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HUNGRY 4 month old :( please help us make it to 6 months

(53 Posts)
puppydavies Mon 01-Oct-07 08:02:12

before we start can someone remind me of all the other reasons 4 month olds start to wake more in the nights? in case there's something i'm missing.

have exc bf dd2 (18 weeks) pretty successfully up till now, but she's been doing the 4 month growth spurt thing for over a week now, has gone from sleeping 7hrs+3hrs to sleeping 4 max then waking every hour after that to feed (co-sleeping for the second part of the night). is also fussing before/between letdowns most feeds. feeding roughly every 1.5-2 hrs in day. rarely seems full after a feed but is distractable for a while.

bf has gone more smoothly this time than last time (story here) when we started on solids at 20wks (or 5mo, can't rememberblush), this isn't just down to not getting dd2 weighed wink - she's been happy, contentented and obviously well-fed up till now (with the expected growth spurts, but none lasting this long).

will start back on fenugreek today, and stick her in grobag in case too cold. am prepared to give it another week to settle down in case is indeed just growth spurt but am not prepared for this just to be the way things are for the next 2 months.

out of interest, would solid food be the preferred supplement over formula at this age? i was reluctant to introduce dd1 to solids so early but she absolutely thrived on them.

ANY help, advice or moral support greatly appreciated as i'm feeling a bit bogged down thanks to lack of sleep

geordiemacminx Mon 01-Oct-07 08:26:33

hi just to let you know that you aren't alone, ds has justgone through exactly the same thing after sleeping through since 6 weeks!!

I was all ready to Gina Ford him...

The "proffessional" advice is that milk contains more calories thzan baby riceand therefore you are best increasing feeds... this will however take time to build up your supply - took ages for my boobs to produce milk during the night again... plus you will be knackered feeding this often for a l;ittle while, until the spurt passes (3 weeks for us) or your supply adjusts.

We decided to start giving baby rice after speaking to HV. Ds has always had a ff before bed, so we swapped to hungry milk. Also started giving baby rice, oringinally just around 11am, put now at 5pm too - this is in addition to milk feeds. At 22 weeks he occasionally gets pureed fruit or veg too.

It is just a growth spuret although she m,ay be teething too - ds has 2 now, it will pass, its juyst how you choose to deal with it... Only you can choose between exclusivly bf, ff or rice. Wll done for bf until now.

puppydavies Mon 01-Oct-07 09:03:18

3 weeks? eek. although if i felt sure it would even out at the end i could prolly manage that... is it usual for a growth spurt to last that long?

i get the "more milk = best" argument but i wonder whether i've just reached the limit of my milk production, which has has never been exactly prolific.

puppydavies Mon 01-Oct-07 09:03:46

forgot to say thanks

casbie Mon 01-Oct-07 09:17:20

there is a common growth spurt at 6 weeks and 4 months.

unfortunately, this can lead to some people giving up bf.

best thing is to focus on baby, go into hibernation, stock up on easy foods and ignore the world!

baby will soon be better.

i don't think finger foods/baby rice would help actually. babies can't move food from front of the tongue to the back at this age and you'll get up with most of it all over the kitchen! wait till baby is 6 months or older, when they can sit up on their own, move their tongue better and swallow easier. then just give them a finger of banana, some hard, cold carrots (for teething) or some loevly mago strips etc.

i used to help as a breastfeeding peer supporter, so i hope that helps!

Tangle Mon 01-Oct-07 09:59:52

I went through this with DD, although she never slept that well to start with...

I found it comforting to know that, as others have said, it is normal - and also that as well as physical growth it an increased desire to feed can be due to a developmental change. For us, her 4 month growth spurt co-incided with her learning to roll. She got rolling back to front quite quickly, but it took a good 2 weeks or so for her to get back again. Once she'd got that sussed her feeding calmed down a bit (then she got a cold, but that's a different story!)

It was really REALLY tough, but like everything else, this too passed. Remember you're doing a fantastic job and there is no right or wrong way to get through it, it's what works for you

geordiemacminx Mon 01-Oct-07 10:24:33

Its easy to say "go into hibernation stock up on easy foods and ignore the world" but in reality when you have other children, a home and such like it is nigh on impossible. Itr certainly doesnt help with the exhaustion that you feel when you baby is up 4 or 5 times during the night.

My ds is 22 weeks and has absolutely no problem what so ever taking food from a spoon. Whilst I am planning on introducing finger foods and BLW at 6 months, it will take a good few weeks for the baby to atually get any nutrition from this. The op was asking for help and advice for now, unfortunatly reassurance that she can give her dd "some lovely strips of mango" in 10 weeks isnt really going to help at the moment.

