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Thread: 5 Month Old-Short Day Nursings & Up All Night

  1. #1

    Default 5 Month Old-Short Day Nursings & Up All Night

    Hi all,

    I have some concerned about my son, Callen. He is 5 months on Monday and was born at 6 pounds 14 oz. I took him to his 4 month appointment on January 7th, where he weighed in at 14 pounds 2 oz. Today, I took him into our public health center for a weight check and he was 14 pounds 5 ounces. He has 6+ good wet diapers a day, and poops every day or two. He has been exclusively BF and on demand since birth.

    1. Recently (in the past 2-3 weeks), he's become very distracted during feedings. I have a 2.5 year old son and also watch a 2 year old girl, so there is a lot going on in my house. My son will pull off the breast ever minute or so, then finally decides he's done eating. It doesn't seem that he's getting a full feeding. I know babies become more efficient nursers as they grow, but 2-3 minutes doesn't seem long enough. I've tried feeding him in a separate room which does help, but I hate leaving the toddlers unsupervised while I do this.

    2. I'm worried about such a small weight gain in 2 weeks, only 3 ounces?

    3. Also, to make matters worse, he has stopped sleeping 7pm-11/12pm now (when the 4 month fussies hit), and wakes up every 1-3 hours throughout the night. I always go to his room and feed him immediately when he cries. We used to co-sleep, and I'd be open to doing it again, except he's very restless when in our bed nursing, he won't quite relax enough to fall asleep, even with his sound machine on.

    4. Could he be reverse cycling at night since he's too distracted to eat during the day? I feel like all I do is constantly "offer" him the breast b/c I don't know when he's hungry! He's a laid back baby who recently has gotten fussier throughout the day.

    5. Low Milk Supply issue maybe that's why he's frustrated?

    The public health nurse is recommending that I try "Scheduling" his day feedings (3-4 hours) in an attempt to get him to go back to taking full feedings/sleeping longer at night. Also, to not nurse him down for naps/sleep anymore either since that might be causing some of the night wakings. She also said that according to the Mayo Clinic, he should be gaining 5-7 ounces a week.

    I'm torn. I am struggling a little and feel overwhelmed most days, like I'm barely surviving. Not just with the lack of sleep, but with the stress of knowing if I'm feeding Callen enough/often. I feed him anytime he fusses because I don't know if he's full or not from the previous, short feed. I doubt my milk supply is low because I pump 2-3 times a day (just to put milk in the freezer) and can get 2-4 ounces each time, and this is always after I feed him.

    I'm torn between trying a schedule to get my son sleeping better so his brain development is good, and between just "following my sons cues." I want to and my milk supply. Somedays, it seems easier to just pump and give him a bottle, although I've never tried doing that for more than one feeding before. (He does love taking a bottle)

    Ideas or suggestions?
    Last edited by @llli*holsen85; February 21st, 2014 at 05:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: 5 Month Old-Short Day Nursings & Up All Night

    Welcome to the forum!

    My first thought is that the public health nurse should be fired. Or at least not allowed to work with nursing moms any longer. First of all, average weight gain in the 4-6 month range is either 3.25-4.5 oz per week or 4-5 oz per week, depending on who you reference (see http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/weight-gain/). Your baby gained 3 oz in 2 weeks, but that's still not indicative of a problem because weight gain can vary quite a lot if you zoom in on the data. Some weeks baby will gain more than the standard, some weeks less. What is important is that he continues to grow overall. I would also be very reluctant to base any conclusions off of measurements taken on 2 different scales, as scales are frequently off in their calibration (which is why I weigh 10 lbs more at my family's doc's office than the ob's). Also, supply is clearly not a problem for you, given the amounts you pump after nursing, and your baby is a nice weight. It's not like he's underweight, though he is a smaller baby.

    Second, the nurse's advice about scheduling was dead wrong, and potentially damaging. Scheduled feedings do NOT result in a baby taking "full" feedings. Milk supply is created by demand, and any time you stretch the baby's demand out to some artificial interval, you're risking a decrease in supply. When you're concerned about a baby's weight gain, the first thing to try is to feed him MORE often, not less.

    With a distracted baby- and 4-6 months is the peak of distractibility!- moms often end up with short, infrequent daytime feedings and frequent nighttime ones, i.e. reverse cuycling. Baby is too busy during the day to nurse really well, so he makes up for it at night. Ha ha! Fun times for mom, right?

    The best thing to do for a distracted baby is to remove him from the distractions, try to nurse him in a dark, quiet place. Of course, this is just not always possible when you have 2 toddlers in your house! If you have a sling or a shawl, you might want to try nursing him in/under that, since if he has some fabric pulled over him he may be less distracted by those fascinating toddlers.

