my son sleeps for longer stretches without nursing if he can't smell my milk, which might be why your baby is sleeping better alone. If I fall asleep without a shirt on he thinks it is an all night buffet, and my sleep suffers for it. So something as simple as wearing a thick t-shirt or lightweight robe to bed seems to buy me an extra couple of hours between feedings. Unless of course he's going through a growth spurt, at which point all bets are off.
on June 13, 2011
at 01:31 AM
Basically welcome to parenthood - you don't sleep a lot unless you get yourself to bed really early too. Generations of people have slept less when they get kids. Everyone makes it and kids grow up and you sleep more. That is how it goes. At least you are losing sleep to something meaningful and productive. Instead of partying.
This worked well for my wife and I: http://www.amazon.com/Good-Night-Sleep-Tight-Helping/dp/1593150253
This has a much nicer approach, or rather the tone and spirit, feels less cry it out that most sleep training approaches. Our kids slept through the night by 1.5.
on June 12, 2011
at 05:00 PM
short answer: yes, you are missing out on growth hormone release due to the interruption of your sleep. Adrenals are likley producing cortisol at higher than normal levels to keep you functional during the day and to get you through the incredible intensity of cross-fit workouts. I agree with Mark Sisson, who writesYou???ve heard why I like CrossFit and P90X ??? and I do like them, believe me ??? but this is where we diverge: (...)overtraining is the biggest issue plaguing most trainees. If you don???t give your body enough downtime to recuperate, you???ll find it very difficult to get stronger/faster/quicker/more powerful (...) I think the 3 on, 1 off CrossFit schedule (...) can easily lead to overtraining (...) I love CrossFit, but people do get injured. (...) going too hard for too long, but injuries do occur. CrossFitters will plainly admit that there is an inherent danger to going all out, day in and day out. So there are my thoughts on cross-fit:)
Long version below. Some of it is beyond the scope of your question (ie answering questions you didn't ask and may not be interested in having answered) but as there are likely many other pregnant women or new moms reading, I'm going to expound.
Sleep is incredibly important and likely you are missing out on some of the deep restorative sleep and the resulting release of growth hormone. While frequent breastfeeding around the clock is biologically appropriate (and indeed beneficial) to a mother and baby in some settings, the evidence is clear that modern bedding makes sharing sleep too risky.
Moving baby to her own protected sleep surface is clearly, per available evidence, the right thing to do but the downside is interrupted maternal sleep.
Once it's clear that baby is feeding well, growing well, gaining well and that mom's supply is well established, working on getting baby to sleep for longer periods of time at night seems to be a reasonable consideration. At six months, habits are pretty well established so what follows may not be entirely helpful to you, but it may benefit other pregnant or new moms so I'll continue.
While much of the breastfeeding/IBCLC/midwifery/lactation support community tends to be staunchly opposed to swaddling and pacifiers, I do see room for appropriate use of those tools.
The concern with swaddling is valid: a baby that is swaddled will sleep longer and may not wake at intervals frequent enough to 1)remove enough milk to maintain a good milk supply 2)gain and grow properly. Both are serious concerns.
However, if we insure that baby is 1)growning and gaining properly, 2)nursing very frequently while awake 3) that mom has a good supply, then using swaddling to extend nighttime sleep and to help extend catnaps into a couple of naps per day tends to work really well.
If started early enough, swaddling will often encourage one five-hour stretch of sleep from very early on. As long as baby is nursing 8-12 times (or more) during the rest of the day, transfering milk well, having sufficient output and mom's supply is good, this one 5-hour stretch at night is not a concern and can be tremendously helpful for mom reduce a sleep deficit.
By the time baby is 10 lbs or so, the period of sleep will often extend to two 5-hour periods per night or sometimes the 5 hour period will just lengthen to six or seven hours.
A point of clarification, I don't recommend of support 'cry it out' sleep programs but do support and see the benefit for both moms and babies when it comes to gently encouraging longer periods of sleep. Not only is sleep deprivation bad for growth hormone release, but also driving while sleep deprived is as dangerous as driving drunk.
At six months, your baby has the physiological capabilities to sleep through the night. It may be worth considering options for gently reducing her reliance on feeding at night and encouraging longer periods of sleep. The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley is helpful for some.
The 90-minute Baby Sleep is written by a neuroscientist that studies sleep and is unbeatable for understanding the whats, whys and hows of infant sleep.