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11 wo waking through the night with stomach cramps

(25 Posts)
BoSho Sun 12-Dec-10 08:45:03

I'm starting to lose my mind! We're loosely following the Baby Whisperer routine (3 hour feeding schedule), and it's been going really well, but over the last couple of days my 11 wo has been awake for most of the night with stomach cramps.

We put him into his bed nest in our room at 7pm then go back downstairs, and he sleeps for a few hours, then I wake him to feed him again at about 11pm and put him back down, but after a couple of hours of sleep, he wakes up screaming with stomach cramps and will only settle if either me or my DH (who thankfully is off work for the rest of the year now) massage his stomach and then let him fall asleep in our arms. He can be fast asleep, but as soon as we try to put him back in his bed nest he wakes again, and we have to start over. Or if he does settle, he'll only settle for 1 hour max before it starts all over again.

The worse part is that he tends to awake screaming at about 5/6am, and I always end up feeding him and we both fall asleep until about 8am, and the routine is all out of sync and everyone's knackered (DS now has dark circles under his eyes sad). I don't know whether I should be getting up after this feed and starting the day 'early' (I'd rather not, but if it will help I will), or doing as I am and start the day 'late'.

During the day, he's following the routine perfectly, is actually quite happy, and is getting so much sleep (1 to 2 hours at about 9.30am, 12.30pm and 3.30pm if he has his first feed at 8am) that I have to wake him for his feeds. The only thing that's changed during the day is that he isn't that keen on his evening (between 5pm and 6pm) nap and tends to skip it in favour of a bit of a colicy cry.

I really feel for the poor little thing when he's in pain at night, and we don't resent helping him if he needs it, but my DH and I are absolutely knackered and I'm starting to wonder whether this is really just growing pains that we have to deal with (DH's opinion), or whether we're doing something wrong with the routine. Any advice?

Igglystuffedfullofturkey Sun 12-Dec-10 13:16:27

Don't worry about the routine while this is happening. You need to get to the bottom of the cramps.

Are you BF or FF?

thisisyesterday Sun 12-Dec-10 13:18:28

how do you know it's stomach cramps???

perhaos he is just hungry. he's really very young to be going from 11-5 or 6 without any feeds...

Igglystuffedfullofturkey Sun 12-Dec-10 13:37:08

Didn't spot the big gap thisisyesterday.

He could be hungry - the BW routine doesn't really allow for growth spurths (if I remember correctly she suggested feeding more in the day but that doesn't help if a baby is hungry in the night).

There is a growth spurt around 12 weeks so it'll pass -try giving more milk. If that settles him then there's your answer.

TheUnmentioned Sun 12-Dec-10 13:42:01

yes i was going to say how do you know its stomach cramps, it ounds v likely to be hunger hencewhy hes not settling.

dd is 11 weeks, i dont follow her tbh and its so much less stress by the sounds of it.

she does sleep 7/8 - 11 and then until 6ish usually but that is pure luck and she doesnt nap much.

Lulumaam Sun 12-Dec-10 13:42:17

yiu need to feed him

if he is in pain/got stomach cramps, they will be solved by feeding him. he is hungry

he is clearly in need of more feeds at night. he is waking up hungry

that is what an 11 week old wakes for in the night. milk.

you say you don;t resent helping him if he needs it.. he needs milk, if you feed him, he will settle

but expecting no night feeds at 11 weeks is expecing too much from most babies

you need to forget about the routine and listen and respond to your babies cues

it's not growing pains, it's hunger pains, he needs milk to grow and thrive

TheUnmentioned Sun 12-Dec-10 13:42:45

oops that should say i dont have a routine i follow her lead

BoSho Sun 12-Dec-10 14:12:42

Thanks for all the replies. Sorry, original post wasn't clear - I'm BF, and he's not going from 11 to 5 without feeds, I'm just feeding at 7/8pm, putting him down, feeding at 11 and then feeding him when he wakes up again, which is usually at about 2 and 5.

