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I don't know why my 7mo is frequently feeding at night, but it does have to stop! Can anyone help??

(52 Posts)
sorky Tue 29-Sep-09 18:25:15

She hit 7mo, started having a bit more food, hasn't decreased the day feeds, but has increased night feeding to 2 hourly.
She feeds at 7pm and sleeps until about 11pm, that's fine. BUT then again (always just one side) at 1am, 4am and 6am.
She won't eat breakfast, but feeds again at 10.30am.

I'm bloody shattered.

We still co-sleep because she was waking everyone else up crying in the night to be fed when we tried putting her in her cot. Plus I get even less sleep traipsing across the landing to get her hmm

What can we do? I need to sleep, I have 3 others to parent all day too.

Shanster Tue 29-Sep-09 18:39:41

Mine too, let me know if you figure it out. I'm knackered.

sorky Tue 29-Sep-09 18:46:52

she did start sleeping through from 10.30pm when she about 6 mo. she did this for 2 weeks, then for no good reason that I can think of, it all went to pot and is worse than before really.

Now I'm back at work I can't cope with the sleeplessness, I really can't

as if that isn't bad enough, she is developing separation anxiety and is stuck to me like a limpet all day.
All 19lbs of her!!

Maria2007 Tue 29-Sep-09 19:15:34

Sorky, IMO at almost 7 months your daughter really doesn't need the night feeds. Or rather, she doesn't need them nutritionally (which explains why she doesn't have breakfsat; she's not hungry after having all that milk in the night). Obviously she needs them emotionally, but that's just because she's used to them. I think the only way to stop is to....just stop. Just make the decision to finish with night feeds (except if there's an exceptional reason) & just do it. You can do this in various ways (and there's loads written on MN or elsewhere about how). It'll be hard at most for a few days, and then you'll be done with the night feeds & you'll feel- honestly- like a new person. We finished the night feeds at around 8 and a half / 9 months and honestly, I wish I had done it earlier.

logrrl Tue 29-Sep-09 21:07:18

My understanding is that this waking may be developmental (DS has been like this more or less for evera couple of months) and therefore will pass eventually, so choices are
-take the hard(er) line approach as stated above
-manage the wakings in a way that enable you to get more rest, e.g. feed lying down, feed every other time, get DP to help out etc etc as suggested on
Over on the sleep thread there are a lot of people with similar problems!

I'm knackered but clearly have time to polish my sleep martyrdom halo grin but you do have my sympathies.

Maria2007 Tue 29-Sep-09 22:43:59

Logrrl, could I ask, what do you mean by developmental? At 7 months I'm not sure what developmental need is met by so many wakings in the night for food?

Personally, I did all the feeding-lying-down, co-sleeping, getting DP to help out etc. It doesn't work. You're still not getting enough sleep! It's much better for both the OP and, frankly, her DD, if they both get better sleep. That's not a har(er) line approach, IMO, it's just common sense.

I don't think there's any, any need met (no developmental need, no emotional need, nothing) by staying knackered like that. It does no good to anybody.

Just my opinion.

WoTmania Wed 30-Sep-09 08:05:19

I agree Logrrl. My children have all started waking more in the night when they are doing something new. Be it rolling/crawling/walking.

WoTmania Wed 30-Sep-09 08:08:33

Thinking about it DD is 7 months shock too. And (we also cosleep) has started feeding more at night and has the separation anxiety. Maybe they are linked? After all BF isn't just about nutrition and getting food into a baby. It's their comfort too.
Not much help with sorting it but sorky you are not alone grin

Maria2007 Wed 30-Sep-09 09:12:29

Of course bf is their comfort. That doesn't mean they have to bf in the middle of the night. It's a habit, that's all it is. Babies- like all of us really- are creatures of habit & comfort. Try forcing me to change my own sleep routine- I wouldn't like it one bit! But fortunately in babies habits change relatively easily...

Having said that, of course once in a while they wake because they're unsettled / in pain, whatever. My own ds (14 months) was up last night chatting at 2 am. (he has a cold). But it's a completely different story when a baby has a regular habit (I'm referring to 7 month olds or older) to wake up several times a night for a feed. I fail to understand why parents can't see this simply as what it is- a habit; which therefore can change- & prefer to read all sorts of 'developmental' issues into it. In any case if it's something developmental (or teething or whatever) you'll know because it doesn't last. If it's night after night it's a habit.

