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#353064 11/08/07 01:49 PM
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Sleep deprivation got you down? Please share your trials and tribulations with night nursing. Are you a new, exhausted mom who needs help and advice? Are you a veteran breastfeeder with tips or perpective? Share here! I'll start you off with my article on the subject...

Night Nursing and Sleep Deprivation Article


Nicki Heskin, Breastfeeding and Early Childhood Editor
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My dd only nurses at night when she is sick or is going through a developmental milestone or is teething. In these situations she is usually inconsolable for hours, nursing on and off with screaming sessions in between. However, I have found that if I just take her into bed with my hubby and I that she nurses and goes right back to sleep. Depending on what time it is we'll either bring her back to her crib after awhile or just let her spend the rest of the night with us. I have found that I have to act quickly or she wakes up too much and then wants to play.


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My dd only nurses at night when she is sick or is going through a developmental milestone or is teething. In these situations she is usually inconsolable for hours, nursing on and off with screaming sessions in between. However, I have found that if I just take her into bed with my hubby and I that she nurses and goes right back to sleep. Depending on what time it is we'll either bring her back to her crib after awhile or just let her spend the rest of the night with us. I have found that I have to act quickly or she wakes up too much and then wants to play.


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I was lucky that my baby would just eat for a few minutes and go back to sleep which wasn't tiring ..... that much. Of course, I'm not counting the days when he had cramps. Even with cramps, he would be up for an hour max.

MoniB #404689 04/09/08 09:22 AM
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When I had my first baby I would get out of bed and sit up to nurse her for all the night feedings. crazy But with number 2 thru 4 I wised up and kept the bassinette next to the bed so I could dose while the baby nursed. When they were done they went back into the bassinette, but being able to lie down and dose while they ate saved my sanity.

I know all the authorities are against having the baby in bed with you at night, even for a little while, but it was great for me. wink

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Nicki,
I am extremely desperate. I am actually a pediatrician which makes things worse....I have a 17 months old girl and I am still breastfeeding her- during the day and during the night- in addition to her healthy diet. The problem is that she wakes up 4-6 times a night to nurse- she is cosleeping with us- and will scream bloody murder and cry heartbrakingly if I don't nurse her right away. It seems she is in extreme distress everytime and she has to nurse. She is an extremely busy child- and hard to calm down- so it seems that nursing is her only source of comfort that she found so far, despite my efforts of showing her other sources. Here is the outside/inside problem - since I would nurse her until she is ready to stop- my husband(who has no medical background) is pulling up all these articels about the neagtives of breastfeeding and he is supported by our medical community (all our physician friends and her pediatrician) that after one year- you have to stop- because it increases carious lesions and earinfection. I am starting to feel like I failed - I am exhausted at work from sleepdeprivation and my heart brakes when she cries and I can't sooze her with nursing because I am workign a 12 hour night shift. What should I do?

Last edited by rileysmom; 04/27/08 08:53 PM.
rileysmom #412148 04/27/08 09:26 PM
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Since she is eating other foods regularly, my take on it is you are going to have to be firm and complete the weaning process, ask your husband to help. The bassinet bit might work too.

Last edited by Keaghry; 04/27/08 09:30 PM.
Keaghry #412177 04/28/08 12:17 AM
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I found during weaning it was very helpful to have my husband distract or settle the child in the odd times that the child was looking to breast feed.

My third I breast fed the longest and she was the hardest. But not that hard, I've been blessed with agreeable children, of course I'm figuring on her being the last so I didn't know if I was spoiling her or me more that made it hard.

We actually weaned her on a long summer vacation visiting family where there were lots of distractions for her. I think she was between 15 and 17 months.

I don't know about the ear infection references, I thought that was only if you layed down when breast feeding too much. Of course as tired moms, we would do that quite a few times wouldn't we.


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My 4th child was waking for nursing during the night when he was beyond the age of needing night feedings. I think he was about a year old (he's 24 now so it's hard to remember exactly). Weaning him solved the problem. I guess a bottle just wasn't worth waking up for, but the night feedings stopped immediately.

rileysmom #422242 05/29/08 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted By: rileysmom
I am extremely desperate. I am actually a pediatrician which makes things worse....I have a 17 months old girl ...she wakes up 4-6 times a night to nurse- she is cosleeping with us- and will scream bloody murder and cry heartbrakingly if I don't nurse her right away. ...She nursing is her only source of comfort.. I would nurse her until she is ready to stop- my husband(who has no medical background) is pulling up all these articels that after one year- you have to stop- because it increases carious lesions and earinfection. I am starting to feel like I failed - I am exhausted at work from sleepdeprivation and my heart brakes when she cries and I can't sooze her with nursing because I am workign a 12 hour night shift. What should I do?


Rileysmom,
As I wrote in my earlier PM to you, I am so sorry for the delayed reply to this message. I have been wanting to look into some of the issues you mentioned. Firstly, it is my understanding that extended nursing does NOT increase ear infections or dental caries. In fact, it decreases ear infection incidence, and the dental caries thing did not pan out when studied. There has been a lot of recent reports about this.. I will try to find and link them here. If you research the topic online you can definitely find as much if not more support for extended breastfeeding in this area from very reputable sources (try www.llli.org for starters). We are actually in very similar situation -- I have an 18 month old and am lucky to get a 3 hour stretch at night out of her. Some babies are just like that. You can try to force them to be a different way, or you can accept them for who they are and what they need at that time. Violette's suggestion of using your husband to help by "going in first" is often an effective one (and one I discuss in my night nursing article). At 18 months, I am feeling like she is nearly old enough to start accepting delayed gratification during the day with nursing -- accepting someone else's care and attention and assistance instead. Once I feel like that is really breaking through with her in the day, I plan to have hubby go in at night and telling her that there will be more milk when the sun is up, that night is for sleeping. But first she has to understand those CONCEPTS -- and she's just not quite there yet, as I suppose yours is not either. Your daughter is likely suffering some separation anxiety from your long shifts, which is just something you'll both have to adjust to given your situation -- but denying her the breast when it IS available will only deepen that issue, not eliminate it. When you are not there, the important thing is that your husband empathize, not take it personally that she wants YOU (as opposed to him) and comfort and support her as best as he can. Eventually, this too shall pass. Please write back and tell us how it is going.


Nicki Heskin, Breastfeeding and Early Childhood Editor
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