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Breast Feeding

Constant night time nursing

11/06/2000

Question:

I am nursing my 3rd child. He is 3.5 weeks old. He wants to nurse constantly from about midnight until 6 am. I will nurse him and then as soon as I lay him down he wants to nurse again. Plus he doesn`t nurse well during this time period -- it`s latch on, latch off and he acts agitated -- not like the usual daytime feedings when he seems to relax and get down to business. He is pretty fussy at night. Is this just normal behavior? Any suggestions? I believe in "on-demand" feeding and I also believe that at this age the breast is the best pacifier (although a couple nights my husband has pacified him with a pacifier so I can get a couple hours of sleep.)

Answer:

Nighttime waking is very typical during the first year of life. Usually a newborn will have one, four to six hour sleep period, which usually (and hopefully) occurs during the night. However, some babies do have their days and nights mixed up. One way to promote nighttime sleep is to have an environment that promotes sleep, darkness, quiet, diaper changing only if absolutely necessary and decreased stimulation. Overtime this should help with getting him to sleep at night. Not being able to see how your baby is acting, it is impossible to rule out colic. He may also be going through a growth spurt, and requiring more milk than you are producing. Always allow him to finish completely nursing one side before offering the other breast. Finally if this problem continues, you might want to seek out a lactation consultant in your area.

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Response by:

Tina   Weitkamp, RNC, MSN Tina Weitkamp, RNC, MSN
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati