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To comfort nurse or not at night

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
So DS has had two months of frequent night wakings, probably related to teething and learning new skills. At first he did not seek comfort in nursing and only fed once a night. He is now waking maybe 5 times a night and unlike before, the only quick fix to get him back down is to nurse. We cosleep so this option gives me more rest too. However my pedi warned against this as a habit forming thing and he's not really taking any milk in. Also on another forum moms are struggling with sleep problems because their LO can only be comforted back to sleep by nursing.

So what should I do? Comfort him now how he wants and hope it doesn't cause more night wakings, or look for other ways to comfort even if it sends me back to zombie land?

Thanks!
post #2 of 14
HMMM I never get this kind of advice from a pedi. I mean, you are there for medical expertise, not parenting advice. How you choose to comfort your child is not really any of their business. That is more of an opinion than medical expertise, is it not?

Ok off the soap box for a moment. I personally have not been through this situation with a child of that age, but is there anything else you can think of that might calm him anyway? In other words there may be little to nothing else to do, you are already cosleeping. You may be gettting the most sleep by quickly nursing him back to sleep. Can you nurse side lying and just fall asleep that way? I do that with my 1 week old and we both fall asleep and when she wakes again, the boob is out and ready! I mean, if it truly developmentally connected, it should pass with this stage.

HUGS sweetie. It's hard to be the only one who can soothe them sometimes...
post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louisep View Post
So what should I do? Comfort him now how he wants and hope it doesn't cause more night wakings, or look for other ways to comfort even if it sends me back to zombie land?

Thanks!
Take your pedi's advice with a grain of salt. What feels right to you?

My DD is only a month younger than yours, and seems to need more attention at night lately too. For us, sometimes I can soothe her back to sleep with a hand on her belly or skin-to-skin contact and humming; sometimes she will accept a clean diaper and some rocking; usually she needs the booby. I try other things with the hope that it will make it easier for Daddy to comfort her occaisionally, but at the end of the day whatever makes her happy/sleepy is what i'm going to do.

The skin-to-skin contact seems to work really well for us--I sleep in shorts and a sports bra; DD wears a onsie or a t-shirt. For whatever reason being able to touch skin seems to comfort her...
post #4 of 14
Babies do get milk at night. I read a percentage somewhere but I'm not getting enough sleep to remember things like that!
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Side lying is exactly what we do! It's great because I don't have to wake up fully. When nursing hasn't pacified him in the past, I've had to get out of bed and walk him in the ergo and then I can't fall asleep again! So you see I think it's good for both of us right now but is it creating a habit? Or is that pure nonsense?

(ps I don't follow all my pedi's advice. Think you're right!)
post #6 of 14
How, precisely, does your ped know that your son isn't taking any milk in during night nursings?

My son went through several fits and starts of only waking once at night, vs. waking many times. For us, the best plan was to do exactly what you are doing - co-sleep, and do what it took to get him back to sleep as soon as possible. It seems to me that your son is still quite young (around 7 mo? by your sig), and that while this is a rotten period for sleep, I don't think nursing on-demand at night makes it worse. Either you wear earplugs, or *someone* is going to be awake with the baby, and that someone may or may not nurse, but they're going to be up... so if nursing makes for shorter, I say do it.

In terms of things that might help some, is it possible he's teething? If so, a little teething gel at bedtime might help him sleep longer and more steadily.

Edited to add - in regards to your question about habits. So your baby may have the habit, right now, of eating when he wakes up. Is that bad? I see the word 'habit' get kicked around a lot - "I don't want her to get in the habit of sucking her thumb," "He's got the habit of waking at night," etcetera. Babies change really fast - what seems habitual one week will vanish entirely the next. And not all habits are problems. Your baby has the habit right now of eating when he wakes - a few weeks ago, that was once a night, now it's five times. His sleep patterns aren't set in stone (I promise you, they will shift again), and neither is this habit. For now though, things are what they are.

The route to peaceful living with an infant is to figure out what the infant wants and surrender. Toddlers need limits, but babies want such a limited range of things that this is really pretty much it.
post #7 of 14
Of course it's creating a habit. Why is that automatically a bad thing?
post #8 of 14
My little one was born 1/28/09. Her sleeping schedule is changing right now. But she has always been a night time nurser. We cosleep and if she wanted boob I gave it to her. She gets a lot of milk during her sleep. I know this because I feel the letdowns. Sometimes if my breasts are too full, I am guilty of "half waking" her so she can empty them. I just never labeled it a habit -- it was just part of life for us. And like others have said, if it gives everyone more sleep .... go for it!

"Habits" can be short lived with babies anyway. But if it becomes permanent...I still don't see anything wrong with night/sleep nursing. I drink 1-2 glasses of water every night (I wake up a few times) and don't see it as a bad habit.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
My ped isn't saying that DS isn't taking in any milk, I am - I don't feel a let down and he suckles rather than sucks. He may get a little but he's back to sleep really fast. I guess I just meant, he's not feeding because he's hungry.

Meepycat: he is teething, A LOT! 8 so far. No teething aids seem to work, though I haven't tried the gel - is it okay? I've read mixed things about it, like numbing the gag reflex and ability to nurse. Also, I just love getting the perspective from a mother who has "been there and done that"!! So reassuring, THANK YOU!!
post #10 of 14
I nursed whenever he wanted. it was pretty common for him to be attached to the boob all night. He was happy and I got to sleep. I wouldn't even consider night weaning unless they were over 18 months personally.
post #11 of 14
We cosleep as well, and I'd never think of stopping his comfort nursing, because we'd never sleep otherwise!
Ped. are well known for giving bad advice re: bfing.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! You've made me feel much more confident about continuing to do what I'm doing and just follow my instincts.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louisep View Post
Thanks everyone! You've made me feel much more confident about continuing to do what I'm doing and just follow my instincts.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louisep View Post
Meepycat: he is teething, A LOT! 8 so far. No teething aids seem to work, though I haven't tried the gel - is it okay? I've read mixed things about it, like numbing the gag reflex and ability to nurse. Also, I just love getting the perspective from a mother who has "been there and done that"!! So reassuring, THANK YOU!!
The teething gel should definitely be applied *after* nursing if possible (say, after you first nurse him down to bed), because it can make a kid a little chompy (if you can't really feel your gums, how can you tell what's between them?), but it never interfered with DS's ability to nurse. I haven't heard of the numbing the gag reflex issue, nor do I think we experienced it.

If teething gel worries you, my thought is that your other options include infant motrin and infant tylenol. Neither of these work as immediately as the gels, but they don't affect nursing or the gag reflex. I'm pretty comfy offering medication for pain, though - your mileage may vary.
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