Sleep. One of my favorite words! To say I love sleep is a understatement. Before I had Scarlett I would usually sleep at least 8-10 hours a night, and loved it. Actually one of the things I worried about most during my pregnancy was not about the birth, how to take care of the baby, breastfeeding, etc., but was how I was going to survive on no sleep. I am so thankful now that Scarlett pressed on my bladder constantly throughout my pregnancy making it impossible to sleep for more than 3 hours without running to the bathroom. This helped prepare me somewhat for the little sleep I would receive during those first few weeks when Scarlett was colicky and had her days and nights mixed up.
Anyways, on to the real story. Just recently Scarlett has been waking up throughout the night to feed. This came as a surprise to me since she has slept at least 5-6 hours during the night since she was 4 weeks old. Very unusual I know, but I so glad that when I was dealing with all of the breastfeeding issues I was getting some sleep. I think that she may either be going through a growth spurt, be to distracted to eat well during the day, or since she is becoming more active using up more calories.
So here comes the advice from many well meaning people. Just give her a little cereal before bed and she will stay fuller longer and sleep. Yes, however, the reason she would stay fuller longer is because her body is not ready to digest anything but breastmilk and I will be depriving her of vital nutrients. Also, by introducing solids before 6-7 months you increase your baby's chance to develop food allergies. You see a baby's a baby's gut is considered open, allowing large nutrients such as proteins to enter the blood stream directly, until around 6 months. This is how God designed it so that the antibodies in Mom's milk can pass into baby's bloodstream providing passive immunity. However, when you give baby solids before their gut closes the large proteins from other foods can pass into their blood stream predisposing them to allergies.
So anyways, since Scarlett has decided to wake me up throughout the night disrupting my precious sleep, I have decided to look at the positives in the situation. Plus, I believe part of being a Mom is sacrificing your needs, such as sleep, for the needs of your child.
1.) Studies have shown that infants who sleep to deeply are at greater risk for SIDS. James Mckenna, a professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame has been studying infant sleep patterns and found that infants who co-slept spent less time in deeper states of sleep. Therefore he states sleep interruptions in the early months may be a protective factor against SIDS.
2.) She eats better at night and maybe it will help her gain some more weight.
3.) She may need the attention or comfort of nursing, which is fine with me. Nursing isn't just about physical nourishment. It is also a nurturing act!
So in the end I may not get to enjoy my beloved 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep for awhile, but she is so worth it!