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Thread: Will "sleep training" mess up BF?

  1. #1
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    Jul 2011
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    Default Will "sleep training" mess up BF?

    Hi, 1st time poster here, but I've been lurking since well before DS was born 8 wks ago. You've all been so helpful, thanks!

    So, we just had DS's 2 mo visit and doc said it was a good time to start putting him in his own room at bedtime. She said he should start sleeping through the night w/o feeding and had to learn to "get all his nutrients in the daytime". (As of now I nurse on demand day or night)

    Part of me wants him next to us in his co-sleeper forever, with me ready to provide at all hours. However, DH and I are exhausted all the time, and agree that "sleep training" is at least worth a try. Insomnia has crippled me all my life so I really want to raise a healthy sleeper. Plus, I'm a SAHM, so we can get plenty of co-naps during the day, and he won't be lacking in the sleepy-snuggles department.

    Here's the thing... I'm wondering what will happen to my breasts and my supply if I eliminate the night time feedings. I've made it this far without pumping, and am delighted that things are going so well. Supply/demand seems to be in sync, so I figure why mess with it by introducing a pump.

    How do I raise a good sleeper w/o messing up a great BF relationship? How have other moms managed this transition? Is pumping the only way, or can the breasts learn to be "on" in the day and "off" in the night?

    Any insights welcome! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Default Re: Will "sleep training" mess up BF?



    It's very odd that your doctor suggested that. Normally babies sleep through the night (which is a 5-6 hour stretch, not an actual full night) somewhere between 6-9 months. If baby is still nursing at night it's not recommended to night wean until a year or close to it because breastmilk is the primary source of nutrition until that point.

    Have you thought about co-sleeping? There are safe ways to do that and it really helped me and my son sleep better.
    ~Jenn~


    mother of 2 boys!
    08/14/98~~03/20/08

    Birth: 7lbs 12oz, 1 year: 22lbs 11oz
    until he self-weaned 4 days before his third birthday ... still on occasion ... and happily

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Will "sleep training" mess up BF?

    with the pp... but to me that sounds more than odd, it sounds completely wrong...It would be different if your baby was sttn on his own (as in you are questioning whether to wake him to feed him). But if he is waking on his own at night and hungry...?


    How do I raise a good sleeper w/o messing up a great BF relationship? How have other moms managed this transition? Is pumping the only way, or can the breasts learn to be "on" in the day and "off" in the night?
    I think your first question is really hard to answer...because sometimes I think raising a good sleeper is not in your control, its partly how your baby is wired. I personally feel that a great BF relationship trumps raising a good sleeper, but that is because I feel that I cannot raise a good sleeper. I give her the tools (rock her, pat her, snuggle, etc) and she sleeps or she doesn't. I have not night weaned yet for this reason. Also I am a SAHM and I am able to make up with a nap in the daytime if I am very tired. I don't think breasts can be OFF at night, but you will just produce less milk overall since they will regulate once that amount is no longer being "demanded".

    Also, to my knowledge there is absolutely no link between 2 month old babies (and up to 2 year old children) not sleeping through the night ending up as insomniacs.

    My last thought is--what do your instincts tell you? Follow them, because they are most likely correct! IME, pediatricians are NOT the masters of all knowledge, particularly on parenting issues such as sleeping arrangements.
    Christine
    Can't believe I've been and a full-time SAHM to Elena (5/2010) for over 2 yrs!
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Will "sleep training" mess up BF?

    Brooke that answer is awesome
    Christine
    Can't believe I've been and a full-time SAHM to Elena (5/2010) for over 2 yrs!
    Mami de mi preciosa Elenita
    http://forums.llli.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=32384&dateline=131170  7429 OakRoseCharms Free Shipping for LLLadies just pm me! My Blog

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Will "sleep training" mess up BF?

    You have received excellent advice from the PPs. Your pediatrician was giving you parenting advice, not medical advice. When it comes to parenting your individual baby, I will take your 24/7 knowledge over whatever the pediatrician observed (or failed to observe) in a 20 minute office visit.

    That doesn't mean there's absolutely nothing you can do about your baby's sleep. Co-sleeping is a godsend. And I suggest taking a look at Elizabeth Pantley's book "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" for a realistic look at what to expect from infant sleep, and for some gentle and breastfeeding-friendly techniques that encourage more independent sleep. That's encourage, rather than train. Training is good for dogs. Not so great for babies!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6

    Default Re: Will "sleep training" mess up BF?

