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Thread: Balancing sleep & feeding

  1. #1

    Default Balancing sleep & feeding

    My daughter is 7 weeks old and is EBF. She's starting to have long stretches of sleep at night (5-7 hours) and then sleeps another 2-3 hours after I nurse her. It's getting very difficult to get 8 feeds in each day, especially with trying to help her nap more consistently during the day. My husband thinks I need to make sure that she naps more, but I feel like making sure she eats enough is more important, especially since she's barely gaining weight. I also have some concerns about my supply (and am taking multiple measures to help), but if she's just falling asleep during the day, am not sure whether I should wake her to eat if it's been 2-3 hours, or just let her sleep. Any advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Default Re: Balancing sleep & feeding

    Can you maybe sneak in another feeding during that 5-7 hr stretch at night does she stir around at any point? I know generally everyone says not to wake a sleeping baby. I'd aim for feeding her every 2-3 hrs after her night's sleep but if she's taking long naps when she is awake offer her your breast frequently.
    How is her diaper output? Does she seem happy and content? Have you been regularly weighing her to know she's slowly gaining? She is gaining though so that's great. Also-sometimes babies switch around their feeding habits so if she is starting to sleep longer this week, it could change next week. Of course if you feed her more it'll help your supply increase.
    I tend to agree with you about wanting to feed her more rather than trying to get her to sleep all the time. As they get older they will be awake more. My baby never naps too long 20m naps like 3 times a day and she's a great healthy happy baby.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Balancing sleep & feeding

    Can you be more specific about "barely gaining weight?"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Balancing sleep & feeding

    Infants sleep. Any sort of expectation of a schedule is one for adults, not babies. Personally, I would wake to feed her in the middle of the night. If you can lay down to "dream nurse" her, that will get another feeding in with only minimal wake time for both of you.
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  5. #5
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Balancing sleep & feeding

    If weight gain is an issue than the first step is to nurse more, especially if you are struggling to get to 8 feeds per day - most babies that age will be nursing 10-12 times or more in 24 hours. Some babies are sleepy and they do need to be woken up to nurse. Nursing more is not going to prevent her from getting enough sleep, but too much sleep can prevent her from nursing enough. At night, is baby in bed or in the room with you? Is she being swaddled or have a pacifier? You want to nurse if there is any sign of stirring or movement, and un-swaddle and un-pacify if you are doing so to help promote frequent nursing.

    Here are tips for gentle waking:
    https://www.llli.org/docs/0000000000...py_newborn.pdf

  6. #6

    Default Re: Balancing sleep & feeding

    I would very much prefer not to have to wake her in the middle of the night. I've been weighing her weekly for the past few weeks, and she gained 3 oz one week, 7 oz the next, and 4 oz last week. I've been trying to feed her every 2 hours during the day, but we're also really struggling with napping, so she may have just fallen asleep when it's time for a feed, and then I'm not sure what to do. I tried pumping after each feed this weekend, but she was spending 1 hour per feed, and then after pumping, it was about 45 minutes before the next feed and it never seemed like she was getting enough to eat, so I quit pumping after each feed and gave her a bottle of pumped milk this afternoon. She is swaddled to sleep at night, but no pacifier during sleep. She does sleep in a bassinet right next to my bed, and I haven't noticed her stirring in the middle of the night, unless I"m just sleeping through it. We have her 8 week doctor's visit this week, so I'll see what the doctor says as well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    NY
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    527

    Default Re: Balancing sleep & feeding

    It sounds like you are actively trying to schedule naps, or at least make them more predictable. I would suggest that your baby is very young to be doing anything predictable with respect to sleep, and if you are having trouble maintaining an appropriate number of feedings, I personally would suggest that you throw the nap scheduling concept out the window. My 7 week old had only just started consistently sleeping at ALL at night at that age, never mind anything at all about predictable naps during the day!

    Are you feeding baby on demand at this point? You say you've been trying to feed her every 2 hours, and mention that baby sometimes falls asleep for naps when it is "time" for a feed. Really and truly, scheduling is the enemy of successful breastfeeding. If you are struggling with weight gain, now is the time to stop doing everything you are currently doing to create a sleep schedule or otherwise encourage long stretches of sleep.
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Balancing sleep & feeding

    I agree with the pp. Is it you've been trying to feed at least every two hours if she hadn't cued yet? Or you're feeding according to the clock? Newborns are rarely predictable sleep or feeding wise. They tend to fall into their own routine around 3-4 months old and even that changes regularly with milestones and teething, etc.
    If you're the slightest bit concerned with growth, stop worrying about nap schedules and focus on nursing as often as possible. The newborn stage is really short. You'll be chasing a toddler soon! I guarantee you won't regret the time spent on the couch nursing! Oh and you can always try to latch her on while she naps. Most babies love sleepy dream feeds.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Balancing sleep & feeding

    At this point baby should be gaining at least 5-7 oz per week. See this link:
    http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/weight-gain/

    It doesn't sound like your LO is hitting that amount of weight gain. Agree with PP's suggestions not to worry about nap schedules. And if need be nurse at night. I know it's tiring but it's really important for baby to be getting enough milk, and the best way to ensure that happens is to nurse frequently.

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