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1 year old early waking - hunger or comfort?

(7 Posts)
VandT Wed 07-Oct-09 17:36:55

DD has always been a great sleeper but for the last month has been waking between 4.30-6ish screaming and then inhaling her milk, which we take as a sign she is hungry. She shares a room with DS so we are desperate for the early waking to stop as it makes him tired and irritable!

She is petite but healthy, has been BLW and a good appetite at the moment. e.g. today, milk at 4.30am, more at 7am and some toast. banana as snack, pasta carbonara at 11.30. Then desperate for more milk by 1.30. small snack mid afternoon, then sheperds pie, yogurt and pear at 4.30. By 5ish she was irritable so I gave her some milk, and she'll have more before bed.
My mum thinks she is too milk dependent and that we need to go cold turkey at night. I'm not convinced as it seems to genuinely be hunger. she doesn't eat loads at each meal, but enough for someone her size.
What can I do? should we try water at night, try to feed her more in the day?
Also another question - she is on full fat cows milk, perhaps formula was more filling?
Thanks for any suggestions!

bananastew Wed 07-Oct-09 19:22:41

No suggestions, just wanted to say ds is the same. He's 13 months and has just started waking at 5-5:30! He eats 3 very good meals a day, snacks and has 9oz before bed.

I'll watch with interest!

Rhian82 Wed 07-Oct-09 20:31:58

DS is the same - 11 months, wakes 4.30-5.30 most mornings. If it's my turn to get up with him (we alternate) I feed him straight away as it's easiest, but if DH does then he plays with him until 7am when I get up and feed him, and DS doesn't seem hungry with him, he plays happily.

Whether or not he ate much at tea doesn't seem to have any effect on when he sleeps to, either!

ILikeToQuickstepItTangoIt Wed 07-Oct-09 20:52:32

DS is 13mo and last week started to wake anytime from 4.30-5.30. He was previously sleeping 7-7 and had approx 3.5 hours sleep in the daytime split over 2 sleeps (2 hrs in the morning and 1.5 hrs in the afternoon.)

My best guess for the early waking was I needed to cut down on his daytime sleep. So I have cut the morning sleep to an hour max and 1.5/2 hours in the afternoon, with a view to eventually merging the 2 naps into one long lunchtime nap.

I am happy to report that since we have limited the length of the morning sleep he has gone back to sleeping 7-7. Hurrah.

Maybe this would help with you?

Rhian82 Wed 07-Oct-09 21:10:02

Agh, DS often only naps for one hour during the day, has no effect on his night sleep.

VandT Wed 07-Oct-09 22:51:23

Good to know we're not the only ones with this problem. Don't think its linked to daytime sleep as she very quickly settles back to sleep in the early morning, and actually due to my work and being a second child, has a very erratic daytime sleep schedule whereby she never gets as much as she really wants.
In the wee hours she literally wakes, inhales milk then is happy to cosy back down and go to sleep. I realise I am lucky as DS was an early riser who like to stay awake... but I mentioned, the issue is trying not to wake him - we want to get back to the holy grail of 7-7!
She also seems to need her evening milk very early - 5.30ish...

sambo2 Fri 09-Oct-09 09:42:50

VandT - I had this problem with my LO from about 8-11mo. He would wake anytime from 4.30-5.30am, drain a bottle of milk in about 2 mins and then go back to sleep again till about 7am. Although myself exhausted, it 'worked' for us until one day I had just had enough. A dear friend took the brave step (!) of being brutally honest and said that there was no way it was hunger, but at this age (11mo) it was habit. What baby/toddler would refuse to have a nice, warm bottle of milk with their mother in the early hours?!?!? She was right, and deep down I knew it! So I cut it out altogether and after 3 nights of a few tears (!!) and some early starts, he started sleeping till 6.30/7.15 and has done ever since. I swear he is happier cos he sleeps better and so do I!

What I am trying to say is, that from what you have said, it sounds like your mum is right! She probably is milk dependent (she only NEEDS 12oz a day). At 4am she is probably waking from hunger and from habit. By dramatically cutting down her daytime milk and refusing to give her milk at night, she would hopefully increase her solids and, at this age, it is solids that are going to keep her fuller for longer. Also, maybe give tea a little later?

If it helps, my 12 mo feeding is as follows:

7am: wake

8am: breakfast - cereal + fruit (+yoghurt sometimes) with 3-4oz milk.

10am: snack (only if he has had a small breakfast) - raisins

12pm: lunch (carbs, meat/fish, veg)

2.30pm: snack - raisins/biscuit/fruit

5pm: tea (same as lunch) with 2-3oz milk
Pudding: baby porridge mixed with custard blush(I am convinced that this is what keep him nice and full!)

7pm: 7oz bedtime milk (i.e. not cows, but a nighttime formula)

Water is offered throughout the day and with lunch.

I hope things start to settle down soon smile

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