Does cosleeping make the baby wake up more frequently? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 12-23-2010, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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My 8 mo DS sleeps in our bed. He never sleeps longer than 3 hours before waking up to nurse, and even that is rare. It's more like 2 hour stretches.


A friend of mine, who breastfeeds, mentioned how her DS sleeps 6 hour stretches! He does not co sleep, and he's only 3 mos old, but it made me wonder if my DS would wake up less. I just assumed it was because breastmilk digests faster and all that, so he was hungry more often. I'm not going to stop cosleeping, I'm just curious if anyone noticed a difference with their own DC. I know he wakes up a lot more when I'm next to him, I think he can smell me or something and knows he can have a snack anytime he wants.

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#2 of 12 Old 12-23-2010, 11:32 AM
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Sorry to say that I think it does. DS only wakes once or twice now that he recently started sleeping with DH, alone, but with me he was waking up 5-6++ times per night and wanting to nurse constantly. 


But there are advantages/disadvantages to both sleeping arrangements. I actually sleep better with baby in bed, and even if they wake up and nurse often, I feel comforted knowing that s/he is only inches away and that I can 'protect' them. My mothering instinct just doesn't allow me to sleep at all (separately) when they are really young.

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#3 of 12 Old 12-23-2010, 06:54 PM
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 I think it does too. We have co-slept with our 7m.o. since birth and, until starting BLW a couple of weeks ago, she was exclusively breastfed (and she still gets 99.9% of her calories from BM). She has always woken every 1-3 hours for feeds. Twice she has gone for longer, once when she was tiny and asleep on the couch next to me during the evening she went for 5 hours and a few days ago she went to bed later than normal because we were out and she spet for 6 hours straight.


I was worried about it for a while when she was waking hourly. I thought maybe she wasn't geting enough quality sleep and it would affect her development if it continued. I desperaately didn't want to put her in a cot for my own sake but I was gearing up to consider it if it was going to be better for her. But, I did some reading and I am reasonably convinced (there are no randomised controlled trials that I could find) that it is normal and healthy for our babes to sleep in close proximity and that the frequent rousing (J doesn't fully wake up most of the time) is a part of that and also normal and healthy.

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#4 of 12 Old 12-23-2010, 07:29 PM
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Yes, it does encourage more frequent waking, which is natural and desirable. This maintains a strong milk supply, nourishment and is also cited as SIDS prevention. My 14 mo son doesn't fully wake but just latches on and feeds, then falls asleep again. I believe he feeds every 1-3 hours but I am not sure as I don't fully wake either. Prolactin levels are highest 1-5 am. The higher the prolactin level the more milk produced.

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#5 of 12 Old 12-24-2010, 03:26 AM
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I think they stir more and don't sleep as 'deeply'.  But there has been studies that show this is a GOOD thing and part of why (safe) co-sleeping (and breastfeeding) prevents SIDS!  It is what babies are supposed to do in all honesty.  We co sleep 100% - and I know my son stirs and feeds often but he never actually wakes up or cries - he does't have to as his needs are all right there!  He grunts and roots and rolls around but doesn't 'wake' - though he probably doesn't sleep as deeply as a baby in a cot in a different room either.  But we both get GREAT sleep.  I wouldn't if I had to get up and go and get him - and he wouldn't if he had to fully wake up to let me know what his needs were.   

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#6 of 12 Old 12-24-2010, 08:21 AM
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My son is 3 months old and we co-sleep and he really doesn't wake much at all during the night anymore. Last night he took a long nap beside me on the couch from about 6pm until 11pm and then we got into bed together around 1am and he fell asleep right away and didn't wake again until about 7am so he could be changed and nurse. He'll normally sleep from about 11pm or so until about 5am. He doesn't really wake to nurse,except this week he's starting to again b/c he's have a growth spurt.

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#7 of 12 Old 12-24-2010, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies!!!


I'm curious, for those of you that co sleep and breastfeed, when was your child able to sort of feed himself without you waking up? I find that I have to position DS and then he latches on, but I always wake up a little to do that. Plus, is everyone sleeping with an open shirt or something? I still have to lift my top or unbutton it, am I missing something? I can't sleep topless, it's too cold!!!

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#8 of 12 Old 12-24-2010, 11:10 AM
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I can't remember when DS started to latch on by himself, but maybe it was recently?  He's 4.5 months.  I do remember putting a nightlight on my side of the bed a month or 2 ago so I could see to help him when needed.  I don't remember how often I help him, so I can't say if he's doing it himself now or I'm just helping in my sleep ;) 


I sleep in the Target nursing tanks.  In fact, I practically live in them on the weekends and after work during the week.  I tried a nursing bra, but these just work so much better for me.  Sometimes I 'close' the flap when he's done nursing and other times I end up sleeping with it open all night.  I think those are the nights I barely wake at all.

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#9 of 12 Old 12-25-2010, 06:43 PM
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I would say yes, depending on the age of the baby.  For ds, from birth until 9 months or so he slept longer stretches in our bed.  After 9 months he began sleeping better and longer in his bed.  We part-time cosleep now (at 1 yr) and some nights I have to bring him back to his crib from our bed because he can't get comfortable with us. 


Oh, and when he was nursing all night I slept in old tshirts of hubby's that I had split open in the front (up and down, neck to belly).  No fabric straining at my boobs like a tank or bra pulled down or to the side, and plenty of coverage on the back, neck, and arms. 

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#10 of 12 Old 12-26-2010, 11:47 AM
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My son can sorta latch on his own,but I do need to guide him and get his little body in the right position too. I can't wait until he can do it himself,it will be so cute!


I sleep naked if it's warm enough or I sleep in a loose tank top and just lift my shirt out of the way.

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#11 of 12 Old 12-28-2010, 02:33 PM
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If you want to get more sleep, I'd say put them in their own bed. My kids were both sleeping 11-12 hours at night in their cribs at 8 months. 


I usually only do occasional co-sleeping during the newborn stage. 

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#12 of 12 Old 12-29-2010, 11:14 AM
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If your DS is on solids and has eaten a good meal before bedtime, than I think your DS is waking out of habit. My DS is almost 20 mo old and at 18 mo, I decided to try to extend the nursing at night because I was confident that he was not waking up hungry and didn't need the calories (and we both needed better quality sleep). I had already day weaned him at about 16-17 mo.


So, the first time he woke up crying, I just cuddled him and patted his back, and he went back to sleep usually within 5 min. He was frustrated at first that I wouldn't nurse him, but I was surprised at how quickly he got over it.  As the days went by, I could comfort him back to sleep in a couple of minutes. I kept extending the nursings by 30 min or so to the point where he was going 10-11 hours without nursing after maybe 2-3 weeks. He still sometimes wakes up once or twice (he doesn't try to nurse anymore), and I always cuddle him back to sleep. Now, I think he is waking because of dreaming, temperature, etc. Still trying to figure out how to keep my little blanket kicker offer warm.


I am down to just nursing him to sleep at night (having cut out nursing to sleep for his nap a month ago) and I plan on weaning him next week when he is officially 20 mo old.


I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the whole process was, having anticipated the worst and thinking I would be up with a crying toddler for hours at night. That didn't happen thankfully.


Best of luck to you.

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