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An unbiased answer about night-waking... Please! (7 - 9 MO)

(34 Posts)
bvmsmummy Tue 05-Feb-13 12:00:17

So, I have a generally very cheerful, happy to play, enjoying getting into solids, almost ebf (occasional bottle say once a week if I go out), happy to nap three times a day (with a little bit of help e.g. pat on the back, shsh or out in buggy - but sleeps less well then) DS who is coming up for 9 months but was born seven weeks early so is more like 7.5 months developmentally.

TBH he is pretty cool in every way (after a pretty difficult start) but he still wakes minimum four times and sometimes up to nine times a night. He has always been a frequent waker, he sleeps in a co-sleeper cot and I generally bring him in with me around 4 - 6am if he needs it.

He goes to bed easily, has a great routine and goes to sleep in his cot with me just gently stroking his head or even just lieing beside him as he drifts off. I'm not into controlled crying so he has reached this point very gently over time but he is there! He can 'self soothe' I know because I hear him wake and go back to sleep on the monitor.

So my question is - can anyone tell me if this is just normal for some babies or what? I love reading about babies and stuff but I'm not ideological so I have read the Baby Whisperer and I have read Dr Sears and various others in between.

Maybe this is my mistake?

According to one 'side' (Baby Whisperer / My HV) he should certainly be sleeping through and I am perpetuating bad habits for the future and its all my fault and I need to try a harsher method. But according to the other (Dr Sears / La Leche League) its totally normal to wake loads and I shouldn't try to change anything until he is at least one year.

I feel like both sides have an agenda.

Anyone know the FACTS?

Oh and yeah any advice on how to get more sleep sooooo welcome.

Thanks x

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 07-Feb-13 14:50:29

Well it could be silent reflux but it could be tt, its worth getting them both checked out. Don't leave it in the hope it will just get better, our DS didn't sleep through until the week before his 5 birthday.

MoreSnowPlease Thu 07-Feb-13 09:42:53

Not sure if he looks in pain, he more seems annoyed, he thrashes about a lot before he cries out but not proper crying just a quick "give me boob I'm really annoyed" lol. However, if I leave him or try to cuddle instead he goes into full blown crying (doesn't cuddle when awake either, still waiting for my first cuddle :-( His eyes remain shut through it all so I think he is uncomfortable and annoyed to be woken which made reflux seem the most likely culprit for us.

Sleep deprivation not great as you know! I have always been a bad sleeper and never STTN either so I think I can cope better than others, maybe I've passed it on to him! I'd also love so much for him to go to sleep without feeding like you've managed, but I think it's a long way off yet!

Hope you find a solution soon!

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 06-Feb-13 21:14:33

Think that was me. If you read the kellymom studies on normal infant sleep, the first abstract talks about exposure to light and sleep smile

bvmsmummy Wed 06-Feb-13 13:46:46

Think I may have missed someone as I'm sure someone asked if I was getting him out and about enough but can't seem to see that comment now (I can blame sleep deprivation, yes?). Anyway no is the answer I don't think I am - since he started to nap best at home I've been finding it tricky to get out (live in a fourth floor flat and have no car) but if I can stretch out his time between naps then that should be easier too!

bvmsmummy Wed 06-Feb-13 13:34:06


Thanks Mumsnet – overwhelmed in a good way by all this support. This truly is way better than any of the books!

Tee2072 Good to hear – thanks for positivity!

JiltedJohnsJulie Doesn’t sound like I should put up with it all – really useful! He gets up around 7:30am, goes down about 7:30 - 8pm and naps were 9am (bout an hr15), 1pm (bout an hour30) and cat nap about 5:30pm. BUT today I got him up at 7am (he was snuggled in with me and pretty much awake anyway) and didn’t go for his first nap until 9:45am and he slept a clean two hours and woke up really refreshed... So we’ll see how the rest of today / night goes.

