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Another desperate mum with a night waking 7mo... What am I doing wrong? Please help if you can!!

(63 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Wed 02-Oct-13 21:04:44

We are desperate and just really looking for advice.

She goes to sleep v easily at 7.15ish, out like a light until 11 or 11.30... And then the chaos sets in.

She half wakes up, I usually feed her (she is ff) but more often than not I give her a dummy and see how much longer she will go. This can buy another couple of hours if am lucky. So she has a feed around 1am, guzzles 7oz bottle entirely. Back to sleep fine... Then wakings again at around 3, then 4, then 4.30... I usually pop her into bed with me around 5 as she is often wiiiiiiiiiide awake then, on a bad day it will be 6.30am before she is back to sleep, a good day means she goes back to sleep fast but then is awake again at 6.15.

I have started trying a second night feed at around 4am if I fed her before midnight, in case the problem is hunger. I hate doing this as feel it is a regression but thought it might help. It doesn't, really. She has about half a feed. It does get her back to sleep faster than if I were just to try to soothe her bck to sleep though.

I am so tired and demoralised I can't cope with leaning over her cot for ages in the middle of the night, trying to soothe her back to sleep. Hence the second feed.

Either way she still doesn't sleep more than an hour a stretch between 3am and 6. Second feed helps a bit but not much.

So... What am I doing wrong?!

She is on solids, has been since 4m, we are gradually introducing more protein etc but her appetite is still small and she has no teeth so I think she does get quite hungry.

I am offering milk more often in the day. She doesn't have as much as I think she should, I am aware that she needs more in the day and less at night, but how do I do this?! Is she too young to try gradual cutting down amounts at night? Might this encourage her to have more in the day?

Her naps are ok ish... Morning nap is a fight to get it beyond thirty mins even though she wakes up exhausted still at that point! But I am trying hard to leap in and soothe her back to sleep as she needs another half hour ish. But timing of the nap is ok I think, starting at 9 or 9.15. Long lunchtime nap of 1.5 hours at about 12pm then a catnap of 30 mins at about 4.15. As I say, she is fine about going to sleep at night, in fact she is exhausted by 7pm as her nights are so bad!!

Could it be teething? Sometimes she is barely waking up but just shuffling and whimpering in half sleep mode, this wakes me up though and then I can't get back to sleep! Does that sound like teething?

Even when she does wake (not for feeds) she is back to sleep quickly if I give dummy, except for beyond 3am when it is hard to get her back to sleep.

Early waking habit is miserable too.

We have yet to move her into her own room, might this help? DH is loud snorer so maybe he disturbs her? But the waking is as bad when he is in spare room upstairs. Maybe I am disturbing her? Is moving her the first thing to try?

I am rambling, sorry, but am at end of my tether, I cry in the night when she wakes again and can hardly face the days when they start so early... Haven't managed a block of more than four hours sleep since before she was born. Mostly it's two hours at a time if am lucky.

Oh, just to add, I will try anything except CIO, I know that may sound insane to everyone who swears by it but it is just not my thing and would stress me out even more if that were possible!M

AidanTheRevengeNinja Wed 02-Oct-13 21:24:50

Just here to offer solidarity (and mark my place grin ) as my 7 mo is exactly the same, other than being bf, and I wanted to jump out of the window last night. The extreme early morning shenanigans are the absolute worst. I find most sleep advice is tailored towards getting babies off to sleep at bedtime but my baby (like yours) is fine with this and can self-settle. It's after midnight that things get grim. I think he is teething but how long can a baby actually teethe for and there be no teeth ?

Sorry will stop ranting. <awaits helpful people>

Grannylipstick Wed 02-Oct-13 22:14:01

A 7 month old baby should be sleeping 12 hours through the night. They are unlikely to be hungry. Is the room at the right temperature? Often waking just becomes a habit for the baby. Sleep depravation for you must be awful but I don't think any harm will come to your babies if you leave them to settle on their own.

emeraldgirl1 Thu 03-Oct-13 01:58:14

Granny lipstick, thanks for the post! I actually don't know a single 7mo whio is going 12h without a feed, though... Everyone I know is still doing a dream feed with their 7 month babies... Am sure technically they don't 'need' the feed (?) but as I say I don't know any babies this age who are doing 12h.

