Breastfeeding With Sleep Apnea Feels Impossible - Any Advice? - Mothering Forums
Breastfeeding Challenges > Breastfeeding With Sleep Apnea Feels Impossible - Any Advice?
nmouse's Avatar nmouse 06:09 PM 12-08-2011


I am looking for advice from other moms with sleep apnea who breastfeed. 

My son and I have had a really rough time with breastfeeding. He was born with a  tongue tie and some structural issues that prevent him transferring milk, and I am now taking herbals & domperidone and pumping for low supply, in addition to getting Bowen therapy for my son so he can draw milk better. I don't have a full milk supply, I can make maybe 3/4 to 4/5 of what he needs, but even the milk I have he can't always get out of me, so after we nurse I often supplement him with a breast flow bottle on the advice of our lactation consultant.
I spend literally all my time 24/7 either on the pump (for low supply & because he can't draw it, i'm using it as I write this) or feeding my son. I AM EXHAUSTED, and I feel like I can't catch a break. All these breastfeeding books talk about lying down next to your baby to nurse and just drifting off while he nurses. But because I need my VPAP to get quality sleep, any time I lie next to him to nurse (not in our bed, on a separate nursing futon for firmness & safety) and accidentally drift off, I wake myself up with an apnea event. This makes me even more exhausted. My LC doesn't have any advice about this.
Right now my son nurses around every 2 hours; he is 8 weeks old. I'm so, so tired. It is starting to seem like it is just impossible to do this with sleep apnea, and I am contemplating giving up, even though I really want to breastfeed.
Those of you who have breastfed with sleep apnea, how did you do it? Does it just get easier?


Megan73's Avatar Megan73 07:50 AM 12-09-2011
No one's answering you so I'll wade in.
I don't have sleep apnea but I have nursed with low supply and I really feel for you - it's totally exhausting to be almost literally nursing or pumping 24/7 without having sleep apnea on top of it.
Two things might help you get more sleep.
One, could you sidecar your son's crib to your bed so that you could roll him in after nursing him in your bed with your VPAP on?
You might try posting your question in the nighttime parenting and family bed forum to get more traffic.
Second, I always had to supplement my first son about 8 to 10 ounces a day but instead of bottles I used a Lact-Aid which is MUCH better than the Medela SNS, if you've tried that. It heads off the risk of flow preference caused by bottles - which can lead to nursing strikes - and it can be used while lying down in bed. Cleaning and filling is really no big deal once you get the hang of it and is a great job for dad.
Tags: Breastfeeding Challenges