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Struggling with 7 month olds sleep!

(26 Posts)
Sunshinegirl82 Thu 19-Jan-17 20:08:06

Our ds is nearly 7 months old. He is exclusively breastfed and is doing well with his solids having 3 decent meals a day. He has dropped his milk intake quite a bit in the day although he is probably having 3 decent feeds.

Until recently he wouldn't nap in his cot but I have worked in this over the last few weeks and he is now having 2 naps a day in his cot. 45 mins in the morning and up to 2 hours at around lunchtime. It can be difficult to get him to have a third nap even if I take him out in the car although he is clearly tired again by about 4pm.

The issue is his night time sleep. He has quite a good night time routine (I think) bath, into pj's, feed, story and into cot awake with dummy. I then sit with him until he falls asleep which is usually fairly quick (in about 15 mins). He always whinges in his cot and sometimes cries. I generally ignore the whinging but will comfort him by stroking his head, rubbing his tummy, shushing etc if he cries. We start at 6.15 and he is generally asleep by 7.

He usually sleeps well until about 10ish when he will wake and want feeding. I feed him in his room and he closes his eyes as soon as he latches on. He is asleep by the time he finishes feeding and I put him back in his cot with dummy. He will then wake every 2 hours for milk where this routine is repeated. He often won't settle at the 4.30/5 wake up and out of desperation he will then come in with us. He will then sometimes go back down for another hour but is regularly up at 5.30/6 for the day.

I am shattered! I'm clearly doing something wrong so any pointers? I'm ok with letting him whinge for a few minutes by himself but I'm not comfortable with leaving him to cry for any length of time.

FATEdestiny Thu 19-Jan-17 20:41:26

So there are a few issues. Lack of daytime milk, physically not able to find and reinsert own dummy and over tiredness. It might be one or the other, two of, or all three.

Early weaning (6-9 months) is realky tricky in terms of calorie intake. Most early weaning foods are low calorie (fruit and veg). This most calorie dense food-stuff baby can have is milk.

In the early months of solids, portion sizes smaller, all the food groups not always covered in enough quantity and baby generally lacks calories. So baby really needs to maintain the milk intake prior to weaning, sometimes even increasing their milk. This is in addition to solid meals. I recall early weaning being like newborn days - where most of baby's time is spend feeding and sleeping.

Also remember to factor in drinks. Baby could be getting dehydrated and be thirsty at night.

Next is the dummy. Have you found a way to make sure baby can find a list dummy in the dark and put it in himself? 7 months is a bit early in terms of manual dexterity for this.

Finally sleep. Could she be resettled after the morning nap? How about a car journey or pushchair walk at teatime? Sounds over tired. I'd be wanting 1.5-2h morning, same afternoon and then a teatime power nap.

Sunshinegirl82 Thu 19-Jan-17 21:02:04

Hi there, thanks for your reply. The milk thing has really concerned me too and I've been trying really hard to get him to take more but he cries and pulls and twists away from me. I spoke to the health visitor about it and she said not to force him and not to worry about it! He is maintaining his weight which seems to be all they worry about. I offer water at meal times and he does drink some but not much. I even tried introducing formula but he completely refused it. That said he has always fed a lot at night so it hasn't really increased since he started weaning but I'm not comfortable denying him milk at night when he doesn't seem to be having enough in the day.

I have tried resettling him when he wakes but he really fights it, it's almost like as soon as he sees me he just wants to be picked up and then that's it. I might try leaving him for a few minutes when he wakes to see if he resettles himself but he is usually crying by that point so I generally go in to him quite quickly.

He is quite good with his dummy and can put it back in if its just on his chest but loses it if it falls down beside him. He has a glow in the dark version but I wondered about buying one of those teddies you can attach the dummy to? Has anyone had success with those? I'm not sure he even tries to put it back in when he wakes in the night to be honest!