The moving into his own room thing is on the cards and we have a big-boy-cot on order (eek). I’m nervous about this more because I won’t be able to just put my hand out and touch him but I DO think he may sleep better (we defo wake him sometimes) and I can always go and sleep in his room right smile

And thanks for all the research suggestions – going to get on all that at the weekend.

Mummybare Thanks for that – its good to hear a similar sort of thing and that it probably won’t make too much difference in the long run.

Totally sensible advice on the nap / bed tweaking and that's roughly what I am trying today!

SeriousWispaHabit Really good to hear – keep telling myself just to chill out – bit easier said than done for me but I’m doing my best and its helpful to hear from someone who has been there and relaxed.

BearsLikeMarmalde That is super insightful and helpful – thank you. I am trying two naps (as described above). We keep vaguely attempting the DH soothing in the night thing and then giving up so its good to hear we are not the only ones. For the record DH can put him to bed and naps and he soothes really well with him but he wakes as soon as put down (I guess indicating that he is in fact hungry?). Again thanks for saying how things are now – so great to hear positive stories. Good luck with DC2!

MoreSnowPlease We have very much been there so I totally sympathise – and thanks for saying that we’re doing well, that is so nice to hear! DS does have reflux and has medication (ranitidine) for it. I am currently trying to wean him off that and it doesn’t seem to be getting worse so I don’t think it is that. BUT I do think that maybe the reflux kind of got him into a pattern of really regular waking early on. And its always good to be reminded, Just out of interest does your LO appear to be in pain / uncomfortable when waking? DS doesn't so that's why I ruled out reflux but maybe its just annoying him... hmmm

Are you surviving your sleep deprivation? I know when we were like that I got quite (physically) ill which got me pretty low so I hope you are managing to keep a smile on your face smile And maybe this thread has helped you too?

Lovely that you celebrate the little things - I’m totally stealing that as a plan!

Toast123 Hope its helped!

Seenenoughtoknow Thank you – although it sounds like you still have rough nights its good to hear that its survivable, normal and there are sound bf reasons for it. Thank you!

Thanks again everyone – amazing! x

MoreSnowPlease Wed 06-Feb-13 09:11:15

In case this helps you, because of our suspicions of reflux, last night I fed him in bed and then propped him up on my legs while I lay on my side, so he was almost sitting up while he slept. He did his usual waking (from the noisy neighbours upstairs!) but didn't need to feed back to sleep for 2 hours! I have concluded that he either does have heartburn/reflux and the upright position helped, or he was away from smelling milk and so didn't automatically want it.

However, I didn't sleep any better because of having to stay in the same position!

Seenenoughtoknow Wed 06-Feb-13 08:16:30

My 17 month old bf baby co sleeping still wakes 4 - 9 times a night...he has a cold at the mo so last night was about 15 times. I know it's not the norm for this age, but I think he wakes and smells the milk, and this prompts him to want a feed.

I did a bf peer supporter course which taught that bf babies only drink until they are full and don't stretch their stomachs, so need feeding more often, whereas formula babies drink the sweet drink given until the bottle is empty, resulting in a stretched stomach, but a fuller feeling for longer which is why they tend to sleep for longer (think Sunday afternoons after that huge dinner!). Remember what you are doing is natural, so what your baby does as a result of natural feeding is natural too. And just thank god for co sleeping!

Toast123 Wed 06-Feb-13 08:01:26

Watching with interest. My nine month old is very similar.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 05-Feb-13 21:44:35

Think it might be worth starting a new thread in the breast and bottle section. There are a few posters on there, like mawbroon and tiktok who know loads more than me. All I know is that it did disturb DS sleep, and for a long time sad

MoreSnowPlease Tue 05-Feb-13 21:04:33

Jiltedjohns....he had a severe posterior tt which was snipped at 4d weeks, i have still never had a pain free breast feed but it's much better than it was, I have actually been looking into upper lip tie, and it looks like he might have this too. Maybe the TT has grown back, but I don't know that this would cause him to wake frequently?

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 05-Feb-13 20:48:38

more we suspected silent reflux with our ds but it turned out to be upper lip tie and tongue tie. Silent reflux is often diagnosed when it is infact tt. Have a look here, does any of that sound like what is happening?