The problem is he's screaming in between those feeds, and I can feed him more (I do quite often) but it doesn't help and since he's a puker, there's no point because he just pukes it all up. We can sooth him by rubbing his stomach/ holding him but then we can't put him down. Should we really just hold him all night?

thisisyestertday, you've made me wonder now, but we're pretty sure it's stomach cramps that's making him cry. We went to the emergency doc when he was 6 wo and she said that was the cause of his crying in the evenings, we can feel his stomach tighten and then loosen, and putting pressure on his belly really helps.

Igglystuffedfullofturkey Sun 12-Dec-10 14:28:26

Bo with that extra info - it sounds exactly like my DS at that age. He had reflux/silent reflux. He'd wake up writhing around around 3-5am. He'd be screaming inbetween and want feeding to soothe his stomach. He slept on me/DH until he was 4/5 months old.

He was reacting badly to cows milk and soya in my diet (I BF). So I cut them out completely and we got him on medication (first infant gaviscon which was useless then rantidine which was great).

Speak to your doctor about reflux. Ask to try infant gaviscon and try cutting out dairy - you should see a difference in two weeks (you'll need to supplement with other calcium rich foods, but I'd avoid soya).

Also try a dummy, putting him down on his left hand side, tummy time before his bath, gripe water can help. We also did the moves in this video and would get a lot of wind out in the early hours of the morning. I used to do it when DS was on my lap facing outwards and it would calm him down.

narmada Sun 12-Dec-10 14:50:32

yes, sounds like it could be reflux but if so I would expect it to affect his day time sleep too. Does he sleep somewhere different during the day? Eg a car seat, swing, or bouncer, that is more inclined (Inclined sleeping surfaces are supposed in theory to help reflux babies)? If so, I would say it could be reflux causing the night wakings. Or, if you are following BW routines then I am guessing you are leaving an interval between feeds and sleep during the day - while at night you are putting your baby straight down to sleep after feeds? If so, that may also explain the poor night-time/ better daytime sleep thing.

GP may be able to help. Gaviscon Infant is the first line approach, then it's usually domperidone/ ranitidine and on to omeprazole if that doesn't work. But getting ahead of myself there. See what your doc thinks about reflux but be prepared for him/ her to dismiss it out of hand as many do without knowing much about the condition.

BoSho Sun 12-Dec-10 14:50:51

Thanks so much Iggly, nice to get hear from someone else who has experienced this. I did wonder about reflux, and dairy.

Re dairy, I'm a vegetarian, so it's tricky to cut out dairy and soya, but we did have two accidental vegan days and they didn't seem to make much difference to the stomach cramps (although that was before the night time awakenings). I will try cutting it out as a last resort if necessary though.

Re reflux, are stomach cramps a sign of reflux? We had considered it, but thought we were being a bit dramatic. Will now go to the docs tomorrow and ask about it.

DS already has a dummy, and I have thought about putting him on his side but I'm worried about cot death. Did you use a wedge/ towel to prevent him rolling onto his side?

How did you manage to do this for 5 months? I think I'll die of sleep exhaustion by then, and DH will be back at work in Jan, so I was hoping that he wouldn't have to wake in the night to help.

Thanks for the video link. Will deffo try them. I like the diagonal move - haven't tried that one. Will give it a go when DH and DS are back from their walk. Now to get some sleep before they return smile

BoSho Sun 12-Dec-10 14:57:13

narmada, mmh, yes, I have a feeling reflux will be dismissed. I live in Holland and the doctors dismiss pretty much everything as a matter of course it seems. Is infant gaviscon prescription only? Will it do any harm to try it even if the doc doesn't diagnose reflux d'you think?

He tends to sleep in a nice cosy fleece in his buggy or moses basket during the day, after falling asleep in my arms, and the buggy is not inclined but the moses basket and bed nest are, so no pattern there.

You're right about the interval between eat and sleep though. Should I be introducing some active time (nappy changing?) after feeds at night do you think?

narmada Sun 12-Dec-10 14:59:31

Reflux symptoms (a random list from memory and experience)

Baby being in pain during or after feeds. Typically arching back, throwing neck back, bobbing on and off bottle/ breast. It's not always a case of them being in pain during feeds tho - my DS isn't, only afterwards (when he cries and shreiks, and throws his head back ) and in fact would feed and feed if I let him because the milk going down temporarily soothes his throat.

