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Am I doing the right thing? I feel guilty!

(28 Posts)
AnnieDanny Mon 12-Sep-11 14:46:36

Hello...here's hoping for some wisdom from out there! I've been reading on this site and others that a healthy 7 month old should no longer need to feed at night. Last night I withheld a feed from my 7 month old who wakes up around 4am every night, which upset him (and therefore me!). He settled back to sleep eventually (it took an hour in total), but it's easy to doubt that it was the right thing to do. Is it too soon for this?

Here are some details should you have time to read a bit more:
He has been in a pattern recently of waking up around 4am and settling easily again after a feed. My hunch was, however, that he didn't really need the feed - when he wakes again for the day at 7am he doesn't always feed enthusiastically. He is well established on three solid meals a day and 5-6 breast feeds (a couple decreasing in quantity following his solids). He is in a particularly settled phase at the moment, his 6 month growth spurt is over, and he is not yet teething.

SO..last night at 4am I picked him up when he cried, changed his nappy, then held him as he cried for 20 minutes or so. He began to drift off in my arms but started crying again when I put him down. I left him for 5 mins then went back in to reassure him. He then cried/settled/cried/settled for 20 minutes then fell asleep.

Writing this, it doesn't look that bad, but this is the first time I've refused a night feed and it actually would have felt more natural just to go in and feed him as usual. I then had to go downstairs and express anyway as I was so full! I also didn't want my supply to begin to diminish in case he needs the night feed in the future. Looking at that, I do wonder whether, in fact, I am struggling more with the weaning process than he is!

Anyway...am I doing the right thing in refusing night time feeding? Shall I persist with this? Or is it just selfishness on my part - wanting a good night's sleep again?! It's just so hard to see him so upset. And even if the hunch was right last night...who's to say it will be tonight?

JezzaJ9 Mon 12-Sep-11 16:15:38

Hi
I did the same at 7 months to my DS but offered him water in a cup/bottle as suggested by a breast feeding consultant and after about 3 nights he stopped waking, it was like the water was not worth it, I did give him an extra big feed before bed to make sure, your not being selfish at all xxx

StrandedBear Mon 12-Sep-11 17:43:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pookamoo Mon 12-Sep-11 17:48:08

DD was still having a night feed at 15 months. Even nowat 2.5 she polishes off at least one beaker of milk overnight (we leave it in her room for her).

I agree with Stranded.

NotSoRampantRabbit Mon 12-Sep-11 17:53:44

Surely you will get more sleep if he has quick feed and goes straight back to sleep for a few hours?

From a purely selfish point of view I would feed.

I would also feed because that is clearly what he wants/needs.

DD is 2.3 and still has milk in the night if she wakes.

booyhoo Mon 12-Sep-11 18:00:07

my theory is that if they are asking for it, then they need it.

a baby of 7 months doesn't know how to be greedy, he doesn't wake up for no reason. it is up to you if you dont want to do a night tim feed anymore but as far as i'm concerned, i fed for my children's needs, not my own and if they asked for it, then they got it. it's like a child asking for a cuddle with you. it mightn't appear to you outwardly that they 'need' a hug (they're notupset etc) butclearly if a child i askingfor a hug,then it has come into their mind that at that very moment in time, a hug is necessary.

thisisyesterday Mon 12-Sep-11 18:03:29

i agree with the others. it's absolutely normal for a 7 mopnth old to still want feeding at night. in fact, it's pretty unusual not to be waking more than once at that age

so i would carry on feeding him.

HappyAsASandboy Mon 12-Sep-11 18:05:49

I am still feeding on demand through the night at nearly 11 months - both twins generally feed at 12/1 ish, 3.30 ish and then 6am ish (after which I can sometimes get them back to sleep for a bit, but then they wouldn't feed on waking, just go straight to breakfast).

I've had the odd night on the last week where one twin it the other has gone though to 5.30/6 am with no feeds, which gives me hope that I might get some sleep soon!

