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article on early breastfeeding and sleep

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My husband sent me this link today:


I don't like this, and I'm trying to figure out why. I learned from my lactation consultant that it's normal for babies to demand feeding 8-12 times in a 24 hour period, and this researcher is making a claim that more than 11 times is a problem number. Is that weird to you?

Another thing that seems odd is that the researcher is making claims about babies' ability to sleep through the night at 12 weeks old--and he says that about 2/3 of babies do sleep through the night and 1/3 don't at that age. Doesn't that seem to you like it might be normal for some babies not to sleep through the night at 12 weeks? One-third is an awful lot of babies.

I guess my main worry is that this research could be used to justify "sleep training" for newborns in a way that could result in too few feedings at a vulnerable age.

You who already have your babies in hand (
) tell me what you think. It doesn't seem like I should pay attention to this research when I'm feeding my newborn, since every other piece of research and anecdotal evidence suggests that I should feed every time the baby "asks."
post #2 of 11
The part that irritates me about the article is the whole phrase, "behavior program". The babies are less than 3 months old and already we're trying to program their behavior??!

In this house we have a 50/50 split on when the kids slept through. A slept through early (7 weeks) and by her own accord. M still isn't (at nearly 6 mo). Go with your instincts and my instincts say that if M is still getting up there must be a reason. Mabye she digests food faster than A, maybe she just needs more cuddling and touch time than A did. Maybe A was just a sounder sleeper.
post #3 of 11
The article doesn't mention if the babies were BF'ed or FF'ed. Breastfed babies feed more often than formula-fed babies, because breastmilk is digested more quickly than formula. Without taking that fact into consideration, the study seems useless and irrelevant to me.

It's pretty normal for BF'ed babies less than 3 months (and older than that, of course) to wake every 2-3 hours. They're hungry. The "sleep training" stuff of not playing/interacting with the baby during night waking is common sense for anyone who wants more sleep.
post #4 of 11
Both of my breastfed children slept through the night (by this I mean 7 or 8 hours every night) by 8 weeks. I didn't plan it this way, they just did it. I'm sure I'm in for a treat with #3. *L*

The "program" sounds very much like what I just did naturally. I talked more quietly to my babies at night. I didn't turn on lights in the living room (though the tv usually was on) and I often slept with them in the chair (daughter) or in bed (son) at night time feedings.

I didn't delay feedings by changing a diaper first, though. I used diaper changes to wake baby up when they were nursing lazily (when jaundiced), so that wouldn't have worked for us. And, all too often, we needed a change AFTER the feeding more than before.

Daytime feedings were more casual than night time ones. At night, we were nearly always in the same location, in the same position and there was no commotion (everybody else was asleep). During the day, I nursed wherever whenever and there was always a lot going on. I think that naturally separated day and night for my kids.
post #5 of 11
"The "sleep training" stuff of not playing/interacting with the baby during night waking is common sense for anyone who wants more sleep."

Or someone (that would be ME) who only had one eye open and drool on the chin. *L*
post #6 of 11
I think that the type of parent who would limit how often a newborn eats is the type of parent who would force their newborn to sleep through the night (with CIO).

And that's why they're probably linked.
post #7 of 11
Oh, and 1/3 of babies not sleeping through the night sounds to me like quite a low number. This is not to discount Chellemarie's experience (Shes' a lucky mom!), but I probably know about 20 moms with babies born in the past year (most are of a BF'ing, natural parenting persuasion), and I know of just ONE of these babies actually sleeping through the night at 12 weeks.
post #8 of 11
I'm sorry, but this article is screwy in so many ways. :

Babies are meant to feed frequently. As another poster said, this article also doesn't distinguish between human milk and artifical milk fed babies. Breastmilk is digested in 1 1/2 hours, for a full feed. A "snack" feed would digest sooner. Some babies are natual snackers. Or call them, nip and nappers.

The article does say this is babies in industrialized countries. African babies, on the other hand, are traditionally breastfed 3 times an hour, during the day, and of course, sleep in their mother's arms at night and this is not seen as a problem in their culture, but normal, and the babies thrive on this kind of treatment.

Frequent feeding at the breast, and co-sleeping and the attendant night feeds, prevent SIDS. The authors of this article/study are probbly not aware of this. Dr Sears is, and has written a book about it.

I could go on, but want to say, just ignore this kind of "study," and read your Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, and other books available at your LLL mtgs.
post #9 of 11
So, what's the point of this study? To overwhelm us with the buzzterfuge of "sleeping through the night," "behavior program," and other irrelevancies of parenting? To make us think our normal, nightwaking babies are somehow disordered? To get the researcher's name in the paper and in a research journal so he can both feel like a genius and keep his job?

If the families were cosleeping, the babies could nurse, the parents could snooze, no one would know or care how often the babies nursed, and everyone would be free to eat and sleep enough.

Yes, if I have to get up out of my warm bed and unnecessarily change a diaper every time my baby stirs, I do care how often he wakes up. But if I get to roll over and nurse and pass out, I don't.
post #10 of 11
What Daryl LLL said.
post #11 of 11
And also,

Babies should nurse AT LEAST 8 to 12 times in 24 hours.

If they want to nurse for 5 hours straight OR MORE to build up your milk supply that is normal too.

Limiting feeds to an arbitrary number chosen by an adult (not the baby) could really cause a drop in milk supply.
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