MoreSnowPlease Tue 05-Feb-13 20:43:13

I think you are doing well,my son is 7.5 months and wakes very frequently, when going down it might be every half hour then every hour in middle of the night and back to every hour in the early morning. Also he needs to be breastfed every time in order to go back to sleep and we are bed sharing and always have. I'm pulling my hair out over it!

I know he can settle in the buggy and has 2 naps a day in it of about 1 hour each at around 10am and 3/4pm,if he wakes in buggy he self settles back again.

He had suspected silent reflux as a small baby so I'm currently investigating whether this could be the cause of night wakenings because of lying flat.could this be a problem for your LO?

Anyway, the fact that you can get him to settle himself in bed is pretty impressive, I'm not sure we'll ever be at that stage!I get through it by celebrating very small victories, like when he stirs at night, turns over and goes back to sleep himself,it happens rarely but much better than having to vigorously rock a crying baby multiple times a night!

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 05-Feb-13 20:14:19

grin at ineed.

Op if you like information based on research have you read baby calming by Caroline deacon, sound sleep by Sarah Woodhouse or Helping your baby to sleep?

BearsLikeMarmalade Tue 05-Feb-13 20:12:00

7-9 months was absolutely the worst point for our DS in terms of sleep, you have my complete sympathy, but you and your baby are not weird. DS didn't sleep more than 2 hour stretches during this period. There were a few things going on at the time, including a couple of illnesses that threw things, developmental stuff (the beginnings of separation anxiety) and several teeth coming through. DS really seemed to struggle with teething, but we never knew it was teeth until after the buggers had popped through. We tried to stop BF so much at night during this period by DH going in instead of me but actually this just made the whole thing much, much worse. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish we'd just co-slept. It was clearly what DS needed and everyone would have been much, much happier.

Maybe 2 naps instead of 3 might be helpful, sounds worth a try. I think my DS needed a bit less sleep than other babies. I also found it very difficult that everyone else's baby seemed to be sleeping except mine (or they were lying) and people used to give me this hmm look a lot, and I generally felt utterly haggered.

I did use the No Cry Sleep Solution, liked it a lot, and things started to change for the better around 10-12 months (when we were down to waking once or twice), but I think this was a lot to do with developmental stuff (i.e. he was ready to not be feeding at night by then). Please throw away the baby whisperer book. DH cheered when mine went in the recycling.

Incidentally, DS is now 3.5, mainly sleeps through for 11 hours unless ill/nightmare/teddy fell out of bed etc, and goes to sleep beautifully (even asks to go to bed sometimes!). DC2 is imminent and I've bought a co-sleeper cot that she'll fit in for at least a year!

SeriousWispaHabit Tue 05-Feb-13 19:48:48

I have two DDs, 4 and 2. Neither started off as 'good sleepers'. DD2 still isn't really, as she comes into bed with us for the second half of the night.

With DD1 I tried so many things to encourage sleeping through. She did it when she was ready, which was about 20 months.

With DD2 I just went with the flow and did whatever got the most hours of sleep for the greatest number of people in the household. It has been 1000 times less stressful and I and DD2 have had more sleep as a result.

If I have a DC3 I will ignore all advice and not read any 'baby books' as they all made me feel like I was doing it wrong somehow.

ineedaspartame Tue 05-Feb-13 19:43:08

Sorry wrong thread!

ineedaspartame Tue 05-Feb-13 19:42:28

I'm a baby now. Feminists hate babies.

mummybare Tue 05-Feb-13 19:21:07

The early morning restlessness does sound to me like undertiredness, if he's anything like DD, so it could be worth trying 2 naps. If it were me, I'd shift the naps back a little, but not much - say 10/15 mins - and/or move bedtime a bit earlier for a week or so to avoid overtiredness.

