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Thread: One breast "snacks" at night?

  1. #1

    Default One breast "snacks" at night?

    The last few nights, my 8 week old will only take one breast at a time at night. He sometimes takes only one breast during the day, but will still be sated for two hours until the next feeding, so I don't worry about it. However, when he only takes one at night he'll be up again within the hour crying for the other breast! I've tried everything I can think of to rouse him for the other breast while feeding him-- diaper change, tickling him, cold cloth to his neck and head, but he just won't take it. Is there anything I can do to get him to go back to 2 hours between feedings at night? I don't know how much longer I can take this schedule! I'm so exhausted! It was hard enough with the every-two-hours schedule!
    Last edited by @llli*aschindler; April 10th, 2012 at 03:23 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,341

    Default Re: One breast "snacks" at night?

    Welcome to the forum! I am sure you're exhausted. But what you describe sounds pretty normal for such a young baby. Here are some possible explanations for the behavior you're seeing:
    - reverse cycling: http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/reverse-cycling/
    - reflux (baby may be uncomfortable lying down)
    - baby misses you- isn't that sweet?

    I honestly doubt that the issue is that baby isn't taking in enough milk from his single-breast feedings. If he sometimes does this during the day, it's probably even more likely that he'll do it at might since most moms make more milk at night. It might take both sides to satisfy him during certain stretches of the day, but only one in the wee hours. My MIL, who is a nurse-midwife and longtime breastfeeding activist says that this normal production pattern proves that babies are meant to be nighttime feeders. Which is not a consolation!
    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
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    10,440

    Default Re: One breast "snacks" at night?

    If you can nurse laying down, it really helps with the tiredness.

    And I PROMISE that if you bottlefed that baby, he will wake up anyway. BTDT. I've done babies both ways, and BFing laying down is the best and easiest and least tiring.
    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!

  4. #4

    Default Re: One breast "snacks" at night?

    This is so disheartening. I find it hard to function the next day when I'm feeding him for 30 minutes out of every hour all night long! *I'm considering switching to a bottle or two of pumped milk at night so that my husband and I can take the feedings in shifts for a while. I'm worried about what this will do to my supply, but feeding every hour is just intolerable. The every-two-hours schedule at night was hard enough! I've been crying on and off all day long because I'm just SO TIRED and it feels so hopeless. I go back to work soon, and will be asleep at my desk if my baby keeps up this pace! I know using a bottle is kind of taboo, but is there any way I could keep my supply up AND sleep for a solid 2-3 hours a few times a night?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    175

    Default Re: One breast "snacks" at night?

    You can do this, mama! As a PP asked, have you tried nursing laying down? If you can lay down with your son and let him nurse while you doze, it might make life so much easier (or at least enough easier to help you to function!). Laying down nursing was not something that I learned until my twins were 6 weeks old, and I so wish that I had learned it right away... It makes life so much easier. If you are physically sitting up all the time to nurse, it can really be draining when a baby wants to nurse so often.

    If you can try nursing laying down, I'd give that a try before going to the bottle. That said, I really understand your exhaustion. If you are able to pump some milk for your son, perhaps your husband could try offering it to him from a small cup and let you get a little more rest. Having a slightly longer stretch of sleep can make such a difference in feeling hopeful...

    Either way, know that you're not alone! It sounds like you're doing great. Keep your chin up, though I know it's hard right now.
    Mom to amazing twins!
    DD nursed for 3y5m, DS still occasionally stops by for a snack

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,892

    Default Re: One breast "snacks" at night?

    Your babies waking schedule is normal as is nursing on one breast at a time. I think you are perhaps making things more tiring for everyone by trying so hard to get baby to take both breasts when baby is clearly not interested. I know it’s the last thing you want to hear but there is no magic fix to this, newborns wake up a lot at night, they may not sleep in any pattern or waking patterns change, and it is all entirely NORMAL and it does get better, but only with time.

    When else can you sleep? Can you Nap during the day? Sleep in a bit in the am? Go to bed earlier? Some combo, depending on the day?

    When baby wakes at night, try just nursing and then go back to sleep. Don’t turn on any lights, or change the diaper, or get up if you don’t need to. Have you considered bed sharing or room sharing if you are not doing that already?

    Adding bottles is up to you. Your baby is 8 weeks old so nipple/flow confusion is a bit less of a risk. (Although still a risk!) But there are MANY issues when bottles are given. Pumping and bottle feeding & cleaning the pump and bottles is lots of extra work, also many moms put to much importance on pump output and think they have milk supply issues, when they do not, etc. This can be very undermining so just be careful! And it plain old may not work in increasing your total sleep, since your baby is not only nursing for food but for comfort-again, normal.

    However if you are seeing double and ready to throw in the towel, trying a bottle* one night may be worth the many risks. Sometimes just one 3-4 hour stretch of sleep does wonders and lets you live to fight another day. I would suggest trying everything else first, though.

    *(or as pp wisely suggests, a cup or some other alternative feeding device-just make sure he knows how to do it, let us know if you want more info)

    It may help you to take a look at this thread: http://forums.llli.org/showthread.ph...ting-any-sleep!

  7. #7

    Default Re: One breast "snacks" at night?

    Thanks everyone for your advice. He has been up every hour again tonight, but had a 3 hour stretch of sleep to start the night out, so that helps. It's just confusing to me because just last week he would have a 3-4 hour stretch at the beginning of the night followed by getting up every TWO hours, and now it's down to one. I thought it might be because he was only taking one breast, but it seems like that's probably not it. Reverse cycling doesn't make much sense, either, since I'm available to him all day.

    If he keeps this up, I might try to nurse him lying down, but I'm really not interested in co-sleeping. We tried that for the first four weeks after he was born, and I hated it- I was up all night worried I would roll on top of him. Everyone (including the baby!) has slept much better since moving him to his crib. I might also try putting his crib in my room, though, as you suggest. I'm really kind of hoping the every-hour feedings are a growth spurt and we'll go back to the every-two-hour schedule soon. He has still been easily going two hours between feedings during the day for the most part.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: One breast "snacks" at night?

    You might want to invest in a sidecar crib. That allows you to be right next to baby without sharing the same sleep surface. http://www.amazon.com/Arms-Reach-Co-...4140969&sr=8-2
    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!"

  9. #9

    Default Re: One breast "snacks" at night?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    You might want to invest in a sidecar crib. That allows you to be right next to baby without sharing the same sleep surface. http://www.amazon.com/Arms-Reach-Co-...4140969&sr=8-2
    Thanks- we tried a similar item (a bassinet handed down by my sister) for his first 4 weeks, but he would cry and scream whenever I put him in there, which is what led me to try co-sleeping for a while! I know co-sleeping is the preferred choice of many LLL moms, it's just not right for our family.

  10. #10

    Default Re: One breast "snacks" at night?

    I'm a little concerned by the hardcore advice to just suffer through all night frequent feedings regardless of the impact to the mother's sanity and health. Not just on this forum but other llli forums. Breast is best, but expressed BM is just as good if the alternative is having an accident on the way to work because Mom falls asleep behind the wheel.

    Please also keep in mind that your supply will suffer from stress, exhaustion, depression. So let's just be a little realistic here and if Mom needs some sleep, there is no harm in Dad giving a bottle.

    Co-sleeping is also not an option if you have a noisy sleeper or are constantly worried about SIDS. We don't co-sleep because our little girl squeaks, grunts and squeals in her sleep and keeps us up - defeating the purpose completely.

    Just do what feels right - and remember that Mom's health and safety is just as important as baby's.

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