Do 9 month olds still need night feeds?

(25 Posts)
Tallulahoola Sun 31-Jul-16 11:15:51

DS has always been a shit sleeper.
On his best nights he will wake up at 11pm/2.30am/5am then up at 6.30am for the day.

He's coming up to 9 months and I want him to sleep better for his sake (I'm actually pretty used to the sleep deprivation now). Also in a month we'll be going on holiday to a small apartment and I don't want him waking DD. Plus I can tell he's going to be standing soon and I think any sort of sleep training will be a lot harder once he can pull himself up.

I am all for controlled crying and did it with DD, who I could tell was only waking out of habit. Maybe because I'm a bit more of a pushover with DS I'm wondering if he is still hungry at night. He eats 3 meals a day and I feed him (generally bf because he's not very interested in bottles) in between.

The thing that makes me wonder is that if he wakes up at a really irregular time, so an hour after a feed or something, I can pat him back to sleep in seconds (it's usually because he's moved around the cot and bumped his head or something, or a noise from outside has woken him). When he wakes at his usual time and I try the patting he howls in protest, or manages to go back to sleep for 5 minutes then wakes and howls. Is it just because he's used to getting milk when he wants it or can be actually be hungry despite all he eats in the day?

I'm happy to still feed him at 11pm but do you think I can cut out the other feeds until at least 5am? I ferberised DD so reduced the feeds by a minute or two each night until they were down to nothing.

It probably doesn't help that he doesn't have his own room yet for various logistical reasons, and probably won't until he's a year old. But our bedroom is pretty big so it's not like he's right next to my bed. We have a spare room (with a double bed but no room for anything else, hence why his cot can't go in it) so I could temporarily sleep in there if it would help.

CaitAgusMadra Sun 31-Jul-16 20:44:23

My 9 month old doesn't feed at all overnight anymore. He is FF and drinks 28oz milk plus 3 meals.

11pm to 5am seems like a long time if DS is used to feeding frequently atm. How about starting with no feeds before 3 and gradually extending the time forward?

Tallulahoola Sun 31-Jul-16 22:56:56

Thanks Cait. Did he drop his feeds by himself or did you have to do something? I wish DS would take a bottle but when he does he drinks no more than 80ml (don't know it in oz, sorry). Maybe it's possible that he doesn't drink so much at each bf feed during the day either? That's the problem, I have no idea how much he's taking in.

Yes maybe I could try pushing the middle of the night feed further and further forward. I just wish I could definitively know if he was hungry at night or not.

GoodLuckTime Sun 31-Jul-16 23:03:22

Depends on the 9 month old. Plenty of people will tell you no, but mine did.

She fed in the night (breast fed) at least once most nights until about 18 months. After that (which she did not stop voluntarily) she still frequently had food in the night. She's three now and i still offer her food (something boring like an oatcake) if she wakes in the night. Sometimes she has it, sometimes not.

But then DH and i are both tall and slim with fast metabolisms, so so is she. None of us can go very long without food. When i was pregnant the maximum amount of time i could go without food was about 6 hours so i used to eat in the night too. Fixed my pregnancy insomnia!

So, it depends on the child. No hard and fast rules.

At the same time, they're not always / only waking for food. SOmetimes its to be near you / for reassurance. We solve this by co-sleeping. DC sleep in a bed big enough that if they need comfort in the night i just get in with them.

More sleep all round grin

CoteDAzur Sun 31-Jul-16 23:03:46

No, he doesn't.

Stop night feeds. He will eat more in the day to compensate & stop waking up in the night.

CoteDAzur Sun 31-Jul-16 23:05:12

"She's three now and i still offer her food (something boring like an oatcake) if she wakes in the night"

What on Earth for? confused

mortgagefreesoon5 Mon 01-Aug-16 04:11:09

My baby was like yours op, he used to wake up 6 times a night, every night, I was beyond exhausted. He is/was a very hungry baby. I thought when he started with solids(6months) things would improve but didnt. So i found myself at 9 months in yhe same position as you.
Here is what I did/do.
Bath, pyjamas then I give him a bowl of porridge and then I breastfeed him, I also put some teething gel and cream for his eczema if needed. I put him in the travel cot that i have in the living room( i could hear him as my home is small), and left him whilst still awake, the first few nights he cried ( not a lot tbh) but then he slept most of the night. I felt so mean leaving him bc in my mind I wanted to keep baby with me as long as possible, cosleep etc but it wasn't working for us... so we had to change tactics.
What I learnt was a ) we were waking each other up, so neither was getting a good night sleep and b)he needed to be put to sleep whilst still wake so if he wakes up, he knows where he is and can go back to sleep.
Now he's just turned 1 year and he sleeps in the room with his 3 years old brother, and only wakes up once a night (hence I am writing this now) or not at all.
All I can say is everything will pass, try different things, one of them will work for you, each baby is different and you'll get a good night sleepflowers

CaitAgusMadra Mon 01-Aug-16 06:48:03

We stopped feeding him at night when he woke because he wasn't too pushed about drinking and didn't take very much. Secondly he really wasn't interested in his morning bottle or breakfast if he'd had a night feed.

