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4 Month Old-How Many BFs In A Night?

(55 Posts)
woopsidaisy Tue 01-Jan-13 07:58:00

Hi. I have asked this before when DS3 in first month. But is it still normal to feed this often at night? Other mums are getting longer stretches now, why am I not?!This is last nights feeds.
7.15-7.45 Then asleep in cot.
Then usually again at 8.15.
He goes a few hours through the day between feeds.
This is the same story each night. He is a big baby, but I wouldn't have said he was a hungry baby. Not weaning until 6mo. Any advice? Or is this the norm?

ElphabaTheGreen Sat 05-Jan-13 08:24:55

I seem to have ranted ThoughtsPlease off the thread. I shall give myself a 'calm down dear' biscuit.


Why thank you, Elphaba. I feel better now. grin

Stixswhichtwizzle Fri 04-Jan-13 18:27:36

So glad to find this my nearly 4 month old is the same OP. Initily she slept from 8:30-1:30ish and woke every 2hrs until 7:30 now she wake every HOUR but want to go straight to sleep after each feed (admittedly these are much shorter!) until 9am!!!
Most of my friends with similar aged babies are saying they get 7,8 or even 9hrs a stretch so I've been really worried. She too feeds less in the day going 3 or more hrs between feeds.
It doesn't help you but im glad we're not the only ones!

wesolutka Thu 03-Jan-13 15:38:51

woopsidaisy, everything in your OP I could have written myself! Same age, same frequency of waking etc... Glad there are others in the same boat.

There was the one "miracle night" when DD slept 5 hours on the trot, woke for a brief feed, and then did 3 hours, feed, 2 hours. I reckon she was doped up from her 16-wk jabs. She reverted to 45-minute power naps the next night... grin

5madthings Thu 03-Jan-13 14:33:42

Yes rant away.

I think a lot of it can be down to personality of child, yes you can try to encourage good sleep and it sounds as tho you are doing all you can.

Out of my five, ranging in age from 13 down to just 2yrs old.,

Ds1 white sleeper for three years, now as a teen he likes his sleep but still suffers from insomnia at times.

Ds2 not a great sleeper but better than ds1, by 18mths wish he was pretty good.

Ds3 similar to ds2.

Ds4 a miracle baby who just slept amazingly from birth and still does at age four, he sucks his thumb, was sucking it at the 20wk scan and sucked it from birth and I ask pretty sure that ability to self sooth through thumb sucking is went he has always slept so well.

Dd just two yes old and pretty good, not as bad as ds2 and ds3, not as good as ds4. She has had her moments and some crap phases but is OK.

I would not to cc, but we were consistent with bedtime routine etc and all the stuff that is meant to help encourage sleep.

I have to say it is biologically normal for babies to sleep with their mums and bfeed in the night. Sleeping in cots and especially in another room is a very western phenomena from the last 100yrs, not something babies ate designed to do biologically.

catwoman101 Thu 03-Jan-13 14:02:14

Complain away to your hearts content, and be shirty when needed.

Much sympathy from this corner. X

ElphabaTheGreen Thu 03-Jan-13 13:41:16

I have done the following:

- introduced a bed time routine from 2-3 weeks old (this works great - he will go off to sleep very rapidly, but won't stay asleep). I also introduced a nap routine when I had no luck with naps - this doesn't work at all.
- encouraged all naps in the cot by putting DS in there when sleep signs appeared, at regular intervals after waking or even once asleep. After weeks and months of failing to do anything other than wake him up entirely by doing this, I resorted to pram, carseat, sling, anywhere moving to stop him from getting overtired - he would never sleep for longer than 20 minutes. I tried the 'wake to sleep' strategy to prolong naps. It worked once, so I can only assume it was a fluke. I have now given up entirely and let him sleep on me as it's the only way he can get a reasonable amount of daytime sleep. I have tried repeatedly to encourage naps at regular times of day - he will not have it, even if obviously tired. He now goes to nursery and they have commented on how shocked they are by how he fights sleep. They (professionals at this sort of thing) can't get him sleeping for longer than 20 minutes at a time either. He gets screamy, grumpy and irritable if he doesn't get naps so he's not one that just doesn't need naps.
- From the time he was a few weeks old, I would put him in his cot sleepy but awake. Despite trying this night after night after night for months, he would just wake up fully. I really have no other option but to feed to sleep if I want him to go to sleep at all.
- He has had a designated 'sleep toy' or what the No Cry Sleep Solution would call a 'lovey' since birth. He only has it in his cot and I have frequently slept with it down my shirt so it gets the smell of me and my milk. It does nothing to encourage sleep.
- He has the same blanket wrapped in the same way around him for every nap and night sleep to encourage a sleep association.
- Days are kept bright and lively; nights are completely quiet with no lights and no talking. Nappy is changed only when necessary.
- His bedroom is neither too hot nor too cold (always within 2 degrees of 20 degrees).
- I will lie him in his cot from time to time during the day so he knows it's a nice place to be - he loves it there and will even lie there quietly while I have a shower, chewing on the nose of his lovey for the duration. Will he sleep? Will he heck.
- He has a regular bedtime of 6:30, although I will bring this forward if he starts showing tired signs. I have tried later bedtimes, I have tried earlier bedtimes.
- Prior to weaning, he would feed every 1.5 to 2 hours day and night. If I tried increasing his feeds during the day to theoretically space the night feeds he wouldn't have it. I've always laughed at the concept of a 'dream feed' because DS would be awake and demanding a feed long before the classic 11pm feed that people assured me would mean a longer night's sleep.
- Yes, I would rule out everything else and try all other means of settling him, including pat shh and several nights of pick up, put down, before giving him a feed. He would just get more and more agitated.
- At four months, we tried gradual withdrawal. This reduced the night feeds down to about three, until he got a cold plus the four month sleep regression (didn't know his sleep could get any worse) and we were back to beyond square one.
- At six months, we tried controlled crying (god help us). He would scream for an hour and a half to two hours, sleep for 45 minutes, then start again. After a week of this we gave up.
- At seven months he is now on three good-sized meals a day most days, at the same times each day, plus a BF every couple of hours (still). As he will be at nursery full time in a month when I have to go back to work, I'm trying to get him to take feeds mainly from a cup rather than me.
- He has been medically cleared of anything causing his awful sleep - no allergies, no ear infections, no reflux. Tongue tie was snipped to see if this would improve efficiency of feeds - it did nothing. My supply is gushing and he is off the top centile line for his age in length.

The 1.5 to 2 hourly wakings continue through the night so in the past week or so I have done what I said I would never do which is cosleep, as I really don't know how else I'm going to cope working full time on the amount of completely broken sleep I'm getting. I am currently trying night weaning and the Pantley Pull-Off.

I doubt the above amount of effort is unique to me. I know I've tried other stuff as well, but these are the key points.

Please, can I please be allowed to complain about how exhausted I am now, and get more than a little shirty when someone tries to suggest that I could have done something differently to improve his sleep?

catwoman101 Thu 03-Jan-13 13:35:27

Normal = both extremes of a 3 mo sleeping through and waking hourly.

Babies are individual people, it's not really surprising that they are so different.

Also, the lucky versus worked for it- impossible to prove, as you can work for good sleeping, but if you we're always going to be lucky and have a baby that sleeps, you can falsely congratulate yourself.

Some people have suggested not feeding a baby when it stirs, but waiting until it cries. That works for some, but I find that if I catch dd (13 weeks) before she properly cries, she settles quicker.

For what it is worth, dd feeds usually twice, occasionally once. Did I work towards this, yes, but do I think I got lucky - you betcha.

ThoughtsPlease Thu 03-Jan-13 13:34:55

No I haven't read all the others you are right.

As I said why don't we just assume that everyone has tried everything then, and just say oh dear you're exhausted but it's normal etc!

All my DC would feed far more frequently than 3 hourly in the day, I always had so many comments about surely they're not hungry again are they? But yes they were as they were not feeding in the night.

Loislane78 Thu 03-Jan-13 13:24:50


My baby is the same age as geeks, also BF and in a lot of ways I've had it easier. I'm convinced this is due to temperament and not what I've done differently as we've both done/tried the same things - and the same can be said for my NCT group - we can all try the same routine/strategy, whatever you want to call it and the results will be different.

My LO feeds every 3 hours in the day, (sometimes more but she won't take a good feed more frequently) usually has 2-3 naps in the day the last one not more than 2 hrs before bedtime; has a bedtime routine and falls asleep quite quickly in a cot in her own room....


still wakes up for 2 feeds in the night (sometimes 3) and doesn't always self settle back to sleep. I'll let her wriggle for a few minutes but am not happy to let her CIO at 20 wks. Same results when co-sleeping.

My point is, people can do whatever you might think is necessary to get a baby to sleep through/the textbook tips and even the 'easy' babies don't always so we should be v supportive of mum's who are having a more difficult time than us.

Appreciate you might not have read all the other threads but your posts do read a little like 'well you can't have done/tried everything or else that wouldn't still be happening'.

