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Thread: Nursing to sleep causing more night wakings?

  1. #1
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Nursing to sleep causing more night wakings?

    My baby is 4 months old and has always had a lot of trouble sleeping. She was one of those babies who had to be walked around the house for hours as a newborn, she couldn't comfort nurse because I had major oversupply issues. Now that my supply is just right, she nurses to sleep.

    The problem is that she wakes up after every 45 min sleep cycle and needs to be nursed backed to sleep. However, she never ever sleeps for more than 45 min without waking, and hasn't for about 2 months. She will fall asleep in her swing sometimes, but she always seems to need either movement or nursing to fall asleep. I'm concerned that nursing her back to sleep might cause her to wake up more than if I tried to help her learn to fall asleep on her own. Has anyone else had this experience of needing to nurse back to sleep throughout the night (like 5+ times in a 12 hour stretch)? Should I not be concerned at this point because she's so young, and then re-evaluate in a few months? We bedshare so it doesn't bother me while I'm sleeping, I feel like it's just hard on her when she wakes before I go to bed and I have to keep nursing her back to sleep.
    and Mama to two little girls

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Nursing to sleep causing more night wakings?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*karrieperry View Post
    Has anyone else had this experience of needing to nurse back to sleep throughout the night (like 5+ times in a 12 hour stretch)?
    Yes, all the time.
    1st time mom over 40 to Alex(andra) b: 7/14/12

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Nursing to sleep causing more night wakings?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*debbers View Post
    Yes, all the time.
    Thank you this is my first time nursing so I had no idea
    and Mama to two little girls

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Nursing to sleep causing more night wakings?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*karrieperry View Post
    Thank you this is my first time nursing so I had no idea
    Me too, first time mom. And a tired one but I sure love the little monkey.
    1st time mom over 40 to Alex(andra) b: 7/14/12

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Nursing to sleep causing more night wakings?

    It's normal, as long as baby is healthy and growing well. My oldest was like this too. He is 9 now and sleeps great and has since he was about 2 and a half. Before that, not so much. I suggest learning the art of napping.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Nursing to sleep causing more night wakings?

    It seems to be pretty common. I think it's funny how little I heard about this until I had a baby that did not sleep through the night - then I found lots of women who dealt with it. My DS1 did not sleep through the night until he was almost 2 yrs old (I'm thinking it might have been after he was 2 actually). I have better luck with DS2 - he "slept through the night" by giving me good 5 hour stretches at night...but that has changed recently, and I am sure it will change again! The only difference with DS2 is that he wakes and occassionally wants to be awake... uumm..no! lol So I am more than happy to deal with a baby that wakes and goes right back to sleep any day! So I guess I am saying - it will pass. And follow lllmeg's last bit of advice there.
    FT working momma to a 9/11/10 busy boy and 11/13/12 happy little man.
    Also wife to hubs since 8/23/08, bonus momma to H (girl) -99 and G (boy)-03

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Nursing to sleep causing more night wakings?

    What else have you tried to help her fall back asleep when she wakes? I have nothing against nursing to sleep, it seems the most natural thing to do, and I have seen plenty of proof that it does NOT cause babies to wake more at night per se, but I do believe in giving babies opportunities to fall asleep on their own without nursing all the way to sleep, particularly at your LO's age. I only have experience with my own 9 month old, but it seems to me that it's a relatively long process with lots of backsliding, so one shouldn't expect miracles, ahem, overnight.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Nursing to sleep causing more night wakings?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*isabelofmtl View Post
    What else have you tried to help her fall back asleep when she wakes? I have nothing against nursing to sleep, it seems the most natural thing to do, and I have seen plenty of proof that it does NOT cause babies to wake more at night per se, but I do believe in giving babies opportunities to fall asleep on their own without nursing all the way to sleep, particularly at your LO's age. I only have experience with my own 9 month old, but it seems to me that it's a relatively long process with lots of backsliding, so one shouldn't expect miracles, ahem, overnight.
    So far I've tried rocking and my husband has also tried to comfort (she doesn't take a pacifier), neither works. She just screams until I nurse her. I do give her chances to fall asleep on her own if she's not asleep after when she's done nursing for bed time. She is able to fall asleep from wide awake in the baby swing, and she can also fall back asleep in the morning just lying next to me. I'm sure it will be a long process, I honestly don't mind doing it at all. She doesn't need it for naps, just during the night, and like I said sometimes if I just lay there and pretend to be asleep she falls back asleep on her own.

    She was also one of those babies that had to be walked around for hours as a newborn until we bought the swing.

    also, just in the past few days she has stayed asleep for 3 hours when I put her to bed, which is awesome! Hope it keeps up!
    and Mama to two little girls

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Nursing to sleep causing more night wakings?

    Yes, it's pretty normal. In fact, that's why we ended up cosleeping. It wasn't a conscious choice. I was just exhausted with the constant getting up/checking baby/trying to pat asleep/give up and pick up baby/set up to nurse/nurse/desperately attempt to put baby back down/fail-repeat/success/climb back into bed/try to fall asleep/barely fall asleep only to be woken up again.... *yawn*

    I gave up! I brought DD1 into bed, we learned how to nurse laying down and we didn't look back. I could just pop in a boob when she fussed, barely even waking. She'd dream nurse and we'd both drift off again. I got SO MUCH MORE SLEEP. I know some Mom's choose to cosleep, but for us it developed organically. From then on, we always coslept and I did the same with DD2 and now DD3.

    It's not to say that you have to, but the routine you're describing does sound pretty typical. As they go through their sleep cycles, they partially wake, look for Mommy, can't find you, wake more and escalate from there. If you can step in quickly, it shortens the cycle dramatically.
    Mommy to our DD1 early bird (34 weeks, 2 days, 7lbs, 14oz)! Oct. 2nd, 2008 Emergency C-Section, Frank Breech, HEALTHY Girl!
    Weaned @ 17 months
    Our DD2 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 12oz) Aug. 10th, 2010 Our Successful VBAC, growing like a bad weed!
    Weaned @ 15 months
    Our DD3 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 6oz) Feb. 16th, 2012 Our 2nd VBAC and lightening speedy birth!

    Loving being a Mom of 3, 40 months apart!!
    and

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Nursing to sleep causing more night wakings?

    Funny, I never thought about the connection between babies that need to be walked around for hours to get to sleep and the nursing-to-sleep situation. I have one of those babies, too! Totally agree with the PP who said if you intervene fast in the cycle, it takes less time to get them to go down. Typically I nurse my son to sleep (he's 6 months) and then he does wake up 45 min later or so. My husband is on stand by to swoop in and he gives him back his pacifier and then rocks him for a few minutes and he's snoozing again fast. When he wakes up the next time, we bring him into bed with us and we co-sleep for the rest of the night and he nurses on demand. It works out pretty good so far. Although, everything is always changing with babies as you know! Tomorrow this could all be different.

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