Where do I start with my 8 month old?

(18 Posts)
amri Mon 20-May-13 13:18:16

Hi all,

My DD has got multiple 'issues' which I know I need to tackle, but I really don't know where to start! sad I've been reading so many sleep books, forums etc that I'm just baffled at this stage. Please help!

1. I am breastfeeding her and she is rarely taking any full feeds during the day, where as she is now waking 3 times a night for big feeding sessions. She will rarely if ever resettle without the breast. Sleep is now all over the place and no sign of any improvement (she hasn't slept through since the 4 month sleep regression) I've started introducing bottles of formula during the day as she is more likely to feed from a bottle for some reason but it's not helping.

2. Although she will usually self settle at night (though that has stopped since she reached 8 months, argh!), she insists on being fed to sleep for her naps. Not sure how to break this one. She whinges and whinges and whinges in her cot (for half an hour this morning) when I finally gave up and fed her. 2 mins later she is asleep! All her naps are always 45 mins sad

3. We are going down the BLW route which is going brilliantly but finding it hard balancing breastfeeding with food. Is this contributing to problem 1?

Are all these problems related? Do I need to tackle naps before the night time feedings? Can I ever expect to have a full nights sleep while I'm still breastfeeding for that matter? Would really appreciate some guidance here, I'm just at a complete loss as to what to do next.

Thanks sad

daftdame Mon 20-May-13 13:29:29

I don't think there is one perfect method.

I used to feed to sleep sometimes. I also used to put my DC in pram and push it back and forth and sing (badly) to sleep grin - that was the method for my DC for a while blush.

I didn't really know whether mine had a full breastfeed, I think they just may get quicker at feeding when they are older! Just used to feed...

At one time I used to feed and feed nearly all evening to get to sleep for longer during night.

I think once you start getting more solids into them they sleep more.

Sorry if this doesn't help much but I wanted you to know I don't think there is much wrong with what you are doing. I never tried the formula but it should begin to fill her. Sounds like a bit of a growth spurt smile.

daftdame Mon 20-May-13 13:34:57

From what I can remember with weaning off breast and onto food I used to replace a solid meal for a feed. Then when they began to eat more, time would go by and they didn't seem to notice if I missed a breastfeed. The last to go (at nearly 2yrs) was first thing on a morning. Just had to distract until breakfast time!

waterrat Mon 20-May-13 18:42:58

I had a lot of the same issues with my now 1 year old - and they can be resolved! But stopping the night feeds requires a bit of an iron will and help from your partner.

What we did was give a bottle at about 1030pm made sure that was a big feed then tried to settle without milk until morning - not always possible but trial and error we got there gradually - it involved dp spending time settling by patting / singing in the cot without picking him up ... He cried but we didn't leave him and it quickly led to much less waking ....

I would recommend a book by the millpond sleep clinic v helpful

Re naps I know it's tough but I just started insisting he stayed in the cot for 1.5 hours for lunchtime / he cried but I resettled and eventually he slept again - boring yes but also quickly started sleeping lobger

SilverSky Mon 20-May-13 18:47:26

From memory I think BLW and bfing at 8mths is usually:

Wake up - bf
Hour later - breakfast
Mid morning - bf (this is usually the first feed to be dropped and is often dropped by 7/8mth)
Noon - lunch
Mid pm - bf
430/5 - dinner
Bedtime - bf

Obv timings are your own preference/baby's needs but this is just my experience.

cooper44 Mon 20-May-13 21:12:50

hello not sure I have any useful advice but we are pretty much the same here with 7 and a half month old.
think he has pretty much been fed to sleep for every nap/sleep since day 1. Refuses to take a bottle ever with either breast milk or formula.
But I am pretty much going with it as too lazy busy to deal with it at the moment. And actually it doesn't really bother me as I just work around it - kind of. Plus we co-sleep which makes a big difference to general sanity levels.

But re BLW - I basically keep all milk feeds the same - which is roughly every three hours and slot in food between. So BF at 6am, 9am, 12ish and then he will have a bit of breakfast maybe 7.30/8. Something either just before lunchtime feed and then tea time around 5. the lunchtime one is only really occasional as he's normally ready for a big milk feed at this point.

Because I don't think he swallows much with the BLW - more playing - I keep it more as an extra thing if that makes sense? Then I will adjust as he starts to actually eat rather than tossing it all down his trousers/on the floor.

From everything I have read re sleep and from experience with DS1 - if you want to tackle the sleep issues then yes sort out daytime naps first. DS1 woke about three times a night until he was one. After that he transformed into model sleeper and has been like that ever since.

waterrat Mon 20-May-13 21:15:40

oh and about the weaning - you are trying to move towards food rather than milk so that is a good thing - personally at that age my boob monster of a son did start to sleep longer at night and I really pushed him to stop night feeds - I know not everyone does that, but it suited him and he went with it - I think if you can focus on reducing night feeds and getting a routine of naps/ feeds in the day that are regular you will find the sleep improves. If you let them feed a lot at night, they will keep waking up to do it! it is nice for them...but bloody knackering for you - and they realy are just as happy if you teach them to sleep at night/ eat in the day!

one other thought - this is my personal feeling, I know everyone feels differently - I didn't like the really strict BLW thing - I agree that babies should feed themseves/ eat normal food - but I wanted to make sure my son was eating so that I could feel comfortable cutting night feeding - so I also was clear on encouraging him to eat - I didn't just leave it to him. and at 13 months he loves his food so it worked very well.

