Sleep/feeding schedule

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-13-2007
Sleep/feeding schedule
4
Tue, 03-05-2013 - 4:31pm

Hi All!

Hoping someone might have some ideas for me here.

My LO is just 5 months... Exclusively BF (or EBM when I am working) from day one. She was 9 lbs at birth (I make them big :)), and still in the 95% percentile for weight.

She was going about a 4-5 hour stretch at night, waking up to eat once and then back again for another 2-3, then again nurse and then another 2-3 hours sleep. The last few weeks though she has progressively started waking up more and more frequently -- to point of about every hour or hour and a half all night long. She seems to nurse a longer time than she was previously, so seemed weird that she'd be ready to eat so soon after.

She was going about 3 hrs in between feedings during the day so I decided to increase that and now aim for every 2 - 2.5 hours when awake. When I work she takes a bottle, generally around 5 oz (although when we increased the # of feedings, she cut back a little and now averages 4-4.5)

I have not started solids with her yet, and we co-sleep so the feedings are not a big deal if that is what she needs/wants, but I do admit that its getting harder to get sleep with them THAT frequent!

She is healthy and does not appear to have any teeth coming in yet. I assumed at first a growth spurt (god help me as she is already almost 20 lbs!) but with my first, these little spurts only lasted a few days, not several weeks.

I do not think I have a supply issue as I am able to pump at least another  1-2 oz or more after I feed her, and she often refuses to nurse on the second side. I tried to pump a little first to get her more of the fatty milk but that doesnt seem to make any difference.

Is she just maybe in an attachment phase and wants the bonding?? I can handle that :)

 

Thanks for any insight/advice!

 

-Kara

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-21-2009
Tue, 03-05-2013 - 7:37pm

There are a whole host of reasons LO’s might wake up more often at night. I think, judging from what I hear from mothers, it’s actually pretty common for babies who were once sleeping long stretches to wake more often as they approach 6 months of age. I’m not sure all the reasons are clear. There is lots of speculation though. Teething is a favorite…….;-). Of course any ‘off’ behavior can be blamed on teething from the age of 6 months to about 3 yrs of age.

Some babies will wake more at night when mom is working during the day to make up for mommy time. We call it ‘reverse cycling’.

How much ebm is your baby is taking at day care? She may be working to increase supply to match the fast flow of the bottles if she is drinking large amounts quickly. Usually we recommend about one ounce per hour, meaning if it’s about 2 hours since the last feeding we’d expect the baby to take about 2oz if it’s 3 hours about 3oz. Is your baby taking more than that? It’s possible she’s drinking very fast and taking more than she needs and now when she breastfeeds she doesn’t feel as ‘full’ even though she’s getting enough. Sort of like if I eat really fast, I might tend to overeat. If I overeat at most meals soon that becomes my ‘normal’ and if I try to eat a smaller, more normal portion it doesn’t seem like it’s enough. You might ask the daycare if they can be sure she is drinking slowly from the bottles. This can be done by keeping the bottle more parallel to the floor rather than pouring it into her.

Of course this is just a theory!

If you feel the change in sleep pattern was sudden you may want to check with the pediatrician to be sure she’s not ill.

It sounds like you are doing just the right thing in responding. I’m sorry I don’t have any definite solutions but I hope you are reassured that this change can be ‘normal’. You certainly aren’t doing anything ‘wrong’.

I have heard good things about the book, “No Cry Sleep Solution”.

I hope others will chime in with ideas also or just support.

Warmly,

iVillage lactation consultant

and Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas and Charlotte    

Kathy Kuhn IBCLC ivillage lactation consultant Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas, and Charlotte

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-13-2007
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 2:54pm

Thanks Kathy!!

It may very well be reverse cycling, as I know my son did this for a short time (at least I assumed that is what it was because it was the only explanation that made sense!)

She usually has about 2-3 feedings max when I am working (generally 2). She takes between 4 and 5 oz every 3 hrs... I was concerned this was not enough because the dr said with her size (almost 20 lbs) she might take more like 7 oz... I have her on the slow-flow bottles still so I dont think she is getting it too fast (they are the newborn nipples so super slow)... and usually when she has had enough she will push the bottle away so sometimes she only takes 3 oz. There are rare occasions when after finishing 4-5 she screams for more but that is really rare.

