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Will weaning help reduce night feeds?

(15 Posts)
workingtitle Sun 23-Mar-14 13:02:59

DS is about to hit six months. He's always been a frequent feeder but the frequency of night feeds is wearing me down. We replaced one breastfeed with a bottle of hungry baby milk but even then he's awake and crying for a feed within 2-3 hours (won't be settled without).

I was going to gently start some bl weaning but am getting pressure from family to go full on weaning with purées and baby rice in the belief that this will help him sleep for longer.

Does anyone have any thoughts? I am just knackered and can't think straight about it.

findingherfeet Sun 23-Mar-14 13:13:19

I'm afraid in my experience, weaning won't make a blind bit of difference for a while...he'll be eating such small quantities and foods of minimal calorific value that it won't fill him up, weaning at the beginning is about learning to pick food up and put to the mouth (this isn't as straightforward as you'd think!) exploring tastes and textures etc milk will be main source of nutrients and fill him up for some time...sorry.

ApplySomePressure Sun 23-Mar-14 13:15:01

Didn't with my DS, sorry OP. DS is 1 next week, eats like a horse and still has 2 bottles during the night hmm

workingtitle Sun 23-Mar-14 13:16:28

Thanks so much, findingherfeet. That's what I thought, and I want to get it right... Just getting pressure to fill him up with baby rice, which doesn't feel right but I'd try if it would make a big difference with his sleep.

workingtitle Sun 23-Mar-14 13:20:31

Thanks, ApplySomePressure, I think DS might just be a hungry baby like yours! How do you deal with the lack of sleep? I feel like it's impacting on my ability to parent well but I might need to just be more accepting of it.

fluffandnonsense Sun 23-Mar-14 13:46:42

Weaning has the reverse effect with us. In the end it was a combination of Daddy doing the settling and her going into a big girl cot at 6 months that meant she started to sleep longer. Previously she had been in my bed and was waking every 40 minutes!

ApplySomePressure Sun 23-Mar-14 15:14:55

I'm shattered and went back to work when DS was 5 months old. But you cope, and it does get better. I do find myself getting frustrated with DS, but have to remind myself that I am tired and it's not DS' fault. Take each day as it comes OP smile

People have suggested I "sleep train" him but I cannot deal with crying..! Also if DS is drinking two full bottles a night, I'm guessing he is hungry,still!

ALittleFaith Tue 25-Mar-14 20:11:35

When we weaned DD at 6 months she was still having 2-3 breast feeds overnight. By 9 months she had gone to 5 and I was shattered because I went back to work. I read somewhere (might be No Cry Sleep Solution) if they wake randomly, it's probably hunger, if it's predictable it's habit. After 3 nights of noting her wakings we saw a pattern. We sent DH in with a bottle (she was mix fed but only BF overnight). She refused the bottle but had a cuddle and went back down with minimal protest. Within 3 nights she was sleeping through! 2 months later she's only been up once in the night but she was ill.

To cope I recommend lots of tea brew and resting when they nap!

Justgotosleepnow Tue 25-Mar-14 20:25:44

Don't listen to family, do BLW! It's much better for baby. In my experience weaning onto food made zero difference whatsoever.

Very similar night wakings to you. It's really tiring. I settle her a few times then bring her in & cosleep. Safely of course.

Did try night weaning which worked for a few weeks & DH could do the weekends which let me sleep. But then she got wise to that & freaks out til I feed her. Hey ho.
Plus if bedtime around 8pm, breakfast at 7am it's a very long time for a little tummy to go without food. So I was feeding her from 5am if she woke then.

Lots of pressure here to let her cry. But I just can't do it.
Stick to your instinct!

Rubbish sleep is unfortunately normal shock

minipie Wed 26-Mar-14 12:13:09

It depends on why your baby is waking for frequent feeds: is he really hungry, or has he got into a "feed to sleep" habit and so just can't get back to sleep without a feed.

If it's habit then weaning won't make a blind bit of difference.

If it's hunger then weaning should help but not until he's well established on 2/3 meals a day incl protein and is eating quite a lot. The early stages of weaning (whether BLW or veg/fruit puree) won't make much difference IME.

