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10 MO still waking all night long - hungry or habit?

(29 Posts)
circlehead Fri 17-Jun-11 13:59:06

Hi All,

I posted a while back when DS was 8 MO and still waking 4x night for BFs. He is now 10 months old and still the same. I was sort of hoping he'd just grow out of it / start taking more solids in the day etc, but 2 months on there seems to be no improvment.

The last couple of nights I was really determined that he would not get a feed the first time he woke (about 2 hours after going to sleep), but it takes about 45 mins of crying/being picked up/falling asleep on my shoulder/being put back in bed/waking up immediately/crying etc. Then once he was exhausted, he would sleep for about 20 mins but then wake up again! Then I don't have the energy to go through it all again, so just feed him straight away as is the only thing that settles him.

I thought it might be that he just wants to come into my bed, as we feed in bed at night and I inevitably end up falling asleep and he stays in my bed til the morning. But even if I snuggle him in bed beside me, he still cries for boob. He then wakes up a further 2x at least.

I have sort of resolved just to continue feeding him every time he cries as A) it gets him back to sleep immediately B) if I leave him to cry he gets in such a state that he can't breathe/stands in his cot and falls and C) I just think ''well, he must just be hungry''.

Am I making a rod for my own back? Has this just become habit and should I be trying to break it?

poppyandsneeze Fri 17-Jun-11 14:01:28

Could be habit, mine did this until 22 months and was dreadful.

I felt it would never end. However, as the little one got older, I was able to say 'no more' and the little one got to understand. I can't offer any other suggestions as I looked for help to. Are you bf exclusively or offering a bottle of expressed ??

RitaMorgan Fri 17-Jun-11 14:06:13

It sounds to me like the problem is picking him up til he falls asleep and then putting him down - if you want him to fall asleep without a feed in the night then he needs to be able fall asleep by himself. Does he self-settle at bedtime or do you feed him to sleep?

It's quite a lot of breastfeeds at night, so he's having quite a good proportion of his calories then - I think you'll have to slowly drop feeds to tip the balance so those calories are consumed in the daytime. I would work on getting him to self-settle at bedtime, then maybe going down to 2 night feeds, then 1, before dropping it completely (if that's your aim!).

pyjamalover Fri 17-Jun-11 14:26:56

my 7 mo is still waking in the night for feeds and I really want him to stop as he sometimes sleeps up to 10 hours, he clearly can do it so why doesn't he, as a result I've been reading a fair bit about sleep training (am I allowed to say those words on this forum?)

It seems there are a few options for night weaning.

1. going cold turkey, books say you will have 2-3 dreadful nights but will get there quickly
2. stretching out the feeds
3. diluting/reducing feeds

I was planning on stretching them out, but he woke 2 1/2 hours before I wanted to feed and wouldn't settle, how could I distract for that long in the night? so I'm gradually reducing the number of minutes I feed for at night. If he doesn't drop them himself when I get down to a minute, I'll go cold turkey and send DH in as when I try to comfort him without feeding it seems to make him more upset as he associates me with BF and then my milk lets down and he can smell the milk!

I'll let you know in a few weeks if it works!

TadlowDogIncident Fri 17-Jun-11 15:14:40

It could well be habit. I was convinced DS was hungry at night at 9 months, then we got a night nanny for a couple of nights because I was so shattered and really had to have a break (he was only waking to feed, didn't need settling or changing, so it was all down to me). She was all set to give him some formula him the first night but he didn't want it, and amazingly after that he slept through - I felt so stupid! I could probably have got decent sleep a couple of months earlier than I did. Can your DH / DP deal with the night wakings for a few nights, circlehead? DS won't settle for me without a feed on the odd occasion when he wakes at night now, but he will settle for DH.

