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Night weening a 6 month old?


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  #1  
January 31st, 2011, 11:33 AM
Jule'sMomInOR's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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My DD and I have been having some really bad nights for about 3 weeks. She'll wake up several times kind of yelping or whimpering, and won't be able to go back to sleep until I hold her upright. This is especially common from 3 am - 6 am.

At first I thought it was gas due to starting solids, but I stopped solids for a while and that didn't help. Then I thought it was teething, but she won't chew on my finger when offered and numbing gel doesn't make the problem go away. I called today and talked to the advice nurse at my pedi's office. She immediately brought up relux, which I hadn't considered because she's a happy spitter during the day.

The advice nurse asked how many times she nurses during the night and was surprised when I said about 3, sometimes 4. She said there is no need for Juliana to nurse at night, and I should cut that down to one or preferably none. I was thinking "Yeah, right. That will go over well." I really don't want to night wean, but on the other hand, if this is making her (and also me) miserable then may I should at least try to cut down to one.

I guess I'll try offering a pacifier but I'm not looking forward to this. We co-sleep and Juliana is used to just helping herself whenever she wants and I never refuse. I'm supposed to try this for the next 2 nights and report to the pedi when I see her on Wednesday. I suppose I should give it a try for these two nights.

Any advice for night weaning a baby this young? I feel like a baby mother for even thinking about doing this when she's so young, but I have to remind myself that it's for her own good.
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  #2  
January 31st, 2011, 11:55 AM
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I'm having a really similar discussion on my PR board, so I'm going to C&P what I put from there...

(it is in response to the person's ped saying that the baby had been "taught" to eat at night).




OK. I'll tell you what my boss (an internationally certified lactation consultant) says about this.

Night waking is a normal baby behavior. Our babies at this age are busy busy busy exploring, so they aren't taking in all the nourishment that they need (their primary source of nutrition should be from breast milk or formula) during the day, so when else are they supposed to get it? If they don't wake at night for it, then they just don't get it. *shrug*

Do you train yourself to be hungry, or does it just strike when it's there? I am not a normal breakfast eater, and I'm rarely hungry in the morning, but sometimes I'm starved in the morning. Why? I didn't train myself that way. It's just because I'm hungry!

I have done child led breastfeeding with all of my kids now... and I assure you-they eventually do stop waking to nurse at night. So what happened to that training? I think that's hoopla, to be honest. If they were training themselves to be hungry at night, don't you think that the behavior would get more and more solidified rather than less and less frequent?




Here are some studies.

kellymom.com :: Studies on normal infant sleep

Quote:
Abstract: A longitudinal study of the development of sleep patterns addressed the issue of continuity and change in night waking in the course of the first year. Mothers of 118 infants, who took part in a follow-up study of normal babies, completed a sleep questionnaire at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. Regular night waking was a common characteristic throughout the first year:
Baby's age

% babies waking at night
3 months

46%
6 months

39%
9 months

58%
12 months

55%

The number of awakenings per night was a function of age. Following a decline in the number of interruptions from 3 to 6 months, an increase in night waking at age 9 months was recorded. Although the methodology does not lend itself to an objective validation of the changes in sleep-wake states, nor is it suitable for causal explanations, it is, nevertheless, important to note this profile. The increase in night waking towards the end of the first year coincides with significant socio-emotional advances which characterize this developmental stage
Quote:
Abstract: Published norms for infant sleep/wake patterns during the first 2 years of life include an increase in length of maximum sleep bout from four to five to eight to ten hours by 4 months but little decrease in total sleep in 24 hours from 13 to 15 hours. Thirty-two breast-fed infants were followed for 2 years and data collected on 24-hour patterns of nursing and sleep. Infants who were breast-fed into the second year did not develop sleep/wake patterns in conformance with the norms. Instead of having long unbroken night sleep, they continued to sleep in short bouts with frequent wakings. Their total sleep in 24 hours was less than that of weaned infants. This pattern was most pronounced in infants who both nursed and shared a bed with the mother, common practices in many nonwestern cultures. The sleep/wake development accepted as the physiologic norm may be attributable to the early weaning and separated sleeping practiced in western culture. As prolonged breast-feeding becomes more popular in our society, the norms of sleep/wake patterns in infancy will have to be revised.
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  #3  
January 31st, 2011, 12:00 PM
Jule'sMomInOR's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality=reality View Post
Night waking is a normal baby behavior. Our babies at this age are busy busy busy exploring, so they aren't taking in all the nourishment that they need (their primary source of nutrition should be from breast milk or formula) during the day, so when else are they supposed to get it? If they don't wake at night for it, then they just don't get it. *shrug*

