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Thread: Will infrequently sleeping thru the night reduce supply?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    66

    Default Will infrequently sleeping thru the night reduce supply?

    My son is currently 5 weeks old. I am nursing on demand and pumping 1x per day (in AM) for freezer stash and for the occasional bottle.

    The last few nights my little guy slept 6-7 hours and I woke up so engorged! But the next night he woke 2 times and nursed.

    Should I be pumping during these long night stretches? I don't want my supply to dwindle especially if his sleep habits are still changing.

    Also, if my husband gives him a small bottle some nights (like 1-2oz, just enough to get him used to bottle, not a full feeding) should I be pumping even during these small feedings?

    I feel like my supply is good...not sure how I would even tell if it started to drop...?

    Thanks mamas

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    middle of IA
    Posts
    1,885

    Default Re: Will infrequently sleeping thru the night reduce supply?

    most likely, your supply isn't fully in yet (around 6 weeks), and won't fully regulate until 3-4 months. so what you do now does have long-term effects. if you are nursing on demand around the clock, then baby sleeping 6-7 hours at once is ok. you might want to pump to relieve engorgement, and also know that he won't sleep like that very long/often but go wtih your gut and use your judgment. you don't want to become so engorged you risk plugs or mastitis, but sleep is very important to a healthy mama, too.

    there is really no reason to give a bottle to "get him used" to a bottle; if and when your baby needs a bottle, you can address that. lots of families like to have dad give a bottle for bonding, though this is also not necessary - there are lots of ways dads can bond besides bottles! the concern is that, particularly before 6 weeks, babies can develop a flow preference very quickly and without warning, and dealing with that can be a huge task. not every baby will have this problem, but it's a risk. same thing with the pumping: you're establishing long-term supply now, so if you're always producing more than what your baby needs in a day (full nursing + pumping for stash) then you're probably ok skipping pumping when baby gets 1-2 oz at night. but each mama's supply is going to be a little different, and some people are much more sensitive to the supply/demand equation than others, and some peoples' supplies are more fragile or robust.

    around 3-4 months when your supply regulates, here are some things that do NOT indicate a low supply: not feeling full or engorged anymore; not leaking anymore; not feeling letdown; not pumping a ton (avg in addition to nursing is 1-2 oz for a pump; replacement pump 3-4 oz). mommal has a full list, maybe she'll come by and post it. as long as you continue to nurse on demand, and you don't start a hormonal contraceptive and aren't pregnant, you will continue to have enough milk.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Will infrequently sleeping thru the night reduce supply?

    Thanks Auderey!

    Well, I am going back to work on 9/17 which is why I was trying with the bottle...I read that it should be introduced after 4 weeks but before 6 weeks. Since he'll need to have a bottle 5 days a week when I return to work I just assumed I should see how he would respond to it in small increments. So far he takes the bottle fine, but happily prefers the breast.

    Thanks for the advice on supply--I AM nursing on demand and the only times I feel engorged is when he has these long stretches (he has slept this way almost 4 nights in a row now) but when he does wake up around 5am he drains both breasts.

    I guess I will need to just see how my supply regulates, like you said...I just don't want to do anything that has the potential to reduce my supply, especially once I return to work. As a first-time mom I'm very worried about this!

    Thank you again for your advice

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    middle of IA
    Posts
    1,885

    Default Re: Will infrequently sleeping thru the night reduce supply?

    just keep doing what you're doing, then!

    if you want you can drop the bottles for the next 3 weeks, since now you know he'll take one. if you want to save the work on bottles & pumping. you really only NEED enough milk for the first day, since you'll be pumping to replace while you're at work, but i know it can be psychological reassuring to have a stash. but that milk only stays good for a few months in the freezer, and fresher is better for baby, so try not to go overboard! i ended up donating about 500 oz, which was great, but was also a lot of pumping time i could've skipped.

    but you can keep going with it, too, since it sounds like it's going ok.

    keep us posted!
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

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