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Moxie's on the right track. I basically nursed the heck out of that little bugger on days that I worked. Nursed before leaving for work - then again at dropoff at daycare (we had an hour commute til we got there, so he was usually ready for a quick top-off) , nursed at lunch (might not be doable for you) nursed at daycare when I picked him up, nursed again after hour ride home, then on demand til bedtime. He still woke a couple times at night for nursing, and we didn't night wean until he was 20 months. Keep up the good work!


I went back to work outside the home when my daughter was 15 weeks old, and I breastfed her until she was just about a year, and our weaning was very much baby-directed. I’d be happy to share what worked for us, although, of course it might not be the right solution for other people. Basically, I did put my daughter on a schedule, and I also supplemented her last nighttime feeding with formula to help her sleep more hours at night.

I had an emergency c-section delivery, due to both maternal and fetal complications. Everyone was eventually fine, but I was not conscious for many hours after M’s birth, and I was not awake/alert enough to even attempt nursing until about 24 hours after her delivery. As such, she was supplemented with Enfamil by the hospital before I even was aware of what was going on (my husband obviously ok’d this). I did nurse successfully in the hospital after a few days, but while I was recovering she continued to be supplemented some of the time. While I was upset by this initially, it wound up working out well for us later on. My ped suggested that since M had already had formula, we should continue giving her one bottle a day, in the middle of the night, to both help me rest and recover, help my husband continue to bond with her (he always fed her this) and also help the family sleep a little bit longer. Despite my initial misgivings, I have to say that it worked very well for us.

When I went back to work, I would nurse M as soon as she woke up (usually 5:30-6:00amish). Sometimes I would nurse her again before we left (although this petered out as she got older and started eating yogurt for breakfast). She was fed 2-3 bottles at “school,” and then when I picked her up at 5pm, I would nurse her immediately. In the beginning I would nurse her for a bit either at school or in the car before we left, but as she got a little older and started eating solids she could wait until we got home. But it was always the first thing we did when we got there. I would nurse her again around 8pmish (this feeding got dropped after she was eating enough solids to have a substantial dinner) and she would go tot sleep. Then around midnight, my husband would give her the Enfamil before we went to sleep, and I would often nurse her a little bit too. She would sleep then until about 5:30-6:00am, and did on this schedule pretty consistently from about 12 weeks on, and I was able to function on about 6 hours of solid sleep. I was actually able to dropout the Enfamil at about 8 months and just nurse her before bed, because she was eating plenty of other food well by then. She also started taking this feeding earlier and earlier, so that our old 8pm and 12pm schedule was replaced by a nursing at about 9ish and then sleeping till about 6am. When we did wean, this last feeding at night was the last one to go.

I know not everyone would be willing to supplement with formula like I was, but it definitely worked well for us. I am just wondering if maybe Carrie’s son needs more to eat in general at night, and if in addition to filling him with as much milk as possible, maybe she should give him a late night snack of something sustaining like cereal mixed with EBM to help him sleep a little bit longer?

Anyway, sorry for the long comment, but that is how we did it!


I agree with the suggestions- nurse when you get home, nurse at his bed time, wake him to nurse again before you go to bed and again in the morning regardless of the 4 hour schedule you want. The sling would help too (never liked it myself once they were over 2-3 months because my back could not take it). Do you have a work situation which allows you out over the lunch hour? Are you close enough to him to stop by and nurse him again? Can he come to you? Can you work through your lunch hour to get get off any hour early (not ever day or you will go crazy- I know I love my lunch hour for myself). It will help with any supply issues (pumping can't always get the same results as nursing). I would also suggest nursing him just before the solids. Who wants to eat with having nothing to drink? Solids should supplement his nourishment but the bulk of the nourishment should be from your milk. It sounds as if that would work best when you are home (or try a little milk in a sippy cup with solids).

Check this out to see how many ounces of your milk he should get in a bottle.

My now 7 month old son always woke at 3 am. I fell into the routine of nursing him just to get him back to sleep and I think it cause him to wake just for that. Instead I tried to rewrap him, turn on his music and used a pacifier. Now to falls right back to sleep.

It will not last forever.


I had a very similar experience with my daughter. We tried EVERYTHING, it seemed like, to get her on a schedule that didn't involve those middle-of-the-night feedings. In the end, the only thing that really seemed to work was time -- which I know is the last thing you want to hear right now.

There are a lot of good suggestions here, though -- especially considering supplementing just a little with formula or additional solids. You can always back off if it seems like your milk supply has been affected, but formula is a pretty simple way to at least share the pain of those nighttime wakings!