Do you train yourself to be hungry, or does it just strike when it's there? I am not a normal breakfast eater, and I'm rarely hungry in the morning, but sometimes I'm starved in the morning. Why? I didn't train myself that way. It's just because I'm hungry!
I totally agree with you 100%! I wouldn't even dream of trying to night wean her if it weren't for the reflux issues. She seems so miserable that I'm just thinking it might be the lesser of two evils. If there are other alternatives that don't involve night weaning, I'm open to them!
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  #4  
January 31st, 2011, 12:06 PM
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I don't get it. If they think she has reflux, why not tell you what to use to treat the reflux rather than night wean unnecessarily? I honestly wouldn't go with reflux, but I'm a bit of a rebel. Wouldn't that have presented before six months? I have heard all the stories of reflux, and those babies are typically on their meds by six weeks.
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  #5  
January 31st, 2011, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality=reality View Post
I don't get it. If they think she has reflux, why not tell you what to use to treat the reflux rather than night wean unnecessarily? I honestly wouldn't go with reflux, but I'm a bit of a rebel. Wouldn't that have presented before six months? I have heard all the stories of reflux, and those babies are typically on their meds by six weeks.
I'm with you, I wonder why she never showed symptoms until 5 months. She actually woke up only to nurse (3-4 times but only half-waking because we co-sleep) until then. That's why I was sure it was either gas or teething, but those have both pretty much been ruled out.

So I'm not sure if it's reflux, but I've been googling reflux remedies and I wonder if I give her oatmeal mixed with breastmilk before bed it that would help.
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  #6  
January 31st, 2011, 12:23 PM
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Good luck! I don't have good advice for reflux other than that I'd personally be suspicious about a diagnosis at six months via telephone... but sometimes babies just are genuinely more needy at night (whether it be needing closeness or nutrition).

Growing pains as a young child hurt so badly you remember them into adulthood... I'd imagine they'd have to hurt as a little baby even worse considering the rapid growth...
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  #7  
January 31st, 2011, 12:36 PM
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it could just be a growth spurt. It seems odd for reflux to show up now. And if it really is reflux, breast milk helps put out the fire, not the other way around. The NP i see at the pedi's office is an LC, and she said reflux babies need to nurse MORE not less.

Also.. have you changed your eating habits? Could something you are eating be upsetting your DD? Are her poops ok?
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  #8  
January 31st, 2011, 12:39 PM
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It's possible it's the age. My DD only woke once a night to eat from about 3 months - 6 months. Since she hit 6 months she's been up 2, 3, 4 times a night. Usually down to 2 now, but for a while it was more often 3. At first I thought growth spurt, then I thought teething. She has grown a lot in the past couple weeks and 3, almost 4, new teeth have popped up in the past week. Luckily she always goes back to sleep right after eating. Is your DD starting to crawl, or some other developmental milestone? Sometimes that can affect their sleep. At one point I thought I may try to night wean a bit at 6 months, but I know she isn't ready. I'm throwing around 9 months in my head, but I think I'll see how I feel about it when I get there.
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  #9  
January 31st, 2011, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alicenwonderland View Post
Also.. have you changed your eating habits? Could something you are eating be upsetting your DD? Are her poops ok?
I haven't changed my eating habits at all. I pretty much eat the same things all the time.

One of the reasons I thought this was due to starting solids is that she got really gassy and a couple of times she got constipated and didn't poop for 4 days. I gave her prunes and that helped, and her poop is back to normal. Plus, I haven't given her solids since Friday night so I could check to see if that was the cause, and that didn't seem to have any impact (in fact, last night was probably our worst night yet).

Quote:
Originally Posted by -erin- View Post
It's possible it's the age. My DD only woke once a night to eat from about 3 months - 6 months. Since she hit 6 months she's been up 2, 3, 4 times a night. Usually down to 2 now, but for a while it was more often 3.
I'm not so much concerned about the number of times she's waking up, just the fact that she seems very uncomfortable when she does. She kind of yelps/whimpers. It's hard to describe. Then she needs to be held upright or walked around to get her to go to sleep, but it only takes a minute or so after she's held upright. She seems very tired from it.
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  #10  
January 31st, 2011, 01:11 PM
mgm78's Avatar Zoe's mom Meredith
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imo, 6 months is too early to night wean unless you were going to supplement and feed her a bottle when she woke instead of nursing. I know when DD wakes up frequently and whimpers, it is teeth. Have you tried motrin? DD woke up 2 times a night until around 4-5 months, then it increased and was 6-8 times a night from then until about 14 months where it went to 2-4 times a night. If you think she is uncomfortable, then figure out why and fix that, not the night nursing, imo. It is so hard that our LO's cannot always tell us what hurts or what is wrong. It is such a guessing game!!
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  #11  
January 31st, 2011, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mgm78 View Post
imo, 6 months is too early to night wean unless you were going to supplement and feed her a bottle when she woke instead of nursing. I know when DD wakes up frequently and whimpers, it is teeth. Have you tried motrin? DD woke up 2 times a night until around 4-5 months, then it increased and was 6-8 times a night from then until about 14 months where it went to 2-4 times a night. If you think she is uncomfortable, then figure out why and fix that, not the night nursing, imo. It is so hard that our LO's cannot always tell us what hurts or what is wrong. It is such a guessing game!!

The main reasons I don't think it's only teething are a) she will not chew on my finger when offered after waking up, and b) sitting her upright always makes her feel instantly better.

Yes, I've tried Motrin. I don't think I gave it to her last night but I do give her Infant Motrin before bed when she seems to be having problems with teething. I've been googling this and it looks like Motrin is easier on their tummies but acetaminophen (Tylenol) lasts longer. Maybe I should try some Tylenol and see how it goes.
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  #12  
January 31st, 2011, 01:28 PM
mgm78's Avatar Zoe's mom Meredith
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I was told motrin was good for teeth and tylenol for fevers. I forget, was it you who said they tried to make an incline for their baby to sleep? I would really look at your diet as well. Dairy? Soy? What kind of vegetables?
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  #13  
January 31st, 2011, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by mgm78 View Post
I was told motrin was good for teeth and tylenol for fevers. I forget, was it you who said they tried to make an incline for their baby to sleep? I would really look at your diet as well. Dairy? Soy? What kind of vegetables?
Yes, we set up her Arm's Reach Co-sleeper at a 15 degree angle, but that does not seem to be enough. We also have a little bed designed for reflux babies and it does help a lot when I put her in there. I have put her in there several times after waking up miserable and only once did she wake up again miserable. The rest of the times she slept better. I have decided to start her out in that bed tonight and see how it goes. I just don't think that will 100% solve the problem because it didn't before.

I do have some dairy - just a little bit of cottage cheese and/or yogurt occasionally. I've had those since she was born, though. I haven't changed anything.
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  #14  
January 31st, 2011, 03:05 PM
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yeah, it is not common for her to get sensitive this late in the game, but could not hurt to cut out all dairy for a week or two and see what happens. I hope the bed helps!!!
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  #15  
January 31st, 2011, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by alicenwonderland View Post
it could just be a growth spurt. It seems odd for reflux to show up now. And if it really is reflux, breast milk helps put out the fire, not the other way around. The NP i see at the pedi's office is an LC, and she said reflux babies need to nurse MORE not less.

Also.. have you changed your eating habits? Could something you are eating be upsetting your DD? Are her poops ok?
Exactly. You would have known by week 2 if reflux was a problem. Most babies who spit up a lot will see a decline in spit up around 6 months. Breast milk is soothing. Adding oatmeal or rice cereal to a bottle won't necessarily stop reflux, you just won't see the spit up. I think it's just the age. At that age Abri suddenly went from nursing twice a night to four times. We are just now getting back to 2-3 times at 9 months old.

ETA- do you think she's working on new milestones? Abri fusses in her sleep during a sleep regression when she is learning something new. What about an ear infection? We just went through that here and she was fussy and really restless all night.
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  #16  
January 31st, 2011, 07:31 PM
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yeah, it is not common for her to get sensitive this late in the game, but could not hurt to cut out all dairy for a week or two and see what happens. I hope the bed helps!!!
I agree, it doesn't hurt to try! Give it a full 2 weeks of being dairy-free before you decide if it's helping.

It really sounds like the nurse was inserting her own personal opinion rather than any real medical advice about cutting out night nursing. I also disagree with the advice and that it would be odd for her to suddenly start having problems at night just now.

My advice would be to play it out. Both of my daughters have gone through stages both at night and naptimes that sometimes last for weeks, or months. I don't always understand it, there doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason with it, but I wait it out and things go back to normal with time.
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  #17  
January 31st, 2011, 07:32 PM
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Exactly. You would have known by week 2 if reflux was a problem. Most babies who spit up a lot will see a decline in spit up around 6 months. Breast milk is soothing. Adding oatmeal or rice cereal to a bottle won't necessarily stop reflux, you just won't see the spit up. I think it's just the age. At that age Abri suddenly went from nursing twice a night to four times. We are just now getting back to 2-3 times at 9 months old.

ETA- do you think she's working on new milestones? Abri fusses in her sleep during a sleep regression when she is learning something new. What about an ear infection? We just went through that here and she was fussy and really restless all night.
The issue is that she was waking up 3X to nurse and is still waking up 3X to nurse, now she's just waking up an additional 3X that she's not interested in nursing at all but is very uncomfortable. She began sitting up on her own over a month ago and hasn't started crawling yet. She's probably fairly close to getting a tooth.

She doesn't have a fever. Is it possible to have an ear infection without a fever?
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  #18  
February 1st, 2011, 09:01 AM
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Abri didn't have a fever but had an ear infection. She was really fussy during the day, would only nap for 30 minutes instead of her usual 90 and just fussed and tossed all night. She didn't want to eat, she just cried. Has your dd had a cold recently? Typically they get a cold first and then a week or so later it can turn into an ear infection.
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  #19  
February 1st, 2011, 09:46 AM
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Abri didn't have a fever but had an ear infection. She was really fussy during the day, would only nap for 30 minutes instead of her usual 90 and just fussed and tossed all night. She didn't want to eat, she just cried. Has your dd had a cold recently? Typically they get a cold first and then a week or so later it can turn into an ear infection.
Amazingly, my DD has not had a cold yet. She does scratch at her ears a lot, which I have attributed to teething, but I have an appointment with the pedi tomorrow so we'll find out for sure.

Last night, I put her in her upright bed designed for reflux babies and we had a much better night! She never woke up with the yelping/fussing that she was doing before, although she did it once after nursing for a while.

Here's how the night went:
9:45 pm - bedtime
10:45 pm - Woke up and nursed (which I expected because she didn't finish her normal amount of cluster feeding before bed)
1:30 am - Woke up and nursed.
4:15 am - Woke up and nursed.
5:00 am - Woke up, I offered a pacifier, which pissed her off so we nursed but then she became upset and uncomfortable. Sitting her upright made her fall asleep in under a minute.

Typically she won't nurse again until 10:30-11 am.

If this situation were to occur again, I don't think it would be a bad thing to try to get her to take the paci at 5 am since she had just nursed so recently. I just have no idea how to do that because it really did not go over well the first time and I don't want to turn it into a fight. I guess we'll just see how it goes in the upright bed for a few more nights and see what the pedi says tomorrow (although I don't really trust the pedi because she's definitely of the CIO school).
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  #20  
February 1st, 2011, 10:20 AM
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The times that Kate has really fussed bad at night it was due to: ear infection (and no, she didn't have a fever or ANY other signs of it, just the discomfort at night), overtired (some bad bad nights we've had when she was majorly overtired, you'd thinks he'd sleep better but oh no), and age/stage/milestones. Her most recent issue (the whole past month) has been learning to do new things. She was waking up in the middle of the night screaming at me because I'm trying to get her back to sleep.

I certainly can't tell you what is bothering your DD but it could be any number of things. You probably have a gut feeling about it, a vibe from her.... I always seem to guess. But it's hard when they can't talk, they just cry. And I totally hear you... them waking up happy is one thing, but waking all night crying is so tiring for everyone and stressful.

I don't think I'd try night weaning, though, if it were me. Especially right now after Kate went through that sleep regression/milestone at 7-8 months (she's a month early on it), she was eating all night long because she hasn't been eating during the day. Reflux just seems like such odd timing, but then I don't know much about reflux. But night weaning is such a big step.... I'd only do it if I knew for SURE that it WAS reflux and that weaning would help, which doesn't sound like the case.

And also, I have to express irritation at the doctors and nurses who say that a child doesn't NEED night feeds any more at 4 months, 6 months, whatever. Grrr.
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