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basic breastfeeding questions; advice needed

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  • basic breastfeeding questions; advice needed

    Shalom Y'all,

    I have some basic questions about breastfeeding and sleeping:

    1) I have a 3-month old that sleeps through the night 10pm-5am (I wake her at 4:45am to breastfeed), but I read that for a baby under 4-months, they are not supposed to go more than 4 hours without eating. However, I used to wake her in the middle of night to feed, but it was horrible and didn't work. She has been this way since birth. She is at a healthy weight and is gaining well...and she eats every 1&1/2 during the day. Is this acceptable? (I co-sleep with her next to me and she doesn't wake up)

    2) When can I allow her to sleep more through the night? Meaning, if I let her, she could sleep from 10pm-6am, but I wake her earlier to feed. At what age is it acceptable to allow her to sleep more hours through the night?

    3) Is it acceptable to allow her to nap during the day for more than 1&1/2 hours? I currently wake her at the 1&1/2 hours to feed her, but she cries and hates it. She is not getting the supposed 16 hours of sleep a day as a 3-month old is supposed to, but rather is getting about 10 hours.

    4) When and how do we start implementing a more regular bed time of 6-7pm? At what age? Currently, she is up to 10pm (feeding off and on from about 8pm).

    5) When can I allow and trust her feeding/hunger cues? Meaning, I have been feeding her on a strict schedule of every 1&1/2 (every 3 hours supplementing with SNS at the boob with other women's breast milk) in order to make her regain the weight she lost after the first week of life (she lost more than 10%), and I simply learned not to trust my own milk supply out of fear that I wasn't feeding her enough; so I feed her on this schedule rather than allowing her to give me cues and feed her according to her cues. I would like to move to feeding her on cue rather than the schedule. Any advice?

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Chasya-Uriel

  • #2
    Hello Chasya-Uriel,

    I want to preface what I'm going to say with the statement that am not a lactation consultant or medical professional, so if you are at all concerned with your daughter's health, please do consult someone with medical/lactation experience in your area.

    It sounds like you have worked hard to establish a breastfeeding relationship with your daughter and to really meet her needs during these early months - congratulations! I would encourage you to listen to your child's cues for both sleep and eating (both day and night), unless you have some medical concerns that I don't know about. Generally you can allow a baby to sleep and eat as needed and over the course of a day they will get what they need.

    How is your supply now? Are you getting adequate rest and nutrition? Do you feel able to meet her needs for milk? It make take time for you to transition to understanding her cues. I would encourage you to keep her close both day and night and offer her the opportunity to nurse when you think she wants to. You can't "make" a baby eat - they either want to or don't. So be gentle with yourself and with her as you learn. I would encourage you to find a local breastfeeding support group like LLL to give you some support at this time too.

    Regarding the "regular" bedtime question, I think you should work to follow her cues and know that bedtime might be a flexible time in your house for a while.Some nights she may need more sleep or may be more wakeful, especially as she goes through the incredible stages of development over the next few years. For example, when my girls were learning to crwal, they would wake at night to practice and would have a very hard time settling to sleep because they just wanted to keep practicing!

    I hope this helps and I wish you well on your journey of getting to know your child's needs - the time invested will be well worth it!

    Best,
    Kathryn

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    • #3
      [QUOTE=Chasya-Uriel;33832]Shalom Y'all,

      I have some basic questions about breastfeeding and sleeping:

      1) and 2)
      If she's gaining weight then sleeping throught the night shouldn't be a problem. She'll get what she needs.
      However, i would say that you can trust this more once you have transitioned to feeding on cue as she will be more in her own rhythm

      3)
      never wake a sleeping baby...!!! I was told by reat grandparents! There is no 'supposed to' about anything to do with babies. I have read so many books, but in the end your baby is individual and HAS NOT READ THE SAME BOOKS!!! If she is crying and hates it she is communicating with you to leave her to sleep. I know it's hard as first time mum to follow babies lead whilst there is all this ADVICE flying around to confuse you.

      4)
      I chose to start this at about 6 weeks, putting baby down in bed at 7ish. It seemed to work well, he slept for 4 hours straight most nights before next feed. Whatever works for you and remembering to be flexible is key, more important than sticking to rigid routine every day, like other post says, baby will change during development stages. Increased early eveing feeding is baby helping to build u pmilk supply as they are growing.

      5)
      Now!!! I started off on a flexible routine, which i soon realised wasn't the right thing for my baby/me, so I know how hard the transition is to feeding at set times, rather than on cue (I only did this at about 6 months!). take is slowly, spend a good few days at home so you can watch your baby and read the signs (which depending on your baby can be tricky to read, it was for me), and if in doubt offer boobie. It will be a bit unsettling for both of you for a few days/weeks, but it will happen. Feeding on cue will keep up your milk supply and you may find that baby only feeds every 3 hours which might be hard for you to get your head around. It's hard when you can't see the amount of milk going in to Trust that she is taking in enough, but believe me she will be. My baby lost 20%body weight and was back in hospital after day 6 and i think that really puts you on edge in terms of trusting and relaxing into motherhood. Its very nerve wracking when they lose all that weight. You will get there and you are doing so well. It is tough in the early days but remember to look at what you have acheived and know that you are striving to do the best for your little girl.
      Supplementing may eventually affect your milk supply, your baby needs to be nursing in order for your milk supply to build up. It is the action of them suckling at the breast that triggers the brain to say 'ah we need to produce more milk'. It's supply and demand. If your baby is not demanding it (i.e. nursing) then you body will not supply it. That said try not to freak yourself out about this too much and take it slowly.

      Hope this helps. I am also not a lactation consultant, this is just my personal advice.

      Good luck

      Terri

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