Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nighttime Nursing

I created The Boob Monster.

I want your boobs, Momma!!!
We all know Lulu likes to eat.  And I, especially, know she likes to eat at night. 

Lucy has never slept through the night; at best, she's only woken once a night, and that only lasted for a few months.  All things went to hell when I returned to work (when I actually needed to sleep).  First I blamed reverse cycling.  Lucy wouldn't eat all day long, while she was with my dad, and then she'd literally nurse for hours when I got home from work.  Fast forward to the 4-5 month wakeful period, Lucy's night wakings moved upward of four times each night.  And that's when it happened, that's when I created The Boob Monster.

I have always nursed on demand and comfort nursed - my mom likes to call me the human pacifier.  There is nothing wrong with doing either of those, but there can be consequences...  Hunger is one of the strongest cues for the human body, and I essentially trained Lucy's little body to eat at these set times each night.  D'oh!

I once read on a breastfeeding forum that some mother's were eliminating nighttime feedings or scaling back their nighttime feedings by choice and/or by their pediatrician's recommendation, and I thought, "Well that's kind of mean.  Why would they do that?"  Now I get it!  (Does that make me judgey?)

I still nurse Lucy to sleep every night, with no intention of stopping anytime soon.  But now, when she wakes at 9 pm, 12 am, 1 am, and 2 am, I soothe her back to sleep without the breast.  By doing this, I've eliminated the hunger cues that caused her to wake previously.  It took us almost one week to reteach Lucy how to go back to sleep without nursing (and Holy God was that a long week!), but after only two days we saw a decrease in night wakings.  Now we're back to waking once a night!  YAY! 

So if you're a breastfeeding momma that also comfort nurses, keep doing what you're doing!  Just be sure to alternate your methods of soothing, especially for nighttime wakings.  Yet another lesson learned!!!

How did you handle nighttime wakings?  Or are you one of the lucky parents whose kiddos slept through the night at an early age?


  1. This freaks me out, Tay. Aria is not soothed by ANYTHING other than the boob (if I'm around). It's something I've been worrying about for a few months, and I'm so worried that it's a bad habit.

    The thing is, she so rarely needs soothing, that I haven't had to use other methods. But obviously the time is going to come, and I don't know wtf I'm going to do.


    Cue panic!

  2. Dearest Jaye Fay, don’t be freaked out! You’ve still got a few weeks before Aria’s wake, so for now, just enjoy your good sleeper! Try introducing other methods (I usually rub Lulu’s head and whisper lullabies to her) for the first 5-10 minutes when she wakes up; and if she still won’t sleep, whip out the boob. By delaying the feeds by 10 minutes at a time will eventually make her wake later and later.

    Like I said, it was a rough week for us. So I can fully appreciate your feelings here. There were times when Casey had to drive around with her, times where I was up for an hour and a half trying to soothe her, times where I finally whipped my boob out in defeat…it’s a learning process. If you’re able to start introducing other methods now and can avoid nursing her back to sleep during her wakeful, you may avoid a lot of the hassle we went through. I’m here for you, dear! *hugs*