Realising you were doing it all wrong; the bedtime breastfeeding debacle.

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Today, on the eve of Nixon’s first birthday, I woke up without having left my bed at all {!!!!!!!!!} the night before.  My serial night-feeder only woke once and settled himself back to sleep after about 5 minutes of fussing.  This is a huge deal for us as Nix’s night time antics have been causing Dave and I much angst in the dark, cold, lonely hours of 2 and 4am.  Basically Nixon had forgotten how to settle himself back to sleep and I had been indulging it over the last couple of months of illness and hospital stays.  I had slipped into the backwards pattern of feeding him immediately before laying him down in his cot and so he had developed a very strong association between breastfeeding and sleep.  Rookie mistake you say!  Well even wizened old second-time-around-mamas make rookie mistakes, it just took me a while to identify where I was going wrong.

Nixon has been waking at least twice a night, sometimes more, for months now.  Waking in a rage.  Not crying, he was not upset, he was angry.  Angry that it was taking so long for me to get my ass out of bed and give him some milk so he could go back to sleep.  The problem with an angry baby is that crying-it-out {which I’m totally ok with in babies of Nixon’s age} doesn’t work because he isn’t crying.  He’s just yelling – very, very loudly FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES UNTIL HE BREAKS YOUR WILL.  This is the truth.  I don’t know about you, but my will is very fragile in the middle of the night in the depths of winter, so if breastfeeding the baby on demand when he wasn’t even hungry would allow me to get back under my duvet quick smart then that’s what I would do.

So for the past 48 hours I have been feeding Nixon about half an hour before bed, then changing him and finishing off with some stories before I lay him down in his crib.  Doing this at naptimes and bedtimes seems to have helped establish the new routine which will hopefully mean more sleep for Dave and I!  No doubt this will all regress after our hospital stay next month for Nixon’s pull-through operation but at least I’ll have a trick up my sleeve for when we get home and comfort feeding is no longer required.

But hey, one year of breastfeeding!  Ethan was in general a much easier baby then Nixon, including being a dream to breastfeed.  Nix had a really hard time in his first month, he wouldn’t feed, had trouble latching, was hospitalised for failure to thrive, we topped up with formula for two weeks and I was prescribed domperidone to increase my milk supply – which was awesome, definitely ask you doctor about this if you are concerned bub is not getting enough milk.

Extended breastfeeding means for me;

  • Breastfeeding past 1 year old and not weaning by some pre-determined age
  • No bottles to wash!  Not by choice I might add, try as we did Nix refused milk, expressed or formula from a bottle just as his older brother did
  • It’s so easy, I don’t really worry too much about getting caught out with no snacks or food
  • Dresses are pretty much still off the fashion radar for me
  • Truthfully, it still hurts a little.  Nix has five teeth now and pulls hard out when feeding
  • You can still get mastitis at this late stage of nursing, I did two months ago and it was awful!
  • I need to buy new nursing bras, after a year they are looking a little worse for wear, but I can seriously recommend the cheap Farmers Lyric brand they have certainly gone the distance!
  • I get some close cuddles with my babe at least a couple of times a day still which I treasure