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Is there a way to reduce night feeds for 5 month old?

(9 Posts)
Lenny1980 Wed 16-Nov-16 18:30:23

DS is 5 months old and BF. He generally doesn't have a problem going to sleep, he either falls asleep during last feed which I try to avoid or will settle himself in his cot. But he currently wakes between 1 and 3 times a night. I feed him at each wake up and he usually goes straight back to sleep, sometimes falling asleep on the boob but not always. I think he is taking a proper feed each time and if I try to just cuddle him and put him back in his cot he cries.

Other than refusing to feed him and toughing it out through the inevitable crying is there anything I can try to reduce these night wakings? I'm totally fine with one, even two is not so bad but three is starting to get me down. I think I'm more bothered because he slept through most nights from weeks10-16. He's not slept through once in the last 6 weeks.

Our night schedule currently looks like this:
6:30pm bath (every other night)
7pm feed in sleeping bag in bed, asleep in cot by 7:30pm (cot in our room)
11pm feed (sometimes)
2-3am feed (always)
5am ish feed (sometimes)
6:30-7am awake for the day.

I can't see any pattern in why he wakes once, twice or three times.

He's generally a good day time napper. If in his cot he'll usually do half an hour in the morning, 1.5hrs over lunchtime and 1hr in the afternoon. I try to put him down 2 hrs after waking up, in his sleeping bag in his cot and he'll self settle. He's been consistently good at this since I spent one day allowing him to cry in his cot at 4 months (going to him regularly, he never went longer than 15 minutes and it took literally one day).

I know he can self settle at night because he sometimes sleeps for 6 hours and I do hear him stir but not cry out for attention. So up to now I've been assuming he is genuinely hungry, despite having slept through previously. He does to want to comfort suck at night though, even though he sucks his thumb, and it can sometimes take a few attempts to de-latch him without him getting upset.

Is there anything obvious I am doing wrong, or simple things I could try and change? He generally settles well so it's not totally awful. is it likely to imrpove once he's on solids so not worth worrying about? If it makes a difference I'll be weaning off BF as well by 8 months when I return to work so will formula than make a difference?

Sorry for very long post and thanks for making it this far! I just wanted to try and pre-empt the questions people often ask when trying to help!

Nottalotta Wed 16-Nov-16 18:59:04

I'm not a sleep or feeding expert, having posted here LOTS about ds who is 15 months old.

I think at 5 months he is still very small and in all likelihood needs those night feeds. I was advised by my HV and bf support not to night wean until 12 months. I have no idea if this is usual, but will say that at 15 months, I have eventually started and it's been easy. Because I think he was ready for it. It won't make you feel better AT ALL but Ds has slept through twice this last week for the first time ever.

Waking between 1 and 3 times a night seems pretty normal to me, but as I said, no expert! I found it easier to deal with once I accepted that that was how it was, and realised I wasn't prepared to cause any upset or distress to ds in order to change it

I was lucky in that I was able to return to work part time, the days a week, otherwise may have struggled.

FATEdestiny Wed 16-Nov-16 21:18:47

I can try to reduce these night wakings?

You could give a dummy to suck instead?

I found the dummy a great way to spread out breastfeeds and see if baby is actually Hungary or just wanting to suck.

Past 3 months (before then I would feed at every wake up) I would always try 10 minutes of dummy reinsert before feeding. I have a 3-sided bedside cot and could do these dummy reinserts with my eyes closed while still half sleep by just leaning an arm over.

Often baby would settle back to sleep in those 10 minutes. It would inevitably mean another wake up later when I'd try again with 10 mins of dummy reinserts. I'd only feed if, after 10 minutes, baby isn't back to sleep.

kiwipie Wed 16-Nov-16 21:20:53

At 5mo, he really is too little to be reducing the night feeds. He could be having a growth spurt and needs all the good he needs.

Camomila Wed 16-Nov-16 21:35:46

Hi Lenny, if it makes you feel any better he sounds about average re: the amount of times he wakes at night (going from when my ebf baby was that age, other nct babies etc.)

I do think he is too little to reduce nightfeeds sorry. To be honest my advice would be to go to bed at 9, it's boring and you don't get to spend much time with your DH/DP but at least you get 8 hours sleep. My DS (7months, breastfed, just staring to get the hang of solids) still wakes a couple of times per night but since I started going to bed early my energy levels are so much better.

MrsNuckyThompson Wed 16-Nov-16 22:30:26

He's five months old. What do you expect?Totally normal for a baby still to need several night feeds.

Do you do a dream feed before you go to bed? I found that cut out one of the feeds. DS was EBF and still had one feed a night til he was around 8-9 months old.

Lenny1980 Wed 16-Nov-16 22:35:39

Thanks for your advice everyone.

I don't think it's a growth spurt as there has been no increase in daytime feeding which has happened for other growth spurts. I definitely don't want to not feed him if he is genuinely hungry though! It's just so frustrating knowing he had a good period of sleeping through a few weeks back!

FATE - he didn't take a dummy when very little so will try that again He's a thumb sucker now though so maybe I will try encouraging his thumb when he wakes up. I do something think I might be too quick to pick him up so he doesn't disturb DH who had to get up early for work.

One thing I've just realised is that increased waking seems to have coincided with when he brought his bedtime forward. Previously he would sleep 9/10pm - 6/7am but he would have a good cluster feed in the evening. Maybe I should try and encourage a cluster feed late afternoon?

Lenny1980 Wed 16-Nov-16 23:14:04

MrsNucky, I've not done a deliberate dream feed, mainly because when he was sleeping through his bedtime was quite late anyway. He is quite often waking around 11ish anyway but oddly that doesn't seem to make much difference to the later wake ups!

1sttimemama1986 Wed 30-Nov-16 18:35:50

I can only dream about 3 wake ups a night! My 5.5 month old wakes on average 6 times a night. I think for you babies age what you describe is normal and wouldn't push to change anything to be honest.

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