I used to have a similar policy with the only feeding after a certain amount of time. And a similarly weak resolve, by the sounds of it! I think as long as he can settle himself, and does resettle himself some of the time, comforting and/or feeding is unlikely to cause any long term issues. For us, routine is key (never thought I'd be the sort of mum to say that, but it's true). Tweaking naps can't magically make a hungry baby sleep through, but it can make a big difference ime.

HTH smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 05-Feb-13 16:34:24

All that sounded like you should just put up with it. Sorry, of course I don't mean that.

Are you doing all the usual stuff too like lots of sunlight and exercise, even if that's just going to playgroup.

Have you tried putting a comfy chair for you in his room and moving him in there? My dd was a total boob monster and still woke when we moved her out of our room, but it was much less and luckily she was always a super fast feeder.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 05-Feb-13 16:29:17

Pretty similar story to Tee. Ended up having them in bed with me and letting them feed when they wanted, it was the only way we could all get any sleep. They now are both reliable sleepers, love their beds and ask to go to bed when they are tired.

As for not feeding him in the early hours, I thought this was the time they were programmed to wake more (I too though could be talking out of my arse).

According to one study, quoted on kellymom, 58 percent of babies wake at 9 months. So you are not alone and its worth bearing in mind next time you are having hv inspired doubts.

If you want to drop a nap, what time are the naps now and what time does he wake and go to bed?

Tee2072 Tue 05-Feb-13 15:31:30

Of course you want answers! I was desperate for answers for a long time and then finally shrugged, started to co-sleep and chilled out.

We all got a lot more sleep that way and now, at 3.8, he sleeps 7 - 7 every night, except when ill or something, in his own bed, and settles himself after a story and kisses.

bvmsmummy Tue 05-Feb-13 15:27:33

tee2072 I know, I know - you are right of course (particularly about throwing HV out of the window) but I can't help trying to find answers! Still thank you for the reminder smile

bvmsmummy Tue 05-Feb-13 15:25:33

mummybare thank you - good questions and also nice to hear your similar story and that there is light at the end of the tunnel!

I tend to try and have a policy of not feeding him if it has been less than three hours since he last woke / fed however in the night I find it really hard sometimes to stick to that. Basically I try to shsh pat / snuggle in but if his awakeness escalates to being fully awake or crying I do tend to feed him otherwise he just cries and cries and cries.

I do think he is hungry much of the time (although I do try and feed him loads through the day) he is also teething and sometimes has a very wet nappy so I try and address those things too.

Early in the night (before 3/4am) if I feed him he tends to just go straight back to sleep and I pop him in his bed, giving him a llittle pat and he's off. But from about 4 - 7am sometimes even when I feed him he keeps waking every hour / 45mins. I tend to just bring him into me and feed him in a side-lying position then.

I'm thinking maybe this is a sign of under tiredness? Or maybe I shouldn't feed him so much at that time :/

Maybe he needs to get up for the day earlier (6am?) and have less naps as you suggest.

My brain is a bit scrambled so any objective thoughts on all that v welcome!

Thanks again.

Tee2072 Tue 05-Feb-13 15:21:41

The facts are that the baby hasn't read the book. Any of the books. Or listened to the HV. Babies are too smart for that. grin

You need to do what you need to do to ensure you and baby get as good a night as possible.

And throw the book (and maybe the HV) out the window.

My son didn't sleep through the night consistently until he was about 2.5 years. Some kids just don't sleep.

bvmsmummy Tue 05-Feb-13 15:15:29

jiltedjohnsjulie Thanks so much. That website is really interesting and reassuring and somehow I have missed it up till now! I really like research based information like that - and yet somehow the dissenting voices of Tracy Hogg, my HV, the lady on the bus are eating away at my tired brain!

You are right my HV is talking out of her arse - she also tried to get me to sleep train him at six weeks (when he was not in fact due for another week!?) - but again somehow it makes me feel like perhaps he really should be sleeping more and I am doing something wrong. Thats authority for you!

I have read the No Cry Sleep Solution btw and I found it quite helpful but I have pretty much tried everything appropriate that Pantley suggests to no avail...

Thanks again - really helpful info.

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