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Is 5 months too young to night wean?

(13 Posts)
shirleycat1 Fri 23-Oct-09 16:52:12

My ds is 23 weeks and has never been a great sleeper generally waking up every 2-4 hours. About a month ago he started waking every hour, sometimes less, so I thought enough was enough and did a version of pick up put down, and allowed him one feed during the night at 3am. It went well for a week or two but he just started waking more and more and I thought it might just be easier to feed him than try and settle him in other ways as sometimes it took a while to get him back down and he really didn't seem to be getting the message. So I started to feed him again and it has got more and more, so last night he was up every hour again.

He is exclusively breastfed. He goes to bed at 7.30pm and I give a dream feed at 10ish. I've tried to drop the dream feed to see if that helped but it didn't. He is still quite small on the bottom centile in growth charts, but is thriving and is a really happy baby.

But I'm beginning to be an unhappy mum. I am really happy to do one night feed. Maybe even two. But every hour is just not sustainable. I can't do it. It's making me pissed off with everything and everyone.

I don't want to do controlled crying as I think he is far too young, but has anyone got any ideas to help me please. Like I said I would do one feed, but is it confusing for him to not feed him a few times, then to feed him at a certain time? Would it be better to not feed him at all through the night and just offer water? I can't keep up the hourly wakings but have not got a clue how to sort it out.

When he wakes in the morning he is not really interested in feeding, I suppose because he has fed so much in the night, and it tends to mess our routine up a bit as well, so I struggle more to read his signals (I'm not doing a "routine", I just mean how our day tends to go).

Apologies for the long post. I hope someone can offer me some sort of suggestion.

Thanks in advance...

haventsleptforayear Fri 23-Oct-09 20:08:14

I would say 5 mths is too young, but I think I tried to not ALWAYS feed my two back to sleep from about that age, I think [racks brains]

Also can you send someone else in sometimes?

Neither of mine were interested in water!

I have seen suggestions for night-weaning older babies where you fix a time and don't feed until then.

5 mths is perhaps a bit young though if he is small.

Sorry, hope you get some answers;>

FrightNightFebes Fri 23-Oct-09 20:16:33

Your DS sounds just like mine. He is 22 weeks and has been waking every 2 hours. He is BF and I was feeding him to sleep until about 3 weeks ago. That was the first thing I changed. I have starting weaning him 3 days ago (which he loves) I also started my DD at 22 weeks. Mainly to help establish a better routine in the day so he feeds more and will hopefully feed less at night. I have also have decided to feed him at 11pmish, 3amish and 7amish and if he wakes at other times I shush/pat him back to sleep and it is working although the first few night were hard.

Good luck. I'll be watching this thread to see if you get some good advice.

cupcake75 Fri 23-Oct-09 21:26:41

I've got something similar going on with my 21 week old EBF DD waking every 1.5-3 hours through the night.

She previously slept for a 7-9 hour stretch at night from about 6 weeks to about 14 weeks but hasn't gone longer than a 4 hour stretch at night since then. She's a chubby little soul (between 91-98th centile) so could probably live without the extra feeds at night.

I've been putting her to bed awake for the past two weeks which is going ok. However, I wind up feeding her back to sleep when she wakes up at night as its the fastest way to get her back to sleep. But I am very tired as I really need a good 4 hour stretch at some point in the night to function properly the next day.

Is there any chance she'll simply revert back to her old pattern of sleeping for a long stretch once she's got over the growth spurt? I've been assuming she's just having a long drawn out growth spurt. Or is it more likely I have to sleep train her to reduce the number of night wakenings?

thisisyesterday Fri 23-Oct-09 21:34:07

personally yes, i think 5 months is way too young to nightwean.
i know it's hard (trust me, i really do know) but it won't last forever.

what i found easier was changing my habits insgtead of trying to change those of my small baby.

i went to bed at 8pm or earlier, my dp got my eldest up and breaskfasted so i could lie in for an extra half hour, i put a dvd on for ds1 in the afternoon so i could doze on sofa for a bit

it will pass, i promise. but if he needs food in the night then you have to give it

theyoungvisiter Fri 23-Oct-09 21:36:01

IMO yes, sorry. This is a really hard age but it will pass.

