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Old 05-30-2011, 08:23 PM   #1
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nighttime cluster feeding and falling asleep - need some advice

hey moms

i'm a new first time mom to my DS who is almost six weeks and is EBF. we've had our share of battles and i've gotten close to giving up several times but we've stuck with it and i'm glad - most of the issues are working themselves out as time goes on, slowly but surely. there's one problem i cannot seem to figure out how to resolve though and it's becoming really tiring and frustrating...

DS seems to cluster at night which i have read is totally normal, esp. since she is sleeping for a 5 hour stretch at night. the only problem is she is really restless most nights from about 6 until 930 (she is dead asleep by 930!). she gets fussy around 6 and i start nursing her and she seems really frustrated after the first letdown and sort of gives up almost. then she starts writhing around and i have to pull her in really close because she will slip off a lot and then after a few more minutes she's falling asleep and i am trying to encourage her to drink by tickling her chin or unlatching her, burping her and relatching her (which works sometimes). i know she gets frustrated with the milk flow at night because i can tell that it is slower - takes longer for another letdown. however, she doesn't try to get the milk down so the letdowns are going to take longer and i don't know how to help her with that besides doing breast compressions which i do every time and encouraging her to suck which i also do every time. we ended up going through this for almost 3 hours tonight. she would fall asleep and i would try to relatch her and she would fall asleep again and i mean within the first 5 minutes of nursing sometimes.

i feel so bad for her because i feel like she's conflicted - she's tired and hungry and cannot seem to rest long enough to be awake enough to feed at night. i'm nursing on demand so we aren't on a schedule but she seems to sort of naturally be falling into one. she gets hungry just about exactly every 2 hours during the day, clusters at night and wakes up almost every night at 230 for her middle of the night feeding and then sleeps until 6. she takes short naps during the day except for one that seems to be 1.5 hours early afternoon like 1 or so. i feel like the problem is she is sleeping in the morning and early afternoon a little and then is worn out by 6 and wants to cluster but she's also tired because she hasn't slept in so long. could this be the case? if so, how can i encourage her to sleep later in the afternoon to build up some stamina for her pre-bedtime feedings?

has anyone else had a similar problem? i know i have enough milk but is there anything i can besides breast compressions to speed up the flow? and will she eventually figure out that she has to keep sucking consistently to get it to come out faster?

thanks mommies
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Old 05-30-2011, 08:45 PM   #2
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Re: nighttime cluster feeding and falling asleep - need some advice

Aww mama this is how my DS was. I guess if you don't have an over supply problem you could switch breasts like every 20-30 min so she gets a let down more frequently. I was gonna say breast compression before you mentioned it but your all ready doing that. Hang in there it gets better with time for sure! Oh this brings me back to the days when I was glued to the couch from 630-10 every night!!
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:27 PM   #3
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Re: nighttime cluster feeding and falling asleep - need some advice

Oh the memories DS used to to do the same thing also. It does get better, just hang in there. You're doing everything you can right now. Do you nap with your baby during the day? We did that for awhile and DS sort of fell into his own schedule with a AM & PM nap. I would also recommend the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". It's a great read and is based on fact and research. We didn't have this book early on and I wish I did.

Good job hanging in there thru the tough times. We had our share of struggles as well and just hit a year a couple weeks ago
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:12 AM   #4
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Re: nighttime cluster feeding and falling asleep - need some advice

Well first of all, I consider you luckier than I with yours sleeping for stretches at night! DD woke up every two hours forever. I would say that it sounds like since there is a stretch of time, your milk supply may be built up and your let down may be too strong. Also, the first milk to come out is more watery. If it looks and feels like the milk is really coming out your could let baby stimulate the let down and let some of it flow out before nursing. If it's not that, maybe the milk isn't coming out as easily.
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