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Breast fed 4 month old starting to wake up earlier at night - please help

(12 Posts)
Hedkandikate Thu 22-Oct-09 12:25:12


Wonder if anyone can shed any light on this for 17 week old dd is exclusively breast fed and sleeps great in the day - 3 naps probably about 3-4 hours in total...and was starting to really do well, going to bed at 7 pm ish and sleeping til a feed at 10.30/11 pm and was starting to sleep til 5 and 6 and sometimes 7 am!

Recently she has started actually waking for her 10.30 pm feed and then wakes again at 3 - 4 am before going throug til 7 am. I've started to express to see how much she is taking and then giving her the night feeds via the bottle, she is on 5-6 oz feeds...feeding 6 times a day (including the 2 night feeds) so I guess 30 oz total a day. She is really good weight following the 50th centile.

My question really I guess is, although this is probably perfectly normal for her age, or it could be because she is teething/going through a developmental stage etc..should I be upping her milk in the day to get her to drop the feeds at night...the reason I say this is, I only give her a really small amount in the wee hours (5 mins on the boob) and she goes back to sleep, which makes me think she is just entering a light sleep and doesn't need the milk so much, just the comfort - unfortunatetly she won't take a dummy...

I've another dd who has always slept well, so this is new territory for me...I guess I'm most afraid that by keep feeding her in the night I'm creating a feed she might get really used to and find hard to drop later?

Feel bad to ask for advice, as its not an SOS situation, I'm just a very tired mum who would appreciate some other Mums point of view on this...?

MrsMotMot Thu 22-Oct-09 20:53:52

I'd say that as she's still under the 6 month mark this is probably a real need for milk, and hopefully just a growth spurt... sorry I can't be of more help, I bf my 11mo DS at night still and I know he's just using it to fall asleep, but at 4 months I think it's a different story.

mumofoliver Thu 22-Oct-09 21:01:20

My DD is now 20 weeks and since 7 weeks has more or less been sleeping from 7.30 pm till anywhere between 6 am to 8am. But she has had instances where she has woken in the middle of the night for 3-4 nights for a quick feed. Then she tends to go back to her old routine. She is BF.

I don't really know whether giving them more during the day will help but I thought I would let you know that it could well be temporary and things will go back to normal again after a few days. For my DD, I think it has been due to a growth spurt, a cold or teething and it feels like for whatever reason, she needs a bit of a top up to get her through the night.


Hedkandikate Thu 22-Oct-09 21:11:27

Thanks ladies for your replys

I saw my HV today and my dd's weight has dropped a little (from the 50th to the 25th) and the HV concluded that she think that my dd needs more calories and have suggested either weaning earlier or introducing the night feed as a formula feed as it would fill her tummy up for longer...I do feel like she is a hungrier baby than my elder dd as she always wants to feed every 3 hours during the day and will cry if its a minute over 3 hours since she fed...

My dd has always woken for a nightfeed and has never slept 7 til 7...

Not sure whether to introduce a formula feed or to introduce a bit of baby rice?

QueenOfFrighteningEveryone Thu 22-Oct-09 21:15:10

Night feeds can be important for maintaining supply, especially at 4 months which is prime growth spurt time. She may well settle back down in a few days once your supply has caught up.

Baby rice is unlikely to deal with the actual cause which is your DD's need for more calories - best addressed by more milk, not rice.

PoisonToadstool Thu 22-Oct-09 21:21:31

I would keep things simple at this age, ditch the expressing, feed on demand, waking twice at 17 weeks is really not excessive in the slightest. Feeding every 3 hours again sounds fine, in fact more than fine, my DS was feeding hourly at this age.

Formula or baby rice sound like unnecessary complications to me. If she needs more calories, they're in your breasts!

drpip Thu 22-Oct-09 21:25:55

I'll be watching this one with interest as my DD is 25 weeks and has done exactly the same thing. She slept through from 8 weeks, but started waking at anything from 3am to 6am for a feed since about 17 weeks. Apparently ,according to the Baby Whisperer and Gina Ford, they shouldn't need to wake at night for a feed and should have more during the day. Not sure how you get a BF baby to have more during the day, as when my DD has had enough there's no convincing her to have more (and she's now got two teeth IYKWIM shock).

Worried I might be creating a problem, but I think loads of MNers would say that only getting up once in the night is quite good really. Can't see what else we can do, certainly not about to let her cry it out... Any suggestions from wise MNers?

strawberrie Thu 22-Oct-09 21:35:33

Definitely sounds like growth spurt to me, and we went through exactly the same thing at around 17/18 weeks.
With the greatest respect to your HV I think here advice is a load of bobbins; a spoonful or two of baby rice, or indeed steamed carrot or somesuch is not going to fill her up and make her sleep through the night.

I've heard loads of times from mothers of older babies that sleep often goes to pot at developmental stages, and between 4-6 months there is loads going on, they're thinking about sitting up, rolling etc.

My DD is 27 weeks and feeds around 10.30 pm and, since 18 weeks, again somewhere between 2 and 4 am - I'm taking the path of least resistance as she wails when she wakes and no dummy/cuddling/shushing will cut it, but I feed her and 10 minutes later she's back in bed asleep and 11 minutes later I'm back in bed asleep.

drpip Thu 22-Oct-09 21:42:52

Yeah, I'm with you on that one strawberrie. Can't quite see that arsing around with anything else but a feed is going to work! I was hoping that it was a growth spurt, and that things would go back to "normal", but she's still waking. I also got talked in to weaning last week (don't tell that lot on the weaning page) and, ^quelle suprise^ it hasn't made any difference to her sleeping.

katechristie Thu 22-Oct-09 21:54:49

Agree with other posters, it's classic growth spurt time, also, you'll get less out by expressing than she gets by feeding, and at this age, she'll be a much more efficient feeder, so will be getting a much better feed in the quiet of the night when she's relaxed with no distractions. DD now feeds every 3-4 hours round the clock too, it's such a shock to the system when you've been optimistically thinking the week before how they've slept through or got to 5am for a few weeks now, maybe this is it!

We encountered this 4 month sleep hell too (DD now 6mo) - they go through so many developments at this stage and so much of it happens at night. I remember one night when DS was this age, we both woke around 1.30am and wondered what we could hear - he was chatting to himself whilst holding his toes very proudly - and continued to do so for nearly 2 hours!

MrsMotMot Fri 23-Oct-09 10:59:21

I agree the HV is off the mark- she shouldn't be recommending early weaning, and I really doubt the nutritional/calorific content of baby rice or carrot puree vs. your breastmilk is much of a contest.

BF on demand, esp at night when your hormone levels are higher (and your body gets the message to up supply) is the best way of addressing a hungry baby, not formula, which could affect your supply, or solids. Ride out the growth spurt with lots of bf is my advice.

Sorry, the hv has got me a bit angry!

Hedkandikate Fri 23-Oct-09 16:47:05

Thanks guys for your responses, really appreciate it...I kinda new in my heart the HV was talking a load of cobblers as I BF my elder daughter just fine and didn't wean until she was really interested around five & half months.

drpip - I'm so with you on the trying to get them to take more in the day its impossible... I give my dd ample opportunity to have a really big feed but when she's done, she's done!

Will keep going with the BF and just accept the nightfeed is necessary for her, I must admit I fed her last night and it did take all of 10 mins and what with needing my energy for my toddler it makes more sense to just keep going with it...Will keep you posted on progress and likewise!

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