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Waking every 2 hours at night to suckle!!

Shelley - posted on 05/22/2009 ( 7 moms have responded )




Help !! my ... almost 4 month old was sleeping at night for 2 batches of 4 hours. Then was waking every 2 to feed during a growth spurt but now has continued waking every 2 hours screaming and he is not hungry he just wants to suckle! He doesn't take a pacifier but sucks his thumb. I have tried to get him to suck my finger or tried to rock him back to sleep but the only way he will go back to sleep is with a little suckling.... and I'm exhausted!! Any advice??


[deleted account]

DO NOT let him cry it out. It's a stresser for babies, and interferes with their cognitive development. If you ignore him when he's crying he's going to get more stressed out, and it will basically teach him not to rely on you when he needs help. It causes dissociation and hyperarousal, and ultimately inhibits his normal psychological development. Babies who "sleep through the night" do actually wake up at night, they just know the parent who let them cry it out won't come to help them even if they were upset, so they soothe themselves back to sleep, and dissociate to cope with the trauma they experience when a parent ignores their cry.

However, if he's not hungry, you can hold him and rock him a little while he sucks his thumb. I personally let my son sleep next to me, and suckle him only if he's hungry. If not, I lay him on my chest when he starts to stir (if he sleeps with you, you'll wake up if he stirs) and pat him. If you're adamantly against having him sleep in your bed, try a cosleeper, or a bassinett next to the bed. The upside to all of this is that while he's spending less time in deep sleep, he's getting greater brain stimulation and that's good for his cognitive development. Nursing isn't just for getting milk and being fed, it's also a way you two communicate and connect. He's communicating his need for you by suckling to sleep. He'll eventually grow out of it (my oldest didn't sleep through the night until he was 10 months old), but for now, just enjoy the sleepy, milky smiles.


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Vanessa - posted on 05/26/2009




co-sleep! makes night time mothering so easy and gentle.

i have co-slept with both my babies from birth and they breastfeed whenever they need too.

my baby is currently 5 months, co-sleeps & breastfeeds during the night 2 or 3 times.......i don't really remember because for the most part i am asleep. he is asleep in bed for 12 hours overnight.....his breastfeeds only last a couple of minutes each and he does't even open his eyes.

check out James McKenna and Sears for the benefits to both mother a child in a co-sleeping, breastfeeding relationship. they also provide info on making a co-sleeing environment safe.

oh, and i think breastfeeding during the night for a 4 month old baby is completely normal, despite your sleeping arrangements. co-sleeping just makes it easier to deal with and ensures everyone gets more sleep.....and the night time closeness will be of huge benefit to your baby.

all the best :)

Alison - posted on 05/25/2009




I seond the co- sleeping. I swore i would never let any of my children into our bed.. Our eldest was a nightmare and slept little with frequent wakings to nurse. I was up and down like a yo-yo for a whole year.
My middle child slept well in her cot in our room and was an angel.
No 3 has made it quite clear that she doesn't like her cot, so in with me she came, because i couldnt face another year of what i and my eldest went through. It is a LIFESAVER!!! She sleeps from 8 till 8, and wakes only twice in the night and a quick pat on the bum, or short nurse and she drifts straight back off. I only wish i has done this the first time around.

Ive jsut taken the side off her cot and put it against our bed ( ensuring the matteress is the same height with no gaps). THis is working really well as we both have our own space. ( at least for the first few hours!!!)

If you are worried, as i was, about the safety aspects of co sleeping, i recommend the Dr Sears books. Its like commons sense parenting. The baby book is particularly good. There is also a family bed moms group on here.

Good luck and i hope you are soon sleeping well again!!

I can recommend this enough.

[deleted account]

My only advice is to try and nap during the day to keep the sleep deprivation down to a minimun. :) Hang in there! It won't last forever even though it feels like it will.

Itsamystery - posted on 05/23/2009




Oh.. just saw that he's almost 4 months, which means he is due for another growth spurt soon too. It's a tough time, because there's a growth spurt at 3 months, growth spurt at 4 months, and teething..... that's why co-sleeping at this time can be a life saver. It saves you getting up and down all night and when you get the hang of it you can just about sleep through most of the feeds. If you're worried about baby getting used to sleeping in your bed you can put them back in their own cot in a month or two when their sleep settles down again. At such a young age they're easy to transfer.

Itsamystery - posted on 05/23/2009




I would give co-sleeping a try (you might hardly wake up when he suckles). At 4 months he might be cutting his first teeth. Whenever my son was teething he would do a similar thing (frequently latch on and comfort suck) but when the tooth came through he'd settle back into a pattern of longer, deeper sleep. Nursing gives a teething baby pain relief, that's why they do it. That and no one really sleeps well when they're uncomfortable/in pain. Some paracetamol and teething gel might help him get into a deeper sleep too.

Melanie - posted on 05/22/2009




My advice is that because you know he can go at least 4 hours without having to nurse then I would let him go that long without offering the breast. I am a cry-it-out person, but it's not for everyone. There other other ways like going in after increasing intervals of time to pat on the back (without picking him up).

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