I also work the 9-5 and am breastfeeding. I hear you say that you don't want to sleep with her, but I'm suggesting you try it. Seriously. It's the only way I could function right now. She wakes up, I roll over and stick a boob in her mouth, I go back to sleep. THe hardest part is probably getting used to the physical positioning, but I think my sleep is much improved by this arrangement.

Because we're concerned about the baby not being able to fall asleep away from us, we've gotten a co-sleeper recently. When she's down the first time, we put her in it. Then I reach over and pull her to me when she wakes up the first time. For the rest of the night, she's usually next to me. Sometimes, like on weekends, I put her back into it for the last few hours of the night. That way I can sleep on my back. I notice, though, that I hardly ever wake up enough to move her to the co-sleeper. To me this means I'm sleeping!

If this doesn't help at all, I have no clue what else to do. I definitely don't claim to have many solutions - but this one worked for us. I'm sure my boss appreciates it, too.


I agree that cluster feeding could be the solution that might work for you. I also agree that spacing out his feeds during the day could back fire to actually want more nursing sessions during the night. It seems your baby's need are both for nurturing and nourishing. So, increasing closeness to you when you guys are together, and cluster feeding could do the trick. I would suggest maybe you can give this a try for say 10 days (and keep a log if you can) and see if you see any improvements. A 10 day commitment is not very long if you consider the alternative. If it doesn't work then tweak it a little bit. Maybe you can try not nursing every time he gets up and maybe offer comfort once and feed the others. Of course if he is hungry he will let you know when comforting doesn't do the trick.
You say he reluctantly takes the bottle, that could be something you could try to improve as well. Some babies do better with sippy cups than bottles (el pequeno comes to mind here). Try introducing it and see how it goes.
Those are just my suggestions. I want to wish you good luck. I am going through the 8 month old regression Moxie just mentioned. I am dealing with it by going to bed at 8:30, I kid you not. But it's the only way I feel decent enough the next day at work. You don't mention what time you go to bed but maybe you moving it back a bit will help you feel better the next day.
Good luck again!


Thanks for all the advice so far.

Here's a little follow up to some of the questions and maybe that can give me better answers.

He takes two bottles at "school". Each bottle is 6.5 ounces. He usually takes the entire first bottle without problem. The second bottle can be taken entirely or sometimes he leaves some.

His cereal is mixed with formula because there is no way I could keep up pumping for that too.

He doesn't take a pacifier any more (he just stopped taking it one day).

I go to bed at 9:00, so I could feed him at 5:45 when I get home, 7:00 right before he goes to bed and 8:45. The only thing is, if he's not hungry, he won't even try to latch on a little bit for mommy (very rough when I'm engorged on one side). I have tried waking him for a feeding before my bed time before. I didn't notice that it altered the course of the night. But, I will give it a shot again.

No chance of altering my hours or going to him over lunch. He's a half hour from my work (2 minutes from my house).

About the sling: how on earth do you wear a wiggly, wants to be down and exploring 20-lb baby in a sling? He doesn't even want to be held in the evenings because there is so much exploring to do. There are so many things he wants to put in his mouth. He wants to roll toward the cat. And the stairs.

This weekend, I will make up a bottle (formula or EBM) and Dad will get some middle of the night bonding time.

About his 4-hour feeding plan...he doesn't act hungry or even indicate that he is hungry before 4 hours (and if he does, I feed him). Sometimes, if I wait for him to tell me that he is hungry during the daytime, he will go 6 or more hours without so much as a peep.


No advice, just commiseration.

I have an almost identical problem except that my child is 9 mos. old, teething and has learned to stand himself up in his bed (but doesn't know how to sit back down). I have been nursing him like he was a newborn since mid August and vacillate between thinking I am losing my mind and thinking that I just cannot bear to wean him right now.

The thing I really want to know is if I am creating a monster or is this a phase that will pass. I will put a stop to this if I am setting myself up for sleep disasters for the next X years, but how do you know?



Carrie, I definitely feel for you. (http://moxie.blogs.com/askmoxie/2005/12/qa_crawling_and.html) That's me, with the plea for reassurance.

When Jamie was your son's age, I threw up my hands and coslept. That sleep regression that Moxie talks about, we experienced it in spades. Then at 10 months, I nightweaned. That consisted of me holding him for two hours while he yelled at me - seriously, angriest cry I ever heard. He'd fall asleep, realize he fell asleep WITHOUT the BOOB and wake up, angry. But we finally got to the point where he would sleep from 8 p - 4 a. That was heaven. But now, at 14 months, we're cosleeping again. And the thing is, cosleeping also gives the child that physical connection they crave, especially when mom is gone all day.

I'm sorry, it isn't neccessarily helpful to have someone tell you to do something you say you don't want to do, but it's how I've managed to survive.


Good point about the sling. They do get a little crazy. A carrier might work better.

I could never co sleep because I hate nursing laying down and I never got full sleep so I understand your reservations about co sleeping. However give this a try- can you bring him to bed with you to nurse one more time when you go to bed, let you both fall a sleep and have your husband put him in his bed when he goes to bed (if it is later)?
The other option is to have your husband comfort him when he wakes at night instead of you. He may see you and think "I get to eat yea!".


One other thought -- if he is finishing his bottles at school, maybe you could try making them bigger. He may take more during the day if he is offered it. (This may not be helpful, though, if you are trying to increase his solids and/or if those two bottles are hard-won EBM and you can't make more. I remember the difficulty of pumping all too well . . .)


I went back to work out of the home full-time when my son was 3 months old, and night-weaned him at 9 months. Until that time he would wake every 2-3 hours all night to nurse. The sleep deprivation was killing me. I was certain he was getting plenty to eat during the day, and was wanting to nurse at night because that's what he expected when he woke up. Even at 9 months he wasn't eating many solids, prefering to nurse or take a bottle (expressed breastmilk), but we were moving toward more solids. I would nurse him first thing in the morning, again before leaving for daycare, at lunch at daycare, first thing when we got home, and before bed. Sometimes also once more in the evening. He also got a 5 oz bottle mid-morning and mid-afternoon at daycare. On the weekends he nursed as often as he liked.

To night-wean, my husband started responding to our son's cries at night. After his initial anger at seeing his dad instead of me, he was fairly easily soothed back to sleep. Luckily he finds pacifiers very soothing. After only 2-3 nights of this he no longer woke up at night. I can't tell you how much this has improved my ability to function in all aspects of my life. Although initially I was worried that it would backfire and that the lack of that extra closeness (nursing at night) would be difficult for us, I have actually never regretted our decision to night-wean. At 16 months he still nurses first thing in the morning and right before bed, and that is very precious to me. I just wanted to share what worked for us, and tell you to trust your instincts about what's right for you and your baby.


I hear you....
Two caveats before I have my say: I'm only out of the house 2-3 days a week, and this is not going to be what you want to hear. Our situation is similar in that the baby wants to nurse every 2 hours at night, while during the day he'll happily go for 3 or even 4 hours without nursing. I've found that a. incereasing the distance between daytime feeding has zero effect on his night schedule and b. co-sleeping aggravates the problem in that he will nurse more often and longer - except it does make the sessions SO much easier on me. Basically, when I'm willing to be chewed on most of the night, then we just sleep like that; it's not great sleep, but it's fine, and I'm not dead the next day. When I've had enough, he goes into the cot - and the downside is that my sleep will be much more interrupted since I'll have to get up and actually wake up (although the stretches of sleep you do get are better quality). As you see, at the moment I'm just playing it by ear; the cot is by the bed, so it's easy to shift gears in the middle of the night.

wix, still sleep-deprived

heh. i will come back and add something if, after ruminating, i can think of anything to suggest besides co-sleeping. CX will be 19 mos tomorrow, and he's still nursing overnight, twice. i'm committed to get him through the worst of cold/flu season before weaning him cold-turkey in the spring. nighttime is the only time he's still nursing. he does love the teats (as we call them at the luckyhazel compound), and will speak affectionately about them at length (okay, he really just says 'teats! teats! nurse!' and stares wistfully at my chest) and i know in his case the nursing is more for comfort and mommy-time than it is for sustenance. when he has a cold or is otherwise sick, like now, he wants to nurse all night long. ordinarily, it's just a time or two.


Sleep regression?!? That is explaining an awful lot right now.

(slapping forehead)

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  • My expertise is in helping people be who they want to be, with a specialty in how being a parent fits into everything else. I like people. I like parents. I think you're doing a fantastic job. The nitty-gritty of what you do with your kids is up to you, although I'm happy to post questions here to get data points of how you could try approaching different stages, because, let's face it, this shit is hard. As for me, I have two kids who sleep through the night and can tie their own shoes. I've been a married SAHM, a married freelance WAHM, a divorcing WOHM, a divorced WOHM, and now a WAHM again. I'm not buying the Mommy Wars and I'll come sit next to you no matter how you're feeding your kid. When in doubt, follow the money trail. And don't believe the hype.
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