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Thread: bedtime/hunger

  1. #1
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    Aug 2012
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    Default bedtime/hunger

    My son is 19 weeks old. We have been having difficulty getting him to sleep at night. He will nurse constantly in the evening for hours. He would nurse, fall asleep while nursing, then wake up and hungry again about 30 min later. This goes on for 2-4 hours. The other night he didn't go down to sleep til after midnight. He falls asleep less often while taking a bottle, so last night he got 4 ounces of breast milk and 2 ounces of formula. We have been giving about 2 ounces of formula per day because I either pump just enough at work or about 2 ounces short. Normally we give it in a mixed bottle (2 ounces of each) earlier in the evening but last night decided to give 2 ounces bm then 2 ounces formula. He wouldn't nurse afterwards but was definitly hungry and could barely keep his eyes open, so I gave another more expressed breast milk to him. He drank a little over an ounce in a 2 ounce bottle. I think he didn't want to breast afterwards because he was too tired to work at it. He fell asleep much easier and bedtime routine took about an hour rather than 2-4 hours. For about 2 weeks, he had been sleeping through the night 7-9 hours. Now, he is waking twice a night. Last night he went to bed at 915, woke up at 130, nursed and went back to sleep, woke up at 415, nursed til 435, went back to sleep for 30 min, woke up nursed, then took 1.5 ounces from a bottle (my husband had to give him a bottle because I had to get ready for work). He then was wide awake and didn't go to sleep til 645 am.

    My questions are:
    1. Are his wakings at night normal? I only ask because he got into a routine and now it is different.
    2. He has adequate amount of wet and poopy diapers. At least 6 wets per day and 1-4 poopy per day. I am still concerned if he is getting enough because he is hungrier than before.
    3. Could this be a growth spurt? He is a little past 4 months but he also had a growth spurt at just before 3 months which lasted about a week.
    4. We also just started oatmeal this week. He is very interested, tries to help with the spoon, does very well with it and shows signs of wanting more but also won't take more than he wants. Should I mix with breastmilk instead of water to help with calories? I originally started with mixing with water because with a borderline supply, I didn't want to "wast" breastmilk. But if adding breastmilk instead of water, would it help him from not being so "hungry? while at the same time be more nutritious.

    Sorry for the long post. I hope I got all the details straight.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2012
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    Default Re: bedtime/hunger

    Hi,

    I'm no expert on the matter as I have concerns of my own. However, with your last question, if you breast milk supply is just enough, I would definitely mix the oatmeal with at least formula instead of water. That way you aren't wasting your milk, but he's still getting nutrition. I hope that helps with that question. My DD is 6 months and her night schedule is also different every night, so you aren't alone there. Hang in there!!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: bedtime/hunger

    the recommendation from pediatric orgs, WHO, unicef etc. is to exclusively breastfeed for at least 6 months. that means nothing else. if baby is formula fed, they should only get formula for that length of time. oatmeal is NOT going to give your baby more nutrition than your milk or even than formula.

    i think your baby is interested in the spoon, not the oatmeal. a baby might be ready for solids when they can sit up, pick up something reasonably soft, like a bit of well cooked potato for example, put it into their mouth, gum it to 'chew' and swallow. when we spoon feed baby near liquid baby cereal mix it is bypassing their normal defenses.

    nursing your baby at night is probably necessary if you want to keep up milk production anyway. its normal for a baby this age to nurse at night.

    if you cannot pump enough at work, what have you done to solve that problem? giving your baby formula (while of course important if truly necessary) is only going to make it harder for you to make enough milk.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: bedtime/hunger

    Sorry you are having trouble, Mama! 4 months can be a rough age, I remember it vividly. It was about that time that the cluster nursing started in the evenings - that is very normal and a great way to up your supply I would just sit down and my DD would nurse for a few minutes, play a few minutes, get back on and eat some more, then swing, etc etc. Babies also change their sleep patterns often, especially if they are having a growth spurt or teething. DD still wakes a few times a night to eat, so that is nothing out of the ordinary! STTN is kind of a running joke around here, that only mythical breastfed babies actually STTN, meaning 8-12 hours w/o waking. The best thing you can do is listen to you baby and feed him when he's hungry. I'll bet in a week or so it'll all change!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: bedtime/hunger

