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tips needed on how to break a night feeding habit

(19 Posts)
cheekbyjowl Wed 30-Oct-13 10:09:34

im not entirely sure but I think my 3.5month old is waking out of habit rather than necessity

we put him to bed after a long breastfeed so hes asleep at 8
he usually wakes at 11 of his own accord and we give him his only bottle of formula then in the hope its heavier than breastmilk and will fill him up more. we prepare 6oz but we can only get him to drink 3. its as if he can see the 3oz line on, the bottle its so precise. he purses his lips and pushes it away with his hands.

but then he wakes at 1.30/2. ive tried to just shh and pat but he pulls my hand towards him and chews on it to show hes hungry and will then have a big feed again

same applies at 5 and 7. This is every night. weve just moved him to his own room and its the same. its been like this since about week 7 (apart from he couldn't coordinate his hands then of course)

what do people think. is this genuine hunger or a habit? I don't want to deny him food if hes hungry but hes meant to be able to sleep for at least 5hrs straight now. his weight is good.

any experience of this? I would dearly love to sleep more than 2 hrs in a row

IComeFromALandDownUnder Wed 30-Oct-13 10:18:51

I think at 3.5 months you should feed on demand. I do sympathise as it is torture. If he is taking a decent sized feed he needs it.

mejon Wed 30-Oct-13 14:36:09

3.5m is still very young to be going through the night and I'm afraid that 'should be going 5 hours' is wishful thinking. I know some do, but the majority don't. If he's waking and feeding then he's hungry. DD2 didn't stop waking in the night for milk until around 7m and I know that's quite early compared to others so was thankful for it. Can you feed him some more during the day to see if this helps at all?

Bumpsadaisie Wed 30-Oct-13 16:17:39

"he's meant to be able to sleep for at least 5hrs straight now" - who says that?! TBH when I read the title of your thread I guessed your baby would be 12 mths plus.

I really sympathise as it's hard. But it will settle down eventually.

If you're BFing they feed all the time to try and stimulate your supply as they need more as they grow. By giving a bottle you may well actually be thwarting this process. Can you co-sleep so that at least you can just roll over and let him feed without too much disruption?

FWIW my children were 19mths and 18 mths by the time they really slept through the night.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 30-Oct-13 16:18:14

The other option is to try a dummy and see if that comforts him.

bluebeardsbabe Wed 30-Oct-13 19:36:42

Please keep feeding your baby on demand through the night, he is definitely hungry por mite. I was feeding at 11/01/04/07 o'clock intill dd was around 10 months. I cut the 1 am feed at 11 months. Who says he should sleep through the night? He is very young. My dd still wakes in the night at 12 months although I don't feed her. I'm afraid that is the life of a parent. It will eventually get betersmile

BonaDea Wed 30-Oct-13 19:39:14

As others have said this is totally normal. It is hard but normal.

His stomach is still tiny and he needs to eat regularly. Breast milk is so fantastically efficient that it is digested quickly and completely so he will need more though the night.

My 7 mo DS still has a feed in the night. The good thing is he is super quick these days and very quick to settle so it feels a lot easier than at first.

cheekbyjowl Wed 30-Oct-13 20:26:45

Oh is it really normal? I'm glad in way but oh dear too. bluebeard - i'm reading 'your baby week by week' which others have recommended. In there it actually says by the time they are the weight my ds is, they should be able to sleep for 8 hours, my neighbour's child (whose 10 days older) is sleeping for 12 hrs and the hv at my postnatal group also asked if i had fallen into bad habits like rocking to sleep.

