Happy Mothers Breastfed Babies
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13

Thread: Working, Sleeping, and feeding for a 7.5 mth old

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    12

    Default Working, Sleeping, and feeding for a 7.5 mth old

    Hi,

    I am really struggling with going back to work. My baby is 7.5 months and was exclusively breastfed until recently. I have added a little bit of food and am supplementing twice a day (I was previously extracting, but that was really hard on me). That has really relieved alot of my stress. Now I am dealing with the sleep issue...

    She wakes up like every hour. Literally, if not more. I have tried co-sleeping and she just wants to eat all night. I try turning back to her, but she just cries. Sometimes I can calm her down by rubbing her tummy, but that doesn´t last long. She is okay if she lays on top of me. She still wants to eat alot, but it´s more manageable. Most of the things I read say that if you don´t want to do cry it out that the best strategy is a good schedule with maybe some controlled crying (she is super dependent on being held, which we can somewhat deal with).

    WRT a schedule, I am really not sure what is an appropriate feeding schedule. I need to balance what is realistic with my desire to breastfeed as much as possible (I don´t want to add more supplements even though that might be more conventient) without going sane for lack of sleep. WRT naps, they are not that great, usually 30 minutes. In any case, she is really sweet during the day. She doesn´t behave badly or act overtired. And I really try to get her tired. I am always working with to practice standing up and now she has started crawling everywhere so I stay on the ground with her getting her to move as much as possible.

    Ok, this is the new schedule that I recently made. I also give her carrots, beets, squash, celery as a snack to chew on, but I don´t list that here because she doesn´t actually eat it, she just sucks on it.

    6:30 wakeup/breastfeed
    8:00 breastfeed/nap
    9:30 3 TB homemade baby food (meat with a vegetable)
    11:00 3 oz formula/nap
    2:00 3 oz formula/nap
    4:00 3 TB homemade baby food
    5:00 breastfeed
    6:00 start night time ritual
    6:30 sleeping
    8:30 dream feed (wake her for this feeding)
    11:00 dream feed (wake her for this feeding)
    4:00 wake for feeding (this could be anytime between 11 and 6:30)

    If she wakes up other times, then I will just rock her back to sleep or something instead of feeding her.

    Does this seem ok? Too much? Too little? Too little around bedtime? Unrealistic expectations for feeding during the night???

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,389

    Default Re: Working, Sleeping, and feeding for a 7.5 mth old

    Hi and welcome to the forum!

    It must be very hard to have your baby waking you so much at night. While frequent night nursing at this age is typical, especially when there are separations from mom during the day, baby waking every hour or less all night without let up is a bit unusual and of course, very tiring. Whether or not a schedule would help at all (more below) I am wondering what you could do right now to help yourself get a little more sleep.

    It sounds like you have tried bedsharing and are not finding that it results in any more sleep for you? Are you finding that you cannot sleep while baby nurses?

    What about help at night? Is there anyone else who could be comforting your baby part of the night so you can get longer stretches of sleep? This does not mean feed baby! I am assuming if you are considering a schedule then you do not think your baby actually needs to eat 10 times overnight- I do not either. Baby wanting to nurse does not necessarily mean baby needs any food at that moment. So in that case, when baby wakes, can someone else take baby and comfort baby another way for a bit? Baby may eventually still need to nurse, but this way you can get a little longer sleep.

    Unfortunately I am not aware of any studies or science that suggest that putting baby on a "good schedule" will result in baby waking less often or not wanting to nurse at night, in fact I have no idea that anyone could accurately tell you what a "good schedule" for eating schedule or sleep stretch timing for a 7 month old even is.

    So rather than trying to answer your question I am going to suggest two books. Both are based on known science and include references and sources. One is Sweet Sleep from La Leche League and the other is My Child Won't Eat by Carlos Gonzalez. I understand your baby has no trouble eating, but the book covers in detail things like recommendations on intake, (what and how much) eating frequency, nursing frequency, etc. And I do not mean it gives you a specific feeding plan., I mean, he talks about feeding plans and offers some insight into their origins and rationales.

    I have added a little bit of food and am supplementing twice a day (I was previously extracting, but that was really hard on me).
    Does this mean you are no longer pumping at work or not pumping very often? I am wondering if this has caused your milk production to reduce. If so, it is possible the frequent nursing at night is (at least in part) baby's attempt to increase your milk production. Of course this is instinctual, not intellectual on your baby's part.