ThoughtsPlease Thu 03-Jan-13 13:11:37

Kveta, you have described a very very different situation to a 4 month old baby waking 10 times a night, you have a 3 year old who has been referred to a sleep clinic for hourly wakings.

I guess it depends how we are using the term 'normal', while I am certainly not saying that your DC is not normal, it is fair to say that perhaps the sleep pattern is not a 'normal' one i.e. not the average sleep pattern of a 3 year old, hence the referral to a specialist sleep clinic.

Kveta Thu 03-Jan-13 13:00:30

Thoughts, we have spent 3 years working on his sleep, have been referred to local sleep clinic, supported by sleep experts, and he still has the odd week/month of hourly wakings for no discernible reason. Funnily enough, all the experts have agreed that we cannot do any more to get him sleeping, and the best we can do is hope that full time education helps wear him out more than the 4+ mile route marches and strict bedtime routine do smile

also, of course it's normal - in the same way that there is a range of ages over which learning to walk is normal. Just because my child walked at 9 months, it doesn't mean that a child not walking until 18 months is abnormal, nor that his parents should try harder to get him moving. So why should it be different for waking?

ThoughtsPlease Thu 03-Jan-13 12:34:29

Ok so what have you done to try and change the situation? When exactly do they sleep in the day? When do you feed them? What do you do at night?

Or do you prefer to just complain about being knackered?

ThoughtsPlease Thu 03-Jan-13 12:32:15

There you go, you have admitted that no it is not necessarily 'normal' for all babies once the first few weeks are over to be awake literally all night, however this is what everyone keeps saying to posters who ask is this normal?

People have a choice, accept it, believe they have tried everything and accept it, or perhaps admit they haven't and actually a new idea might help.

If you see me as being smug and patronising that is your issue, note I am not saying it makes you a bad parent though, or that I am superior or marvellous! I can assure that I do not think that I am.

However, for some people yes some new thoughts might help, and yes I believe for the majority this could be the case. But hey, someone is knackered, but would prefer to be told it was normal, so just accept it, you may have tried lots of different things, but that does not mean that the next person has so should just be told to accept it.

But as you say my DC sleep well so what do I know about DC sleeping well! confused

ElphabaTheGreen Thu 03-Jan-13 12:30:40

Thank you, Kveta. Exactly.

Kveta Thu 03-Jan-13 12:11:48

Thoughts, if a child will sleep, then yes, the parents can either help or hinder this process.

Some babies/children just do not sleep, no matter how utterly marvellous the parents are.

Some babies just sleep, and it is at least partly down to the parents laying the groundwork, and putting a lot of effort in.

Some babies just sleep regardless of what the parents do.

You are coming across as exceptionally smug and patronising to those of us who have bad sleepers despite spending their whole lives working on sleep solutions smile

ThoughtsPlease Thu 03-Jan-13 11:32:24

And please I am not saying there is 'superior' or 'bad' parenting, I really just genuinely believe that things can be done to help babies sleep well at an early age.

On a thread where people say they are knackered, and yes I can fully understand how awful it must be to be so knackered, which is exactly why I could not just go with the flow and eventually they would sleep.

Any HV I spoke to said that the length of time sleeping was fine.

ThoughtsPlease Thu 03-Jan-13 11:26:18

No I made a conscious effort right from birth to try and prevent continual frequent night wakings. It wasn't luck, if it was luck I would have just fed when they cried and let them sleep when they wanted for as long as they wanted, e.g hours without feeding in the day and then wondered why they were awake all night etc.

With subsequent children it can work both ways, some people have more time for the first to focus on them all day and then they may sleep better at night, whereas siblings then get less time, so it is made up for at night in the early days which sets a pattern. Less energy from the parents as there is more to do with more children may mean they just go with the flow more, when actually a little more structure would help even if it is harder to start with it quickly pays off.

For others though more experience helps with more children, and the tendency to sleep late in the morning isn't possible if you have a school run to do, so a better routine is created from the start through circumstance.

Whatever the situation of first or subsequent children, a baby and toddler, or babies and school age children, yes I still believe that a routine tailored to fit in with all the children can usually work, and I don't mean that in the sense of 'only feed every x hours, and sleep from x to x exactly'. I mean an idea for the day of total sleep, number of feeds, not too tired for a good feed at 6/7pm, put to bed then, woken well for a feed at 10/11pm, setting a pattern, guiding the baby. If the baby falls asleep very quickly, particularly in the evening and in the night, rouse a little and feed some more until you think they have had a really good feed, if you don't yes they will be awake again in an hour wanting feeding again.