    Hi, I am a mother of a 5 month old and a medical student. I think you have gotten some great advice from the other folks here, but I also wanted to add a voice from the medical community- it is completely normal for a two month old breast fed baby to wake several times during the night! I think your pediatrician is a little off base in recommending sleep training at this very early age. Perhaps she is more accustomed to dealing with formula fed babies; since formula is digested less quickly than breast milk, formula fed babies can often go for longer stretches between feedings. Anyway, in the next several months your baby will start stretching sleep times at night on his own, so there is no need to push sleep training at this point, particularly if it feels wrong to you.

    One thing you might want to try (if you aren't already doing it) is swaddling your baby at night. Based on a friend's recommendation, we started using "the miracle blanket" baby swaddler at night when my son was ten weeks old (he breaks out of traditional swaddle). He generally eats every 2 hours, but the swaddling helps him sleep for a 4-5 hour stretch at night, which has been a godsend.

    Keep up all the good breastfeeding!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Will "sleep training" mess up BF?

    Thanks everyone! So glad I stopped lurking and started asking!

    You gals are right, Doc was offering parenting advice which is not what we pay her for. I hadn't thought of it that way. She is for the most part progressive and easygoing, and BF'd her own kids--so I was flabbergasted that she suggested all this too. Especially since I didn't ask or mention anything about sleep at the visit. However, when I looked it up in a certain very famous "old school" baby book there it was: 12 lb at 2-3 mos = stop overnight feeding . (Not saying I agree at all, just that she wasn't the 1st to suggest.)

    As I mentioned in my post, we are in fact currently co-sleeping (we use an Arm's Reach) and I nurse on demand round the clock. On a "great night" our longest sleep stretch is 4 hrs. Average nights (and days) I nurse every 2 to 3 hrs. DS's weight gain has been perfecto!

    My instincts tell me to continue with DS at my side until he starts sleeping for longer stretches. Thanks for helping me trust them!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Will "sleep training" mess up BF?

    ACtually, I think this goes beyond parenting advice (putting baby in his own room) and into bad medical advice (putting an 8 week old on a feeding schedule which means 8+ hours of starvation). The AAP advises that babies not be put on parent led feeding schedules as it can lead to dehydration and inadequate weight gain.

    Breastmilk is digested in about 2 hours. So babies often wake up every 2 hours. Healthy babies sleep a lot of hours within a 24 hr period but how they group those hours seems to be mostly based on their personality.

    You say that you are a bit of an insomniac, did you cosleep and nurse through the night? I know insomniacs who did but I know more who didn't Statistically there is no correlation.
    proud but exhausted working mammy to two high needs babies

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Will "sleep training" mess up BF?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kaylex View Post
    Thanks everyone! So glad I stopped lurking and started asking!

    You gals are right, Doc was offering parenting advice which is not what we pay her for. I hadn't thought of it that way. She is for the most part progressive and easygoing, and BF'd her own kids--so I was flabbergasted that she suggested all this too. Especially since I didn't ask or mention anything about sleep at the visit. However, when I looked it up in a certain very famous "old school" baby book there it was: 12 lb at 2-3 mos = stop overnight feeding . (Not saying I agree at all, just that she wasn't the 1st to suggest.)

    As I mentioned in my post, we are in fact currently co-sleeping (we use an Arm's Reach) and I nurse on demand round the clock. On a "great night" our longest sleep stretch is 4 hrs. Average nights (and days) I nurse every 2 to 3 hrs. DS's weight gain has been perfecto!

    My instincts tell me to continue with DS at my side until he starts sleeping for longer stretches. Thanks for helping me trust them!
    See, you had the answer all along. Continue to trust your mama instincts.
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  10. #10
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Will "sleep training" mess up BF?

    12 lbs: the magic number for sleeping through the night! I heard that one, too. When I was bemoaning my first daughter's sleep habits, my mom said "The doctors always told me that once a baby reached 12 lbs they didn't need to eat at night anymore. Of course, I never listened... You seemed hungry, so I fed you!"

    My mom is a smart lady.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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