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Sleep experts for bf babies please please help me!

(29 Posts)
devotion Wed 24-Nov-10 22:45:54

Thank you for reading this, I've been here before but for some reason I am not getting through this stage and its wearing me down.

Dd is 10mths and was bf feeding 8-10 times in 24 hours on demand. I start babyled weaning at 6mths as i thought it was a more interesting way of starting food rather than the usual bland baby rice etc which i did other times.

So she only really start eating properly about 8mths hence the many bf's. I want to bf her until her 1st birthday. Everything I read about bf tells you to feed on demand and that its more importnat than food until they're one.

But what they did not say is they will most prob want to feed all night and leave you falling apart.

I'm not really doing blw now but she still feeds herself and I also feed her with teh smaller messy stuff so I just basically skipped the pureed stage.

Her routine is:

6-7am - bf
back to sleep for an hour

9ish - weetabix or other cereal

10am - bf and sleep for about 40mins

12ish - lunch, cheese on toast or sandwich with piece of fruit and natural yogurt. i use to also bf here but stopped that 2 weeks ago

1.30pm - bf then sleep up to two hours (rare)

4pm - offer snack but never interested prefers bf

5.30ish - dinner, pasta and yogurt again

7.30pm - bf and bed

11.30pm - 12.30am - bf

she use to feed 3 and 5am but I have refused these feeds for the last few weeks and she has accepted that now but still wakes about 3ish and it can take 40mins to three hours!!! to settle her. I'm falling apart.

Why is it taking this long to make her sleep. Some nights she wakes every hour.

I'm settling her off with the baby whispering technique, when she cries i pick her up and then as soon as she relaxes (couple of seconds) i put her back down, I may do this about 20 times before she stops crying then as soon as my head hits the pillow she starta again. its soul destroying some nights and I have to try so hard to remain calm. If my partner picks her up she goes crazy trying to push off him. It has to be me so I am the one who's having to go through this. He sleeps in the living room so he can get some sleep for work and he also dresses and takes our other children to school. Every morning I am wrecked and find it so hard to start the day. I'm basically dealing with newborn baby sleep 10 months on.


Any advice whatsoever would be really really appreciated.

What am I doing wrong?

Thank you

TheBreastmilksOnMe Wed 24-Nov-10 22:53:53

I don't really know what to suggest as I ahve been there myself and I know exactly how it feels but one thing I will say is that it is only a stage and it does pass, and what helped me is the fact I co-slept with DS until he was 2yrs old.

I don't know what your sleeping arrangements are but would this be an option for you until she is a bit older? It would mean that she is comforted by your presence and you could still sleep whilst she fed. I would try and put DS off a few attempts for a feed during the night but and it worked eventually but he would still demand one or two until he was around a year and then I got a bit tougher and would say to im 'in the morning' which he would accept more often than not.

She is still quite young and going through an insecure time WRT attachment so depriivng her of something she so clearly needs at the moment might only cause to make the situation worse for you all. I would just go with it for now, bring her into your bed with you and feed to slepp so that everyone gets some peace and quiet.

devotion Wed 24-Nov-10 23:04:30

she does not sleep any better with me, since she was born I always did night feeds with her lying next to me in bed, her cot next to me bed touching so i can hold her hand or pop her dummy back in.

from a few months old as soon as she finishes a feed she pushes away from me and would get cross until I popper her back in her cot the she immediately goes on her side back to sleep. Think she prob feels too hot next to me.

I have tried just sleeping with her but she still wakes and gets cross. Plus if she is next to me I dont go into a deep sleep. I want me partner in our bed too, he's getting a bad back sleeping in the living room.

I never let her cry so as soon as she comes to at night I pick her up and kiss her then out her straight back down and keep doing this until she settles. I know she also is not hungry as an experiment before i stopped the night feeds I let her just have one side as normally she will go mad if i dont offer her the other side but she was happy with one side then I took her off early and she was not bothered so its just literally a few sucks she wants.

At this age my other two were not waking so much.

I would just like to know a mum who bf to at least one and who did not have to feed through the night at 10mths.

I can handle night feeds up to 8mths no probs but I need some real sleep now, I'm working again and I am so grouchy with my other two. DD comes to work with me and she's with me all the time, I never leave her. She gets carried in a sling or is on my hip all day.

She is going through teh clingy stage and also has no teeth yet so could be teething too. She just feels so difficult right now, she seems to cry more than smile and its draining. I adore her but I just wish it was not so full on. I know all children are different, my other two seemed so much more settled by this age.

elvisgirl Wed 24-Nov-10 23:12:46

Sorry you are going though this. You ask what you are doing wrong but it seems all good - some bubs seem to love breastmilk & the feeding experience much more, & why wouldn't they? With food, the mantra "food is fun until they're one" is a good one to bear in mnind & I'd say there is no problem with your food routine - assuming you are happy with bub's weight. I did mainly BLW but started to help my son eat once I knew he was capable of eating himself. It is not uncommon for bf bubs to continue wanting to feed during the night but if it is not acceptable to you then time to take action, which is clearly the stage you are at. Although I would stick to the one overnight feed you are currently doing until she is at least one just to make sure she can make up some calorie intake while food is still a bit at the exploration level.

I'd say you have to try getting your partner involved again at night for the early morning waking even though it is obviously traumatic for all concerned. You have made headway by not feeding her at this stage which is good. But if you are present at the night waking she will know breastmilk is there too so will no doubt keep trying to get it - if your partner does it there is less incentive. We did this at about 18mths when we wanted to stop overnight feeding. I slept in a seperate bed & when our son woke up he came into "daddy's bed" to be settled. I am normally very natural parenting oriented so if there is a better way then I am all ears! Hope you will find a solution soon one way or another.

devotion Wed 24-Nov-10 23:20:19

Thank you.

I dont feels she is ready for me to drop the 11.30 - 12.30pm feed yet.

The hv's told me i should only be bf her twice a day, I've reduced it from 8-10times to six now. I cant see which feeds I would drop next.

Her food intake is still quite small

breakfast: half weetabix, 1/2 banana

lunch: quarter of a sandwich, 2 tablespoons of yogurt, handful of blueberries

dinner: 6-8 mouthfuls of pasta maybe... with half a satsuma - just a rough idea.

I know I need to bf her less to increase the food but like you say i've been saying that mantra to myself. so when she turns one I will drop more.

i just want to sleep between 12.30 - 6.30

You sound alot more patient than me... 18mths! yikes, I need sleep before then.

devotion Wed 24-Nov-10 23:20:48

excuse bad typing... time for feeds soon so better go and get ready for bed.

devotion Wed 24-Nov-10 23:22:06

Sorry whats WRT attachment?

elvisgirl Wed 24-Nov-10 23:34:38

In my case DS wasn't waking every night but when he did it would always require a bf to settle him, so that was what I wanted to break - apart from if he was sick. After it was established that he wasn't going to feed at night it was fine for me to settle him if he did wake. Also at 18mths he understood most of what was said to him so maybe it was a bit easier in that respect.

I dropped feeds in the day to a morning one and one before naps (& one at night if DS woke) so they naturally dropped when the naps changed & then when the one day nap was well established I just offered normal milk beforehand. I think it was when he was 1yr old I felt it was ok to give him normal milk as he seemed fine with it - sometimes warmed up in an attempt to make it more comforting & more like breastmilk.

thecaptaincrocfamily Wed 24-Nov-10 23:52:01

You aren't doing anything wrong and nor is she. While she is breastfed she is designed to feed more at night than in the day unfortunately. This was never a problem before the scares on co-sleeping emerged. Until you stop, to get some rest I would feed and doze, put back when asleep and you wake up.

I would say nutritionally it isn't necessary but unfortunately breastfed babies often fall asleep on the boob due to the natural release of oxytocin which induces sleep. Therefore, go with it and lie down to feed/ doze.

You can try waking her if she falls asleep on your boob then put her to bed awake at naps and bedtime. This will help her learn to self settle, rather than feed to sleep. Once she can do this she will be more able to self settle in the night.

thecaptaincrocfamily Wed 24-Nov-10 23:53:51

Forgot to say I sent DH in until the sleeping was going well because then she doesn't smell the milk grin and you get more sleep!