I'm sorry if this sounds really aggressive, its not meant to be, but it seems at the moment that anyone has any problems with feeding the suggetsion is hole yourself and wait til 6-7 months.

janou8 Mon 01-Oct-07 10:51:06

My 21 week old DS is just the same and I have had the same thoughts as you, OP. Couldn't believe his 1.5-2 hourly feeding round the clock for the last 2 weeks was just a growth spurt, milk seemed to take ages to catch up with increased demand, was worried that I had reached the maximum milk capacity! BUT things MAY be settling down, we had 4 + 3 hours last night, and finally I seem to have more milk.
I hope to do BLW too, and have even started to give him a few things to play with, broccoli, carrots etc, but he isn't going to get many calories that way for a while (but then he wouldn't get them from spoonfuls of puree either, BUT people seem to say it helps?!?)and it's more to satisfy his curiosity really (he can sit really well and has been grabbing my food for a couple of weeks).
My instincts say go with it if possible and hopefully things will settle.
Good luck.

lazyemma Mon 01-Oct-07 10:57:05

sort of a hijack but still pertinent: geordie, did you find that weaning made a difference to your bubba's sleep patterns and stuff? I ask because teh conventional wisdom is that it won't, but it did in my case.

For various reasons I started weaning my daughter at 20 weeks on mushed veggies and fruit, and she's thriving on it. I'm going to wait until 6 months before introducing anything else at all, though. She has one mush meal at dinner time at the moment.

I agree that the thing about 4 month old babies not being able to move food from the front to the backs of their mouths isn't true in my case. B has no problems taking food from a spoon and the only mess during feeding is caused by her trying to grab the spoon with her hands and then smearing carrot all over her face. that's not to say that weaning at four months or just after is ideal - I'm mindful of the WHO guidelines - but it was the best thing for us.

geordiemacminx Mon 01-Oct-07 11:07:33

Hey LE - {{{{{waves}}}}

About 3 weeks ago C started wakibg during the night - sometimes 3 or 4 times, whereas before he had slept from 8 til 5. I started with baby rice and mushed stuff in addition to milk, (both bf and ff) and found it settled him, although it could have just been the end of the growth spurt. I found that he actually enjoyed the baby rice and the veg, and at 22 weeks I couldnt think iof any reason not to give it to him as a meal. He's 17lb now, and in my opinion he was ready for it. Each to their own though.

geordiemacminx Mon 01-Oct-07 11:08:11

Oh - last night he slept from 7 til 5 grin

geordiemacminx Mon 01-Oct-07 11:12:13

Oh and apologes for hijack - LE - there is a xmas meet-up planned in Ednburgh if you fancy it- the details are in the meet-up section!!!

sazzybee Mon 01-Oct-07 11:13:56

My DS went through this at 4 month - 10 days of waking up constantly and then he was back to normal and sleeping 7-7 even though I carried on bfing only. He is now 29 weeks and I have added ff and solids to his diet. Two weeks ago he started waking up at least twice a night, sometimes more. It's another growth spurt.

Personally I'd wait it out because a) it will end and b) I find ff and solids a real pita and I can't see why you'd want to give yourself that extra work if it wasn't strictly necessary.

But it's up to you

lazyemma Mon 01-Oct-07 11:51:30

cheers geordie - I'll take a look.

ruddynorah Mon 01-Oct-07 12:09:06

how odd to see how people are now translating blw as something to 'introduce' at 6 months after 2 months of baby rice and mush.

ruddynorah Mon 01-Oct-07 12:11:33

anyway- practicalities for the OP... how old is your dc1? are they at school/nursery/toddler group? have you friends/relatives who can give you some time alone with dc2 until this growth spurt is over? what about your dh? is he much help? has he perhaps any annual leave he could take over the next couple of weeks? it would all help, take the pressure off.

bookthief Mon 01-Oct-07 12:25:52

puppy - feel your pain! Ds started waking again at this age after sleeping really well from 8 weeks so to say it was a shock to the system was an understatement..

In our case it was complicated by a cold we both had so extra yuck and I can't really say how much of the wakening was due to the cold and how much was a growth spurt - a bit of both probably. Ds had lost weight due to not being able to feed well and vomitting and he definitely was at least in part feeding more to catch up.

It lasted 3 weeks in all. A week of no sleep due to illness and 2 weeks of little sleep due to all night feeding. Because he'd been poorly so recently I didn't want to introduce anything new to his diet (exl bf up to that point) so I chose to attempt to ride it out.

It definitely took a while for my supply to get up to speed and then to settle back down after he stopped feeding at night again (woke up sore and flooded for a good few nights afterwards!).

