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Thread: How long can I let LO sleep at night?

  1. #1
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    Nov 2011
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    Default How long can I let LO sleep at night?

    LO slept for 6 hours last night, which was lovely but felt I shouldn't let her go longer than this? She's 7weeks. Can leaving them sleep longer at night interfere with your milk supply? I thought you had to feed at least once at night to keep a good supply. She had slept 5-6 hours the night before too.
    I ended up waking her last night (although she had been stirring) as she'd been sleepy in the day, although didn't miss any feeds but thought it best not to let her go any longer.
    Last night she had a bottle (of EBM) at 8, had a few little vomits afterwards so I topped her up around 930&she slept until 330. She also seems to settle better after having a bottle, goes longer between feeds i.e 3 hourly instead of 1.5- 2. Is this because a bottle is probably faster flowing/less control over how much she gets?
    Sorry if this is a bit waffley, any thoughts welcome though.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How long can I let LO sleep at night

    Babies typically eat far more from a bottle than they do from the breast, because as you said, the flow is faster and the baby has little control over how much she consumes. A baby may take in 2-3 oz at the breast and maybe 1-2 oz more than that from a bottle. This is why babies tend to sleep longer and may seem more "content" after eating from the bottle. It's not really contentment, though: it's sleepiness from being stuffed full and having a huge meal to digest. A 1.5-2 hour spacing between nursing sessions is very normal. It's rare to find a young baby who routinely goes 3 hours between feedings, though older babies will often go that long, particularly after they start eating solid foods.

    When a baby starts sleeping through the night, it is fine to allow her to do so provided she has normal diaper output and weight gain. Sleeping through the night after 6 weeks is unlikely to impact your milk supply that much, since your body has a very sensitive internal clock which allows it to make the right amount of milk for a given time of day. Frequent nursing during the day will train your body to produce plenty of milk while the sun is up, and when baby sleeps your milk production will throttle back overnight.

    You are not required to feed at night in order to maintain a good supply, provided you nurse on demand both night and day. However, routinely going >6 hours without nursing often allows your prolactin (the milk-producing hormone) levels to drop low enough for long enough that your menstrual cycle will return. If a mom is relying on breastfeeding for contraception, she cannot do so once her baby starts sleeping through, because she'll end up pregnant and then her supply likely will diminish or vanish.
    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!"

  3. #3
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    Red face Re: How long can I let LO sleep at night

    Thank you for your advice. As lovely as she is I don't want to end up pregnant again just yet!
    She only had 3 oz from the bottle though, I gave her this amount as after giving her 2oz last week she was still looking for more.
    Her weight gain has been good, averages about 7oz a week&certainly nothing wrong with her output :-) could I allow her to go longer than 6hours then? although unlikely she will ever do this, but just incase :-)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How long can I let LO sleep at night

    Yes, given the good weight gain and diaper output you can probably just let her sleep. Just don't get too used to it! Many babies go through a phase of sleeping through the night (which for a baby means just 5 hours of sleep, not the 8 hours we adults envision) and just when mom thinks she's got it made, baby reverts to frequent night-wakings due to teething or an increased need for calories or something.

    Are you currently using breastfeeding for birth control? If so, and you don't want another baby, now's the time to think about your options. We'll be happy to help you pick something reliable and safe for a breastfeeding mom.
    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!"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How long can I let LO sleep at night

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    and just when mom thinks she's got it made, baby reverts to frequent night-wakings due to teething or an increased need for calories or something.
    That's where we are right now.

    I agree with the PP - enjoy the sleep now!
    ~ Megan

    Mommy to Alex, born 2/27/11

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How long can I let LO sleep at night

    No, not using it as contraception. No I'll try not to get used to it, lay there awake last night waiting for her to wake up just after I'd put her down&woke before she did so didn't fully benefit from her sleeping longer.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How long can I let LO sleep at night

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*rosetoes View Post
    No, not using it as contraception.
    Good for you! I can't tell you how many moms are like "Wait, breastfeeding isn't 100% proof against pregnancy?! What?!!!"
    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!"

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How long can I let LO sleep at night

    Haha ya I've heard so many people say that too. Gotta love Mirena!

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