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Breast fed 5month old waking 3 times at night for a feed- normal?

(28 Posts)
Bridie321 Wed 02-Sep-09 17:02:27

My 21 week old goes to bed at 7.30-8pm and then wakes at around 11pm, 2am and 5am for feeds.

She is able to settle herself at bedtime and goes down without a fuss. She seems really hungry when she wakes up but when we tried giving her a bottle of formula (she's been solely breastfed until last week) it hasn't helped her sleep any longer regardless of how much of it she drinks. She has guzzled down 200ml some nights and barely touched it other nights but still wakes up at around 2am and 5am regardless.

Is this normal?

Help - would be happy to be waking once in the night to feed but this is knackering!!

Advice welcome!


AnybodyHomeMcFly Wed 02-Sep-09 17:07:37

No advice but this is happening to me too! She was sleeping through-ish from midnight to about 5.30 or so but since the 15wk growth spurt she's been waking several times during the night, arrgh!

LackaDAISYcal Wed 02-Sep-09 17:10:43

Absolutely normal and most people's experience with a BF baby is for them to wake at least once on the night, sometimes more.

My DS2 has finally stopped waking for a feed at 10 months and prior to two weeks ago he was still up twice at 1am and 4am, sometimes three times of he was having a growth spurt.

I also tried formula to no avail!

cyteen Wed 02-Sep-09 17:11:13

IME of one DC, completely normal (I'm afraid). At 5 months my DS was waking every 2 hours and guzzling non-stop. It is very tiring. But it does get better

It's a big developmental time for them, lots of new stuff going on, which I think leads to both the waking and the need for more milk.

Reallytired Wed 02-Sep-09 17:11:48

come on to my exclusive breastfeeder thread. ort-thread

I think that its a common problem.

Reallytired Wed 02-Sep-09 17:12:03

madwomanintheattic Wed 02-Sep-09 17:13:57

ds1 fed 2 hourly 24/7 until 10 months when i stopped bf (for that reason lol). it was normal for him!

(when i stopped bf, he started sleeping through lol. little minx.)

jumpyjan Wed 02-Sep-09 17:31:53

In my experience this is normal. DD used to wake even more often (10, 1, 3, 5). DS is 4 months and wakes at 11, 3 and between 5&6. Some lucky people have babies who will go longer but not me - looking forward to 6 months and getting him on some solids as hopefully he will go longer then. Hang on in there - its not for long.

jasperc163 Wed 02-Sep-09 17:52:30

DD (21 weeks) has been waking 3x a night for the last 3 weeks (previously once a night). It made no difference if she had a bottle of ebm (need it to get her to go to sleep in eve though as I have low supply then) or not. It was also always at the same times which i read implies habit not hunger?

I go back to work in a few weeks so in desperation we moved her out of our room 3 days ago. Since then she has gone back to feeding once a night (at 4 or 5 am) as I think she is waking (but not crying) and going back to sleep, whereas before I was responding too quickly to her waking up.

So worth a try if you havent already?!

jasperc163 Wed 02-Sep-09 17:53:04

ps meant to say i wouldnt count 11pm as waking? I give a dreamfeed then anyway.

Bridie321 Wed 02-Sep-09 20:23:16

Thanks for all your responses - it helps to hear that others are sharing the pain!!

I think I'm wondering whether Jasper is on to something with the habit rather than hunger thing as I can see how much she's drinking with the bottle feed and sometimes it's 10-20ml and it doesn't mean she'll wake any sooner than when she's had 200ml.

Moving her into her own room sounds like a good idea in a way but I'm anxious about moving her before 6mnths though because of SIDS advice (I'm hugely paranoid I know).

I don't count the 11pm feed as waking for me but count it for her as I've just been reading 'Sleep Sense' (Megan Faure) who suggests that at this age she should be able to go 8-10 hours from initial bed time till first feed and then a further 3-4 hours after that (sounds great!!). This 11pm feed started as a dream feed but now she wakes up for it!


Katie14 Wed 02-Sep-09 20:46:55

I had the same thing with my breatsfed baby and the hv suggested gradually reducing the length of feed that you give them. This worked really well and over two weeks the night waking reduced as she realised she wasn't going to get much. At 6mnths when I was pretty sure it was habit rather than hunger we did controlled crying in the night and within 3 nights she was sleeping through.

If your baby will take a bottle, another suggestion is to start just giving them water and they'll soon realise it's not worth waking up for.

Good luck!

logrrl Wed 02-Sep-09 20:50:56

My five month old is waking every one and a half a little sympathy only from me wink. The waking regularly=habit is a baby whisperer thing. Think the BW speculates as if it's fact...but maybe there is something in it...I'm trying to wait it out. YAWN hmm

Aranea Wed 02-Sep-09 20:57:56

It's probably just habit but you won't know for sure until she's well established on solids really. My dd1 was the same and I stopped doing night feeds when she was 8 months and I felt I could be really certain that she wasn't actually hungry.

dd2 is now 10 months and I am still feeding her in the night as it seems easier than doing anything about it...

