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Weaning my 9 mo off night feeds

(30 Posts)
marushka82 Mon 21-Apr-14 21:54:34

My DD is going to be 9 months in a few days and she still hasn't slept through the night. I'm still breastfeeding and we've been doing BLW since she was 6.5 mo (it's going well and she's eating more and more food).
We're currently co-sleeping (and have been since she was 3-4 months) but she's waking up at least 2-3 times every night.
We have an evening routine (bath, pyjamas, story, boob) and she usually goes to sleep around 9pm. She doesn't self settle and I need to be with her until she fall asleep either cuddling her or shushing. She sleeps with a dummy most of the time. The problem is she'll only do one sleep cycle (about 30-40 minutes) and will then wake up and want to eat again. That continues until we go to bed, usually until 11pm, and then she'll wake up 2-3 times at night and eats some more - there's no other way of settling her but giving her the boob! Suffice it to say we're a bit tired and would really love some sleep. I'm sure she'd benefit from it too!
She's on 75th centile now and weighs 9.5 kgs at least. I'm pretty sure she wakes up out of habit not because she is hungry.
My friend suggested that we can wean her off night feeds (or snacks) by offering her water instead. She said the best way would be for me to sleep in another room and for my husband to comfort DD when she wakes up and offer her water so that she doesn't smell milk. My friend claims that system worked for both her babies. There was some crying but her DH was in the room the whole time comforting the baby so it wasn't a full on CIO.

What do you think? Has anyone tried this method? I'm willing to try it because DD's sleep habits are pretty bad and I feel really tired during the day and don't have energy to play with DD... At some stage it would also be great to get our bed back!

ElizaJanina Tue 22-Apr-14 00:19:17

Sorry I can't really help but I am watching this post because I'm in the exact same situation with my 8 month old. The water feeds sound like an interesting idea. I'm not sure how well they will work though.

marushka82 Wed 23-Apr-14 08:24:50

ElizaJanina I feel for you!

We started on Monday night. I fed DD and read her a little story afterwards (previously she would very often be fed to sleep), then gave her a dummy, turned on a lullaby and stayed with her cuddling her until she fell asleep. When she woke up half an hour later my DH went to soothe her. There was some crying but then she slept for a few hours. Woke up again around midnight and then at around 3.30am (although I was sleeping on the couch I could still hear her cry, it was terrible but I knew she wasn't there on her own, but was being comforted by DH. She fought for about 40 minutes and then slept until 7 am. Normally she'd wake up at least twice more to eat!
Last night she woke up at 1 but cried for about 10 minutes and slept until 6.40 am (probably woke up because my DH set his alarm for 6.30 - normally he gets up at 7.30.
I am sure she is not hungry or thirsty because she didn't want any water.

I'll definitely report how tonight goes! Next step will be to get DD to sleep in her own cot that has been unused for about 6 months now! :D

SpiderRoaster Wed 23-Apr-14 21:37:00 <-- this is a good gentle way if night weaning. They don't recommend for under 12 months, but it is very dependent in how much milk / food baby is taking during the day. Most parents know their own babies to make this choice.

It's a good read non the less and I found it successful at 13 months. I continued to bf long after then too.

rootypig Wed 23-Apr-14 21:41:07

We basically did this (what you describe in your OP), though it was a bottle. You're right, she is waking through habit. And it sounds like you're doing brilliantly. Fwiw we never left DD to cry, always held her while she screamed in a rage comforted her, and she settled in the cot fine and slept through rapidly. So CIO in my experience is just not necessary.

