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Hungry EBF 6mo - under pressure to feed purees to get DD to sleep

(17 Posts)
PickledLily Wed 26-Sep-12 20:55:24

Just when I'd got the hang of breastfeeding anytime, anywhere...

DD is waking every 2 hours through the night and it's killing me. The first 2 wake ups are definitely for food (she's not feeding much during the day as she gets too distracted). DH and family keep telling me that she needs to start solids so she will sleep, but this contradicts what I've been told via BF groups etc. She's showing all the right signs to start solids, so not a problem in that sense, and I've started giving her bits of fruit and veg to play with (which she chews on), but DH has now started her on baby porridge. Won't this just bulk her up but without the calories of my milk? Unless I use my milk but then I'll need to keep expressing.

I'm so confused! I'm in no hurry to start trying to shovel purees into her I'm too lazy to puree and too tired/disorganised to stick to a mealtime schedule but don't want to be depriving her of food if she needs it to sleep.

What to do?!

Wigeon Wed 26-Sep-12 21:31:22

She is 6 months. The guidelines are to wean "around" 26 weeks, ie 6 months, and you say she is showing all the right signs, so it is absolutely no problem to start feeding her. You might choose to go down the baby-led weaning route - in which case no porridge (or the BLW police will COME AND GET YOU), or the puree route, or a mix of finger food and spoon-fed food, from around 6 months, which is what we did.

At 6 months you don't need to do any purees if you don't want to - I just thought it was a bit doctrinaire to never spoon feed any food, as that excludes normal food like porridge, yoghurt, soup etc.

I think there is no problem giving her some porridge as well as some fruit and (cooked) veg sticks. She will probably still take all her milk as well as the porridge and fruit and veg - is this the case?

By the way, when my DD1 wasn't sleeping well at 4 months, I did a little bit of research and couldn't find any evidence whatsoever for there being a link between introducing food and better sleep. Anecdotally, once we began weaning DD1 (around 22 weeks I think), it made no difference to her sleep whatsoever. Maybe your DH and family could point you to the evidence if they are so sure?

noblegiraffe Wed 26-Sep-12 21:34:39

I'm afraid to say that weaning my DS made absolutely no difference to his sleep and he continued to wake up that regularly until at least a year. He also continued to BF every two hours for a month of being on 3 meals a day!

Whatinthenameofsanity Wed 26-Sep-12 21:48:36

If she is ready for food a bit of baby porridge will do no harm.

With my first I did purees and hand held pieces from before six months and she didn't sleep through until age 2 when the worst of her teething was over.

DD2 is 7 months and BLW (because it is easier with two) and has gone from sleeping through the night, to waking every two hours most nights, since we started weaning. She has just cut her first tooth and the second is coming so I think that has something to do with it.

PickledLily Thu 27-Sep-12 00:38:23

Oh god, i hadn't considered it might be teething. She's not been sleeping well (not that she ever slept particularly well) for 2 months now, but no obvious teething signs.

I'll keep an eye on her milk intake when eating too, I guess it won't diminish until she's taking on sufficient calories. DH already has children; apparently they all started sleeping better once food was introduced, so persuading him otherwise is probably a non-starter.

I'm not anti-puree, just that I don't want to be force feeding a baby that's not interested in puree and I'm not the sort of mum who is in her element or has the time to prepare tiny lunch boxes of home-made purees to be served up at x o'clock every day. However if DD would decide to sleep so I wasn't so knackered then maybe I could become puree mum!!

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 27-Sep-12 14:13:55

Weaning made no difference to my DD at around 6 months but it did make a difference to DS who was weaned at 4 months. It made his sleep much, much worse.

If she isn't feeding much during the day it sounds like she may be Reverse Cycling so you may want to address that issue before you tackle anything else. At 6 months many babies also have a growth spurt.

Like others have said, baby porridge won't do her any harm, it can be expensive though so you might want to swap to something like Ready Brek instead. As long as she is having a bf about an hour before the solids and the solids aren't replacing any of your milk feeds at this stage, then it should be fine.

What concerns me more is the fact that your DH is seemingly weaning the baby against your wishes and the evidence. Has DD started sleeping any better since the introduction of solids? Have you and your DH read this on introducing solids and/or formula and sleep or why delay solids?.

For now though I'd tackle the day feeds, make sure she is getting plenty of bfs and that she has a feed roughly an hour before any solids too.

As for the sleep, have you and DH read 31 ways to get your baby to sleep and 12 alternatives for the all night nurser?.

Don't forget to that if you are bfing, at 7 months you will be getting more sleep on average than your ff peers and half of all 12 month olds still wake, no matter what they are fed or how they are parented.

PickledLily Thu 27-Sep-12 21:59:30

Thanks Jilted, those are really useful articles. DD is definitely a 'distractable baby'. Especially useful to know the time gaps between BF and solids, I was wondering what order/how long to wait.

I also discovered a tooth starting to appear today, so that would explain a lot of the restless nights. I can't believe i get more sleep than FF, is that really the case? She wakes 4-6 times a night, and for 1 or 2 of those it will take her up to 2 hours to settle again. If she only woke 3 times a night, I'd be delighted!

I'll have another conversation with DH about how we decide to introduce solids. I think he just thought he was helping me get more sleep confused

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 28-Sep-12 11:21:50

I think the more sleep than your ffing peers at 7 months is an average. What's happening when she won't settle?

Teething could well be it. Try her with a frozen banana and chunks of cucumber during the day and Ibruprofen and a teething gel like Dentinox.

When you say that DH is helping you get more sleep, how hands on is he at night?

PickledLily Fri 28-Sep-12 18:15:36

She just decides she's awake and chats away, even though she's tired (rubbing her eyes etc). DH is brilliant at night - we take it in shifts with me doing the first half of the night (or if she needs a feed) and he does the rest.

Her problem isn't falling asleep, but calming down. She hates missing out on anything and has been very alert and active since she was born.

I haven't tried frozen banana for her teeth so I'll give that a go!

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 28-Sep-12 20:06:56

My DS was. Sleep refuser too. He was much too mosey for sleep. If its any consolation he is now 8 and doing very well at school.

We found that the no cry sleep solution helped a lot.

PickledLily Fri 28-Sep-12 20:22:46

Good to know I'm not alone.

The No Cry Sleep Solution sounded hopeful until the caveat 'if your baby has reflux then this book won't help' sad I suppose on the positive side food, in theory, should help the reflux if it weighs down the milk. Although I've just been reading up about reflux and weaning and suspect I'll have a bunch of questions to post on here shortly.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 28-Sep-12 20:29:17

That's a shame. Did you get a chance to look at the Dr Sears links?

PickledLily Sun 30-Sep-12 15:04:49

I do like the Dr Sears site. We've used quite a few of the suggestions already, mostly with success. Unfortunately all the typical chill-out activities (bath, massage) just rev DD up though. I also struggle with consistent nap times, although bedtime is consistent.

Poor DD is teething again today and is definitely doing some developmental leaping because for some reason she's completely stunned and/or freaked out by everything that was just 'normal' yesterday.

Foodwise, I tried her on a fruit porridge puree, with her using the spoon - she is remarkably good at getting the spoon in her mouth and she loved it. I'm much happier about purees if she's self-service! But as you say, baby porridge is expensive, so if I stick with it, I'll be looking at alternatives.

KatAndKit Tue 09-Oct-12 08:34:26

DS is 26 weeks this week and we started weaning a couple of weeks ago. Guess what? He isn't sleeping through the night either and still wakes up several times. It's developmental so filling them up with porridge won't change their sleep.

PickledLily Tue 09-Oct-12 18:51:56

I've chilled out a bit now on the food front! blush DH isn't trying to force feed her, so all is fine. I've been trying her with a bit of porridge/banana, and some lumps of fruit/veg but she's not really interested and if it does go anywhere near her mouth, it just comes out again. Instead she just chews on the spoon (she's teething).

Not sure really what I do next - do I keep trying bits of food with her every day until she actually shows some interest? It's a bit of a phaff (although it's been great for my diet - I've not eaten so much fruit and veg for ages!)

Ladybee Sat 13-Oct-12 21:07:07

Yes. Eating is a skill like everything else, (walking, talking, holfing head up, rolling) the muscle movements need to be practiced and they'll get it 'wrong' more than they get it right to begin with. Your baby may not have liked tummy time that much, but i bet you continue to give them opportunities to learn and develop because you know its what they need to develop. So just keep offering everyday and give her the opportunity to learn this fantastic new world of tastes and social meals. Think of it as sensory play for the mouth (and fingers). Keep returning to foods that she initially rejected - on average it can take 20 offers of a new food before you get a 'yum'.

PickledLily Sun 14-Oct-12 20:18:34

Thanks Ladybee. Well yesterday and today have been a different story! She has guzzled (or tried to!) anything put in front of her.

The down side is that it has given her stomach cramps (I guess this is her digestive system getting the hang of food), strawberries seem to make her throw up, and she's pooing like Mount Vesuvius - we had 4 changes of clothes today. But she has (literally) grasped food with both hands and has been tucking into toast, mango on the skin etc It's great to see her experimenting and actually eating most of it too.

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