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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,


First time poster - but I've read and sought guidance from other posters for the past few years :smile:


I have a 32 month old who sleeps in his own crib (we weren't successful co-sleepers because we kept each other up) and a 6 month old who sleeps mostly on my shoulder or, occasionally, in the swing next to the bed. Since birth Luca has been a non-stop nurser. The postpartum doula would come in and say "so great that he's latched on again!" and I kept explaining that he never left........he'd been on the same side for 2.5 hours! With Luca I can sort of sleep while he nurses so since birth we've been in a pattern of going to bed together around 7:30 and then slogging through the next 12 hours with him waking every 45 min to, rarely, two hours to nurse again.


So I suppose my question is - will he sleep in larger chunks on his own ever? He used to just wake to nurse but for the past two months he's been getting fussy as well so it's not just nursing - it's flipping sides repeatedly and tushy patting and often getting up and swaddling and bouncing on the ball. He LOVES the ball. The bigger the bounces the better. Especially with a nipple in his mouth!


I've read suggestions of trying to hold them off when they wake to nurse to help them spread out nursing times........but I've yet to find a way to hold him off. I worry that I didn't let him get frustrated enough when he was younger (for a few months there I think he only cried a total of 5-10min per day because he was so easily pleased by having boob) so now he doesn't have any resources to draw on now that life is getting more complicated for him as he grows up.


I'm fine with nursing him frequently as long as I'm able to stop worrying that I'm harming his future development somehow. Has anyone had a high frequency/quantity nurser who suddenly turned the corner at some point?


Thank you!
 

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You're not harming him. Completely the opposite in fact. Meeting the needs of little babies (and your baby is still little) is what gives them the resources to cope when they're older. It's just that "older" isn't yet :) Have a look at Pinky McKay, Dr James McKenna, Dr Kathryn Dettwyler to read more about the benefits of responding to babies needs.

And, yes :) he will feed less frequently one day. What is he like during the day now? When my oldest DD went through a stage of hourly feeding overnight I found it helped a bit to feed her hourly during the day.


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Will he go longer stretches ever? Well, yeah. I thought DS would never, ever sleep through the night. But he did - for the first time when he was just over 3.

Nursing that much in a 6week old, I would say it sounds super normal. In a 6 month old...it's a lot. I'd say most babies go through phases of ratcheting up the nursing when they're going through a developmental leap or teething, but it's a phasic thing rather than constant. Do you get the sense that he's hungry or just really needing to nurse to settle down? Is he eating solid food? Teething might explain the recent fussiness. Maybe upping the solid food amounts would help, if hunger is part of the equation.

If it were me, I'd book an appointment with a chiropractor who specializes in babies. I've had a lot of success improving sleep issues with my 3month old with just a couple of adjustments.

If you have a partner, you might try having the baby sleep next to them at night instead. Maybe if he isn't sleeping next to the milk factory he'd go a bit longer (this never worked with my older son, but I know it has worked for others). A lot of people swear that their babies slept so much better once away from mama milk all night.


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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Will he go longer stretches ever? Well, yeah. I thought DS would never, ever sleep through the night. But he did - for the first time when he was just over 3.

Nursing that much in a 6week old, I would say it sounds super normal. In a 6 month old...it's a lot. I'd say most babies go through phases of ratcheting up the nursing when they're going through a developmental leap or teething, but it's a phasic thing rather than constant. Do you get the sense that he's hungry or just really needing to nurse to settle down? Is he eating solid food? Teething might explain the recent fussiness. Maybe upping the solid food amounts would help, if hunger is part of the equation.

If it were me, I'd book an appointment with a chiropractor who specializes in babies. I've had a lot of success improving sleep issues with my 3month old with just a couple of adjustments.

If you have a partner, you might try having the baby sleep next to them at night instead. Maybe if he isn't sleeping next to the milk factory he'd go a bit longer (this never worked with my older son, but I know it has worked for others). A lot of people swear that their babies slept so much better once away from mama milk all night.


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I like the idea of him sleeping next to my husband! He's spending a ton of time sleeping next to the 2.5 year old right now.......he just started having nightmares........but when I get him back in the bed :)


I don't think it's hunger but needing to nurse to calm himself. I'm pretty sure he's just going through that light part of sleep around 45-90 min and wakes up enough to realize there's an empty space in his mouth and he needs to fill it. When he get accidentally woken up or gets woken up when he's partially fallen asleep he's incredibly disoriented and cries so very fiercely until someone turns on the light and fully wakes him up. It takes him quite a while to re-orient if there isn't nursing around.


I will definitely look up writings by those authors! Oh - he's been eating solids for a bit and it seems to, perversely, have ratcheted up his nighttime nursing. I think his gut may be experiencing new unusual feelings so he's waking up more and needing more calming. And I try to nurse him in the day as much as possible - but it's like herding cats. He's so shiny and enthusiastic about everything that trying to keep the nipple in his mouth is almost impossible....I wish I could detach it so he could nurse facing forward. Trying to nurse in a dark room just means he plays with my teeth and ears and pulls my hair and then turns to look at my sleeve, etc! I feel like the vast majority of his breastmilk calories are from nighttime feeds now.
 

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This sounds SO familiar. My DD2 is nearly 8 months and still I and off the boob all night. Well, actually, I think we do sleep long stretches sometimes, but I don't pay enough attention to the clock to notice. I am definitely her lovey and her pacifier. If I keep the boob available she generally doesn't open her eyes all night, despite latching on and off many times. But heaven forbid I cover up or try to hold her off!

For me, this is a zillion times better than my DD1's sleep, so I feel like things are going great! I have never really felt tired with this baby.

During the day she is confident and adventurous, attached but not clingy. She also has a very hard time focusing on daytime nursing. I think she makes up for both the food and closeness at night.

I absolutely don't think any of this is causing harm. If my ODD could learn to sleep through the night on her own, then anyone can! And in the meantime this is one contented baby!

If anything, I do wish I had some time away from the baby in the evening, but I just try to make that time as productive as possible.
 

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I don't think it's hunger but needing to nurse to calm himself. I'm pretty sure he's just going through that light part of sleep around 45-90 min and wakes up enough to realize there's an empty space in his mouth and he needs to fill it. When he get accidentally woken up or gets woken up when he's partially fallen asleep he's incredibly disoriented and cries so very fiercely until someone turns on the light and fully wakes him up. It takes him quite a while to re-orient if there isn't nursing around.

That sounds SO familiar. DS was always disoriented waking up from naps too, no matter how well rested. I remember explaining to my BIL that it was actually more important for him to nurse "to wake" than to sleep because he was so dis regulated when he woke up.

Yeah, sounds like he is just very attached to his lovies, which just happen to be a part of your body. I'm doing everything I ca to encourage this baby to thumb suck and/or attach to a lovie so we can maybe avoid this scenario again.


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