Letting her settle herself... Hmmm... Nice idea in theory!! But in reality it just means even less sleep as she stirs for up to twenty mins, which keeps me awake, gradually getting more and more awake herself... And then is wide awake, either screaming the place down (and we have thin walls and neighbours with limited tolerance) or wants to play, in which case it takes more like an hour to get her back to sleep... sad

whatnameshallibetoday Thu 03-Oct-13 02:03:40

can you not bring her into bed with you??

absolute ROT that she should be sleeping 12 hours through the night, that is one of the most ridiculous things I have hear, babies are not designed to sleep for 12 hours - I don' t personally agree with sleep training but this may help


Sound like she wants to be with you to me

whatnameshallibetoday Thu 03-Oct-13 02:05:39

and here

Grannylipstick Thu 03-Oct-13 08:03:40

I have had 5 babies and 4 grandchildren so I think I come with some experience here. ALL of my 5 children slept 8 hours at 5 weeks old and them 12 hours at 10 weeks. They were all bottle fed. All 4 of my grandchildren have pretty much followed the same path. (2 pf these were bottle fed). Please tell me , what is this dream feed? At 7 months old they should be sleeping through the night. All of my babies slept in their own room when we brought them home from hospital, none of this co sleeping. Babies very quickly get into a habit and if they think they can get your attention all through the night , they will.
Emerald girl. You said you know they don't need the dream feed. Then why do it??
Whatnameshallibetoday. I am sorry you think it's rot but my sleep routine for my babies worked for me. Bringing a baby into bed with you is a mistake. My neighbour did this until her son went to school at 5 years old!! They never had a nights sleep on their own. All because they thought it would settle him better when he was a baby.

NAR4 Thu 03-Oct-13 08:16:45

These don't give any advice on how to change sleep habits, just possible causes.

I believe that mother nature knows best and babies cry for a reason but in modern life mothers DO need their sleep. For example driving when tired has been shown to be more dangerous than drink driving.

I wonder whatnameshallitbe how many children you have and how sleep deprived you are. Sleep deprivation drives most of us to desperate measures.

I just waited it out with my first child who still woke for night feeds at 23 months when his brother was born. By the third child I was extremely pleased that he only woke for feeds every 3hrs after now not having a full nights sleep for 4 yrs. Now after 2yrs of dc4 waking at least every two he's and now dc5 doing the same (and often not at the same time) I feel like I will die from exhaustion very soon.

OP is clearly looking for anything at this point that will/might help.

emeraldgirl1 Thu 03-Oct-13 09:34:24

Oh dear, I didn't mean to upset anyone!

Grannylipstick, when I said I am sure they don't 'need' to wake to feed, I was simply meaning that probably on a technical level a normal 7mo baby can survive a night without the feed in the way that a newborn would find dangerous/dehydrating etc. I don't actually do a dream-feed myself as we tried it but found in DD's case it was more disruptive, so we stopped that asap!

Re co-sleeping, each to their own, I say!! I was very against it myself (nothing at all against people who do it, as I say, whatever works!!!) but obviously as the sleep deprivation has got worse and worse I have started to bring DD into the bed at 5am after early wakings. Thanks v much for the info whatnamshallitbe, will have a look later today.

I am concerned that some of the night waking now has become a mere habit - have noticed that she wakes at exactly 3.50am for example. So last night I decided (on the basis that the 4am feed I have been adding wasn't really being drunk much) I decided not to feed her at that point. I tried doing a quick pat and dummy-insert (about 10 times) as she was just chatting and playing in her cot, then as she began to get more distressed I tried more labour-intensive stuff, stroking her forehead etc... she was clearly tired by then and struggling to get back to sleep so I took her out, changed her nappy, cuddled her and then (as it was 5.15 by then) took her to bed with me. No feed, she slept til 7.15 and then had a decent breakfast but was obviously not starving.

So I think dropping the 4am feed may help... but she is clearly still waking for it at the mo... or for another reason? Could the morning cuddles in bed be what she is waking for, do you think?

Any help is hugely appreciated!!! Didn't mean to get anybody annoyed!!!

whatnameshallibetoday Thu 03-Oct-13 09:39:15

I have 4 children - 3 of them in the space of 4 years, so I get how exhaustion is. But babies are meant to to be with their parents, we are the only mammal that thinks it is ok to put out children away so small

I actually genuinely think co-sleeping helps - that is why I suggested it. I know all about sleep deprivation, I am on my knees some days, but my cure for it will never be to leave the baby alone, at least if the baby was in bed with the OP she wouldn't be spending hours leaning over a cot and she will be able to sooth the baby back to sleep and get herself back off a lot quicker. In my experience, thats part of the problem, you get up, sooth them, get them back off to sleep and you are wide awake yourself.

And granny I don't co-sleep so the baby will sleep through the night, I co-sleep so the baby is close to me where it is meant to be, that is what works for us emotionally and that is more important to me than the baby sleeping through.

whatnameshallibetoday Thu 03-Oct-13 09:42:49

*Emarald, have you considered a co-sleeping cot if you dont want the baby in your bed, I have a cot bed with 3 side pushed up against my bed (4th side has been adapted as a "shelf" underneath for stability), if you bought a cheap second hand one, DD could go in there when she wakes, my baby starts in there and is moved over to me when waking (well within 5 mins) and DD cliombs in there when she wakes up usually about 2.30, so its dual purpose.