TiffanyAtBreakfast Thu 19-Jan-17 21:46:54

I'm going through the exact same thing ATM with my 8mo. Only differences are that he is formula fed, and often wakes more frequently than two-hourly.

I feel for you :-( the frequent waking is knackering isn't it? DH has just been out at an exercise class for 1.5 hours and by the time he got home I was crying because DS woke up so many times and I just want it to stop now sad

Wish I had something for useful to suggest, but will just offer sympathy instead. brew

Pirandello24 Thu 19-Jan-17 21:51:55

I could have​ written your post. Nothing useful to add, just wanted to say I feel your pain!1

3andamdone Fri 20-Jan-17 03:27:39

Have same issues with my 5 month old, especially regards milk. I offer breast loads but she rarely takes it. I've put formula into her solids ( was advised to wean early by GP and HV) to up calories but hasn't helped the sleep

HumpHumpWhale Fri 20-Jan-17 04:37:34

I would try stretching the interval between feeds at night. I totally understand the reluctance to deny him milk at night but he's not going to starve or dehydrate in a 5 or 6 hour period. And if you were getting one six hour stretch you'd feel 1 million times better. Most of the books suggest stretching the intervals between all feeds but I prefer to pick two feeds and stretch the gap between them. So I put DD down between 7 & 8 (aiming for 8 because her overnight total is approx 10 hours and I hate getting up at 5 - according to the books, 10 hours total night sleep is quite long for a 7mo); first feed around 11; then we're aiming to get to 4 for the next feed. After that if she wants feeding again she can have it whenever. I just pushed the interval by 15 minutes a night even if that meant lots of cuddles and walking her around to keep her quiet - and then last night she went 11-4 without asking for food! I might try to push it even more now. I'm not really comfortable eliminating night feeds altogeher until she's bigger - unless she does it herself in which case YAY!
It has meant she's hungrier in the morning especially so I'm pretty sure she's getting the same milk overall. I'm shocked at how fast it's had results.
My son was a crap sleeper, too. It does get better. He still likes to get into bed with us for a cuddle but not every night and he doesn't really disturb us any more. You'll get there, I promise - you're not going to feel like this forever.

Sunshinegirl82 Fri 20-Jan-17 08:24:46

Thanks everyone, it's nice to hear I'm not alone although I'm sorry you're all dealing with the same thing! Last night he went to sleep at 7 woke at 9.30 and had a big feed. I went to bed immediately after and he then went through till 1.15 which is pretty good for him! We then did 3.30 and 5.15. He came into us at 5.15 and went back to sleep until 6.45 so overall we've had worse nights!

The fact he will sleep later in the morning with us seems to suggest that he does need the extra sleep but he just will not do that stretch in his cot.

I will try stretching the time between night feeds that seems like it might be do-able. The first night feed tends to be the biggest so after he's had that I'm happier that he's got enough milk in him! If I could get him to combine the 2 of the feeds into one bigger feed then I think it would be manageable. I think/hope my expectations are realistic in terms of the night waking, I'm not trying to irradiate them all, I'm happy to do a couple it's just the frequency!

Kariana Fri 20-Jan-17 14:28:51

Just thinking about the day time milk are you offering it before he has his solids? He should have the milk first as that is his source of nutrition, even if it means he eats fewer solids afterwards. If he isn't taking the milk even though you are offering it first it might be worth dropping the amount of solids you are offering at the previous meal ie. Breakfast, so that when you give him his milk at the next feed he is hungrier for it. Once you are confident he's drinking more milk in the day it will be easier to reduce the night feeds as you will know be doesn't need them all.

Sunshinegirl82 Fri 20-Jan-17 14:58:59

Yes, I always offer milk first at breakfast, lunch and dinner and I also offer mid-morning, mid afternoon and at bed time. On 3 or 4 of those occasions he'll have reasonable feed, otherwise he just refuses. Today he has had 3 decent feeds so far and breakfast and lunch. He had an hour and a half sleep this morning (9 till 10.30) and has been asleep since 2.20. We do baby sensory on a Friday so there is a longer gap between naps than usual!

