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Thread: nursing 4 month old too often?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Default nursing 4 month old too often?

    I tend to comfort nurse/ bed share with my babies. I did this with my first son, and ended up regretting it terribly because I created a horrible sleeper! I nursed him so often, and when he would make the slightest peep at night, that he never learned how to sleep without nursing and would almost never nap. he was so dependent on nursing to sleep that he wouldnt even sleep in strollers or in the car and scream for hours. I just wanted a happy rested baby and messed up bad. Finally at 18 months I had to wean and do cry it out. I told myself with second child I was going to do things differently....WELL....my 2nd son is 4 months and i somehow did the exact same thing. I am working on doing a gentle no cry (pantley pull off) and it seems to be working very slowly. My only question is, I dont see my son going 3 or 4 hours between feeds. I feed him when he wakes up, and feed him before he goes down for a nap an hour later...I also feed him back to sleep when he wakes up after 45 min nap. everywhere I read it says I need to feed him when he wakes up and lay him down within an hour without a feeding. why is this important? Im not really sure if I have a great supply, my breasts never really feel full because I nurse so often..... if i stop nursing so often that would prob help him truly get full right? is feeding him so often affecting my sleep training? I just want to be able to enjoy my baby and enjoy breastfeeding!!

  2. #2
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: nursing 4 month old too often?

    everywhere I read it says I need to feed him when he wakes up and lay him down within an hour without a feeding. why is this important?
    It is not. It is absolute nonsense. If there is a shred of evidence such a ridiculous thing is required for a child to sleep normally I would love to see it.

    Here is what I suggest. Get the book Sweet Sleep. Read the whole book including the section on what sleep research really has proven about infant sleep, normal sleep development, and sleep training in part 5 (I think it's part 5.)

    Personally I think you will find that you did not cause your child to have the sleep issues you had. Many, many mothers bedshare and nurse their babies and toddlers to sleep and with no limits but find it entirely possible and common for the child to fall sleep other ways (in the car, etc) and that the child gets enough sleep overall and sleep development and sleep consolidation occurs entirely naturally and fine when baby is developmentally ready. What you describe with your oldest never sleeping except when nursed to sleep even as a toddler is unusual. However, If you still think, after reading that, that nursing to sleep and bedsharing etc. caused your older child to have sleep issues, then I suggest you can then look at some reasonable sleep training suggestions several months from now when your child is no longer entirely living on breastmilk and is more developmentally ready to sleep longer stretches and to be comforted to sleep with other measures aside from nursing. Reasonable would be things that sound reasonable developmentally, and make sense for your lifestyle.

    Here are some tips. If a book or article claims that if you follow it, you can make a 4 month old infant sleep much longer than is normal or healthy, (anything over about 8 hours at a time or 12 to 15 hours total in a 24 hour day)- run. If the book or article tells you to limit the frequency of at the breast feedings, run. If the book or article suggests any breastfed OR bottle fed baby can healthily get enough to eat in less than about 6-10 meals a day, run. If the book or article insists you have to live on some rigid schedule all day so your child will sleep at night, run. If the book insists you put baby down such and such times a day at such and such time after feeding, or in any other way makes you and your family a slave to some made up schedule, run. These are unreasonable plans. They not only make no sense and would drive the average busy mom crazy, they are dangerous for milk production and for babies.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; January 5th, 2016 at 02:07 PM.

  3. #3
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: nursing 4 month old too often?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*maddieb View Post
    If a book or article claims that if you follow it, you can make a 4 month old infant sleep much longer than is normal or healthy, (anything over about 8 hours at a time or 12 to 15 hours total in a 24 hour day)- run. If the book or article tells you to limit the frequency of at the breast feedings, run. If the book or article suggests any breastfed OR bottle fed baby can healthily get enough to eat in less than about 6-10 meals a day, run. If the book or article insists you have to live on some rigid schedule all day so your child will sleep at night, run. If the book insists you put baby down such and such times a day at such and such time after feeding, or in any other way makes you and your family a slave to some made up schedule, run. These are unreasonable plans. They not only make no sense and would drive the average busy mom crazy, they are dangerous for milk production and for babies.
    So that there aren't even words for it.

    It does seem to make sense that if you nurse less often, your breasts will be more full and your baby will take bigger meals, and stay full longer. But it just doesn't work that way! First, you cannot make a breastfed baby take bigger meals by making him wait longer. His tummy is the size it is, and you cannot force-feed a baby with the breast. When his tiny tummy is full, he's going to stop eating. Second, the longer you go between feedings, the more your body gets the message that demand is low and supply needs to decrease. This is why scheduled feedings can quickly kill your supply.

    If you want to enjoy your baby and enjoy breastfeeding, I really recommend throwing the clock away, throwing the advice books away, and letting go of the idea that you can or should be controlling your baby's sleep patterns by how or when you feed him. That is putting way too much pressure on you to achieve something that is completely unrealistic.

    It sounds like you are more worried about what might happen in the future than what is happening today. Is that accurate? Or are there issues that you're facing right now that you want to talk about? If so, maybe we can help you find reasonable solutions to those challenges, or maybe just reassure you that they are normal!

  4. #4
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    Sep 2012
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    Default Re: nursing 4 month old too often?

