Saturday, 5 July 2014

Dilemma: Should I wake myself in the night to express now that my baby sleeps through?

My little cherub, literally his cheeks are so huge he looks like a Michaelangelo, slept through the night for the first time last night. I feel like any other mum would be relieved to have their full night's sleep back but, whilst I'm happy for Joseph, I've been racking my brains all day as to whether I should continue to wake up in the night to express breast milk. Gahhh!!
What should I do, Joseph?
My thoughts:

Dropping the session:
  • If I don't wake up in the night to pump, should I pump at my normal times in the day and just drop that night time session.... meaning that I wouldn't pump 'til 9.30am... 11ish hours since the end of my last session... will my boobs explode?!
  • If I drop that session, will my body still produce the amount I want them to during the other sessions or will my production at those times be affected too.
  • My current schedule was working out pretty well aside from a bit of inconvenience in the late afternoons if I'm going out but I've made it work so far as I've timed my activities around and family members have been happy to take Joseph while I go into another room if I'm at one of their houses.
  • If I drop the session, providing my body still makes the same amount at the other sessions, Joseph will still need two formula feeds per day. Whilst I don't have a problem with formula, it feels like I'm so close to not needing it (well, until he needs more ounces per feed but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it) and part of me really likes the idea of Joseph having just breast milk.
  • Once I stop the 'demand' the 'supply' will be really hard to get back. 
Changing my times:
  • If I pump first thing in the morning instead of waking up in the middle of the night and stuck to my normal 4 sessions per 24 hours, I'd have to change all my other times but I'm struggling to figure out 2-3 times of the day that I can easily set aside which don't coincide with Joseph's most wakeful hours or, sort of selfishly, that wouldn't impinge on me being able to do things like visit family or go out if I want to. I don't mind so much about the evening session as long as it's not too close to midnight.
Waking myself up:
  • If I wake myself up in the night to express, it would mean that Joseph would only need one formula feed per day, and some days wouldn't need any formula at all... such as today. 
  • Will I realistically be able to wake myself up... when I've tried setting an alarm to dream feed Joseph instead of waiting for him to cry in the night I've snoozed it and fallen totally asleep only to be woken by his stirring. 
  • It may only be temporary, perhaps only until he starts having solids at 6 months? And the tiredness is still better than the pain that was breastfeeding in the early days. I don't know anything about weaning and solids, but I think that'll be another bridge I'll cross when I need to as I imagine it'll present another potential opportunity to avoid formula for a similar trade off. 
Last night I woke up at 4.30am confused, with a wet top, wondering whether Joseph had woken up and I missed his crying (unlikely) or whether he was about to wake up any minute (more likely but not the case.) I expressed at 5am but then left it 6 hours 'til my next session (I always go about 6 hours between sessions), but I felt like it threw my whole day out of sync. 

I think waking myself up might be the best option, mainly for supply reasons. I'm going to see how I get on with it at least, although I know I'll give myself a hard time if I don't keep it up... but I need to keep reminding myself that it's better that Joseph has a happy mum rather than the 'perfect' diet... which is what I tried to tell myself when I stopped breastfeeding directly from source. 
Will Joseph sleep through again tonight? Time will tell very soon!
If anyone has any thoughts on the matter, leave a comment. I've been reading loads of forums and blog posts (mostly American) and it seems like most mums (or 'moms' should I say) wake themselves up to pump, but generally pump waaaaay way more often than I do throughout the day and have stockpiles of the stuff in their freezers... I only have what I've just pumped and sometimes some left over from earlier sessions if I've pumped more than I know he'll realistically eat.

Time to unhook myself from my pump and set an alarm...

Nicki x


  1. Hi I am srosalie78 from instagram. I am also exclusively pumping the milk out to feed my son. I used to pump 4 times before he turned 3-4m and now 3 times. The total amount didn't change. It just takes longer each pumping session becoz your breasts will get more engorged and you will have more milk to pump out every time. Your body will get used to it. If you feel the supply drops, you can always go back to 4 times or drink the Hipp mama tea and more soup/liquid, which works for me. I sometimes let my son latch on me and it helps speed up next pumping speed even though the way he latches is completely wrong (as long as it's not too hurt ). What I am trying to say is you can work to increase the supply (there are lots of ways..having a good sleep also helps ) so don't be afraid to try.

    1. Ooh thank you for commenting, that's really good to know that it worked out ok for you at 3 sessions. Awesome you exclusively bf in 4 sessions - I always thought I'd need to pump waaay more often than that to exclusively feed him pumped milk. Joseph has about 4-6oz of formula per day but the rest is breast milk... so whilst it's not quite exclusive, I'm ok with it. x


Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. It really means a lot! Nicki x