There’s a science to sleep and breastfeeding that can be really overwhelming.
Sometimes I know what to do but I forget to do it because I am tired.
I am in the process of working through a breastfeeding and sleeping problem caused by my daughter ‘speed feeding’. She takes five minutes to fill herself up and then seems like she isone hand it seems fantastic because I have this ueber-efficient breastfeeding baby who can feed quickly and then we can get on with our day – but on the other hand, this is not a good sign that she is feeding properly. And really, what needs to be done so urgently that I can’t relax a little and feed her properly?
The problem is that she stops feeding because she has gulped down an enormous amount of air. This is making her feel full.*
But this speed-feeding habit we have picked up means that she is going to be a few calories short of what she needs for the day and she is consequently waking EVERY TWO HOURS at night.
This has been going on for a few nights now and I. am. going. a. bit. mad.
MAD I SAY!
I mean, just now I ‘wasted’ precious nap time making a fake advertisement just for fun. (I should be sewing). Obviously ‘speed-feeding’ has been weighing on my mind in more ways that one.
So how do I rectify this problem of speed-feeding and not sleeping?
The problem is probably more to do with her feeding and my rushing than anything else. (It could also be the dreaded 4 month growth spurt, but the duration of these nighty-wakies have gone on long enough now that I am convinced there is more to it).
So here’s my game plan:
I need to slow down and allow her to settle into feeding. Burp her and let her return to leisurely sup.
I need to make sure that I am slowing down enough for her to feed slowly without having to ‘speed feed’ before I leap off to do something else (like attend to her older brother). I have to admit that sometimes I feed on the go/while cooking dinner/while out walking and I rarely sit down to relax into it.
I need to make sure she gets enough hind milk (the fuller fattier milk at the back of the milk let down) to help her feel more full and thus (hopefully) sleep better at night.
I need to offer one breast twice rather than swapping sides to ensure that the hind milk is being drunk.
I also need to make sure that I eat more (almonds and oats!) and drink more water. I need to ensure that my supply is good to nourish her little fast-growing body.
So far, so good in today’s first trial.
She and I have had a quieter go with lots of burping and pausing this morning. I have had a good porridgey breakfast and drunk plenty of water.
She is now down for a long nap.
I don’t have all the answers, but I sure do like trying to find them.
Wish me luck!
* Mr Outie is also on board for ‘project slow down and feed properly’ now after I fed her and left him with both babies assuming that both were fed and I could go off and get some exercise.
I returned an hour later to a whole family in tears (well, nearly). My daughter had been crying for more milk and I hadn’t left any expressed, my son was frustrated by his sister crying and my partner was trying (in vain) to calm everyone but he lacked the vital ingredient (boobs) to solve the situation. (As soon as I fed her, all was well again). Sigh.