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HELP - comfort feeding all night long after starting solids and i have returned to work p/t

(20 Posts)
rufusmacdoofus Fri 15-Jun-07 15:08:27

I have a lovely 6.5 month old dd. she has been fully BF and never really taken a bottle. spontaniously slept from 10pm - 7 am from 6 weeks but two teeth at 3.5 months stopped all that. Night feeding was down to 2 feeds a night - quick 10 minutes and then back in cot so not bad at all. I waited till 1 week before 6 months to start solids. I am a bit of an AP mother although do not co sleep but carry everywhere - feed on demand etc. I thought starting solids would help reduce the night feeds. But it made it worse went up to 3 - 4 feeds a night. Thoouoght she was missing the breast so kept offering all day and she was not interested.snacked for 2 minutes or so then stopped. I have now gone back to work this week. 2 days for a few weeks and then going up to 4 days - she is going to nursery. The feeding has now gone haywire she is waking up every 2 hours and will not settle back. It is not hunger- just comfort suckling. I asume this may also be a bit of separation anxiety due to nursery. Have had 3 or 4 hours sleep in the last 4 nights am a zombie.have started to take her into bed. Have demanding city job and big commute so is a nightmare. Any help or advice would be fantastic. DH has ft job and big commute so don't think moving out and him into nursey will go down well. really wanted to carry on BFeeding but can't stay up all night and go to work. Tried to settle her the other night without feeding - took 2.5 hours of screaming and she woke 2 hours later - i gave in. dummy no good. Am depressed. I thought BF was the best thing ever and loved it - it feels like it has now become my prison and i can't stop anyway even if i wanted to. HELP !

Redbush Fri 15-Jun-07 17:54:36

Hi there, not sure I can be of any help but definitely feel for you. I started my dd on solids a little earlier as like you she was totally bf and I was going back to work - she wouldn't take a bottle at all. Is she having any milk in the day time at nursery? I totally demand fed as well so understand that bit but it sounds like your routine has gone completely during the day as well in your attempts to comfort her. Solids made very little different to my dd's appetite for quite some time even with nursery feeding her things like tuna pasta bake! I also totally understand the feeling of being imprisoned. All I can say is it will get better she will settle again. I used to panic when things went haywire that that was it and I would never get my sleep again but if they have been good with sleep they usually get back to it. Her world probably seems very upside down as well with big changes. Hold in there!!

Slim Fri 15-Jun-07 18:04:38

Solids can upset some babies - DS has never been a good sleeper but starting solids made things worse. May not be a bf issue, so don't give up if you don'twant to. Is co-sleeping helping? No advice really, but I knowwhat it feels like to go to work after a broken night (I'm working 3 days, going up to 4 soon). I found that DS settled down eventually - still waking but settling back down easily

rufusmacdoofus Fri 15-Jun-07 19:36:31

she is having maybe an ounce of EBM or formula. Daddy is dropping her at 10 and picking up at 4. I know this sounds awful but i hate co sleeping/feeding. Am terrified i will smother her by accident so can't really sleep - also bf feels so uncomfortable in that position. I know this is a bit of a difficult time for her so am hanging in and giving her everything she wants but i am at the end of my tether and just feel empty. Really really wanted to carry on bf but not if it is at the expense of my sanity!

Slim Fri 15-Jun-07 20:06:40

Bumping this in case anyone has more expert advice for you

I'd say hang on for a while and see if it gets better, but you know what you can cope with atm.

sep1712 Fri 15-Jun-07 20:28:58

hi i really feel for you. Will she have e/m in a bottle? If not you could bulk her food with breast milk so she has it that way during the day? This may help to fill her up and sleep at night?? How are they getting her to sleep at nursery?

rufusmacdoofus Sat 16-Jun-07 16:34:31

Thanks to everyone for your replies. it really helps just to write it all down and then feel supported. i am making all her cereal etc with ebm. Nursery are letting her sleep in the car seat - which is not ideal but its the only way she will do it. last night after going down at 7.30 dh did first waking at 10 and finally got her to sleep at 12.15 after constant screaming ( no tears though) and finally taking 3 oz of formula. woke again at 4 for 30 mins had 4 oz of formula and then at 6 and he brought her in to me where - i moved out of nursery - she promptly emptied both engorged boobs! she ate like a horse yesterday, but this has been going on too long to be a growth spurt. am wondering if it would be less confusing for her to abandon boob altogether. she doesn't know that bf in the day is ok and not at night does she ? feel depressed about stopping as it is so good for her and know it would be a nighmare anyway.she gets excited when she sees me unclip my bra ! Does anyone know of any good breatfeeding/sleeping cousellors that might be able to give me advice ?

