When is there time for a breast fed baby to nap?

Marla - posted on 02/10/2010 ( 29 moms have responded )

23

20

2

My daughter is almost two months old. She nurses every 2-3 hours during the day (usually every two). Each feeding lasts 30-60 minutes. I was told to keep her upright for at least 15 minutes after her feeding due to her reflux. She needs to start taking regular naps during the day because she gets very overtired and cranky. My issue is how to do this when she is always eating??!!!! She's not able to sleep very long before her next feeding. Any suggestions?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Tama - posted on 02/11/2010

39

24

6

Do not limit a baby that young at the breast. I agree w/ what Lisa said. I wore mine in a Mei Tai or a sling and let them nurse when they wanted. They eat and sleep when their body needs to at that age. Are you sure it's reflux? I'd check on that as well. Have you considered your diet? Some babies cannot tolerate dairy especially (in your diet) at that age. My DD was "colicky" until 6 mos and I finally figured out it was dairy in my diet. My Ped thought it was reflux for a while.

I can't agree w the folks who do scheduling of when to eat, when to sleep, etc. at that age. You follow your baby and you will be a lot happier. Sleeping more during the day definitely helps babies sleep more during the night. When they are overtired they can be very cranky and have a hard time at night. I just don't think 2 mos old is the age to be worried about schedules.

Emily - posted on 02/12/2010

1,065

17

124

The "No-Cry Sleep Solution" and the "No-Cry Nap Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley are the best sleep habits books I've ever found.

The other thing to notice is your babies natural schedule. You can try to "schedule" a baby and plan naptimes, etc... but if it's not nap time according to their body, it won't work without a lot of tears from both of you. After watching my now 5 month old twins (babies #4 and #5), I have learned that they demand 3 naps a day, but the first and third naps are only 45 minutes or so... but the middle nap is 3 hours IF they go down at 11:30... if I don't put them down until 12 or 12:30...they don't sleep nearly as well. Also, they both like to be swaddled for ANY sleep periods, and one likes to fall asleep with his arms by his sides, but the other will only fall asleep with his fingers in his mouth (and he'll pull out a paci to get the fingers in).

It's always best to watch the baby and figure out what their need/wants are. :)

Dyan - posted on 02/11/2010

32

6

1

All of the above advice seems great, but a lot of it focused on her eating habits, not napping habits. I was a nanny for about 10 years, for kids as young as 6 weeks up to age 7. I am also the proud mother of a 3 1/2 month old boy that sleeps though MOST nights (wakes once during what I think are growth spurts). I too had the question about when they should nap (since mine liked to fall asleep nursing) and how often. Some of the advice I received, and follows the infant schedules that I have cared for is this... Eat, play, sleep. The only time you would not follow this schedule at this age would be the bedtime and nighttime feedings. It allows the baby to be upright after the meal and to play to wear themselves out and sleep well. It also follows the pattern older kids and adults follow. We wake up and eat breakfast. We do not need naps most of the time, of course, but we wouldn't generally eat right before bed would we? I don't generally believe in limiting the feeding times, but if after 30 minutes you can burp her and feel she is done (looks full, "drunken sailor look", "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" look, smiley, content) I would say the meal is done. Especially if she is gaining weight well. Then you could play with her for a while and get her a good 30-45 minute nap in before she wakes hungry again. The time between meals and naptimes will lengthen as she gets older, usually around 3-4 months.

29 Comments

View replies by

Cynthia - posted on 02/15/2010

22

8

1

mine used me as a pacifier too, she use to feed very long but now i'm done within 20 minutes. if you want to make sure that the baby is not using you as a pacifier and sleeps, i read and tied feeding her and after 20 minutes or so, i give her the pacifier. if she is truly hungry she will spit up teh pacifier. if she is ok, the pacifier might soothe her to sleep.
the other thing i do, is i feed her before she cries. so i have time to feed her, change her, burp her and "catch" the reflux and have her back to sleep. but i have to get the timing right.

Brenda K. Lay - posted on 02/15/2010

4

0

0

I'd like to have an easy solution but that was me when my little one was that age minus the reflux. I feel like i had just put her down for a nap after feeding her for almost an hour and 10 minutes later she was up again. It does definitely get better as ur milk supply establishes. I think by 3 months she was sleeping a bit more in between and also slept 5-6 hours through the night :)

Marla - posted on 02/12/2010

23

20

2

Hi Dyan. Thank you for your help. I agree with the eat, play, sleep routine. I've been trying really hard to take notice of her pattern and length of time between each activity. Some mornings she eats, plays and eats again before wanting to sleep. I think the biggest mistake I've made I think is expecting her to sleep longer during naps. It sounds like 30 minutes is normal for a baby her age. As far as her eating, she is gaining plenty of weight. I do cluster feed during the day so I can let her go at night. It works for us. I'm all about a schedule.
It is possible that her spitting up has to do with my diet but since she isn't fussing with it and she is gaining weight, the doctor isn't concerned. I just have to deal with the spitting up and constant pooping.
I appreciate everyones input. I try to address everyone's points. Obviously, some things I agree with and other suggestions contradict my parenting beliefs. Regardless, I appreciate hearing from you.

