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Thread: Breastfeeding and sleeping

  1. #1

    Default Breastfeeding and sleeping

    I need advice! Bear with me, this might be long. When my 2nd son was born, we practiced bed-sharing and a co-sleeper for the first few months. He nursed frequently and it was the way we kept our sanity through that time. When he turned 5 months, I got a little tired of being the "all-night buffet" so we tried a variety of approaches to decrease his waking every hour.

    Now, he is 6 months old. Desperate, I read the "No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley and tried many of her techniques (introducing a lovey, patting, rocking, dad's help, nursing to sleepy but not sleeping to encourage learning to associate sleep with other things besides solely the breast) and keeping sleep logs for almost 14 days. We noticed from our sleep logs that he was waking every night when we came to bed and seemed to wake up a lot because of us. Reluctantly (not because of the book- she encourages co-sleeping and nursing), but out of desperation, we encouraged more sleeping in his crib and he is sleeping longer stretches. We have gone from waking 7-8 times a night to 2-3. Our typical routine is down around 8, he generally wakes between 12:30-1:30 and we nurse and rock/try to lay him down sleepy but not asleep entirely, and he wakes again between 4-5 and we generally bring him back to our bed and bedshare the rest of the morning until 7:15.

    I don't mind getting up once or maybe twice in the night if he will go back to sleep fairly quickly but sometimes he's "up" and it takes 30 min to 2 hours to settle him again. When I saw my pediatrician, he says there is no reason at 6 months that he shouldn't be sleeping an 11 hour stretch and told me when he gets a tooth, I cannot breastfeed him anymore at night (tooth decay). I've heard this about bottles but not breastmilk.

    What do y'all think? Any tips/advice? I know SO many nursed babies who still wake at a year or even 2 years and they nurse at night and never heard anything about tooth decay. Anyone else do a mix of crib sleeping and bedsharing? Does it "confuse" them or encourage more night-waking?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and sleeping

    I can't comment about the crib sleeping as I LOVE to co-sleep, I'm one of those who can wake up to nurse 10 times a night and still be a happy mom but I know I'm not the norm :P

    But I can advice on tooth decay and can say with confidence that that Dr is ridiculous, with all due respect as with any other human being (and why not animal) each one of us is a unique person and some are good at sports while others are at arts. Babies at 6 months should sleep 11 hours straight is a generalization. Some babies sleep 11 hours stretch, others need to nurse throughout the night. Both types of babies are healthy. So, all my DDs nursed through the night until they were weaned at 2 and a half years old and the other daytheir dentist told us that in her 10 year career she never saw a child with such good teeth (talking about DD1). True story! I have very good teeth too, never had a cavity so I think it's genetics and it has nothing to do with nursing.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and sleeping

    Your doc's advice stinks, not to put too fine a point on it. This link explains why breastfeeding isn't linked to tooth decay: http://kellymom.com/bf/older-baby/tooth-decay.html. And WRT sleep, there are plenty of good reasons why babies wake at night. Teething is probably the biggest one. But a baby's need for mama and papa, the need for a diaper change, and yes, even hunger can keep babies waking at night!

    It sounds like you've actually gotten your nighttime situation into fairly good order, and your real problem is that your baby doesn't always go right back to sleep. Yes? What if you just nursed him to sleep at those nighttime wake-ups? In my experience, it's getting the baby to sleep the first time that's the most important in terms of setting the sleep pattern for the night. After that, you do what works.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and sleeping

    I have been where you have been. I didn't mind cosleeping, but we were waking and nursing all night and I was really exhausted. What worked for us was a combination of bedtime routine, Ferber method, and cosleeping in the AM. We actually weaned her off of feeding from 9pm to 5am. Wasn't really that hard as once she knew how to sleep in the beginning of the night, she could get herself back to sleep. Now, if she wakes up in the middle of the night (which is rarely), she either gets herself back to sleep within 5 minutes or we go in and rock her. When she wakes up anytime past 5am, we bring her to the bed and we cosleep and nurse till we get up.

    I felt comfortable weaning off nighttime feedings since she was only nursing because it was the only way she knew how to sleep. I did wait till she was 5 months as I felt before then was too early to ask a breastfed baby to sleep through the night. Also, I like having the little bit of time in the morning when we cosleep. We both get a good nights sleep without completely losing our cuddle time.
    ~DD born 6/7/11
    Successfully and while at work for 1 year. Now we are still till who knows...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and sleeping

    ha ha this is so us at the moment! almost exactly. DD is eating well 3 meals a day and BF 7am 1pm 7pm (very recently fell into that routine) nights as per yours. I'm sure she wakes cos she's hungry - I don't have enough to satisfy her when she wakes frequently so the 'no cry sleep solution' didn't work for us, as she just pulls off once finished, and looks around for more. once awake, like your baby it's a long time before sleep returns.... we gave a bottle one night after BF for 2nd time in an hour. first ever. (bit like a swear word in our house) but blow me, she took it like a pro, went back down for 4 hours!!!! after 2nd night of bottle i'm sure milk supply was down. good advice here was to increase bf during the day to stack the calories in and hope that DD sleeps better in the night requiring less feeding...
    the other thing we going to try is a nappy change on that first feed of the night, she gets sooooo wet, and I can only think it must be jolly uncomfortable...
    good luck, i'm hoping we'll maybe have at least one night feed for a long time to come :-)
    Last edited by @llli*3betc; February 22nd, 2012 at 02:24 PM.

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