Frequent hiccups

Breath that smells permanently of acid/ vomit

Frequent regurgitation - either vomiting or into the oesophagus where it's reswallowed (so-called silent reflux). In which case you can sometimes hear the telltale 'glugs'

Whooping, or choking noises during or after feeding.

Typically don't like being laid on their backs, but some don't mind.

Sleep disturbance and difficulty settling and poorer self-settling skills than might be expected for age.

Prolonged inconsolable crying

narmada Sun 12-Dec-10 15:10:35

I don't really know much in detail about the baby whissperer routines to be honest, only what I am remembering from DD1 when I read it - I really wished it had worked with her but it didn't. She NEVER slept!

Instinctively I wouold say good grief no, not active time in the night - boring, dark and quiet I would think! You could try when changing nappies at night rolling legs to one side rather than lifting them up - I find if I do the latter there is puke everywhere.

Gaviscon Infant is prescription only here in the UK for under-1s , not sure about holland. If you can get your hands on some it is unlikely to do much harm - all it does (in theory) is thicken the milk feed. It can cause constipation, particularly in formula-fed infants and some experts have expressed concern about thickened feeds being potentially more dangerous were the baby to aspirate regurgitated milk (my DS does this, it just means that some milk goes down the wrong hole into his trachea and makes him sound like a wheezy old man). Gaviscon Infant is handed o ut like sweeties here: having said all this, I better be honest and say it did little to help my son's reflux - he is on stronger meds. However, some people swear by it and find it's enough.

One last thought - it just could be something really simple - e.g., that your baby is starting to make sleep associations and require sleep props. E.g., he falls alseep in your arms and when he wakes, he possibly expects still to be there. Do you get him to sleep before putting him in his nest? In the night, when you re-settle him, if you put him down when he is fast asleep, again, he may wake and think 'where did everyone go???'. I don't have any easy answers if this is the case because my son has no self-settling skills whatsoever and neither did my DD until quite late on.

BoSho Sun 12-Dec-10 16:16:57

Thanks for taking so much time helping me narmada, you've given me tons to think about.

DS is showing some symptoms, but I'm still not convinced it's reflux. He only fusses a bit when he's feeding, but he will feed and feed as you described (sounds very familiar!), no hiccups anymore, breath smells of butter (!) not sick, lots of voms in general, but they actually seem to have slowed down since his night time sleeping problems.

We don't change him at night to avoid disturbances (oh, the irony!) but I like your tip about moving his legs to the side, will try that.

Was also wondering about sleep associations, and that could be part of it (it's just so easy to hold him to sleep) but I do also use the shush pat method if he wakes whilst we're still up, and that seems to work fine. Also, he's inconsolable for a long time after waking in the night - when you'd think a hug would fix it if that was the problem right?

So sad to see his teary, sad face. Poor love sad.

Will take all this to the doc tomorrow anyway. Thanks so much.

TheUnmentioned Sun 12-Dec-10 16:50:14

poor him and poor you. dd has reflux and I have to say she is worse in terms of crying /pain/general upset when she hasnt been sick I think because the acid / mucussy stuff is still irritating her!

Igglystuffedfullofturkey Sun 12-Dec-10 16:59:22

Sorry - have been looking after DS. Yes I nearly died of exhaustion but it got better very quickly after then thank goodness.

The amount of vomiting isn;t nec a sign of reflux - it could be silent reflux where it comes up but doesn't make it out of the mouth iyswim. Sometimes you'll see bits of curdled milk.

Also the dairy/soya thing - you have to do it for a while for it to make a real difference if it's a cows milk protein intolerance.

The stomach cramps could be a sign of intolerance - which is linked to reflux. Also the cramps are worse at night because he's not moving around so the wind doesn't come out as easily! In the day, DS used to (well still does) trump loads when he was rolling about and on his front.

I'd not worry about sleep associations or props (that's BW talk right?) - he's only 11 weeks old! DS didn't start to self settle until 5+ months old and even if he did start off the night going to sleep alone, he'd still wake up and want me or DH to get back to sleep.

