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Thread: Overnight Feedings

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    15

    Default Overnight Feedings

    Hi Everyone - new here! My daughter is 5 weeks old and we are EBF. We had a bit of a rocky start as she was in the NICU for her first week and due to her treatment was fed via IV for the first 72 hours. Luckily, despite this, she has a great latch and BF has gone fairly smoothly since then. She's been gaining steadily (from 8 lbs to 11 lbs) and has consistent wet/dirty diapers. Apologies in advance for being so long winded.

    Our biggest challenge has been dealing with OALD and I've been block feeding and using gravity to help based on recommendations from a LC for the past two weeks, which has seemed to help. My question is about overnight feeds - so far, she's been a great sleeper, and has been doing a 5-6 hour stretch to start. We have to wake her 3 hours later to give her meds, but my suspicion is she would do another 5-6 hour stretch if we didn't wake her (she eats and goes right back to sleep for another 3 hours after her meds).

    She's going off her meds next week and I'm wondering if she does do another longer stretch, how will it impact my supply given that I'm block feeding/assuming that she only continues to take one breast per feeding at night? Basically it would mean that I would go almost 12 hours without feeding from one breast (and 8ish hours without feeding from the other breast). Beyond the discomfort of being full, would it make my supply tank? Any thoughts on how to best manage this? Should I be doing something different at night and just block feeding during the day? Am I totally misguided in what I'm doing?

    TIA for any advice

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,120

    Default Re: Overnight Feedings

    As long as you are following your baby's lead, and are willing to change things if she seems to want/need them to change, I don't think you need to worry. Long sleep stretches are a gift- one that probably won't last, so you really can just enjoy it while you can, if you want. If you are worried about your supply or just uncomfortably full, you can always continue to wake your baby and feed her. If she were mine, I would wake her at night for one additional reason, and that's fertility. When a baby routinely goes >6 hours without eating, a mom's fertility is more likely to return and while you can certainly continue to nurse when you have your period, it's better for your health to go longer without it, and it's a hassle. And what new mom needs more hassles in her life?
    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
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,602

    Default Re: Overnight Feedings

    I agree that the concern would be that you are block nursing as well as baby taking long sleep stretches. So I would wonder if the block nursing protocol might need adjusting, because of how this might harm your milk production long term.

    I would suggest reading Nancy Mohrbachers article on the do's and don'ts of block nursing. If anything she suggests is not in keeping with what your LC suggested, you might want to discuss that with your LC if you like. http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/blog/tag/block-feeding

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    15

    Default Re: Overnight Feedings

    Thanks so much for your responses! I'm definitely following DD's lead and will adjust to whatever her needs are over time, just want to make sure I'm not doing things wrong. Sorry for the delayed reply – I was having issues logging in because I didn’t know I needed to put @llli* before my ID and kept getting locked out!

    I wanted to give a quick update and ask for a little more advice. Since I posted we’ve discontinued block feeding since she seems to be managing feedings much better. She’s still only taking one breast per feeding though and seems satisfied afterwards (we still have good weight gain and plentiful wet/dirty diapers). During the day she’s eating every 1.5-3 hours, this seems to work well and I’m not getting engorged, but she’s still doing longer stretches at night (two 5-6 hour stretches) and obviously I’m pretty engorged at these feedings.

    I’m interested in starting to pump to begin to build up a stash for occasional solo outings and when I go back to work but am a little fearful given our issues with OALD and potential OS. Since she only takes one breast during her MOTN feed and then the other in the morning, one breast goes untouched overnight and is super full for her morning feed. I don’t feel like she’s fully emptying that breast in the morning (though she typically actively eats for 15-20 min) and today I pumped it afterwards out of curiosity and got around 1.5 oz. It seems like it would make sense to pump shortly after this feed but I’m wondering if I should only pump the breast she’s eaten from or both breasts. I know pumping will cue my body to make more milk so I’m very hesitant to overdo it, but I’ve also read that pumping is more productive when pumping both breasts at once (I have a Medela PISA). Thoughts about this? Pumping is also not a necessity at this point if it will mess with my supply too much - I was just considering it given how full I am in the morning and the long stretches she’s currently doing at night. TIA for your help!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Overnight Feedings

    How long do you have before going back to work? If you still have a good while, I would continue to avoid the pump so as to avoid exacerbating the oversupply problem. If you're looking at a return inside a couple of months, it might be a good idea to start some very minimal pumping. Maybe once a day, one breast at a time. If you end up with just 1-1.5 oz at a time, you'll have a pretty significant stash by the time you go back to your job. Many moms return to work with just a day's worth of expressed milk in the fridge, because they aren't going to be only relying on their stash- they'll be bringing home fresh milk from work every day.

    When you do return to work, remember that average intake for a breastfed baby is just 2-4 oz a a time, and that the baby needs about 1.5 oz of expressed milk per hour of separation. If you're at work 8 hours, that's just 12 oz- and if you're getting 1.5 oz per pump and pumping once a day, it's going to take you just 8 days to have a full workday's worth of milk!
    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!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    15

    Default Re: Overnight Feedings

    Thanks for your response and the helpful information! I'm going back to work in about 6 weeks. I think I'll go ahead and pump once a day on one breast. Should I pump the breast she's most recently eaten from or the fuller one?

  7. #7
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Overnight Feedings

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*ccb52914 View Post
    Should I pump the breast she's most recently eaten from or the fuller one?
    As long as you're watching yourself for signs that even limited pumping is too much, I don't think it really matters.
    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!"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    15

    Default Re: Overnight Feedings

    Ok thanks - I just wasn't sure if pumping the full breast (which would yield 3-4 oz.) would cause more supply fluctuation than the 1-1.5 oz from the emptier breast.

  9. #9
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Overnight Feedings

    It's really hard to say with any certainty whether your individual body would respond better to pumping the nursed-on breast or the one that hadn't been nursed on. All you can do is try one or both options and see what happens! Since you do have some oversupply going on, I would aim to remove small amounts of milk- say 1-2 oz- rather than larger ones (3-4 oz, or more). It's not necessary to always pump to the point of emptiness, particularly when you have high supply. Just get the milk you need, and let the milk you've left in the breast signal your body that it needs to slow down on the production front.
    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!"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Overnight Feedings

    I will do just that! Thanks for all of your help!

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