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11 week old - still 3-4 night feeds

(25 Posts)
notinagreatplace Sat 14-Jan-17 08:32:10

So, my 11 week old - bottlefed expressed breast milk (cleft palate so he can't breastfeed) - still wakes 3-4 times in the night to feed. A fairly typical pattern is: 10pm, 2am, 4am, 5am, 6:30am, 8am up for the day. Though it varies quite a lot. He doesn't mess around at night, he feeds then goes straight back to sleep.

I was kind of OK with it as I sort of assumed that all babies his age were like this but, talking to my NCT group, it turns out that all of the other babies, even the one a month younger than him, are doing somewhere between 0 and 2 feeds at night, at most 3. My friend's 4 week old has already done a longer stretch of sleep than my DS and only feeds once at night!

Is there anything I can do to improve this? I think the problem is that he just doesn't take much milk in one go - the maximum he ever takes is 120 ml and quite a lot of his feeds are still more at the 90ml level, even sometimes just 50/60ml. He takes a good amount across 24 hours (usually around 800-900ml) but he just won't drink much in one go. He is very decided about milk - if I offer him the bottle when he's not hungry, he just won't drink it and actually gets quite angry/upset about having been offered it, which I gather is quite unusual?

I was wondering about moving to the next size bottle teat as moving from the first size to the second seemed to increase the size of his feeds but that feels quite early - they are the Dr Browns bottles with adaptations for the cleft palate and the box suggests that the size 3 teats are for 6 months and up.

Any ideas?

ICJump Sat 14-Jan-17 08:34:22

I think they 3-4 wake ups is pretty normal for st least the first 12 months. It certainly is the norm with my friends. A copy of no cru sleep solution is worth a read.

Sukitakeitoff Sat 14-Jan-17 08:34:33

That sounds completely normal to me - sorry if that's not much help!

munchkinmable Sat 14-Jan-17 08:35:16

My 19 month old still wakes for 3-4 night feeds!

Symbista Sat 14-Jan-17 08:37:10

I can't comment on the bottles as I've just breastfed both of mine. But I would say try not to compare too much. Both of mine sleep well until the four month sleep regression. And then after that it was much more than 3-4 feeds a night. So the other babies may be doing better now but that could all change in a few weeks.

icclemunchy Sat 14-Jan-17 08:37:53

The 4week old only feeding once is the one I'd consider unusual! (Note I say unusual not impossible or a problem)

Take everything other mums tell you with a pinch of salt, what matters is you and your baby. As long as he's having plenty of wet and dirty nappies and growing well your doing a grand job smile

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Sat 14-Jan-17 08:38:02

I agree, really normal. Both DD1 (BF) AND DD2 (Ff) woke to feed every two hours til 5/6 months and then started stretching them out.

DC3 is 3 weeks old and I'm back to the frequent wakings- I reckon I'm getting too old for this lol! brew for you

fitzbilly Sat 14-Jan-17 08:40:01

Stupid phone, I meant he has three or four feeds a night.

All babies are different, and all nct parents lie and exaggerate, everyone knows that!grin

llangennith Sat 14-Jan-17 08:40:22

Normal I'm afraid. The first few months are hell with hardly any sleep and being woken to feed baby several times a night. Sleep when you can. Day or night.

3luckystars Sat 14-Jan-17 08:41:34

Even if they are telling the truth (which I doubt! ) there's nothing you can do about it, your baby is hungry at these times so you just have to feed him. You can't just have a word with him to stop....

Sounds like you are doing fantastic. When you say 'up for the day ' you mean yourself though and not him don't you? Is there any way you can go back to bed in the day, all that broken sleep is hard, but NORMAL.

JohnLapsleyParlabane Sat 14-Jan-17 08:42:11

'normal' is a huge range. Given your particular baby's particular needs its not surprising he needs to eat little and often.