LackaDAISYcal Wed 02-Sep-09 22:59:24

sorry, quick aside to jasper; if you have low supply in the evening, the best thing you can do to up your supply is to feed from the breast. By using a bottle your boobs get the message that they aren't needed at that time and effectively switch off. If you pump after feeding then they will get the message that they are much in demand and produce milk accordingly smile

jasperc163 Thu 03-Sep-09 08:12:43

LackaDaisy - thanks - I know this is the case in theory - DD has been cluster feeding all eve (tl 11) since birth. Unfortunately my supply isnt great (I am on high levels of domperidone) and it has never improved enough at this time of day (in 5 months) to get her to sleep before 11. I was giving ebm only at 10-11pm after an eve of solid feeding until this week but we now need to get her to bed and on some kind of routine as I am going back to work and so she is having it earlier. I am using my last bottle of ebm tonight sadly (cant get enough out) and having to introduce formula tomorrow for return to work (going to continue mix feeding).

Bridie - it does sound as is its possible that you have the same problem as me. As i said, with DD2 it made no difference if I gave her a load of milk in the eve or not (to the night waking, not the going to sleep in the first place!). At the beginning of this week she was only going 1.5-2hrs at a time now its once at 4-5 am (well for the last 4 nights - touch wood). I know SIDS is a worry but you are not far off 6 months and it is only a guideline. I had to move DD1 out even earlier at 4 months years ago as she woke every time one of us even turned over in bed. So it might be worth a try, or otherwise just resign yourself to sitting it out til you are at a point where you feel happy to try it.

jasperc163 Thu 03-Sep-09 08:18:30

ps if she is waking at 11 it might be worth trying to do a dream feed half an hour earlier?

Bridie321 Thu 03-Sep-09 17:24:52

Good idea - I will try the dream feed earlier - watch this space.

Think you might be right - will just have to brave it out till 6 months as I'm too chicken. I'm beginning to feel waking me up twice in a night isn't too bad compared to others!

Having said that she woke up every 2hrs last night - perhaps she's punishing me for talking about her behind her back!


jasperc163 Fri 04-Sep-09 07:57:10

Hope the dream feed worked?

We managed to make it to 6.30 this morning (from 11 last night)!!! Major improvement on 4x a night a week ago.

However we start on a formula feed at bedtime tonight (used up the last of my ebm last night) so I don't know how that will go :-(

Bridie321 Fri 04-Sep-09 20:11:27

She beat us to it and woke up an hour earlier! Thank you for asking though.

Wow - that sounds like an absolute dream. You must be feeling on top of the world today! I think we may be moving her into her own room v. shortly!

Good luck with the formula feed - we've got to be pragmatic about these things (says she who won't move the baby out of the room!) - you've done your best. Warning - it makes the poop smellier!


mamayaya Fri 04-Sep-09 21:38:55

Hi darling. My little dd woke up every 2 - 3 hours for months. Don't worry, you'll get through it and it is totally normal.

It's difficult in today's society I think as previous generations would've had lots of people there telling them they're doing fine so can I just say, YOU'RE DOING FINE. Keep on going. She'll be fine, you'll be fine, it is tiring and god knows I couldn't cope with the lack of sleep but you do come through it.

What you could do is try and stretch her feeds out, when she wakes don't feed her straight away, try a dummy (I know people have mixed opinions about these but they helped us!!) and try to get her back to sleep, if you can stretch it an hour one week then increase by 1/2 hr every week that seemed to work for us and now finally after a long time of not sleeping we have a dd who sleeps for 12.5 hrs. But it took a lot of work.

Hope that helps. Let me know if I can help. And be reassured you're doing fine and THIS TOO WILL PASS

Boobz Fri 04-Sep-09 22:07:03

I have a 5.5 month old DD. At 4mo she started waking up every 2 or 3 hours from 7pm to 7am. Put up with it for the first 3 weeks as thought she was genuinely hungry (breast feeding) but a couple of weeks ago thought enough is enough and started the controlled crying route. I knew she could last until at least 1am without a feed, so any time she woke before 1am I used ssh / pat and eventually she went back off to sleep. The first time she woke after 1am I fed her, and then any subsequent wakings were shh / patted back to sleep. It took about 3 days for DD to work out it wasn't worth waking before 1am as she wasn't going to get fed, and it wasn't worth waking up more than once for the same reason! So after just 3 days of a bit of crying (heart-breaking!) DD now wakes up at about 2:30am for a feed and then sleeps through to 7am (never done a dream feed).

She's starting solids next week, and at 7 months I am going to drop the 2:30am feed!

Bridie321 Sat 05-Sep-09 15:16:38

I've sort of decided that I've been feeding her too often during the day (she went from 75% to 50% weight wise while we were away on holiday in v. hot France and I think I panicked)and have decided to stretch things out so am please to see reports that this might work - thank you!!

I read that they should go for at least 4hrs at this age (I know every baby is vastly different) and that you can offer them a tiny bit of water if they are desperate before 3hrs and then try and build it up. I'm giving it a go. Easier during the day than at night (when she gets v. cross!).

Can anyone with similar age babies tell me how often they eat and sleep - and for how long (how long on the boob and how long sleeping)?

I may start a new thread to get a bit of a straw poll!



logrrl Sat 05-Sep-09 19:54:25

Hmm, did you read the "four hours" and the water thing in the BabyWhisperer? I think this is potentialy harmful nonsense. FWIW, I don't know any BF baby of a similar age who goes that long between feeds (daytime).I'm not surprised she might get cross if you try this!

jasperc163 Sat 05-Sep-09 20:07:51

Surely increasing the gaps between feeds during the day is, if anything, going to increase night waking as she may try to make up for it?

DD2 does sometimes go 4hrs between feeds but it is by no means the norm and somtimes it is 2hrs or even less.

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