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Advice on frequency of nursing please!!!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I don't have lots of time to turn the computer on these days, so you may have already discussed this, but...

Piper (9 weeks) seems to go about an hour between nursing while awake. I know she can go for longer because she takes longer naps and sleeps a 4-6 hour stint at night. But while she is awake, she likes to nurse a LOT! We have play time and we sing songs and dance to music, but no matter what, it seems like if an hour goes by, she wants to nurse again and nothing else will calm her. She is gaining an average of 3/4 ounce a day. This is average from what I have read, but the frequency of nursing seems to catch a lot of peoples attention. I am told that I nurse her too often. I don't know what to think.

My other concern is that it is very infrequent that she will fall asleep any other way other than nursing. She is beginning to be able to do so, but not very often. I am trying so hard to transition out of this so it does not form a bad habit, but I am afraid it already might have. I have letting her cry. I am told by lots of people that she should just cry it out a couple of times, but the 2 times that I have let her cry, I chicken out after 15 minutes or so. I feel like I am abandoning her. I have the book Healthy SLeep Habits, and it makes sense so I try to get her to nap after being awake for 2 hours and it works well, but the only way to get her settled into a nap is nursing...same with before bed.

And lastly, she likes to be held while napping. I try to hold her until she is in a deep sleep and then put her down because otherwise she wakes up as soon as I walk away, maybe 10 minutes later. If I nurse her side lying and sneak away, I have the best success. And most of the time she wakes up anyway. This seems crazy. Her best naps come after she falls asleep in the carseat in the car and I leave her in it for the duration of the nap. Sometimes she will nap for three hours this way.

Any thoughts? Does anyone else go throught the same things? What do you do?
post #2 of 15
Amiel is 9 weeks also and he has pretty much been nursing every hour as well until very recently he has started to go 1.5 hours and 2 hours more often with some days still every hour. i don't have much advice i guess i'm just piping in and curious what others will say. the way i see it though is this, they aren't going to nurse forever and i have heard some mamas just don't produce as much milk so baby needs to nurse more often. the 1.5 -2 hour nursing average for most babies is just that, an average, some babes will nurse more than that and some less. i don't know, i don't think you can spoil the baby though so IMO if your baby wants to nurse and nothing else helps what's wrong with that?
post #3 of 15
This is NORMAL in my opinion. DS was like that (napped on me for many months). DD nurses every hour when awake too. Don't feel pressure to CIO, I would never do it. Your babe is too young to worry about creating "bad habits". Ditch the books and do what comes naturally!!(imo)
post #4 of 15
just chiming in that Sam also nursres pretty frequently when awake as well. I was sort of wondering if it's my supply or something I am doing wrong..

also would like to hear feedback on the nursing to sleep!!
post #5 of 15
Originally Posted by joeys_mom View Post
This is NORMAL in my opinion. DS was like that (napped on me for many months). DD nurses every hour when awake too. Don't feel pressure to CIO, I would never do it. Your babe is too young to worry about creating "bad habits". Ditch the books and do what comes naturally!!(imo)

Sophia nurses all the time some days less but usually she eats for 10 minutes and then an hour later wants more. I nurse her to sleep all the time, maybe I am being lazy but it is easy and works so why not. I am not worried about bad habits, I figure she is only 10 weeks old and the whole being born and adjusting to the world has to be difficult...so at this point if falling asleep while nursing makes her smile then I am all for it.

She sleeps on me all day, I get one nap a day that she lets me put her down. This is difficult for me...I could really use that time to get things done, but at the same time I feel like she is my priority so oh well if the floor isn't swept today. I would like to put her down to cook &eat though and that doesn't always happen. The cry it out method is not for us for several reasons, first the sound of her crying is devastating to me, second I know how I feel if I cry myself to sleep, third is she putting herself to sleep or has she given up on waiting for me, fallen asleep from exhaustion, does she feel alone.

She is my first, I ignore advice that feels wrong, go with my instincts and spoil her with my love...oh & I stopped reading those books! The last one I read scoffed at attachment parenting and baby wearing, I found interesting tidbits in the book and thought the sound of Sophia sleeping through the night was wonderful...but that is all it was...a thought, it just doesn't happen for us.
post #6 of 15
I guess I don't see why nursing to sleep at 2 months old is a bad thing. All of my babies have nursed (and rocked) to sleep at this age. DS is almost 3 months now and he still mostly nurses to sleep, but has within the last week or two gotten to where I can nurse him, lie him down drowsy with his pacifier, and he falls to sleep. All by himself, I haven't done any sleep training at all and he never "cries it out" because I fundamentally disagree with the idea of CIO. My baby can't learn independence when he's completely dependent on me for every single thing. It doesn't make sense to me.

I may not be the best person to give advice on this but I really believe that nursing to sleep is a normal thing at this point - it's soothing and comforting for your baby to be snuggled up warm against your body and that's the easiest way for her to fall asleep right now - just like it's a lot easier to fall asleep in a comfy bed as an adult. I'd throw those books away and do what you feel is right. If doing this is making you feel "like you're abandoning her" then stop doing it. Pick her up, nurse her to sleep, snuggle your baby. Who cares what the books say to do? I don't believe a 2 month old baby can have bad habits any more than I believe that a 2 month old baby can walk unassisted.

