Is formula the magic bullet?

(11 Posts)
eagle2010 Wed 05-Mar-14 15:13:04

Just looking for some experiences from mix feeding mums.

My DS is 5.5mo and thus far he's ebf. He's always been an unsettled sleeper (tongue tie, colic, love of sleeping on Mum/Dad) but now we're in the realm of teething it's become terrible. He's waking 4-5 times between 8pm and 8am, never sleeping longer than about 2.5 hours. All that will settle him back to sleep is a bit of boob. He's always refused a dummy.

I'm struggling to cope with the sleep deprivation. We don't work well with feeding lying down - a mix of gushing milk/bad memories of feeding in hospital post EMCS/giant boobs. He sleeps in a cot beside the bed and I take him into bed when he wakes after 4/5 am.

Now I'm rambling a bit! The gist of it is that DH wants to introduce formula before bed as he thinks this is the key to getting DS to sleep all night. I'm not so sure! I'm worried about supply issues plus DS was colicky and still suffers with digestive discomfort so I also worry that formula will cause him more discomfort (leading to more sleeplessness!)

I should also probably mention that DS is a bottle refuser - he's taken one reluctantly a couple of times but I haven't pushed it as I won't be going back to work until he's about 11mo and was hoping he'd be on a sippy cup by then.

Anyone want to share experiences of giving a formula bottle before bed? TIA

roofio87 Wed 05-Mar-14 17:42:42

my 5mo ds is ff and a terrible sleeper. wakes every hour just to cry, cuddle and go back to sleep. his association with falling asleep is being on me so when he wakes in his cot he can't settle himself back to sleep. so we're now really working on self settling. sounds like you might be having the same problem, he associates feeding with falling asleep. its changing that which might help not what he's fed I think! but I'm having the exact same problems so I'm not exactly a wise sleep guru!! hope he settles soon and don't give up the bf if you don't want!

tobiasfunke Wed 05-Mar-14 17:49:04

If he is 5.5 months he maybe just getting hungrier and ready for weaning. DS was a terrible sleeper and a very frequent feeder but I remember it started getting worse when he was about 5 months. I was ebf and wanted /was obsessed with getting to the magic 6 months. I ended up weaning him at 5 months 3 weeks because basically he was hungry and I was sick of being the sole provider. I probably should've started a few weeks earlier. A bottle might help but then so might a bit of solid food.

Sunflower1985 Wed 05-Mar-14 20:36:26

We mix fed (then weaning from 6mo). He was a terrible sleeper when we mostly fed bf, when we mostly fed ff and now when he's having solids. If there is a key to sound sleep it isn't what they're eating IME.

In my experience bollox is it. Leads you up garden path of hope and dumps you squarely at door of "sometimes".

At least bf had a flaming pattern.

Picking off mums plate ain't 'weaning' either. And it's cool. Blw he he he ;)

HeyManIJustWantSomeMuesli Wed 05-Mar-14 20:48:58

No advice really but my DS has always (from about three days old) been bottle-fed and NEVER slept through. He is now 18months and weaned but still doesn't sleep well or through the night - I think some are just like that (sorry).
I think if you feed on demand it makes little (no?) difference to sleep. Probably when it was more common to feed at set intervals for a certain amount of time switching from BF to FF possibly meant some babies got more milk in a shorter space of time and therefore slept better if they had been previously waking up hungry IYSWIM
Will you be starting him on solids soon? If he's a bottle refuser it might be worth waiting to 6months/starting now and seeing if that helps first (which it might if he's hungry) rather than getting him/you all upset over bottles.

Sunnysummer Wed 05-Mar-14 20:50:41

Not in my experience. I also agree that given you're so close to 6 months, you might want to wait for weaning, or start some gentle food now.

If you're really desperate to try, could your DH try one for a few nights while you express to keep up supply? No harm done if it doesn't work, (especially at 5.5 months with bfing very established) and you'll have extra milk for the freezer, which is always handy. But don't be pressured into it if you'd rather bf. The people I know who are most evangelistic about the evening bottle are usually the ones who were less keen on bfing to begin with - also totally valid, but may not be applicable to you!

TheresLotsOfFarmyardAnimals Wed 05-Mar-14 21:01:28

It depends why he is waking. If it is hunger then solids should do the trick and a bedtime bottle could be worth a shot.

If it because he has a negative sleep association or is teething then it won't help. I suspect it is the latter as the wakings is more than 2/3 times. You could try pupd or shush-pat. Also make sure he's not overtired if at all possible.

eagle2010 Wed 05-Mar-14 22:39:10

Thanks for all the feedback! I really don't want to stop BF or introduce a formula bottle - in my heart of hearts I know he's not waking frequently just out of hunger! DH knows that too (although things are not as clear at 4am smile)

I've expressed before to build up a stash for a family wedding and it was such a PITA. Was in a vicious circle of expression/engorgement/expression. Think I'd take some sleep deprivation over that!

DS's first tooth broke through today so I am hoping that we might go back to a pattern of 2/3 night wakings which I can just about handle.

The plan is to introduce solids in the next week or so and we will see where that leads.

I've stopped feeding to sleep at his initial bedtime and will start to work on the night feeding when he's a bit older.

Finding the advice/solidarity on MN so encouraging. I'm so sick of people asking "does he sleep through the night yet?" and it's reassuring to know that it's perfectly normal that he doesn't!

Featherbag Wed 05-Mar-14 23:35:38

Both of mine slept through for the first time at 14 weeks, although not consistently every night for some time. DS1 was ff, DS2 is ebf! It makes no different IME. I have a ff friend whose baby has never slept longer than 2 hours in one go, ever, and ebf friends whose babies have slept through from very early.

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