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Thread: Comfort Nursing and Sleep Cycles

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Default Comfort Nursing and Sleep Cycles

    My baby is now 7.5 weeks old and rarely makes it more than 2-2.5 hours between feeds during the day and night.

    During the day, his sleep cycle only allows for him to sleep for 45-50 minutes. He wakes up and can't get himself back to sleep. I recognize that part of this is because he falls asleep in my arms and wakes up either in his bassinet or moses basket (during the day at least, at night we co-sleep so it's less of an issue). So he's waking up and finding he's not where he thought he would be!

    So this afternoon, when I picked him up, I saw him rooting and offered him my breast and within a few minutes of feeding, he was calm and back to sleep. Still had to be held for a while though.

    My question is: I recognize that he was just wanting to nurse for comfort and because it would help him to go back to sleep. But should I just offer a pacifier instead because it will soothe him? I know he had fed well just an hour earlier so I know he doesn't need the boob for hunger's sake.

    Will it become a habit that he wants to nurse back to sleep each time he goes through a cycle? What else can I do to help him get back to sleep?

    I know this is not a straight forward breastfeeding question, but more about nursing in general and how to use it as a parenting tool.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    New York

    Default Re: Comfort Nursing and Sleep Cycles

    your infant is delightfully right on target! yes, my lo's woke to nurse every 2 hours for the first few months.
    I became a dedicated sling wearer rather than holding my lo all day long. the sling kept the baby close, safe and sleeping!
    each time the baby takes a mini-feed he is
    1. stimulating your milk supply
    2. prompting your body to produce his age appropriate milk
    3. getting a reinforcement of anti-bodies
    4. the sucking releases hormones in his body that aid w/ digestion, so he absorbs the nutrients from his last big feed better.

    so all the little sucking he does to go back to sleep are of value to him.
    DD#1 July 1986 VB
    DD#2 April 1988 c/sec
    DS#3 April 1990 VBAC
    DS#4 June 1993 VB
    and suprise!
    DD#5 April 2001 c/sec
    BTDT scars and stretchmarks,: wrinkles and grey hair

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Comfort Nursing and Sleep Cycles

    What she said
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: Comfort Nursing and Sleep Cycles

    Ditto Also, my LO, at 6 months, still takes 4 half hour naps a day-- I tried everything in the beginning to try and lengthen her naps, worrying she wasn't getting enough sleep. Like you, I thought that she was waking and not falling back asleep because she was waking up in a different place the few times I would lay her down after rocking/nursing her to sleep. After realizing she sleeps the exact same amount whether I'm holding her, wearing her, putting her in her crib, etc., I just let go of this notion that she HAS to sleep for longer stretches during naptime in order to be a healthy, happy baby. Because you know what? She's already a happy, healthy baby, despite the fact that she's a 'terrible' napper (terrible by whose standards?) Something that really stuck out in my head after reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (which I highly recommend by the way!) is that they casually observed, that some babies just don't seem to need a lot of sleep--and they gave Thomas Edison as an example. They guessed (and while it's just a guess, I think it's a very good guess!) that Thomas Edison's mom probably had a hard time getting him to sleep as a baby--someone who invented as many things as he did, probably didn't sleep much!
    First time mommy to Anika Jo, born 6/27/11 at home
    Love to , and . Cloth diapering full time, and part-time ECing-- my baby pees and poos in her little pink potty!
    I blog: www.the-whole-life.blogspot.com

  5. #5

    Default Re: Comfort Nursing and Sleep Cycles

    Most babies (the smart ones) sleep longest in mamas arms or the arms of another trusted adult. So you can relax and sit and hold baby while he sleeps or get a sling so you can do other things while baby sleeps while being 'worn.'

    Nursing a baby to sleep is biologically normal behaviopr for mom and needing to nurse to sleep is biologically normal for baby. Ditto comfort nursing. Nursing is for food and comfort and babies get both evertime they nurse. As they should. Of course other ways of getting your child back to sleep will come, in their time. But not for a while.

    Is someone or something telling you that what you are doing & what your babies sleep behavior or nursing behavior is, is somehow wrong? Because its not.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    East Tennessee

    Default Re: Comfort Nursing and Sleep Cycles

    I've BTDT and I was reading the Baby Whisperer books. I finally put those books down and just read DS's cues and I'm not so caught up on how long and how many naps he should have. Some days he takes 2 1.5+ naps, other days it's 2 30 min naps and a 2 hr nap - he's all over the place and he's 3.5 months old.

    He has been taking naps in his crib or swing for the last month but for the first 2.5 months he would only take naps will in the Ergo so that's where he slept. I was still able to get things done around the house and he was able to sleep.

    My son is a HAPPY baby (when he's not tired or hungry) and he has never ever had any day the same in regards to naps.
    Wife to Adam 8/31/2008
    Mommy to William 9/30/2011
    Mommy to Tatum and Ellis 8/26/2013

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Default Re: Comfort Nursing and Sleep Cycles

    My first baby was like that. Now my second baby WON'T comfort nurse, and I almost wish he would. He tries during his nighttime fussy time and just gets pissed that the milk keeps coming out so I have to give him a pacifier while we walk around in a our moby wrap.

    Good luck to you!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Default Re: Comfort Nursing and Sleep Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post

    Is someone or something telling you that what you are doing & what your babies sleep behavior or nursing behavior is, is somehow wrong? Because its not.

    I guess I have just been reading too many books (such as BW books). And they all contradict each other and I'm having trouble just following my instincts. I am a big scheduler (for my own life) so it's against the grain of my personality to just let things be with baby. But I am trying to be more patient and allow him the time to grow and set his own routine.... sometimes it seems all over the place.

    My biggest concern is that he's setting sleep habits, such as falling asleep on my chest and nursing to sleep that he won't be able to let go of. If nursing to sleep is a biological norm, for what age is it a biological norm?

    And as pp mentioned, maybe my baby is one of those that doesn't need much sleep. He doesn't really have a morning nap after 10amtthough, somedays he sleeps all morning. But he is growing healthily and happily.

    Thanks for all the input and advice!

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