Exclusive breastfeeders past & present...a little poll for you.

(236 Posts)
vlc Wed 26-Nov-08 00:57:25

A dear friend of mine is expecting her first baby soon. She is very committed to exclusive breastfeeding. She (as I did) bought a cot, moses basket, carrycot etc in the very reasonable expectation that the baby will sleep peacefully in one of them.

My own experience is that after only a few days of concerted effort trying and failing to persuade dd to sleep in her amby hammock, I gave in and co-slept out of desperation, and never looked back. I personally would not have succeeded in excl bf for 6 months if I has persevered in seperate sleeping arrangements. For me, the one enabled the other.

I was just wondering, though, what the MN experience has been. If you successfully bf exclusively, did you co-sleep occasionally, regularly, or never?

Just curious, really!

All 3 of mine were ex bf, and all 3 co-slept. It was possiably [sp?] the only way to keep sane. plus, no cold feet in the middle of the night. I have learnt from experiance and dd2's cot is beside the bed. It makes getting into bed a pita, but she has a short drop and a soft landinghmm

thumbwitch Wed 26-Nov-08 01:24:44

exclusively bf for 6m and still bf'ing now at nearly 1yo - couldn't have done it without co-sleeping as DS had a dreadfu latch to start with, cos of tongue-tie. Had it snipped at ~2weeks but by then he had to re-learn how to feed and was still taking ages (up to 2hours at a time) - couldn't have coped with sitting up in the middle of the night feeding for that length of time, so co-sleeping was essential.

Had no probs with DS in the bed as he didn't move much until about 1 week ago (he has been in his cot since 6mo for most of the night but if he won't settle in the early hours, he ends up back in my bed) when he started to try and crawl off the bed at about 3am. Not good. But he was getting over jetlag so possibly not representative!

I had exactly the same experience, co-slept with ds out of desperation. Exclusively bf for the recommended 6 months and weaned him off breast at 14 months - loved it and had no problems after the initial two weeks of struggling with settling after night feeds.

Didn't even bother sourcing a crib/moses basket when pregnant with dd and we have been happily and successfully co-sleeping and bfing for 3 months now.

Only problem is our bed is getting a bit crowded now as 2.5yo ds is still sharing with me and dp. There were 4 in the bed......

slim22 Wed 26-Nov-08 01:27:29

Both DS and DD slept in a moses basket next to my bed for 3 months then moved to their cot.

Co sleeping was easy with DS but he was very happy in his own company, in his cot and could self soothe and do nights very early on, so it was short lived.

DD can not co-sleep. she wiggles and wakes up constantly looking for the breast and will not settle unless it's in her mouth. And if she goes to sleep being fed then that's it we'll be at it all night. No one will rest.

currently still Bfeeding her, she's 7 months. She goes to sleep in her cot after her last feed at 6:30.
I pick her up, feed her and back to her cot when she wakes.
I only bring her to our bed in the early hours if she won't go back to sleep and feed her to sleep.

So I would say occasional co-sleeper. Whatever works.

primigravida Wed 26-Nov-08 01:40:22

My ds was breast-fed exclusively for the first six months and co-slept with us then. When he was six months we moved him into a baby hammock (borrowed from a friend) and introduced solids alongside bf. At nine months he was too big for hammock so we moved him into a cot (again lent to us) in his own room. He still comes in for cuddles in the mornings and is still breast-fed at 13months. I had no intention of co-sleeping but when I brought home couldn't bring myself to put him in his carrycot which we did buy as part of his bugaboo and which ended up only being used for naps. In hindsight, I should have introduced him to hammock earlier as I didn't sleep very well with him in the bed but he was such a bad sleeper. Good luck for your friend!

Aitch Wed 26-Nov-08 01:43:27

sorry to hijack your thread vlc but dd's weight gain no good and after 12 weeks the whole palaver isn't getting much better. remind me how you managed to keep going, again. (and she was pretty much exc until tonight when she's had three oz of formula and has conked out FINALLY).

Jacksmama Wed 26-Nov-08 02:47:39

DS is 9 months, not really interested in food, so pretty much exclusively breast-fed... and... surprise, surprise... we co-sleep! I'm a lazy mummy, I would hate to have to get up in the middle of the chilly night to nurse. Much better and cuddlier this way. Tell your friend to spend her money on good nursing bras instead (www.bravado.com, for example).
Great idea for a poll, BTW.

alarkaspree Wed 26-Nov-08 03:03:14

I exclusively breastfed 2 dcs for 6 months (then continued for another 2 years or so). They slept in a moses basket next to me for however long they fitted in it, then in a cot in our room. When they needed feeding in the night I used to bring them into bed and doze off while feeding, then put them back in their bed when I woke up again. I wouldn't have called it co-sleeping though, I would not have slept at all well if I'd had them in bed with me all night.

mangolassi Wed 26-Nov-08 06:14:08

I bf exclusively for 6 months, stopped bf-ing at about 19 months, dd is 2 and still co-sleeping.
I wouldn't try to convince your friend, though - just let her know it's an option, show her that UNICEF baby-friendly thing about how it's safe, and leave her to figure out what works for her when the time comes

aGalChangedHerName Wed 26-Nov-08 06:56:59

Ds1 was FF and we co-slept (DH did lots of night feeds tho)
Ds2 was exclusivly BF and we co-slept
Dd1 was exclusivly BF and we co-slept
Dd2 was exclusivly BF and we co-slept

All 3 BF babes bf through the night so we co-slept till they stopped BF. IIRC ds2 was 3ish, dd1 was nearly 2 and dd2 has stopped BF altogether sad but we are still co-sleeping.

