By Jacque Ordner BSN, RN, IBCLC, RLC
Reverse cycling is the term used when baby is nursing more at night and less during the day. You may have heard someone refer to this as baby having their “days and nights mixed up”. While many moms do their best to avoid Reverse Cycling, others choose to encourage it. Reverse Cycling can be great for moms who wish to reduce the number of pumping sessions while they’re separated from baby during the day, for distracted babies who don’t seem to nurse well during waking hours, for busy toddlers who just don’t want to be still long enough to nurse, or for any reason that benefits mother and baby’s nursing relationship. The goal is to keep baby’s intake the same despite feeding in an altered pattern.
What you should know if you’re considering Reverse Cycling:
-If your baby seems to be on a “nursing strike”, offering the breast during periods of sleepiness or through the night can often help preserve the nursing relationship until the strike is over.
-Toddlers who are constantly on the move may not nurse well during the day. Sometimes, this is perceived as an indication of weaning. Offering the breast in the evening and overnight times can prevent weaning before mom and toddler are ready.
-You can encourage Reverse Cycling by waking your little one to nurse. It is important to keep baby’s intake the same, so be sure that he or she maintains the same number (or more) of nursing sessions despite changing to a reversed cycle.
-Sharing a room with baby can make Reverse Cycling more convenient. Nursing in a side-lying position can also help.
-Studies show that moms and babies experience quality rest when breastfeeding overnight because their sleep cycle sync up.
-Reverse Cycling can even be good for them milk supply! Prolactin levels peak at night, which means night nursing sessions contribute to increased milk production.
-If you choose to Reverse Cycle, consider adjusting your sleep schedule to allow for adequate rest. If possible, go to be early, sleep late, and nap when baby naps.
-If your child is with another care giver during the day, be sure to communicate that you are using a Reverse Cycle feeding pattern. Informing your childcare provider about Reverse Cycling will help him/her feel more comfortable if baby takes less milk than expected throughout the day.
Does Reverse Cycling sound like a good option for your family? We can help make a plan to incorporate this feeding schedule into your routine. Click HERE to schedule a free consultation with one of our Spectra Baby USA IBCLCs.