Happy Mothers Breastfed Babies
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13

Thread: Enough milk and nighttime feedings?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    80

    Thumbs up Enough milk and nighttime feedings?

    My son is 7.5 months old and our daytime nursing sessions are extremely brief (1-2 min). He will nurse for 15-30 seconds, then push me away, nurse for another 15-30 seconds and repeat. I offer the breast before and after his naps (pretty much every hour or 2 it seems). I nurse in our quiet, dark bedroom in bed, side lying and will change up positions when he starts fussing and whining.

    He nurses a good long while before bed and will drain both breasts. I estimate that he is getting at least 5-6 ounces or more based on at least what I can pump when I feel that full. He wil usually nurse 1-2x a night, also taking in quite a bit of milk.

    I am working part time so my babysitter will give him 12 ounces of milk when I am at work plus 1 meal of solids. So on my days at work, he seems to be getting plenty of milk but he still wakes up 1-2x to nurse. Does this mean he needs more milk during the day? So many of the new moms I know all have babies who sleep 12 hours a night uninterrupted! I know BF isn't all about nutrition but I am so tired, not having slept more than 4 hours of continuous sleep. Is it realistic to expect my son to sleep longer stretches than 4-5 hours at this stage? Is he waking up from hunger or comfort? Should I not feed him when he wakes up at night, which is what I do automatically?

    My son has no weight gain issues- he's about 22 pounds and 30 inches at 7.5 months. He is EBF and has been getting a little bit of solids in the past 2 months.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,178

    Default Re: Enough milk and nighttime feedings?

    Night-waking is 100% normal for such a young baby. It is your friends' babies, sleeping 12+ hours uninterrupted, who are the unusual ones. At this age, "sleeping through the night" is defined as one 5 hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep. So, unfortunately, it is not realistic to expect your baby to sleep more than that.

    Should you feed your baby at night? Well, some people do night-wean before a year. There are several reasons why many people and I personally recommend against it. First, just because your baby doesn't eat at night doesn't mean he won't wake up at night and require someone to parent him back to sleep. Nursing a baby back to sleep is much faster than rocking or lullabying or back-patting or whatever. Second, he may need the calories at night, regardless of what his milk intake is during the day. The fact that your baby is not nursing particularly well during the day indicates to me that he actually needs the nighttime nursing sessions. Third, night-nursing helps keep your supply high during the day. You're very lucky to be able to pump 5-6 oz at a time, and night-nursing is probably part of the reason why you're having such an easy time filling bottles for the babysitter, and why you've managed to get your kid to such a good weight. And fourth, in order to night-wean such a young baby, you're going to need to let him cry it out- and that means a lot of distress on your part and on the baby's part until he gives up on the idea of getting you to give him what he wants and needs.

    I can completely understand your desire for more sleep, though! I suggest checking out Elizabeth Pantley's book "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" for some gentle ways to get your baby to sleep more independently at night. And just wait- at a year, you can safely night-wean, and you're very close to that point!
    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
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,651

    Default Re: Enough milk and nighttime feedings?

    So many of the new moms I know all have babies who sleep 12 hours a night uninterrupted!
    this is WAY outside what is biologically normal or healthy. long, deep sleep stretches are even linked to SIDS. With rare exceptions, it is just not normal for a baby to be in a continuous sleep, never waking or eating, for half the day.

    Infant sleep studies would suggest these babies DO indeed wake up, and even adults and older kids normally wake briefly during the night. but for some reason they don't 'interrupt' their parents sleep. And I would wonder why that is and if that were healthy.

    Your baby is normal.
    the pantley book is great, i also like this website for info on normal infant sleep. http://www.isisonline.org.uk/how_bab...p_development/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Enough milk and nighttime feedings?

    Thanks ladies. I really am not even opposed to night nursing. I am just so tired and he has been waking up more in the last week. And your points make a lot of sense. Sometimes I just need reassurance. I have always found it easier to nurse back to sleep at night. It's only when I nurse him and he doesn't sleep that drives ms nuts!

    Maybe it's where I live but everyone I know has babies who sleep all through the night. I know that my nursing him at night and on demand has resulted in my great supply even with my going back to work.

    Why is night nursing weaning ok after 1 year?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,178

    Default Re: Enough milk and nighttime feedings?

    You can night-wean after a year because at that point, you can use solids to make up for any shortfalls with your milk supply. Until a year (or thereabouts) babies are supposed to receive most of their nutrition from breastmilk, with solids only complementing- not replacing- the milk. That's not to say that breastfed babies never naturally sleep through the night before one year, or that no nursing mama has ever safely night-weaned a <1 year old baby. It's just that the average baby will need some night-nursing until at least a year.

