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Breastfeeding, solids, and sleep

(13 Posts)
PrettyCandles Wed 25-Jul-07 12:24:24

Is there any consensus as to until what age a child may need to feed at night?

Ds2 isn't terribly interested in solids and feeds 2-3 times at night, sometimes more often. I'm not convinced that his lack of interest in solids is because he gets so much milk at night, but it's possible, I suppose. But I'm not too bothereed about his solids intake, his brother has always been a light eater too.

But I can't take the lack of sleep any more. I could cope with feeding a couple of times in the night or with startig the day at 5am. What I can't cope with is doing both at the same time. So I'm considering whether it would be a good idea to sstop feeding him at night. But I don't want to do that if he still needs the feeds. He is 9mo.

Any ideas?

harpsichordcarrier Wed 25-Jul-07 12:54:36

hmm well I don't think a baby of this age needs the nutrition of a night feed in that sense. he can certainly get enough during the day
I suppose the bigger question is how you are going to get him back to sleep without a feed?

mears Wed 25-Jul-07 13:03:59

Difficult one. I don't think a 9 month old needs feeds during the night, however it will take a bit of determination to break the habit.

I have never had to do it so I don't have much advice.

I looked after my sisters 13 month old for 2 nights when she wouldn't eat during the day and fed lots during the night. She slept for me and ate during the day, however still drove her mum mad.

In the end she put her in a travel cot in the living room and let her cry and refused to feed her. That worked after a few nights!

I think you have to plan how you are going to deal with him during the night eg. is DH going to see to him? Don't replace breastfeeds with other drinks or you will be replacing one habit for another.

Does he not go back to sleep after 5am feed BTW? I couldn't cope with starting the day so early.

rainbow83 Wed 25-Jul-07 13:12:22

hi, mears are you sure, and do you have any evidence or know of any research to prove that a 9 month old doesnt NEED nightfeeds?

The vast majority of breastfed babies /toddlers i know feed between 1 snd 3 times a night right up until they are no longer breastfeeding, be they 6 months, 9 months, 1 or even 2 years old. Surely this happens for a reason and surely the extra nutrition is not going to be of no benefit. According to dr Sears, babies who enjoy unrestricted time on the breast during the night are the ones who thrive best.

PrettyCandles Wed 25-Jul-07 13:21:35

I have been trying all sorts of gentle tactics since January to get him to sleep without feeding. We were very slowly getting nowhere. This last week I've been - very reluctantly - letting him cry, but staying in the room with him. It's working better than any other tactic so far.

The trouble with the 5am waking is that it's usually caused by a poo, but he is restless for up to an hour beforehand. It's clear he wants to sleep, but can't. By the time he's poo'd and been changed he is wide awake and ready to start the day. So of course he is then shattered and can't cope. Today I did things a bit differently, putting him back to bed when he showed signs of getting tired (about 7am) and going back to bed myself rther than tryng to keep him up until mid-morning. We got about 3/4 of an hour, and he went down for a mornign nap about 10ish.

I thought maybe giving him roughagey foods for lunch, and protein and stodge for supper might delay his poo, but it's not having much effect. So, as I can't seem to budge the early poo, I have no choice but to stop the night feeds.

PrettyCandles Wed 25-Jul-07 13:24:56

Rainbow, ds2's behaviour at the breast during the ngiht is what makes me wonder whether he needs the night feeds. Sometimes it is quite obvious that he just wants a quick suckle to get him back off to sleep. Other times he takes proper full feeds from both breasts.

Which is why I wonder also whether there's any connectin with solids intake. I'm too groggy to notice any pattern myself.

My other two were sleeping through the night by 3m and 6m, both were still bf at that time.

terramum Wed 25-Jul-07 15:51:24

IMO there is no set age at which a child doesn't need to feed at night. My DS has been somewhat unusual in that he slept 8-9 hours a night from approx 8 weeks, only waking for a feed in the night once every week or fortnight and that stopped after 9 months-ish, unless he was teething (& so needed the comfort) or having a growth spurt (& needed the extra calories/nutrients).
Now he is older (turned 3 this month) he seems to be waking more in the night than ever before . He woke regularly for months on end when he got all his molars & canines at once and seems to have had growth spurt after growth spurt for the past year. He certainly needs the milk he asks for IMO, whether its for comfort or because he his hungry.

Do you co-sleep at all PrettyCandles, or feed lying down at night? It's so much easier to get back to sleep again if you don't have to be getting up out of bed every time...and after a while of co-sleeping you tend to forget how many time they have a feed in the night because you are half-sleeping through them

Kellymom has a good section on night feeding, co-sleeping, night weaning etc:
http://www.kellymom.com/parenting/sleep/index.html

micromummy Wed 25-Jul-07 16:09:15

mine ate nearly nothing in the day until i stopped night feeds age 7.5 months. at night he fed so much that he kept overflowing his nappies and i had to change him and cot sheet as well as feed...didn't leave him to cry, hugged him till he went back to sleep. in retrospect it was almost certainly teeth not hunger waking him up as this went on to plague him for the next year or so...

Tapster Wed 25-Jul-07 16:29:27

My DD woke 2-6 times a night from 17 weeks to 7.5 months. She is EBF except for solids. I thought her night feeds meant she wasn't interested in breakfast. She has slept through the last 3 weeks and still doesn't eat breakfast. IMO BF at night and solids not related - its teeth, comfort that keep them awake etc...

PrettyCandles Wed 25-Jul-07 23:32:54

Thanks for your replies.

I can't co-sleep with ds2 because then he won't sleep duing the day unless I'm in bed with him as well (or rather, my boob is). I've got two more LOs, so it's just not possible.

mears Fri 27-Jul-07 18:48:46

rainbow83 - it is just my own experience as a breastfeeding mother that I am relaying really. I breastfed 4 children and didn't have night waking beyond 8 months. Neither did most of my friends.

I don't mean that there is anything wrong with it if you can cope with it and are happy with it.

I am not sure though that a baby actually NEEDS it. They may WANT it which is a different thing altogether.

rainbow83 Sat 28-Jul-07 18:03:52

hi, well hopefully my 6 month old will stop waking up 2-3 times a night then as i'm exhasted. i really thought it was normal as all MY friends are up at night with breastfed babies.
i was just a bit concerned about night weaning a baby who isn't very interested in solids, thats all.

mears Sun 29-Jul-07 12:40:57

At nine months I think there is a bit of 'chicken and the egg' going on to be honest. Babies get a lot of milk when breastfeeding - more than is appreciated i think. If they fill up on milk at night, they are not going to be interested in solids much during the day.

It really is down to how an individual mother wants to deal with it I think. My sister was demented and was not enjoying breastfeeding any more.

I was very lucky in that my children enjoyed solids from when they started. My last baby was 6 months before she started solids and very quickly moved to 3 meals a day and continued to breastfeed during the day when she wanted. She self weaned at 15 months.

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