    Also, babies nurse for comfort and to get to sleep/back to sleep. This is normal and healthy, one way or another baby will need comforting and nursing is often easier than the alternatives. But if your baby is nursing in part for comfort so very frequently overnight, maybe it is worth investigating what might be causing discomfort/frequent waking. Maybe allergies or sensitivities (foods or environmental) or some problem with the sleep space ( too hot or cold, too noisy or too quiet, too bright or too dark.) etc.

    I would also suggest think about your breastfeeding goals, meaning how long you wish to nurse your child. For example, your schedule above allows for baby to nurse 6 or 7 times in 24 hours...do I have that right? You do not mention nursing your child at 6:30 so it is a little unclear.

    Now for some babies and moms, baby nursing 6 or 7 times is entirely fine. But for others it is not enough either for baby or for mom's ongoing milk production. Milk production depends in a few factors but most important by far is frequency of milk removal. Every mom is a little different in how often milk must be removed from the breasts for her body to keep getting the correct message about how much milk to make.

    For babies, lower nursing frequency can be a problem because if for some reason they drop a few sessions, it quickly becomes a situation where baby is barely nursing at all, and this leads to earlier weaning than mom may have liked.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Working, Sleeping, and feeding for a 7.5 mth old

    Hi maddieb,

    Thanks for your quick response. Answers to your questions...

    1) Co-sleeping... I have had mastitis like 4 times. One of the times was from co-sleeping, that´s what I assume anyway. So now, I lift up my breast when she feeds to avoid it since I know I am prone. Between lifting my breast and her feeding, I cannot sleep. The only thing that works where she doesn´t wake up is if she sleeps on me or my husband. Then she just wakes to feed. Maybe I just have to live with that for now???

    2) Help... Yes, my husband helps me. Alot of times when I know she isn´t hungry, but she is rooting, I give her to him and he stays with her. The problem is that eventually she does get hungry. By the end of all the back and forth all night, we are both exhausted.

    3) I don´t think it is milk supply. This was happening before I supplemented. I actually feel horrible that I am supplementing, but in order to keep my sanity I have agreed with my husband to do this. I could and was pumping, but my pump output is not that great (she is gaining great and has plenty of rolls so I have enough milk). I would have to pump every 2 hours for 30 minutes to get a portion. That is very stressful. In any case, I have decided that is the best decision for me.

    4) My goal is minimum a year. I would like to continue after a year with night and morning feedings (hopefully middle of the feedings reduced to just one or maybe even 2). She used to be a good sleeper. I would put her down at 8pm and she would feed at 2pm, 6am and 8am and that was great for me. I have no issues if she wakes because she is hungry. It´s just all the in betweens that are killing me.

    5) I don´t think it is because she misses me. I have taken some extra time off work recently as I have alot of post partum anxiety so I am currently at home with her alot. Although I could technically breastfeed her during the day, that is part of the plan for me taking time off... to do some things to relieve me of stress.

    6) Yes, I am feeding her at 6:30pm. I decided to go ahead and add that in when I saw your response (I am in Chile and so she is already in bed).

    As a side note, it just ocurred to me that I could pump during lunch for one night time feeding so that my husband can give to her. This was the first week that I added the second supplement so I can probably get my supply up enough to get one portion that. I DO NOT want lose another feeding as I am trying to avoid exactly the thing you mentioned about dropping sessions. It is VERY important to me that we maintain a good breastfeeding relationship!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,389

    Default Re: Working, Sleeping, and feeding for a 7.5 mth old

    1) Co-sleeping... I have had mastitis like 4 times. One of the times was from co-sleeping, that´s what I assume anyway. So now, I lift up my breast when she feeds to avoid it since I know I am prone. Between lifting my breast and her feeding, I cannot sleep. The only thing that works where she doesn´t wake up is if she sleeps on me or my husband. Then she just wakes to feed. Maybe I just have to live with that for now???
    Mastitis is usually caused by not frequent enough milk removal and/or something blocking milk removal, causing a plug to form. So, I assume you think something in your positioning when nursing (or sleeping?) was causing a blockage?
    it used to be thought that nursing in a reclined position caused plugs. This is no longer considered much of a factor, but I guess it is possible depending on the mom.

    For a baby who likes to sleep on top, Have you tried sleeping in a reclining rather than prone position? I found this really helped me sleep more comfortably and nurse more comfortably with those babies who prefer to sleep on top.

    3) I don´t think it is milk supply. This was happening before I supplemented. I actually feel horrible that I am supplementing, but in order to keep my sanity I have agreed with my husband to do this. I could and was pumping, but my pump output is not that great (she is gaining great and has plenty of rolls so I have enough milk). I would have to pump every 2 hours for 30 minutes to get a portion. That is very stressful. In any case, I have decided that is the best decision for me.
    I am very sorry if you think I was somehow judging you for using formula. I am not, I actually did not mention formula. I pointed out the possible issues of a lactating mom not having frequent enough or effective enough milk removal, one of which is lowered milk production, the other of course is milk stasis which might lead to mastitis especially in a mom who has had reoccurring mastitis.

