Advice / opinions please on 7 month old and night feeds

(13 Posts)
Cydonia Sun 30-Dec-12 06:04:39

Wasn't sure whether to post this in feeding but the problem is mainly sleep ( or lack of! ) so decided on here.

DS is 7 months, on 3 meals a day and bf on demand in between. He's never been a great sleeper, especially bad between 3.5 and 6 months where he was up feeding every couple of hours through the night. At 6 months he started to improve, generally sleeping about 5 or 6 hours, then waking for a feed, then asleep til up for the day about 7am.

I thought we were making progress, then he got 3 teeth at once and a cold and it all went wrong again. Some nights he only wakes once, but it's usually twice. I feed him the first time as its been a longer gap since last feed, usually about 5 hours. But then when he wakes again 2 or 3 hours later I've been trying not to feed him as I'm sure he can't be hungry! Problem is he will not go to sleep without feeding, he just screams and screams until I cave in. I've tried cuddling, rocking, shush pat, dummy, nothing works.

What annoys me is I know he doesn't need feeding to sleep. He self settles for his naps ( or is in pushchair or car ) and he is put down awake at night and self settles then no problem. I also hear him wake in the night and then go back to sleep himself so he can do it! So is he hungry?? Or does he need the comfort more at night?

Has anyone else had this problem? Part of me thinks I should just go with him and feed him if he needs it, but I am exhausted, and also think he should really be sleeping through by now so upping the night feeds is a step in the wrong direction?

He doesn't have a set nap routine and generally only has a couple of short ( 30 mins ish ) naps a day. Sometimes he has a nap quite late, ie 4pm which probably isn't helping?!

Any tips, advice, opinions etc appreciated!

FadBook Sun 30-Dec-12 06:57:31

I would feed him. At 7 months he's still a small baby and will require the calories. He may just be thirsty too.

teething will throw out any previous sleep patterns you had. Bf'ing during teething stages is huge comfort on their gums, so he is probably wanting that comfort too. Try a touch of calpol at bedtime if you think it is bothering him.

If he is on 3 x meals a day, is this purée? If so, is it more veg/fruit? Try some calorie dense foods now like potato, rice, pasta, egg etc. we did BLW, so she had whatever we had to eat- just remember that fruit and veg isn't calorie dense so may fill up temporarily but will mean they will be hungry later. Also, is there any chance certain foods are keeping him up? I found a pattern with cauliflower which would give my dd terrible wind at that age. It was after the 3rd time of her having it, I stopped as she'd wake several more times in the night.

I read your post and wonder if your expectations are too high re: sleeping through at 7 months. It is very common for babies to not sleep through well in to their toddlerhood. However, new mums always end up hearing from Aunt Betty or cousin Sue, how their wee boy slept through from 9 weeks and its all because of their parenting. It's all irrelevant tbh. Your baby is individual and will eventually work out that sleeping at night is normal but that might not come for a few months yet. It won't be down to your parenting unless you resort to sleep training (not recommended under 12 months) it will be your baby working out a pattern for him.

I highly recommend you read No Cry Sleep solution by Pantry (can't remember first name). The first few chapters are great in setting your own expectations for sleep and focusing on day time

Keep doing what you're doing. from 7 to 12 months, the development stages are amazing which also affect sleep (google sleep regression) He'll soon work out sleeping longer is beneficial for him.

Skiffen Sun 30-Dec-12 07:15:33

One of my regrets with dd1 is that listened to the hv when she said dd1 couldn't be hungry at night at 6months+. I tried not feeding her and we all ended up a lot more tired. When she eventually did go through the night (much later), she was eating so much more, and i realised that she must still have been hungry in the early weaning days.

Dd2 is 17 months and still wakes at night 3-4 nights a week for a bf, which i give as then we can quickly all go back to sleep.