    Thanks ladies for the replies!! I am no way a "scheduled feeder" in fact my instincts are far from that nor am I trying to get my 4 month old to sleep through the night. That is not my concern at all and I know it is completely normal and healthy for those night feedings!! I will for sure read SWEET SLEEP. I am working on a nap schedule just so i can make sure he is getting enough sleep throughout the day. I used to think you shouldnt have to sleep train your baby, but based off of my experiences with both kids i feel like it would help me. I have always been against cry it out, it was against all my instincts, but my older child 18 months and waking up every 2 hours to nurse back to sleep and becoming harder and harder to fall asleep. I was rocking and nursing him all night and was miserable, you could tell he wasnt even hungry! just had no idea how to fall asleep on his own, he was doing what i taught him...that you only fall asleep at the breast. After cry it out he slept through the night and was a much happier toddler . That doesnt mean im an advocate for CIO, I feel like if you do things right when they are little, they can have a positive sleep association and be well rested. my 4th month old currently will not take more than tiny cat naps, and is tired and fussy. even when i work hard to lay him down before he gets overtired. sometimes I can nurse him back to sleep when he wakes up and he will sleep another 45 minutes, but not always...and it takes a while!! my poor 3 yr old shouldnt have to wait for me while im trying to get his brother to sleep all day. Also, car rides he is usually screaming, at the store he is usually screaming (because movement in car makes him sleepy or movement in the cart) as his mama I know it is his sleepy cry and he is wondering "why am I not nursing, I want to go to sleep!". He has never fallen asleep on his own since he was born. I also feel like a baby that has been "gently" (no crying!!) taught to self soothe can be around more noise and sleep heavier during a nap, because if a noise wakes him up, he simply just closes his eyes and goes back to sleep, (vs my babies would fully awake and be like..."hey! im not nursing anymore!! wheres my BOOB!") . I dont want to have to keep my older son quiet, want him to be himself and play and be loud! Hopefully Sleep Sense will help me. I feel like I obsess about sleep and dont want things to be that way. We never go out, because if we do, my 4 month old can seriously go a full day without a nap. If it is possible to co sleep, nurse baby completely to sleep every time, and have baby sleep whenever he is sleepy (no nap schedule) and still have a very rested happy baby, not sure why I cant do it. thanks again!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: nursing 4 month old too often?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*anarevalo1122 View Post
    I used to think you shouldnt have to sleep train your baby, but based off of my experiences with both kids i feel like it would help me.
    But why do you think it would help? At this point, I mean? My understanding with sleep training is that it's not like you do it one time and then you're good for the rest of your baby's babyhood/toddlerhood. Instead, you end up having to re-train your baby every time teething kicks in, or new developmental advances, or illness, or whatever. This is why I think it makes sense to let your baby be a baby while he is a baby, and sleep-train in the future, when he's less dependent on you and your milk.

    If it is possible to co sleep, nurse baby completely to sleep every time, and have baby sleep whenever he is sleepy (no nap schedule) and still have a very rested happy baby, not sure why I cant do it.
    Maybe you can't do it because of your kids' personalities? It sounds like you have kiddos who are on the more alert, high-needs end of the spectrum. That's a good thing, in the long run- you end up with kids who tend to be more empathetic, more outgoing, higher achieving... What I mean is that I just don't think you need to blame yourself or your mothering style for the way your kids are. I know it's hard to be the mom of demanding kids, especially when one is an impatient and active 3 year-old and the other is a barely-out-of-the-newborn-stage baby. But I don't think you need to feel like you created a difficult situation by making the wrong choices as a mom. Give yourself a break!!!

  6. #6

    Default Re: nursing 4 month old too often?

    Hi llli*anarevalo1122, and thanks for your entry! I cannot help but feel like I'm doing the exact same thing you are doing!
    My 3 month old beautiful little girl is co-sleeping with me and wants my breast every time she wakes up, which can be 10 times some nights and 4 times other nights. In the day time I also rock and nurse to make her fall asleep and many times I would then not be able to put her down or make her continue sleep with someone else rocking her - she wants my breast. I also had problems during the day with her sleeping in a very shallow way, waking up so easily.

    But recently I've discovered something that changed how deep her sleep was: the sooner I see her signs that she wants to sleep, the quicker she falls asleep in my arms and the deeper her sleep is! So what are the signs that I'm looking for? Well, yawning and rubbing of the eyes, but that can actually already be too late! If your baby is anything like my daughter she needs to sleep sooner than that! For my daughter it is when her movements with arms and legs get more jerky and when she starts to 'talk' - you know, that continuous wawawa that babies do. If I catch it in time and start to nurse and rock her then, she's out after 5 minutes and she sleeps really deep then. If I on the other hand wait too long (and this can be a matter of minutes) it can take 40 minutes to get her to sleep, only for her to wake up from the tiniest things and want 40 minutes of the same routine. So my tip: try to catch it earlier! My little one is very consistent with her tells, so I just sort of listen to her and live my life around her. And by now I've figured out a kind of schedule that she seems happy with, but of course it can vary from day to day depending on growth spurts etc.
    Regarding the fact that you use the breast as your tool: I believe the breasts are not only there for food, but for comfort and warmth and cuddle-time and closeness. I don't think neither you nor I are creating a bad habit in our children. I believe that we listen to their needs and meet them. And this is what they need. Like another mother here wrote: they might be a little high-needs. But I personally don't mind it! People do look at me in a weird way, nursing her everywhere, asking 'isn't she full soon?' But they just don't get it. And that's OK. At least for me it is.
    I hope what I wrote helped a little, at least in the way that you now know you're not alone and that there are other moms who also choose to nurse for sleeping without any fear of creating a bad habit.
    Last edited by @llli*aengfors; January 10th, 2016 at 04:07 PM.

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