These are not issues. She sounds normal to me.

She will feed at night and will feed better at night because less distractions. So feed her to sleep for naps so she gets more feeds in the day. I feed my dd and fed ds before naps but they didn't fall asleep until I took them off and cuddled. Dd now goes into her cot awake, no problem.

They go through phases of self settling. Again don't beat yourself up. Just keep trying every now and then and she'll get back to it.

You could try cutting down night feeds, perhaps keeping one around 10pm and cutting down the others gradually. So reduce them by a minute at a time so she gradually switches to getting more in the day.

amri Mon 20-May-13 21:30:30

Food for thought here (no pun intended!) Thanks a lot.

I've been trying to get more milk into her tbh, as I thought the whole ethos was 'Food for fun until you're one'. I guess it makes sense that I should be encouraging eating since we are moving towards a 100% food diet! The way I was looking at it was that because she was waking at night for milk feeds, she must be down her milk intake during the day - is that true or is it just to do with calories? Surely there are more calories in breastmilk than the equivalent volume of veg/toast etc?

She is actually a really good little eater, kinda thought she was eating too much tbh!

Naps have always been all over the place as it really depended on what time she woke up at. Also she can sometimes lie in her cot for 20 mins or half an hour before crying so it's hard to know what time to put her down at hence we often miss naps.

Argh so confused.

rubyanddiamond Mon 20-May-13 21:48:20

Are these things actually bothering you, or do you just think they need fixing because others say so? My DD was a nightmare sleeper from 4+ months, but now at just about 2 she's grown out of a lot 'bad' habits. I worried so much when she was younger that I was doing it all wrong, but in hindsight it was the worrying that upset me more than her habits.

DD fed in the night for ages - even after I cut out bf at around 14 months she still often woke hungry and I'd give her a (boring) snack. She also napped for 45 mins at a time till around 10mo, and I only managed to make it longer by resettling her back to sleep every nap for a few weeks. I did this by rocking her in her buggy every time she woke - though even now she will only sleep in her buggy for naps. She got better by herself at around a year, and then again around 20 months when she started properly understanding when we told her it was sleep time.

It is really tough to have a baby who doesn't sleep well. But in my experience trying to fix things did nothing but make me feel bad because I couldn't get her to sleep. At the worst times, my very wise MIL told me that if there was a right answer, there wouldn't be so much advice!

amri Mon 20-May-13 21:59:40

Thanks Rubyanddiamond. The night times are really bothering me, yeah sad I'm a girl who needs my sleep and it's draining me at this stage. I was wondering really whether her inability to self settle for naps is impacting her nights, or is she just waking for extra missed-out calories?

It is so hard hearing about all these text book babies, and reading about what your child SHOULD be doing from one day to the next.

Your MIL is indeed very wise! smile

rubyanddiamond Mon 20-May-13 22:20:49

At 8mo I am fairly certain my DD was waking hungry - not for missed calories, but simply because she couldn't eat enough to see her through the night at that age. I think some babies can do it and some can't. But also, once she learnt to self-settle for naps and bedtime, then sleeping through followed (but not till 20 months ish).

We co-slept at that age as it gave us all a much better nights sleep. And gradually as I cut out night feeding, we moved to separate rooms. Although with a long transition period where either DH or I would co- sleep for part of the night. I realise that not sleeping through till 20mo doesn't sound ideal, but mostly for the last few months of that she just needed a 2 min cuddle, and having a co-sleeping arrangement set up meant we didn't have much incentive to change anything earlier! If you can't change your DD's nights, then can you change your arrangements to get the most sleep?

You could start moving towards a nap routine. From 9 months on, babies do better with more fixed times as their body clocks changed. You could have two naps around 9 and 12.30 after lunch then bedtime by 6.30. Don't worry about how she naps just that she naps. As she gets used to it and isn't teethin/growth spurting etc then she'll get used to it. I have a nao routine for mine (literally in sleep bag) and they know what's coming. Sometimes they self settled, sometimes not. Sleep is what is important first.

daftdame Tue 21-May-13 11:31:07

I think the solid food may take longer to digest, so sustain for longer IYSWIM (like the idea of time release vitamin supplements for adults).

waterrat Tue 21-May-13 18:47:46

I would second starting a nap routine as suggested above - routine really really helps with nights - roughly 9 and 1230 - spend a week having naps at home - boring but so worthwhile - focus on those two naps - read millpond sleep
Clinic book .... V helpful

And I think food is important well before 1 - my boy was chomping through 3 meals by 9 months and it had a big impact on sleep

waterrat Tue 21-May-13 18:49:51

And btw there is nothing wrong with wanting your child to sleep well at night - gentle sleep training works - if you need the sleep then do whatever you need to do.

amri Tue 21-May-13 22:38:36

Great! I'll start trying to fix a routine so (we haven't really had a routine up to now). We are off to France on holidays next week for 2 weeks so this might be a good time to start since my husband will be around to help!

Would a short nap and a long nap work, or should these be two long naps at 9 months?

... today she napped for 45 mins in the car, then 1.5 hours in the car, then 45 mins in her buggy! (it was a good nap day, though I would have preferred she napped in her cot)

45 mins in morning, up to 2 hours after lunch and an afternoon one if she needs it but she will probably drop it quickly after a couple of weeks of decent naps.

Don't worry about where the naps are at this stage - it's the naps themselves that are important.

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