gourd Fri 17-Jun-11 15:35:06

I think it's probably a combination of habit/comfort and other things such as separation anxiety (which makes it hard for them to get to sleep or self settle if they wake in the night), or it could be teething and other problems such as trapped wind. All you can do is persevere with trying to get them to settle without the breast. It does take time and a consistent approach, but there are various methods you could try - best to choose one you like the sound of or adapt one to suit you, and stick to it so you are being fairly consistent in your efforts. Our Lo stopped night feeding and slept through, or self settled through the night from 6 weeks old, but then had a bit of a difficult few weeks when she hit 6 months, due we think, to separation anxiety. She's 9 months now and still doesn't really like going to bed even in the day time but will now settle without too much distress after a few minutes. She sometimes whinges a bit but basically she knows now once the curtains are drawn and she's tucked in it's time to sleep and that I'll still be there when she wakes up so it does seem to be working.. I'll have to see what happens with this when I return to work full time, two weeks on Monday. I do expect there to be another blip when she starts to feel insecure with me gone all day!

gourd Fri 17-Jun-11 15:50:34

BTW ours has toys and rattles in her cot too so she plays with those in the night instead of waking us - well we wake up anyway, as we can hear her talking and singing to herself and playing but she doesn't cry and quickly goes back to sleep in a few minutes. Does your LO have things to play with in the cot? When ours was waking in the night at around 6 months we'd go into her room, put a hand on tummy and say "it's time to sleep now" or something similar, then go away again. We left it about 2 minutes to see if she quietened and if not, repeated. At first we were going in a lot but after a few goes, she started to go quiet as soon as I put my head around the door then cry as soon as I went out, so we knew it was down to this anxiety that she couldn't see us. After that I only did just enough to stop her crying - didn't hang about too long and didn't touch her unless putting my head around the door wasn't enough, and generally it was. We felt if we went in and lifted her straight out of her cot it disturbed her more and also trained her to expect that kind of intervention before she'd go to sleep, so the bare minimum of intervention was what we wanted to do, as we thought we might have to do it for a long time! During the day time we played peek-a-boo and hid objects for her to find (with help!) so she could learn that things are still there even when she can't see them and it did seem to work. That's just one way and it worked for us. I'm sure you'll find something that works for you.

Fontsnob Fri 17-Jun-11 16:13:12

He sounds like my dd. :-( you have my sympathy, I too do all the things you do! Just this last week though I have started to refuse to feed on the first wake ups. Have got from rocking her back to sleep to outing my hand on her chest and ignoring her until she goes back to sleep. Hopefully this will lead to her self soothing... That fabled state that I have heard talk of!

Fontsnob Fri 17-Jun-11 16:13:51

Putting my hand.....not outing it!

circlehead Fri 17-Jun-11 17:22:49

Thanks for all advice, plenty of food for thought if you'll excuse the pun. In reply to your questions:

DS has always been exclusively BF but his dad and I split a few months back so now when DS stays overnight with him he has EBM/occasional bottle of formula if I haven't got much expressed. DS dad says when he wakes, he often isn't interested in bottle and will go back to sleep with a cuddle. There has been one occasion recently he didn't take any milk at night. However, normally takes a 5 oz bottle during the course of 2/3 wake ups. I do often wonder if his waking is due to separation anxiety caused by the split i.e never knowing if I am going to be there when he wakes. I've been thinking of introducing a bottle of bedtime formula for his last feed and see if it makes him sleep any longer...

Previously if he didn't fall asleep on boob, I used to pop him in bed and he would self settle. The trouble is, now he can stand, he just repeatedly pops up! He chatters away and walks round his cot. I leave the room, coming back in every few mins to lay him down again. Eventually he does drop off on his own, but can be up to an hour and half after being put in bed!!

I am trying to drop his 1st feed intially, then work on dropping the subsequent ones.

DS has never slept through - this is why I think it's habit. He has always been fed on demand, day and night.

He has toys in his cot but any attempt to use them to distract him stresses him out more (''Look! Who's this? It's Monkey!'' ''WAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!'')

