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9 week old - tips on dreamfeeding / 4am waking

(19 Posts)
whizzymummy Mon 14-Jul-08 12:56:47

My 9 week old DD has been settled in a rough routine for about a month now, sort of gina ford but not quite as I have a 2 year old so am not that strict and naps are all over the place.
I'm exclusively breastfeeding her and have been expressing a bottle of milk at 9:30pm for my husband to give her at about 11pm. That had been working great and although she'd taking variable amounts (2-4oz) she'd then go through until 5am-ish, and a couple of lovely 6am mornings and I could give her a small feed and put her right back down to sleep until 7am when the whole family gets up.
Life's wonderful and all settled until a week ago all change... We simply can't wake her for the dreamfeed, tried it at variable times from 10pm through to midnight, tried waking her, tried it with her asleep and offering the milk ... no chance, she doesn't want to wake and not interested.
So we've decided to test dropping it and see how long she goes. 2 nights now she's gone until nearly 4am, which I think from a 7pm bedtime is frankly amazing at this age and would be pleased but... the problem - she's ravenous and she won't settle after that feed. She'll sink a bottle of 5 oz and scream for more, or feed loads from me, and with either way will not act like she's satisfied or settle back to sleep without a LOT of effort on our part. Even worse she then loses interest in her 7am feed and the whole day starts to go a bit mad from there!!
Has anyone had anything similar and got some tips? Really don't know where to go from here, my main concern is also not having her waking our 2 year old who has a tendency to be in a light sleep early morning, definitely can't cope with 2 awake early on.
Should I carry on trying with the dreamfeed? (My instinct is not if she doesn't want it.) I've wondered if I should try a top up with a bottle at 7pm to see if she'll go longer (can a 9 week old really go from 7pm to past 4am anyway!?)... or perhaps try something else?
Any advice appreciated!

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 14-Jul-08 13:00:41

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whizzymummy Mon 14-Jul-08 13:19:31

That was my first thought but she's really hard to keep up after 7 o clock and actually starts to fall asleep as soon as I start her feed anyway, usually around 6:30. She clearly just wants to sleep from then on which doesn't surprise me as she's awake pretty much all afternoon (can't seem to get her to nap).
Am thinking I might need to just start my day at 4am from now after having gone to bed early like you suggest.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 14-Jul-08 15:22:44

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StarlightMcKenzie Mon 14-Jul-08 15:23:12

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whizzymummy Mon 14-Jul-08 16:55:37

I think I'll give that a go!

Milco Mon 14-Jul-08 16:57:58

Hello Whizzymummy

Don't really have an answer but thought you might be interested in my experience. My DS is actually 23 weeks but born 10 weeks early, so more like 13 at the mo. Anyway, he usually follows a GF type pattern with bed at 7pm - and like you, we were doing a "dream feed" at about 10-10.30pm until quite recently. But we too found that DS was v sleepy, and when he did wake enough to feed, would not take much (I am BF but this one feed was usually expressed milk in a bottle so easy to tell).

So about 3 weeks ago we decided to let him just sleep through until he woke. First of all he woke at (v roughly) midnight, and then needed one more feed before 7. So that wasn't particularly good for our sleep. But then within a week or two he started getting to 2.30 -3 ish and not feeding again. And then suddenly to 4.30am and now in the last week sleeping to 7 (or last night 6.30). Yippee!

So my advice would be - try to live with it for a little while longer - it really might not be long until your DD can make it to the morning. I think the 10.30 feed was really not helping us - just interupting his natural sleep pattern (he would still wake at 3-4 even with a good feed then). Perhaps something similar might work for you? We too had the problem with DS not being v interested at 7am - so lots of feeding at odd times throughout the morning. But it did pass quickly, your DD sounds keener to go longer between feeds than my DS at that stage.

Hope of some use. Good luck anyway.

PS just re-read the bit about your 2-yr old. Sorry - realise the wakings are more tricky for you. If you just gave more in the bottle and just lived with the messed up morning feed, would that at least get your DD back into bed?

whizzymummy Mon 14-Jul-08 17:37:29

That's great, well done you. If I could look into a magic ball and know it would be alright in a month or whatever I think I'd feel better!! We never managed our DS to do a dreamfeed either and he followed a similar pattern to what you describe. I have been wondering if I should just do whatever it takes to settle her at 4am for now and when she's older and bigger deal with weaning her off it then...I just worry about it becoming habit and also it seemed to be going so well this time.
Thanks for the post, it does reassure me!

Pheebe Mon 14-Jul-08 17:41:12

I second milco. Both my ds's went through this. I think its actually a good sign that they are getting into the stride of a good night time sleep.

Drop the dream feed, no point if she doesn't want it and definitely give a bottle last thing before bed. It took ds1 about 3 weeks to go from 7 to sixish but ds2 only took 2 days shock

whizzymummy Mon 14-Jul-08 18:13:05

thanks pheebe - when do you think I should give the bottle - shall I try and empty both breasts and then offer a bottle?