    I would have to pump every 2 hours for 30 minutes to get a portion. That is very stressful. In any case, I have decided that is the best decision for me.
    I get it. You have to do what works for you. Again my concern is for your milk production and (now that I know you are prone to mastitis) your health. I am not sure what a portion is, but If you have normal milk production and cannot get a 2 ounces of milk to extract with your pump over 20 minutes of pumping both sides, then maybe the issue was a pump malfunction, or you needed a more effective or better fitting pump? Some moms just do struggle with milk extraction when pumping, I get it. Again my main concern is that there is some milk removal for your health, and not that formula is avoided.

    As a side note, it just ocurred to me that I could pump during lunch for one night time feeding so that my husband can give to her.
    Well that sounds like a really good idea, because it would take care of my concern that you are going too long without nursing or pumping over your workday, and also might get you a longer sleep stretch at night.

    ). She used to be a good sleeper. I would put her down at 8pm and she would feed at 2pm, 6am and 8am and that was great for me. I have no issues if she wakes because she is hungry. It´s just all the in betweens that are killing me.
    Yes I understand. Unfortunately this is not uncommon- that a baby starts nursing more overnight at this age than they did earlier.

    Postpartum issues are hard. I also had pretty bad post partum anxiety with my third. So bad I needed medication. So believe me, I understand that you need time to take care of yourself and you need more sleep. Also, just fyi, I found that with time and the right treatment, it gets better.

    Although I could technically breastfeed her during the day, that is part of the plan for me taking time off... to do some things to relieve me of stress.
    I guess what I am wondering is, is someone else taking care of baby? Because I cannot imagine having to take care of my baby and not being able to nurse...nursing (when there are no breastfeeding problems making it hard) is so easy, compared to every thing else one has to do to care for a baby- especially when they start moving around! Also, nursing a baby releases the kinds of hormones that reduce anxiety. Some moms have found that increasing nursing during the day helps baby nurse less overnight. Again, please understand I am not in any way judging. But I have seen many times breastfeeding 'blamed" for issues mom is having that are actually not being caused by breastfeeding at all, so they are not solved by breastfeeding being curtailed.

    It is VERY important to me that we maintain a good breastfeeding relationship!
    Then I have no doubt that you will do so- and that you can do so and still get more sleep.

    I hope the books I suggested are helpful to you. Another you might like is The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; June 8th, 2017 at 09:26 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Working, Sleeping, and feeding for a 7.5 mth old

    Sorry, I didn´t mean to imply that you were looking down on me for using formula. My comment was a reflection of how I feel about myself for making that decision; it had nothing to do with anything you wrote. I read all the posts on these forums and you ladies who respond to us mamas are awesome!!!

    Ok...

    My mother in law helps during the day. She is older and I am a first time mom so figuring out a food schedule is a bit of trial and error for us (plus I have alot of anxiety about pretty much everything these days so having it all worked out before I go back to work helps). That is why I am not nursing her while I am home right now. That being said, I am going to pump at lunch for a night time portion (3oz). In fact, I just finished pumping for tonight and was able to get enough for a portion (I was little worried since I have not been feeding in the day for about a week). Anyway, I can totally pump once a day for a night feeding and more importantly to maintain my supply. I feel alot better about that now! Probably that seemed like a really obvious thing to do, but I overthink so much that I miss those kinds of things.

    I have a few questions...

    This comment... Have you tried sleeping in a reclining rather than prone position... I am sleeping in a reclined position. If I lay down at all, she immediately starts to root. If I stay inclined she will sleep and then wake up to feed, even if it 3 or 4 times at night, it seems totally reasonable to me. I just cannot do the every hour thing, especially when I know it´s not hunger and it´s 4am. It is not the most comfortable position, but I think that´s what I´m stuck with for now. In your experience, does that get easier... the positioning... as they older?

    The other question I have is... Will it create problems if I exclusively breastfeed on the weekends? I assume that would only help my milk supply, but I don´t want to be engorged on Monday and then I *have* to pump. I guess it should be fine because I will be pumping once during the week??

