When you begin your breastfeeding journey you feel like your constantly nursing your baby 24/7. You get a few breaks during the day but they’re mostly for eating, getting dressed, taking a shower if you’re lucky, using the bathroom or, maybe, running an errand.
Eventually as the baby gets older and they can drink more milk in one sitting you’ll find yourself in a nice little routine where you’re nursing about every 2-3 hours. This is not a rule since every baby is different (my first nursed every hour and my second every 2.5 hours) but it’s a good estimate. After some time your baby will also start nursing less at night (about every 2-3 hours in my case).
But then all of a sudden, one night, your baby decides he wants to nurse all night. Every time you try to move away your baby wants to nurse again. You wake up feeling like you’ve barely gotten any sleep. And then it goes on for a few nights… You so tired you wonder how you can even function.
I’ve had many, many of those nights and learning to nurse while lying down has been a life saver. However, when this happens many times in a row it is just exhausting and I find myself wondering why is my baby nursing all night long.
After a few night of this in a row I feel like there isn’t enough coffee in the world to keep me awake and then, when I feel like I’m going to die if I don’t get enough sleep, all of a sudden my baby goes back to sleeping more.
The reasons why your baby is suddenly nursing more may vary but I’ve found that most of the time they start nursing more at time because of the same 5 reasons.
Why is your baby nursing all night?
- Your baby is hungry: they might not have had enough milk during the day and are making up for it by nursing more at night.
- Your baby is going through a growth spurt: this might make your baby a little bit more fussy than usual and make them nurse frequently. In my case I feel this is one of the biggest reasons why my baby is all of sudden nursing all night.
- Your baby is teething: nursing can be soothing for your baby so they want to keep on nursing. Both of my kids have nursed a lot more, during the day and night, when they’re teething.
- Your baby is going through a major leap: babies learn a lot in their first year of life and a lot of the information they receive during the night gets processed at night. Nursing helps them cope with all of this.
- Your baby needs extra comfort: sometimes your baby has a nightmare or just needs you to feel safe and they’ll find comfort in breastfeeding.
But does it really matter why baby is suddenly nursing a lot more?
Regardless of the reason why your baby is nursing more at night, I’ve found that it is always just a phase that last a few days to a couple of weeks – at most, and then they are back to their usual sleeping schedule and nursing routine.
I know it’s hard sometimes when you’re used to sleeping a certain amount of time and then be up for what it feels like all night, for several nights, but one thing that is important to remember is that this too shall pass.
Although we might not know why, there is always a reason why your baby needs to nurse more some nights and it’s important to let them do so.
If you find that this continues and it’s really affecting you, try to get your baby to nurse more during the day. Both of my babies have become very distractible at some point and this made daytime nursing challenging at time, which would them make them nurse more at night.
I’ve found that finding a quiet place to nurse them in or breastfeeding them in the baby carrier helped them get more milk during the day and sleep longer stretches at night.
If you can take a nap with your baby or get someone to help you with the baby so you can sleep in and if not, coffee will be your best friend for a few days. 🙂 I know while it’s happening it feels never ending and that all you want is to sleep, but believe me, it’s a just phase and in most cases one that doesn’t last too long.
Don’t be too surprised if this happens several times during the first year or two of your child’s life. It is completely normal and something you should expect.
Hang in there mama – you’re not alone. We’ve all been there and even though sleep deprivation is hard, we all somehow survived, so just remember this too shall pass…