blueshoes Sat 16-Jun-07 17:00:22

rufus, I think what your dd is doing is called reverse cycling. She is taking most of her feeds at night and using it to catch up on mummy time as well. According to AP experts (Sears?), some bf babies of working mothers do that.

How well does she feed at nursery, milk or solids. Does she sleep more at nursery than when she was with you at home?

Can't really help because my solution was to co-sleep and feed lying down. I also used reverse cycling to catch up on cuddle time. It was great for working mum guilt! Then again, my dd and ds are both shocking non-sleepers (easily wake every hour), so I did not have much of a choice.

Dd's comfort feeding drove me dolally though. Also refused dummy. Now with ds, if he starts his duck nibbling, I refuse to allow him to nurse and get dh to settle him with cuddles. Surprisingly, ds will sometimes settle with ds after crying for 10 mins or longer. Can your dh help?

blueshoes Sat 16-Jun-07 17:04:53

I would add that I don't have the heart to stop bf-ing at such a young age either. Babies understand so little, and any comfort I can offer at this age seems sacred.

I did finally wean dd off the breast cold-turkey during a nursing strike (probably brought on by my freaking out at night and her teething). She was 17 months by then and could understand when I explained to her that she was not allowed to nurse. Funnily, she started sleeping through soon after and has been a great sleeper ever since. Never thought I would say that at the time though.

However (big health warning), not all weaned bf babies will sleep through. I was lucky. I did not wean her to get her to sleep through, only because I wanted my body back. I think by 17 months, she was just about ready to move on.

BornToBeAPrincess Sat 16-Jun-07 17:17:28

My dd2 went through the exact same thing recently. She was waking up hourly in the night and I too thought it was related to nursery and solids.
Over the last bank holiday weekend dp saw to dd2 so she couldn't be fed to sleep and I slept in with dd1.
The first night was horrible but she got used to it very quickly and by the third night was sleeping through and has done since.
I will tell you though, unfortunately this resulted in dd2 self weaning. She just wasn't interested during the day
Good luck, hope things improve for you.

rufusmacdoofus Sat 16-Jun-07 21:35:07

hi everyone. she has just woken - the earliest time ever. dh is going in to her again. he wants me to move out permanently and will go in and settle her with cuddle and offer formula. going completely mad. she is so lovely and content in the day and feeds and sleeps happily. Nursery is only 2 days a week so did not think it would upset her this much. she sleeps less there than at home though but it is a pretty short day. can't help thinking me withdrawing at night will only upset her more and escalate things. someone suggested we settle her with water as if you feed in the night just gets the feeding cycle going again an does not differentiate night and day for her. Thought ?? thanks v much to everyone who has replied. it helps that others are going through the same thing. Love the dd so much just need some sleep !!!

halogen Sat 16-Jun-07 21:56:01

My daughter did exactly the same thing when I went back to work part time when she was nearly six months old. All my work days were one long marathon feed at night and I wondered how I was going to cope. The only thing I can say is that it DID get better. She's nine months now and wakes only once a night at about 5.30 and then goes back to sleep until 7ish. I just gritted my teeth and carried on feeding her at night and it was awful but she sorted it out on her own. Much sympathy. It is really depressing when you know you have to go to work the next day.

1dilemma Sun 17-Jun-07 01:57:19

Not sure this is helpful but would it not be simpler to just feed her at night as quickly as possible then go back to sleep and try and lie-in at the weekends as much as possible?

quokka Sun 17-Jun-07 03:15:23

Sometimes when babies start solids they have trouble digesting food through the night. I would try massaging her tummy (tell me if you haven't done baby massage, and I will try to explain). I use an aromatherapy sleep blend for my boys evey night as part of their routine and they are lost without it. Also in the night try and dreamm feed - so lights off no eye contact just a quick feed if she needs it and straight to bed. Hope it gets better for you!

ratfly Sun 17-Jun-07 19:35:05

I was going to post a very similar thread myself! I am offering moral support and am crossing my fingers that someone will have a solution..