Last night after waking up 3 times in a row every hour, I let her sleep on top of me. She seems to like that and sleeps better -- maybe its the sound of my heartbeat, or maybe it's being on her tummy (she is pretty gassy all the time and we can;t pinpoint which food it might be as its consistent. but doesnt bother her except to wake her sometimes so Dr said not to worry too much). She slept a 4 hr stretch then, half on my stomach and half curled up next to me. I have learned with both of my kids that they like to be super close, hence the co-sleeping!

I don't think its teeth yet, at least I don't see anything in there. Who knows though!

I'll look at that book again... I can't remember which sleep book I looked at with my son (many! he was a non-sleeper and still is!), but most of them discouraged nursing to sleep, which I still do with her.

I am hoping/thinking it is just a phase and will see if it works itself out soon... If not I predict many nights of her sleeping on top of me (which is fine with me... I'll take the cuddles as long as I can! :))

Thanks Kathy!!

 

-Kara

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2008
Fri, 03-08-2013 - 3:54pm

Kara, it sounds like reverse cycling may be part of the equation here but like Kathy said, it's often hard to pinpoint exactly why frequent wakers wake so often.

I'm not sure I would agree with your doc's assessment of the preferred bottle size with regards to breastmilk. That sounds right for formula but your baby isn't drinking formula. Your doc may just be more familiar with formula fed babies. Research tells us the average baby takes in 20-30 ounces of breastmilk per day from 1-6 months. If baby isn't sleeping through the night, that typically works out to 2-3 ounces every 2-3 hours. If baby is going longer stretches at night, it may be a bit more like 4-4.5 ounces but very rarely more than that. I would never ever expect a bf baby to take a 7 ounce bottle. Kudos to you for knowing to stick with the slow flow bottle nipple for the entire time you're nursing.  You may want to share this with your doc to make sure he doesn't tell the next nursing mom the same thing: http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/pumping/milkcalc/ 

Whatever the issue is, I hope it passes soon! Please let us know if you have any other questions we can help with.

Dana

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-21-2009
Sat, 03-09-2013 - 11:44am

Hmmmm, do you think you have had oversupply?

Here’s some information on oversupply:

Oversupply

http://parenting.ivillage.com/baby/bbreastfeed/0,,94kctqn6,00.html

That just came to mind when you said about the gassiness. Sometimes when moms have oversupply babies will get use to the fast flow and start to bf more to re-stimulate the faster flow as mom starts to down regulate supply. Just a thought……..but who knows. You are already doing all the right things.

Gassiness is rarely related to foods in your diet so unless your LO is having extreme issues I vote with the doctor on this one and would not worry about it. Babies are pretty gassy folks anyway………lol.

The reason the doctor thinks the baby could take more at daycare is probably b/c he’s used to working with formula fed babies who generally increase the amount they take from bottles overtime. Babies who bottle feed are at a higher risk of obesity later in life and it’s thought that one factor is they take larger and larger amounts over time, likely more than they really need. Bottle feeding promotes overfeeding in many ways.

Studies on babies who are breastfeeding directly and doing well with weight gain etc. have shown the average amount a baby takes via direct breastfeeding is about 25 oz per 24 hours. The range is from 17 to 33 oz per day. The 25 oz figure is how we estimate that most babies will need about an ounce per hour when feeding from a bottle. So if your baby is taking 4-5oz per 3 hours that is actually a bit more than ‘average’ but of course averages are in the middle so some babies will take more and others less. Likely, if your baby is on the larger side that is why she’s taking a bit more. The 4-5oz per 3 hours is actually more than typical if she were breastfeeding directly. Anyway, it sort of doesn’t matter b/c she’s obviously growing well overall which means whatever she takes at daycare she’s getting the appropriate amount when with you to make up any difference. That is what reverse cycling is about. The baby takes less at daycare and more from mom directly. So again, it sounds like you are doing everything right.

Be careful of books that recommend not nursing to sleep………..ugh! Of course babies should be nursed to sleep. It’s always better to nurture your babies when they are little to the degree that they need. You can’t go wrong responding to your baby’s needs. You are doing a great job!

Warmly,

iVillage lactation consultant

and Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas and Charlotte    

Kathy Kuhn IBCLC ivillage lactation consultant Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas, and Charlotte