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Advice from doc re baby sleeping - hadn't heard this before

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 12:29 pm
by MrsD'ville mkII
Helloo. Max had his belated 8 week check this week, at 12 weeks old. We'd had a run of bad nights just prior to his check, when he'd been waking to feed four times a night. The doc asked how long his long sleep was usually, to which the answer was on average 5 hours and she wasn't impressed. She said that we needed to train him out of that as he needs the fasting period, it's not good for him to have the calories overnight and his growth will suffer if he doesn't get long stretches of sleep. I thought I was reasonably well-informed, but I had never considered before that Max's waking so much was causing him problems - I know it causes me problems! I have no intention of encouraging waking four times a night but was going to ride it out in the hopes it was a phase. DH is keen to discourage it as he can see what it's doing to me - should add we have three other children so life is fairly busy. The doc assures us he is quite capable of going overnight, but to me four times a night to overnight is just far too much of a leap, so we'll go one step at a time and gradually increase the intervals. Sometimes if we leave him when he wakes (as long as he isn't getting really worked up) he'll go back to sleep.

Our theory is to feed at no less than four hourly intervals overnight, offering water instead (doc advised this). I'm not convinced as I think it will confuse Max - sometimes in the night he'll get boob, sometimes water, and we can't expect him to differentiate between the circumstances each time or know what time it is. I don't enjoy getting up four times a night but I also know what a nightmare it can be tinkering with babies' sleeping patterns, so I'm not looking forward to this. DS sleeps in his own room - we co-slept briefly but it didn't work. Generally he seems fine sleeping in his own room, normally goes down awake for naps in his cot and naps fine in the day. Naps are getting longer: used to be 45 mins, now stretching to an hour plus.

Has anyone heard before that it's bad for babies to have so much milk overnight?

Re: Advice from doc re baby sleeping - hadn't heard this before

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 12:48 pm
by Clara
:shock: No I've never heard that and TBH it sounds like old fashioned codswallop!

He is 12 weeks old, depriving him of boob on demand seems like nothing more than starvation tactics to me! I think it is really odd and cruel of the doctor to suggest it.

I understand that you are tired mama, but I truly believe that it is always best to surrender in these situations, this phase will pass like they always do. Just trust your instincts.

Trythis parenting forum for more enlightened opinions

As for lack of sleep stunting his growth?! Well likewise I've never heard that before and I wouldn't be paying any attention to that unless he starts to slide headlong down the percentiles - if he looks healthy and is generally happy then he is fine.

Jeez I'm really fuming about this! What an idiot!

Re: Advice from doc re baby sleeping - hadn't heard this before

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 1:40 pm
by Annpan
I have never heard of stunting the child's growth by feeding through the night :shock: :shock: :shock: sounds downright crazy (and tantamount to calling you a bad mother...grrrr....


We were very keen (in our situation and with our lifestyle) that LO should be encouraged to sleep through the night - she slept for 6 hours from 5 weeks anyway.... Feeding 'on demand' NEVER worked for us neither day nor night so our best option was to get into a routine.

We followed Gina Fords basic structure and rules (though if she had it her way Dad would never see LO :roll: ) To give water in-between feeds is how you encourage feeds at the 'right' times.

For us a routine meant OH and I ate together, slept at the same time, had a few hours of evening together, we could both stay awake during the day, I could walk to the shops, do the shopping and walk back between feeds... etc, etc, etc.

'Surrendering' as Clara puts it is all very well if your health (mental and physical) and lifestyle can cope with that, mine couldn't and a routine worked very well for all of us.

Re: Advice from doc re baby sleeping - hadn't heard this before

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 2:05 pm
by Urban Ayisha
i think its really funny the amount of differing opinions you get from health proffesionals!! you'd think that through history we would have been able to come to sort of conclusion on these issues but i keep hearing so many different things!!!

with regards to night feeding, my health visitor actually told me babies feeding in the night is a safety feature that dates back prehistorically to when we were hunting and scavenging for food. Apparently, babies store up milk in the night because that was the safest time of day for them to feed! We went with this, as i suppose it makes sense to some degree (although you would have thought we had evolved by then!) but regardless Maria-José slept through from day 5.

to give another opinion to add to the many i'm sure you've received, i would suggest perseverance and following your natural instincts. The fact that you've raised a healthy brood of 3 already should go to show that your a fantastic mum!

Re: Advice from doc re baby sleeping - hadn't heard this before

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 2:27 pm
by barefootlinzi
I cant believe your doc told you this, and I am inclined to agree with clara. I have been told that breastmilk is so easily digested that it is gone after 90mins. Plus night feeds help to boost your supply (something to do with hormones that are produced at night but cant remember right now). I am very much of the demand feeding and attachment parenting school of thought but Annpan is right when she says this doesnt suit all families and babies, but you should always go with your instincts.

The sleepless nights can be a killer but it does pass, my little one is now 21 months and sleeps better at night than I do!