A good daytime sleep in their cot, as well as the out and about ones, gets them used to sleeping where they will be at night. You can deal with helping them to learn to self settle much better in the day than at night.

Feeding when doing stuff with the other children, reading homework etc. I do my DDs hair for school while breastfeeding for example.

Piemistress Thu 03-Jan-13 11:11:00

Those who got lucky and have good sleepers can't fully understand how hard it is being so knackered all the time.

thoughts you said it was down to intervention on your part, what did you do? I still think that 7 weeks is too early to go without a night feed

ElphabaTheGreen Thu 03-Jan-13 11:04:23

So how do you explain the many desperate mums in the Sleep forum who had beautifully sleeping babies for their first/second babies then despite using exactly the same strategies for subsequent DCs had awful sleepers? My mum was adamant that my excellent sleeping as a baby was down to her superior parenting, until she met my DS. I have done everything she did and more: crap sleeper. The co- sleeping is a coping mechanism I've adopted in the past couple of weeks, so it's certainly not the cause of his frequent night wakings. They've been going on since pretty much birth.

You got lucky.

ThoughtsPlease Thu 03-Jan-13 10:41:59

Completely agree Christmas!

Of course it was down to intervention on my part, and I'll go as far as to say that the results were faster with each child. DC1 slept 12 hours at 12 weeks, by DC3 it was 11 hours at 7 weeks.

Yes they are different babies, and may have been different anyway regardless of birth order, but common sense tells me that as Christmas says above experience generally helps.

Another example of something that I think doesn't help is the suggestion always made of co-sleeping if they wake all night, now if I had co-slept I could well imagine all 3 waking briefly finding me and smelling me there and thinking ooh perhaps I'll have some milk that would be nice even though I'm not hungry!

ChristmasKnackers Thu 03-Jan-13 09:53:04

Maybe more personality than luck then. I guess it's one of those things that people will always disagree on as we just can't prove anything!

I was wondering whether my DS2 was better because of his personality or whether I am just a bit better at parenting as I had done it before. We will never know!

Good luck, I know your DS will settle when ready. FWIW DS1 who never slept through till 13 months is now an amazing sleeper who goes with no fuss and sleeps 12 hours straight. smile

ElphabaTheGreen Thu 03-Jan-13 09:35:46

I would always allow DS several minutes to give himself time to settle before feeding. I followed every piece of advice going about how to gently nurture good sleeping patterns, but DS, sadly, had not read any of this advice. I still think it's luck, pure and simple.

ChristmasKnackers Thu 03-Jan-13 09:29:24

Sorry I think it's more than just luck. Although I do believe babies will do as they please to a certain extent.

My first baby woke through the night until 13 months (when I stopped breastfeeding). On reflection I think this was in part to me constantly feeding him, whenever he made a peep.

With my second born, I was concisous that I didn't want a repeat so I only feed him when he actually starts crying. I was amazed about how often he would actually stir, fuss and then go back to sleep. He was sleeping 9 hours from 4 weeks, although I am aware that in part some of this is down to his personality.
As I don't have the time to rush to his every whimper, I think he can settle himself much more easily.

ElphabaTheGreen Thu 03-Jan-13 09:19:34

Thoughts You got EXTREMELY lucky with all three of your DCs and we're all envy. I will very politely and courteously say, however, that your luck discounts you from being able to give advice on the matter as you cannot possibly know what it's like to BF the way we have to, nor do you, or can you, have any idea how to change the behaviour, since you've never had to do it yourself. You said yourself that waking 6-8-10 times a night isn't hunger - no, it's not. It's comfort, and the behaviour of a baby that hasn't learned to segue independently through sleep cycles. Geekette has obviously tried feeding more often during the day, I've tried feeding more often during the day, I know a number if others that have tried feeding more often during the day, including loading up on solids for those of us past 6 months - it doesn't always work. It's a sleep issue that requires drastic action to alter, or a grim determination to simply see through ('riding the mo fo out' as we've started calling it on this support thread.

Be delighted with your sleeping babies but please, please acknowledge that they got that way through luck, and not by any intervention on your part.

ThoughtsPlease Thu 03-Jan-13 09:04:03

Oh yes I said your babies were not normal didn't I confused

You said you had a baby who 'just won't play along' implying that many babies will not still be waking 10 or more times a night by now. You have said you are horribly sleep deprived and want to change it but are so defensive that you cannot change it and have to just accept it.

I don't know you or your baby, but again I will say that i believe without any extenuating circumstances that the number of night wakings could be improved significantly.

Just to repeat I am not saying that I think that anyone's baby is not normal or that anyone is a bad parent!

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