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Pregnant + BFing. Exhausted and burned out.

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9 replies to this topic

#1 AlmondCapPls

Posted 14 December 2019 - 07:46 AM

Hi ladies,

Just after some tips from mamas who have been in a similar situation on how to look after myself.

I’m 9w pregnant and have an 8mo who cosleeps and feeds multiple times over night.

I’m feeling really apathetic, emotional, and exhausted. I’m going to book a drs appt to have my iron levels etc checked and discuss a couple of other things but what else can I do?

I feel like I cant get on top of my exhaustion or my dehydration.

#2 Backtoschoolchef

Posted 14 December 2019 - 08:24 AM

Would you be open to switching over to formula, or even mixed feeding?  Maybe introduce a bottle before bed.

Some people dont find breastfeeding that draining, but some of us do, I think its to do with hormones. I had baby 1, breastfed, baby 2, breastfed in quick succession and I found it really tough on my body.

I think its a tough age too. Im currently BFing a 7 month old and Im really exhausted.  IME it gets easier in a couple of months as you can start winding back the feeds and go onto solids more but htat doesn't help you in the now.

Going to doc is a good start. Good luck

#3 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 14 December 2019 - 08:35 AM

I had two babies close together, and the only thing that saved me was that DS1 slept through most nights, in his cot. (“through” being roughly from 10pm to 5am when he was still little, then that stretched out by the time baby was born)

So I would focus on that. Get some advice, sleep consultant maybe, sleep school, and get 8mo into a cot and sleeping a good block of time.
And putting in the time now to get your first sleeping will be sooooo worth it when the second baby comes along. Cause getting up to two kids at night is a killer.

Also, when DS2 came along, DS1 became hubby’s problem. And that only worked cause DS1 mostly slept through, so DH could still do the occasional wake up and get to work at 8 the next morning.

#4 lost_eb-er!

Posted 14 December 2019 - 09:27 AM

I was in exactly the same situation as you in 2016, except DD1 didn't always co sleep. I can vividly remember weeping after one night feed (or settle, I can't remember) because I was SO. FRICKING. EXHAUSTED.

I don't really have any tips. I just wanted to come on here to empathise and let you know it's hard. They are 3 and 4 now, and are really close and although it's still hard, it's definitely easier than that time.

Once DD2 was born, DD1 became pretty much DH responsibility (when he wasn't travelling). That would be my only tip really - start putting that demarcation in place now, gradually, until your little one arrives.

Best of luck xx

#5 BusbyWilkes

Posted 14 December 2019 - 04:49 PM

I remember this well, though my gap was a couple of months more than yours. Definitely get checked by your GP. But then really think what is most important to you.

For me, I needed to feel like I had the energy to play/interact with my baby when they were awake. I remember feeding one night and feeling like they were sucking the life out of me. So I cut back on breast milk, added in more food (with advice from GP and child health nurse) and then stopped breastfeeding. It required a partner who could help to settle bub without feeding, but they soon adjusted. I just felt so much better with sleeping more and not breastfeeding.

You are important too. It's ok to prioritise your needs (once you figure out what they are).

#6 rowd

Posted 14 December 2019 - 05:07 PM

I really struggled with this too, although my son was a year old when I fell pregnant. As sad as it was, he self weaned all but one feed by the time I was 12 weeks pregnant. The exhaustion in those first couple of months of breastfeeding and pregnancy was totally overwhelming and was so much more intense than my two other pregnancies when I wasn't also breastfeeding.

If you're open to it, I would seriously consider nightweaning. That could really help, as then you're "just" pregnant and BF, not also really sleep deprived, and the toll on your body of a few less feeds a day might help with the exhaustion and dehydration.

#7 newmumandexcited

Posted 14 December 2019 - 05:18 PM

I personally would consider giving up bf. you can only do so much.

#8 Soontobegran

Posted 14 December 2019 - 05:32 PM

I found the first 12 weeks were terrible trying to breast feed a child whilst also being pregnant.
A couple of mine self weaned soon after pregnancy a couple didn't but in the second trimester i found it very much easier.
That being said being woken multiple times a night might be improved with some help from a sleep school.

It does of course depend on how keen you are to keep breastfeeding.
I would definitely see your doctor about your iron levels though.

Lots of good luck.

#9 AlmondCapPls

Posted 14 December 2019 - 07:06 PM

Thankyou for all the thoughtful and compassionate replies. Means a lot and makes me feel a lot less alone and like I'm losing my marbles :wacko:

Some really great suggestions around sleep, and weaning, and setting things up before the next bub. This is number 4 for me, but the first 2 are 11 & 8 now, and they were sleepers!

