September 25, 2012

On sleep

As a first time mom I don’t always know what’s normal. I thought 30 to 45 minute cat naps were too short and Nicki wasn’t getting enough sleep throughout the day, until my mommy friends set me straight. One thing I’ve always known is that Nicki is an unusually good night time sleeper.

My champion sleeper

She slept from midnight to six am without waking starting at around three weeks. She’d usually go down for four hours again around 7/7:30. At two weeks she slept five to six hours, and prior to two weeks we would wake her up to eat after four or five hours.

With the exception of one day since she has been five weeks old she has been getting at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Lately it’s been 10 hours. She will stir during the night, and sometimes appears to wake up, but she settles down on her own.


Your guess is as good as mine. She didn’t have day night reversal and she doesn’t appear to need or want night time feedings which makes me think it might have something to do with the way we feed her. When I nurse she usually gets hungry again quickly. She appears to get more from the bottle, so I always give her a bottle before bed. (We often nurse before bed too, but I make sure she has had plenty from the bottle first.) It could also be the amount she eats. She can pound down 4oz like a champ. My other theory is the rock n’ play. She’s might comfortable sleeping it. Most likely, though, we just got lucky in this aspect.

What about engorgement overnight?

My body adapted pretty quickly to Nicki’s schedule. Sure the first time she went from 6 to 8 hours, or 8 to 10, and even the day she slept 12 (!!) I woke up pretty engorged. But for the most part it hasn’t been a problem. I think most working moms also experience this. Their supply adapts to match their pumping schedule.

Keep in mind just because Nicki gets 10 hours of sleep a night doesn’t mean I do. I pump more then I nurse. Whenever she’s napping I need to devote time to pumping. I have quite a bit of chores pile up in the evening. After she goes to bed, I stay up for another couple of hours doing chores. I then pump right before I got to bed.

Do you get up in the middle of the night to pump?

No. I always pump/nurse when I wake up, but I never set an alarm or anything to wake up in order to pump. I have woken up once or twice from being engorged and pumped then.

Aren’t you worried about your supply? I heard you shouldn’t go more then 5 hours without pumping/nursing.

Sure, in that same new-mom way I worry about everything. But every parenting choice comes with its pluses and minuses. We found I’m a very different mom with sleep then without. Even an hour or two can make a difference. Without, I’m very mechanical, just going through the motions. I have to constantly remind myself to interact with her while changing her or feeding her. With sleep I do a much better job at stimulating her. To us, the risk to my supply is worth it.

Then again, adequate rest is supposed to help production. So maybe it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other?

What about growth and development? I heard you shouldn’t let the baby sleep too long without eating

According to our pediatrician, once baby has regained her birth weight it’s safe to let her sleep as long as she wants. She regained her birth weight and then some by one week. She’s reaching all her milestones and the pediatrician is happy with her development, so we don’t worry about it.

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