night nursing

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2007
night nursing
8
Wed, 03-18-2009 - 9:11pm

My LO is 9 months old and is waking a lot at night. She seems to only need to be rocked for the first few wakings, but around 7-8 hours after bedtime, she seems to want to nurse. I say "seem" b/c that's the time that she seems to have a harder time going back to sleep with just rocking, and when I'm rocking her, she turns her head to my chest as if wanting to nurse.

If I nurse her at this time, around 4 a.m., then she's nursing every hour from then on until 7 a.m. Does this sound normal? She used to go through the whole night without nursing. Then she got a cold, and only nursing would get her to go back to sleep at night when she had a stuffed up nose.

I had been annoyed at the night nursing, since I was comparing it to the previous times when she did not nurse at night. However, at her 9 month appointment, she's around the 10th percentile for weight (16 lbs 15 oz), a drop from around 20-30 percent. Her pediatrician did not mention it as a concern, but he may not have paid attention. So now I'm feeling like I should try to night nurse in order to increase the calories that she's consuming. During the day, she's nursing five times. Night, about four times. Does everything I'm saying sound normal or should I be doing something different?

I plan to do child-led weaning. What can I expect in terms of night nursing? How frequent will it be? TIA!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to: chirimoya
Thu, 03-19-2009 - 9:00am

Everything you mention actually does sound "normal" (or at least common). There can be several periods of wakefulness during infancy.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-03-2004
In reply to: chirimoya
Thu, 03-19-2009 - 10:07am

I agree with Paula that this all sounds normal to me.


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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2007
In reply to: chirimoya
Thu, 03-19-2009 - 11:00am

Thanks so much! I feel a lot better. I'll continue to do what I'm doing, and at least my changed expectations help me feel better about her wakings and less resentful.

As for BF during the earlier wakings, she's super sleepy during those wakings. As soon as I pick her up from the crib and she's in my arms, she falls back asleep. Sometimes her eyes aren't even open. So those times, I was taking it to be that she just needed to be rocked. Around 4 a.m., when I try to just rock her back to sleep, she fusses and won't go back to sleep. She leans toward my chest to nurse, so I took that to mean she wanted to nurse.

Thanks for the suggestion though. I'll be on the lookout if she starts being more awake and fussy during the earlier wakings. It'll be nice when she's a little older and can somehow communicate better that she wants to nurse, like more lunging at my chest, haha.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2007
In reply to: chirimoya
Sat, 03-21-2009 - 10:22pm

To follow up, my LO only nurses when she's tired. That is, nursing to fall asleep for a nap, nursing when she wakes up from a nap and is trying to transition to the next sleep cycle, nursing when she finally wakes up fully from a nap, and nursing in the middle of the night.

Is it possible that she's nursing so much at night (cluster feeding every hour from 4am to 7am) b/c she's not getting enough during the day? Daytime, she's nursing at least times. Another theory I have is that since she's been waking every hour at night, it's because she can't transition to the next sleep cycle without the help of nursing. The first few hours, I can rock her back to sleep, but starting around 4am, I have to nurse her back to sleep.


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2007
In reply to: chirimoya
Sat, 03-21-2009 - 10:32pm

Is she able to self soothe at all?


Do you ever give her a few min. to see if she goes back to sleep?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2007
In reply to: chirimoya
Sat, 03-21-2009 - 11:03pm

What is self-soothing? I think other babies suck their hands or something and that is what is meant by self-soothing, but mine does not. I've tried teaching her to suck on her hands, giving her a lovey, pacifier, etc. She won't do any of them. As a baby and child, I never did any of those either, so maybe it's hereditary. :P

I've given her a few minutes before, and she cries herself fully awake. Then I'm up with her for 1-2 hours waiting for her to get sleepy again. I get more sleep if I get her back to sleep.

Or if I leave her in the crib, she cries for 20-30 minutes and eventually goes to sleep, but I've only done that when I'm out of patience. Then when I'm back to my normal state, I just really can't leave her to cry like that. Once it was an angry cry, and I was okay with that b/c I knew she could get to sleep but she didn't know that she could. But other times it was sad, confused, loss-of-trust cry. It just doesn't make sense why I wouldn't respond to her. With those cries, then during the days that followed she was super clingy, distressed at any tiny thing, and cried randomly throughout the day. My daytimes became more miserable than my nighttimes. Also whenever the lights were dim in the evening, she thought she was going to be left in the crib to cry, and she started bawling. She had become afraid of bedtime. That's not okay with me.

She STTN before when I just waited it out. I'll do that again. In addition, I think she's going through a 9 month growth spurt (her clothes got smaller and I can feel that she got bigger in just the last few days), which may explain the ravenous night nursings. Just would be nice if those nursings could be moved to daytime instead, but I think she's too distracted to nurse other than when she's really tired. Also, she doesn't nurse unless she's hungry. So there are times when she's super tired but won't nurse.


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2007
In reply to: chirimoya
Mon, 03-23-2009 - 12:15am

I guess that is self soothing... My LO totally self soothes- she is a MAJOR finger sucker and sucks them all day!


When she goes to bed she sucks her fingers and rubs her head. I also see her put them back in throughout the night.


Good luck with your LO. Maybe it is a growth spurt!


You have to do what you feel comfortable with and what is right for you and your LO. So, it sounds like you have a good system going.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2007
In reply to: chirimoya
Mon, 03-23-2009 - 11:44am

It would be nice if she did suck on her fingers, but oh well. Maybe I can console myself with not having a finger-sucking habit when she's older? I dunno. I had a friend who was a major thumb-sucker. Turns out then it messed up her teeth/jaw alignment, and now at age 30, she has to have orthodontic treatment. I think she's a rare case though.

The last couple nights, she had a couple longer stretches of sleep, so things may be improving. Also, she cut out one of the night nursings. I also found that if I got her to stand and pre-crawl more, then she was more tired and slept a little more, so I'm going to try tiring her out more today.