She is our last and neither of us are fussed about hurrying her out the bed. She was 2 in August.

elvisgirl Wed 26-Nov-08 07:03:47

Exclusive bf-ing DS with a bit of BLW now he is 8mths. Have not co-slept except for a handful of occasions when he wouldn't settle and we tried to get him to doze off with us, co-napping really. He slept in a basinette right next to us, one of the see-through hospital style ones with wheels which he had been in for his first week when we were hospital. Only one of the many midwives on the ward encouraged me to co-sleep on one bad night when my milk came in & that was off-record. I wish I had used a sling for him when small for sleeping in the day but was too worried he would fall out so only used a wrap type rarely.
Not sure proper co-sleeping would have worked as I have to wear some type of sleep bra for large norks & also needed both hands & to be conscious for ensuring decent latch.
We are also part-time ECers so we would do changing & pottying at the time of a feed too. I got to like the night feeds (when they didn't last 2 hrs) as it was so peaceful watching him & satisfying to put him back all cosy & milked up. Ater the very early chaotic weeks DP would always get DS up & ready to hand over to me for the night feeds, the logic being I would be up for at least 45mins whereas it only took him 5-10mins.

popsycal Wed 26-Nov-08 08:02:05

will comeback later
just postingto mrk it in my threads i am on

mawbroon Wed 26-Nov-08 08:04:38

When my ds was born, I believed all the "rod for your own back" stuff sad.

I sat up for hours at night feeding him and then pacing the floor with him to try to get him to settle in the carry cot in the corner of the bedroom.

After a couple of weeks of this, he came into bed with me which was great. I don't remember how old he was when we put him in his own room, but I would start in my own bed and then go to ds if he woke and the two of us would co sleep in the spare bed in his room. I still do this now, and he is three. It gives me the best of both worlds I guess. The first part of the night in my own bed with DH and then a few hours in with DS until the morning.

Re bf, I managed exclusively until 6months, and we are still feeding now aged three.

I feel sad about the early days when DS cried so much because I believed the crap about babies being in their own beds. If i have another, it will be in bed with me from day 1.

Good luck to your friend.

piscesmoon Wed 26-Nov-08 08:06:41

I exclusively bf three children with no problems and didn't co sleep.

SoupDragon Wed 26-Nov-08 08:10:48

DS1 & 2 only co slept from some point in the night when I was too tired to do anything other than sleep lying down. They were in a moses basket in my room and then a cot in the nursery.

DD Co slept but only because there was space for her and she was a cr*p sleeper. Once she started rolling she went into her cot in my room.

All exclusively breastfed.

As an aside, DD is by far the worst sleeper of the lot of them and she's the only one I co-slept at all with Not a good advert for it!

ErnestTheBavarian Wed 26-Nov-08 08:13:38

I've exclusively bf 4 babies, and never co slept. I had them all in moses basket by bed for 1 month or so, then by 5 weeks all 4 have been in big cot in own room. They're all good feeders and sleepers.

duchesse Wed 26-Nov-08 08:17:25

Mostly they started off in their own cot or basket, and ended up in ours. My husband used to get up to fetch them in the night, the dear man, as I couldn't get back to sleep after getting up in the night. I would half wake, take charge of the baby, and slumber feed them, whence they'd usually stay the rest of the night.

4andnotout Wed 26-Nov-08 08:21:08

Im bfing dd4 and she sleeps in a crib in our room, it's no trouble to sit up in bed and feed her, then i change her nappy and she goes straight back in her crib and drops back off.
The first few days home from hospital i co slept with her as she would only sleep in my arms but she started to sleep in her pram during the day alone and so i tried her in the crib and fingers crossed she self settles lovely!

I'm bfing dd2, she sleeps in a moses basket next to my bed, as did dd1. She moved into cot at about 4/5 months and dd2 will too.

tiktok Wed 26-Nov-08 08:34:23

vlc, there's some good research on this, by Dr Helen Ball (google her). While just about everyone co-sleeps at some point in infancy/toddlerhood, breastfeeders are far more likely to co-sleep more often - it might not be the breastfeeding 'causing' the co-sleeping, but rather that co-sleeping 'enables' the bf, or even a mix of the two. It's certainly the case that a 'ban' on co-sleeping (such as we have at present in the UK, in effect) is likely to lead to a curtailment of bf.

I don't think she has separated out the excl bf mothers from the non-excl, though.

abraid Wed 26-Nov-08 08:36:58

I only co-slept very occasionally--if it was freezing, and when they were tiny. I think it sets up longer-term problems.

I breastfed mine exclusively for four months and carried on until eight months.

noolia Wed 26-Nov-08 09:00:48

DD (nearly 9 months) starts in her cot, next to us, and if (ha ha when) she wakes at 4ish or whatever I feed her in bed and she tends to stay there because I fall asleep, I guess that is co-sleeping. I sort of mean to put her back but don't smile. Big secret from parents and ILs though, couldn't be doing with the 'thin end of the wedge' comments!

Wisknit Wed 26-Nov-08 09:05:28

DS1 - co-slept out of desperation: hated crib/cot/wherever.
DS2 - co-slept from start. Got straight into bed after a HB and went from there.
DC3(due feb) - intend to co-lseep from word go.

I exclusively BF both my boys and intend to with the next. 17 month gap so DS1 still not porperly sleeping through and without co-sleeping(and the advantage that you end up Bf without waking properly) I would have been a sleep deprived zombie.

throckenholt Wed 26-Nov-08 09:06:59

I never coslept and I breast fed for 12 months.

They started out in a carry cot by our bed - sometimes migrated to DH's chest for a few hours in the night. And after a few weeks moved to a cot in the room and after about 4 months to a room of their own (mine made so much noise I wasn't getting any good sleep so they were evicted !).

What works for some doesn't for other - but the best thing is to be flexible and try different things until something works for you.

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