Never wake a sleeping baby? HELP & encouragement needed - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 01-22-2004, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
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OK, I am due in May and am planning on exclusive BF for the first 2 months and then some pumping after that so DH can enjoy feeding the baby (and I can enjoy sleeping through the night).

Well, last might my MIL was over and she was saying how she hopes I get a baby that sleeps all night long from the start, then I will be able to get some sleep.

I told her that everything I have read says that a BF baby has to eat more often than a formula fed baby and that I must nurse often to get my supply up in the begining. I also informed her that I also read that if the baby was sleeping for longer than 4 hours I should wake her up to nurse.

She about freaked out and said...."the first rule you NEED to know is NEVER WAKE A SLEEPING BABY" The she told me that if the baby is sleeping and does not wake up then she does not need to eat and that I better start pumping sooner so that I can get my supply up, and NOT wake up the baby to do it.

I was so upset because I really don't want to pump for a couple of months, but now she made me feel like I am being a bad mommy for waking up the baby.

Can anybody shed some light on this for me, I need the encouragment to keep going with this.

Just for background info, I am the only one on both sides of the family that has even attempted to BF, and I have to say that the knowledge of this has not been met with good comments. Most of my family and friends tell me I am crazy, stupid, won't be able to do it, all the negative things and it is making me nervous and worried. I really really really want to do it !!

Thanks for the info. ladies.

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#2 of 16 Old 01-22-2004, 12:53 PM
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i am pretty certain you DO have to wake a sleeping baby to nure, at least in the first few weeks or months, because breastmilk is digested so much faster than formula.

i nursed my son for over three years, & it was EASY for me. i had my mother, sister & good friends who all nursed. i am so glad that YOU are doing it without the family support. that takes courage. but you CAN do it!

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#3 of 16 Old 01-22-2004, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks joesmom, hopefully things will be smooth for us and then I can tell all of them to buzz off.

I think what I need here is a good comback to tell her WHY I need to wake up this baby to feed her. I did not have an answer last night and I was upset about that because with every other negative comment, I always had a good thing to counter it and shut them up. By the way, that is because I have been reading here every single day, so you ladies are responsible for it!!
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#4 of 16 Old 01-22-2004, 12:57 PM
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first, I too am one of the only ones in my family to BF, except for a cousin, who now thinks I am nuts for BF a 2yo. Anyway, good for you for doing this! Its the best thing you can do for your baby. Yes, you will have to wake them to eat, its essential to get your supply up and going. BF works on a supply and demand type deal and you want the supply to be there. Start going to some LLL meetings, they are wonderful. We have 2 moms that are pregnant and not due until April and May and have been coming for the last couple of months. It gives you time to think of questions you may need answered too. Good Luck to you and don't give up
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#5 of 16 Old 01-22-2004, 01:18 PM
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Not only do you want the supply to be up, but a newborn's tummy can only hold a few teaspoons at a time. So small frequent meals are key. My ped. told me to wake julia to nurse until her two wk weight check, at which point I didn't. even then she would maybe have a 3-4 hr sleep, but pretty much nurse every two hours.

I strongly suggest joining LLL, and also getting their book - the womanly art of breastfeeding or maybe the dr. sears breastfeeding book. is also a great resource.

I did tons of research beforehand also and it really really helped in the early weeks. Good luck!
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#6 of 16 Old 01-22-2004, 01:48 PM
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Ok, there is a difference here.

DO NOT wake a sleeping baby so your relatives can play/overstimulate him/her.

DO wake a sleeping baby to nurse! My daughter was 5 days old and because she was a premie (who has spent 4 days in NICU), the pediatrician freaked out when I told her that she slept for 6 hours! Her body temperature had dropped to like 94 (from the normal 99) and she was dehydrated.

Newborns need to be next to mom because they cannot yet regulate body temerature. That's why slings are ideal for them! You can have that precious little baby using his/her energy to make more neural connections and a bigger brain or you can have them spending it on temperature regulation.