It sounds like you're doing really well with self-settling etc during the day so i would trt and be led by him for now.

jetstar Sun 30-Dec-12 07:34:07

I could have written most of your post Cyd and I am getting really fed up with the lack of sleep and finding it hard to cope during the day, so you have my sympathy. I am co-sleeping with dd2 just to maximise my sleep but she sometimes wakes every 1 1/2 to 2 hours and never goes more than 3 anymore sad I don't know that I would recommend co-sleeping as I wonder now how I am ever going to get her to sleep in her own room.
She was a good sleeper at around 3 - 5 months and would go 10 - 5 most nights but then it all went downhill. She has no teeth yet so I suppose that could be part of it. She also has baby eczema and I wonder if that makes her uncomfortable at night.
Her daytime napping is just like your DS. I have been thinking about sleep training but honestly don't know if I have the strength. DD1 was an absolute dream sleeper compared to this - we did have to train her to self settle and bedtimes weren't always great but at least she slept for a good chunk of the night.
I have also heard that the Elizabeth Pantley book is good so I might get it and see if it helps. All of Fadbook's advice seems very sensible and I will also try out the feeding advice (we are doing purée and finger foods)

Sorry that was all a bit of an incoherant rant but really just wanted to say, you are not alone in this and from my perspective only 2 night wakings sounds great!
Good luck with it all and I will be watching this thread with interest!

mummysmellsofsick Sun 30-Dec-12 08:27:20

I don't know why some HV seem to say that a 7 mo can go all night without feeds. I'm sure some can but I don't think it's appropriate advice for a bf baby of this age, as breast milk is so quickly digested and unlikely that they'll get a bottle's worth at any one time. Also any baby might wake up thirsty in the night. I'd feed rather than sleep train at this age, hard though it is

teacher123 Sun 30-Dec-12 08:27:24

I saw my HV the week before Xmas and asked about 8mo DS and night feeds. She said that at this early point of weaning, they quite often are not taking in enough food to last through the night, she pointed out that grown ups rarely go 12 hours without food or drink, so why do we expect babies to? DS has various patterns but normally wakes once a night for a quick feed. She said to try and maximise calorie during the day, hide milk in food and put lots of protein in his diet as that will help. I have also been giving him a yogurt at bedtime, which does seem to help.

Cydonia Sun 30-Dec-12 08:44:38

Thanks so much for the replies, I feel a bit better now!

Fadbook - he's on lumpy purees and finger foods. It was mainly fruit and veg but I have started giving him cereal, mash, rice and pasta with it over the last couple of weeks. Maybe I should make a note of what he's eaten and see if there's a pattern. I made a mix of lentils, roasted peppers and tomatoes and noticed when he had that for lunch he would start crying an hour or two later which was unusual so I definitely won't give him that at night!

I think you're right about my expectations - I should listen to my instincts more and not be swayed by all and sundry asking if he's sleeping through yet then looking at me funny when I say no, but I'm happy he's better than he was!

I do have the No Cry Sleep Solution. I found it quite helpful when he was really not sleeping, but didn't actually finish it as a lot was about not feeding to sleep which we weren't really doing. I think I'll dig it out again though.

Skiffen - I too find it a lot easier/quicker to just feed DS rather than try other ways of getting him back to sleep. This was why I felt bad, like I had created a habit and it's my fault he keeps waking up! But on the other hand this is what I've always done and he has improved so....!

Jetstar - that sounds tough, you have my sympathy! We couldn't co sleep as DP smokes ( and is big, noisy and very mobile in his sleep! ) but I sometimes wondered if I'd get more sleep with DP in the spare room and DS in with me. Maybe not!

Well, after all my moaning DS is still asleep! From about 5am too so if I add it up he's actually had quite a lot of sleep. Sadly I've had about 5 hours in 3 different sections! So maybe it's me who needs to chill out eh?

FadBook Sun 30-Dec-12 19:04:26

Lol cydonia re: your own sleep. When dd does sleep well, I rarely sleep well as I wake thinking something is wrong or can't get back off to sleep and then get distracted by reading mumsnets threads grin

You all sound like I did several months ago smile This magic "sleep through" puts so much pressure on people. Dd is 17 months and whilst I know she eats enough to last her most of the night, she would still have a feed at around 5pm, as like a PP said, I can't got 12 hours without food or drink, so god knows how people expect a baby too wink

And for the record I've only ever had a handful of sleep throughs in 17 MONTHS!! grin

