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4 month old waking all night- HELP!

(45 Posts)
ZacharySwan Sun 22-Oct-17 13:00:59

I'm hoping for some help here because I'm falling apart with exhaustion. DS is nearly 5 months old and wakes countless times during the night. No exaggeration, I suspect he woke 30-40 times from 10pm til 7am, and has done for weeks.

He is EBF. This problem started at about 2 months old. He was using my nipple as a comforter and would only sleep when attached, so we introduced a dummy. Also began swaddling due to flailing arms. He began to self settle (yay) with a little grumbling, and although he woke every hour at night could be settled with a feed or dummy putting back.

But it's just deteriorated, from waking every hour to waking every few minutes and not going back to sleep. He lies awake groaning which will develop to fill on crying if not cuddled/fed/rolled over/shushed or whatever combination I desperately try.
He will grudgingly settle in his cot during the day, and when put down at 7.30 at night, but from when he wakes for a feed at around 10ish will only settle in bed with me, if only for a few minutes at a time.

He's not waking for hunger. I think he's in pain. He has ranitidine because I suspected silent reflux and basically demanded it from the gp but it doesn't seem to be helping. He has mild eczema but don't think it can be that.

DH is relegated to the spare room. He tries to help but DS screams when DH tries to settle him (which obviously I can't sleep through).

I am a very poor sleeper, so couldn't nap in the day even if his toddler sister would let me. This is just destroying me. Any ideas?

crazycatlady5 Sun 22-Oct-17 13:32:49

I went through this at 5 months, I figured it was the 4 month sleep regression appearing late. It lasted about 2 weeks for me, to pass. brew for you in the meantime! X

ZacharySwan Sun 22-Oct-17 14:23:50

The problem is this has already lasted for 2 months!

ZacharySwan Sun 22-Oct-17 14:28:30

And I know he's too young for controlled crying but I really can't carry on like this.

crazycatlady5 Sun 22-Oct-17 14:55:34

I’m so sorry I really feel for you as I have a high needs baby also. The only thing that gets me through is cosleeping confused

ZacharySwan Sun 22-Oct-17 16:32:58

Thankyou. And sympathies to you also. Thing is, I don't feel he's a high needs baby. He's much calmer than his sister was in general, and happier, despite the ridiculous lack of sleep.

Anyone got any suggestions? I know there's some wise bodies out there!

sourpatchkid Sun 22-Oct-17 19:28:20

Have you tried a dose of calpol before bed? It should help rule out if it’s pain?

Does propping the cot up help?

Neverenoughspoons Sun 22-Oct-17 19:48:11

Maybe he needs Omeprazole instead? I'd ask to see a Consultant if I were you.

peaceloveandbiscuits Sun 22-Oct-17 19:49:06

Ranitidine needs to be increased as he puts weight on. It won't be effective otherwise, which may be why he's unsettled.
Sympathies - I have to put my refluxy baby on his front to get any sleep at all, though I'm obviously not recommending that.

FatRedCrayon Sun 22-Oct-17 19:52:15

I second the Calpol suggestion. A dose won’t hurt him and will help rule out niggling pain.

When DD is like this (and I’ve ruled out hunger/discomfort) I plug my headphones in and listen to the radio or an audiobook (loud, to hear it over the crying) and sit with her, keeping a hand on her if she’s not too wriggly. She will grumble and cry and scream and whine and eventually go to sleep... it’s not ideal but I don’t want to leave her. I’m trying to avoid a co-sleeping habit (as co-sleep means no sleep for me!)

It’s pretty horrid at the time but eventually she’ll drift off in her cot. It sounds like you’re up most of the night anyway so could give it a go?

ZacharySwan Sun 22-Oct-17 20:06:08

Well I actually gave him calpol this evening after speaking to soon about him settling in his cot. Calmed as soon as it went in his mouth. And as it can't have had a painkiller effect by then it must be reflux, I suppose.

I've actually tried to put him to sleep on his front- but he just thought it was tummy time which he hates, so didn't work.

The problem with just letting him cry is that he is in pain I think. So I really don't want to do that.

My GP surgery don't seem to believe in silent reflux. Because he's massive, happy during the day and not vomiting, getting meds is like getting blood out of a stone. (Last time I was told "all babies cry". I know that ffs)

crazycatlady5 Sun 22-Oct-17 20:32:19

I would look into getting something called colic calm. You can buy it online or if you go to the Uk site and put in your postcode it’ll show you stockists near you if any. No s**t it was a lifesaver for my silent reflux babe. It settles the acid in the tummy, literally within minutes she was so much better. It’s a bit pricey but really really worth it. Give it a go. It is homeopathic and is naturally coloured with vegetable charcoal so can freak people out at first! It is FDA approved tho. Good luck x

FATEdestiny Sun 22-Oct-17 20:38:08

How often is he feeding during the day and ay night? The most obvious cause of prolonged difficulty settling into a deep sleep is hunger. My big (91st centile) DD started on formula at around this age, because I am not all that previous about exclusive breastfeeding long term. I could therefore see quite clearly her increasing milk intake.