Sunshinegirl82 Sat 21-Jan-17 10:12:04

Well last night he woke at 9.45, 11.50, 1.20, 3.45 and then up for the day at 5.50! On at least two occasions he had his dummy in when I went in to him so he's either finding it or not losing it in the first place!

I tried not feeding at the 3.50 wake up as he'd already had 3 quite big feeds by then but he just cried and rooted until I gave in.

Someone should tell the people who write the books saying if you get a baby to self settle at the start of the night everything will be fine that it isn't true with all babies! I've been doggedly persevering with not feeding to sleep for 3 months and I don't think it's made any difference at all!

Kariana Sat 21-Jan-17 11:15:43

Maybe it is genuine hunger. He should be taking at least 4 or 5 proper milk feeds in the day, do you think he's getting these? I hope you don't take offence but are you sure you are still maintaining enough supply? I'm just thinking if he's feeding less often because he's refusing feeds your supply might have gone down and he's no longer getting as much milk per feed? Can you express at all?

Just trying to think what it could be as from what you've said it doesn't sound like he's using it as a sleep aid, more that he is hungry.

Sunshinegirl82 Sat 21-Jan-17 11:49:16

Thanks for your reply. I worry it's hunger too and that's why I don't refuse milk. I'm pretty sure my supply is ok, if I squeeze the milk shoots out and during the night he feeds for long periods and seems to still be swallowing at the end of each feed. In the day it's more that he just won't latch on. He tells me when he wants to feed (maybe 3 times a day?) and I do offer at other times as well but he will just refuse to latch.

We are planning on having another go with some formula tonight so will see if that makes any difference! To be honest I would be comfortable moving him on to mixed feeding at this point with the aim of giving up bf entirely by about 9 months if possible. I will try expressing though to see what I can get and check there is enough there.

Kariana Sat 21-Jan-17 22:42:23

That does sound like you have enough supply then, but sounds like he's got into the habit of taking his milk at night rather than in the day. It might sound strange as the cause is hunger but perhaps cutting right back on the solids would be the best thing at this point in order to get him to take more milk in the day. It's the milk that will satisfy his hunger and give him his nutrition, not the food (as his digestive system won't be taking all the nutrients from it effectively yet).

When does he usually accept milk during the day at the moment and how much is he eating in terms of solids at each meal?

Sunshinegirl82 Sun 22-Jan-17 10:49:29

He had a bit of milk on waking this morning (but had 4 feeds overnight) he has just had a big feed before his nap. I generally get him to feed about 3/4 and then at bed time so 6.30/7.

In terms of solids he normally has a smallish bowl of baby porridge with fruit purée at breakfast, 3 ice cubes of home made food (sweet potato, carrot, parsnip etc) or half an Ella pouch and then a mini Yeo yogurt or half a pot of fruit at lunch and then the same at dinner time. I also give him half a risk at lunch and tea to suck on, he generally doesn't actually eat much of this! I also offer water with all meals.

I generally stop feeding him before he stops eating if that makes sense? He would keep going!

Tried again with formula last night, he was having none of it!

Sunshinegirl82 Sun 22-Jan-17 10:53:16

*rusk

Scrumptiouscrumpets Sun 22-Jan-17 13:38:36

His lunch and tea don't contain many calories - that's just a bit of veg which is lacking in protein and fat. I would add some meat or other source of protein and a generous spoonful of oil. Yogurt as dessert but no fruit, I'd keep the fruit as a snack in between meals because of its not filling.
It doesn't matter if he has small portions as long as they are calorie dense. And insist as much as possible with the milk. As soon as he's getting enough calories during the day I would night wean. Milk intake during the night is often a major motivation for wake ups and he is old enough to go from 10 pm to 6-7 am without a feed.

