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Waking 4 month old to feed?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I am a (newly minted!) SAHM with a 4 month old daughter.  She was a healthy (and painful!) 8lbs 3oz at birth, and by our super-scientific weigh-at-home method, she is 16+lbs at this time.  (Her check-up is in a few days, so we'll have a weight confirmation shortly.)  She is exclusively breast-fed every 3 hours on schedule during the day, and she seems very happy with the arrangement, never arriving at "starving to death" prior to her scheduled feeding time, and, if something disturbs our routine, she happily goes 4 and sometimes even 5 hours before giving me all sorts of hell about taking my shirt off. 

We complete our bedtime routine by about 8pm, having nursed her at 7:30pm.  Here is where I need some advice from more seasoned Mommies.

She's sleeping through me coming to bed between 11pm and 12pm on a more regular basis.  She used to wake up, and I'd nurse her back down.  When she does sleep through me coming to bed, she wakes up to nurse at some point when it's totally dark and husband is in bed with us, so I am guessing sometime around 1am-3am.  (I've never checked the clock.  That would require more movement than I care to make at that hour.)  She wakes up reliably between 6am-7am and nurses again.

I don't know if I should wake her at 11pm to nurse.  7:30pm to 3am seems like a mighty long time for such a little girl to go without nursing...  but I also feel wrong waking a perfectly happy sleeping baby.

My own mother is zero help on this one, as her only daughter (me!  yay!) slept so much and so deeply that she failed to eat enough to gain weight and required what little medical intervention was available where we lived.  I was deemed as "failing to thrive" and so instilled an almighty fear of not feeding the baby in Mom.  My daughter happily nurses every 3 hours, and doesn't fall asleep until she'd full...  should I wake her up during that long stretch from 7:30pm to at least 1am and maybe as late as 3am?

(My apologies if this belongs in breastfeeding.)

post #2 of 6

IMO, unless your baby is at risk of losing weight or is not gaining enough (which it doesn't sound like she is!) I wouldn't wake her.  If you are content with letting her wake to nurse if she needs to later, then that's what I'd do.  I'd let her dictate if and when she needs to wake.  Otherwise, I'd be happy to let her sleep!

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks Siera!  Of course no sooner did I post this than she started waking an additional two times each night to eat...  She's gotten skinnier, and I think longer.  I betcha she's having one of them growth spurts I've heard about.  I'm off to ice my nipples.




post #4 of 6

Good luck! Sounds like she knows when she needs to eat.  Hope you get some sleep!

post #5 of 6

Just for an FYI in case you hadn't thought it through -- If she is on a 3 hour schedule during the day and sometimes goes longer without nursing, she may eventually begin night cycling and doing the most of her feed-nursing at night, especially as she becomes more interested in her environment and really starts playing. Some moms don't mind this, but if you find you need more sleep you may want to try to nurse more often during the day/evening and move those long stretches of non-nursing towards the night. 


Good luck :)

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

xekomaya, she rarely goes longer than 3 hours without nursing... only in an "emergency", and only for as long as it's really, really impossible for me to take my shirt off.  I'll wake her from naps to feed her.  I've adjusted her schedule to try to allow her to be awake and cheery when her father is at home during the week.  During the week he sees her for about two hours a day, and that's it, so I really want to maximize that time.  This adjustment is based on her natural wake-up time...  so no more hauling her out of bed an hour earlier than she'd like.  It has also resulted in a feeding being crammed in at 7pm with the prior one at 5pm...  so maybe that little cluster will help her wake me up less.  And I don't really mind, we are bedsharing so really she just roots around in my cleavage until I wake up, wondering who is pulling on my sports bra.

She has started nursing herself back to sleep which was an association I was not wanting her to develop.  But considering that I want to keep bedsharing, and husband only gets about 6 hours of sleep a night during the week, having her awake at any time she doesn't need to be is not an option, so if she wants her nunnie to get back to sleep, she gets it.  We'll break that habit when sleep is not so precious for Papa.


ETA/  Thank you for the advice and good luck wishes!  Replied to say that, mainly, and got sidetracked thinking out loud!  :-)

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