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to wonder if the 4 month sleep regression is due to the advice to delay weaning till 6 months?

(68 Posts)
Fairylea Sat 29-Sep-12 08:08:54

Genuine question.

For the record I am not planning to wean ds until 6months.

When I had dd 9 years ago there was no mention of a sleep regression at 4 months. Or if there was it wasnt widely acknowledged or talked of.

Standard advice was to wean at 4months and if a baby who had previously been sleeping through started waking during the night then this was a sign to wean.

Now all the advice says 6 months (I understand and have read the advice) but everyone seems to talk of this 4 month sleep regression which just wasn't mentioned much when the guidelines were wean at 4 months.... coincidence??

Just curious really. My ds has gone from sleeping 6 to 5 most nights to now waking at 1, 3 and 4 for feeding (formula). Ten years ago the advice would be to wean. I'm not going to but I find the ever changing advice difficult.

Flisspaps Sat 29-Sep-12 08:22:47

I don't see how, because weaning doesn't improve sleep.

DefiniteMaybe Sat 29-Sep-12 08:25:23

I think the 4 month sleep regression was seen as a sign to wean. So there would be no mention of it being a sleep regression, just a sign that your baby was ready for food.

furrygoldone Sat 29-Sep-12 08:27:21

I think it has now just been given a label, which doesn't mean it didn't happen previously. DS1 stopping sleeping around this point and from what I read it was linked to developmental spurts rather than food intake. He certainly didn't magically start sleeping mire when I weaned at around 5 months.

Fairylea Sat 29-Sep-12 08:31:03

Well that's what I was thinking.. I think you either have a sleeper or not (I was so smug with dd who slept through from 9 weeks I was sure ds would be the same but he's not... he's of the sleep's for wimps variety).

However anecdotal evidence seems to suggest people do think weaning helps babies to sleep longer. I can see both sides.... I mean ... milk has more calories doesn't it ? Than veg puree or whatever... so surely that should mean more sleep just feeding more milk ?

EdgarAllanPond Sat 29-Sep-12 08:42:53

anecdotally yes i found weaning helped.

a lot in fact.

i am aware there is no evidence that it helps generally (though milk does indeed have more calories than veg purees made up with water, adding baby rice to milk can double calorie content - obviously, its 85% carbs!). However there is also no evidence of harms to babies over 17 weeks in the UK and the EU so no reason not to try if you wish.

some of the sleep studies were for total hours slept (which isn't what parents are after: it is hours slept in one go that is the helpful thing) and some older trials were testing using rusk in a bottle at 6 weeks! (something that would never be trialled now!) so i am not certain this has been explored properly. However I am fairly sure if a food manafacturer could prove improved sleep, they would have by now....

so this one for me is in the 'I just don't know' box.

horsebiscuit Sat 29-Sep-12 08:46:34

Anecdotally, weaning at 6 months coincided with my DDs both stopping sleeping.
Not v helpful for your hypothesis I know.

reddaisy Sat 29-Sep-12 08:48:40

Weaning at six months certainly hasn't helped DS sleep any better. He isn't a great eater now, age 1, and on the nights I manage to get him to eat a few mouthfuls of porridge for supper then I keep hoping he will sleep for a bit longer but he never has.

Ecgwynn Sat 29-Sep-12 08:48:43

Anecdotally, DS is 5 months and not weaned. Can I have some sleep please?

catstail Sat 29-Sep-12 08:51:24

yes I believe it probably is.

Unfortunately not many parents seem to be aware, but the WHO increased the weaning age to 6 months for the benefit of babies in third world countries with insufficient nutrition available and poor hygiene - delaying this by 2 months increased the chance of health and life for these babies.

They did not increase it because it is better for all babies, but they wanted a blanket advice to cover all babies, and 6 months protects the lives of third world babies but inconveniences some first world families - hence their 6 month recommendation.

So if you feel your baby should be weaned at 4 months, please conduct your own research and make your own decision based on what you discover.

Gentleness Sat 29-Sep-12 08:54:09

Didn't work for us! Both my ds we're ebf and slept through (or about 5-6hrs anyway) from week 2, then around 3.5-4mo started wanting 2-4 night time feeds. Both started on baby rice at 5.5mo and other solids a couple of weeks after. No difference at all to sleeping. No matter how much they ate and drank in the daylight hours, it took till just under a year for them to stop needing at least one night feed and often more. I do mean they needed it to - definitely not just comfort eating....

PinkFondantFancy Sat 29-Sep-12 08:57:13

If you read the wonder weeks they are learning all sorts of new stuff around that age, so it's more likely to be developmental than hunger. Count yourself lucky that you got sone sleep up to the 4 month point!!

Gentleness Sat 29-Sep-12 08:59:12

Hmmm, there is a lot of evidence that waiting till 6mo is good though - the stuff about the tongue movements and ability to digest.