I really wanted to feed throughout and possibly tandem feed, and I went out of my way to read about all the potential issues and challenges that may arise like aversions and breast refusal, but NOWHERE mentions the effect it can have on your physically. Which is a bit of no brainer I guess, but I didn't consider how taxing it could be.

I 1000% will consider pulling back on some feeds and possibly switching to formula if I can't get on top of things over the next couple of week. Not willing to sacrifice my mental and physical health at this stage. I feel good about feeding up to this point.

View Postrowd, on 14 December 2019 - 05:07 PM, said:

If you're open to it, I would seriously consider nightweaning.

Definitely open to this - how would you suggest I start?

Edited by AlmondCapPls, 14 December 2019 - 07:08 PM.

#10 400

Posted 15 December 2019 - 08:07 PM

I wrote a very long reply last night but it didn’t post as the site wasn’t working properly! Hopefully I remember everything I wanted to say..

I really feel for you. I’m 38 weeks at the moment and still BF 18MO DS (only once a day before bed). I’m completely knackered but it’s nothing compared to how it was at the start because I’ve gone through all the tweaking to improve my own quality of life over the last 8 months.

DS was about 10 months old when I found out I was pregnant and was in the midst of decreasing his feeds significantly (thus my fertility went up!) but soon after I found out he had gastro and regressed in terms of feeding and clinginess quite substantially for about a month. It was the most awful month of my life and I felt like I was going to die. He began round the clock feeding again, and I found firstly the nausea from the letdown hormones was like nothing else I’ve experienced in my life. Luckily I’m not a vomiter or I would have had no choice but to stop feeding, I soldiered through it. But the exhaustion: f*** me. I couldn’t function at all and went into survival mode. I upset a lot of people, I ended up in a little bubble of need only.

The difference between you and me was that I never co-slept with DS- he tried very hard during this period to encourage me to! Like PPs have said, getting him night weaned is probably going to help the most but I think that getting him in his own bed will make an enormous difference for you- if you can at least sleep through the nights you might just be able to cope in the daytime.

To be honest, the thing that made the most profound impact on getting through was DH. I’m very, very lucky to have had his full support and cooperation. He took on the role of sleep chief, so I could sleep through the night. In my experience I can’t settle my son in his own bed as I’m the nurture and milk parent and far too distracting for my son to be able to settle, but DH can do “shh-pat” without my son trying to crawl up his arm. We (I say we but it was really DH who did the leg work) simultaneously night-weaned, re-sleep trained and I expressed so that if he genuinely did need a night feed, DH could do it. Once we crossed the magical 12 month mark I stopped expressing, used my freezer stash of breast milk and slowly switched day feeds to cow’s milk, after naps only. I only BF at night before bed as part of the bedtime routine but he can actually be put down with a milk bottle by others as well so it’s a comfort not a necessity. Occasionally if he is sick and asks for it, he gets a random feed during the day, but I never ever offer it. He sleeps through the night and mostly self-soothes if he wakes, very rarely needs a “shh-pat” (from DH!) and never, ever feeds overnight.

In terms of night weaning, it’s a step by step process. Either you can try to stop the feeds themselves straight from the breast (by slowly decreasing the time on the breast) or by switching to a bottle and being able to manipulate what is in it (we watered down breast milk so it was no longer as satisfying, and ended up on water only- he completely dropped a water feed within 2 nights. He completely compensated nutrition wise by increasing what he wanted in the daytime). You drop one feed at a time until eventually they last most of the night. I personally would recommend trying to switch to bottle first as it means you can immediately hand over feeds to someone else if you have that support available. If you can wean off the night feeds altogether, get your baby sleep-trained and in their own bed sleeping overnight, you might find your quality of life improves enough to keep BF during the day, or at least improved enough to ride the wave until it improves! It’s not easy but every day gets easier.

And if you still can’t function, your absolute worst case scenario is that you have to stop breastfeeding- after 8 months. That’s still an exceptional effort!

My other advice would be to make sure you are eating and drinking plenty and with good nutrition. You are literally sustaining 3 humans and so the “eating for 2” thing is actually very, very real for you! Drink as much water as you can too. If you are nauseous with feeding I swear by vitamin B6 and restavit to improve it- especially the let-down nausea.

I’m sorry this post is nowhere near as coherent as my original one! It was so disappointing when the error message popped up!

And keep positive, it’s not forever! So much good luck to you x

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