    And yes, I will check out the books you recommended!
    Last edited by @llli*carmenoct24; June 9th, 2017 at 01:01 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,389

    Default Re: Working, Sleeping, and feeding for a 7.5 mth old

    Ok great. First off I think you can use what you pump for nights even if it is less than 3 ounces. There is no law that says every bottle must be 3 ounces.
    If I lay down at all, she immediately starts to root. If I stay inclined she will sleep and then wake up to feed, even if it 3 or 4 times at night, it seems totally reasonable to me. I just cannot do the every hour thing, especially when I know it´s not hunger and it´s 4am. It is not the most comfortable position, but I think that´s what I´m stuck with for now.
    So are you saying that if baby is sleeping on your reclined body (or your husband's) and consequently, she is on her front and her head is a bit elevated, baby sleeps longer than if baby is lying beside you? If so, I wonder if reflux (GERD) is a possibility. Yes, in my experience, some babies sleep best this way and it has nothing to do with reflux. But given the extreme frequency of the night waking, that is another possible medical cause I would suggest ruling out.

    In your experience, does that get easier... the positioning... as they older?
    Do you mean does baby stop needing to sleep on top? In my experience, yes. My on top sleepers both moved to sleeping beside me just fine at some point. (I do not remember exactly when- prior to a year certainly.

    Will it create problems if I exclusively breastfeed on the weekends? I assume that would only help my milk supply, but I don´t want to be engorged on Monday and then I *have* to pump. I guess it should be fine because I will be pumping once during the week??
    I know this is something moms are warned against but I have to say in practice I have not met a mom for whom this was a problem. Most working moms I know nurse over the weekend and baby certainly nurses more often than mom pumps. I think this will be something you can try and see what happens. Being able to relax and just nurse over the weekends is such a gift you do not want to throw out the idea unless/until you know it causes some insurmountable issue, and then you can adjust your practices as needed.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    709

    Default Re: Working, Sleeping, and feeding for a 7.5 mth old

    My baby went from being a somewhat decent sleeper (at least some of the time) for the first six months to all of a sudden awful around the 6-6.5 month mark! I found the No-Cry Sleep Solution book that Maddieb mentioned gave some really helpful tips for getting baby to sleep better. They don't necessarily all work immediately, but are more like long term investments. Things like having a consistent bedtime routine (not necessarily a schedule) - things to help baby wind down and let her know it's sleep time soon.

    A couple of things that I found helped a bit with sleep:
    1) I got rid of the little nightlight we had in the room with us. When my baby was smaller, I needed it to be able to see how I was latching her and make sure she was in a good position, but by the time she was a bit older I think it just contributed to night wakings. Is your room nice and dark at night?

    2) Using a sleep sack. I don't know how warm it is there at night where you are, but I found that I had a much easier time putting my daughter in her crib once she was already asleep when I started putting her in a light baby sleep sack. She never did like being swaddled (she likes some leg room!), but she would jerk her legs when she was put down and wake herself up. The sleep sack keeps her legs just tight enough.

    3) Nursing to almost sleep and then rocking or bouncing the rest of the way. This one can be really difficult and doesn't always happen for me (and we've been working on it for a while), but I find my baby usually sleeps for longer stretches after she falls asleep without the nipple in her mouth. Again, this one might not work for you and I certainly wouldn't want you to give up a nursing session in order to do it. But it might be worth playing around with.

    Hang in there, mama...I know I'm a planner too, and I like to have stuff planned out and organized just so in my head in order to make me feel more in control of things when I can't be there myself. But babies change so fast, I usually find that the things I've planned out either 1) don't work the way I thought they would or 2) barely lasts long enough to have been worth all the worry and stress of planning it out. So go ahead and plan what you can, but please give yourself some grace for when things need to be tweaked. And remember, with regards to solids as in nursing, to follow baby's lead - I know neither of my kids would eat a ton of solids at that age, and that's completely normal! And I would say go ahead and nurse on demand on the weekends and when you're home with baby as much as possible. I don't recall it changing my need to pump at all when I went back after my first (she was over a year though), but it's definitely something you can play around with.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Working, Sleeping, and feeding for a 7.5 mth old

    Thanks for the replies! Things are going pretty well. I nurse on-demand when I am home (and exclusively on the weekends). During the week I pump at lunch, but am not stressing about how much I pump or don´t pump. Currently, she averages one 3oz feeding of formula per day. I am usually gone for two feedings. Today I didn´t have to give her formula, she had expressed breast milk and solids as her two meals. WRT food, sometimes she eats enough for a meal and sometimes she isn´t into it. I do a mix of baby food and baby led weaning and don´t ever give her more than one meal of baby food per day, with no plans to up that quantity anytime soon. I feel like that is a good compromise for me. I am not near as stressed, but I am also maintaining my supply for a long term breastfeeding relationship.

