Dr. Sears

When to Stop Night Nursing

April 4, 2013

She’s so cute. She’s just adorable. SweetPea makes every day fun, easy, and a joy to watch she and her brother roll through life. We often say if she weren’t so cute, there’s no way she would have made it with night nursing a full year. No. Stinking. Way. Am I crazy for having awakened every 3-4 hours to nurse a baby? Well, obviously when babies are born and the first several months of life it’s vital for their growth and development to nurse 8-12 times in a 24 hour period. That’s science and the standard medical recommendation. Most people probably aren’t still up with their 11 7/8 month old, though. We haven’t night weaned for a number of reasons. I’ll start with those and then move on to unroll our very big plan to night wean when she hits one on April 10th–coincidentally also my birthday!  1) Why not to night wean too early. When your newborn nurses, the suction & compression tells your body: “Make MORE” and in those early days and weeks, your milk supply becomes established. In my layman’s terms as a non-educated lactationist: you create the supply & demand set up so that your milk glands are geared toward producing a certain amount of milk. It’s hard to increase that later in the game. Nurse early, nurse often. When your growing baby nurses at night it packs on the pounds. If your baby is like SweetPea and on the smaller end of the spectrum (>25%…

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Nursing Past Age One

July 8, 2011

I’ve written quite a bit on breastfeeding, starting with some basic thoughts, latching techniques, nipple pain, duration of early nursing sessions, and nursing from the get-go. But now that my little boy is just over 12 months old, and we still breastfeed. So what’s the norm now? This post is not aimed at a criticism of mother who don’t breastfeed, or stop at age one. Every mother has to figure out what’s best for her and her child, and no scientist, doctor, or other mother can judge that decision. Below are the factors that I’ve weighed when figuring out what’s best for my Little Sweet Pea and our family. 1) Health benefits. Dr. Sears discusses the health benefits to extended breastfeeding. He puts it so well. The following is a lengthy excerpt from his website regarding breastfeeding beyond one year of age: Science is on your side. I have read many medical journals with articles proving the long-term health benefits of breastfeeding. The incidence of many illnesses, both childhood and adult, are lowered by breastfeeding  — diabetes, heart disease, and central nervous system degenerative disorders (such as multiple sclerosis) to name a few. The most fascinating studies show that the longer and more frequently a mom nurses her baby, the smarter her child is likely to become. The brain grows more during the first two years of life than any other time, nearly tripling in size from birth to two years of age. It’s clearly a crucial time for brain development, and…

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