Wife, Mummy, Nurse: Sleep: What's That? {Reverse Cycling}

19 January 2012

Sleep: What's That? {Reverse Cycling}

One of my pet peeves after Charis was born was being asked the question, "Is she a good baby?"  What do people mean by that, they often want to know, "Is the baby sleeping through the night?"  They think if the baby sleeps through the night the baby is good, but if the baby doesn't sleep through the night, then the baby is bad.  I believe this kind of thinking is wrong.

Babies need to eat often, especially when they are infants.  Unfortunately this might mean that reverse cycling happens.  What is reverse cycling?  Reverse cycling occurs when a baby nurses more at night than during the day.

Thankfully, I did not notice this too often with Charis.  The times I can recall it are when we've had a busy day doing errands, going to the store, bank, post office, etc., and I'm so busy I did not notice my daughter's cues like I would have if we had just stayed home.  Mummy fail!  The other times I've noticed it are when I would work at the hospital, I would have breast milk that I pumped ready to go in bottles, but she would not eat/drink as readily as she would have if I was there.  So, at night, she would make up for what she missed during the day.  Honestly, I was glad she would do that, because I was not able to pump as often as I would have liked.  For example, if there's a Code Blue on the unit, I can't say, "I'm going to pump now."  No, I need to be there with my coworkers trying to help the patient live, and since I work in CCU, it's harder to get a pumping break especially since the pumping room is on the Labor and Delivery unit {four floors down}.

What helped me get through sleepless nights?  A good husband.  He's so understanding and supportive.  Yes, the house may be a wreck, but he knew I was tired and caring for a baby and myself.  Co-sleeping.  There were many times Charis would want nurse at night, I'd lift up my shirt, and fall asleep.  When I woke up, my breast was exposed, but my baby was sleeping.  I highly recommend co-sleeping!

Had you experienced "reverse cycling"?
What are your suggestions for getting through it?
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  1. Yes, cosleeping was huge for us with my second baby. Not having to sit upright makes a big difference in the middle of the night.

    I also hate when people ask about a newborn sleeping through the night. Do many adults you know sleep through the night? No. They can get up for a midnight snack and to go to the bathroom. Also, there is so much information coming about about a possible connection between babies who sleep deeply and a higher risk of SIDS... that makes me feel fine about my babies, who woke up incessantly at night.

  2. We really struggled with sleep with #1. Come to find out, he had asthma and could not breathe so after 9 months of struggles we treated it and all our hard work trying to soothe our child paid off and he started sleeping through the night. An extremely supportive husband makes a huge difference. I was reminded by our pediatrician that in order for me to produce enough milk to feed the baby I did have to get sleep.

    As far as co-sleeping, I am a big fan if it is done with all the safety suggestions that have been published. I get allergy shots and occasionally I would have a bit of a reaction and would have to take benadryl. It is sedating and on nights like that I would ensure baby was not in bed with me as I was too worried I might smother. Just keeping aware of things and anticipating problem areas is essential. However, it really helped us get through those nights.

    I also don't like the "good baby term". If you want to know if the child is sleeping through the night, just ask. If that is what defines a good child then my son would have been a bad child. However, he really is the sweetest thing ever and we survived him not sleeping through the night until many months of age.

  3. I noticed that with Grady sometimes, too. If we were running errands we might miss a feeding and then he'd nurse more at night. It was never very often, so it never became a habit for him. And I totally agree with you.....co-sleeping ROCKS!