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Thread: 4 week old sleeping long stretch. Milk supply?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    31

    Default 4 week old sleeping long stretch. Milk supply?

    My almost 4-week old has been sleeping from approx. 11pm to 4am the last few nights. Will this hurt my milk supply? Should I pump at night (ugh!)? So far I've had no supply problems, with Baby gaining an average of 2 ounces per day as of last weighing at two weeks old. But does 4 weeks seem early to have my supply be able to handle this nighttime stretch? I should add, when he was gaining so well he was nursing all the time including at night. He gets weighed again next week. Thank you!!
    Last edited by @llli*jollycat; August 10th, 2017 at 05:55 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,743

    Default Re: 4 week old sleeping long stretch. Milk supply?

    Milk production depends on overall frequency of milk removal more than the length of one individual stretch. If baby is nursing 10 times a day (24 hours) or more and taking one 4-6 hour sleep stretch, that can be fine. But please note this would not mean your baby is developing to the point they can actually consolidate sleep. That will not happen until a long time from now. In other words, you may see this long stretch shorten again at any time, that would be normal.

    If baby has been gaining 2 ounces a day, that is of course faster than average. Nothing at all wrong with that, but do not worry if that kind of very rapid gain does not continue! Also that gain may indicate slight overproduction, so in that case your milk production WOULD normally decrease as your body wants to make enough milk, not too much.

    What a long stretch can be a problem for is the lactating mom's health and comfort. Are you feeling full? Engorged? If so, I would suggest seeing if baby will nurse before that starts getting uncomfortable.

    Also usually mom wants to be careful they are not using artificial means to lengthen baby's sleep. Such as, "top off" bottles, baby sleeping apart from mom, pacifiers, and even swaddling in some cases. Some of these may be ok later on, but right now your body is still figuring things out as far as how much milk your baby needs and will continue to need, so you do not want to give your body the wrong messages regarding baby's milk needs by artificially encouraging long sleep stretches.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: 4 week old sleeping long stretch. Milk supply?

    That makes sense. Yes, I do have some discomfort when he goes a longer stretch but honestly I have some fullness/discomfort and leaking a lot of the time. I started pumping to comfort at the advice of an IBCLC but have had to gradually wean down on that because it was just worsening the issue. However I haven't seen significant oversupply issues in him--i.e. feedings are usually pleasant for him, with occasional frustration over fast flow but not much. So the issue is mostly in me, not in him.

    He hasn't had any bottles, pacifiers or even swaddles. However I am not always successful waking him to nurse if he's not hungry. In the middle of the night if I'm uncomfortable, especially if he's stirring, I'll wake him, change diaper, etc. and see if I can get him to latch. Sometimes I can but often not. I previously breasted preemies whom I had to wake for feedings so I do know the techniques but he is just a deeper sleeper than they are, or it almost seems like he's just full and not interested.

    Good to know about the weight gain. I was wondering about that (if it would gradually slow down). He is feeding less than the first week or so (when it felt like he was attached 24 hours straight) so maybe things will be already regulating.

    Thank you!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,743

    Default Re: 4 week old sleeping long stretch. Milk supply?

    So the issue is mostly in me, not in him.
    OP is always a much more potentially serious issue for mom than baby. Really it can not hurt baby at all, the worst possibility for baby is if fast letdown causes baby to not want to nurse.

    Good idea to wean off the pumping, can you hand express as needed at night (or other times) when baby will not nurse and you are getting super full?

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