Only you can know how much you can take. Can you set yourself a limit - say one more week or whatever - after which you'll consider supplementing so that you know that there's an end in sight come what may?

bookthief Mon 01-Oct-07 12:30:14

Btw, we continued to excl bf to 6 months after that hiccup. There was another unsettled period around 5 months but nowhere near as bad and when I introduced solids & occasional ff at 6 months I've got to say it made bog all difference to his sleeping! (Wasn't waking in the night but I had visions of him suddenly doing that holy grail of 7-7 but he never has).

puppydavies Mon 01-Oct-07 15:25:35

thanks for all the replies

okay am reassured (heh if that is right word - shock really) that a growth spurt can last up to 3 weeks (that is the limit, right? hmm). i guess i was thinking that if the extra milk she clearly needs was going to come it would have come by now.

it's emotionally draining as well as physically knackering cos she's aways so upset - before, during and after feeds. it feels as though i'm making her suffer by not just going out and getting some formula to fill her up...

eek! is that time? school run!

AitchTwoOh Mon 01-Oct-07 19:36:24

agreed, ruddynorah, it's very odd indeed... hmm

good luck puppy, i hope the growth spurt passes soon, i was mix feeding by then and i was surprised at how much her intake went up for a couple of weeks.

AitchTwoOh Mon 01-Oct-07 19:36:25

agreed, ruddynorah, it's very odd indeed... hmm

good luck puppy, i hope the growth spurt passes soon, i was mix feeding by then and i was surprised at how much her intake went up for a couple of weeks.

liath Mon 01-Oct-07 19:49:15

I'll add my tuppence-worth but don't know if it'll inspire you or freak you out grin!

Ds is exclusively BF and 24 weeks. At around 3 months or so he suddenly went from feeding 1-2 times a night to 4 or 5. I assumed it was a growth spurt but it just went on and on - for two months shock. I got through it by co-sleeping but was so close to trying solids or formula but was just too bloody minded having failed to BF dd I was desperate to do it "right" this time. Anyway a month ago he just went back to one or two feeds a night, started sleeping happily in his own cot and going down at a respectable hour too.

I didn't do anything, just kept on BF and it has occured to me that if I had gone for formula at night or solids I might have quite wrongly attributed this to the improvement to his sleep and subsequently come to the erroneous conclusion that I wasn't making enough milk.

Apologies for the ramble....

geordiemacminx Mon 01-Oct-07 22:31:16

Ok so thsis has bugged me.

I love the idea of BLW-I have read your blog Aitch, quite a few times, I think its great. its something I would like to try with DS who is 22 weeks. He is capable of holding things, and taking them to his outh, likes to have a suck on things such as cucumber and biscuits if he can get is paws on them. I understand that its best to wait until 6 months, which apart from the odd little taste of things I am following.

What I dont understand is why, if you are on the "BLW bus" you are not "allowed" to "surrender" to the evils of baby rice or pureed vegetables. My son ENJOYS these things, in addition to his milk. He is also desperate to get food off my plate and get it in his mouth and will ENJOY BLW just the same. I cant see how giving him baby rice for a few weeks until he is ready for BLW is going to spoil it.. from the comments on here its like I have broken the rules... and now I cant be a fully fledged muember of the "club". To be honest I think that having pureed butternut squash, carrot and other fruits is giving him a taste for proper food, and that when the golden "6 month door to BLW" opens, then the flavours wont be such a shock to him.

I'm not an expert, I dont have a blog, or any letters after my name, I'm just a first time mum trying to do what I think is right for my son. I just wish that some aspects of parenting didnt have to be so rigid - your EITHER BF or FF, BLW OR mush... surely a bit of flexibity, what is best for your child is the way to go?

ruddynorah Mon 01-Oct-07 22:37:00

yes to all of that geordie. however it's odd to say you're planning on introducing blw after purees when the whole point of blw is that that is the entire way you introduce food. ie no puree, no getting used to food etc. just blw from the start. the start being baby led because you wait til your baby can feed himself.

OF COURSE there's nothing wrong with puree or finger food or a bit of this and a bit of that, but it isn't blw. increasingly people are calling introducing finger foods as introducing blw. i expect that's because there is no published work out yet from gill rapley. it's kind of an internet thing, though increasingly HVs and the NHS are talking about finger foods from 6 months.

it's like people want to do purees because they don't trust blw, yet want to call it blw because it sounds good. but if you think it sounds good why not do it?

bookthief Mon 01-Oct-07 22:53:05

I think it's a problem of definitions gmm. It took me a while to get it straight in my head myself.

Finger foods = what you're letting ds play with at the moment and will introduce more regularly when he's ready

BLW = a theory that babies show that they are ready for solids by picking up food and eating it. They "lead the way" and the parent should not pre-empt this with spoon feeding. They only eat what they choose to pick up and put in their mouths.

BLW babies eat finger foods but not all babies who eat finger foods are BLW babies.

I didn't in the end follow BLW but I did give ds finger foods from the first day of weaning and supplemented these with mashed foods served from a spoon (cos I was a wuss wink).

There are no "rules" about giving finger foods but there are some basic principles that you have to follow to be practicing Baby-Led Weaning.

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