    I am sure that the lack of sleep is driving you bonkers. Been there, done that! But please don't worry that it is hurting your baby. Babies naturally have shorter, lighter sleep cycles than adults, and it is entirely normal for them to wake frequently and require adult help to get back to sleep. Being up 10 times a night will not harm a baby's brain development AT ALL.
    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

    Default Re: 5 Month Old-Short Day Nursings & Up All Night

    Thank you for your comment and advice! We are going to continue to feed on demand and not do a schedule. We spoke to our Ped. on Friday and he suspects Callen has reflux. We are trying some meds for that. I also have a chiro appt made for him on Monday. I'm also focusing on getting quiet activities together for the toddlers so I can breastfeed him in a quieter environment. Since doing this, Callen's been sleeping better at night (knock on wood), only up 4 times a night. Your encouragement means the world! Thank you so much!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    I live in Jonesville, NC

    Default Re: 5 Month Old-Short Day Nursings & Up All Night

    Just wanted to let you know you are not alone on this issue. My 6 month old does this. I have some days when I feel very overwhelmed because I work and also have 3 other children. When they want to reverse cycle it is hard. My son doesn't like the bottle while he is at daycare and waits for me to nurse him at home and at night. I put him in a sling as soon as we get home so I can get things done with my other children. I hope your nights get easier and you get some rest.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 5 Month Old-Short Day Nursings & Up All Night

    It is actually normal and quite common for a baby who slept longer periods in the early months to stop sleeping such long periods and to wake more frequently at night to nurse or otherwise be comforted as they get more "awake" and aware developmentally.
    I don't know that I would call this reverse cycling, as to me, that suggests there is something abnormal about it-that baby is doing the "reverse" of what is normal. Yet that is not the case. A babies frequent waking may be frustrating for the parents but is not indicative of any health or developmental issue for the child.

    It is often said, in fact I've said it myself, that the definition of "sleeping through the night" means only five hours of consecutive sleep. But even that is a big overstatement of the facts it turns out. I was just reading an explanation of a study that was done on the sleep of two and nine month olds. This study has been purported to show that the majority of babies "sleep through the night". But in fact that is not what it showed it all. The doctor conducting the study defined sleeping through the night not that the baby slept for five hours, but that the baby stayed in her crib between midnight and five in the morning. However since this was a study that filmed the babies, what The film actually showed that only 15% of the two month olds and 33% of the nine-month-olds slept continuously without waking up from midnight until five in the morning. That means the majority of both age groups were waking more often than even every 5 hours!
    By the way this study was done in 1979 in the US. Of course the vast majority of American children were exclusively formula fed at that time. Although the study does not mention it, presumably the majority if not all of the babies in this study were formula fed babies.
    I got this information from the book "kiss me! how to raise your children with love" by Carlos Gonzalez. I heartily recommend this excellent book. IMO Parents have been tied into knots for too long by incorrect, unsubstantiated and outright made up fictions about what is normal when it comes to sleep and other infant and child behaviors.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 5 Month Old-Short Day Nursings & Up All Night

    My suggestion would be to try bed sharing again. not because this would necessarily result in baby sleeping any longer, although it might, but maybe it would mean that you could sleep more if you are not getting up and down constantly all night long. As far as the restlessness, Perhaps your room was too hot or baby dressed too warmly or the bed was not quite big enough. Also it is possible that babies who sleep with mom as a matter of course are less restless in bed then babies who are only brought to the bed sporadically when mom simply can't handle getting up anymore. So maybe some adjustments and a more routine arrangement would help baby be less restless.

  7. #7

    Default Re: 5 Month Old-Short Day Nursings & Up All Night

    Thank you so much for all this sleep advice! I took Callen back to Public Health today to be weighed and he has gained 3 ounces in 6 days. Things I've done differently include nursing him in a quiet room while I put the toddlers in high chairs with activities like play dough, stickers, etc. I'm offering the breast repeatedly, even if he turns it down once or twice. The reflux meds seem to have made a different in his sleep as well. He's only been waking up ever 2-4 instead of the every 1-3. I'm not going to worry about his sleep anymore. I'm going to focus on going back to co-sleeping and so far, he seems to enjoy co-sleeping again for his 1pm nap when all the other toddlers are sleeping! :-)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 5 Month Old-Short Day Nursings & Up All Night

    So glad there was good news on the weight gain and that the reflux meds seem to be helping. It sounds as if you have come up with some creative ways to work in some more nursing times during the day. You are a trooper. Just reading about your busy day makes me tired!

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