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Thread: Night Feeding--Ups and Downs am I doing the right thing?

  1. #1
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    Default Night Feeding--Ups and Downs am I doing the right thing?

    Hi Mamas,

    Need some advice here please! We are all over the place with nighttime waking/feeding the last few days and I would like your insight on a few things

    First, quick background: DS is 5.5months old (he turns 6mo on 1/16) and we follow a pretty strict schedule of bath/feed/bedtime every night. He is usually fed and asleep by 9:30pm and wakes up ONCE to feed (around 2am) between 9:30pm and 7:30am

    This week has been ALL over the place--2 nights in a row he slept the ENTIRE night, almost 11 hours! then ate, ate, ate all day (growth spurt??). Then the last 2 nights he as woken up almost EVERY 3 HOURS in the night and my only instinct is to feed him--he goes back to sleep after about 10minutes of nursing.

    Ok, so I guess my questions are:
    What do you think is causing this frequent waking all of a sudden??
    Am I doing the right thing by feeding him each time he wakes? Doctor says NOT to feed him each waking time and to let him fuss a bit until he goes back to sleep...my problem with this is that it is MUCH easier and quicker to get him back to sleep by nursing (10min tops!) then to let him fuss and cry and either way we get no sleep! But he is concerned i'm creating the habit of him NEEDING to be nursed back to sleep.

    Lastly, on the introduction of solids... i know its a myth that it helps them sleep through the night BUT I'm wondering if maybe some of this is him just being hungry and not satisfied with just milk? I nurse on demand so he's always getting it when he wants it... I really wanted to wait until 6 months to start solids because I'm just not sure he is ready..

    Any thoughts/comments are greatly appreciated! Thank you!
    Sorry for the long post!
    xoxo

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Night Feeding--Ups and Downs am I doing the right thing?

    Maybe he's going through his 6mo growth spurt early? It's just a thought!
    I didn't succeed with Breastfeeding with my first two children I'M NOT GIVING UP THIS TIME! I PROMISED MY DAUGHTER!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Night Feeding--Ups and Downs am I doing the right thing?

    Yes, you are absolutely doing the right thing by feeding him when he wakes at night. He's waking because he needs to eat. Feed him. I'd bet this is either a growth spurt or he's teething. Either way, he is letting you know he needs you in the only way he knows how. Your doctor's advice is parenting advice being disguised as medical advice and it is the kind of advice that has the potential to impact your milk supply and lead to early weaning. IMO he's doing you a great disservice.

    There's no such thing as a 5 month old being unsatisfied with your milk. If there isn't enough milk there (which there is no reason to think that's the case) then the solution would be to nurse more to stimulate your milk supply to increase, not offer an alternative filler. At this point, and until your baby is a year old, solid foods will not provide adequate nutrition for your baby. Breastmilk or formula should provide the majority of a baby's nutrition until at least a year old.

    Your baby's previous sleep schedule is the exception, not the rule. It is absolutely normal for babies this age to wake several times at night to nurse. It's also absolutely normal for their sleep patterns to change frequently during the first year. There are so many changes going on, so many factors that disrupt or alter their sleep patterns- growth spurts, teething, illness, developmental advances, really the only thing you can depend on is that whatever they're doing now...probably won't last long.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Night Feeding--Ups and Downs am I doing the right thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*still.here View Post
    Yes, you are absolutely doing the right thing by feeding him when he wakes at night. He's waking because he needs to eat. Feed him. I'd bet this is either a growth spurt or he's teething. Either way, he is letting you know he needs you in the only way he knows how. Your doctor's advice is parenting advice being disguised as medical advice and it is the kind of advice that has the potential to impact your milk supply and lead to early weaning. IMO he's doing you a great disservice.

    There's no such thing as a 5 month old being unsatisfied with your milk. If there isn't enough milk there (which there is no reason to think that's the case) then the solution would be to nurse more to stimulate your milk supply to increase, not offer an alternative filler. At this point, and until your baby is a year old, solid foods will not provide adequate nutrition for your baby. Breastmilk or formula should provide the majority of a baby's nutrition until at least a year old.

    Your baby's previous sleep schedule is the exception, not the rule. It is absolutely normal for babies this age to wake several times at night to nurse. It's also absolutely normal for their sleep patterns to change frequently during the first year. There are so many changes going on, so many factors that disrupt or alter their sleep patterns- growth spurts, teething, illness, developmental advances, really the only thing you can depend on is that whatever they're doing now...probably won't last long.
    Thanks lady! This is JUST what I needed to hear! I was taking my Doc's advice with a grain of salt, knowing that I would ALWAYS feed my babe when he needed it no matter what! And you mirrored my thoughts on solids exactly--they can be supplemental, but my milk will provide all my baby needs! We have a great BFing relationship and my milk supply is strong (knock on wood!).
    As for the sleeping patterns, thanks for your insight that I shouldn't be focused on the ebbs and flows...You are right that babes have a lot going on. This is my first so this is all new to me and you always end up second-guessing yourself! Thank you for your reassurance!

    xoxo

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    Default Re: Night Feeding--Ups and Downs am I doing the right thing?

