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10 week old DS still waking 3 times in night to feed although I don't think he's that hungry - advice pleeeeeease...

(26 Posts)
Bicnod Tue 07-Jul-09 09:40:31

Hello, my 10 week old DS is still waking up 3 times in the night to feed. He has occasionally gone 4 hours between feeds but usually its more like 2 or 3 hours. I haven't had more than 3 hours sleep in a row since he was born and I'm getting, on average, between 3 and 4 hours a night. I'm on my knees so any advice would be gratefully received.

DS is 15lb and, according to the books, physiologically ready to sleep 8 hours shock without feeding - but clearly he doesn't read the books...

Oh, and he is exclusively breastfed by the way - I have tried occasional bottles of formula but they haven't been the magic answer.

Last night he went down to sleep at about 8.15pm, woke up to feed at midnight for 25 mins, 2.30am for 20 mins, 4.50am for 30 mins and 6.30am ready to start the day What can I do to reduce the number of night feeds?

I'm considering the following:

1. Trying again with a formula dreamfeed at 10.30pm.

2. Trying with a breastfeed dreamfeed at 10.30pm.

3. Trying to reduce the amount of time he feeds for at the midnight and 4am feeds and increase the amount of time at the 2.30am feed.

4. Feeding him every 2 hours in the day even if he doesn't ask for it and cluster feeding him in the evening.

5. Giving up breastfeeding altogether so that DH can share the night feeds. Not really considering this one in all seriousness yet, but I'm getting there...

Sorry this is so long...

myweestars Tue 07-Jul-09 10:11:38

Maybe stating the obvious here but does he have a dummy? I have 2 DS's aged 3 and 15 months and am on a thread at the mo about my 15 month old who has turned into a demon sleeper! I found when both them were weeks old and being breastfed, they were both constantly wanting fed, they were both big babies but they were feeding and then falling asleep! I found it was a comfort thing a lot of the times and a dummy helped.

rubyslippers Tue 07-Jul-09 10:14:29

he is 10 weeks old

he NEEDS to feed little and often - it is knackering - my DS was the same but it does get better

Can you co-sleep?

formula IME makes no difference to night time sleep - when i switched from breast to bottle DS still woke the same number of times

i would deffo do a dream feed, and a full feed at the next wake up

Reallytired Tue 07-Jul-09 10:23:58

"DS is 15lb and, according to the books, physiologically ready to sleep 8 hours without feeding - but clearly he doesn't read the books..."

Which book is that? Is it written by a certain author who had issues with mumsnet and has never had children.

Lots of children do not sleep through the night at that age.

ARe you putting your ds down awake? With my daughter who is the same age our bedtime routine is

Breastfeed with "Relaxing birth music in the background"
*I then lie down and hold her against my chest.
*I put her in her cot in a very sleepy state, but she is just about awake.

Last night my daughter fell asleep at 8.30pm
Breastfeed at 3am
breastfeed at 6am
Wake up for the day 8am.

Life is hard with a young baby. You have my sympathies. However I think its easier to live with broken night than to try and force a child to sleep through.

Do you have the baby in your room? I have taken the side off our cot and put the cot right beside our bed. It means I can feed her without getting out of bed. I would also recommend the "The No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantsey for encouraging good sleep habits.

Montifer Tue 07-Jul-09 10:31:16

That sounds pretty normal, it does get better.
It seems like forever at this stage but they are really only this tiny and hungry for a very short amount of time in the general scheme of things.
DS took a long time to cut down the time between night feeds even though he was pretty hefty, don't think he read the books either!

Try and enjoy the night time snuggles, IMHO it would be much more of a pain getting up to make up bottles.

Can you catch up with sleep during the day when he is napping and maybe express some milk for DH to do some daytime feeds at weekends whilst you catch up on some sleep.

Good luck smile

slayerette Tue 07-Jul-09 10:33:26

I do sympathise because I remember the shattering agony of not enough sleep very vividly six years later! However, 10 wks is very early to expect him to be dropping feeds, I'm afraid. But my DS used to have bedtime at 7 pm, feed just before I went to bed at about 10.30 and then usually wake twice or even just once before morning - reduced the disruption slightly. See if you can shift his pattern in this way.

Bicnod Tue 07-Jul-09 10:44:28

Thanks for all the responses...

myweestars - he uses a dummy for daytime napping (such as it is), but don't really want to introduce it for the nighttime as when he drops it he screams...

rubyslippers - we occasionally co-sleep when i'm too tired to feed him sitting up, but he gets very windy if i feed him lying down and i'm really scared of rolling on him/suffocating him so tend not to sleep particularly well with him in the bed. will try the dream feed tonight and try and make sure he stays awake for a full feed for the next feed and see if that makes a difference - how do you keep a VERY sleepy baby awake enough to do a full feed?!

reallytired - love your nickname grin - don't worry, i haven't been reading 'she who must not be named'. actually, i read it before DS was born and promptly dismissed it. the book i read that in was 'what to expect in the first year'. i've already got 'the no cry sleep solution' but most of the things she suggests are for after 4 months. i know, i know, i guess this means he isn't ready yet and i just have to accept it...

montifer - that's the thing, i just want to know it will get better and if there's anything i can do to help it on its way - or if anything i'm doing is actually preventing it from getting better... i'm a first time mum so don't have the experience of it getting better... it feels impossible at the moment!

slayerette - will try waking him for 10.30pm feed tonight and see if it helps...

babber Tue 07-Jul-09 10:48:59

Agree with others on here that 10 weeks is pretty early to 'expect' sleeping through... my DS is nearly 6 months and has only slept through twice since he was born!
I put him to bed after a bath at around 7/7.30ish, and it usually takes him a while to settle... then he wakes again at midnight-ish for a feed, then if i'm lucky he'll wake at 4am then 7am... but often its 3am, 5am 7am. I really sympathise with the knackeringness of it all but i live in the knowledge that he will eventually sleep through... when he is ready.
you probably don't want to hear this considering yours is only 10 weeks! but they are all different and find their own patterns eventually.
My DS goes back to sleep after a feed at around 7.30am till about 9am so i use this as my excuse for a lie in. You just have to make sure you drop everything and nap when he does during the day... don't worry about the house being a tip etc for now, just sleep whenever you can !!! good luck x

Bicnod Tue 07-Jul-09 11:02:31

Hi babber, thanks for posting... I'm really truly honestly not expecting him to sleep through - just would love to get it down to just 2 feeds or even just 1 per night... I know he's only little, but he can go 3 or 4 hours without feeds during the day, so surely he can do it at night? i just feel like there must be something i'm doing wrong...

Would love to nap when he does during the day, but he doesn't sleep unless on me or being pushed around in his pram (although i feel like i'm sleepwalking when i'm doing it - does that count?! grin). He'll do 30 mins in his cot with his dummy but only after a lot of persuasion...

I'm feeling down about it really because so many people I know have babies of the same age that go 7 or 8 hours at night i know you shouldn't compare but its hard not to wonder why your baby isn't doing it and if there's anything you can do to make it better...

babber Tue 07-Jul-09 11:38:20

You poor thing... I suppose i've been lucky in that my DS sleeps well during the day. But honestly... it does get better and easier and if nothing else you definitely get used to coping with less sleep!
FWIW my friend and i have done pretty much exactly same with our Ds's, BF'ing on demand (night and day) and allowing to nap whenebver they want during day... and hers has slept through since 16 weeks, mine hasn't envy
so although its impossible not to compare with others i really do think it depends on the child... hanmg in there as it won't last forever!
(another FWIW... i also know someone who resorted to using a formula feed to help their DD sleep through... worked for a couple fo nights so they thought they'd cracked it... but then she went back to waking again every 3 hours again) who knows? I guess they'll just do their own thing and maybe sometimes they just want a cuddle?

Bicnod Tue 07-Jul-09 14:01:28

Thanks babber - sorry if I sound a bit self-pitying!

I think you're right about the formula - I have tried it once or twice in the past and its worked for one or two nights and then back to square one.

And I think you're right about sometimes just wanting a cuddle... which is totally fair enough when you're only 10 weeks old.

Its really hard to trust your own instincts and believe that it will all be ok in the end and that your child will eventually sleep more. My instincts tell me its ok to cuddle my baby to sleep and to let him nap on me if that's what makes him happy. My instincts also tell me that letting him cry it out is something I can't/won't do. But i don't know if following my instincts will mean that i'm going to end up with a spoilt little boy who never sleeps through the night as i've never done this before...

MegBusset Tue 07-Jul-09 14:15:21

My 10-week-old DS2 has a similar pattern (eg last night asleep 8pm, fed 1, 4, 6 then up at 8 for the day). It really is normal at this age and in fact having had a real nightmare sleeper in DS1, this seems not too bad to me!

That 'What to expect' book is full of rubbish imo. You cannot spoil such a little baby. I did do CC with DS1 but only when he was 9mo and eating well in the day so I could be sure it wasn't hungry. Right now just do what you can to survive.

sunshiney Tue 07-Jul-09 14:34:24

hi i really feel your pain. i remember the longing for sleep only too well.

i think you're on the right track trying to get him to to take more milk during the day, so hopefully keeping night feeding to a minimum.
if during night feeds he falls asleep, i found with my dd changing her nappy mid-feed was helpful, a little bit of cool air woke her up a bit.

i think 'what to expect' book is not terribly helpful, when you are half crazed with sleep deprivation you want some proper answers not wishy washy suggestions!
so therefore i recommend a book from the 'Teach Yourself' range called 'baby sleep' written by Andrea Grace.
it saved my life - my daughter has good sleep habits now, no need for any 'crying it out' either.
it will probably come into its own a little later down the line, but you can certainly start him on the road to settling himself to sleep now.

good luck i hope it gets better soon for you

Bicnod Tue 07-Jul-09 15:24:20

Hi Meg - thanks for posting - its good to know this is normal (although not good to know you're sleep deprived as well of course!). We snuggled up on the sofa this morning after a feed and I managed to get an hour of kip - I think I'm going to go with the do what you can to survive plan...

Sunshiney - thanks for the tip on nappy changing - that's a good idea and I'll try it tonight. I'm feeding him loads today and will do the dreamfeed thing tonight as well so fingers crossed... Thanks also for the tip on the book - I'll have a look on amazon...

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 07-Jul-09 19:47:33

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sweetkitty Tue 07-Jul-09 19:55:04

I could write "my year old next week woke 5 times a night last night and I know she is not hungry it is only comfort" the thing is he is so little and as he comes out his sleep cycle he wakes up misses Mummy and wants to connect with her and know everything is fine and safe before he goes back to sleep" can you blame him?

DD3 has 3 meals a day, snacks, water and still wakes in the night. It's not always because they are hungry. Even giving him loads of formula might not make him sleep any longer it's comfort not hunger. You could try a dummy.

My honest advice is just go with the flow, you will probably find that the length of feeds shortens or you could try unlatching him after a set period of time, I do this with DD3 if she feeds for more than 10 mins I know it's comfort so unlatch her most of the time she rolls over and goes back to sleep, try to catch up on your sleep during the day. I find that being woken for 5-10 mins 3 times a night isn't that wearing, I suppose I cosleep and latch her on and fall back asleep. Do whatever gets you the most sleep IME.

Good luck I know it's hard

MegBusset Tue 07-Jul-09 20:17:49

Just a quickie. Sleeping with your baby on the sofa is a bad idea -- it can be very dangerous. Much better to take yourselves both to bed (as long as LO can't get covered by pillow or blankets, or fall off the side).

Bicnod Tue 07-Jul-09 20:31:24

Hi Starlight I know that sounds good... but I need to cook/eat dinner after he goes to bed which takes time, and settle him back to sleep each time he wakes to feed which usually takes a good 20 minutes or so... then fall back to sleep myself. I'm a crap sleeper at the best of times and find it difficult to drop off once I've woken up...

Sweetkitty - I think you're right about going with the flow... and also about it being ok for it to be a comfort thing not just hunger.

Meg - good point about sofa sleeping. We don't usually do it...

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 07-Jul-09 20:39:35

Message withdrawn

Bicnod Tue 07-Jul-09 20:56:48

DH isn't always back from work in time to cook

I do feed him until he falls asleep but he's a VERY windy and sicky baby so I have to keep him upright for 10/15 minutes or so after each feed otherwise he just pukes everywhere/wakes up needing to burp. He also sometimes wakes up the second his back touches the crib mattress even if he was previously in an apparently very deep sleep (how does he know?!!) and cries unless I pick him back up and rock him to sleep. He's usually pretty good at going down while asleep but needs work settling at least once a night. For example, he went to bed this evening at 8pm but I keep having to settle him which is why I'm not in bed yet!

You're right about offering both breasts - I need to try and wake him up enough to take the second one at each feed. Someone already suggested a nappy change midway through which I'm going to try tonight.

The other reason for lack of sleep is that even when he IS asleep, in the early hours of the morning in particular, he is very very noisy - lots of grunting and straining and beetling around his crib - which is difficult to sleep through...

I think the conclusion I'm slowly coming to is that I just have to go with it and believe it will get better. I think if I knew somehow that at some point it would get better I'd find it easier to cope with the sleep deprivation, but its hard to believe it ever will at the moment...

Anyway, fingers crossed for a better night tonight. I've been stuffing him full of milk all day and plan to wake him up for a dreamfeed before I turn in so hopefully he'll go a bit longer between feeds... I'll report back tomorrow and let you know if any of this worked!

Thanks for all the advice and support on this thread - it helps to hear that its normal and mums survive it!

Bicnod Wed 08-Jul-09 09:34:50

So we did the dreamfeed at 10pm-10.40pm (DS having finally settled down to sleep after his 7pm feed at 9pm - ARRRGHHH!) and then this happened:

fed 2.10am-3.10am (+ 2 nappy changes - the first to wake him up for the second boob, the second because he then promptly filled his nappy - typical!)

fed 4.35am-4.55am

grunted and strained around his crib from 4.55am until 7.00am when we both got up... he was asleep while grunting and straining but unfortunately i wasn't!

So that is a definite improvement - I got 3 hours of unbroken sleep between 11pm and 2am and then another hour or so before he woke up at 4.30am.

It feels like slight progress - hopefully he'll shock me tonight by waking up at 3am <hopeful emoticon>

I read on another thread somewhere that the grunting and straining should start to get less by about 11 or 12 weeks - so fingers crossed that will happen soon, and then i'll have another couple of hours sleep after his final night feed...

any advice still welcomed!

countrylover Wed 08-Jul-09 11:31:01

I'll probably get flamed for saying this but have you thought about putting him in his own room?

I am an extremely light sleeper and I too was awake for hours listening to the grunting and straining. Now DS2 (also 10 weeks) is in his own room with the monitor down low I only wake up when he's actually crying. (I do have a movement sensor monitor so it tells me that he's breathing which helps with any fears about that.)

Another suggestion (although you may already be doing this) is to do the dream feed with expressed breast milk. This way you know how much DS is getting and if he wakes two hours later but has taken say 6 oz at 10.30pm then you know he's not waking from hunger.

Then you could give him a cuddle/the dummy instead. It may take a while to settle him but the idea is that he gets used to not feeding at this time and will learn to go a bit longer between feeds at night.

I tried this for two nights and last night DS2 slept from 10.30pm until 4.30am. A small miracle I'm sure you'll agree!

I do feel for you. I remember with DS1 I was so stressed and exhausted with not only lack of sleep but also worry about what the right thing to do was. Second time round I'm getting the same amount of sleep (ie very little) but I'm not as tired.

Worry really does make things so much worse. I know it's easy to say but try and relax. DS1 was like yours but then at just over three months suddenly started sleeping through till 7am from the dream feed. It will happen for you I promise and before you know it you will be well rested and thinking about having number two!!

Bicnod Wed 08-Jul-09 13:12:30

Countrylover - you've just said all the right things and nearly made me cry! Thank you...

I'm crap at expressing but I'm trying to build up enough for one feed (I only manage about 30ml each time I pump) by freezing it, so I will definitely try the dream feed with expressed milk to check if he's waking from hunger when I have enough - that's a great idea. Fantastic that your DS slept through until 4.30am grin

I'm considering moving Oscar into his own room in a couple of weeks anyway as we can't fit the cot in our room and he's getting too big for the crib (he outgrew his moses basket a couple of weeks ago). I think he'll sleep better in the cot once he's got used to it as he won't be wacking his hands on the bars all the time like he does in the crib. Our room is really close to his room (very small flat) so I'll be able to hear him clearly with both doors open - but hopefully not quite as clearly as I do at the moment!

countrylover Wed 08-Jul-09 17:30:44

What a co-incidence, my 10 week old is an Oscar too. And there was me thinking I was being all original and quirky with our name choice! grin

I'm glad I've helped. I wish I knew Mumsnet existed when I had DS1. I had a terrible time but second time round is soooo much easier. Just think of it as the hardest exam you've ever had to sit but that everyone passes it in the end and then still wants to do it again!

Honestly, whatever you do it's the right thing. Trust your instincts and throw away the books. If someone had said that to me four years ago it would have saved me a world of pain.

Pies Wed 08-Jul-09 20:56:49

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