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Way too many feeds at night

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  • Way too many feeds at night

    I have a (nearly) 6 month old baby who can only sleep by feeding to sleep or being rocked. Very normal, I know. However he can't seem to sleep longer than around 30 minutes - day or night. I am constantly feeding him back to sleep all night, and because it is such a quick turn around, I barely get to sleep myself after a feed and he's awake wanting another feed.

    This is my third boy who has been a non-sleeper and we have survived the first two, so I know we will get there eventually. I am so sleep deprived though that I get very cross with him at times, and the "loving and supportive" environment goes out the window when I get so tired and frustrated with him. He sleeps in the bed with me as it has turned out to easier for me not having to get out of bed to the cot all the time.

    My question is how can I associate going back to sleep with something other than getting out of bed to rock him (takes 1/2 an hour to 2 hours or more) or feeding him back to sleep. I don't mind feeding him back to sleep, but I hate doing it so frequently. Every 2 hours would be acceptable, at least I get a little sleep between feeds. The other thing is that he has a dry nappy in the morning, meaning he's not feeding, just sucking. He won't take a dummy, he thinks it's a toy.

    I don't want to do sleep training to him, but it is getting to crisis point. I have no support so there is no one to take him during the day to give me a break. I ended up with post natal depression after my last baby and don't want to go there again.
    Thanks for any suggestions.

  • #2
    The first thing I would look into is food sensitivities. It CAN be normal to be 6m and sleep like that but I have also heard of babies having digestive issues that entice them to nurse all night (because it feels good on the sour stomach). Do you or anyone else in your family have food issues? Celiac or lactose intolerance? Possibly start with a suspected food (dairy, soy?) removing it totally from your diet and see if any change happens. It may take up to 3 or 4 weeks to see a change.
    Anyway, if you chose to look into that I'll find you some resources.

    Otherwise, maybe patting him while you nurse or rock and then transfering just the patting while he is in bed might give him another sleep cue other then nurse or rock A gradual blend into another form of soothing.....he could think "I fall asleep when I am nursing" "I fall asleep when I am rocking" then if you put something else with that (patting, rubbing, shushing etc) he might think after a few days "I fall asleep when I am rocking and hearing singing" and then a little later "I fall asleep while I hear singing".

    Like anything else, it might be hard to find another thing he likes!

    Do you have a local AP group for support?


    • #3
      This sounds so tough! Our daughter also did not sleep well without us immediately available. When I was home, she would wake at least every 2 hours to nurse. I worked very hard to teach her how to nurse side-lying and got to the point where I didn't wake up much and would fall to sleep while she was still nursing.

      When I wasn't home, she wouldn't nap unless she was in my husband's arms, being rocked. Well, when she was very little, she would sleep in a swing - and wake up the minute it stopped. But she still sleeps much better.

      Now that we are night-weaning (she's almost 3 and I'm pregnant), she will often be able to go to sleep by laying on my chest instead of nursing. And lots of back rubbing!

      Not sure what all you've tried, but maybe some of my experiences will give you new ideas!

      Wishing you a good night's sleep!


      • #4
        My son was like this and it turned out to be dairy and eggs.
        I went vegan for awhile and as he got bigger he outgrew it, although now I have decided to go vegan anyway.


        • #5
          I am having the same issue with my little 6 month old boy too.
          I am just hoping he will grow out of it!


          • #6
            Thank you for your suggestions. We have been on the Failsafe diet (Australian) for food sensitivities for the past couple of months. I have eliminated most things from my diet, but not dairy, wheat or eggs. Perhaps that is the next stop. My husband is sick of it because we are so limited as it is that we never have anything to eat. We have mainly eliminated salicylates, amines, preservatives, glutamates, colours and flavours. My dietitian said that there would be no reason to eliminate dairy, what or eggs unless I am celiac.
            I am booked in to a baby sleep clinic on Monday and although I hate to go that way, I really have little other choice. Considering the whole family, if this baby does not start sleeping soon I am going to go around the twist and my two other children will end up with problems because mummy is way to cranky, angry and tired to spend time with them or play with them.

            This is cetainly not the way things were meant to be and I really want to be able to enjoy my children and our lives together.

            thank you


            • #7
              My son was (is) very allergic to dairy. When I cut that out he slept very well. That is a good reason to cut out dairy! That does sound like a very restrictive diet you are on. No wonder you are reluctant to take out more foods.
              I don't understand what a 'baby sleep clinic' is. Do you mean she will be observed while she is sleeping with electrodes?


              • #8
                Originally posted by My3boys View Post
                We have mainly eliminated salicylates, amines, preservatives, glutamates, colours and flavours. My dietitian said that there would be no reason to eliminate dairy, what or eggs unless I am celiac.
                I am very interested in elimination diets and found health in my own life by eliminating wheat and dairy for a couple of years (I am now tolerating them fine). The diets I've seen focus more on eliminating certain food groups than food components, like the one you describe. There's probably merit to both, but I definitely disagree that there's not a reason to eliminate diary, wheat, or eggs unless you have celiac disease. That is not true. I don't have celiac disease. A lot of people have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and dairy and egg allergies are very common.

                Also, with an elimination diet, you can start very restricted, but once you've been on that for just a couple of weeks, if you're feeling better, you can start adding foods back every 3 days - so you really don't have to be restricted for that long. If you don't feel better after the 2 weeks, you know you didn't eliminate whatever it was.

                I hope you find success with this! I think elimination diets are a great way to experiment with your body and find what works for you--but you really have to work on keeping a positive perspective and not letting it become a religion (in the sense of never ever eating food you haven't prepared, for example) or source of torture. They are not easy, and I think they're much less likely to be successful if you are hating it rather than learning from it (which is really the goal).


                • #9
                  Also, my daughter also used to be sensitive to dairy and wheat. They don't seem to have the same effect any longer. I do believe as the gut heals and develops, food sensitivities can go away. So it's not always a lifelong thing.


                  • #10
                    Like others have said, both of those foods carry their own intolerances unrelated to celiac. I have no trouble with wheat or gluten and consume it quite a bit as a vegan, but none of my children could / can handle me having dairy and my son could not handle me having eggs. His reaction was so strong that even me having a bit of egg would cause him to become so painfully ill and of course nurse even more for comfort and to try to push the pain out of his body.

                    If your dietitian is assuming that dairy and eggs are only celiac related, you may want to get a second dieticians advice. You also should speak to a lactation consultant. Most dieticians receive little or no training in regards to breastfeeding mothers. Only information about caloric intake and not enough about varied food beliefs to assist with lactating women. Sadly the same goes for most physicians. There is little or no training for nursing mothers. The legacy of formula has pretty much eliminated any need for it.

                    You have to make a very difficult personal choice to make.