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Thread: Sleep Nursing and nursing for a long time

  1. #1
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    Default Sleep Nursing and nursing for a long time

    So if we are supposed to let the baby nurse till they are done with the breast before pulling them off and switching sides or deciding they are done with the feeding.......
    What are we supposed to do if we have one of those babies who will seemingly effectively nurse in their sleep and would happily stay latched to the breast indefinitely.

    More background on me and my baby can be found in the following thread
    http://forums.llli.org/showthread.ph...te-milk-supply

    Anyway, he has always latched well but has always been sleepy at the breast, well most of the time (probably two feedings a day he will be wide awake, otherwise he usually seems to be basically asleep moments after latching though he will keep sucking and often protest when I try to unlatch him.) Early on I thought this was a sign of him not removing milk effectively but I have noticed that he does actually drain me and is getting milk even when he seems to be sleeping through it.

    But my question is....... Because so many of the writings about it suggest it is best to let baby decide how long a feeding should last........ When Should I decide enough is enough. He will sometimes stay latched to me often for as long as I will sit still. I usually decide that 30-35 minutes per breast is long enough (especially when I'm needing to also pump to increase my milk supply and during certain times of day he will often request to be fed every 1.5 hours, sometimes even more often.

    FYI my milk supply is increasing, I'm making progress. When I do supplement, I'm using the Medela SNS (and he will sometimes take forever to nurse even with that, other times he will drain that so I have to slip the tube out before he sucks in air and then continue nursing on me indefinitely if I don't call an end to it.

    Is it that he is just a big hungry boy?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sleep Nursing and nursing for a long time

    Well, not sure what you'll think of this but... My DD is 21 months old and she will happily stayed latched for over 30 minutes during her last feed before bed. She was always like that, taking her time at the breast.

    Has anyone ever diagnosed a tongue tie? Apparently an issue like that can cause babies to be LESS effective and therefore require longer to drain the breast. I don't know, though.

    Otherwise, are you okay with it! If so, there's no magic number after which you should unlatch him at this point.
    Last edited by @llli*isabelofmtl; April 12th, 2014 at 07:46 PM. Reason: Typo
    Mama to a sweet kitty born July 2012.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sleep Nursing and nursing for a long time

    I had a quick read through of your other thread, and I would say that if you're still concerned about supply, go ahead and let him nurse for as long as you're able/willing to sit with him. All that stimulation can only do good things for your supply! My DD was pretty similar - I pretty much had to hold her for her naps her entire first year or else she wouldn't sleep - and she would stay latched as long as I would let her. If I got tired/irritated by it, I would just slip my pinky in the corner of her mouth and break the suction. If she stayed asleep, yay! If she started rooting around, I'd pop the nipple back in, knowing she needed the comfort to be able to keep sleeping. I think you kind of have to use your best judgement here, and go with what feels right!

    Also, I think as the PP pointed out, tongue tie is worth looking into as well. There's some great info here http://www.kiddsteeth.com/nursingbookaugfc2011.pdf

    Sounds like you've made amazing progress, mama. Keep at it, it's so worth working through the early struggles!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sleep Nursing and nursing for a long time

    I will often let R stay latched on one boob for over a half-hour if she falls asleep. If she wakes up and wants to nurse more we switch sides. One thing I would say though is that if you are worried about supply you want to make sure you are removing milk from both breasts frequently. If after 20 minutes or so the first breast feels soft you could switch. Or you could pump the side he didn't nurse on, especially if it starts to feel full.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sleep Nursing and nursing for a long time

    I think I'm gonna have to try out a sling too now. I already use a Boba wrap and have a Mei Tai as well as a structured soft carrier. Still trying to work out which works best for nursing. However, I'm in a hot climate and have found that I can put him into a carrier and he will nurse at first but then falls to sleep and generally is too asleep to take the other breast and generally won't wake up till I take him out of the carrier because it is just too snug and warm. Seems to be a great way to get him to sleep but not necessary to eat enough.

    Some feedings he is very hungry and effective at draining me but other times seems more interested in playing with the nipple or sleep sucking.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sleep Nursing and nursing for a long time

    HI tclynx I think your question raises some great points. To me, it is about the conflict between theory and practice. BUt first I want to address this:

    So if we are supposed to let the baby nurse till they are done with the breast before pulling them off and switching sides
    actually, when there is low milk production and/or baby not getting enough at the breast due to slow letdown or sleepiness, it is typically recommended for mom to take the initiative and encourage baby to switch sides more often, at least once or more each feeding. Switching sides is a milk production increasing technique and also seems to help with sleepy nurser.

    For the rest, yes, In theory, yes, it is considered "best" to allow (and encourage) a newborn to nurse as much as the newborn wishes (and sometimes to even encourage 'extra' nursing when there is evidence that baby is getting enough milk for some reason.) This can be NORMALLY be incredibly often and incredibly long, even for babies who are not needing supplements and moms with more than enough milk. Our current understanding indicates that frequent and effective "emptying" of the breasts (which are never really empty yada yada but I hope everyone understand what I mean) is what increases milk production or keeps it at appropriate levels. It is also normal for baby to nurse in their sleep and yes, milk transfer will happen during this time normally.

    But in practice, where does that leave a mom who has other tasks to perform or just her own needs to take care of? (Yes, you can nurse a child while using the restroom, but who can blame a mom for not wishing to?) Especially if one of those tasks is pumping so baby can be supplemented (when needed) with her own milk, and to further increase milk production?

    All I can say is that 'should' is relative. All a mom 'should' do, in my opinion, is know the facts of normal infant behavior and of milk production and then make it work however it is going to work for her taking those facts into account. So, for example, This may mean pumping sometimes at a time other than right after nursing. It might mean supplementing before a nursing session, or during, or after, any of those can work and it need not be the same each time. If might mean unlatching baby when you need even if baby is not 'done' at least some of the time.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sleep Nursing and nursing for a long time

    Don't you love Meg?
    Mama to a sweet kitty born July 2012.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sleep Nursing and nursing for a long time

    I'm not sure if the few week age difference is important here regarding sleepiness, but my week old baby does the same. I probably see his eyes open for a total of an hour a day. Otherwise he nurses every sleep cycle during the day. As long as I don't need to pee or something I leave him latched for as long as he wants or wake him up a bit with a diaper change and switch sides. I did make sure to switch sides as often as possible from the beginning to ensure a good supply. So sorry you got such terrible advice at the start. Glad you're making progress. Keep going mama!

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