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Thread: Nursing at night

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    24

    Default Nursing at night

    My DS is five months, and still wakes anywhere from 2-4 times each night to nurse. Should I be weaning him from nighttime feedings? I keep getting told that he doesn't need to eat during the night anymore-he's big/old enough to sleep through the night, but I won't let him cry. Should I just be comforting him back to sleep instead of nursing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Maryland
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    503

    Default Re: Nursing at night

    I think I read that it's best to night wean after the LO turns one?

    I think it is an individual decision tho. I don't plan to night wean anytime soon because nursing at night is the fast way to get DS back to sleep, which means I get more sleep.
    ~ Megan

    Mommy to Alex, born 2/27/11

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    19,879

    Default Re: Nursing at night

    There's no reason to night-wean if you are okay with the night nursing. Night-nursing and night-waking is totally normal, even in much older babies. It's not bad for babies at all- just inconvenient for moms! It's great that you don't want to let your baby cry it out. There's a fair amount of research on CIO and young babies that suggests that it's damaging for them to be left to scream. There are other ways to cope with night-waking- and I suggest taking a look at Elzabeth Pantley's book "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" for gentle ways to encourage longer and more independent sleep.
    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!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: Nursing at night

    I was told my first baby was big enough to not need to nurse at night from birth....but HE didn't know that. Babies nurse at night for reasons more than just food and all are valid reasons for him to nurse.

    There are gentle ways to help baby maybe cut back, but no ways work 100% all the time...teething, growth spurts, developmental changes, will all interfere with sleep and make baby want to, need to, nurse more.

    If you night wean, your fertility may also return sooner than later.
    Susan
    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!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: Nursing at night

    My DS was/is a big boy and he continued to need to eat at least once during the night even past a year old. He truly was hungry at night. Do what feels right for you and your baby, no one knows your baby better than you!
    Married to my High School sweetheart 5-15-04

    SAHM to:
    born 6/1/10 tongue and lip ties nursed 13 months with sore nipples and mutually agreed it was time to quit!
    born all natural 1/27/12 nursed for 16 months and lost interest
    1/1/14

  6. #6

    Default Re: Nursing at night

    Should I just be comforting him back to sleep instead of nursing?
    Has someone suggested that you NEED to nightwean-that baby won't ever learn to sleep well if you keep nursing or something like that?

    If so, rest assured, this is utter hogwash. Babies/children will naturally begin to sleep for longer periods as they are developmentally ready to, and not before. And this is going to be different for every child. Also a child may sleep "well" at (for example) 6 months, then start waking lots at 9, and this could be totally normal and fine. My kids (8yrs and 5yrs) were frequent wakers (and nightime nursers) right into their toddler years, I never sleep trained or nightweaned, (although they did eventually wean!) and they have wonderful & very healthy sleep habits now and have for years.

    A baby this age could actually still need nourishment overnight, and also, will naturally wake for comfort. In such cases, many moms find the easiest way to comfort baby back to sleep is to nurse. And if you are able to nurse in a sidelying position and are bedsharing, you can both drift off to sleep again as baby nurses.

    If you are worn out and want to limit or eliminate some night waking due to that, a helpful book is The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. You can use as much or as few of her suggestions as you like, there are no rules set out like typical sleep training books.

    But again, this is normal, You are meeting your baby's developmentally normal nighttime needs and that will help your child feel happy, safe and secure for years to come.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Nursing at night

    Thank you so much for your suggestions, I will definitely check out that book. I won't lie and say that more sleep wouldn't be nice, but if he needs/wants to nurse at night then that's what I'll continue to do. I just needed done reassurance. Thanks!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,984

    Default Re: Nursing at night

    Just my opinion, but I would never try to night wean at 5 months. I think babies that age might actually be thirsty or hungry at night. 2-4 times a night isn't really that much, anyway. Before six months, I think nursing at night is a GREAT way to keep your milk supply nice and high so you never have to worry about it. And also, to keep your cycles at bay so that you're less likely to get pregnant too soon. So to me, the benefits of a little nursing far outweigh a little tiredness, which hopefully shouldn't be too bad esp if you're cosleeping.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

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