=(

Fontsnob Fri 17-Jun-11 17:29:41

Someone suggested to us a lightweight sheet wrapped tightly around the mattress and dd, like a giant swaddle, may help stop the night time standing up. Or duct tape.

circlehead Fri 17-Jun-11 18:02:50

Velcro-backed sleepsuit, haha =)

PenguinArmy Fri 17-Jun-11 20:33:24

There were loads of us on post-natal thread who last month (about 14 months) who had DCs that had never slept through. It's a lot more normal than people think as I think people feel ashamed to admit their LOs don't sleep through.

yawningmummy Fri 17-Jun-11 20:50:52

urrrrgh I feel your pain. My DS #1 was exclusively bf was like that and continued to be like that until 13 months, I was back at work and utterly broken. When you are that sleep deprived even the slightest peep out of DS would rattle my nerves and I would do anything to make the noise stop so I could sleep.

For me I tried controlled crying but DS just got so wound up that he was then 10x more difficult to settle. So we ended up walking in putting our hands on his chest and sssshing (such a word?) him. it eventually worked.

At ten months, he should be eating lots of food. Have you thought about maybe giving a weetabix or something to fill that tummy at bed time. From 12months it certainly made a huge difference for my DS.
Most importantly, try not to jump at every whimper, let him try to settle himself. Easier said than done, I know.

Or a bottle of formula? and call in the reserves to help you out if at all possible.

Good Luck

FutureNannyOgg Fri 17-Jun-11 22:08:39

I am in a similar position, I can't be much help except to say that I have tried all the "nice" things I can think of (rocking, patting him in the cot, shushing, giving him to his dad to rock) and actually, feeding him is the least trouble. He stirs (doesn't cry unless food doesn't happen), I haul him into bed with me, latch him on, go back to sleep. Wake a couple more times to latch him on. I am not sure about rods and backs, but for now, that seems a lot easier than pacing the floor with a hysterical baby. Eventually it will stop, he's not going to still be doing it at 4 or 5....

circlehead Sat 18-Jun-11 16:42:25

The daddy had DS last night and again reported back that although he woke 2/3 times, he didn't take any expressed milk, just went back to sleep with a cuddle. Presumably DS knows he can't latch on to daddy!

I will try weetabix before bed / bedtime formula over next couple of nights and see if that makes any difference.

Will keep you posted!

circlehead Sun 19-Jun-11 12:45:55

Well, good news =) I gave DS an absolutely enormous dinner last night (just shovelled it all in before he had a chance to grab spoon/fling food/drop spoon!), plus BF before bed. He was biting my shoulder/the cot just before I put him down, so put some bonjela on and only took 2 times of laying him back down before he rolled over and went to sleep!! That was about 8.30. He woke shortly after 11, I gave him a quick cuddle then back in bed, he stood up crying, I put some more bonjela on, then another 2 cuddles/lay downs and back to sleep! So it could well be teething! He then awoke at 12.30 and I gave him a BF (I don't have the heart to go cold turkey, and sort of thought he deserved it for being so good before!) He stayed in my bed til morning, but I'm fairly certain (in my comatose state) that he didn't wake again until 6.15! We then snoozed (albeit restlessly) for another couple of hours.

So all in all, I am very pleased. Still don't know if him going back down at 11 was due to bonjela or the fact he's now realised he won't get a BF at that time. Have my fingers crossed it wasn't just a fluke!!

circlehead Sun 19-Jun-11 13:04:44

Oh forgot to say also gave DS some water from a beaker at 11 wake up. His eyes opened really wide in surprise!

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Sun 19-Jun-11 14:01:21

Until recently ds (16m)would feed several times a night. Sometimes this wasn't enough and we'd get up and make him a sandwich (despite trying to feed him up in the evenings). This went through a particularly rough patch around 14/15m. But then he came out the other side of that pretty much sleeping through (bar colds, teeth etc). I haven't done anything other than follow his cues. He is just developmentally ready to sleep through now.

Please not feel that you have created a night feed habit in your lo! For some it night just be habbit, but some babies are genuinly hungry in the night even past a year as my ds demonstrates! But they will all get there...you will sleep again!

I found it easier to cosleep and bf as this was how i got the most sleep.

Also sleep development definatly isn't a straight line of steady improvement ime. But rather a series of spurts and regressions that eventually end up with them sleeping through.

FlowerBee Tue 21-Jun-11 14:09:20

My 11 month old was still feeding about 4 times in the night a couple of months ago but now it's only 2 night feeds now (usually 12-2 and 4-6).