Remember: this too shall pass grin

Murtette Sun 30-Dec-12 22:55:08

OP Its a relief to read your post as DS is exactly the same (if not worse) but the half dozen or so DC I know who were born at pretty much the same time are all sleeping through the night and so I feel as though I/DS are doing something wrong and, more importantly, I am so bloody tired that I'm permanently cranky and keep losing patience with toddler DD. I also don't know why I'm expecting DS to be sleeping through as DD didn't on a regular basis until close to her second birthday.
Anyway, my experience (for its limited value) with DD was that each time she did sleep through the night (and sometimes she'd do so for 3 or 4 weeks), she'd get a cold or teeth or a developmental phase (crawling, walking etc) or something and it would all be thrown and we'd be back to at least one night wake, if not two. When this happened, we'd try leaving her to cry or doing shsh-pat or the various other techniques but the problem with all of them was that they meant I was awake for longer than I would be if I'd just fed her so, most of the time, as soon as she woke, I fed her and we all went back to sleep. For a while, I tried giving her a dream feed about 11ish but realised that that didn't make a difference to whether she woke or not sometime between 2 & 4 so dropped the dream feed. I stopped bf when DD was about 14 months but she continued to have a bottle in the night until she was about 22mo, if not a bit older. Once I'd stopped bf, as soon as she woke I went to get her and DP dashed downstairs to get her bottle (it was one of those ones with a handle) and we put her in bed between us with her bottle, we'd roll over and go to sleep, she'd guzzle her milk, hand the bottle to DP (key to train the child to hand the bottle to your DP/DH rather than you!) and she'd fall asleep with us. We have a king size bed so there was plenty of room and, despite spending part of the night with us, she never had any problems going to sleep in her own cot in the evening and, if she did sleep through, she never seemed to mind waking up in her own room in the morning. She's now 3.3, still goes to bed with a drink which she obviously drinks from during the night as its empty in the morning (but I do that too) but doesn't disturb us and isn't disturbed when the baby wakes up screaming.
With DS, he's waking at 11ish, sometime between 1 and 3 and sometime between 3.30 and 5.30. We keep talking about some type of sleep training but feeding him takes no longer than 15 mins, I know he's going to be getting teeth soon and crawling in a couple of months so I just don't know if I can be bothered. Last night, he only fed at 11 & 3.30, had breakfast at 8.00 and fed again at 9.30. I don't know if this was coincidence or because we gave him some baby rice immediately before he went to bed. Tonight, we did the same thing and I'll see what happens.
Some babies sleep, others don't. I think its luck more than anything. Most of my friends now have 2 DC and those who had brilliant sleepers the first time have dreadful sleepers the second time, others have had the opposite, others (very few) have been lucky both times and some, like me, have been unlucky both times.

mummysmellsofsick Mon 31-Dec-12 17:54:50

I agree about the pressure. I've not had one sleep through in 13 months. I don't mind as long as I don't have to sit up or get up. 99% of the time DS just feeds straight back to sleep

teacher123 Mon 31-Dec-12 18:08:12

I know that DS can sleep through. Which makes it extremely frustrating when he doesn't. However I rationalise it to myself as follows:
1) I often struggle with sleep myself, and have had bouts of insomnia on and off always, is it so surprising that sometimes DS does?
2) when my wisdom teeth play up it is agony, no wonder he cries when he's teething.
3) 12 hours is a bloody long time to go without food and drink
4) I am doing the very very best I can with him. He has a decent routine, he is warm, safe and loved, he is a joy to behold and a wonderful, affectionate, loving baby who often goes from breakfast to bedtime without crying at all. Yes the 12 hour sleep police may have less bags under their eyes but I wouldn't swap DS for all the full nights sleep in the world.

Excuse the sentimentality, he's been quite poorly today and we've spent a large proportion of it in hospital, so am a bit overwrought!

HearMyRoar Mon 31-Dec-12 19:46:04

teacher I think you are a shockingly sensible person, they are very good points.

I would also add that I think the pressure to have a baby that 'sleeps through' also leads to people, how can I put this..., exaggerating the consistency of their babies sleep patterns. I would eat my hat if it was really true that all your friends have babies that sleep 12 hours every night, I suspect that at least a few of them are sitting at home writing posts on mumsnet about how unfair it is that all their friends have babies that sleep through and they don't. grin

teacher123 Mon 31-Dec-12 22:03:15

Hear my roar-I read out your first sentence to DH and he chuckled a bit nervously!

I think people do lie, but I also think that it must be so much worse if you have a 'perfect' sleeping baby from 8 weeks or whatever and then it all goes to shit after a couple of months and then you have no idea what to do.

DS has always been a hungry baby, he has been consistently on the 91st centile and until I weaned him he fed All.The.Bloody.Time. Day and night. As I said up thread my eminently sensible HV pointed out that at the transition stage between milk being the main source of nutrition and food becoming the main source of nutrition, there will be some days that they are hungrier than others therefore needing night feeds.

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