Newborns are sometimes too weak to wake up from sleeping to eat! By putting your baby to breast, you are not even "bothering" him/her. They will usually nurse 1 side for 10 minutes and then fall back asleep. Of course this means they will nurse every 2 hours, not 4.

If you are lucky enough to get an alert, pert baby who nurses both sides, then you'll go 3 1/2 to 4 hours between feedings.

To get more sleep, try co-sleeping. It takes a bit of getting used to but know that it's normal in 80% of the world for the baby to sleep in the bed with the parents.

By co-sleeping, you just help baby latch on and you both drift off back to sleep together. My daughter slept for 6 to 8 hours at a time at 8 weeks using this co-sleeping method. Nobody ever woke up all the way and it helped a lot since I returned to work.

My bottle friends were amazed that she (we) slept through the night so soon!

If you are not comfortable with sleeping in the same bed (which I recomend having at least a Queen sized for - but King is ideal), you can get a "side car" like the "Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper" Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper Site available at Babues R Us stores Mini Co-Sleeper and through Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper at Babies R Us. You can probably find a good used one for half that on eBay (search for co-sleeper, Arm Reach and Arms Reach). It turns into a play pen and changing table, but is MUCH sturdier than a Graco. This sucker is made out of heavy duty welded steel ubing and weighs

I encourage you to looking into co-sleeping arangement for your family. My husband now sewars by it ands thinks it cruel and mean for babies to be put out in the cold, by themselves "so the wolves can eat them".

If your mother is going to be judgemental, don't tell her. We had a nursery set up at our house with a crib and everything. It's where our daughter stayed for her daily naps. Your mother will come over and assume that's where the baby stays (especially if you don't have a bassinet in your bedroom).
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#7 of 16 Old 01-22-2004, 02:33 PM
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I "wake my sleeping baby" every night to feed him right before I go to sleep. Actually, he doesn't really wake up. He just nurses in his sleep. His eyes are closed and he doesn't play with my shirt like he does when I'm awake. Nursing is very soothing to them, and having a full tummy helps them sleep longer. So don't wake the baby, just feed him/her. (Granted, with a newborn, some stimulation is necessary to bring them out of their sleep enough to eat. But they don't have to be wide awake to eat.)

Tana, wife to Steve (5/02), mom to Ben (7/03), Joey (10/06) and Caroline (9/09)
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#8 of 16 Old 01-22-2004, 03:34 PM
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If your newborn has nursing issues, like being sleepy and not wanting to nurse, you will have to wake her or him up to nurse. That might not happen to you, but it might. After that gets straightened out, though, and you are going along fine, you won't have to wake the baby to nurse, because she or he will wake you!

My son had some latch problems, and we had the "wake him up" thing in the first week of his life. Oh that was terrible and scary for a few days. But then he caught on to nursing and "nursed like a rock star"(<-- quoting the nice lactation consultant at the hospital.

Then I would nurse him to sleep and he would wake up to nurse, all by himself. His pattern was sleep two hours, sleep three hours, sleep four to six hours, sleep two that. "Sleeping through the night" is like five or six hours. Since he was in our room (and part time in my bed) it didn't disturb my sleep much.

By the way, I WOHM full time (now part time at the office, part time work at home) and pumped. I do not recommend taking on extra pumping in order to get more sleep, unless you have a terrible time with interrupted sleep. I found I could get a good night's sleep without my dh taking on feedings while I was home. (He does feed ds breastmilk when I'm not here.) He has another role: he is the family rocker. A role at which he rocks. (Get it? )

Your MIL is wishing you an "easy baby." Always tell her that your baby is easy. Don't worry about whether he is or not, to her, he is.

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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#9 of 16 Old 01-22-2004, 03:42 PM
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I didn't wake my sleeping baby to nurse, even when I was painfully engorged, and it worked out fine. The baby still gained weight very steadily (3 oz in 2 days & double her weight in 7 wks).

I tried waking her to nurse a few times, and she just kept falling asleep.

