Vast subject of nocturnal awakenings , we cannot address everything here (If you are interested in a special article on this subject, you can always ask Aurélie to prepare a special one on the blog ;-) . In the meantime, it seems important to me to emphasize that a baby's ability to chain several sleep cycles (and therefore to have fewer and fewer nocturnal awakenings) is a neurological capacity and in no way linked to the storage capacity of the body. our baby's stomach.
Of course, a baby who feels hungry during a micro-awakening between 2 sleep cycles would wake up (breast, bottle), but as he would take advantage of this to wake up if he is cold, discomfort, stress, stimulation etc... It is because when baby wakes up, his brain goes through a micro-awakening, this opportunity for total awakening, that the baby will take advantage of it to meet his/her need(s) no sated that he feels and not the opposite.
If the awakenings are more regular and recurrent than a sleep cycle, then there may be pain there and it is even more important to dig into the origin of what is hindering your baby's sleep. .
It is important to underline this because all too often, we generalize the child's stomach which is awakened by hunger. While often we think that a baby who wakes up at night is necessarily hungry.
First of all, there are our little babies who have just arrived among us, the very little babies still live in another dimension, with breastfeeding that is slowly being put in place.
And yes, in general, they will send signals that they are ready to nurse (whether they are asleep or awake for that matter).
However, there is no need to wake a baby to offer him the breast if he does not send us signals that he is ready to suckle.
Gradually, he will space his feedings more and more , day and night, with some children very quickly having none or one feeding per night, while others will still have 2 or 3. If your child continues to have very many feedings , beyond 4/6 months (more than 2/3 nocturnal awakenings), there are probably needs other than nutritional ones that your child wishes to meet . The breast meets so many needs other than food, it is quite natural that our child goes to our breast to fill them (hug, reassurance, familiar sensations, pain relief, suction, our presence, etc.).
If the situation suits you like this, then only listen to you, you are not giving your child a bad habit by meeting his needs and what could be more natural than doing it through breastfeeding?
My only point of vigilance : if the awakenings are every hour or more, make sure that there is no hidden pain that baby is trying to relieve during these awakenings.
Otherwise, who are we to tell you whether or not you are involved in meeting your child's needs. As I often read, the only people who have something to say about our handling of nocturnal awakenings are those who are with us at 3 a.m. during the awakening ;-)
Does this situation not suit you? We can take the time to assess the situation to identify what is hindering this sleep. We will thus be able to provide a different response, but adapted to your baby's needs to remove this obstacle to sleep and reduce the number of nocturnal awakenings.
Some mothers sometimes wish to continue breastfeeding, but initiate night weaning. In this case, be very careful . Indeed, night weaning can directly impact your lactation. It is important to be aware of this .
If you value your breastfeeding, then it seems important to me to suggest that you assess the situation with an IBCLC lactation consultant, who can advise you regarding your breastfeeding and this wish.
It also seems important to me to be able to take stock with the doctor/paediatrician following your child to ensure that nocturnal weaning is something that can be envisaged for your child.
Finally, before proposing this nocturnal weaning, it seems important to me to make sure that your child has no other brakes which are at the origin of his nocturnal awakenings. If so, he would continue to wake up despite the nighttime weaning attempt because his real needs will not have been met.
Mom, I hope this article has brought you some answers .
But above all, I hope he has reassured you that you know your baby. Only you know what's best for you two.
So listen to yourself , don't hesitate to ask for help if your child's sleeping situation becomes too complicated or if you feel lost , because breastfeeding and sleep should rhyme with moments of sweetness and letting go and not dozens awakenings that rhyme with lack of sleep – If necessary, you can also be accompanied by a sleep consultant (with breastfeeding training as a bonus it's better) – she can accompany you, assess the situation to provide an answer adapted .
And to the next person who says to you “ if he wakes up at night it's because you are breastfeeding him” answer him “Is it your brain that sleeps or your stomach? » or you can offer him to contact me, I will be happy to offer him the reading of some books on the subject ;-)