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When Did Our Breastfed Children Sleep Through The Night?

Short answer - not until they finished nursing in the day. Which was when our first daughter was two-and-a-half and our second was probably three-and-a-half.

So How Often Did They Wake?

Our younger daughter slept peacefully up to 5 hours during her newborn days. While our oldest daughter consistently woke every 2 hours. They both had bouts of waking 4 times a night, that slowly dwindled down to 2 times, and finally once a night until they reached 2 and 3 years old.

3 year old sleeping in a double stroller

Here Are 7 Reasons They Didn’t Sleep...

1. Children Should Wake In The Middle Of The Night

They are still learning to breathe, regulate their body temperatures, and need vital nutrients that only night milk can provide. So waking is a vital part of their development. ​

2. Night Milk Is Crucial For Healthy Growth

I view skipping night nursing the same as intentionally skipping a meal.

Night milk provides its unique set of hormones, nutrients and benefits that a child needs. So when they woke to nurse they are getting exactly what their body needs at the right time to continue developing.

3. Pacify

Sometimes they would wake to simply pacify, because simply suckling at the breast was comforting to them.

4. They Were Sick

Cuddles coupled with breastmilk is better than any prescription drug you can give a sleepless, cranky, sick child. I'm no scientist, but I do believe the saliva from our child's mouth, communicates to our breasts exactly what our child needs and the nipples deliver. That's the power of mother's milk and I've personally witnessed it's magic work.

5. Nightmares

Both our babies had night terrors and would wake up screaming in the middle of the night. Why wouldn't I offer the breast to comfort them and lull them back to bed? You may ask, are they dependent on the breast now? Nope. At 7 and 4, if they wake up scared, they will usually ask to cuddle.

6. They Slept Attached

Both of our daughters had considerable bouts of sleeping attached.

What does sleeping attached mean?

When your child holds the breast in their mouth.

Simply having the breast in their mouth was comforting. If it was removed, they sniffed, felt and searched for it -- in their sleep.

Unfortunately, sleeping attached meant that if I wanted to roll over or detach, I unintentionally woke them.

7. Bed-Wetting

I'm not sure if this is just for breastfed children, but our girls definitely wet the bed at night and this sometimes woke the entire family.

With Children Waking In The Middle Of The Night, How Did I Get Enough Rest?

I didn't work a 40 hour a week job, so I could sleep in. I also took day naps whenever I could. Despite these two blessings, there were also days I was very tired. Even on days when I did get 8 hours of sleep, they were always interrupted which means I didn't feel well rested.

Some parents boasted about their children’s sleep habits as early as 5 months old. I witnessed children waking up and screaming in the middle of the night. Some parents filled a bottle and left it close to their child so when their child woke up thirsty in the middle of the night they had a drink beside them. Other parents just let their children holler until they fell back to sleep.

Either way, children do wake in the middle of the night and if your family is like ours, I do not want you to feel alone.

What about you? How did you get enough rest while breastfeeding? At what point did your breastfed children sleep through the night?

Until next time...

Love The Journey,

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