...and I say that as someone whose ds went from waking every 1-2 hours to consistently sleeping through at 9 months. He didn't do this on his own (they don't, why would they, they have their habits & don't w
want to give them up). We had to make a decision & a plan & stick to it. Tbh it was much much quicker / easier than we thought.

fishie Wed 30-Sep-09 09:16:48

i took the side off the cot and tied it (cot) to my bed at about that age. less space in bed had been encouraging more feeding / waking.

then i stopped feeding between (i think) midnight and 4am at around 9m. dh got to settle him.

WoTmania Wed 30-Sep-09 09:25:57

hmm Every baby is different. Every mother's opinion is different.
I would be interested in how you would go about night weaning gently. (not that I would want to myself at 7 months as IMO it isn't 'just habit').
Anyway, we'll have to agree to disagree.
My point to the OP was that she's not the only one in this situation. It will probaby calm down to a 1-2 feeds a night soon anyway as these things tend to be 'a phase'.

dinkystinky Wed 30-Sep-09 09:32:18

Sorky - DS2 is 7 months and the same as your DD. He wont take feeds during the day so is reverse cycling at night. I think its a reaction to me going back to work 2 weeks ago and teething and a virus. Could cope with the nightfeeds but unfortunately DS2 is then awake for an hour to 2 hours after each feed which is a killer. We're trying to let him self settle (know he can) and up his daytime milk intakes. The short feeds on one side sound like she's thirsty rather than hungry so it may be habit. Will she take a dummy (DS2 wont)? Would that satisfy her need to suck?

iwantitnow Wed 30-Sep-09 10:52:57

My DS 6.5 months has only slept through once in his life, I could live with it if I didn't have a nearly 3 year old to look after most of the day who doesn't have daytime naps. Who knows if its habit, hunger or developmental - they can't tell you. My DS tends to wake every 4 hours and seems hungry. I have reverse cycling but I just can't get him to have many BFs during the day. Worse is that he won't take much at 7pm, full from dinner? so I tried to cut out dinner and/or move it earlier still the same.

Three gentle ways of reducing night feeds - slowly increase the space of the feeds if they are regular, may involve some tears though. Gradual retreat worked very well but took a month for DD but she fed to sleep, DS can self settle so not so useful. Reduce the time you BF - still haven't worked out how you time the feeds in the near darkness at nighttime.

Developmental - what does that mean. Why can some BF babies sleep through the night from an early age and others can't.

Maria2007 Wed 30-Sep-09 13:21:55

WoTmania: if it's not habit, what is it? I'm genuinely interested to know what you think, because this whole issue baffles me. I fail to see how someone can accept to live with such little sleep & why they would think it's best. I know I couldn't, I was knackered, & I tried & tried to persevere without changing things... but nothing worked, the habit got more ingrained as time passed. Also, you say it'll calm down to 1-2 feeds a night soon. First, that's not certain at all. In some cases it doesn't. Second, 1-2 feeds a night for a 7 month old is not giving the parents or the 7 month old enough sleep! It's far too much waking for that age... and far too much milk too, for that matter.

Maria2007 Wed 30-Sep-09 13:24:37

Oh also, a small point referring to something Dinkystinky suggested. Please don't use a dummy! I say this from bitter experience, a dummy can become a much much worse habit than the night feeds! (And actually, at 7 months the sucking need/reflex is not so intense at all, can be broken much much easier than earlier, when it would be cruel & hard to do so).

Horton Wed 30-Sep-09 14:24:33

Why is it too much milk? Personally, I think I'd be inclined to try to grit my teeth and bear it for at least another couple of months. Many babies don't eat much at all until 9 months or even older and milk should remain the primary source of nutrition for the first year. It is expecting a bit much for the baby to understand that there are some times that she is hungry and you're happy to feed her and other times when she's hungry and you won't at this age, IMO. And she is the best judge of whether she is hungry for milk or not, surely?

Sorky, I know nobody else can do the night feeds but do you have anyone who can take the older children out during the day to the park or wherever so at least you get a nap when your baby naps?

Horton Wed 30-Sep-09 14:25:48

Or are you working full time?