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    the recommendation from pediatric orgs, WHO, unicef etc. is to exclusively breastfeed for at least 6 months. that means nothing else. if baby is formula fed, they should only get formula for that length of time. oatmeal is NOT going to give your baby more nutrition than your milk or even than formula.

    i think your baby is interested in the spoon, not the oatmeal. a baby might be ready for solids when they can sit up, pick up something reasonably soft, like a bit of well cooked potato for example, put it into their mouth, gum it to 'chew' and swallow. when we spoon feed baby near liquid baby cereal mix it is bypassing their normal defenses.

    nursing your baby at night is probably necessary if you want to keep up milk production anyway. its normal for a baby this age to nurse at night.

    if you cannot pump enough at work, what have you done to solve that problem? giving your baby formula (while of course important if truly necessary) is only going to make it harder for you to make enough milk.
    We chose to feed our baby solids starting with cereal. It was a joint decision made by us as parents with our pediatrician. We have done the research and a lot of it is conflicting. However, starting solids in and of itself was not my question.

    I have tried to increase my supply by: increasing water (helped but didn't help enough though I am peeing clear), fenugreek (it helped but it gave my son terrible gas, belly pains and difficulty pooping which resolved as soon as I stopped). I tried adding a session into my day. I work 12 hour shifts, I tried pumping before I leave, when I get to work and three times at work. I did this along with a day of power pumping. These two helped increase my supply but I am still short 2-4 ounces at times. On days off, I am sometimes about to pump 2-4 ounces extra which can make up for the lost amounts, but I am not able to pump on every day off. I use breast compressions. The main issue with my supply is that I work 12 hour shifts with a long commute, being away from my son for as much as 15 hours a day. I am only able to pump every 3-5 hours, which I know every 2 hours is better but it is not feasible with my job. I am a nurse in a busy inner city ICU and need another nurse to cover my patients whenever I step off the floor. I also returned from maternity leave early at 7 weeks which might have had an impact as well.
    Last edited by @llli*irishmom; October 25th, 2012 at 12:36 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: bedtime/hunger

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kae.dowdy View Post
    Hi,

    I'm no expert on the matter as I have concerns of my own. However, with your last question, if you breast milk supply is just enough, I would definitely mix the oatmeal with at least formula instead of water. That way you aren't wasting your milk, but he's still getting nutrition. I hope that helps with that question. My DD is 6 months and her night schedule is also different every night, so you aren't alone there. Hang in there!!
    Thanks! I hadn't thought of mixing it with formula.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: bedtime/hunger

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*blueberrysmom View Post
    Sorry you are having trouble, Mama! 4 months can be a rough age, I remember it vividly. It was about that time that the cluster nursing started in the evenings - that is very normal and a great way to up your supply I would just sit down and my DD would nurse for a few minutes, play a few minutes, get back on and eat some more, then swing, etc etc. Babies also change their sleep patterns often, especially if they are having a growth spurt or teething. DD still wakes a few times a night to eat, so that is nothing out of the ordinary! STTN is kind of a running joke around here, that only mythical breastfed babies actually STTN, meaning 8-12 hours w/o waking. The best thing you can do is listen to you baby and feed him when he's hungry. I'll bet in a week or so it'll all change!
    I hope it changes! I am starting to get a little frustrated. My husband asked me this morning "is he getting enough?" And though he didnt' intend to hurt my feelings, it made me feel like I wasn't able to adequately feed my baby. He cluster nursed in the very beginning but hasn't done so in a few months. For I also was still on maternity leave at the time so less exhausting. How long did your DD cluster feed at 4 months?