Re: Advice from doc re baby sleeping - hadn't heard this before

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:02 pm
by Rosendula
:lol: Oh, I'm so jealous of you lot having night-long sleeps :lol:

All my 3 were breastfed.
Eldest - breastfed until he was 9-10 months ish. He went to bed at 6:30 pm and woke around 4 or 5 am. He slept quite well between those hours from about a year old, although he went through phases. Although a decent sized baby, by the time he was a toddler he was quite small and thin. Now he's nearly 17 and is average height, and still very thin.

DD1 - breastfed until about 13 months ish. After that she woke for a bottle of milk in the middle of the night and it's on the records that she was still doing that at her toddler check up (can't remember if that was at 2 or 2.5 years). She was another decent sized baby, and was a big, solid-as-rock toddler. She remained amongst the biggest in the class when she went to school, and was always beefy - not fat; she was well-built, rock-solid and very strong and sturdy. When she hit her teens, the other kids went on growth spurts and left her behind, although at around 5ft 3ish, she's not exactly tiny. At age 15, she's now slimming off a lot, but that's because of her crazy eating patterns - eg., avoiding school dinners so she can use her dinner money to buy cigarettes - you know, normal teenage stuff :wink: . (Don't worry. We're dealing with it. It just took a little while for us to put 2 and 2 together)

DD2 - breastfed during the day until about a year old. Continued breastfeeding on demand during the night until she was about 18 months. She'll be 3 next month, and she still wakes for a drink and a cuddle in the middle of the night, usually once, but sometimes twice. She has half a pint of milk to go to bed, and likes another half a pint of milk when she wakes up. Occasionally she sleeps through, but only rarely. She goes to bed late - around 9:30pm, and wakes around 7:30am. Like I said, she also wakes during the night. It's what she needs - reassurance that I'm there, and something to 'whet her whistle' because she sleeps with her mouth open. I wouldn't dream of depriving her of that.

If a child needs nourishment, reassurance, or anything, then we should supply it. HOWEVER, if you can't cope with that, then you must take measures to carefully and patiently change the routine. If that is your intention then you are going about it right. You must do it your way, a way that is best for 1) your baby, and 2) you. Getting ideas here to work out what is the best way for you is good. You are obviously a good mother, and you are obviously an intelligent person. If your instincts tell you that the doctor is talking rubbish, then he probably is. But it's always good to have a 'chat' about it, isn't it?

Re: Advice from doc re baby sleeping - hadn't heard this before

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:17 pm
by Fizzy Izzy
I don't have a baby (yet) so can't comment from experience. However here is what the Baby Centre website has to say about baby's sleep:

It seems that what you are describing is normal sleep for a up to three month old. The page says that babies do not normally sleep through the night until at least 6 months old (I realise that "normal" is a dificult word to describe babies!). Anyway, my feeling would to be not take what the doctor says very seriously in this case.

Re: Advice from doc re baby sleeping - hadn't heard this before

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:12 pm
by lsm1066
It's been my experience that health professionals generally forget one very important thing when it comes to babies, and that is they are all people and are therefore all different. It doesn't matter how much you try to persuade them otherwise, babies flatly refuse to read the books that tell them what they're supposed to be doing at a particular age or stage and do it their own sweet way.

If it helps, my younger son didn't sleep through the night until he was at least 4. He co-slept with us because he was fully breastfed and fed 3 times a night, right up to the night when I moved him into his own room on the day we gave up breastfeeding at 14 months, which he did without a fuss (although still woke up at least once or twice every night). He was a full pound and a half bigger than his older brother at birth and is, as I speak, bouncing on the garden trampoline in a hail storm. He's 4 feet 10 inches tall wieighs 5 st 7lbs and has a 6 pack that Peter Andre would give his eye teeth for. The only thing he never really had, once he got past about 2, was that baby's pot belly. He's far too busy hareing about the place and burning off the fat.

So speaking in technical terms, I'd say sod the doctor. Let your baby take the lead (they're the teacher after all) and do what's comfortable for you.


Re: Advice from doc re baby sleeping - hadn't heard this before

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:47 pm
by MrsD'ville mkII
Thanks for all the replies; it's reassuring to know I'm not the only one to whom this was news!

As with so much in life, a happy medium is the key I think. I don't expect Max to sleep through the night for months yet, but neither do I expect to get up four times a night (this is excluding bedtime and morning feeds) and be able to function effectively in the day, esp as I do a lot of driving. Max and I need to find something we're both happy with. To that end, I'm going to space him four hours between feeds once he zaps out for the night. If he wakes sooner than four hours I'll offer him water and reassurance and see how we go. Bound to be bumpy the first couple of nights but DD seemed to get the hang of changes within three nights, so I'm hoping Max does too...