    No problem! It sounds like your instincts are right on. Keep trusting them. IMO momma's gut is probably the most reliable guide to parenting that exists.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Night Feeding--Ups and Downs am I doing the right thing?

    with everything from still.here, but especially with the following:

    Your doctor's advice is parenting advice being disguised as medical advice and it is the kind of advice that has the potential to impact your milk supply and lead to early weaning. IMO he's doing you a great disservice.
    and

    There's no such thing as a 5 month old being unsatisfied with your milk. If there isn't enough milk there (which there is no reason to think that's the case) then the solution would be to nurse more to stimulate your milk supply to increase, not offer an alternative filler. At this point, and until your baby is a year old, solid foods will not provide adequate nutrition for your baby. Breastmilk or formula should provide the majority of a baby's nutrition until at least a year old.
    It really makes me irate when someone tells a nursing mom to ignore her baby at night because the baby doesn't "need" to be nursed. I'm always thinking, "We'll, how do they KNOW that the baby isn't hungry?" Because it's not like the doc or the nosy MIL is there in the middle of the night, listening to the baby cry. They aren't the one who is exquisitely sensitive to the difference between a fussy cry and a hungry cry. And because milk supply so individual, they don't know how the mom's milk supply works- maybe those nighttime feedings are necessary for the baby to get what he needs, especially during a growth spurt. Ignore the drive-by parenting advice. You're doing just fine! And if you're feeling stressed due to multiple night wakings, I'd check out Elizabeth Pantley's book "The No Cry Sleep Solution" for some gentle and responsive techniques for encouraging- not forcing!- longer stretches of more independent sleep.
    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!"

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Night Feeding--Ups and Downs am I doing the right thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    It really makes me irate when someone tells a nursing mom to ignore her baby at night because the baby doesn't "need" to be nursed. I'm always thinking, "We'll, how do they KNOW that the baby isn't hungry?" Because it's not like the doc or the nosy MIL is there in the middle of the night, listening to the baby cry. They aren't the one who is exquisitely sensitive to the difference between a fussy cry and a hungry cry. And because milk supply so individual, they don't know how the mom's milk supply works- maybe those nighttime feedings are necessary for the baby to get what he needs, especially during a growth spurt. Ignore the drive-by parenting advice. You're doing just fine! And if you're feeling stressed due to multiple night wakings, I'd check out Elizabeth Pantley's book "The No Cry Sleep Solution" for some gentle and responsive techniques for encouraging- not forcing!- longer stretches of more independent sleep.
    Thank you Mommal!
    My doc's exact words were "the baby wakes up, and THEN he is hungry...but he doesn't wake up BECAUSE he is hungry. As an adult, do YOU wake up because you are hungry?"

    WTH?! Maybe I need to find a new Pedi!

    Thanks for the sound advice and reassurance here--and I don't mind the multiple wakings because they happen rarely--for the most part he only wakes once per night! I am going to keep on doing what i'm doing!

    lots of love,
    Amy

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    Default Re: Night Feeding--Ups and Downs am I doing the right thing?

    I'm with you with the nursing being easier. My DH informs my MIL of our frequent night wakings and such, which he does no matter how much I tell him to stop talking about it. She told me once, "If you stopped nursing her, she wouldn't wake up to nurse." I said, "She doesn't wake up to nurse, I nurse her so she'll go back to sleep!" I've heard it from our pediatrician, too -- I ignore him! Why would I want her up for hours crying when she goes back to sleep in 10 minutes (usually) with nursing?

    Our LO sometimes nurses 1x a night, sometimes 4x -- so there's no pattern established so we haven't "created habits," as people say. Also, I keep a glass of water next to my bed and drink it when I am thirsty, which makes me have to pee numerous times a night. I'm not going to stop drinking my water just because I have to pee. Even if babies aren't technically hungry, can't they be thirsty?
    Mom to my sweet little "Pooper," born 10/12/11, and married to heavy metal husband. Working more than full-time, making healthy vegetarian meals for family, and trying to keep up with exercise routine.

    with #2, due mid-June. Will I ever sleep again?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Night Feeding--Ups and Downs am I doing the right thing?

    Yes, I agree, you are doing great with what your doing. My pedi said the same things, I smile and nod. It is so much easier to feed when baby is hungry or thirsty, then we all still get a decent amount of rest, rather than leave DD cry and we're all awake & miserable. hahaha MIL said just feed her a lot extra so she sleeps longer. Obviously she didn't bf, if it were so easy we all would. I just say she sleeps great if anyone asks, and cosleeping makes it so easy to do. No one else knows your baby like you do.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Night Feeding--Ups and Downs am I doing the right thing?

    My son is about the same age (6.5 mths) and recently, in the last 3-4 weeks, started waking up more too, only sleeping for 3 hours at a time at most. Why? He's teething! Getting his 2 top teeth, already has his 2 bottom. He was sleeping for about 4-6 hrs, waking to nurse, then sleeping for another 1-3. Yes, it sucks when suddenly he wants to sleep less. I too was thinking "what's wrong? why is he regressing?!" It is frustrating, especially if you feel sleep deprived like I do. But it seems to coordinate with the teething. I'm fairly certain this is what it is because last night I gave him some Tylenol because I thought maybe he was experiencing some pain and he slept from 10 until 4:30! While I definitely don't want to drug my baby (I was fairly resistant to people's suggestions to give the Tylenol and gave in last night), it might be that he needs a little pain relief for a few nights. I'm hoping the teeth will descend soon and he will go back to sleeping longer.

    Your other question--yes nurse! Especially if it's been 3 hours. He may be a little hungry, but nursing will also provide comfort. If it's only been an hour, I find quietly rocking him back to sleep to also be effective (this works if he wants to wake every hour!).

    Solids: We started solids at about 5.5 mths, first rice cereal, then oat cereal. Now I mash about a tablespoon of banana and add to his cereal, fed at 6:30 dinner with a bottle of breastmilk(then later nurse to sleep around 9:30). This week we have started a mid-morning snack of pureed avacado, after nursing. Solids, from my experience, didn't really affect his sleep so don't start them for this reason.

    Good luck! Just wanted you to know that I'm also in the same boat--actually kinda jealous that your LO will sleep from 9:30 to 7:30 with one waking! Waking every 3 hours would not be that bad for me...
    Last edited by @llli*andie613; January 4th, 2013 at 06:47 PM.

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