Infant breastfeeding

I'm told my baby is reverse cycling. What is that?

Cheryl Parrott, BSN, RN, is a board-certified lactation consultant at Community Hospital North.

Reverse cycling is a term used to refer to a baby who is eating less during the day, and more at night. This is very common and often starts around four months of age - when a baby becomes more active and distracted during the day. 

It also can occur when mom returns to work and the baby doesn't eat as much with the care provider. The baby will then wake, and eat, more often at night to make up for missed feedings. If the mom and baby are happy with the new schedule, then there is no need to change habits or be concerned.

But, if you are worried, there are a couple of things to consider:

  • Try to minimize distractions for your baby during the day. Turn off the phone, the TV, and keep visitors to a minimum. You may have to go to a quite room to "bore" your baby into eating. Know that baby becomes more efficient at this time, so shorter feeds are okay. 
  • At night, send in another caregiver to comfort and soothe your baby if you can. If baby is awake at night and sees you, they often want to nurse themselves to sleep. Keep in mind that attending to and feeding your baby overnight when they're hungry is okay. 
  • If you're just heading back to work and childcare is new for your baby, allow some adjustment time. Your baby may start to eat more once a routine is established. Hang in there, this will pass soon! 

Breastfeeding concerns?

If you have questions about breastfeeding, feel free to contact a Community Health Network lactation consultant.