Sleep Challenges … Related to Mom


In part two of our series, we’ll look at some potential mother related contributors to Baby waking early.

  1. Baby is hungry because:
    1. The previous feeding proved to be inadequate
    2. Mom’s milk supply has gradually decreased – When it comes to a drop in Mom’s milk supply, the decrease is usually gradual, and correspondingly her baby gradually shifts nap duration.  Baby might start waking just 15 to 30 minutes early, and then 30 to 45 minutes, or 60 minutes early.  Most moms can add a feeding or two and increase their milk supply.  However, there is a very small percentage of breastfeeding moms who are not able to sustain their milk supply during the day, even after trying every reasonable lactation suggestion offered.  If a mom determines she is not able to provide her baby adequate nutrition through exclusive breastfeeding, then she has two choices.  Continue to nurse and supplement with formula, or completely switch over to formula.
  2. Mom’s diet is affecting the nursing baby
  3. Baby has a reaction to a new medication Mom is taking – Most medications prescribed to breastfeeding mothers are safe for the nursing infant. However, there are certain medications that can potentially become a source of discomfort, thereby impacting a baby’s sleep.  If Mom suspects a link between her medication and her baby’s irritability, there are several factors to consider.  First, a mother should not assume that a medication safely taken during pregnancy will always be safe for a nursing baby.  Second, Mom should check the prescription dosage with her doctor.  Is it possible to reduce the dosage or substitute another drug that has less side effects for the baby?  Third, what time of day is Mom taking her medication?  Is it possible to take it right after baby’s last feeding of the night, so her body can metabolize most of the medication during her nighttime sleep, which hopefully will be 8 to 10 hours before her baby’s next meal?  In the end, Mom must weigh the benefits of taking her medication in light of the possibility that the medication is having a negative impact on her baby.
  4. The nursing baby is getting too much lactose from Mom – Most breastfeeding concerns are associated with mothers who are not producing enough breastmilk. However, in rare cases, some mothers produce too much milk, which sets in motion a ripple effect that shows up at naptime.  When a mother’s milk-producing glands are making and storing more milk than her baby needs, then correspondingly, the foremilk/hindmilk volumes change.  While the foremilk/hindmilk nutrient ratios remain the same, the total quantities in each breast are higher.  When there is more foremilk available to a hungry baby, there is more lactose (milk sugar) ingested and that is when the problem starts.  Healthy babies do not have a problem with processing normal levels of lactose, but ingesting a large volume will overpower their digestive tracks because they do not have enough lactase (digestive enzyme) to break down all the lactose.  Excessive lactose causes significant discomfort from gas build-up.  Green watery stools are a common symptom of this condition.  Possible solution?  Pumping some milk from both breasts just prior to feeding might help remedy the problem.  That will remove some of the foremilk so when Baby feeds, he will receive a closer to normal foremilk/hindmilk ratio.  Unfortunately, trial and error is the only way to discover the right amount to pump.
  5. Mom’s schedule was rushed, so she did not allow enough time for her baby to receive a full feeding.

Excerpt taken from On Becoming Babywise by pediatrician Robert Bucknam, M.D. and Gary Ezzo, M.A.  (2017 6th Edition).

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