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Water at night

(10 Posts)
em001 Thu 05-Oct-17 08:43:45

My son is currently 4.5 months old. He started sleeping 9 hours straight at night from 11 weeks old, and always napped well during the day. Just before 4 months old he started waking once at night for a feed, and then we had a couple of weeks where he was waking every 3 hours at night, hardly napping during the day and being completely miserable! I put this down to a bit of growth spurt/sleep regression as he soon went back to only waking once.

However now he is back to waking every 3 hours, but he is still napping well during the day and is perfectly happy. He goes to sleep at 9:30pm and gets up at 7am. I put him down awake with his musical owl on and he falls asleep by himself within 10 minutes. When he wakes once in the night he usually has a 4oz bottle. He has around 7x 5oz bottles during the day. But now that he is waking twice he is acting hungry, and won't go back to sleep without a bottle, however is only drinking 2oz a time! After a bottle he goes back down easily and by himself.

I was wondering if he may be waking due to thirst rather than hunger (he is FF), or out of habit, and whether giving him a little bit of water instead of milk if he wakes up before his normal night feed time (2am) would be better (and giving him milk the second time). Maybe this would stop him wanting to wake up at this time if it is jut from habit, or if nothing else at least I can have it ready next to my bed for when he wakes rather than taking him downstairs to get milk to avoid waking my partner!

Does anyone have any advice/opinions/experience of feeding water at night?
Thanks!! smile

crazycatlady5 Thu 05-Oct-17 11:40:07

Hi Op, he’s still very tiny and I imagine most likely hungry in the night. Most people say babies ‘can’ go through the night at that age - key word being can - some do, some don’t. Even 2oz would feed a snacky hunger in the nighttime.

Hope they helps x

FATEdestiny Thu 05-Oct-17 11:41:37

Hunger and thirst are one and the same thing in a pre-weaned baby (with the possible exception of exceptionally hot conditions).

I wouldn't offer water at this age. If baby is wanting fluids then milk is what is needed. If milk is needed, then the calories will be too. The way to reduce the need for night time calories is to give more milk through the daytime.

If it's comfort that baby is seeking when waking, then you need to develop altenate ways of comforting baby back to sleep that doesn't involve milk. I would introduce a dummy for this purpose, it allows for in-cot settling without crying. Alternatively you could shush part baby in the cot or pick baby up and settle in your arms, putting down again when calm.

em001 Thu 05-Oct-17 11:50:59

Thank you both, it just seems strange to me that he normally wakes at 2am for 4oz but is now waking at 00:30 and 03:30 for 2oz each time, just wondered why it has changed!
When I pick him up he will calm down and fall asleep on me, but the second I put him down he will be upset again, however goes straight back to sleep after his bottle. He does have a dummy which I always offer before milk, sometimes he will go back to sleep but other times not, and I always put his musical owl back on when he wakes as this is what gets him to sleep in the first place.
He did go through the night without milk for about 5 weeks so I know that he can, although I also know this changes with growth and development etc so I of course have no problem feeding him at night, just much prefer it when it is once, so we get 4.5 hours sleep a time, than twice when I end up getting slightly over 2 hours! Maybe I am just hoping for too much haha.

em001 Thu 05-Oct-17 11:52:24

Oh and he does eat every 2 hours in the daytime, I don't think he could fit more in!! grin

crazycatlady5 Thu 05-Oct-17 12:01:30

Have you heard about the 4 month sleep regression? Lots going on around that age including huge growth spurt. Lasted about 2 weeks for me xx

em001 Thu 05-Oct-17 12:07:32

Yes that's what I assumed it was the first time, also lasted just over 2 weeks, but I thought it was over as he returned to only waking once in the night - maybe it isn't over yet after all then! sad

tinygigolo Thu 05-Oct-17 12:46:46

I could have written this about my 5mo, she used to sleep through but has been waking 4x a night for a feed for the past month. She's EBF and it's making me want to turn to formula and/or weaning

FATEdestiny Thu 05-Oct-17 13:04:50

he normally wakes at 2am for 4oz but is now waking at 00:30 and 03:30 for 2oz each time, just wondered why it has changed!

Babies don't only wake due to hunger. Hunger is one of the reasons they wake, by no means the sole reason though. Other factors that can cause a night wake:

- method of going to slerp not condusive to staying asleep through sleep cycles. Going from awake to asleep where baby stays asleep is important for this.

- overtiredness from lack of daytime sleep

- uncomfortable: too hot, cold, full nappy, lying on something, pain, digestion issues, wind

- light sleeper being woken by noise, light, movement. Can be helped with white noise, blackout blinds and a calm, subdued sleep environment

As well as, of course, hunger. Either as a discrete hungry for calories right now or by cumulative effects of low levels of calories over 24/48 hours.

Going back to the bold sentence I quoted above. I would be inclined to feed at the first wake up. Then if waking frequently afterwards do in-cot dummy settling instead of feeding.

Also make sure you wind well and put baby in the cot as awake as possible, to go to sleep while in the cot.

em001 Thu 05-Oct-17 14:12:33

tinygigolo - I have heard that EBF babies are more prone to night waking for feeds (just from other mums at playgroups nothing scientific!) so you could try just a bottle of formula before bed? (if you're happy with that), but as for weaning, milk is baby's main source of food for the first year, once feeding solids the amounts will be so small it won't really affect night hunger. My health visitor recommended to always offer the milk before food when weaning to be sure baby is getting all the milk they need and not filling up on food beforehand. Maybe we just have the same mystery confused

FATEdestiny - Thanks for all your suggestions smile I can't think of anything that has changed though, the only thing is he is having a very short nap in the evening around 7pm, about 20 minutes, so he is possibly tired before bed. Will TRY to get more evening sleep and see if that helps! Or maybe my partners snoring is waking him up haha grin

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