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Breastfeeding help: Reverse cycling

Breastfeeding can be a little intimidating for a new mum, and there can often be strategies, tips and measures to be aware of that you didn’t even anticipate. Reverse cycling is a term used to refer to an infant’s nursing pattern, during which the feeding frequency is much greater in the evening than in the daytime. Your baby may be mixing up day and night, which can happen at this age. Here is some information to help you understand more about reverse cycling and how to deal with it.

Why it happens

Babies aged between four to six months and eight to 10 months are very easily distracted, and as a result, are more likely to follow reverse cycling. Distraction is especially noticeable during feeding times, and it could be a result of a mum’s busy schedule. For example: During the day, a mother may be busy with household chores, so maybe she has less time to set aside for feedings. In the evenings, however, she may be able to relax and devote more time to nursing, as it’s usually a time to unwind. The same is usually true in working moms, who have less time for their babies during the day because of their work and more time when they’re home. Both situations account for the incidence of reverse cycling.

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Advantages of reverse cycling

  • If your baby is accustomed to wanting to feed more at night, you’ll be able to spend more time on work during the day.
  • You might not need a breast pump. With the anticipation of less frequent feeding during the day, a mother may not need to store so much milk.
  • Working mother and child have more bonding time while breastfeeding at night to compensate for the lack of time during the day.

 

Disadvantages of reverse cycling

  • If a baby wants to feed more at night, then mum may experience more sleep deprivation as she attends to her baby’s need to be fed.
  • Working mums might deal with extra fatigue and exhaustion having to nurse more after a long day’s work.
  • Inadequate milk intake for baby is also possible if a mother is too tired to stay awake to nurse her baby properly at night.

 

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 Coping strategies

  • Minimize distraction when nursing during the day. This promotes a longer time spent for breastfeeding.
  • A working mother may need to pump and store adequate amounts of milk for daytime feeding. This will ensure an availability of milk while she is at work.
  • Encourage your baby to frequently breastfeed. A mother can initiate feeding as soon as she gets home from work or in the evening until bedtime to promote a longer period of sleep.
  • Use a sling while doing house chores to spend more time with your child to satisfy his  need for maternal touch and attention.
  • Sleep when your baby sleeps. Babies usually go to sleep during or after feeding. This gives the mother time to rest, as well as facilitate longer sleep periods.
  • Change your baby’s diaper before sleeping to keep him from waking up too soon because of an irritating wet diaper.
  • Work together with your partner to care for your baby, and come up with a schedule fo diaper changes or formula milk preparation (for formula-fed babies), you can both sleep adequately.

 

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Reverse cycling may pose risks to the mother’s health when sleeplessness is not properly addressed. Careful planning and adjustment is recommended so you can cope successfully and make sure you both you and your baby are happy.

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