Pheebe Mon 14-Jul-08 20:49:31

ebm i assume - yes I would think so, if she's hungry keep feeding smile

you might also get some helpful advice on the breast feeding boards. I was formula feeding so don't want to suggest anything that might affect your milk supply

whizzymummy Mon 14-Jul-08 21:03:50

Yes all ebm so am not worried about it being different taste for her. thanks, might post this on the breastfeeding board too!

Milco Mon 14-Jul-08 22:18:42

Whizzymummy hope I didn't come across as smug!

Good luck - hope the plan works

puffylovett Mon 14-Jul-08 22:27:48

I second milco too. I went through a similar thing with my DS when he was that age, he jsut didn't want to wake up for his dreamfeed. Unfortunatly though, at the time, I was really into routine and so I kept waking him up. Consequently he got into the habit and he's still in it at 16 months blush and hasn't ever slept through [tred emoticon]

I say go with her natural schedule, she sounds like she's going to be a really good sleeper you lucky lady !

puffylovett Mon 14-Jul-08 22:29:45

see how tired I am ? that was meant to read [tired emoticon] !!! blush

BTW I bfed, if you want to increase your supply at 4am, then you need to let DD keep feeding rather than expressing (unless you want DP to do it grin !!)

whizzymummy Tue 15-Jul-08 09:01:19

No Milco I certainly didn't think you were being smug! It's nice to talk to people in a similar situation - most people just ask me why I'm complaining as she's sleeping for such a long stretch!
Thanks puffylovett - hmm, getting trapped in a dreamfeed routine not ideal either I suppose! I've been wondering what to do about the expressing too.
DH tried one last time to wake her up last night at 11pm and she took less than 1/2 oz so that's it, no more... and so should I bother expressing at 9:30. I've wondered whether it's been helping my milk supply though and worry if I drop it my body effectively might think it's doing one less feed and so overall milk supply drop. I'm a bit of a novice to this as I ended up bottle feeding my son.
Anyway, she went until 5am before I needed to feed her so that's good - she was certainly grumping in her sleep for ages before but was not awake. I also breastfed her and she went straight back to sleep so suppose can't afford myself the luxury of DH doing the bottle!!
I suppose tonight I'll see for sure how long she goes when we don't wake her up.
Thanks for your help ladies!

Milco Tue 15-Jul-08 12:14:37

Yes I know - even if you've got a relatively good sleeper its difficult not to ponder how to make them better...!

On the expressing front, I just stopped expressing at 10pm. As DS still waking initially at about 12, just fed as normal then instead. But when he suddenly went from 2 feeds in the night to one, and then the next day to 7 (yes, it did happen that quickly in the end) I felt very full and quite uncomfortable by the morning. But I did resist the urge to express and after a couple of days it settled down, so now I feel full but not uncomfortably so by the morning and seem (as far as can tell) to have the right amount of milk at the right times. I think you could gradually reduce the amount you express at 9.30 if it is really uncomfortable otherwise. But ultimately what you want is to produce the same amount of milk as now, but at slightly different times (though if you have been pumping a full feed and your DD has been only taking a small amount I guess you will be producing a bit too much at the mo (or perhaps too much at 9.30 but not enough at 4 - why you had problems in the first few days?)).

Hope that makes sense... it is all quite complicated, and I am certainly no expert - this is my first. But I generally think our bodies do adjust and you only need to pump if you need to relieve the pressure or if you have a specific problem with low supply. But there are lots of BF experts on the feeding board I'm sure. Good luck for tonight.

whizzymummy Wed 16-Jul-08 09:39:51

Hi Milco, just posted on the BF board too, any suggestions most welcome!
So last night I decided to leave her as I said but she woke up. We started to hear her on and off from around 11pm and so my DH went in around midnight and she was wide awake so he gave her the bottle of expressed milk. She was hard to settle after (an objected to the bottle throughout the feed!) but went to sleep finally and went through until 7am without a feed (with a bit of help from the dummy when she woke at 4am aparently!). Now I really don't know what to do, clearly when we manage to wake her for a night feed and she has a good one she'll sleep through until morning. DH thinks if he hadn't gone in at midnight she might have gone until 1 or 2am but no longer - that's far from ideal. I suppose we need to go with the flow and see what she does each night and see if she settles into a pattern again.It's very frustrating as I don't want us to waste time trying to wake her up if she doesn't want to, but on the other hand I think 1 or 2 am is even worse than 4am! Hmm...keep you on your toes babies don't they!

Pheebe Wed 16-Jul-08 12:48:09

Sounds like progress

Think its important to remember that what you're doing is teaching her to go for an extended period without food. Before birth babies are used to a fairly constant blood sugar level, its quite a shock to them to experience flutuating blood sugars and hunger. While she's still little I would go with her for a few more weeks, feed her if/when she wakes in the night. You can create the right conditions for her to sleep through but she will do it when she's ready. Don't feel as though you're doing something wrong if she doesn't for a while yet though.

all the best
phee

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