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Thread: Sleeping through feedings

  1. #1

    Default Sleeping through feedings

    Hi Team,

    I'm a new mama, and I need some breastfeeding advice!

    My daughter is five weeks old, and she's a champion feeder. She was born at 8 lbs 2 oz and she weighs 12 lbs now. She's had a good latch from day one, and she's exclusively breastfed. She's wetting and pooping a lot of diapers every day... so many that I stopped counting them because it's fine. My supply seems good: I can always hand-express a little even at the end of a feeding when dd is full and milk-drunk.

    My only concern is that she REALLY wants to sleep through the night. I set alarms for every 3-4 hours to wake her up, but a couple of times I've slept through them, and the baby has slept a full 8 hours. I know I'm not sleeping through her crying or anything because my husband wakes up lightly and, when the baby cries, the pet dog gets very worried and would wake me.

    When I first started feeding her I was told to wake her to establish my milk supply and make sure she got enough to eat. At five weeks, do I need to worry about this as much? Or can I relax a little and let her sleep the way she wants to at night?

    Any advice would be helpful. I can hide alarms across the room, or get my husband to set an alarm and wake me up, if I need to. But if I don't need to, I'd love to take advantage of my awesome luck and just sleep a full night like this baby wants to!

    Thank you!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Sleeping through feedings

    Sounds like you are doing an awesome job! I am new to posting to the forum, so hopefully someone with more experience will chime in. My advice is that if you do start to let her sleep those long stretches, you might want to ease into it to avoid mastitis or plugged ducts. How do your breasts feel after an eight hour stretch? If you start to feel uncomfortable during the night, you can always nurse baby at that point or hand express into the sink or a towel.

    If you cut out the night nursing, how many times would your daughter nurse in a 24 hour period? To me it seems like you could let her sleep (as long as you're not getting engorged during the night), since nursing is going so well and she is gaining weight like a champ.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,754

    Default Re: Sleeping through feedings

    Some babies really can sleep this long at this age, and it is fine. It is not common, but it happens. I agree with marians.mom, if baby will not nurse but you are getting full, a little hand expression can be your good friend! I also agree that overall nursing frequency makes a difference. If baby sleeping 8 hours means baby does not nurse often enough overall, that is much more of a potential problem than if baby is nursing 8-12 times at least per 24 hours.
    That said, many modern infant care practices may increase sleep length and reduce nursing frequency unnaturally. Here are some things to think about:
    Is baby sleeping in a different room from where you are over this period?
    Is baby swaddled for sleep?
    Is baby given a pacifier at night?
    If your baby sleeps in your room, is not swaddled for sleep, and is not using a pacifier at night, the next step you might consider is baby sleeping on the same surface that you are- your bed or a mattress on the floor (not a couch or chair.) This can be done safely in most cases, you just need to know what precautions to take and what situations may not be safe. Here is more info should you be interested: http://www.llli.org/sweetsleepbook/tearsheets

    Also be aware that this sleep length may reduce on its own as baby ages and baby may well start requesting to nurse more overnight in a few days, weeks or months. This is normal and not an indication anything is wrong.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; April 3rd, 2016 at 10:34 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Sleeping through feedings

    Thank you both so much for the advice/feedback! Baby girl is a big eater, so I'm not worried about her eating enough overall. She's never had a day where she fed fewer than ten times, including the two days she (and I) slept through our night feeding! She's often at 12 by the time we go to bed.

    I do, however, get very full breasts when we have missed a feeding. This happened last night, and this morning when I pumped I got four ounces from each breast quite quickly. If she nurses and then I pump right when I wake up, are complications like mastitis still a big risk?

    DD does sleep in our room in a bassinet beside the bed. She is swaddled, but no pacifier. As it's warmer, we might try foregoing the swaddle and see if that helps her wake up (and thereby helps me wake up)!

    I figure her desire to sleep through the night probably won't last forever -- that would be too easy! But that does make me more inclined to take advantage of it now if it's safe for her and me to do so...

    Thanks again!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,754

    Default Re: Sleeping through feedings

    If she nurses and then I pump right when I wake up, are complications like mastitis still a big risk?
    Mastitis is a risk whenever the breasts become full for any period of time. There are other things that increase risk of mastitis, like injured nipples, mom being overly tired/run down, an unresolved plug... So if all that is fine and the only thing that is happening is the fullness, your risk is less, but still more than if there was no regular period of fullness, if that makes sense. And some moms are just more prone to mastitis than others. So it is hard to say!
    Unless you need to in order to relieve engorgement, I would suggest do not pump- or in any case, do not pump past the point of gaining some comfort. If your breasts are getting full overnight, but baby has no interest in nursing at that time and is gaining well, then you are already making more than enough milk for baby. Pumping or pumping "too much" will act to increase milk production, and you probably do not want that.

    When my youngest was a newborn, I got mastitis and an awful plug. So when I got very full overnight but she was just sleeping away, I set an alarm also. I put my cell phone under my pillow and set the alarm. But yes sometimes I slept through it or I woke, but baby would not nurse. In those cases I usually nursed as soon as possible or, if baby was asleep, I hand expressed as needed.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; April 3rd, 2016 at 08:54 PM.

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