GrandPoohBah Thu 03-Oct-13 09:44:47

My DD started sleeping through at about 7.5 months when a) she went into her own room and b) she could roll herself onto her front as she was more comfortable. We didn't do anything to make it happen, it just did. We worked quite hard to make sure she'd be out down into her own cot by that time, things like that, but those are the two things which made the most difference.

Have you tried giving her water instead of milk in the night? It might break the habit of waking to feed...

Rooners Thu 03-Oct-13 09:54:45

I can never understand threads about babies who don't sleep through.

It's completely normal.

Mine is 9mo and I co sleep and he wakes once or twice mainly towards morning, or sometimes on and off all night when he is having some wind issues or teething.

The worst thing you can do is try to keep up with all the changes, it will exhaust you and make little difference.

Just try and roll with it, and I find if the baby is next to you, and you are feeding it when it asks, you've got the best chance of getting some sleep.

(not meaning to sound unsympathetic but honestly, it is just what they do, and it's not your fault!)

LePamplemousseMousse Thu 03-Oct-13 09:57:05

Granny sorry - you have been very, very lucky and I think you are over generalising to the point that would make a lot of mums want to gouge out their own eyes with frustration at the simplification of the situation (me included).

I have a wide circle of friends with small babies and I don't know any that did 12 hrs at 10 weeks - ha! Did you just let yours cry it out during the night and self settle regardless as long as they stayed in bed for the designated time? I know that was the advice to some parents when I was a baby 30 odd years ago.

Emerald the statistics say that it's not actually 'normal' for babies to sleep through the night at 7 months (or even at a year) - from the research it seems about a third do, a third wake but self settle, and a third have their parents up at least once a night if not multiple times. I know that doesn't help, but I hope the context means you know you are not doing anything 'wrong'.

I'd introduce a consistent dream feed just before you go to bed if she's awake at 11pm anyway, which may then give you a decent stretch until the next wake up. If she's draining a 7oz bottle I'd contest she is hungry/thirsty. If you don't think she drinks much during the day she may actually need it to help her go through.

Also, you weaned very early at four months, most babies would have started tiny amounts of solids at six months and you shouldn't expect her to be taking more than a few spoonfulls at a time. It's much more important she gets the right amount of milk, and food is more for 'fun', tastes and textures until she gets closer to one.

Is she unsettled during the day? I'm just wondering about food intolerances and digestive pain too with the early weaning.

emeraldgirl1 Thu 03-Oct-13 10:04:16

Thanks so much everyone!

Pamplemousse - we weaned early due to reflux... only tiny amounts of fruit and veg and we are still only introducing new stuff gradually and in small amounts, a few spoons etc. A couple of weeks ago night wakings were definitely wind-related but actually I think that was due to her bottle teat being too small, going up a size has stopped the wind! Could be food intolerances I guess... but as I say we are going slow and careful, not sure what else we could do on that front? She isn't unsettled during the day except when her teething is v bad.

Rooners, massively appreciate the support!! Thing is, I wouldn't expect her to STTN, not at all, as I say I know nobody whose baby does this. I wouldn't even mind waking for 2 feeds if that's what she needed, and certainly waking for one feed is absolutely fine by me... it's really a combo of the constant half-wakings and the early-morning waking that is getting me down. Happy not doing a dream-feed and just waking whenever she wakes for a first feed, no problem at all, it's all the wakings after that...

And if it was just for another feed, also no problem!

As I say, last night she woke at 3.50 (after a bottle only 2 hours previously) and so I decided not to feed... she didn't drain her bottle at breakfast at 8am so am I safe to assume she probably didn't need feeding at 3.50am?

LePamplemousseMousse Thu 03-Oct-13 10:09:43

Also, just read your latter posts. It sounds like some of what you are doing in the night could be accidentally stimulating her. If I got up to my DD and found she was happily chatting to herself in the night, I'd quickly leave the room again. If she's not distressed, she might just drop off again, especially if she's seen you for reassurance. Unless her clothes were soaked through or she'd pooed I wouldn't change her nappy either as that is bound to wake her up more.

Do you have a monitor at night? If so can you turn it off and just leave her door open a crack so you only hear her when she is actually crying for you? She may wake, chat, and then happily self settle at points in the night without you waking up. We did this when DD was about the same age and not hearing every tiny squeak made a huge difference and we realised she didn't actually need us to come in every time she woke up. We could still hear her perfectly well when she really cried and needed our attention but I wasn't springing out of bed every time she whimpered. Just a thought.