    WRT sleep... She goes down easily (I nurse her to sleep). It´s the waking up after that that is killing me. In terms of laying on top of me, this week she has been okay if I lay her on her stomach - sometimes, even though it only lasts maybe an hour and she is up again. I know I´m not supposed to do that, but she has no other SIDS risk factors and ever since she started waking up so much, she doesn´t like sleeping on her back. I don´t have a pediatrician appointment for another month, but when I go I will ask about GERD. I looked it up and she doesn´t seem to have any symptoms. She used to throw up alot, but at about 6 months, she stopped and even then she was never bothered by throwing up so I just looked at it as a laundry problem as everyone seems to suggest. That being said, I scanned a few articles on GERD and that´s where my knowledge ends.

    In response to carm3... I specifically do not use night lights because it messes with circadian rhythms. That being said, there is some light that comes through the sides of the curtains. I really think she is just waking up and I am not there and she freaks out. I will definitely check out the sleep sack. I used to swaddle her, but she started rolling over and anyway it just kinda lost its magic after awhile.

    I need to read the book about gentle sleep training (I don´t know if it´s appropriate for an 8 mth old). I do worry though because I know she needs to eat at night, just not every hour. I am not sure what is reasonable for an 8mth old. I don´t want to expect behavior from her that is simply doable for her age.

    I am trying to have a better attitude about it. I know that in modern society we force babies to conform to behaviors that aren´t natural for them. At the same, I gotta get some sleep!
    Last edited by @llli*carmenoct24; June 20th, 2017 at 06:42 PM. Reason: clarify

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,389

    Default Re: Working, Sleeping, and feeding for a 7.5 mth old

    I need to read the book about gentle sleep training (I don´t know if it´s appropriate for an 8 mth old). I do worry though because I know she needs to eat at night, just not every hour. I am not sure what is reasonable for an 8mth old. I don´t want to expect behavior from her that is simply doable for her age.
    The No-Cry Sleep Solution is appropriate at any age. There is another volume called The No-Cry Sleep Solution For Toddlers and Preschoolers but the original should be fine for you. However it is not a sleep training book...it offers multiple suggestions for helping baby sleep longer and you can try the ones that sound good to you and leave the rest- and I am pretty sure nothing it suggests would be problematic in terms of baby being able to nurse enough.

    As far as what is normal for an 8 month old-unfortunately the range of normal for overnight nursing at this age and beyond is very wide, and actually what you are experiencing could be entirely normal, and just who your baby is, or who your baby is right now. But no, that does not mean your baby needs to nurse every hour to get enough to eat. If you want to learn more about what we know about infant sleep (including very clear and non-admonishing information on SIDS) I suggest the book Sweet Sleep. It also has many tips on getting more sleep for any age baby/young child.
    Not being comfortable lying flat on back is a sign of GERD as is wanting to nurse very often (because breastmilk is soothing.) Of course these do not necessarily mean GERD for sure but they are fairly common"symptoms." Spit up need not be present for baby to have GERD. Ask Dr. Sears has a pretty good article on GERD.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    COUGARTOWN Baby! From here on in!
    Posts
    17,717

    Default Re: Working, Sleeping, and feeding for a 7.5 mth old

    I don't know if your schedule has changed since you originally posted? But I will say that I am worried about you only breastfeeding 6 times in a 24hour period if your goal is at least a year. I am a huge fan of supplementation when it's used to allow a dyad continue to breastfeed, but giving your breasts stimulation less than 8 times in a 24hour period seems it could end up being a huge problem even if it doesn't seem like it now. So to that end, I would encourage you to allow a little bit more night nursing than 3 sessions in the 12hour period between 6:30pm and 6:30 am. Especially since it sounds like your baby is either playing catch up, which you need her to do to maintain your supply or she is experiencing something that requires milk to relieve pain. Now, nothing you wrote in your schedule suggest that she is eating every hour or all night. But as someone who co-slept continually from birth, I can tell you that when that DID occur? Actual eating every 45minutes to an hour? There was a reason. It was either teething pain or ear pain. Anytime the baby wants to night nurse to the point of resentment on the part of the mother? It's usually teeth. However, earpain can also do it and the way you talk about her doing better when laying on you and on her stomach makes me wonder if she is experiencing ear pain when flat on her back. I would have her pedi look at her ears so you can rule that out. If you feel like 3night feedings is the absolute most you can manage, then please consider pumping at least 2-3 times a day at work. Because it's all supply and demand. So even if you have an OK supply now, you run the risk of losing it from lack of milk removal during the day.

    Way too lazy for formula

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •