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Thread: Do I wake my sleeping baby?

  1. #1

    Default Do I wake my sleeping baby?

    I'm a first time mom and new to breastfeeding. Luckily, my little guy (will be 3 weeks old on monday) eats well and is gaining weight (was already well past his birth weight at his 1 week checkup) and has plenty of wet and poop diapers. Other than using a shield, there aren't any snags in the actual feeding process...and he does fine with the shield. Despite all these positives, I still worry that I'm not doing something right or not doing what's best for him. A little crazy I know. Anyway, my main question right now is about waking him up to feed when he sleeps. I'm doing the feeding on demand route and he's been eating between 8-10 times a day usually...mostly closer to 8. I think he has his days and nights a little mixed up because he always wants to be awake from about 2-4 am. Then he crashes out after the 4ish am feeding. I have been waking him up after about 4 hours to eat and many times he'll have another 4 hour stretch after that which I wake him up from to eat. I was told not to let him go longer than about 3 hours during the day, 4 is occasionally ok, and to FOD during the night...so only when he wakes up. So to my question, I know you aren't supposed to let them get to the point of crying to feed them because that's a late sign but what about when they are sleeping at night? Should I let him sleep until he wakes up crying or should I get him up when I hear him start to stir around a lot? He will sometimes stir around for a hour but not wake up. I don't want to mess up the process of him sleeping longer, or of him getting his days and nights straightened out and want to make sure not to mess up my milk supply (which has been fine so far). Thanks in advance for any responses!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,355

    Default Re: Do I wake my sleeping baby?

    I think I'd continue to respond to those early hunger cues at night. Your baby is still very young, and your milk supply is still getting established. I'd wait until 6 weeks before trying to tweak anything in the baby's feeding routine- with the exception of trying to feed him more often during the day to encourage him to be more wakeful during the day and to tank him up for any longer stretches of sleep he's having at night. 8 feedings per day is a little on the low side- I'd shoot for 10-12.
    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
    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Do I wake my sleeping baby?

    Are you using the shield under the guidance of a lactation consultant (preferably an IBCLC?) Over the long term shields can decrease milk transfer, so if things are going well you might want to consider getting rid of the shield. I agree with mommal, definitely when he starts to stir I would go ahead and feed him at that point. He may not even wake up when you feed him at that point, so I don't think you're going to interfere with him getting his days and nights straight by doing that.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Do I wake my sleeping baby?

    Yes, the lactation consultant from the hospital suggested I use the shield because of flat nipples. Said I should wait until about 2 months until I try to transition off of it.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Do I wake my sleeping baby?

    That's odd advice. You can wean from the shield at any time. This link covers it: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/wean-shield/
    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
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Do I wake my sleeping baby?

    How do you feel about it? Do you want to wait two months or start trying to 'wean' off the shields sooner? I have nothing against shields, used them myself, but often the reasons a shield is needed are temporary issues. "flat" nipples have a many causes.

    The nursing pattern you describe is entirely normal for this young a baby, except, as mommal noted, a little on the low side of the frequency scale. There are reasons besides weight gain (which sounds great) to maybe try to nurse baby a little more often. For example, one thing that can cause nipples to be hard for a baby to latch onto is engorgement or breast fullness, which is often alleviated by baby nursing very frequently. I don't know if this is a factor in your case or not, of course. It's all very individual.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Do I wake my sleeping baby?

    It would be nice to wean sooner just so I didn't have to mess with the shield. I was pumping and nursing initially and had some engorgement then but have now balanced out and I don't ever get ever get engorged now. I will firm up slightly between feedings but not much. He is usually eating between 8-10 times a day...3 days earlier this week all were 10 times each another was 9 and 2 days at 8 times. I just worry that I'm doing it all wrong! At what point do I start letting him sleep longer periods? At what point do the number of feedings suggested go down? I also worry that he gets enough each time as he likes to fall asleep when nursing and I have to pester him to keep awake and drinking!

  8. #8
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Do I wake my sleeping baby?

    New motherhood is a time of lots of worries, for sure. But I really don’t think you have any need to worry you are doing anything wrong! It sounds to me as if your baby is doing great. I know all the numbers and different suggestions can get confusing but basically, if nursing does not cause you pain, and your baby is gaining well, you can be quite sure all is well.

    I like to go by the kellymom suggestion that a baby typically nurses a minimum of 10-12 times a day at this age. But this is just a ballpark. And other sources would say at least 8 times a day is what to aim for. In any case, your baby is gaining well so you are doing well. As far as falling asleep-babies fall asleep when nursing, It's how they are wired, and as long as baby is gaining well, it is fine to let baby do so. I just wanted to be sure you were not thinking baby 'should' be nursing less frequently, or purposefully trying to draw out time between nursing, or something.

    In general, after about 2 weeks of age if not before, cue feeding-nursing on cue-allows baby to nurse plenty. This would mean, nurse at baby’s cues or your own (such as feeling full or just feeling like nursing.) If you would like more info about recognizing a baby’s cues, this is a quick guide: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...eding_cues.pdf

    Are you sure that if you went to feeding on cue, rather than waking baby, it would add up to less often than you are nursing now? It may be just fine to let baby sleep longer one time and see what happens. It could be he just needs to find his own rhythm.

    And I agree, breastfeeding is just way nicer without the shields. So I encourage you to try to start weaning baby off whenever you like, on your own or with the help of an IBCLC or a local LLL Leader. Basically whatever you are doing now to help baby latch well with the shields, you can try without them. Breast shaping aka “breast sandwich” may help. Laid back nursing may help. There are lots of things to try, I am sure you will get suggestions here if you let us know what is happening when you try to latch baby. I bet if you contacted the LC you saw in the hospital she would agree it is fine to try to go off the shields anytime you like. My guess is there was a misunderstanding there.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Do I wake my sleeping baby?

    Thanks for the advice! I will try not waking him and see what happens. And I will probably try to transition off the shield soon.

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