Definitely worth finding out more rather than following rules blindly, AND remembering that for every baby that follows some kind of normal pattern there are 10 that plough their own furrow.

TeaandHobnobs Sat 29-Sep-12 09:01:07

Just found this interesting article on the calorie content of baby foods on kellymom - I was surprised by some of it actually!

Where DOES this general belief that weaning improves sleep come from? If anything, what I have read on mumsnet over the last year convinced me that it wouldn't help. Then I got in a bit of a pointless flap yesterday when someone told me they were going to start weaning earlier than 6mo because their baby has started waking up more at night and seems hungrier (an internal flap, of course I didn't say anything to them!)

shellshock7 Sat 29-Sep-12 09:05:10

I only have one baby and no experience of any others so ignore this if you want! But....my DS started waking earlier at 3 months and had had all the other weaning signs (sitting up, bringing things to his mouth, watching and reaching for my food, full 9oz every feed) so EVERYONE was telling me to wean...but I read up etc and wanted to wait till at least 17 weeks so gave him hungry baby formula, slept thru again within a day or two so I would say he was definitely waking hungry.

But, he is 98th centile for weight, started refusing breast milk at 10 weeks, we assumed it was frustration as feeds took him nearly and hour and once he went onto formula he was draining a full bottle in abt 10 mins, so he was always hungry!

Pilchardnpoppy Sat 29-Sep-12 09:05:33

unfortunately not many parents seem to be aware, but the WHO increased the weaning age to 6 months for the benefit of babies in third world countries with insufficient nutrition available and poor hygiene

catstail do you have links to evidence to justify this statement? It is called The World Health Organisation after all, not the Developing Countries Health Organisation.

As a trained NHS breastfeeding peer supporter I was taught that waiting until 6 months was more about gut maturity, and making sure that the baby was ready to tolerate solids.

IShallCallYouSquishy Sat 29-Sep-12 09:06:04

My DD has gone from sleeping through (8-7ish with just a dream feed) at 9 weeks to all of a sudden waking in the night a few times a week, and having a good 20-30 min BF. I've really noticed big development changes in her past couple weeks so putting it down to that. I downloaded Wonder Weeks and it really coincides with that.

No way I weaning her until 6 months. I just think I was lucky to get 2 months of solid nights sleep so a few nights a week getting up for a night feed isn't the end of the world!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 29-Sep-12 09:14:33

Worked for me back in 2000. DS went from being a reasonably good sleeper to having some waking-up-every-hour-for-food nights at 4 months. Started weaning (as was the advice at the time) and things settled down pretty quickly. If I'd waiting until 6 months I think I'd have had a seriously upset child and I wouldn't have been far behind....

wonderstuff Sat 29-Sep-12 09:17:51

Weaning my dd didn't help her sleep. My HV told me the BS about WHO guidelines being for 'African babies' which apparently are very different to the European variety hmm. This advice I later found was based on no evidence whatsoever, gave me something else to worry about and did nothing to improve sleep (she started sleeping through at 18mo [tired emoticon]).

I do however think that some children are ready at different times, I did read something that had a theory about grab reflex. My DS was not interested in food until 7mo - just wouldn't put anything in his mouth until then, I have a friend whose little one was 8mo before she started swallowing food.

I think 4mo is a growth spurt isn't it?

Why isn't there a tired smiley?

Ecgwynn Sat 29-Sep-12 09:43:26

My DS stopped sleeping at night just before a massive growth spurt, during which he learnt to roll over, so for him it wasn't hunger.

seeker Sat 29-Sep-12 09:59:33

And I'm sorry to bang on about this, but the advice isn't ever changing!

G1nger Sat 29-Sep-12 10:03:04

Babies change the way they sleep (and fall asleep) at around 4 months. They go from infant patterns to adult.

DrCoconut Sat 29-Sep-12 10:07:32

DS2 is 18 months old in a few days time and doesn't sleep through, never has. He eats really well, a balanced diet and reasonable portions so I don't see that weaning is the answer, despite how much pressure we were put under by well meaning people to do it which we ignored until he was ready.

Mrsjay Sat 29-Sep-12 10:11:24

I weaned at 4 months with dd1 she didn't sleep any better my mum told me to do the rusk in bottle thing shock didn't do that but used to give her rice or rusk off a spoon she still didnt sleep EVER . dd2 was weaned at 5 months and could sleep on a knives edge I think they are all different,

What is sleep regression ?

NimpyWindowMash Sat 29-Sep-12 10:11:57

No, my oldest is 12 and I remember back then being told about the change in sleeping habits at 4 months in NCT classes. Myself and other mums at the time found that this happened regardless of weaning. It was normal to start solids at 16 / 18 weeks back then. But sleep regression still happened (for some babies, not all)

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