Scrumptiouscrumpets Sat 14-Jan-17 08:42:56

Sounds perfectly normal for an 11 week old. Babies are all different, some will be sleeping through at his age, some will be up 7 times a night, some will be like yours. If he has a proper feed every time he wakes up, he's obviously hungry.
As for the amount he takes, ff babies tend to develop a pattern of less, bigger feeds, whereas bf babies tend to have smaller, more frequent feeds (again, it depends on the baby!). This could explain the difference between the babies in your NCT group.
Also, don't take what other mums tell you as gospel. Their babies might be waking once at the moment, but it might all change in a week's time and their babies will be up four times like yours!
You could try and increase the amount he takes by burping him once he seems done feeding, giving him a ten minute rest and then offering more milk. But I wouldn't get my hopes up!
There is nothing wrong with trying to settle him back to sleep without offering a bottle. Can he take a dummy? If so, you could try that. In any case, if he won't settle without milk then he's hungry and needs a feed.

notinagreatplace Sat 14-Jan-17 08:47:46

I'm not sure the NCT ladies are lying to me - I think I've just realised why they all have so much more energy than me! I was feeling a bit bad about not having the energy to go out and do as much stuff as they were but now that I realise they are getting soooo much more sleep, I feel ok about that bit.

He did a couple of nights in a row with just two wakings and I got my hopes up.. then he went back to 4 times a night and I woke up to a couple of NCT messages about how horrible it is that their babies were "back to waking up twice in the night" - I wanted to KILL these women! Twice a night feels a million miles away for us.

It's not straightforward for me to nap during the day - he usually has one really good nap (2-3 hours) and I need to use that to pump, sterilise bottles, etc which doesn't leave much time for me to get my head down. His other naps are shorter - more like an hour, which doesn't feel worth trying to nap for.

PovertyJetset Sat 14-Jan-17 08:59:05

Sounds very normal in my experience.

FATEdestiny Sat 14-Jan-17 11:05:17

cleft palate so he can't breastfeed... next size bottle teat

My nephew had an cleft palate. I know a fair bit about feeding issues in those with cleft palates.

I don't understand why you are using bottle teats? I assume you realise that the cleft means your son has no suction?

He can't breastfeed for the same reason he can't suck a dummy and can't suck on a bottle teat - because there is a hole in the roof of his mouth that means when he sucks, no vaccume is formed in his mouth because air comes in through the hole.

My nephew had to use a special kind bottle. It was hard plastic contraption that was in place of a teat and acts a bit like a large spoon. You would put the end on baby's mouth, tip bottle dlightly and then sort of dribble milk into his mouth in a very controlled way.

Are you under a consultant for his cleft? My nephew was under an Ear Nose & Throat specialist from birth. Even though his cleft was really tiny and almost invisible to the naked eye, it significantly affected his feeding.

If you are still using normal tests, imagine Huw much air baby is sucking in and swallowing with the milk? He must be very uncomfortable.

See a specialist asap.

notinagreatplace Sat 14-Jan-17 14:06:02

FATE - don't worry, he is under the care of a specialist team. And I am aware that he can't suck!

There are now new bottles for cleft palate that have only been around for a few months - your nephew will have been using the older style bottles.

These ones are great - much easier to use. They do have normal bottle teats but operate using a one way valve so that he doesn't have to suck, just sort of "gum" the bottle, so he thinks he's sucking but he isn't.

The consultant is very pleased with his feeding and he's putting on weight really well. The consultant also said that he can use a dummy - though we haven't bothered as he prefers his thumb - but will struggle more than other babies to hold it in his mouth as he can't obviously suck it but has to hold it in place with his gums

notinagreatplace Sat 14-Jan-17 14:30:48

In case you don't believe me that they are specially designed for cleft - here is a link. www.clapa.com/product/dr-browns-bottle-teat-pack/

876TaylorMade Sat 14-Jan-17 14:48:23

It's very normal.

Do the other ladies breastfeed?

Considering breast milk digests a lot quicker could explain why he is hungry sooner and needs to feed as much.

TBH some of these women are liars... 😐 It's like a bizarre competition with babies and sleeping through.

