Posted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:29 pm
Post subject: Getting breastfed baby to sleep at night
LO has always cluster fed in the evenings and for the first 4 weeks just went to bed at the same time as us. At 6 weeks we started to introduce a bedtime routine for her, which involved a bottle of expressed milk (breastfeed the rest of the time). It seemed to be going well until she fell out with the bottle (another story!!)
We have kept the routine the same but I am now breastfeeding again. We are having a bit of play time at 7pm, giving her her bath about 7.15 then getting her in a clean sleepsuit, sleeping bag and taking her into the dark bedroom to feed then trying to put her in her crib. She'll stay calm for about 5 minutes then start crying. The only thing to calm her seems to be to feed her again.
It seems to go on all night. Like tonight I started feeding her at 7.20, she fed for 20 minutes then stopped. I offered her the other breast then put her down. 2 hours later, I'm still sat here in the dark bedroom!! She'll sleep for 5 minutes, murmer for 5 minutes then cry, I spend 5 minutes trying to calm her by which point she's nuzzling again. So I'm feeding her every 15 minutes or so. It doesn't seem to matter how much sleep or feeds she's had during the day, every night is the same.
Once she's finally asleep she'll go till about 2-3am, but should this bedtime routine really be taking 2 and a half hours?! What am I doing wrong? I know I should be grateful that she's then sleeping so well but it's making the routine feel non existent, stressful and exhausting.
She isn't in any routine in the daytime yet either so don't know if that makes a difference, she just sleeps and naps when she wants.
I feel like I'm forever on here asking questions, but as a first time mum, I'm anxious about getting things right.
Last edited by xxHeathxx on Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:14 am; edited 1 time in total
Posted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:37 pm
Hi it's nothing your doing wrong, it's tough being a first time mummy trying to get everything perfect, my daughter is scared of the dark so we had a monitor that goes off wHen she woke up, have you tried a soothing night light. It's hard getting babies in a routine at such a young age I didn't introduce a bedtime routine till my baby was three months old and we are still working on it now 18 months later lol. She sleeps solid 12 hrs but it's took months and months I'm sure your doing everything perfect for your little one. it's trial and error different things work for different baby's, do you thinks she's doing it for comfort rather than feeding? Good luck Nothing worse than sleep depravation xx
Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:43 pm
Hey, you're doing fab! My daughter went to bed at the same time as us for quite a while, at least the first 3 months and then gradually she went to bed earlier and earlier, now at 10 months old she goes to bed at 7-7.30pm (which she's done on and off since she was about 4-5 months old.)
What I did was have a set routine that I moved, so when she went to bed at 10pm with us she would have bath, cuddles, story and boob at 9pm. Now she goes to bed at 7pm she has tea between 5-5.30, then a bath at 6pm, quiet play, story and cuddle til 7pm then boob.
I wouldnt put the stress on your self or baby yet, just take each night as it comes until you see a routine developing. I dont think my daughter had set naps until she was about 3-4 months old and I used to get into a complete tizz when she was 2 months old as she would sometimes refuse to sleep all day! Now I think 'oh well' and let her get on with it.
Each baby is different and no one can tell you what routine to have, my Best friends son is 3 weeks older than my daughter and has 3 sleeps a day adding up to 3-4 hours, my daughter has 1 sleep which is between 1-2 hours!
Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:30 pm
Thank you for your replies. Well typically since posting, the past 2 nights she fell asleep quite early instead of cluster feeding, and went on to wake up hungry every 2 hours. I don't know which I prefer haha. Just going to go with the flow for now as you say. Think my problem is comparing to people who formula feed who seem to get into routines so much easier.
Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:51 am
I sometimes wonder if breastfed babies use the boob as a comfort a lot Especially in the evening if they wake a little with a bottle fed baby you might be more likely to give them a dummy rather than go and make a bottle, but with a breastfed baby it can seem easier and quicker just to give a feed so they get used to having the breast as a comfort even when they're not that hungry
Plus mums get told don't give dummies to breastfed babies as it confuses them but from my experience with my youngest, they gave him a dummy in special care to improve his suck and it didn't interfere at all, it made me think it was fine to give a dummy to a fussy breastfed baby in the same way you would if you were bottle feeding
With other children I couldn't just sit and feed him for hours so If he was fussing and on and off the breast and nodding off then just waking up and feeding for a minute or two when I tried to put him down then I would give him the dummy instead, we only used it for a week or two and then he seemed to get the hang of nodding off without the boob and he was fine and would refuse it anyway, he was a very sucky baby though and used to suck the ears on his soft toys instead
We didn't have a set bedtime until maybe 4 months though so your doing really well having any sort of pattern already
I'm not a big fan of dummies overall but some babies just like to suck for comfort and they can be useful for that xx
Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:52 am
I do agree that breast fed babies generally seem to be more unsettled and I think it's harder to get them into a routine because you're always worried that they might be hungry because you can't see what they have had.
My two were very fussy at night and I tried to get my oldest into a routine and was spending 2/3 hours in the dark trying to get him to sleep where with my youngest I kept her downstairs with us until later and she gradually put herself into a routine at about 3-4 months. Was a lot,ess stressful!
Sounds like you're doing a great job, it's not easy and your baby is still very young so wouldn't stress too much xx
Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:10 pm
Even now my daughter would just suck away while asleep if I let her! I introduced a dummy quite early, even though we had lots of feeding issues because she was always wanting to suck for comfort.
Breast milk is easier to digest than formula, so as a consequence their little tummies digest it quicker and may be hungry sooner than a formula fed baby. I wouldnt worry too much about it as even now my daughter will sometimes want to feed very early morning and other times she will go a full 12 hours. They will soon let you know if they are hungry. xx