As for sleeping on the side - yes I put a rolled up towel by his legs and put his left arm in front so he couldn't roll onto his front by mistake. I was worried about cot death until he had a choking incident from lying on his back (the acid came up and came out through his nose - he couldn't breath until we cleared it. Luckily we were there when it happened). If we left him on his back in the playgym, the same thing happened - so we stopped lying him on his back and got wedges to keep him on a small incline.

Also you say pressure on his stomach helps. Can you swaddle him? Sometimes when DS was particularly bad, swaddling and a dummy were the only things that would help him sleep.

BoSho Sun 12-Dec-10 17:57:34

OK, it's all starting to sound familiar now, thanks Iggly.

Will try one thing at a time, so will swaddle him tonight.

I'm feeling less helpless already though - thanks everyone! smile

narmada Sun 12-Dec-10 18:51:38

hmm, Iggly, not a fan of baby whisperer in general either but I do put some truck by the sleep prop/ association thing. I had an excellent book called 'The No Cry Sleep Solution' by someone called Elizabeth Pantley and even she advocates gentle methods of trying to teach babies to self-settle when they're ready. Props can be great, but they can also be a problem in the long-run - were with my daughter. We didn't get a decent nights' sleep until we broke the connection between suckling and going to sleep. But that was much later on. Like you Iggly, thought, I'm not sure I'd expect a tiny baby to go to sleep or stay asleep without some for of help or encouragement.

Igglystuffedfullofturkey Sun 12-Dec-10 20:14:14

I agree narmada - have also read that book. I didn't bother expecting DS to self settle until he was a lot older and it was much much easier as a result. He used to feed to sleep all the time and does sometimes still. I think I found the BW language annoying - made me feel like I'd done everything wrong by letting DS "rely" on me to sleep! But ultimately there's nothing wrong with that and I am his mum after all. Now at 14 months self settling is not a problem and hasn't been for a long time.

narmada Sun 12-Dec-10 22:06:49

Yep. some babies can evidently self-settle from the outset but I am sure they are in a minority. Those are the ones who you see dozing off happily in a bouncy chair at mum and baby groups envy.

I found it really irritating that the BW book kept saying 'luv' and talking about this accidental parenting - e.g., rocking to sleep. There was nothing bloody accidental about it in our case. It was either rock/ pace in sling or deal with hours and hours of incessant screaming. I seem to remember baby whisperer advocating that we just put the baby down in the cot and pat bum till said babe was asleep, but it just did not work that way for my first LO, nor does it for my second.

BoSho Mon 13-Dec-10 08:13:59

Morning! Swaddling worked - thanks so much for the suggestion Iggly! He went to sleep really easily (took 10 mons i.o 1 hr +) and woke at 2, 4 and 8.30 (bit late, but we all needed the sleep) so looks like we're getting back on track for just a couple of feeds a night again. So good!

After watching him doing little pukes and chokes/ gurgles in the night though, I am pretty convinced he does have reflux so I still have to help DS with that. Docs can only fit us in tomorrow though, so will see what he says then.

Aah, I'm starting to feel normal again already grin

Igglystuffedfullofturkey Mon 13-Dec-10 10:11:28

Excellent, that's great news! I hope the doc can sort you out too.

narmada yes just pat their bum. I remember trying thinking "why doesn't it work"??!!

BoSho Mon 13-Dec-10 11:01:20

Reading all your posts, think I might be lucky in having only read the 'Top Ten Tips from the Baby Whisperer' rather than the full edition.

BoSho Fri 17-Dec-10 16:54:20

So, we went to the pediatrician, and she said DS pukes so much because he drinks too much at each sitting (true, but there's not much I can do about it - I think he uses the milk as a laxative if that's possible) and still has an immature esophagus, but that he'll grow out of it.

So, it's not reflux (thank goodness) and we now have some powdery stuff to give him before and after a feed to thicken up the milk.

Feeling much more positive about it all now though, relieved that DS doesn't need drugs, and still have a very happy baby, despite the pukes, so all is great. Thanks to everyone for your support

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