CrispyTheCrisp Wed 24-Nov-10 23:59:13

You are not doing anything wrong. DD1 was BF and slept 7-7 at 9 weeks. DD2 was BF the same and took until 19 months to sleep through. I did the same with both with very different results

A couple of things to try - can you try a snack between breakfast and lunch (eg a banana) with a BF as a 'top up'. Also making sure she is awake when you put her down for naps will help her to self settle. Finally I agree re DH trying to do some of the night time settling when you know she has had enough milk.

All the best with it smile, as it is exhausting in the extreme to be sleep deprived sad

amijee Thu 25-Nov-10 09:33:35

I think she has learnt to sleep only with the help of breast feeding...both her naps in the day and her nights. If you want change ( and only if you do) I would try and break this association. Breast feeding on demand is fine when they are newborn and you want your milk to be established but as time goes on it can lead to bad sleep associations. ( I have 3 kids and bf all of them)

It's easily possible to carry on breast feeding as long as you want to without feeding on demand - I bf mine until they were 13 mths and went back to work at 5/6 mths.

Once you decide to stop the night feeds and the nap feeds, you have to decide how you will do it. There are a number of methods from little/no crying to crying it out. It's up to you to decide which is best for you and how quickly you need change. is a very useful resource

WowOoo Thu 25-Nov-10 09:43:08

Rather than dropping a feed could you give her some porridge or something filling at 7 ish?

Not sure if you want to do this but I was at my wits end.

I tried this and it resulted in quite a solid stretch of sleep (for me too) until the next wake and feed. Next feed was longer him kept him asleep for longer. Hoorah.

Day time -I anticipated a feed and gave him some food which meant he dropped the amount of feeds I had to give him in the day.

Sorry to hear you're struggling. You are doing very well and it won't be long before you think 'phew, glad that stage is over but where's my little baby gone?'smile

Igglybuff Thu 25-Nov-10 10:49:01

My neighbour got her BF DC to cut out night feeds by going cold turkey. Took seven nights - she sent her DH in for every single waking. Poor thing lost weight because he obviously needed the night feeds - he was 7 months.

Around 9 months, my DS started to drop his night feeds dramatically - going down to 1-2 a night. His food intake increased massively around then - he needs to eat a lot of solids and high calorie snacks to drop the feeds at night.

What I suggest you do is give more calorific snacks - can she have dairy? Things like yoghurts, eggy bread, cheese on toast, avodado on pitta etc. So she's having solids 5 times a day instead of three. Give her the snacks before a usual feed, with some water then she'll start to drop the feeds herself. Make sure she's getting water with her solids otherwise she'll need boob for thirst too.

Also work on getting her to self soothe at the start of the night.

As for the night wakings and she only wants you - DS does this and it's either when he's very hungry or needs boob for soothing (teething/ill). This time is key separation anxiety time. It will pass - I just had to go with it and feed DS. I'd take him off before he'd finish so he didn't take a full feed though.

Igglybuff Thu 25-Nov-10 10:53:36

Oh also looking at your routine - you might want to rejig slightly so she eats enough solids. Can you get her up at 7am and give her breakfast earlier, say 8? Also maybe a slightly more filling lunch - pasta/carb based so she takes most her calories in the middle of the day, followed by an earlier nap at 12.30/1. It's not great going to bed at night on a very full stomach (have you heard the saying - Breakfast like a King, Lunch like Prince and Dine like a Pauper?). Also if she gets tired towards tea time, she'll eat less and rely on boob.

Then snack at 2.30pm/3 about half hour after she wakes from nap, then tea at 5?

WowOoo Thu 25-Nov-10 11:46:08

Iggly, that's a good saying and one I'll keep telling myself.

I didn't mean to say stuff the baby full of food last thing at night (realised it could read like that).

But a little bit of supper on top of other meals and snacks did seem to help ds2 or perhaps it just happened at same time as longer stretches.

I stopped bf at 12 months. By then he woke 11-12 ish and 5 ish.