Re: Advice from doc re baby sleeping - hadn't heard this before

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:47 am
by kiwirach
as someone whos worked as a parent educator in NZ and a newborn nanny over here, i've heard some dooozes from health professionals!!.

you've had loads of good advice here.
i would just like to add a couple of things i would check if a parent presented this to me when i worked in NZ.....does bubs settle himself to self?. you mention he sometimes will, but is that the norm? because if he cant, then more than likely the feeding is about getting back to sleep as well as filling a tummy.....needing help to settle.
also, how well does he feed in the it 3-4hrly?. if its more than that between feeds due to life/family etc, then he will catch up at night to get his daily quota in.

see how things've been there, done this before, so trust your gut and do what works best for you guys as a family.

Re: Advice from doc re baby sleeping - hadn't heard this before

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:30 pm
by MrsD'ville mkII
He feeds 1-2 hourly in the day, no shortage of daytime calories! At night it's mixed whether he settles himself - sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Last night was fine. He went to sleep just after 7pm then woke up at midnight, so five hours, which I was more than happy with. I fed him, then when he woke at 3.30am decided to leave him a few minutes as he was squeaking, not crying. Next thing I knew it's was 4.45am, so he had settled himself back to sleep. Was very happy to feed him at 4.45. He woke again at 6.30 as he often does, for a poo, so I left him and didn't hear again til 8am. Can't argue with that. We'll see what tonight brings...

Re: Advice from doc re baby sleeping - hadn't heard this before

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:57 pm
by thesunflowergal
I have hear this, but only for older babies. I have used it, but only once my daughter was much older (14 months) and when she was waking out of habit.
I think that you have to do what you think is right, and what suit you and your family.
My experience with dd2 is very different. She was born at 29 weeks and weighed 1lb 10oz, she came home at 10 weeks weighing 3lb 10oz. I expressed milk for her, I was told my a midwife that there was no need to express during the night. Which resulted in my supply being nearly zero. I was told by someone else that you need to feed/pump at night, as this helps you to keep producing milk.
:hugish: as you must be shattered!! DD2 fed every 2 hours day and night, so I know how you feel ish but I was never able to bf her.

Re: Advice from doc re baby sleeping - hadn't heard this before

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:12 pm
by growingthings
I too am amazed to hear this, I have had to deal with night waking with both my girls, but this is something that I didn't do with either of them until they were at least 6/9 months old, and I have found that after illnesses (where you HAVE to go into them) that we have to go through it again.

But no way have I ever heard about night waking affecting their growth, or going through this at such a young age, I just thought that to begin with my girls (both b/f) were waking because they were hungry, then when it increased to 5/6 times a night it was habit, and that they just needed to learn that they were safe and well without needing a boob to go back to sleep on. I have to admit that DD2 has been easier with this as she is a thumbsucker so tends not to do all that much mithering.

Weird :(

Just like everyone else says you should have the courage to stand by your convictions, you've obviously managed well with your other LO's so your instincts with no.4 shouldn't let you down this time either. :flower:

Lorna x

Re: Advice from doc re baby sleeping - hadn't heard this before

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:34 pm
by MrsD'ville mkII
Just to shake my faith in the so-called 'professionals' even further, the HV rang me today about this as she had said she would - she was there at the check with the doc. She asked how it was going and asked if Max's sleep was 'going in the right direction' - I said that as I had no idea what that was, I couldn't comment. I said it nicely! I explained that I didn't expect him to sleep through for quite some while yet and outlined his sleep pattern over the last few nights, including last night's four-hourly feeds. She said she thought his going for four hours was pretty good for his age (3 months) - direct contradiction of the doc! Just proves that you absolutely should trust your instincts.

Re: Advice from doc re baby sleeping - hadn't heard this before

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:43 pm
by rockchick
Just quickly can I check what DD and LO mean, seen them a couple of times, can guess but still haven't quite worked it out! :roll:

I have 2 girls, nearly 5 and nearly 2. Both breast fed til about 11 months. Never heard nightfeeding stunted growth :shock: Definitely go with your instinct. We pretty much went with the flow. Did read Gina Ford, but I'm not very good at timekeeping but did find it a useful 'base' to work from. Night feeds were always tricky. Luckily I had a very supportive hubbie who would take over when I couldn't face another feed in short spaces of time, although I would always feed if he couldn't get them to settle. The plus was that they both learnt to sleep through from a pretty early age, the minus is that i do think my milk supply dropped as a result of going for longer periods at ni9ght with no feeding. No. 1 was always ok but No. 2 did start losing weight at one point and I was encouraged into early weaning (in preference to topping up with formula). Silly thing is, I got really fed up with all the worry so preety much stopped taking her for regular checkups. She is happy and full of beans so I know she is fine and that is good enough for me.

I have now moved on to all the worry associated with 'proper' food and whether one or both of them are eating enough of the right foods... :? Apparently, my mother ate nothing but bread, my sister nothing but spag bol, me nothing but lamb chops ( :oops:) Children are a mystery, but so long as they're happy, why should we worry?