I'm not sure where to post this. I am a FTM of a 4 month old. Baby girl loves to breastfeed multiple times during the night. We've been co-sleeping from the start. I never thought I'd co-sleep until I read more about it when baby girl was 3 days old and we hadn't slept at all for those first 3 days. So, I just did it out of necessity and it felt like the right thing to do. So, I've read more about the benefits and I'm very happy we started that way. But, I don't know how to decide if I should continue co-sleeping, how do you decide? Also, should I try to lessen the breastfeedings during the night? I guess I don't know what I want to do. I know that we want to try to get pregnant again after a year, so I wouldn't want baby girl still in bed with us when we have baby #2, but should I just wait until I get pregnant again to think about that or would it be easier to get her used to a crib sooner than that? I am sleeping well with her, it just might be nice if she only ate maybe 2 times a night instead of 5+ times a night. I'm not thinking about moving her to a crib yet, but just thinking about when to start that in the next year. Is it possible to co-sleep but also reduce night feedings or because she is so close to me, is that really hard to do?
I would love to breastfeed as long as possible and even if I get pregnant, to continue to breastfeed. So, I guess I have several questions. Do I have to keep breastfeeding multiple times a night in order to keep my supply up? If I try to reduce nighttime feedings, will this start the weaning process? Since I'm co-sleeping, is trying to reduce nighttime feedings pretty impossible, but only would work if she slept further away? AND, how do you decide how long your baby should sleep in the same bed? Do you just go with the flow and do what feels best at that time? I am not thinking of moving her to a crib anytime soon, but just thinking ahead about how/when I should do this.
how long you continue co-sleeping for is such a personal decision! How do you decide? You look at how things are going, and if you're all happiest with the current situation, you stick with it. My 5 month old son has slept with us since day one. I remember early on, my husband mentioned something about moving him to a crib around 3 months. Well 3 months came and went and my husband didn't say a thing. We just kept doing it. We plan to have another child soon (I may even be pregnant) and I will just have to see how things go, but I imagine that I'll want to start transitioning my son into a crib before I'm super pregnant so I can have a bit more sleeping space for a little while before another baby is in the bed with us. Some people co-sleep with multiple children though. It's totally up to you and what you're comfortable with. If you feel that co-sleeping is the best thing for you RIGHT NOW I wouldn't worry about "getting her used to a crib" so it's "easier" later. I think transitioning to a crib from the family bed is, for the most part, a difficult process - weather at 4 months, 12 months or 2 years.
As for multiple night feedings...I hear ya. I had a hard time with this one as my son nurses A LOT at night. You know what I did? I threw out the clock so I'd stop looking at it all night (it just made me frustrated knowing that I was being woken up every 1-2 hours) and accepted that, yes, my baby nurses all night long because...well... my boobs are right in his face! I realized that it's just a part of co-sleeping. After I got rid of the clock and accepted that I'd be waking several times a night to feed him my nights got so much better!!! I barely wake up now to nurse him - just help him latch on and go back to sleep within minutes. Occasionally I have to sit him up to burp but definitely not at every feeding. And I get more sleep because I'm not wasting any time laying there awake wishing he'd nurse less often so I could sleep more.
I think night feedings ARE important for keeping up supply. I know with my baby, he's gets really distracted lately when he nurses during the day (what was that noise? oooh the ceiling is soooo interesting, I have to stare at it instead of eating. etc.) that night time is the only time he gets serious, uninterrupted, long nursing sessions in.
I've heard that once baby is older (like 10 months) they could sleep over on dad's side of the bed and snuggle with him instead of mama. This would reduce night feedings since the baby doesn't smell milk all night long. But I wouldn't try that until baby is much older. And only if you're comfortable with you partner sleeping so close to the baby (since safe co sleeping rules say that baby should only sleep next to mom).
In conclusion, you gotta do what's right for you. Going with the flow has made me such a happier mama :) once I got rid of all those ideas about when and how much my baby "should" be eating/sleeping I became such a better mother. I do what's working for us and we're all happy!
I personally think that 4 months is too young to be limiting breastfeeding. And as the PP said, overnight feeding is great for your supply. Prolactin levels are at their highest between 1 and 5am.
As far as cosleeping goes I agree with the PP again, whatever works for you. Bear in mind that moving to a cot may not make her feed less overnight though, although it does work for some babies. Are you able to sleep with her during the day to catch up a bit? Or can your partner take her some mornings to let you have a sleep in? I found both of those things really helpful at that age. DH would get up with her and I'd stay in bed, then he'd bring her back for her next feed and she'd often go to sleep and I could stay with her and sleep even longer if I wanted to.
Hang in there. "this too shall pass"
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
Thank you so much! This was so helpful and encouraging! I'm glad to know others have gone through the same things :) I think she is also distracted during the day and has started to feed even more at night than during the day.
Thanks for posting and replying! I'm curious about so much of this! I have a 4 month old that loves her milk, too :) I never really knew about co-sleeping until she was born and it felt right, so we did it (Husband is great like that, just goes with my mama instincts). The lactation specialist at the hospital was incredibly encouraging, she helped me perfect side-lying so I felt like a pro by the time we got home!
Since it still feels right for us - and she likes to eat so much - we're going to stick with it. The crib is in the room when we're ready.
Ditto tanyato 100%. I agree that 4 months is not a good age to try and limit night feedings. Sleep can go through a rough stage at that time even without doing anything. If what you are doing is working well, stick with it!
4 years and 5 IVF cycles in the making, Elliott was born at home in water on 2/2/11.