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Newborn and Infant Care

Frequency of breastfeeding problem

11/14/1997

Question:

I am breastfeeding my 5 month old son and have started solids three weeks ago. He still eats every two hours during the day and will not go to sleep until 11 p.m. and wakes up two to three times per night. My mother believes that I should let him cry at 9:00 (he'll go to sleep eventually) and to let him cry for 15 minutes in the middle of the night until I go to him. Please let me know what you think about this. She says that I am spoiling him; I don't believe it.

Answer:

I am sure that this is a frustrating time for you. It is often difficult to know just how to manage when your baby won't sleep. However, it is important that you and your support person make the decision regarding how you wish to handle your sons sleep patterns. You might look at how much is he sleeping in the day, and if he is sleeping for long periods then, wake him and keep him awake in hopes that he will sleep longer at night. Also look at his temperament and see how responds to being left alone. It is important to remember that you need to be comfortable with how you choose to handle the sleep. Many people will give you advice, and you need to carefully pick and choose what you want to use. In regards to breastfeeding, there are a few things you need to consider. Is your son nursing prior to receiving the solid foods? During the first year of life, breastmilk will provide all the necessary nutrients, and if you nurse him following the solid foods, he might not be receiving enough breastmilk. Also, if he is not nursing for a long time he may not be receiving all of the necessary nutrients, especially the hindmilk. Hindmilk has a high level of fat that is necessary for his growth and development. An infant who is not receiving enough hindmilk will often be fussy between feedings, at the breast and gain weight slowly. Also, look at the solid foods you are giving your son. Some suggested first foods include ripe bananas, sweet and white potato. During the first year you should avoid cows milk, citrus products, honey, eggs, high fat foods and artificial sweeteners.

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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