She will be happier, she needs rest more than night feeds at this point. Good luck.

poocatcherchampion Wed 23-Apr-14 21:41:35

following with interest. my 8.5mo has a dream feed at 10.30 - newly introduced and it does push her past midnight.. hmm then she wakes at 3 ish and 5 ish whereupon she comes into our bed and alternately snoozes and plays with my face hmm hmm
I'm not really up for her crying - mostly as I don't want her to wake her sister but I'd like to improve on this a bit if not a lot!

rootypig Wed 23-Apr-14 21:41:42

And yes they don't want the water one little bit grin

rootypig Wed 23-Apr-14 21:44:52

Oh just saw your last bit of your last post about getting her to sleep in her own cot - build up to it gradually ie naps, then naps and start of the night, then naps, start of the night and first waking, if you have one. When they wake up in the night they are the most vulnerable and disoriented and most in need of a familiar environment - smells, sights, sounds. Daytime is easier because they are less tired and can see where they are. Make the cot a specific set up eg a stuffed toy or cuddly thing or whatever that lives in there, and then keep it that way throughout. I also found a night light helped (Ikea one, think it's called patrul, it's great). More good luck!

marushka82 Wed 23-Apr-14 23:16:05

Thank you for your tips everyone!
Tonight has been ok so far, she was overtired because she missed her last nap so was quite fussy and just had a bf and wouldn't even touch the bottle. Slept for 2 hours (never happened before, she'd always wake up after half an hour or 40 minutes). Cried a bit and DH managed to settle her in about 10 minutes. She's asleep now, wonder what time she'll wake up next.
Rootypig it's exactly like you said, DH holds DD while she screams and while it's horrible to hear your baby cry and every time i just want to run into the room and cuddle her and feed her I know that she's fine and there's no harm being done to her.
She is healthy, weighs almost 10 kgs and has plenty of breastfeeds plus solids during the day so definitely not hungry.

Thanks for the tips re: moving DD to her cot, I'll definitely try to follow that pattern and start with naps.

marushka82 Thu 24-Apr-14 05:01:32

She slept from 11 until 4.20 and has been crying for half an hour, dh just managed to settle her... I feel horrible listening to her wailing but it would be super inconsistent to feed her now... This is so hard!

rootypig Thu 24-Apr-14 09:24:28

sad I hope she settled marushka. Agree that inconsistency is a killer. She had DH with her. I hope tonight is easier. flowers

rootypig Thu 24-Apr-14 09:25:13

ps 11 - 4.20 is great!

marushka82 Thu 24-Apr-14 12:50:00

Thanks Rootypig! She was crying for an hour sad Woke up at 7.30 all smiley though and had a good feed.
I hope the fact that she woke up at 3.30 two nights ago and 4.20 last night means that she'll wake up at 5 tomorrow morning? Or maybe will sleep through?
I really feel horrible as DD sounds a bit hoarse today but otherwise seems her normal self. I hope for no more crying tonight!
I also wonder how soon after she starts sleeping through I can abandon the couch and go back to sleeping in my bed... will she smell the milk and continue to wake up? hmm

Regressionconfession Fri 25-Apr-14 06:43:22

Oh my god Marushka, it's Juvenile. You're always one step ahead of me. Sounds like you're doing brilliantly with the weaning. Well done!!!! thanks x

Sunnydaysablazeinhope Fri 25-Apr-14 07:16:46

No thoughts other than 9mth old waking for feeds is perfectly normal.

Both mine didn't sleep through 7-6 til about 14/18mths. Neither did many bf or mix feed babies we know. Several bottle onlys too!

I get your getting fed up but this is still what babies do....

marushka82 Fri 25-Apr-14 09:04:09

Regressionconfession what a coincidence! Is your DD waking up often as well?
Sunny I know, but DD was waking up every 40 minutes until we went to bed and then every two hours or so! I don't have any family here to help me and I was getting exhausted and found it hard to find any energy to play with DD. Couldn't nap with her during the day as her naps are only 40 minutes (if I'm lucky).
Anyway, we made the decision and I think we have to see it through if that makes sense.
Last night DD fell asleep at 8.30, woke up 40 mins later, I gave her a cuddle and she went back to sleep quickly. Woke up again about 1.5 hr later, DH soothed her (she cried for less than 5 minutes) and then she woke up again around 1 am, cried for half an hour and fell asleep - she is STILL asleep now, almost 8 hours later. Poor thing is probably catching up on all the sleep she missed when she was waking up to snack (because most of the wakings were not proper feeds, just quick nibbles!)
Yes, I won't lie, I feel guilty that she was crying, but she wasn't left on her own in a dark room, DH was with her. More sleep will benefit all of us, I feel like my marriage was suffering because DH and I were grumpy and sleep deprived!