Angela - posted on 02/12/2010

149

15

18

my son used to do that. her time should get faster. make sure she's not just sucking. babys can suck on the breast and do it in such a way that it becomes a pacifier. as long as she gets little cat naps (10-15 min) and sleeps at night 10-13 hours. thats all they need. only when my son is growing does he take longer naps. also feed on demand only. if their tired theyll sleep if they are hungry they will wake up.

[deleted account]

Mine does cluster feed during the day. It works for our schedule since I work from home. You are correct, because if she didn't cluster feed during the day, she'd want to eat more during the overnight hours. But eating every 2-3 hours works for us. If she starts at 7am, she'll go to bed 1hr earlier at night. Fortunately, we never had to really set a schedule with her since she picked this one on her own. So essentially this is her schedule/routine.



Hopefully your daughter can find a routine soon that works well for her, so you both can get some Zzzz's. Keep us posted. :)

Kylie - posted on 02/11/2010

92

119

3

You mentioned baby sleeps thru the night, sounds to me like she cluster feeds thruout the day to compensate for the meals she misses during the night.

Danielle - posted on 02/11/2010

37

23

4

my daughter is 5 months and at that age my daughter was exactly like "LIZ SMITH's" daughter i totally agree with her

[deleted account]

Dyan makes a great point. Eat, play, sleep is what we do and it works well. My daughter naps a ton during the day (3-4 1hr naps) and also sleeps a ton at night. So napping during the day, if anything, lets her sleep more at night. We also put her down for a nap before the 2hr mark. Her golden nap period is after she's been awake for 1.5 hours. Otherwise, she'll start whining and fussing, which always reminds me to check the clock because she must be ready for a nap. She's 15 weeks old and we've been doing this routine since around 7-8 weeks. She's been sleeping through the night since 12 weeks (9pm-7am).

Marla - posted on 02/11/2010

23

20

2

I swaddle her for bed at night (with her arms out because she sleeps with her hands by her face). I don't like to swaddle during the day because that's how I've gotten all my kids to know the difference between day and night. I'm going to ask the doctor about elevating the head of her crib mattress instead of holding her upright. Thanks everyone for sharing your stories and giving advice.

Jackie - posted on 02/11/2010

12

4

0

My four month old used to take almost 60 minutes to feed as well and I would have the same problem with not being able to get her down to nap. She would also fall asleep on the breast. I started pumping and was able to put her on the bottle which meant that she slept less. I also noticed that my milk flow was not very good, so she was probably falling asleep and taking so long becuase it was harder to get the milk. Yogi tea for breast feeding mom's has worked really well to increase my flow.

Her doctor also put her on medicine for reflux so we don't have to sit with her for fifteen minutes after she eats either, it helps alot. Of course all this didn't start getting better until she was 2 1/2 to 3 months old. It sounds like right now it feels like she is constantly on the breast, at least that's how I felt, but it got better for me.

We also read about babies at that age needing to sleep within 2 hours of waking up. I know it seems like a lot but we actually starting timing it from the time she woke and it worked. We would start putting her to sleep an hour and a half after she woke up. When we did that she comfortably went to sleep on her own within 2 hours of wakefulness. It has made a hugh difference. She is much less cranky and easier to be around.

these suggestions might not work for all babies, but they definately worked for mine. Good Luck and hang in there, it gets better.

Nicole - posted on 02/11/2010

1,117

27

48

Yes, block feeding is a great idea and just like Julienne said, this will get better. I, also second the advice about swaddling her if you want to put her to nap in her crib. She wants to feel secure and warm. I wear my baby alot, but if I am not wearing him for some reason, I make sure to make him feel swaddled.

Julienne - posted on 02/11/2010

178

0

14

At the same age my little one would feed for a long time each side, at night sometimes 15-20 mins on each side. However it improved by the time she was 3 months old. They learn how to be more efficient in the coming 1-2 months. You shouldn't limit the time she is suckling for, it is stimulating your supply at the same time. There is a big difference between pumping and nursing, it's not a good indication of how much they are drinking at the same time and a bottle teat can just pour the milk down her throat.

I haven't used a sling. Make sure you wrap your little one to prevent her startle reflex and they'll feel more secure and warm. You can get some great one's out there. Try the "woombie" i have had much success from it.... just google "thewoombie".

Good luck

[deleted account]

Use something to keep her on an angle when sleeping like a folded towel. My son was the same he is 7weeks now but in the first 4 weeks it was pretty bad( poor thing I cosleep and he scared me a few times with milk comming out his nose after eating) but he has less reflux now and all i did during naps was fold a blanket and put it under his shoulders so he was on a slight incline or you can buy foams that are for keeping baby on an slight angle. At night I kept him in my arm on the side after he fed to keep his head up. But now he is good and I don't have to worry about it. My pouch sling I bought was too big and I'm waiting patiently for my Mei Tai in the mail (soon I hope!) so the sling idea wasn't and option for me.

