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Thread: Help with possible reverse cycling and strong nurse/sleep..

  1. #1

    Default Help with possible reverse cycling and strong nurse/sleep..

    My son will be 7 months old next week. (Born 7lbs 2oz, now approx 17.5lbs) He was EBF until 5.5 months when we introduced some organic oatmeal-which he loves! I work full time, and he takes a bottle of expressed milk while I'm away. He will also have oatmeal/sweet potato 2-3 times a day. He has always been a snacker, however. Generally he will only take 3-3.5oz of breastmilk at one bottle feeding. Even with nursing, he has never emptied both breasts. In fact, he usually only eats from one side at a feeding. I'm usually away from work between 6am and 5:30pm. In an 11 hour period, he may only take 10-13 oz of expressed milk in addition to his oatmeal. I don't feel like this is enough.

    Additionally, he has never been a good sleeper. I think I can remember 1-3x max that he has slept for a 5 hour block of time at night. For the most part, he wakes every 2-3 hours at night, and it has been this way for months. In order to be a functioning human being during the day, we have been co-sleeping at night. We always put him down in a co-sleeper in our room initially. Bedtime is around 7-8pm. We usually do bath, pjs, book, nurse, bed. I try to nurse close to his bedtime because I want to fill his belly. I don't mind co-sleeping, however it wasn't what I envisioned at almost 7 months. Lately, in the past week or two, his wakings have become every 1-2 hours at night. Each time he wakes, he looks for the breast and will scream until he gets it. Bouncing, soothing, shushing, pacifiers, don't work in the middle of the night. He acts like is legitimately hungry (even if he just ate 1-2 hours ago). Last night we put him down at 7pm. He took a 2oz bottle and nursed right before bed. He woke at 8:30pm screaming, so to test whether he just wanted "comfort" or food, we warmed up 2oz of expressed milk. He ate it very quickly, so I nursed him again. He goes right back to sleep after nursing. I can't remember what times he woke after that...I think it was something like 10, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 3, and up for the day at 5am. I am totally ok with continued nursing during the night, but this is just getting overwhelming, and I'm not getting enough rest. My son, on the other hand, wakes happy as a clam! I know he is eating a lot during the night, because my breast feel pretty "empty" in the morning. I know he is getting a lot of his calories at night...I love not having to pump during the night, but I need to try to get some longer chunks of sleep at night so I don't feel exhausted everyday!

    Naps are good during the day. He usually takes 2 or 3 naps (generally an hour long-give/take 30 mins). He also still sleeps in a woombie (less constricting type of swaddle). He doesn't seem to be able to sleep without it at this point. We've tried a few times, and his sleep deteriorates more than normal. I'm hoping he'll outgrow it soon, but would also like some advice from anyone who has similar experience. Thank you so much for any advice...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,473

    Default Re: Help with possible reverse cycling and strong nurse/slee

    Is it possible the 'solid' food is troubling him? Unusually frequent waking has been linked to food sensitivities. Oatmeal can be hard to digest I have been told (I love it too.)

    I don’t find it unusual that baby will not sleep a 5 hour stretch-that does not happen until a year or later for some babies. But the amount of waking you are describing does sound a bit much. But I wonder if what you are doing to try to help baby sleep longer is actually worsening the situation. For example,

    Each time he wakes, he looks for the breast and will scream until he gets it. Bouncing, soothing, shushing, pacifiers, don't work in the middle of the night.
    Can you nurse in a side lying position? maybe you will get more sleep if you simply nurse baby as soon as baby stirs? It is normal for him to want to nurse at the breast for both food and comfort, it's all the same to baby. Air swallowed when crying might cause tummy upset later.

    bottles and 'topping off' before bed have not been shown to increase sleep duration.

    The amount of milk he gets during the day from his caregiver sounds normal, maybe a little low. Can it be increased a bit without difficulty? ...are you able to pump more, or will baby take more?

    I don't mind co-sleeping, however it wasn't what I envisioned at almost 7 months.
    just so you know, In most of the world and throughout all of human history, most children sleep with their parents or with mother for several years and then, often, with a sibling. It's entirely normal and healthy. The 'western' ideal of baby sleeping in a crib in another room is what is unusual. Some parents do find there is less adult sleep disturbance once they stop co-sleeping, (babies wake about every 90 minutes in a normal sleep cycle no matter where they sleep.)

    Also, anecdotally, frequent night waking seems to be more pronounced when mom is in a situation where she and baby have long daytime separations. I know it does not sound fair! But it makes sense. Your baby does not see you all day when you are at work. Some of this may be that baby simply misses you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,214

    Default Re: Help with possible reverse cycling and strong nurse/slee

    Hi mama, I agree with Meg's comments. Just a couple additional ones:

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kmcardle21 View Post
    He has always been a snacker, however. Generally he will only take 3-3.5oz of breastmilk at one bottle feeding. Even with nursing, he has never emptied both breasts.
    This is actually a normal meal size for a breastfed baby. Also, your breasts are never "empty."

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kmcardle21 View Post
    In fact, he usually only eats from one side at a feeding.
    This is not that unusual either. Especially mothers with a degree of oversupply will often nurse from only one side at a time.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kmcardle21 View Post
    I'm usually away from work between 6am and 5:30pm. In an 11 hour period, he may only take 10-13 oz of expressed milk in addition to his oatmeal. I don't feel like this is enough.
    The rule of thumb is 1 - 1.5 ounces per hour apart. So actually this is okay, especially given how much he is nursing at night. Is it possible that he will sleep more if he eats more during the day? Maybe, maybe not. My guess is that he has other reasons for his nighttime wakings, and therefore ends up getting a lot of milk at night, and therefore is on the lower end of daytime milk intake. The nice thing for you is that it means you don't have to pump as much!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kmcardle21 View Post
    Additionally, he has never been a good sleeper. I think I can remember 1-3x max that he has slept for a 5 hour block of time at night. For the most part, he wakes every 2-3 hours at night, and it has been this way for months.
    Like Meg says, this is actually very normal for many babies.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kmcardle21 View Post
    In order to be a functioning human being during the day, we have been co-sleeping at night. We always put him down in a co-sleeper in our room initially. Bedtime is around 7-8pm. We usually do bath, pjs, book, nurse, bed. I try to nurse close to his bedtime because I want to fill his belly. I don't mind co-sleeping, however it wasn't what I envisioned at almost 7 months. Lately, in the past week or two, his wakings have become every 1-2 hours at night.
    I'm wondering whether teething could be contributing to these more frequent awakenings? Perhaps consider tylenol or motrin?

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