We co-sleep and i think that comforts him and makes him feel secure.

We have also tried (with no pressure) on occasion (e.g. after he has had a feed but isn't tired immediately) to get him to sleep by just lying next to him and this does work occasionally and i think this has helped him drop some night feeds, i.e. he is able to 'self-soothe' to a degree when mummy or daddy is lying next to him.

As they get older (and solid feeding improves giving a higher calorie load in the daytime) i think night feeds are more about comfort than calories - BUT - i don't necessarily think this means you should therefore withhold the breast - especially if it gives you a rough night. I'd just continue with the status quo for now, until you feel ready to take the next step whatever that is.

Def habit he shouldnt be hungry if eating enough food and having 3 good breast feeds in the day.

Can someone else partner, mum, friend help for 2-3 nights and offer him water in a beaker instead and do the soothing back to sleep coz as you say he will be associating you with milk and smelling the milk.

circlehead Tue 21-Jun-11 17:01:46

It seems to be working : the night before last, he didn't wake up for his usual 11pm-ish feed. I went to bed at 11.30 and I was well asleep by the time he woke. I heard him stir and make a little peep as I was dropping off but he remained asleep!

ALSO! XP had him last night and reported that he slept 9.30 - 6 !!!

flower24 Tue 21-Jun-11 19:11:02

Hey there
My almost 7 month old has been waking for bf up to 6 times a night for past couple of months. She has been sleeping in my bed as it was just easier. Usualy we all eat at 6 then she just has bf before bed but last night my husband and I had our tea late- about 7.30 and sat DD in high chair just to keep her near by. SHe grabbed some bread and scoffed it down so we gave her more bread, lots of porridge and a yogurt! iv never seen her eat so much! As shed been suffering with teething pain all day we then gave her a small dose of calpol.
Was quite strange to see what happened next- was like a different child- she happily laid in her cot for the first time in months, let me leave the room while she was awake and then slept without stiring for 8 hours! then after a good bf had another 4 hours!
Dont know if it was hunger or pain keeping her up or a combination of both but will see what happens from here on in. feel quite stupid for not trying supper or medicine earlier. but finger crossed weve cracked it! (hope i havnt just jinxed it)
good luck with your little ones!

HollyFP Tue 21-Jun-11 23:16:12

My 11 month old is still waking 3-4 times a night. I've recently managed to stop bf her first waking at around 11pm but the later ones she just will not settle for anything but boob. It got bad a couple of weeks ago, very sleep deprived, but now I just bring her into bed usually at 2nd waking. Hopefully it won't last much longer.
I did think it was teething when it all started a few months (!!) ago but not sure any more, it seems to be going on forever.

I'm reading the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley, which talks about gentle night-weaning. Recommend it!

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 22-Jun-11 08:42:35

eastmidlandsnightnanny your post could be quite upsetting to some mums...but then maybe that's how you get your business?

The fact is you can not force a child to eat "enough" food or bm during the day. Especially if they are busy trying to learn to crawl/walk etc. They are not interested in stocking up for the night, they are only interested in pursuing whatever developmental thing they are in to.

When ds went through lots of night wakings around 15m i spent the evenings following him round with plates of cheese on toast while he climbed the furniture.

When he woke for bf, and on some nights solids, no amount of someone else offering him water in a beaker would have got him back to sleep. "def habit" you say...well maybe partly habit, but definatly real hunger. And i personaly am all in favour of feeding children when they are hungry. I dread to think of the consequences had i tried to follow your advice. Tears and sleepless nights all round to be sure.

As it was i just went with it and after a couple of weeks he started sleeping through of his own accord because he was developmentaly ready.

Perpetuating the myth that babies "should" be sleeping through etc by a certain point is upsetting to many people, who regularly appear on these boards, who are led to believe by self proclaimed experts,that they are doing something wrong. In fact they are allowing their baby to develop at it's own pace, meeting it's needs as it does so and ought to be congratulated imo.

OP , Glad to hear you are getting more sleep! grin

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