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Considering starting to mix feed after 10 months but worried I'll regret it

(11 Posts)

Likely to be long, sorry.

My DD is nearly 10 months and BF still going strong. She's also eating really well, not discovered any food she dislikes yet. Problem is sleep. She keeps going through periods (3 weeks or so) of waking every hour for at least half the night, if not all night. Sometimes she'll settle with a cuddle, mostly nothing but BF will do. When she's not waking frequently she still wakes for a feed at roughly midnight, 3.30 and 6 - often wanting to start her day after the 6am feed. Feeds are at least half an hour but are often as long as an hour. After months of this (has been going on since January) I'm exhausted and DH, who is supportive of BF, is getting frustrated that he can't do anything to help.

I've tried feeding more during the day to see if the night feeds reduce but it makes no difference. We've also tried bottles of EBM during the night but DD refuses.

Although the waking every hour began with teething (two teeth now) it still keeps happening even when there's no sign she's teething again.

Once DD is over the cold she's just started with (only the second she's had so I know that BM is doing her good) I was thinking of trying to wean her off the 3.30am feed by offering a cuddle and then water before resorting to BF. If this doesn't work I'm considering offering formula at her midnight feed to see if she'll then be able to go until 6.30am before another BF as formula takes longer to digest. DH has suggested this as he could give her formula at midnight allowing me to sleep from when we go to bed through to early morning BF, if DD doesn't wake after formula.

One of my main concerns with starting to mix feed at this stage is that I'll regret it, even if it does work and I'm able to get more sleep and start to function properly as a person again. I had no strong feelings about BF before DD was born, just thought I'd try it but I didn't really expect it to work - I even bought a load of bottles and huge steriliser before DD was born. Once we got through the first few weeks of cluster feeds I thought we'd stick with it to six months. As we approached six months I thought we'd aim for a year so DD could go straight onto cows milk with no need to faff about with formula and sterilising bottles, etc. I know there's nothing wrong with FF, but I do feel that mix feeding now would, in some way, be letting me and DD down and a cop out as I'd be doing it just because things are getting tough with regards to sleep.

Has anyone got any experiences - positive and negative - of starting to mix feed / continuing to BF at 10 month, or any advice about how to start to night wean. Would really appreciate it.

Thanks, and sorry for the epic post.

JandT Tue 07-Jun-11 12:04:57

Hi, I have a 10 month old and although I haven't mix fed, I don't think you should feel it's a cop out. If you are getting sleep and you and your DH are happy and calm, she'll be better off! I breastfed until just under 10 months but he went off it towards the end and in fact doesn't have milk of any type now apart from in his meals, with cereal etc (HV said it was fine and not to worry). I felt sad he no longer wanted it but he's perfectly fine without and tbh, it's a hell of a lot longer than most people manage.

How much are you feeding her? My DS is like yours in that he'll eat anything so we started feeding him as much as he'd take in the evening when we got fed up/tired with night time waking. As he has three meals a day (often eating as much as me!) with drinks and a couple of snacks he has slept really well and it pretty much happened at the same time.

How often does she eat during the day? I'd try feeding her more then and less often and hopefully her tummy would get used to it and thus night time would be better.

The only real advice i have is whenever I read about night time problems they tell you to try it in the day first and then shift it towards night time.

Good luck and don't feel bad-happy parents make happy babies!!

TruthSweet Tue 07-Jun-11 12:08:26

The thing is if nothing but bfing will settle her, how will giving her formula help? If it's not about her tummy but her mind (i.e. is she waking for closeness with mummy not for food) formula won't do anything (unfortunately!). She might well be full of formula and still want to nurse so you might end up making up bottles in the night and then bfing. Or it might work and she sleeps with out waking. IT really is a suck-it-and-see situation.

It's hard when all they want is mummy (and what's on mummy wink) but they do grow out of it. DD1 was night weaned at 12m by DH giving water, DD2 did it all by herself at 16m and DD3 19m is mostly nightweaned but sometimes decides she needs a feed in the night and DH just won't do (DH looks after DD1 & DD2 if they need anything in the night and takes it in turns with me if DD3 is having a rough night).

Have you tried DH going in with water and a cuddle or feeding her but cutting it short rather than letting her feed as long as she likes, gradually shortening the length until a cuddle does the trick? The No Cry Sleep Solution is supposed to be good as is Dr Jay Gordon's night weaning stuff (google him for details).

Hope you find what works for you soon.