If reflux medication isn't helping then either the medication/dose is incorrect or the cause is not reflux.

Have you considered cow's milk protein allergy?

FATEdestiny Sun 22-Oct-17 20:39:12


peaceloveandbiscuits Sun 22-Oct-17 20:40:09

My 5mo baby is still fed to sleep, then put down on his front. He sleeps 8-5 like that.

It definitely sounds like reflux if the calpol calmed him - it probably coated his throat nicely. Have you tried Gaviscon? Sometimes I have to use it alongside ranitidine if he's very bad. That will hopefully stop anything coming back up.

Are you holding him upright after feeding him and making sure he's definitely winded?

peaceloveandbiscuits Sun 22-Oct-17 20:41:11

Also agree with fate that if ranitidine at the correct dose isn't working it could well be something else.

ZacharySwan Sun 22-Oct-17 21:46:33

Thanks all. Hmm. He has always been offered frequent feeds. Feeds every time he wakes up and before he sleeps so that's... 8 times a day. Sometimes he takes bigger feeds than others. At night it's all a bit of a blur. First feed is at 10ish, then bits of feed about every hour, but probably a proper feed twice more before 7. I would be fine (ish) with that if it wasn't all the broken sleep in between.

i assumed he would be mixed fed by now, but he's a bottle refuser. BFing never really worked with his sister.

Do you think he could be hungry? He doesn't want to feed most of the time he wakes. He really is huge though. Nearly 9kg.

I can't use gaviscon. I've never been able to express effectively, and it would be a silly amount of water to take on in a day.

So... plan of action is: try and get him to tummy sleep and get back to doctors for more gaviscon. And early weaning?

ZacharySwan Sun 22-Oct-17 21:49:34

Oh, and he's upright/burped after daytime feeds except before a sleep. It really doesn't seem to be a problem during the day though, and only normally after he's slept for a couple of hours at night.

FATEdestiny Sun 22-Oct-17 22:04:01

If he's a big baby then he needs more calories to maintain his growth than your average sized child.

It's impossible to judge feed size when breastfeeding (you cant go on feed length, because some are more effective feeders than others), but at this age my DD was having 7 or 8 full feeds as bottles between 7am-7pm. So not snack small amounts, the same amount that a 50th centile baby may have every 4 hours, she had every 2 hours.

There was a huge jump in her calorific intake between 4-5 months. If I'd have not kept up with this by offering bigger feeds and more frequent feeds in the daytime, there would have definitely been more unsettled nights.

Having said that, it might not be hunger related. But hunger is the simplest and most obvious explanation. I wouldn't wean early though - baby will get more calories, more easily from milk. Early weaning foods are low calorie and will make matters worse for you. If you want to supplement your breast milk, then formula would be better. Or just focus on increasing the effectiveness of your feeds and increasing supply.

Isadora2007 Sun 22-Oct-17 22:09:00

Don’t jump to formula- it doesn’t even sound like hunger at all and anyway, breast milk changes as baby grows so it will be perfectly filling for his needs. Formula being more difficult to digest could make the issue worse if it is reflux related as well.

Isadora2007 Sun 22-Oct-17 22:10:40

OP, can you get your partner to settle your toddler and go right to sleep at 7.30 when baby does so you can get a decent few hours sleep?

MyDarlingWhatIfYouFly Sun 22-Oct-17 22:18:42

How is his weight gain? Is he windy?

ZacharySwan Sun 22-Oct-17 22:21:40

*More ranitidine not gaviscon.

ZacharySwan Sun 22-Oct-17 22:31:38

Wow. Lots of thoughts and ideas. Sorry if I miss any.

My main concern with introducing formula is the potential impact on supply. It was the beginning of the end when I did that for dd. Having said that, I don't want him to be going hungry (again, a worry from dd). I personally would rather have a ff baby than a hungry bf baby. That's if he would even take a bottle tho. May be just causing him more upset and, yup, could be even worse especially if hunger isn't the issue.

He's always been a bit windy.

Hang on... feeding required!

Cel982 Sun 22-Oct-17 22:41:26

Are you co-sleeping, OP? My first baby was a very frequent waker, I know how hard it is. What saved my sanity was co-sleeping, and learning how to feed lying down so I could drift off again as soon as she had latched on. It improved a lot around 8 or 9 months (and No. 2 is a dream of a sleeper, which has been a lovely surprise).

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