FATEdestiny Sat 14-Jan-17 14:50:59

Oh I do believe you. My nephew is 11 now, so this was a fair while ago. I am glad the bottles changed because I never liked the look of the ones DN used.

It's the sucking action that soothes baby, not having something in their mouth. So I can't see how the thumb or dummy will be effective just in his mouth.

I know this inability to comfort suck made the baby months really hard for DN and my SIL.

Most babies outside of the first 3 months suck to sooth themselves to sleep - either comfort sucking on the nipple, sucking to feed or by using a dummy. Many are divided on which is then eat way to sooth, but they almost always involve sucking.

All of these comforting pathways are closed to your son, so I guess you needs to really focus on other methods for him to get to sleep. The fact that the only sleep comfort he has so far is a full tummy, that means during periods of lighter sleeping between sleep cycles, if his tummy isn't full he is much more likely to wake.

Honestly I think the best thing you can do is adjust your expectations. Then just make sleep as easy as possible by offering him as many comforting mechanisms as possible.

notinagreatplace Sat 14-Jan-17 15:12:11

FATE - I can see why you say that but my DS definitely does find something in his mouth comforting. He "sucks" his thumb and has done so since he was 2 weeks old (and in utero also, based on scans!) and clearly gets comfort from it. Right now, he is asleep on my chest avidly "sucking" at his thumb.

I think this is (though I'm not a medical professional so I may be wrong) because he doesn't know he can't suck so he thinks he is, even though he obviously isn't. That's how the new bottles work too - they trick him into thinking he's doing it himself.

All the other NCT ladies breastfeed.. I agree, though, I need to stop expecting him to be like their babies. I just wish I could even see some signs of progress - about 8 weeks ago, he started sleeping a four hour stretch at night and I assumed that that stretch would gradually increase but it just hasn't. He still sleeps exactly as he did as 3 week old.

Honeybee79 Sat 14-Jan-17 16:28:40

Don't believe what other people tell you about their babies nocturnal habits! Besides, it can all change for better or worse in an instant.

What you describe sounds v normal. Hard and exhausting, but normal!

3luckystars Sat 14-Jan-17 16:42:32

At age 1, 50% of babies are not sleeping through the night. Someone is lying and it's not me!
Ignore them all. You are doing fantastic, if they mention sleep just change the subject. Getting up and washed and actually out of the house at this stage is an unbelievable achievement. Sleep is not something you can fix at this age, he is obviously hungry and wanting milk and is thriving so just go along with him. He sounds adorable and don't believe anything and go with your own instincts is my advice.

Youhaveupdates1 Sun 15-Jan-17 07:55:00

My ds2 is nearly 6 months and still wakes numerous times a night, last night 4 times last week 11 times. My ds1 was a terrible sleeper too and only slept through reliably when we did sleep training at 2.2 years old!
Every child is different and has different needs in terms of comfort and feeding, try and hold on to the thought that it won't last forever and you aren't alone during those night feeds even though it feels lonely, there are lots of us getting up to see to our babies smile
Also from posts I have read and speaking to different people who went to NCT, the groups tend to try and compete with each other and that's not healthy or helpful.
My friends little girl slept very well from a young age but she had terrible trouble with her during the day and she was envious of me because my son was so relaxed during the day he was a breeze for naps and entertaining, so a good nights sleep doesn't necessarily make everything ok.

Sorry that's a bit of a ramble because I am so tired lol but hopefully it makes a little sense smile

Scrumptiouscrumpets Sun 15-Jan-17 19:22:01

about 8 weeks ago, he started sleeping a four hour stretch at night and I assumed that that stretch would gradually increase but it just hasn't.
I assumed this with DC1 too, but babies' sleep isn't linear. They often sleep better, then worse, then it improves again before getting worse again and so on. This means you can be optimistic when he's sleeping badly, and had better avoid being smug when he's sleeping well wink

farfarawayfromhome Sun 15-Jan-17 19:48:14

Completely Normal until mine was six months old I'm afraid to say!

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