    If all the babies around you are sleeping for 12 hours at a stretch, you have to wonder what might be causing that to happen. Are the babies sleeping tightly swaddled with pacifiers in their mouths? Did their parents start sleep training? Are they using formula? Are the babies actually waking at night, but the parents are letting them cry themselves back to sleep? IDK, maybe these are all 100% breastfed babies who spontaneously sleep through- they do exist! But it's generally rare. So you're really not alone!
    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!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Enough milk and nighttime feedings?

    Thanks. It helps to hear this. There is a lot of sleep training around here!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,651

    Default Re: Enough milk and nighttime feedings?

    To clarify-I think it is normal (but not all that common) for an 'older' baby (over 6 months) to sleep 8-9 or so hours in a stretch, or to even maybe sleep 10-12 hour stretches occasionally. (Also normal for baby to wake much more often.) It would also be fine and fairly common, I suspect, for a baby of that age to sleep, say, 5 or 6 hours, wake and nurse, then go right back to sleep for another 5 or 6 hours. But every night baby sleeping through 12 straight hours, I don't think so. It always raises a red flag for me. I also wonder what the definition of 'through the night' a person is using. I think of ‘through the night’ as whatever is developmentally normal for that age person. I think it’s defined it as 5 hours for a 6 month old + baby.

    I also wonder why anyone wants their baby to sleep so long. 12 hours is (for example) from 6 pm until 6 am. A mom (or dad, for that matter) who works full time outside the home would almost never see or hold a baby or toddler who is on a sleep schedule like that-unless they co-slept. And it would be very unusual for a baby sleeping in bed with mom to never wake and nurse over that long a time. Yes older babies and toddlers should get about a total of 14 hours of sleep-over the entire day. That is what naps are for.

    As far as night weaning after a year, I think mommal is correct that, assuming baby is ready to 'graduate' to solids by a year (not all are) nightweaning is fine, from a nutritional standpoint. But whether night weaning is really a good idea, I think it depends on the individual situation. Because again, if the daytime separations are long, that nighttime togetherness becomes very important, not only emotionally but for breastfeeding duration. For example, if a working mom chooses to pump wean at a year-no longer pump at work-AND baby night weans, those together are likely to very drastically reduce milk production, more quickly than would happen naturally as the child ever so slowly weans to only solid foods. If mom only wants to nurse for a year or so, no problem, but many moms make that an initial goal and then find there is no compelling reason to stop and lots of reasons to keep on nursing.

    Also night weaning may lead to full on weaning prior to when mom wanted it to happen. So generally, it makes sense to take any proactive or mom-led weaning techniques gradually.

    years ago i had a job that reqiured me to be up at 4 in the morning and not go to sleep until about midnight. So I would go 4 or 5 days in a row on about 4 hours sleep per day. while not ideal, I found i could 'catch up' on my days off, by sleeping extra. I do the same thing now that i have a new baby, as daily naps (those were the best, i miss those days! ) are no longer possible due to needs of older kids. so my suggestion is to 'steal' some extra sleep wherever you can.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Enough milk and nighttime feedings?

    Thanks so much. I know that the moms in my neighborhood are obsessed with these long stretches of sleep at night. I worry that he isn't sleeping enough at night with his waking up. He takes about 2.5-3 hours of naps and I can usually get about 10 hours of sleep from him. So I think he is ok but even that Weissbluth book (which I found to be helpful even if I don't agree with everything he says) says that unbroken sleep at night is very important.

    I genuinely love nursing him and understand that the night nursings give us much needed the to connect when I am at work. I don't see him much on the days I'm in the office and in another month I will be full time again. I also know that the other moms I know have major supply issues and have begun to supplement. So I guess all of this is a choice you make. Thanks again for your insight.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,178

    Default Re: Enough milk and nighttime feedings?

    There is nothing wrong with broken sleep, as long as the baby gets enough sleep overall. Weissbluth is totally off base when it comes to normal infant sleep. Babies have shorter sleep cycles than adults, and they transition into light sleep more easily than adults. This makes for frequent night-waking and frequent night-feeding, both of which are GOOD for babies (if not so great for moms). Having an adult check on you frequently at night? Making sure you're safe, not marinating in a giant poop, not rolled up against a crib bumper and struggling to breathe? Giving you a good tank-up of food? All good, as far as baby is concerned! In fact, more alertness and attentiveness on mom's part may be part of the reason why breastfed babies are less in danger of dying from SIDS.

    And I promise you that there is NOTHING unhealthy, developmentally speaking, about broken sleep. Neither of my kids slept through until age 2, and they are both more than on target for their age.

    I think it's no big surprise that the moms in your circle- the ones with the "good" sleepers- are falling into the supplementing trap. Purposefully going 12 hours with no nursing is a good way to tank your supply, particularly once you're back at work and not able to nurse on demand during the day.
    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
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,651

    Default Re: Enough milk and nighttime feedings?

    not marinating in a giant poop,

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •