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16 week old exclusively bf still waking minimum every 2 hours at night - any experience to share?

(14 Posts)
Starshinetiger Mon 06-Jul-09 09:12:27

Can anyone offer any shared experience that will reassure me that this won't last, or advice on how to get past this?

DD is 16 weeks old and I promised myself that this time round I wouldn't get obsessed with the books, but now I'm not so sure....wink

She is exclusively bf, which I'm really pleased about and want to continue, but she is really not sleeping well and I'm getting to end of my tether with lack of sleep. She will only go to sleep by bfing or if in car seat in car or pushchair. I have very occassionally managed to get her to sleep with a dummy, if I know she's tired, not hungry.

So, is it normal/okay for a 16wo to bf to sleep, or should I be worrying about this.
I'm mainly worried because she is up about every 2 hours - she was sleeping better than this week, but last Tues, she had a procedure under GA, meaning she had to be nil by mouth for 4 hours prior to that and sleep has been terrible since - first I put it down to the heat, but last two nights have been worst. I know she can actually go to sleep without feeding because of nil by mouth experience, but that involved a lot of crying and me holding her and then her just giving in. She was going 3 or very occasionally 4 hours at night without food, so maybe this is a) just a growth spurt or b) just her recovering from procedure? This morning at 5.40am DH took her out in the car until 7 just to let me have some rest (although DS, 2.10 [bless him - grrhmm] woke me at 6.10am shouting for his tiger, which had fallen out of bed). Really don't want to start that as a regular habit, but feeling exhausted. I do remember us each taking DS out in car on consecutive mornings when he was about this age (just the twice) over New Year, so maybe she's just following his pattern, but then he was on formula top-ups at that stage and went fully ff about 3 weeks later, so I'm concerned that unless I change to ff, DD is never going to sleep well.

Incidentally, she does have a sort of daytime routine and has about an hour's nap now (bf to sleep), will have another long nap early afternoon if we're out and about (although did have long nap in her cot the other day) and maybe a couple more catnaps after feeding, but never more than 3.5-4 hours across the whole day.

Sorry for rambling - any advice or shared experience welcome...smile

Starshinetiger Mon 06-Jul-09 12:43:08

bump?

row78 Mon 06-Jul-09 16:46:09

She shouldn't really need feeding every 2 hours throughout the night. At that point my son was waking up hourly because his ezcema started and it was irritating him but it took us a whil to figure that out, have you looked to see if it is another problem causing her to wake? If something is bothering her she will be waking up lots.

row78 Mon 06-Jul-09 16:46:46

oh and once we did figure it out and treated it he slept much better.

cyteen Mon 06-Jul-09 16:52:58

My DS went through a hellish period between 4 and 6mo of waking up every 2 hours round the clock. I think we chalked it up to a developmental spurt (was too tired to consider anything else!) I did a LOT more feeding to sleep than at any other time simply because I was too exhausted to persevere with other settling methods.

I feel for you, it is grim. And you have a nearly 3 year old to look after too, so respect - you sound like you're doing a great job If it's any consolation, DS is 10mo now and after being a crap sleeper for most of that time, has been sleeping through and taking long naps for the last week or so. In fact he's in bed right now, after having a 3 hour kip this morning shock

cyteen Mon 06-Jul-09 16:53:53

Oh, meant to add that all my NCT friends experienced the same thing with their babies, whether bf, ff or a mixture of the two.

moocowme Mon 06-Jul-09 20:17:36

we went down the same feed to sleep co-sleeping route and at 21 mo DS has decided himself that he does not want this. Not quite to the stage that he goes to sleep alone but is happy enough on the bed while i potter around putting washing away etc. He is down to just one feed a night and likes a bottle when he stirs around 5am. I do think the early light is making him wake so early so hopefully that will get better as well.

the only thing that i found that helped him sleep for longer stretches when younger ( besides loads of pain relief for the teeth) was doing some sush pat when he first stirred in the night so usually 9-10pm. i f i got to him quickly and just shushed and patted gently he would go of into a deep sleep again. he eventually learned to sleep for longer stretches but very painful teething did make learning to sleep a lot harder at times.

ches Tue 07-Jul-09 03:44:41

Definitely growth spurt. Formula makes no difference other than DH can produce it too. You can try voodoo, rocking crying baby in middle of night to try to space out feeds, saying you'll only feed every 4 hours and DH has to rock crying baby in-between and other things which will do your head in, or you can just co-sleep, feed on demand, and get as much sleep as possible. IME it gets better when they turn 2. envy

audreyraines Tue 07-Jul-09 04:51:48

sadly, it sounds really really normal. it sucks, just do what you can to stay sane and get through.

4 month old hell

sleep regressions

Starshinetiger Wed 08-Jul-09 13:38:33

Thank you so much for you responses, shared experiences and especially for the links Audrey. Spoke to the hv this am, who said "we" (she used the term "we", but don't think she's offering to come round to my house to help at night grinwink) need to start controlled crying, so these responses are particularly helpful. Am getting her checked out for uti as that's a risk of the procedure she had last week and she had a temp on mon and has been particularly grumpy, but could also be teething as is chewing a lot!! Sorry haven't got on sooner - is so hit and miss getting the time!!
Thanks again smile

audreyraines Thu 09-Jul-09 08:42:31

sounds a little young to start controlled crying imo. and means you'd probably be getting less sleep (at least in the beginning). i'd hold out if you can and see if things improve at 5 months [hopeful emoticon]

Elsy Thu 09-Jul-09 15:52:33

Poor you Starshine. I have 16 week old as well and have a slightly different problem. She cries all evening for hours and then finally conks out and sleeps a good stretch. Also hellish, but in a different way. My DD1 regressed massively on her sleep at 4 months, going from sleeping through the night to waking 4 times a night. This lasted about a month and then she started sleeping through again. I do think it is a classic time for developmental sleep regression, so hold on in there. I also had my HV round this week to talk about the crying and she said it's far too early to start controlled crying.

PaulaAtMummyKnowsBest Thu 09-Jul-09 16:29:28

your baby is much too young to start controlled crying.

Make syre your baby is feeding every 3 hours during the day and having lots of awake time. Have you tried offering water at alternate night feeds? That can work well.

Starshinetiger Thu 09-Jul-09 20:40:37

Thanks ladies - am determined to not actually start controlled crying. Left her in her cot when she was tired today and she wasn't crying - rolled on to her front and was quite happy, looking at toys, sucking her fingers. Then went back up and she had been sick - still not crying hmm! DH has 5 days in a row off next week, so am going to try to choose some softer strategies to help her learn to self-soothe and get him to support me on them. Also, think she has just about cut her first tooth and she is down now for first evening stint, so could be that teething has been contributing (albeit very early!). Thanks for reinforcing my suspicions that she is too young for cc.

Right, must dash to wash up, express and then get myself to bed!

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