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Thread: Long nights without nursing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Default Long nights without nursing

    I am breastfeeding my 4.5 month old, and have had what I consider a non-abundant milk supply...started out very strong (oversupplied I think) but these days I feel like I have *just* enough, if that. My son cleans me out at every afternoon feeding, often switching back and forth between breasts to get those extra sips that letdown while he was feeding on the other, especially at the last feeding of the evening. Since I was so used to having *lots* of milk, I am probably extra insecure about this feeling of empty breasts all the time...ugh. I do know I established a strong supply.

    Anyway, my lo sleeps 12-13 hours at night, currently w/ one feeding about 10hrs after he falls asleep. I'm concerned about infrequency and effect on supply. My LC assures me that at his age I am safe to go with his rhythm and going this long between feedings won't cause a problem (and I really suspect he is moving toward sleeping the whole 12-13 h w/out eating). But I'm not convinced! Any opinions? I had been pumping an extra time before I went to bed just to make myself feel better, but my LC thought this might actually be hurting my supply by being out of sync with him, so I've quit.

    Another question...I am FULL by the time he feeds at 3am, after his last feeding at 6-ish pm. I know the rule is 'finish the first breast and offer the other', but he only eats off of one; the 2nd one becomes *really* engorged if I just relieve the pressure and let it go til 6:30am when he eats again. Is it a really bad idea to have him take some off of both breasts? I get so much more sleep that way, feel better about the long time between nursing, and don't have to spend time pumping or expressing in the middle of the night. Since I've dropped the extra pumping at night and he's recently dropped to just this one night feeding, I'm *really* full at that time and am scared silly that my body will get the signal to stop making milk and I'll swing too low (which I think has happened to me before).

    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Default Re: Long nights without nursing

    WOW! I wish my LO would sleep that well! OK, so I have a 5 month old so I am kinda new at this too, but I will try and share our -experiences. My LO sleeps 7-8 jpurs at night and a few weeks ago I had a *dip* in supply so I power pumped to get it back up. It took 2 days and we were back on our A game! As far as pumping, i dont think it will decrease your supply in any way, however it does trigger your body to make more, so you may not want that either. however, we often add a pumping session at night a few hours after LO goes down, to a) empty me out bf bed and b) to add to my freezer stash. If I add this session for 2-3 days my body triggers that I need mild at that time and produces more. So, if you do pump to relieve the "engorge" feeling, your body will jsut keep making more. But you can just pump "a little off the top" to feel more comfortable.
    As far as eating off of both sides, sometimes, I let m LO pretty much finish on one side then offer the other just to take the edge off, maybe you could try that? If you just hand express though to feel comfortable, your body should adjust in a few days and that engorged feelign will go away. The more you pump or express when you are engorged, the longer it takes to even out.

    Ok, hope I helped some! Congrats on the sleep!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    83

    Default Re: Long nights without nursing

    My LO used to sleep like that too. It never affected my supply, but everyone is different (I still let down and my son is 17mo).
    Enjoy his sleeping habits now!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Long nights without nursing

    Quote Originally Posted by amyswint View Post
    Anyway, my lo sleeps 12-13 hours at night, currently w/ one feeding about 10hrs after he falls asleep.

    I'm concerned about infrequency and effect on supply.

    My LC assures me that at his age I am safe to go with his rhythm and going this long between feedings won't cause a problem

    But I'm not convinced! Any opinions? I had been pumping an extra time before I went to bed just to make myself feel better, but my LC thought this might actually be hurting my supply by being out of sync with him, so I've quit.


    Is it a really bad idea to have him take some off of both breasts?
    I'm *really* full at that time and am scared silly that my body will get the signal to stop making milk and I'll swing too low
    (which I think has happened to me before).
    Wow, that seems like a long time for that age baby to me. I wonder what other people think about that.
    How much does your baby weigh, weight is more important than age when it comes to sleeping that long uninterrupted. Once they have a certain level of fat on them they can stand to take in calories less often and burn some of the fat stores.
    I understand you are really worried about your supply. Why not just wake up baby before you turn in for the night? baby will probably still wake up a 3 am to have a snack, but you won't be so impacted- plus you prolly won't need to pump in the dark
    So your LC thought that extra pumping would HURT your supply? Hmmm, I don't think I understand how. The breast works like this: You remove milk more frequently, it sends the msg that more is needed. Should you have concerns about your supply, begin to place baby on the breast more often, and as a secondary measure simply drain all the milk out of the breast after baby is done.
    So why would someone say that pumping would hurt your supply? Probably a lack of current information or perhaps you misunderstood her meaning? Who knows. Pumping won't hurt it, but it may make you produce more at the time of day you are habitually pumping.

    The idea behind allowing baby to drain the breast is that the thinner (less fat ) milk is the first milk to be released. As the nursing goes along, more fat is released. So if you just try and take the pressure off with baby, your baby will get short changed.
    If anything, during the nightime hours you seem to be producing just fine. How is your production during the day? how often does baby eat? Are you at home right now with baby or outside the home?

    As far as not making enough milk goes, I really think that this is simply a matter of tweaking your schedule. When my own baby started sleeping 2 1/2 hours straight I became impacted and the anxiousness that it caused was intense. I started producing too much milk at around 3 am and every night I would end up pumping off the top of both breasts to allow baby to even get close to the "hind" milk.

    We all look forwards to additional information from you!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Long nights without nursing

    a few weeks ago I had a *dip* in supply so I power pumped to get it back up. It took 2 days and we were back on our A game!

    When did you power pump and how?? So curious. After your lo was asleep? I have little enough during the day that I can't afford to pump during the day or enough hasn't accumulated again by next feeding and my guy is unhappy.