I know every child is different but i'm just going by what i'm told. I certainly don't want to deny him food! The very same book also suggested - (hang on i think it's the same book - it might have been Gina - don't shoot me) that if they are waking at a set time it's due to habit. It's interesting to read that it's not abnormal, i do wish he'd take more than 3 oz though - do you think it's ever habit - or not until they are over a year old

Bumps cosleeping isn't a bad suggestion. i'm not against it but i'm nervous of it, i do cosleep sometimes but now the nights are colder i'm worried i'll pull the duvet over his head by mistake - and my dh is also nervous he'll roll so we do it - but we don't sleep ourselves when we do (anxious first timers- and we don't have the right garb to put the cot next to us!) . But that's alright I'm happy to feed him if he needs it, i just thought perhaps i was making an error somewhere.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 30-Oct-13 20:52:43

Cheek, do chuck that book out. Me and all my friends and acquaintances have all had at least two babies each and I have NEVER heard of one sleeping 8 hours at 3.5 mths. That's a sample of 30 plus babies!!! Sleeping 8 hrs at 12 mths I wd consider a realistic goal!wink

MillyONaire Wed 30-Oct-13 20:55:04

we broke the habit by banishing me and my boobs to a friends house while Dh dealt with the waking and screamingly disappointed baby. However, he was 16 months old at the time!!

Bumpsadaisie Wed 30-Oct-13 20:55:11

He takes 3 oz cos he has a tiny tum. Which is why he wants to feed little and very often.

Just go with it for now. It's torture I know but they change so quickly and in a couple of months things will prob be v different.

Sounds like the 4 mth growth spurt to me.

Good luck xxx

Bumpsadaisie Wed 30-Oct-13 20:56:09

We broke my DS's night feeding habit by not giving him a bottle. He was 16 mths too.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 30-Oct-13 20:57:15

... And eating about 5 meals a day and 500g of yoghurt to boot : that was one boy who definitely did NOT need feeding at night grin

ZuleikaD Wed 30-Oct-13 20:59:57

It's perfectly normal at 3.5m. Both older DCs gave up night feeds more or less of their own accord around 10m when solids kicked in - I'm expecting DS2 to do the same.

Whereisegg Wed 30-Oct-13 21:10:13

I only offered water to ds, but he was 14 months by this point.

My dd would feed at 10pm, go right through to 6am, then straight back off til 9am at 8 weeks.
Oh how I thought I was clearly doing everything right and was so excited to be expecting dc2.
Please see my first sentence for how that worked out wink

Enjoy the tiny snuggles, as tired as you are, it's a tiny part of his life.
Could you bf for the earlier night feed and get DH to ff the later one occasionally?

grounddown Fri 01-Nov-13 19:16:13

My 9mo DS still wakes for a bottle in the night, 9oz of warm milk and a cuddle - he really enjoys it. i think he may be doing it for a while longer yet smile

LittleMilla Fri 01-Nov-13 20:25:52

How much do you feed him in the day? My ds is 16 weeks and we're down to one wake up (some odd nights when it's more). He's fed every two hours in the daytime and then has a bottle at 7.30pm.

I remember reading on here that they need a certain amount of calories in the daytime and so try and tank them up as much as possible during their daytime hours.

ZuleikaD Sat 02-Nov-13 05:37:03

Their calorific needs vary wildly depending on what they're doing. They don't always have the capacity to take in all they need during the day because their stomachs can only hold so much. The 16 week growth spurt can also be the time of a big sleep "regression" (a term I hate because it implies that so far they've been getting it 'right' and suddenly they start getting it 'wrong'). Also, anecdotally, it can be much worse with boys.

brettgirl2 Sat 02-Nov-13 07:20:12

So breastfed babies have tinier tummies? Dd (25th centile) would take 7oz at that age. Not tiny.

It sounds to me like he isn't enjoying the bottle that much and therefore not taking much. Or he is generally snacking. is he feeding properly at 5 and 7, really? Discovered at around that age that dd didn't really want feeding until an hour after waking

I thought breastfeeding was meant to be easier confused

Obviously I'm going against the majority here but mine usually had one or occasionally two feeds between 7 and 6 at that age.

Everyone On mn though always seems to think babies should all be up all night. ...

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