From about 9 months, I stopped feeding at every peep and tried using their dummies first. This cut the night time feeds down a bit some nights, but if the dummy doesn't work straight away, I feed mostly to ensure they don't cry and wake the other twin.

At 7 months, I wouldn't know whether they need the food/drink or not. TBH I still drink in the night sometimes, and I'm a lot older than 7 months grin

olibeansmummy Mon 12-Sep-11 20:19:41

Ds still wakes for a bottle at 2.3! Its actually quicker than not letting him have milk and kinder I think. If you think hes better off having it ignore the recommendations.

Moulesfrites Mon 12-Sep-11 20:25:12

I think feeding once through the night is great at 7 months!

I have a 7.5 month old and he has been waking 4/5/6 times a night, so I am trying the same as you kind of, and sending dh in to settle him if he wakes between 11 and 4. This still means feeding 1/2 in the night, but it is a hell of a lot better than where we were before. It only takes up to 10 mins for dh to settle him - not sure I could cope with an hour of crying - so maybe if your dp/dh is around you could try this? But really, I think feeding once through the night at this stage is something I would settle for.

Iggly Mon 12-Sep-11 20:27:25

Well there is a big growth spurt around 6/7 months plus teething seek boob for food and comfort.

I'm not sure who these experts are that claim that all babies magically don't need a feed at night - can anyone point to any research on modern babies?

You can gently wean off night feeds but you won't necessarily stop night wakings.

happygilmore Mon 12-Sep-11 20:33:40

In my opinion the books that say 6 months = end of night feeds are spouting crap. I appreciate some babies don't have night feeds at this time, but mine certainly did. And if she was hungry, who am I to say otherwise?

She had feeds in the night always until around 9 months I think, and then irregularly until past a year. Now at 15 months, she hasn't had a night feed for about 2 months..sleeps through fine. Just follow your baby's lead.

AnnieDanny Tue 13-Sep-11 12:58:24

Thanks for the comments everyone (especially from those who read the whole post: he was not 'left for an hour' StrandedBear!) It turns out that my hunch was correct - the 4am feeding was habit rather than hunger: after 20 mins of cuddling instead of feeding the night before last, as I explained, my DS woke at 4 am again last night but then had settled himself back to sleep by the time I reached his door 5 mins later!

booyhoo Tue 13-Sep-11 17:39:07

not really sure one night of settling quickly proves anything tbh but if you are happy with your decision then carry on.

without meaning to sound in any way patronising, babies aren't ever in a fixed state. by that i mean, they are growng very quickly, physically and mentally and their appetites fluctuate quite a lot in the first year. there are so many factors that can affect appetite even on a daily basis so what as normal yesterday isn't normal today IYSWIM. try not to be too set on having such a structured routine and take your cues from the baby (afterall, the food is for his benefit,so who better to listen to). i know it can be frustrating and a real guessng game at times (is it teething/growth spurt/habit/comfort?) but that's reality with children, they dont read textbooks! grin

Momo36 Tue 13-Sep-11 19:16:33

AnnieD at the and of the day you are the mother who may instinctively feel that the waking may just be out of habit. So you may try different things just to make sure - there is no harm in that. I find it crazy that some would suggest that you would leave your little one to starve/cry through the night! shock. Good luck!

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 13-Sep-11 19:23:46

What time does he go to bed?

You could dream feed when you go, or simply dream feed at 2, or 3, just to break the 'habbit' of 4am!?

pamelat Tue 13-Sep-11 19:40:37

I did Gina feed times except at night grin. I have hungry children and even now at nearly 16 months blush my DS wakes at 10pm for a night feed, what used to be a dream feed! I figure its milk, good for them, so not the end of the world.