Maria2007 Wed 30-Sep-09 14:33:49

Horton, could be the case about milk being necessary & the primary source of nutrition etc (although there are different views on this). But even so, why during the night?! There's really no reason why the feeding (of milk or anything else) needs to be done in the night. I really really don't believe babies wake in the night at 7 months due to genuine hunger- unless they're not getting enough in the day. It's habit, I really believe that. And no, a baby is not the best judge about things. Babies get into different habits, they don't know any better. Parents are the ones who make decisions according to what they believe is best for their children and for the whole family.

Maria2007 Wed 30-Sep-09 14:34:51

And by the way, Horton, who said anything about the baby 'understanding' there are 'times that she is hungry' etc. It's about gently & gradually shifting a habit, for the good of the whole family!!

Horton Wed 30-Sep-09 14:42:01

Why during the night? Well, because that's when she happens to be hungry, maybe?

As for the baby understanding or not, if she doesn't understand in some way then it seems a bit cruel to me.

It is actually quite a normal thing for 7 month olds to wake repeatedly in the night, from what I can see around me IRL and on MN. Sometimes they just want a cuddle and the milk thing is secondary. However, if they do want milk it seems really odd to me to deny it and make them wait for the morning. I would imagine that it is a very small minority of 7 month old babies who are night weaned.

WoTmania Wed 30-Sep-09 16:26:22

Maria - I don't think it's habit. I think they are hungry/thirsty. If you wake in the night needing a drink do you try to get back to sleep while thirsty because your body might 'get used to it' or do you get up and have a drink? Likewise if you are hungry. I know I can't sleep if hungry or thirsty.
Babies have really small tummies even at this age. Maybe they have done a lot of active stuff? Maybe they are teething? Maybe it's warmer than usual and they are getting thirsty? Who knows? But I honestly don't think they are doing it out of 'habit' or awkwardness or anything else.
As to it calming down I didn't say it definitely would just probably based on my observations of my DCs and friends.

How do you cope? Well that's the million dollar Q isn't it.
I cope by cosleeping. DD latches on by herself and I only wake when she squeaks because she needs to swap sides. I pop her over and go back to sleep.
I have early nights if I'm really tired (i'e 8pm) I may not sleep but I lay in bed and read and rest.
My lovely DH gives me lay ins at weekends.

Also re: the babies getting enough sleep: they sleep (IME) while feeding and then sleep during the day too.

WoTmania Wed 30-Sep-09 16:27:31

And I agree with horton that relatively few 7 month olds are night weaned

sorky Wed 30-Sep-09 16:59:32

Thanks for all your replies

She woke last night at 2.30am after being fed at 11pm by Dh. I went to her (he had put her in her cot) and had a cuddle but didn't feed her. She cried and I kept soothing her with a cuddle until she slept. She woke 30 mins later and Dh did the same with her.
I absolutely hate hearing her cry

she then slept until 7am when I fed her. She took both sides (rare) and looked like she wasn't speaking to me, but I got 4hours of sleep and feel much better tbh so it was worth it.
We'll see how she does tonight.

I work p-time & Home Ed 3 other children so no one to take them out really unless a HE friend would do this for me.

She also sleeps very little during the day, usually 20 minutes in the morning and the same of an afternoon.

I do love co-sleeping and we have a huge bed but she always works her way over to me and sleeps as tight against me as it's possible to get!!
My instinct says to carry on sleeping with her but the grumpy-mummy in me says chuck her in the cot and dont feed her <sigh>

Talk about a rock and a hard place!

iwantitnow Wed 30-Sep-09 19:19:11

Well done sorky. It is so different when you only have one baby to look after than when you have other children to entertain and in your case educate during the day. I think we've got to think of the whole family not just the baby.
I'm vowing to feed only 4 hours at night and gradually try to extend it.

My DS just won't feed during the day, he had 4 sucks before falling asleep just now sad

Horton Wed 30-Sep-09 21:58:03

Oh, that sounds great, sorky. And it is obviously a hundred times harder when you have to be on the ball for your other children in the day time. I do see that (although sadly no experience of it myself yet).

I have a three year old who I haven't yet managed to evict from my bed so totally sympathise with the sleeping right up against you thing. Mine likes to sleep with her head in my armpit which I generally only notice when it has made my whole arm go to sleep and then I wake up and shove her over and have to wait until it's stopped buzzing before I can get back to sleep properly.

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