Can you take him into bed and feed lying down? I wish I'd done it with DS1, it's saved my sanity this time round.

theyoungvisiter Fri 23-Oct-09 21:38:59

Sorry reading back my post was a bit cryptic - I meant "IMO yes 5 months is too young to night-wean"

My DH also gets up with DS1 so I can sleep until 7.30 (which is a lie-in in our house!) which makes a huge difference, as does feeding lying down.

shirleycat1 Sat 24-Oct-09 17:21:50

FrightNightFebes - how have your nights been going? The times you are feeding are what I would like to do, but if he's waking loads and I'm tired it just ends up being easier to feed. But the more I feed the more he seems to want. Also I thought it might be confusing feeding sometimes and not others. What do you think?

When people say he is too young to night wean - why is this exactly? It might be a stupid question. Could I teach him to just have one feed, or 2. Or not.

I'm not got to start solids until 26 weeks, and then I plan to BLW so I'm anticipating it taking a while and not having a huge impact on his sleep.

1stMrsF Sat 24-Oct-09 17:39:00

I would just say hang on for a couple of weeks. Growth spurt at 5.5 mo had my twins feeding 3/4 times a night instead of their usual once. Now they are back to one feed again, and it's getting later and later. You might just be going through the same spurt (DT1 shot up from 75th to 91st centile for height whilst maintaining her weight gain, so it is a significant spurt!)

Hulla Sat 24-Oct-09 19:07:41

It sounds like a growth spurt, I think the best thing is to go with it and feed (he needs more milk to grow). I remember 4 months being hellish, its a big growth spurt and sleep is disrupted for quite a while.

I agree with thisisyesterday & theyoungvisitor. I started co-sleeping with my dd at this age because it was so tiring, you have my sympathy.

IIRC things started improving steadily from 6 months (we BLW and I don't think it made any difference to her sleep, she just got better on her own).

Try searching the sleep threads for "4 month growth spurt" or "sleep regression". You'll find a long thread from mums with 4 month olds who all went through the same thing. Some graduated to the 6 month thread (which is still going) but I left when dd's sleep stopped being a problem (I started feeding her lying down and dozing while she fed).

Good luck smile

theyoungvisiter Sat 24-Oct-09 19:59:38

Shirleycat in answer to your question, I think the reasons I'd be worried about cutting down forcibly is:

1) IMO he's too young to go all night without milk. Some babies can do it, but they're in the minority.

2) There is probably a reason why he's wanting to feed so often, and that reason is probably to increase your supply. Night feeds are the fastest way to increase supply supposedly. Without allowing him to feed more frequently, it will be hard for supply-and-demand to work efficiently.

3) Cutting down won't necessarily get you any more sleep. I found at that age I could sometimes persuade my DSes to go down without a feed, but it just resulted in them waking up more hungry and more angry an hour later. It was easier and faster to just feed them to sleep.

One thing that might help is that they do become a lot more distractable at that age, and he may not be taking enough milk in the daytime. If you aren't already doing this, you could try doing at least two or three feeds at home with minimal distractions and seeing if that helps.

The other possibility is that if he seems in discomfort it might be teething. You could try a dose of calpol as a one-off and see if it helps.

But I am sceptical about this because my two both went through this phase and didn't get any teeth until 10 months! So it certainly wasn't teething with them, just developmental or summat.

shirleycat1 Sat 24-Oct-09 20:38:21

Thank you for all your responses.

I'm still knackered but feeling a bit better the last day or two, much less pissed off, and I guess I'll carry on going with it. At 6 months I'm going to give a formula feed for the dream feed, because that's the one that I really don't enjoy doing as I'm just thinking about sleep the whole time, so dp can do that and I can get a much earlier night and a longer sleep without interruption. Plan to carry on breastfeeding for all other feeds.

He's in a cot right by our bed and if necessary I get him in with us. Definitely not planning on moving him into his own room while he's feeding so much. I hope it settles down and he can go longer without me having to do anything drastic in the future. Fingers crossed.

Thanks everyone...

HeWontSleep Mon 26-Oct-09 21:42:27

Shirleycat1 IMO do the formula dreamfeed now - dont wait for 6months. You'll be happier now and your baby might sleep even longer. Thats what I did with my DS, who wakes up 2-4 times a night but has his longer stretch after the one bottle I give him a night. Also gets him used to drinking from a bottle.

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