  8. #8
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: bedtime/hunger

    i apologize, i know my post was a bit abrupt and this one will be too. i have a fussy three month old plus two older kids and have to be quick with these responses. I promise I really am trying to help. But I have to be clear because lots of folks read these forums. The current recommendations are not conflicting. the AAP, WHO and UNICEF all say exclusive bfeed for 6 months (with supplementation with formula IF needed) you asked what to mix the cereal with and i mentioned that cereal is not (any longer) recommended at 4 months of age by the majority of organizations. Which is true. I believe this was an appropriate response to you question. If your child has some health issues that exempt him from the general recommendations, then obviously that is different.

    here is why it matters aside from any debate about health benefits or detriments of early solids and why in particular I wanted to mention it. according to you post, you are already struggling with milk production. early solids (and any unneeded formula supplementation or any formula supplementation not offset by pumping) will in most cases decrease milk production. why? because what keeps milk supply appropriate is baby nursing enough to get their nutritional needs met by nursing. (with pumping added if needed due to separations of course.) A baby who is filling up on other things will take less at the breast, decreasing milk production. As you are finding, when a mom is pumping part of the time already due to separations, her milk supply is already somewhat at risk.
    For further reading fro anyone who is interested: http://kellymom.com/nutrition/starti...s/solids-when/

    I am not sure if you want suggestions for increasing milk supply? But personally I would suggest not driving yourself crazy pumping so much when you are with baby. Instead I would suggest, nurse baby as much as you can. Breastfeeding can usually be enjoyable and all this stress about your supply may be robbing you of that. And it sounds like you make enough milk that bottles when you are home may not be needed at all(?)

    Also it is helpful to be sure baby is not being inadvertently overfed by his caregivers which of course eats up your hard-won expressed milk stash. See http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

  9. #9
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    Default Re: bedtime/hunger

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    The current recommendations are not conflicting. the AAP, WHO and UNICEF all say exclusive bfeed for 6 months (with supplementation with formula IF needed)
    The current recommendations are what they are.
    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!"

  10. #10
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    Apr 2012
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    Montreal, Canada
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    Default Re: bedtime/hunger

    Hi Mama --

    I just wanted to address the sleep portion of your question, both night wakings and falling asleep.

    A 4 month old becomes - literally - more awake to the world. It's much harder for them to put the day and its excitement aside and just fall asleep the same way they used to. Once asleep, the difference between REM and non-REM sleep is more pronounced, with their non-REM sleep becoming much deeper. In practice this means that the transition between sleep cycles when we all briefly wake is that much more obvious to baby. At this age, great 3 month old sleepers become much more wakeful, sometimes hourly as in the case of my DD.

    For night wakings:
    Your DS might need a little comfort nursing to help get back to sleep (this is why lots of people prefer co-sleeping) or he might need to be rocked or something else. How you choose to handle the night waking is up to you but do know that he's probably well fed (you can tell the difference b/w regular night waking and actual hunger) by the sucks (fluttery for comfort) (vigorous with swallowing for hunger).

    For putting to sleep:
    Aim for an earlier bedtime, look for sleepy cues, and, if you haven't already, establish a wind-down and bedtime routine. This really helped DD at 4 & 5 months. What used to take hours of nursing to get her down by 11 or even midnight became an hour of nursing for an 8 pm bedtime. We read stories before her fussiness started, had bath-time, dressed with massage, one more story, then nursing. Now that we all loved and settled into the routine our big 6 month old has changed it up on us! But at least we had 2 months of better earlier sleep.

    ETA: It's so easy for us and for others to think that hunger is the root of all sleep problems. But if diapers are good and baby is gaining, it probably means LO is growing, becoming more aware, and just needs some extra help with a new routine. Don't blame yourself and don't let DHs questions make you feel bad. Pantley's The No Cry Sleep Solution really helped us understand why sleep regressed so much at 4 months.
    Mama to Viv since 4/08/12 -- my all natural post-breast cancer miracle baby

    with just one breast. So far so good.

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