Then we had to work out to get him back to sleep without feeding which was a whole other thread wink

you mention that he sometimes wakes again after 5 mins - this is what makes me think he could perhaps be hungry?

Loulou2kent Mon 01-Aug-16 07:48:01

Depends on the child tbh. I think a lot of babies don't need feeding through the night once weening has been established. My DS is 9 months & has his last feed at 6pm. He has 3 meals a day & his first feed is 5/6am when he wakes for the day. He has 26oz a day.

If you feel he's getting enough in the day then I'd be inclined to try & get him into the habit of self soothing. But it depends on how long or distraught they seem. May just be a light sleeper like my DS was until he went into his own room. It was like magic! But I completely understand your situation at the moment doesn't make that possible.

Hope you find something that works OP.

Tumtitum Mon 01-Aug-16 20:06:02

My DD is 5 months and just started feeding less at night. I tested the waters and when she woke I tried to comfort her without feeding. If she got more upset I'd feed her, or if she wouldn't settle after 15-20 mins, I'd feed her. I fed her when she woke around 11 then I tried this if she woke before 3. The first night she fed at 11 then woke around 1/2, I comforted her and she went back to sleep. I forget when she woke, probably 4/5. The second night she woke around midnight (having gone to bed around 7) and my DH went to warm up a bottle of expressed milk only by the time he got back with it she'd fallen back to sleep!! Since then she's pretty much slept 7-4 most nights. Occasionally she wakes but if I put her dummy back in and pat her she goes back to sleep easily. If she's not easily soothed then I feed her, this has only happened a couple of times so far and been linked to teething or being really tired/out of routine. Hope that made sense, sorry it's a bit rambling! ;)

Tumtitum Mon 01-Aug-16 20:09:56

Also, the reason I tried it was because she was only feeding for about two mins at most night feeds and would then fall asleep again on the boob, so think it was more about comfort, which would have been fine if she couldn't self settle, but she then proved that she could! (Most of the time anyway... confused) she definitely takes more milk during the day now, she feeds for longer. I also tried to be a bit more routine with feeding, generally around every 3 hours (unless she asks for it but she has never really asked tbh since she was tiny) which I think helps her take more during the day as I used to offer her much more frequently (worried about her weight and lack of hunger cues!!) and think she had got into the habit of snacking and just having small feeds. Apologies for second rambley post smile

lcoc2015 Mon 01-Aug-16 20:18:05

We stopped doing night feeds at 7 months. I was probably doing 2 feeds between midnight and 8am so not as frequent as you however i had a bad week where DD fed every 1.5 hours during the night and resolved to stop it.

We moved her into her own room and i did the last dream feed at midnight and didnt feed again until at least 06:30. If she cried DH went in and did a combo of PU/PD and controlled crying. Couple of days and she didnt look for it anymore.

Interestingly we were away recently and our travel cot broke so i had to cosleep and she instantly reverted to waking twice during the night for feeds. Am wondering if it was my snoring waking her up all along!

Tallulahoola Mon 01-Aug-16 21:46:20

Thank you everyone for the replies, they've made me feel a lot better. When I tell people IRL that he's still waking up this much they look amazed, like they've never heard anything like it confused

Went to the HV today (to get him weighed really) and her advice was to feed him snacks in between meals. She seemed to think this would make him sleep longer during his first stretch of sleep, though I'm not sure. Do these meals sound about right for 8/9 months? I always figured he ate enough

Breakfast (9am) - half or whole Weetabix with formula
Lunch (12.30pm) - 1 egg-omelette with cheese, bit of fruit like apple slices or handful of raspberries or fruit purée
Tea (6pm) - pasta with bolognese, chicken casserole, fish pie, followed by yoghurt

While he's in his high chair waiting to eat I sometimes give him a breadstick or a couple of rice cakes. He drinks water with meals. Then I feed him milk when he wakes up, once mid-morning, once or twice between lunch and tea, then 7.30pm before bed.