I would try the juice instead idea and if that works then great, you may have got rid of a night time waking, but as someone else said, its quicker to give mik and eventually they do stop waking for it. DS took 11 months. DD was 6 months smile

saltnvinigarcrips Tue 13-Sep-11 21:13:40

I think you are doing the right thing annie. My 7 month old has a feed before bed at 7 and then doesn't wake until 6:30 am. I stopped the midnight feed months and months ago but kept up the 10pm feed till about 2 months ago. He is developing really well and I am so grateful for the undisturbed sleep, especially now I am back to work. However, saying that I am no longer breastfeeding since about a month so it may be he might need a little top up. Don't feel guilty though, you are his mom and know him best and I think it is absurd that some people are suggesting you have acted selfishly. Good luck with it smile

peterpan99 Tue 13-Sep-11 22:33:04

the night times feeds are important, they give him his energy to wake up for the daytime feeds.
Ive never heard that a healthy baby doesnt need night time feeds and i have been a breast feeding peer supporter.
I fed my daughter through the night until she was 15months old ps. she is very healthy.
if its making you sad, then dont with hold

AnnieDanny Wed 14-Sep-11 19:41:40

Thanks again everyone for your thoughts. I've now had a couple of further nights since when DS has woken at 4am and settled himself back to sleep within 5 mins.. He's been noticeably more contented during the day since, and far less overtired by the evening....maybe due to the extra sleep? I do wonder if he's turned a corner...though two nights doesn't equal a pattern yet!

Momo36 Wed 14-Sep-11 20:19:16

Good for you Annie - my DD dropped her night time feed at 5 months and never looked back. She is as energetic, happy etc etc as ever and sleeps from 7pm to 6.30am. Every baby is different and so is every parent. I will not have a guilt trip just because I am not breast feeding my DD till she's 18 smile

Tgger Wed 14-Sep-11 21:28:20

Yeah, you must follow your instincts.

They do both- wake out of habit and wake because they're hungry- I decided to cut back on feeding my DD at night at 8 months as I felt she'd got into bad habits- at that stage she was still feeding 3 hourly and I was getting increasingly more sleep deprived and grumpy (was looking after a toddler as well).

She cut back to just the one night feed (the one you are trying to drop as it happens), quite easily- so yes the rest had just been habit. However, she did seem to really need this one- sometimes is was more like 5/5.30, but I was happy to do this one as it meant I could sleep 10pm-4/5.30 and then again until 7/7.30. She gave up (with a bit of help but quite gentle really) this one at about 13/14 months.

They are all so different. My DD was a boob monster and wouldn't take milk or water from a cup until about 12 months. She also was slow at weaning and likewise only really ate well at about the same age- got better from about 9 months but was a lot slower than some.

So, sorry for long post, but follow your instincts and your DD will be fine.

saltnvinigarcrips Wed 14-Sep-11 23:15:26

peterpan when they are newborn they need energy from night feeds but really by the time they are on solids and eating 3 meals a day plus their day and evening milk feeds I think they are capable of sleeping through the night. However, this may be different if breastfeeding still. I've been doing the Gina Ford since 3 months and it has worked well for me, although I use it more as a guide than a bible.

ChippingIn Wed 14-Sep-11 23:22:20

Annie - you are doing what I would do. If he's eating well in the day and getting plenty of milk then it's more than likely to be 'habit' not 'need' waking him up. He's self settling really quickly - kind of goes to show you were right doesn't it smile

SummerRain Wed 14-Sep-11 23:33:39

ds2 is 2.5 and still has a night feed a couple of times a week. dd and ds1 stopped when they were far younger but neither as young as 7 months.

In my experience, if they don't need it they don't ask for it.

But then, I co-slept so it was a lot less hassle for me to feed at night, I can imagine if you're getting up to do it you must be worn out.

My biggest concern with your first post was the fact that you left a 7 month old baby who had just been deprived of his ritual, comforting night feed to cry it out and left the room for 5 mins.

I have no problem with leaving a baby cry for a few minutes if they've just worked themselves up abut nothing/cry most of the day (like dd)/you need to do something etc but to do it to a baby who doesn't know why he's being denied his midnight feed and is confused and upset is a bit mean tbh.

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