As a mom with older kids I have to say I wish I'd worried less about what they were supposed to be doing and what those UAV books say I should be doing, and spent more time just snuggling and loving on my babies. They grow up SO fast. You have plenty of time to sleep train her later. If it doesn't feel like the right thing to do now, stop doing it - she's just a tiny brand new baby and what she needs most right now is her mama.
post #7 of 15
yeah, do what FEELS right. I spent my first dd's entire babyhood worrying about NOT creating bad habits. (and I regret it) I find that if you keep with regular routines, sleep patterns will form really naturally. It sounds to me like you may have one key issue with sleep though. Babies are frightened when they wake up to something other than what they went to sleep to. This is very likely why she naps so well in her carseat - she falls asleep that way, so to stay asleep like that makes sense to her, she feels safe. When she falls asleep nursing, and then wakes up alone in her crib or wherever - she panics! This is why it's good to have really predictable routines. If you put her down in her crib EVERY time after you nurse her, this will become a nice safe happy place for her too (or your bed - or wherever)....just like the carseat. Even if you nurse her a little less at naptime until you're putting her down drowsy. And maybe not even EVERY time will she allow that, but even if it's once a day at this point, she'll learn to do it more and more.
post #8 of 15
My now 3 year old son always nursed to sleep. He stopped ON HIS OWN at around 19 months. He nightweaned all by himself. I didn't create a bad habit, I met his needs until he outgrew them.

Instead of creating a bad habit, I avoided them. He doesn't need a paci and never did, nor does he suck his thumb.

Letting a 9 week old CIO is not a good idea. CIO is not a good idea....at any age. I WISH my 9 week old would nurse to sleep.
post #9 of 15
I definitely agree that you should let your baby and your gut lead you. The best thing I ever did for my older dd was to forget all the "methods" and let her lead the way. I also tried to always remind myself that this time is so temporary and passes in the blink of an eye. Treasure the moments when the baby just wants to be held. Pretty soon they will be five and have better things to do. *insert eye roll*
post #10 of 15
There could be many reasons why she nurses so much.

Some babies prefer frequent small meals, does she only stay on for 5-10 minutes? If so, you could try to encourage longer feedings and see if that helps her stretch out the time between.

Does she show any signs of reflux (remember that she doesn't necessarily have to actually spit up to have reflux)? Reflux babies often nurse more frequently because it's soothing to their esophagus. Look for signs of reflux, and try ways to manage it better (keeping her fully upright, having her sleep on an incline, watching your diet for any triggers, etc)

She could be growth spurting.

She could be trying to increase your supply. Pay attention to your nutrition and hydration, that might help.

I would say that CIO at this age is not going to be helpful, she won't "learn" anything from it other than her mommy isn't there for her. I don't think nursing to sleep at 9 weeks is a bad thing, especiallly if she's starting to show signs of falling asleep other ways. She will eventually learn, and if she needs a nudge to help learn, you can try peaceful ways when she's a bit older.
post #11 of 15
At 9 weeks, you're still in the "4th trimester" - where holding and nursing constantly are what the baby needs. I would not try forcing a baby of that age to go to sleep on their own or to comfort without sucking. Most babies start showing a little more independence in another few weeks, between 3 and 4 months, and I would follow her cues as to when she's ready for that.

To give you some idea, my little guy is almost 10 weeks, and he's eating every 2 hours or so during the day, but can go up to 4 during the night. He only goes to sleep when eating or when being driven in the car, period. He has periods of wanting to be held, and periods of not wanting to be held, and we follow his cues on that. And if that means there are days when I just wear the Moby all day, that's what it means.
post #12 of 15
Don't worry too much about habits, and certainly not about CIO- just hold the baby, nurse the baby, and enjoy it all- I know it's intense, but this brief period of time is over so soon.

I don't worry about trying to structure sleep until about 6 months- and even then it's very gentle shaping, I refuse to do CIO- it just feels wrong to me. I wouldn't let my 8 year old cry alone in the dark for me, I'm certainly not going to do that with my baby.

Nursing to sleep for naps and night is the norm here. If I'm not here, he'll sometimes fall asleep on his dad's lap facedown on a pillow, but that's about it. During the day he wants to be held for naps, and we try to accomodate that by holding him or wearing him. (If you don't have a carrier, it would probably be a great investment. ) He is slowly learning to nap in the basinette, but only on his tummy- back to sleep just doesn't work- he's awake 5 minutes after we put him down.

I think the books are great to read, but you also really need to listen to your instincts and your baby.
post #13 of 15
I just wanted to chime in and say that I thought I was promoting bad habits with my older son -- nursing to sleep, holding him for naps, etc. But he turned into the BEST sleeper! He's 3.5 years old now and we haven't had any sleep "issues" since he was around 11 months old. I hope my baby ends up like that, too!
post #14 of 15
Nothing original to add, but wanted to chime in with a big "yes" vote on letting your child tell you what they need. The best thing I ever did, after a very stressful first month with my LO, was stop worrying and trust him and my instincts to know what's best. And yes, he nurses every hour when awake and yes, he wants to nurse to sleep and wants me to sleep with him (although he is transitioning out of this a bit). But he's only been in the world for 2 months! Think how much they are growing and learning, I'd want those things too.

I am firm in the belief that you cannot spoil them by responding to their needs!!!
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
I know that this resonse is very late. Like I said, I barely have time to turn on the computer lately...and I worried that our DDC would not be here anymore, but I am so glad that I checked. All your advice is perfect and just what I needed to hear. I wish that I read it sooner, but I have followed my instincts and kept doing what I was doing. Piper is doing great, stretching out her feedings slightly on her own. She sometimes goes 2 hours now, but certainly not all the time. Thank you all for your great words of wisdom. I will keep them with me as I go along on my road of parenting!
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