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How many night feeds does a 4mo need?

(18 Posts)
pocketsized Thu 23-Jul-15 11:25:43

Hi all,

My 4mo has pretty much never slept more than 2 or 3 hours in one go. She is bf, has a milk allergy and hates the prescription formula. I know this is normal, but my DH is abroad with work for en extended period of time, and we've just moved house so I have no friends or family here. I am exhausted, and want to try and sooth her back to sleep to stretch out the amount of time she's asleep.i think she's waking for comfort rather than anything g else some of the time, but I'm scared of starving her... Does anyone have any thoughts/tips?

chloechloe Thu 23-Jul-15 13:15:23

It's tough isn't it. DD is 4 months old and is pretty much the same - she goes to bed at 7pm usually and will generally want to eat at say 11, 2 and 5. Sometimes it's every 2 hours in the night.

If she wakes up after less than 3 hours then I try and see if she will take her dummy instead and go back to sleep. She generally is hungry though when she wakes and a dummy just won't cut it! To be honest I don't have the patience to persevere with the dummy - I tend to think that if I'm awake I may as well just feed her so I can go back to sleep quicker!

On occasion she has slept though 7-8 hours and also went through a phase of doing a first stretch of 5 hours. I can't find any rhyme or reason as to what makes her sleeps longer though at these times. She is BF but gets one bottle in the evening as the MW was concerned about weight gain but this doesn't seem to make her sleep longer.

Some people swear by tanking them up more throughout the day so they are fuller and sleep longer at night, or by giving hourly feeds towards the end of the day. I haven't found anything that works though so would be glad to hear the experience of others. I wonder if it's just that some babies are incapable of sleeping for longer until they are bigger.

Not sure if this has been any help at all, but at least you know you're not the only one!

Sycamore76 Thu 23-Jul-15 14:04:38

I am in the same boat as you op. Dd is 20 weeks soon and has a cmpi and silent reflux and is ebf Haven't tried the formula (aptimal pepi) that I was prescribed but I have heard it's not move . She wakes up multiple times too and has doubled birth weight so is gaining ok. She too is usually hungry so dummy won't cut it ! I have heard that stretching out feeds in day will help as they will get use to drinking more during the day and going longer at night .

Diggum Thu 23-Jul-15 14:13:20

Mine was feeding about that often at 4 months I'm afraid. Between a growth spurt around 3 months and the 4 month sleep regression (which was a bastard) she took a while to settle. I used to try just cuddling her instead of feeding straight away but it was hit and miss. If she was hungry she let me know!

So no advice but sympathies! thanks

catellington Thu 23-Jul-15 14:19:08

I have a 3.5 mo, she wakes several times a night, we co sleep and I just pop boob out and she helps herself. So I'm not tired despite the night wakings as I barely wake up myself and just go back to sleep.

However we are set up for everyday bed sharing and experienced at it and I realise it's not everyone's cup of tea but thought I'd say how we cope

catellington Thu 23-Jul-15 14:20:49

I should also say there's nothing unusual scout a baby this age waking for milk. Food / comfort - they need both!

ShipShapeAhoy Thu 23-Jul-15 14:21:06

I think it's normal. I usually bring dd Info my bed if she wakes for a feed once I'm asleep, then she can just latch on herself with minimal effort on my part.

cabbageleaf Thu 23-Jul-15 16:35:26

I think most ebf 4 mo are like that, unfortunately! Mine definitely was. I tried feeding more often in the evening, but it didn't really help. I would perservere with the dummy though, you can try for 30 secs. or so, if she really is hungry she'll let you know and if she isn't she'll settle with the dummy. But at 4 mo I suspect most night wakings will be for food. You might have more success settling her with the dummy in a month or so.

pocketsized Thu 23-Jul-15 19:08:37

sad I know it's normalisuppose, but I just can't cope with it. I'm too tired to function properly in the day and don't feel very safe driving. I rarely get 2 hours myself between feeds and it just is no longer sustainable. I guess it seems like I have no other options than to plough on though.

I tried full on cosleepingcosleeping (we have a bedside crib) , but I was so terrified of squashing her I slept even less.

pocketsized Thu 23-Jul-15 19:12:51

Sorry, I meant also to say thank you for replying, at least I'm not alone with this issue!

cabbageleaf Thu 23-Jul-15 20:07:17

Your situation doesn't sound easy pocketsized! Perhaps counting down the days till your DH comes and then getting him to bottlefeed might help keep your morale up??

pocketsized Thu 23-Jul-15 20:12:24

Yes, I am definitely counting. Bottle feeding hasn't really worked out though, I would love it too, but DD hates the prescription milk that she has to have. Once he gets back I'll try an express so he can feed her in the night a bit, but historically expressing has ended in mastitis... Goodness, I sound like a right moaning myrtle. Need to give myself a bit of a talking to I think...

