Frequency of night feeds at 8 months

(8 Posts)
rockybalboa Mon 24-Mar-14 10:39:41

DS3 is 8 months old. He has pretty much always fed every 3 hours round the clock until a couple of months ago when he became established on 3 meals a day and started going longer between his daytime feeds. I have always fed on demand (including the week when he was having his 4 month growth spurt and fed every 2 hours round the clock, yawn...). He is a bottle refuser and has recently started to accept a bit of water from a sippy cup with meals but doesn't have much of it.

He typically has 6 bf's a day at roughly the following intervals: 5am, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, bedtime at 6.30/7pm and then 11pm and 2am. On occasion (maybe once a week) he will drop either the 11pm or the 2am feed but very rarely the 5am. Usually he goes straight back to sleep after each feed (unless we are in Teething Hell but he now has all 4 front teeth so finger crossed for a bit of respite on that front). He always feeds off both sides and is now a v quick feeder so we are usually done in about 5 mins. He screams blue murder if he doesn't get the second boob (in fact he screams as soon as he pops off boob 1 as if I can't get him to boob2 quick enough) He generally has two naps during the day for about an hour each time, sometimes more sometimes less. Goes to bed without any fuss both at naptime and bedtime, we put him down and he sticks his finger in his mouth and conks out.

However, I am not all convinced that he needs these night feeds and to be perfectly honest, the consistently broken sleep for such a long period is ruining me. I am exhausted all the time (the older DS's are 5 and 3), run down, keep getting ill, skin looks awful etc etc and I think I need to consider some sort of sleep training/night weaning. I'm too knackered to do much with him during the day which just isn't fair on him either. I've been reading the sleep training info on here and am more than aware of the lively debate sleep training gives rise to and that's not what I'm seeking here. What I am trying to find out is whether he actually needs these feeds at night or whether he is just waking up at those times out of habit.

I have read the night weaning info on Kellymom and tbh, I have no hope of increasing his daytime feeds because he is so distractible. It is hard enough to bf him during the day as it is (virtually impossible if we are out and there is Exciting Stuff To Look At). Dream feeding has never worked for him (won't latch on) and as he's waking up at 11pm as it is there is no gap for a dream feed anyway.

I have tried to include as much info as possible so if anyone has any advice about whether he should feed that often (and therefore I should just suck it up) or if not, how I can go about dropping at least one of those night feeds (ideally the 2am one so I can get a decent chunk of sleep to start feeling human again), I would be very grateful.

pinksummer Mon 24-Mar-14 12:40:31

I have an 8mth old and he does not feed during the night. At 6mths I met with sleep consultant Andrea Grace because I was desperate. On a good night he would wake every 2rs, a rubbish night would give me 20-45 minute cat naps. He had to be BF back to sleep.
Andrea convinced me that at that weight and age they are perfectly able to go through the night without starving. If anything me feeding him was kickstarting his kidneys and raising sugar levels. So I did it. There were maybe 3-4 sleepless nights ahead but it worked. He now goes 7pm-6am without a peep.

I had to put him down in his cot awake. After bath, boob, book. He needed to be able to settle himself. I never shut the door and left him to cry. There obviously were tears but I patted, calm phrase or picked up if needed. The most I was ever up in one sitting was 50mins, the first night there might have been 2/3 of these but you see a change so rapidly it spurs you to keep at it. By night 4 I think he went 7-4am. Which had never happened in his life.

I cannot tell you how much of an improvement it's been to my mental health, marriage and happiness. Both for me and baby.

MigGril Mon 24-Mar-14 12:53:37

From What I've seen on hear you'll get lot's of people telling you as one already has that your baby can sleep through at this age.

But really think about it. He's 8 months his tummy is the size of his hand, do you as an adult go 12 hours without a drink?
I don't, never have really I can't and don't. I am one of those people who need to eat little and often during the day to (I'm not big just don't seem to be able to cope with big gaps between food).
I don't see why we seem to expect really small babies to do what most adults don't which is go 12 hours without even any fluids.

I'm thinking looking at his current feeding pattern the best you could probably hope for is keeping that 11pm feed and getting him to drop the 2am one. This would give you the best and longest block of sleep so you can get a good amount of rest. This is really what you are aiming for, after all he's still little and if he won't take more milk in the day then your looking to optimizes when he has his feeds so you can get that good block of sleep and a good rest.

Sunflower1985 Mon 24-Mar-14 20:56:44

My ds wakes at similar times (nearly 8mo).
Thankfully I'm not back at work yet, so can handle the lack of sleep but when I do go back I may have to work on dropping feeds.
It seems the only way to know is to stop offering the 2am for a while and see how he is. I'd try and take the same attitude as I do with blw. If he misses a meal at this age he's not going to starve. Good luck and please post how it goes.

Sunflower1985 Mon 24-Mar-14 20:59:45

Oh, and sympathise about the distracibaby. I have one of those too. I do end up flashing a lot as he bobs off without me knowing.

badidea Mon 24-Mar-14 21:57:23

I think it's always hard when you consider 'needs' in terms of what babies want at night. Some babies will skip nightime feeds very early on, but it would be a mistake to think that just because that is right and works for them, that you can say that all babies can do that.

My son is nearly 10 months and he's like yours and has 2 feeds a night. When he was 4 months old he actually went longer between feeds (often 9-10 hours) and we often just had one feed a night, but when he started on solids he started waking more at night (to fart or have random poohs) and he's not got back to his halcyon sleeping days of 4 months.

I'd also like him to get down to 1 feed a night (sort of managed it last night, he fed at 7pm, 3pm and 7am) but I reckon it will be a '2 steps forward' kind of thing.

I suppose I'm 'lucky' in that DS1 slept so badly as he took 3 feeds a night until he was 2 years old and I had to forcibly nightwean him (had been hoping he'd do it himself, but couldnt' hang on any longer!) that DS2's sleeping routine is fantastic by comparison :-D

You might find he'll surprise you and drop a feed by himself. DS2 has never been a morning baby and I have always had to wake him in the morning (about 8:30am to take DS1 to nursery) but 4 days ago he woke at 7am and has done that every morning since, absolutely no idea why, but just reinforces the idea that just when you think you have them sussed out, they rewrite the manual...

rockybalboa Mon 24-Mar-14 22:54:57

Well who knows how tonight is going to go as he refused to feed when offered at 2pm before his pre-school run nap so didn't feed til 4 (a gap of 6.5 hrs since his morning feed hmm....) and then didn't want to feed again at 6.30 bedtime. Is now approaching 11pm and I'm laying in bed wide awake wondering when he is going to want to feed. Which I put money on being at 10 Minutes After Whatever Time I Fall Asleep o'clock...

TheScience Tue 25-Mar-14 09:36:04

I think by 8 months I was only doing an 11pm feed (and none at 9 months). Physically by 9 months I'd say most babies can eat/drink enough in the day to go 10-12 hours at night - beyond that it is just a case of personal preference/negotiation between you and your baby!

I did offer DS a drink of water if he woke in the night though, and he still does have a cup of water by his bed at night (as do I).

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