FaddyPeony Thu 03-Oct-13 10:21:54

Ah emerald, I so feel for you. This is where it gets really hard. And I so get that you're not looking for her to STTN - all you want is to be able to sleep in decent chunks between wakings, right? For me when I was getting under 2 hrs sleep or just 2 hrs sleep in between it was hell. When it stretched to 3hrs, the difference was amazing, and when it stretched to 4 I didn't know myself at all!

It does seem to be a thing that after say 3am babies will wake more often. So you have to take what you can get I reckon and GO TO BED EARLY. I didn't do this often enough and I regret it.

So what time in the morning is she up for the day? It sounds like you're getting her down for her first nap around the right time, but if in doubt get in there with the first nap no later than 1.5 hours after waking for the day. They get really tired again in the morning. 1.25 hours is probably better.

I actually don't think you're doing much wrong. All you can hope for is that she'll gradually extend the length of that first sleep. And she will - some day not too far from now. Try to get milk into her during the day as much as possible - put plenty into her brekkie for example. In a month or two you could do bedtime porridge with plenty of milk. I used to do this and think it helped a lot. The only other thing that might make a difference is moving her into her own room. At 7 months she could make the move. My DD slept much better between wakings when she went into her own room. I was breastfeeding and initially thought it would be more work to get up but it wasn't. It paid off.

Granny I think you must just have good sleeping genes in your family! I'm one of 5 and my mother also has 4 grandchildren. None of those children were sleeping 12 hours at night at 7 months - no frickin' way. That said, my mother did try the old 'let her settle' with me when my dd was tiny - HA! She clearly has amnesia about what it was all like because my father told me the real truth wink

TwentyTinyToes Thu 03-Oct-13 10:32:25

You are not doing anything wrong, this is what babies do. I second the advice to roll with it. It will pass. Everything is a phase. I know how exhausting it is, i really do, but i find it much easier now i have surrendered to it and just do whatever i need to do to get by. When my DC are awake lots or for long stretches i just hold onto the fact that they go to sleep eventually.

Grannylipstick Thu 03-Oct-13 11:33:02

Le pamp. 5 children and 4 grandchildren which have all slept is not lucky!! Also I take offence at your comments that I probably let my babies cry. I did not. It's all about routine from the very start. I will tell you mine.
My babies were all swaddled. I used a cotton cot sheet but you can now but these sheets in the perfect shape
From the start they were fed every 4 hours. After a couple of weeks I would let them wake naturally after their 11pm feed but still fed them every 4 hours during the day. They were all bottle fed which was obviously easier to monitor how much they were taking. (Not the same for breast fed).
They had a bath a were changed into their night clothes before their 7pm feed, then put into their cot
If they woke before 10.30pm. They weren't fed
Gradually around the 5th week they would ALL drop the 3 am feed. So now sleeping roughly 8 hours.
Same thing happens with the 11pm feed.
My first child didn't have food until she was 6 months old. She had
4 x 8 oz bottles a day.
My second child had food at 4 months old.
My third had cows milk at 3 months old and food at 4 months
Fourth and fifth same as the third.

Rooners Thu 03-Oct-13 12:08:36

but what did you do when they did cry?

Grannylipstick Thu 03-Oct-13 12:14:09

Rooners. Not sure what point you are trying to make here. If you want to say something then just say it. All I have done on here is tell mums what worked for me and what worked for my daughters with their babies.

Rooners Thu 03-Oct-13 12:17:23

I just did say it. I'm not trying to make a point.

You said that you didn't let them cry, but how did you manage that if they were being fed on a strict routine? I am just really interested.

I've never done a routine and always just fed on demand.

NAR4 Thu 03-Oct-13 12:22:01

whatnameshallibe Just re-read my rant and wanted to apologise. Didn't mean it to come across as such an assassination against you. I have co-slept with all my children and did with my 2yr old dd still, along with my 7m old ds, until Monday, when I realised I was getting so tired I didn't feel safe driving my older children to and from school. I have now put them in the other room together so at least my dh and me can take turns being with them instead of both being disturbed by them all the time.

Unfortunately some children don't need as much sleep as others. At the moment the only thing keeping me going is the knowledge that it does get better.

tombliboouun Thu 03-Oct-13 12:22:32

So glad I bf on demand. I don't think I could handle the lack of sleep.

NAR4 Thu 03-Oct-13 12:26:36

I breastfeed on demand and it seems to be the main cause of my lack of sleep. At least with a bottle someone else can do some of the feeds. Having said that I still firmly believe that breastfeeding on demand is what nature intended and don't regret it at all.

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