lexyloub Thu 23-Jul-15 20:13:24

Your dc shouldn't need any feeds in the night if she's getting enough throughout the day my ds stopped having a night feed about 10 weeks but that does mean we have to cram 5 bottles within 12/13 hrs. If you think it's more comfort than hunger offer a dummy instead or allocate a time you won't feed her til say 2am and if she wakes before then only settle her with a dummy or shush pat then gradually get the time later til she's no longer needing a night feed it'll be hard at 1st but worth it in the long run

catellington Thu 23-Jul-15 22:37:10

Wrote a long post and lost it , how annoying. Here goes again

lexyloub it is normal for a bf baby of this age to wake for milk. Breast milk is digested more quickly than formula milk, see here www.isisonline.org.uk/hcp/how_babies_sleep/normal_sleep_development/sleep_and_feeding/ ((this is a really good website with evidence based information - should be reassuring to you op )

I recommend pocketsized that you go to a local LA Leche League meeting to get some support from people who are or have been in the same boat and may have some tips. Or if you can't physically attend I recommend the LLL book 'sweet sleep' which is all about sleep specifically for breastfeeding families. I would find a link but don't want to lose another post!

With my first dd I battled on with severe sleep deprivation until she was 9 months at which point having researched the safety of bedsharing we moved to bedsharing as a planned activity, and from that point on have never again felt that level of exhaustion. Yes sometimes tired but no longer unable to function, poor health etc. dd1 is now 2.5 and now I am here in bed next to dd2, honestly my experience of the newborn phase this time has been about 100 times better than last.

I do hope you find a way of getting through as I remember that terrible tiredness very well..one day I was so tired I didn't recognise my own house!

pocketsized Thu 23-Jul-15 23:14:58

catellington that is very helpful, thank you. I have looked up the local LLL group (there wasn't one near our old house, but it turns out one of the few positives about being here is there is one about 20 mins away) and I will order the book. I am very nervous at the idea of bed sharing, but having read the reviews on Amazon perhaps I will feel differently once I understand more about it. Having recently moved I forgot my address the other day when asked for it....

lexyloub I am breastfeeding, and whilst I would be quite happy to formula feed DD requires special prescription formula which she hates, so I am not able to switch.

I am offering her the breast at pretty much every squeak during the day, I don't think she could have any more milk in the day, and her weight gain has been really good - she was quite low birthweight when born, but is now above the 50th centile. I wonder if her need to feed very frequently (hourly!) for the first 5/6 weeks while she caught up has set her up in a bit of a habit of eating so frequently through the night.

I think for tonight I will try just settling her each time she wakes, if it doesnt work after a few minutes I will feed her, if it gets her back to sleep, even for just a little while, perhaps it will help her stretch her feeds a tiny bit. If I could manage 3 or 4 hours sleep between a couple of feeds I think I would feel a lot better than the 1.5 - 2 hrs that I currently get.

jennifer86 Fri 24-Jul-15 13:39:27

I can certainly empathise, pocketsized. DS is 19 weeks and up until a couple of weeks ago he was waking approx every 3-4 hours at night, with periods when it was every 45 minutes! confused Breast feeding didn't work out for us so he is fed exclusively on my expressed breast milk. His sleep has improved greatly over the last couple of weeks and I e noticed that when he's had a LOT during the day (around 1100ml) he will often sleep through 10-5/6, whereas on other days he will wake around 1/2 for another feed. So certainly make sure they are getting plenty during the day (although I don't know what changed for him to go from his previous waking pattern to this one, so no advice on that I'm afraid...) how long is your DH away for? Hopefully you will feel a lot better about things when he's back and can support you through it! smile

Sparkly1234 Sun 26-Jul-15 12:09:21

I am breastfeeding and my dd is 19 weeks, she is starting to do a little better at night but not every night. And like others have said I don't know why some nights are better than others!
My dd stopped taking a bottle as we used to give her one every now and then when she was younger or if I went out for a few hours. So I tried to get her to take one again as needed a bit of a rest from the constant feeding, and she eventually took the bottle again. So maybe you could try it, as I thought it was the formula she didn't like but she is now ok with it. I started to get her to take the bottle I. The afternoon when she was happy and tried to make it fun and talked to her also sat her up rather than laid down like breastfeeding and after a couple of days she started to take it and has done better since without all the messing about and crying.
It is awful when you are so tired and can't sleep for long periods, must be hard with your dh away. Hope it gets better for you.

pocketsized Sun 26-Jul-15 15:07:55

Thanks sparkly, unfortunately I know it's not the bottle as she will happily take expressed milk from a bottle given either by me or someone else. She has to have prescription formula and she hates it, I will try introducing it combined with breast milk once DH is back but it will just be more work while I'm on my own.

jennifer I hope that we have some sort of magic change soon, last night there was no more than 1.5 hrs between feeds, and she's only slept 2 hrs since 7.30 this morning! I have another week before DH gets back, so nearly nearly there!

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