I certainly wouldn't worry about whatever choice you make unless it starts to cause problems. Then re-evaluate.
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#10 of 16 Old 01-22-2004, 03:45 PM
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My midwife w/DD said that she should nurse every 1.5-2 hours around the clock except for one 4-5 hour span. I should continue waking her to nurse until she regained her birthweight. So, that's what we did.

My midwife w/DS was not as into the waking, but we did the same with DS to be careful (of course, since we had a homebirth he lost a lot less weight!).




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#11 of 16 Old 01-22-2004, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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WOW - this is great guys!!! I just love comming here, especially after having an un-encouraging conversation with some stupid family member

I am going to memorize all of this and then repeat it back when it is told to me. I have gotten all kinds of nasty remarks already including one person who said "GROSS" when I told her I was BF.

GROSS???? She thought that feeding my child was gross. I promtly replied that what is gross is that NASTY, CRAP you feed your baby, Infamil
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#12 of 16 Old 01-22-2004, 05:35 PM
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I don't consider it a rule either way, I just used my instinct. If my babies were hungry, they woke up and nursed. If they were sleeping peacefully, I didn't bother them. I didn't have any supply problems and they both gained beautifully and got those nice fat rolls on their little ham thighs. Forget about what you've read. Do what works best for your baby.
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#13 of 16 Old 01-22-2004, 09:50 PM
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I woke my ds to nurse in the first week since he was a bit early and his drs were concerned about his weight and were talking about supplementing. After seeing that he gained nearly 2 oz per day on breastmilk they backed off!

Other than that , I have woken ds anytime I was feeling engorged and needed to release some milk. I found getting engorged leads me to plugged ducts. Heck no was I going to get up in the middle of the night to pump when I had a perfectly good nurser right beside me! He dozed through it anyway.

I think it would be silly to follow that as a rule. Feel free to wake the baby to meet a need whether it is for the baby or your own comfort.
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#14 of 16 Old 01-22-2004, 11:25 PM
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I had a 36 week 5lber, and apart from the first few days (affected by most post c-section pain meds and a little jaundice) we never had to wake her to eat, She woke me. We were giving her a little extra ebm by syringe after each feeding for about the first week because she kind of tuckered out and fell asleep at the breast after only 3-4 minutes. It I didn't have to wake a 5lb baby to help my supply or her weight gain, I can't imagine waking a fullterm newborn unless it was to relieve my own engorgement.
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#15 of 16 Old 01-23-2004, 01:29 AM
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It is often recommended that a newborn nurse 10-12 times in a 24 hour period, so it comes to an average of about every 2 hours, but some babies cluster feed at some times of day and then have a longer sleep stretch at other times. That is ok too. A baby born full term from an unmedicated birth is probably more likely to regulate their feeding better and wake when necessary than a baby that is sleepy due to being premature, being small or still having labor medication in his/her system. Then the mom might want to keep a closer eye on making sure baby is getting in the 10-12 times per 24 hours and the baby might need to be woken up if he/she is sleeping too much.

Mom to two daughters born in 1997 and 2000
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#16 of 16 Old 01-23-2004, 04:54 AM
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yes, it is advised that if a newborn sleeps longer than about 4 hours, you should wake him or her to nurse. that "never wake a sleeping baby" thing is just outdated advice. but you will know one way or the other if baby is getting enough, and when you think it is okay for him or her to sleep longer or not. you are the mama, and just do what feels right.

i commend you on your decision to breastfeed! it must be hard considering it sounds like your family is NOT very supportive. just keep at it, keep coming to great places like this for support, go to some LLL meetings, and if you have any problems, find a good lactation consultant. you can do this, and you will do this, and your baby will thank you!

Robyn - In stillheart.gif with Tyson, Gothy Mama to fairy.gif Jasmyn (March 12 2003), jammin.gifGrayson (August 2 2005), my angel3.gif Aurora Hope (m/c Nov 10 2010), and baby.gif Sydney Rayne (September 17 2011)     ribboncesarean.gifx3

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