If you think it's habit then there are various forms of sleep training to help tackle it - controlled crying is one but there are also gentler methods eg the No Cry Sleep Solution.

badidea Wed 26-Mar-14 14:08:59

To be honest, my son was quite a good sleeper (deteriorated at about 5 months due to teething, colds etc) but when he started solids at 6 months his sleeping got much worse (sorry!).

He really took to solids and at 10 months still loves his foods, but the introduction of solids meant that he started waking randomly during the night for poohs (he had stopped poohing at night at about 3 months) and he would also wake up (wide awake) when needing to pass gas (think he couldn't tell the difference between a trump and a pooh).

He's 10 months now and he wakens about twice a night for a feed (which I'm actually fine about because DS1 was like yours and woke every 2-3 hours for milk until he was 2 years old!) but to be honest, most if it is him waking because of gas, and it takes a feed to get him back to sleep. He never did this when on a milk-only diet.

For every baby that slept better when they started on solids (and my friends daughter was one) there will be one who stayed the same or got worse, I think you need to make weaning decisions based on what your child needs and ignore any potential benefit/downside to sleep.

I found any tireness I had from the lack of sleep, disappeared once I came out of my shower - you handle it because you need to. In fact, when DS1 was 2.5 yrs and started sleeping through every night, neither me nor DH could sleep longer than 4 hours as we were so conditioned to waking up...

poocatcherchampion Wed 26-Mar-14 14:15:56

weve got a pretty bad sleeper. it improved at 6 mo and then suddenly got a lot worse - mist have been starting weaning. now at 7 mo she sleeps 10.30-5.30 most nights and a bit round the edges. I consider that very good. smile

GingerMaman Wed 26-Mar-14 14:19:29

If your baby is actually hungry, then yes, weaning should help and definitely give purées a go. It doesn't mean if you give purées you can't do Blw, you can do both smile

Give a purée or some rice/porridge just before bedtime, and see if it makes a difference. Anything is worth a try! Best of luck x

SueH17 Wed 02-Apr-14 20:31:06

Hi workingtitle,
Your question is exactly what I was going to ask! You have exactly the same problem as me! My DS will never sleep through the night and wakes about 4 or 5 times every night. I breast feed him and he always seems to be hungry and I have also had "helpful" friends and relatives suggest weaning him asap or giving him a bottle of hungry baby formula. The Health Visitor and B/F counsellors have said it won't make much difference. Every baby is different and we just have one who won't sleep much! Great!
The advice to just try and nap when he is asleep is good but really difficult as it means totally changing your body clock.
The HV said he's going through a growth spurt as he is 4 1/2 months. She did say previously that at 3 months it does get better, but he is now nearly 5 months and it has got worse! He used to sleep for 3 - 4 hour stretches but that was very short-lived.
I think he has got into a 'feed to sleep' habit as stated above and I just don't know how to break it without feeling awful as I'm never sure how much milk he needs. He never settles himself without feeding. I have noticed though that every time he wakes in the night, he cries when he sees me and is ravenously hungry. It's just so difficult and like you say, the lack of sleep is making me almost ill and not able to think straight.
So, I know exactly what you are going through and hope that things improve for you. Stay in touch.
Sue xx

MorelloKiss Wed 02-Apr-14 20:45:33

I am no expert...just a new mum...but for those with a sleep to feed habit, in particular SueH17, I have a 5.5 month old DD who is EBF.

About 5 weeks ago I'd completely had it, she woke me up 7 times and I fed her back to sleep each time and was exhausted. I roped DP in and things have gotten much better. If she has been down less than 4 hours he is sent in to settle her. (we use a dummy and ewan dream sheep with some stroking). And I was amazed, she strongly protested and cried for a few minutes, but with DP there loving and soothing her...then sleep! If she has been down longer than 4 hours or REALLY won't settle (15 mins of trying and loving) I feed her.

She is pretty reliably waking 2 times a night now...not perfect but manageable...I think the issue was that once I was up it was easier for me to feed her back to sleep than spend 15 minutes soothing and this was forming a habit...

....of course I am no expert...

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