Amazonia Fri 25-Apr-14 09:41:07

No milk today, my love has gone away
The bottle stands forlorn, a symbol of the dawn
No milk today, it seems a common sight
But people passing by don't know the reason why

marushka82 Fri 25-Apr-14 10:18:10

Amazonia don't make me worse than I already feel! grin

marushka82 Sat 26-Apr-14 09:56:41

Last night she woke up once after about an hour, cried for a minute, DH soothed her and she slept for the rest of the night until 7.30. DH said she was stirring a bit in the middle of the night, at one stage she even started climbing up and crawling in bed hmm but she wasn't crying and went back to sleep quickly. So DH and DD are well rested which is great.

I, on the other hand, feel like I was ran over by a truck (I guess our couch is not that great for sleeping on :D

rootypig Sat 26-Apr-14 22:03:22

Yay! and go back to bed OP, really.

marushka82 Sat 26-Apr-14 22:15:10

haha, will do rootypig, will do. Tonight DD is sleeping in her own cot (she all of a sudden remembered how to roll over to her tummy and with her crawling around we cannot have her in our bed anymore, I don't want her to fall off!
One more night on the couch for me and then I'm going to enjoy our bed again, yay!

marushka82 Sun 27-Apr-14 07:26:53

sad Major setback, she woke up three times, the first one she was super easy to settle, then she fought for an hour and would not go back in the cot, another one she fought for about 30 minutes. I feel like we are back to square one sad
Will try the cot for naps today and hopefully after some time DD will get used to it...

SpiderRoaster Sun 27-Apr-14 09:23:48

I've been following this thread since you first poster.

Do you think she may be genuinely hungry on at least one wake up?

I know you've started it but it is ok to stop and perhaps revisit it in a few weeks.

She may be thirsty - is water being offered?

She may just want you, if dad is going in, she could be getting upset because not only have you cut boob off but your no where to be seen either.

I'm going against the grain on the thread, but it is ok to stop - its not failure or a waste of effort so far, she is perhaps just not ready for it. DD was always hungry first thing in a morning.

Even now as a toddler, she wakes and wants breakfast. Prior to her finding her own sleep pattern, that 4.30/5am feed was her most significant one. Even after night weaning, 5am she'd wake and want milk. She eventually grew out of it. At 9 months, denying milk is perhaps to young in my honest opinion.

marushka82 Sun 27-Apr-14 11:58:05

Hey Spider, thanks for your comments.
We tried offering water but she didn't take any, she kept pushing the cup away. She is hungry in the morning and has a proper feed.
I will try and feed her once in the middle of the night and see how we go, the problem before was that she was eating so often during the night that she ended up snacking during the day. Now I noticed that she spends more time on the breast during the day and actually focuses on eating. The feed before bedtime used to be very short because she'd just eat a bit and push my boob away (perhaps knowing that she can have some more milk in 40 minutes!) and now she has a proper feed.
I'll see how tonight goes and try giving her milk from the bottle I guess. If she continues to cry every night I suppose we could wait another month and try again smile

SpiderRoaster Sun 27-Apr-14 12:04:01

UnMN hugs, I know it is hard and completely exhausting. And then you feel because you've started something you should 'see it through' or whatever. Just do what makes you/DH/baby happy.

It's a good sign that she's feeding well in the day, she knows it isn't coming at night time. But I would just think about how long between her last 'drink' or 'food' she has when trying to get her back off at night. Fighting her sleep for an hour and half will be exhausting her (and you), so I would probably go for the easier option of feeding. It won't be forever and certainly won't mean you've created any bad habits.

Perhaps try one last feed when she first wakes (before midnight ideally) and then try just 5/6 hours of no feeding.

Did you read my previous link by Dr Jay Gordon - his gentle method is good (similar to what you are doing) but it is aimed at over 12 months. Lots of info in it though too.

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