Ds is 5 months. Has some early weaning foods like apple, pear, sweet potato. He is mixed fed - I bf morning and night, but in the day he is ff.

I am going back to work part-time in 2 weeks, and since he has started solids he has been waking to feed twice in the night - not once like he used to. And they are proper feeds too, not just suckling. And he is also waking at 5 ready to start the day. I am dreading how tired I will be when I go back to work

I must say that when he doesn't go to sleep at 5, I turf dh out and sleep with ds. You won't smother him - in fact you probably won't go into a deep sleep at all. But it is so much easeie than getting up every 20 minutes.

TheOldestCat Mon 18-Jun-07 10:20:34

Not sure my experience will help, but here goes anyway. Rufusmcdufus, how long has she been at nursery? I'm working full time (2 days at home) so my 7-month-old DD is at nursery four days a week. Although she seems happy there, she's been on hunger strike and has gone from sleeping through to waking for night feeds (or just waking and being fretful) and starting her day at five-ish to get the extra feeds. Although completely knackered, I'm quite pleased as she was losing weight.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel finally. On Friday, she took milk at nursery (god bless you doidy cup)and ate her solids. We had much better sleep since and over the weekend. So, perhaps things will get better for you and it's just taking her a while to settle in nursery?

Also, we find DH is much better at settling her back to sleep than I am - since we're both working full time, I suppose it's easier for us to share the non-sleeping!

In the meantime, carry on mixing as much milk into her food as you can.

Ratfly - hope your return to work goes ok. You may find DS settles in really quickly, especially if he is used to taking a bottle.

rufusmacdoofus Mon 18-Jun-07 11:44:35


last week was the first week at nursery and we have had a few trial visits so its all still v new although she only doing 2 days. dear dear h took over night shift from friday night and went in to settle her with formula. He was up 4 times last night. she took 3 oz each time and settled back after 30 mins. I took her into our bed at 5 and she fed like she was ravenous and we slept till 9.30 ! I was really hopeful last night as she had about 10 teaspoons of porridge at 6.30 before going to bed beatifully at 7. That is the first time i have fed her that late but she woke at 11 and took 4 oz of formula.She did hate being massaged but will give it another go ! she is getting lots of milk in during the day and lots of food too. the thing is she is a really content happy little baby. when dh goes in she is all smiles and playful - have given him stern warning to keep lights low and no eye contact etc. at least we don't have a screamer/non sleeper. but broken nights are a killer. cannot contemplate ever doing cc so suppose will have to soldier on. thanks so much to everyone for your thoughts and support x

sep1712 Mon 18-Jun-07 12:25:08

glad your keeping your chin up! We had our first full night last night DD5mths. 8 til 6.30! She has ff 8oz at 7.30pm but bf and weaning with ff mixed in so we have had the same probs. Can i just say what a great hubby you have. well done

rufusmacdoofus Wed 20-Jun-07 19:57:46

well, we persevered every single night with the bottle and dh only going in and it has come good. Last night she had 7 oz ff at 6 pm and i bf her until she fell asleep at 7. she woke at 12.30 had another 7 oz and slept till 5 am where she emptied both boobs before i went to work. I know this is not ideal but to us its is bliss. I scaled down the BLW ( sorry everyone) and did a bit more feeding v simple purees - ie a step back. So perhaps she was just hungry and breastmilk was not quite enough. Anyway she is still haveing BF morning and night and EBM in the day too so all is getting better. had a great day at work and she at nursery and we were all smiles tonight. fingers crossed. Have told dh how fab he is. x

ratfly Wed 20-Jun-07 20:53:43

Glad you are seeing some improvement rufus! and well done to dh for helping you out!

I am currently giving up offering water etc, and resigning myself to feeding him at 3 / 4am. Then if he's hard to settle, I co-sleep either in bed (but he wakes about 6am), or last night I slept on a duvet on his bedrrom floor - he woke at 7am!!

I think I can stand that... lets see what the hot weather brings tonight though

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