    As far as pumping, i dont think it will decrease your supply in any way, however it does trigger your body to make more, so you may not want that either. however, we often add a pumping session at night a few hours after LO goes down, to a) empty me out bf bed and b) to add to my freezer stash. If I add this session for 2-3 days my body triggers that I need mild at that time and produces more. So, if you do pump to relieve the "engorge" feeling, your body will jsut keep making more. But you can just pump "a little off the top" to feel more comfortable.

    I would love to empty out before bed, but then I feel like I have to do it every night or I'll be too engorged on nights I don't, right? Don't you get too full if you skip that pumping sometimes? Thanks for your thoughts.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2007
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    Default Re: Long nights without nursing

    Thanks! A few questions

    Quote Originally Posted by carpentergirl View Post
    Wow, that seems like a long time for that age baby to me. I wonder what other people think about that.
    How much does your baby weigh, weight is more important than age when it comes to sleeping that long uninterrupted. Once they have a certain level of fat on them they can stand to take in calories less often and burn some of the fat stores.

    Well, he is 17lb, but he does sleep from about 6 til 3 before eating; like 9-10hrs. I don't think that's unheard of at his age...doesn't go the whole 12-13 yet.

    I understand you are really worried about your supply. Why not just wake up baby before you turn in for the night? baby will probably still wake up a 3 am to have a snack, but you won't be so impacted- plus you prolly won't need to pump in the dark

    Well, I would like to do that for my own sanity, but I don't think it's best for him. I've essentially done that before and it really disturbs his sleep...he wakes up later to poop and in general I think it's healthier for him to not be eating when he's not asking for it in the middle of the night. Since I've seen xtra night feedings bother him and he doesn't 'need' it, I'd rather not. But I'd also rather not have to stop bfeeding from not having enough milk!

    So your LC thought that extra pumping would HURT your supply? Hmmm, I don't think I understand how. The breast works like this: You remove milk more frequently, it sends the msg that more is needed. Should you have concerns about your supply, begin to place baby on the breast more often, and as a secondary measure simply drain all the milk out of the breast after baby is done.

    Yes, this is my question...can you increase day supply w/out also placing baby to breast more often at night?? Seems like probably not...but many people are able to let their babies sleep through the night for 10-11 hrs, right? He's only going 9 right now, so it seems like it should work!

    The idea behind allowing baby to drain the breast is that the thinner (less fat ) milk is the first milk to be released. As the nursing goes along, more fat is released. So if you just try and take the pressure off with baby, your baby will get short changed.
    If anything, during the nightime hours you seem to be producing just fine. How is your production during the day? how often does baby eat? Are you at home right now with baby or outside the home?

    That's my problem...I get super full at night, but that's because I'm going so long (even a low producer would get really full after 9 hrs, right?) but during the day it seems like there isn't a drop extra. Maybe that's normal? My day production seems very low to answer your ?. He eats between 1.5-2.5 hrs I'd say.


    As far as not making enough milk goes, I really think that this is simply a matter of tweaking your schedule. When my own baby started sleeping 2 1/2 hours straight I became impacted and the anxiousness that it caused was intense. I started producing too much milk at around 3 am and every night I would end up pumping off the top of both breasts to allow baby to even get close to the "hind" milk.

    How do I tweak the schedule in your opinion? Just feed more at night? I am having severe insomnia from dealing w/ not becoming too full at night and feeding him at 3...(I wake up constantly checking myself...I never feel uncomfortable when I get full so it's difficult for me to know what's 'too' full and will cause me to swing too far the other way). I really can't afford more nighttime tasks, ugh. Still confused, sorry! (It's probably the sleep deprivation).

    We all look forwards to additional information from you!

  7. #7
    Jack'sMum is offline Shares Widely And Frequently
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    Default Re: Long nights without nursing

    By your baby's age your supply will be well established. You don't need to make more than he eats, so your body doesn't - that's why your boobs don't feel that full during the day. But they keep on making milk during the night, even though baby isn't feeding.

    I don't think you have supply issues as your baby is such a good weight (he's 2lb heavier than my 6 mo!)

    Sorry I don't have an answer about the engorged night boobs - I'm lucky if my DS sleeps for 2 hours in a row without feeding at night!

    Although, just a thought, could you pump from one while he feeds off the other?

    And the thing of jumping back and forth between boobs in the evening is very common - don't worry about it!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Long nights without nursing

    Well, he started out 9lb 12 oz and was in 90-95th %iles. Now he's really slowed down to somewhere between 75-90, gaining barely 1/2oz/day so that's why I worry some. The ped. says it can be normal for big babies to slow down, but when he is draining both breasts at every feeding, it just makes me wonder if I've dipped too low...thanks for the encouragement though, I hope you're right.

    I always expect that if I have a good amount of milk, there should be a little left at the end of a feeding, yes? Or does the body really only make exactly enough? I just know there have been times he's only taken part of a 2nd breast, and then suddenly I feel very un-full one morning and he's taking both fully. Well, I guess until they make volume gauges for breasts I'll be insecure

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Long nights without nursing

    Your breasts are never truely empty, as your LO eats more is being made.

    ~*Allee*~

    Damon 8/5/99 Heaven 7/24/01 Jasmine 7/20/07

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Default Re: Long nights without nursing

    If you have a low supply you will experience lots of sucking and no swallowing. I stopped getting letdowns as well when my supply went really low. My baby is also really big and he's slowed down a lot gaining weight, and the pedi said that was normal and to not worry.
    Lisa

    Mommy to
    Logan 5-23-07
    Colby 12-14-09

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