CaitAgusMadra Mon 01-Aug-16 22:38:56

His meals sound very similar to my DS 9 mo as do his milk feed times

Tumtitum Tue 02-Aug-16 07:03:58

Re people IRL, I think they forget what their babies are really like! I had my friend, who has toddler twins, tell me that they never once cried at the same time at night... I think it's nature's way of ensuring we have more babies!! ;)

ftmsoon Tue 02-Aug-16 07:11:48

No advice, just our story: DD only stopped getting night feeds very recently. Switched milk to water at 18months, then stopped altogether at 2.2 when she chewed through her last teat. Maybe she could have stopped earlier, but last night she woke at 2am asking for a breadstick!

ElspethFlashman Tue 02-Aug-16 07:16:52

No we stopped once weaned. However we introduced a dummy at the same time as we figured the wake ups were more for something to suck on rather than hunger.

But we were giving plenty of feeding before bed.

I'm not saying the wake ups stopped, but at least the feeding stopped. We clipped the dummy on to the sleep suit and they soon learnt to find it themselves when they woke. So the whole thing was less disturbing for us and their wake ups were shorter and less.

Tfoot75 Tue 02-Aug-16 07:29:18

I night weaned dd1 at about 8 months due to frequent wake ups, switched to bottle and only gave a small amount, then reduced it to nothing over a few nights. She barely noticed so proved she wasn't hungry, however she was just a poor sleeper at that age, and continued to wake through the night until about 18 months, when we trained it out of her and since then she only wakes if ill or bad dreams. So if your ds is just a poor sleeper, stopping night feeds may just make it harder to settle him (dd1 ended up in our bed most nights), or it might stop him waking, you won't know until you try it! If I had the same issue again I would probably continue with night feeds until about 12 months and then sleep train at the same time.

TooMinty Tue 02-Aug-16 07:53:32

I night weaned both of mine at about 7 months and they ate similar amounts, maybe slightly more during the day. As an aside, I think you can use full fat cow's milk instead of formula on his breakfast cereal at this age.

Abrahamkin Tue 02-Aug-16 08:03:20

My DS is 18 mo. He was definitely still waking up at 9mo! He still does now! He had nearly dropped his night feeds (waking up maybe 3 nights a week) but we went on holiday and he was sick and he is back to having one or sometimes 2 feeds a night. However he is really hungry when he wakes (200 mL milk + breastfeed). Like you if we don't give him milk he might go to sleep for 15-30 minutes but wakes up again. I am letting my DS night wean alone. He has dropped the night feeds by himself, so am waiting for this sick/holiday/teething period to be over and hope it works again! I don't think waking up at night at 9 mo is anything strange.

ICJump Tue 02-Aug-16 08:06:37

Night feeding at that age is really normal. about half of all babies still feed over night at that age. night feeding

Nottalotta Tue 02-Aug-16 20:08:56

Ds is 1 now and wakes up 3 times a night. He eats masses during the day. I am just starting to try and stop the night feeds as I'm knackered and pregnant again!

Re his meals, ds would have the weetabix, plus a yogurt, and some fruit. Maybe a couple of fingers of toast. He'd have the omelette, some peas, fruit again and poss yogurt again. So really what you are giving plus extras.

This morning he had fruit wheats, malt loaf, grapes, strawberries, yogurt and a biscuit!

CoteDAzur Tue 02-Aug-16 23:44:29

At some point one needs to stop and think whether night wakings are a physical need or a habit.

Assuming all DC on this thread are NT and they have the possibility of feeding in the day, there is no physical need for a 1-yr-old, 1.5-yr-old and especially a 3-yr-old to wake up in the night to fill their stomach.

It is a habit and you are not doing anybody a favor by perpetuating it. Not the child and certainly not other DC or yourselves.

IneedAdinosaurNickname Tue 02-Aug-16 23:49:38

Both mine still had night feeds at that age (much to the horror of some family members). I can't remember how often though. It was a long time ago.
But then I'm 31 and take a drink to bed as I often wake up thirsty in the middle of the night.
Ds2 (9) takes milk to bed sometimes.

Nottalotta Wed 03-Aug-16 12:56:33

I think for us it's a bit of both. We had a phase of feeding at bedtime, once in the night, and waking at 5. But this requires me to be awake enough to put ds back in his cot after his wake up. Recently I haven't been so he's fed more as he's been next to me. Saying that, I get through at least one glass of water overnight too.

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