Sunshinegirl82 Sun 22-Jan-17 21:56:57

Well he had cauliflower cheese for lunch today and chicken, sweet potato and carrot followed by yogurt for tea. He had 3 naps totalling 3.5 hours and went to bed at 7.30 after a pretty big breastfeed. Managed to get 4 decent feeds into him today (plus the feeds he had overnight, at least a further 4) so I think he did have enough milk today. We shall see what happens!

KingfisherBlue Mon 23-Jan-17 08:11:07

Following this thread with interest as we are going through similar with DS, although he is still nursing frequently during the day. Currently having some success with
- more solids, and particularly more protein, during the day
- sending DH to comfort him if he wakes less than 3h after his last feed (and hoping we can stretch this out gradually)

Any more tips gratefully received!

Sunshinegirl82 Mon 23-Jan-17 10:24:13

Well last night was better. He woke for milk at 10.15 and 1.30 then was awake at 5. He just shouted and chatted in his cot for 15 mins then started crying so he then came in with us. After a further 30 mins of shouting and whinging he went back to sleep until 7.30. He clearly needs the extra sleep so I can't work out why he's so resistant to resettling at 5!

Anyway, a better night overall! Probably a fluke but we shall see!

Kariana Fri 27-Jan-17 17:06:32

How are things going? Has he been having more protein and milk? I hope you are all getting more sleep!

Sunshinegirl82 Sat 28-Jan-17 21:42:42

Hello, thanks for remembering me! Things have been a bit mixed. I have introduced protein as much as possible into his meals. He now has cheese/meat/fish at both lunch and dinner and I give him full fat Greek yogurt with fruit purée mixed in for pudding after both meals.

He went through a phase this week of going off solid food entirely and waking even more frequently and being inconsolable so I think he his teeth are bothering him. He does seem to have picked up his milk intake in the day recently and the last few days has been back on his solids as well.

Last night I made the mistake of putting him to bed with no painkillers and he woke every hour between 7 and 10 when I gave him nurofen. After that we woke at 1.30 for milk and then 4.30 when he came in with us and with a bit of persuasion went back to sleep until 6.30.

Naps have been hit and miss as he has been getting very upset at being put im his cot. Today I decided to just cuddle him to sleep which still involved a few tears but much less so I think I'm just going to have to break all the rules for a bit until his teeth calm down for him. He had calpol tonight and will add in nurofen at the first wake and see how we get on!

Kariana Wed 01-Feb-17 15:51:26

It definitely sounds like things have improved. Thinking about his food it might be good to add in some more carbohydrates to his meals, probably at teatime as that will also help him to feel fuller and give him the energy to last longer at night.

Hopefully his teeth will settle down soon. Nothing wrong with cuddling to sleep for a few naps, I love it when ds lets me do that!

Sunshinegirl82 Thu 02-Feb-17 13:36:13

I thought I'd keep updating on here because I found it useful when others did the same and I know there are a few in the same boat!

Things are still hit and miss but we do seem to have had some improvement! Teeth are still causing an issue but last night he woke twice before I went to bed (at about 8 and 8.30, I think this was teeth related as as soon as I applied bongela he went straight to sleep) he then went through till midnight when he had a feed, then 4.30 for another feed then back down till 6.15. This is a big improvement from where we were!

As well as upping his calorie intake as much as I can I have also started to try and move him into a 2 3 4 nap pattern which seems to have helped him have longer naps in the day. I always struggled to get the third nap anyway so two longer naps seems to suit him better. I am still cuddling him to sleep a lot of the time but this doesn't seem to be causing a huge problem as he is napping for up to 2 hours at a time in his cot which is great!

I'm not sure how much of the improvement is down to things we've done and how much is just his general development but either way I'm happy! I hope everyone else is getting a bit more sleep!

KingfisherBlue Tue 14-Feb-17 13:48:55

Sunshine, what is the 2 3 4 nap pattern? And how are things going now?

We're still working on stretching out the night feeds here. It doesn't seem to matter what DS has during the day - he still wants his nighttime milk!

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