Cosmosis Tue 07-Jun-11 12:12:21

I agree with Truthsweet. I think you'd be better off doing it gradually by cutting down the length of feeds, as I think it's probably more a comfort issue than an hunger one - especially if she's been teething and had a cold recently.

whyme2 Tue 07-Jun-11 12:13:37

Hi,

I would start by offering water through the night. If you think she has sufficient food and milk during the day then she is more likely to be waking for a bf/cuddle rather than hunger.
tbh I wouldn't start with formula at night - it is another adjustment for the digestive system and may cause more upset by introducing it at night.

You may find it easier to have your dh offer water at night.

I've had 4 dcs and two of them needed some 'encouragement' to get through the night without me. 10 months is a reasonable age to do this I think.

There is a rumour that bf babies do not sleep as well and formula is some kind of sleep inducing magic - in my experience this is not true.

Debs75 Tue 07-Jun-11 12:15:58

DD2 was like this at 10 months and she stayed like that until she was 18m onld which was when I refused to feed her in the night as I was pregnant again.
right from the start she fed a lot and she always woke at least twice for a feed. She ate well during the day and had access to bm whenever she liked but she still needed those extra feeds during the night.
I found that co-sleeping after the 4am feed helped with the tiredness. I too tried the No Cry Sleep Solution which helped but it didn't stop her waking for a feed.
The good news is when I decided no more night feeds she was good at stopping and was content for a cuddle instead.

If your dd will take ebm then maybe let dp do a bottle in the evening so you can rest, hopefully after a few nights or weeks of letting dp feed her he can move to feeding her in the night. I think tyou will have to either take it slow or do it really fast

Albrecht Tue 07-Jun-11 12:18:58

ds is 11 months and sounds very similar with regard to sleep. We've been waiting 5 wks for his 4th tooth to appear hmm.

Last night he woke every hour in the evening, every half hour from 10.30 til 3.30 he wouldn't settle even with a bf and dh took him for the day ay 5.10am so I could sleep for a few hours. (Just to give you an idea you are not the only one.)

Co-sleeping in ds room is the only thing that has got me this far. Not sure how much longer I can put up if it doesnt improve once the phantom tooth appears. Have tried some stuff from No Cry Sleep Solution and can't really say its helped.

I think if you continue to bf some of the time she will be getting all the health benefits, she's having other food so its not the same as introducing formula before 6 months. I think there is no guarantee a ff will make her sleep though, she may be waking from pain, desire for comfort etc. etc.

Would you feel at least you tried if that happened?

RitaMorgan Tue 07-Jun-11 13:17:13

A formula feed might make a very young baby sleep longer if they're waking from hunger, but at 10 months nightwaking is more likely to be developmental/behavioural. If she won't take EBM then she's waking for breast rather than milk.

I wasn't up for control crying, but used pick-up/put-down. We dropped nightfeeds at 8-9 months though and at 10 months ds still wakes in the night for various reasons.

Thanks everyone for your replies.

Sorry, DD managed to click on post with her foot whilst feeding!

DD usually has BF at least 4 times in the day before bedtime feed. She also has three good meals a day plus morning and afternoon snacks and water from sippy cup. If we're out and about she often won't bf as she's too busy being nosy / playing! Night feeds don't seem to be affected by amount of day feeds, however bedtime feed takes much longer if DD hasn't fed as much during day.

We've been trying to implement some of the suggestions from "The No Cry Sleep Solution" with some success so far. DD now settles to sleep much better at night and has fewer wakings from 7.30pm - midnight, if any, and midnight - 6am wakings are better. I've been viewing the 3.30am feed as a feeding issue rather than a sleep issue, perhaps I need to reassess that.

DH would love to give bottle of EBM in the evening so I can get a decent amount of sleep before midnight, however he has a long commute and often only gets in when I'm halfway through the bedtime feed. God help anyone who tries to give DD bottle when she's been taken off the boob!

My instinct (stubborn nature?) tells me to forget about formula as a back up and instead focus on trying to wean DD off the 3.30 feed by offering water, or if she won't settle offering a shorter BF than she'd usually have. Will also get back into the habit of expressing every morning so DH can try to offer EBM either at bedtime if he's home on time, or one of DD's night wakings. Perhaps if we use a sippy cup rather than bottle she may tolerate it as she's used to a sippy cup for water during the day. We'll also persevere with "The No Cry Sleep Solution" and the odd night of co-sleeping when I'm especially exhausted.

Thank you for your comments.

BTW Albrecht you have my sympathies - DD did a a few similar nights to your DS the other week. I felt like I was dying! Co-sleeping can be a huge help but with DD she's usually worse the night after co-sleeping, not to mention the injuries I get as she kicks and pokes in her sleep!

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