Igglybuff Thu 25-Nov-10 12:09:09

Sorry Woo wasn't picking on you - more that I found DS got tired towards the end of the day so won't eat much at tea.

WowOoo Thu 25-Nov-10 12:22:00

Ta Iggly. Actually glad you posted after me with decent advice.

I should not respond on threads that ask specifically for SLEEP EXPERTS..... As I am not one at all grin

Hope you're feeling more positive and rested today, devotion.

I don't think you're doing anything wrong either. We do our best, don't we? When we're sleep deprived it's really hard to focus, plan, think straight and stop worrying.

Igglybuff Thu 25-Nov-10 12:48:52

I wouldn't say I was an expert either, just a voice of experience <tired emoticon>

Tracey238 Thu 25-Nov-10 15:01:06

I am still bf my DS who is now 15 ms old. He was sick just after his first bd which is why i did not stop then and he has been teething badly with molars since then so needs the pain relief and comfort. We also now have separation anxiety issues when i leave for work in the mornings. For these reasons, I have not stopped even though the number of feedings is high again, back up to 6 times a night. We had a phase of only twice a night when i took a long holiday recently, which felt like heaven. Would anyone else continue with all these night feeds in these circumstances or am i just trying to avoid the trauma of asking DH to start dealing with the nightime wakings? I am not trying to stop bf altogether. He eats well during the day and seems to drink plenty of water. Needless to say my coping and social interaction is rockbottom after 15 months of this.

mears Thu 25-Nov-10 15:12:35

Devotion - why has your HV said you should only BF twice a day? A baby who loves the breast will look for it more at night if it isn't available during the day. I breastfed 4 babies 3 of whom who all slept well at night apart from the odd blip. My DS 3 didn't sleep through till 8 months. Sleeping has nothing to do with food IMO - it is a habit a baby develops and youcan't predict it. I always breastfed my babies to sleep and I never had a problem. Others will tell you they must go to bed awake and settle themselves or they will be poor sleepers. At 10 months I breastfed on demand during the day. Some times babies don't ask very much so I would offer between meals. These were quick feeds which usually resulted in a sleeping baby.
My sister had babies who didn't sleep well and she did the cold turkey screaming bit which worked for her. I personally would just feed a 10 month old at night so that I could get back to sleep ASAP. It isn't the food they want, it is the connection.

mears Thu 25-Nov-10 15:13:40

Tracey238 - do you BF during the day at all? May be same issue for you that baby is looking for it at night?

cantthinkofagoodname Thu 25-Nov-10 15:49:09

To put it bluntly the HV is talking out of her arse about only having 2 BFs a day.

NHS and global guidance is that breastmilk should be the main food until the age of one.

"Breast milk should be the main food
throughout the baby's first year, and an important food during
the second year." is what the world health organisation says on the matter here:
[[ f}}

What Kellymom has to say replace

thecaptaincrocfamily Thu 25-Nov-10 21:19:57

can'tthink I fail to see how you know she is talking out of her arse unless you know the context. I am pro breastfeeding but breastmilk doesn't contain enough iron for growing babies after 6 months, so it is not the main food between 6 months and 1 year. Gradually they should be introduced to solid food and be eating family foods by 1 year.
I suggest you read page 14.
This link is the model chapter for textbooks for HCP's by WHO eng.pdf

The WHO 2009 quote:-

'nutritionally adequate and safe complementary feeding starting from the age of 6 months with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.'

organiccarrotcake Sun 28-Nov-10 18:12:47

captain Breastmilk doesn't contain enough of various things to be the ONLY food for very many months after month 6. Iron is a big caffufle because it was found that BM is "low" in iron, so supplementation was advised. It's now been found to be bad advice because the form of iron (ie the specific compound) that comes through BM is far more easily absorbed by the body than that in other sources. Doesn't stop the dreadful (and now banned) scare advertising like the "big cup" advert.

BUT BM should be the MAIN food because it contains pretty much everything needed for the 6-12 month old and a varied diet by age 1 will fill any gaps just fine.

Not the ONLY food but the MAIN food. As you say, by age 1 they should be eating good portions of family food but still being breastfed, too.

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