Rebecca - posted on 02/10/2010

595

37

74

I second Lisa on trying the block feeding (feeding on one breast for at least 3-4 feedings before switching to the other) As well for keeping her upright after feeds and when sleeping put a rolled up towel under the mattress of the crib or bassinette to elevate her that way. I did this with my daughter as she had severe reflux until she was about 7 months, which has now settled down and only effects her sometimes now.

Marla - posted on 02/10/2010

23

20

2

Lisa,
NO, I guess we aren't sure about the reflux. The doctor said she probably has reflux. She isn't on meds for it because she isn't bothered by it. She does spit up a lot and it comes out of her nose as well. Very scary.

Marla - posted on 02/10/2010

23

20

2

Nicole, my main priority was getting her to sleep at night. I didn't care about daytime because I was afraid it would have her up more at night. However, she has been sleeping well for a few weeks now so I think it's time to work on naps. I want her napping in crib.
In regards to her nursing, thank you. I was determined to do better this time around than my other two.

Minnie - posted on 02/10/2010

7,076

9

788

My second nursed three to four times an hour except when sleeping. I stayed sane by wearing her on my body in a mei tai.



This is how mothers all over the world tend to their infants' needs and go about their busy lives. Baby nurses, then falls asleep nursing and snoozes for a while and then wakes to nurse again. All in the carrier.



Are you positive she has reflux? Many a doctor is quick to diagnose that, when in reality it's a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance that is easily rectified by block feeding.



See:



http://www.llli.org/FAQ/foremilk.html



http://www.llli.org/FAQ/oversupply.html



http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/LV/LVSep...

Nicole - posted on 02/10/2010

1,117

27

48

Have you thought of wearing her in a sling/wrap/carrier? She would probably sleep more if close to you. And that way you can also get things done at the same time.

She sleeps through the night? That's wonderful! I'm wondering if getting her to sleep more during the day will make her sleep less at night... I don't know...

Anyway, I think it's great that she is such a good nurser! Good job!

Marla - posted on 02/10/2010

23

20

2

Thanks. She actually spends a great deal of time awake during the day. Sometimes she falls asleep after nursing but not always. Regardless, by the time she spends 15 minutes asleep on my shoulder (because I have to keep her upright) she doesn't want to sleep for very long anywhere else.

Angela - posted on 02/10/2010

172

34

19

My pediatrician told me that after the first month, the baby should be able to extract any milk you have after 10 minutes per side. Anything past that, you're just a pacifier. If there's any excess milk you can pump it. You might just try pumping and feeding it to her, that might take a lot less time. I was told the same thing about the reflux, although my daughter was never diagnosed with it, I believe she has it so i've been sitting her up after feedings. (she spits up a lot). At that stage my daughter slept anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour after each feeding, eating every 2 1/2 to 3 hours. I'm suprised your daughter isn't falling asleep while she's eating. If she starts turning away or really falling asleep or you feel as though your breast is empty, try to take her off and sit her up, then lay her down or rock her to sleep after 15-20 minutes. I hope this helps you, I know its frustrating to have a cranky little girl!

Marla - posted on 02/10/2010

23

20

2

Actually, I asked the doctor about it. I was told that it's ok if she wants and I want to nurse that long. However, I could choose to pull her off of each side after 15 minutes. Most of the time she truly is eating. I make sure she doesn't use my as a pacifier. I do pump occasionally for the times I go out and somebody else has to give her a bottle. Most recently she took 5 oz. I'm told she sucks it down. I would have to believe that it takes longer to get that out of me. I have tried recently to pull her off each side after 15-20 minutes. Most of the time it's been ok. Last feeding before bed usually lasts longer (which allows her to sleep all night).

Joni - posted on 02/10/2010

26

20

3

While shes eating if she pulls off, but then goes right back and does that often shes probably just wanting to suck on something. I would try a pacifier.

User - posted on 02/10/2010

147

25

20

After feeding take your baby into your bed and prop yourself up to a 1/2 lay, 1/2 sitting position with pillows. Then lay your baby on your chest (chest to chest). Pat her back to expel any air bubbles. This will allow for her to be mostly upright and allow her to fall asleep at the same time. After 15 mins if she is asleep you can take her to her bed and catch up on a little mommy time.

[deleted account]

My daughter is 3 months and also feeds every 2-3 hours. But she'll eat in about 10-15 minutes. I also pump, so I know how much she's eating and it's anywhere from 4-5 ounces. I'll occasionally pump after she eats to see how much is left. The reason I mention that is, do you think she's done eating after 10-15 minutes and just suckles for the rest of the time? I think 30-60 minutes is too long, in my opinion. It's no wonder she isn't on much of a napping schedule.



Right now my daughter will eat, then stay upright for 10 minutes (either on my shoulder or in her chair or swing). She'll nap shortly after that for an hour (about 3x a day). My only suggestion is to make sure your daughter isn't just suckling for that long after she eats. Are you pumping as well? Maybe you can try to give her a bottle of milk to see how long it takes for her to finish the milk and see if it really takes her that long to eat.



I find that my daughter is much more efficient at nursing and can finish quicker than she does her bottle. But overall, it only takes about 10-15 minutes for her to eat.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms