Help-My baby wakes up to nurse during the night

Anna - posted on 03/16/2011 ( 19 moms have responded )

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My son is about to turn one. He has slept thru the night before, not for long, but for about a week at a time. That is usually from bedtime, which is 6-7 at night, then wakes up around 6 in the morning, nurses then go back to sleep for about an hour and a half.

A couple months ago he started teething again and started waking up around 1 and 3 (same times he woke up as a small infant) When he woke up, the only thing that would help him go back to sleep was to nurse.

I do not think that he is teething anymore, but he is still waking up. The only thing that puts him back to sleep is nursing. We have tried rocking, singing, patting on the back, crying (which i do not like, and he just gets wound up) everything. How do i teach him to not want food? Or does he need food? He has always been a snacker when it comes to the breast-but eats like a champ at dinner, then only nurses about 2-3 oz before bed. So i don't believe he needs food. I think that he is addicted to getting fed in the middle of the night, and needs it to go back to sleep.

We have also tried not associating food with bedtime, by nursing with all the lights on, then reading a book or doing another activity in between nursing and bedtime.

Help, what should i do? Have I lost hope since he is a year already?

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Tammy-lee - posted on 03/26/2011

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you could try just offering juice or water when he wakes in the night he might realise that hes not going to get any milk and might just decide to stay asleep it might take a few nights or weeks but stick at it i know it works.

Veronica - posted on 03/20/2011

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I would increase his ounces of feeding before bedtime a little at a time, while decreasing his ounces in the middle of the night. 10-12 hours of sleep is more than enough to hold off on a feeding if he is one year's old. He could be going through a growth spurt and that results in cluster feedings, as well. You have to experiment, but I would do the change in the distribution of ounces first. Also, how many calories does he get in a day. I was told about 50 calories per pound is a good guideline. When I up'd my son's calories from 750 to 900, he did much better when it came to sleeping through the night. He still wakes up for a few minutes a couple of times a week, but I don't let him cry at first for long, either. I try to get to him w/in the first 5 minutes, then check his pacifier and diaper and note if he is biting hard down on the pacifier or my finger or if he feels too warm or too cold. If he doesn't have a poppy diaper, then I don't use a wipe as it wakes him up completely. I can even manage to change the diaper while he's still in the crib with the lights completely off. I spend no more than 5 minutes in the room. He keeps trying to stand and I just lay him back down and once the 5 minutes are up, I leave the room. He usually stops crying within minutes. If not, then I let him cry for another 20 minutes before going back in there and give him 2-4 ounces if I can hear he is screaming mad with no breaks of quiet in between. Then i know he's probably starving for food. Is it the nursing or can you give him a bottle if it's in the middle of the night?

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Mariah - posted on 02/17/2013

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My baby is 5 months old and he sleeps maybe 2 hours 3 if I'm lucky during the night. He is bfeed and he wakes up only to be comforted. My parents think he is hungry but he doesn't feed at night. Any suggestions? I'm lacking sleep and it's really starting to affect me. I have tried the "cry it out " method but it doesn't seem to be working!!

Jennifer - posted on 05/02/2011

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My baby just turned one and still nurses through the right. Like you i cant let him cry it and its a lot easier just to feed him back to sleep. Anything for sleep when you have to work the next day.

Jael - posted on 05/01/2011

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My doctor told me that at this age they need to learn how to soothe themselves back to sleep and you just need to let them cry it out. I don't like it either it is really hard for me to do and I usually give in but she is still waking up at night too.

Susan - posted on 04/20/2011

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I had the exact same problem, I was exhausted after 11 months of no sleep (my LO would wake 4 - 6 times a night) I was truly at my wits end and nerves frazzled so I did some research online and resorted to the Ferber method or controlled crying technique. It has definitely helped, he now knows how to self soothe, but its not perfect, if he is teething he might be more unsettles and sometimes if I am exhausted I resort to a quick Bfeed during the night to get him to go back to sleep. I was worried about the same things as you, is he hungry, thirsty all of the above and I still do not like hearing him cry, but as long as you go in to comfort him after 15mins then again after another short period he will learn after a week of this to fall asleep on his own. Things with us are not perfect with sleep but they are so much better, we have gone from waking 4 - 6 times a night and Bfeeding to waking twice a night maybe feeding him once and the 2nd time he will cry for 5mins and then go back to sleep till 7am. I am finally getting more sleep and so is he! Its not easy, but its worth a try.

Tasha - posted on 04/20/2011

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HI I AM A SAHM OF A BOY WHO JUST TURNED 1 AND I WAS HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. IT COULD BE THAT HE NEEDED A LITTLE SNACK BEFORE BED JUST TO TOP HIM OFF OR IT COULD BE TEETHING. IT IS ABOUT TIME FOR MOLER TEETH TO COME IN. IT COULD ALSO BE THAT HE IS NOT GETTING ENOUGH MILK DURING THE DAY AND IS MAKING UP FOR IT AT NIGHT. I INCREASE MY SONS BREASTFEEDING DURING THE DAY AND IT HAS SEEM TO HIM. MY DOCTOR TOLD ME IF HE DOESNT GET ENOUGH CALORIES DURING THE DAY HES BODY WILL TRY TO MAKE UP FOR IT AT NIGHT BY BREASTFEEDING. I HAVE NEVER PUT MY LITTLE MAN TO BED WITH ANY JUICE, WATER, OR MILK IN HIS CRIB AND UNTIL TWO WEEKS AGO HE COULD SLEEP FOR 13 HR AT NIGHT.
AT HIS AGE AND BECAUSE HE HAS SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT BEFORE THERE IS SOMETHING GOING ON. CRYING IT OUT WILL NOT ALWAY WORK ( SPEAKING FROM EXPERINCE).

Tasha - posted on 04/20/2011

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HI I AM A SAHM OF A BOY WHO JUST TURNED 1 AND I WAS HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. IT COULD BE THAT HE NEEDED A LITTLE SNACK BEFORE BED JUST TO TOP HIM OFF OR IT COULD BE TEETHING. IT IS ABOUT TIME FOR MOLER TEETH TO COME IN. IT COULD ALSO BE THAT HE IS NOT GETTING ENOUGH MILK DURING THE DAY AND IS MAKING UP FOR IT AT NIGHT. I INCREASE MY SONS BREASTFEEDING DURING THE DAY AND IT HAS SEEM TO HIM. MY DOCTOR TOLD ME IF HE DOESNT GET ENOUGH CALORIES DURING THE DAY HES BODY WILL TRY TO MAKE UP FOR IT AT NIGHT BY BREASTFEEDING. I HAVE NEVER PUT MY LITTLE MAN TO BED WITH ANY JUICE, WATER, OR MILK IN HIS CRIB AND UNTIL TWO WEEKS AGO HE COULD SLEEP FOR 13 HR AT NIGHT.
AT HIS AGE AND BECAUSE HE HAS SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT BEFORE THERE IS SOMETHING GOING ON. CRYING IT OUT WILL NOT ALWAY WORK ( SPEAKING FROM EXPERINCE).

Kaitlyn - posted on 04/07/2011

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He is waking for comfort...he is not hungry. Sick, teething, growth spurt, whatever might be the issue, he is looking for comfort at this point. I would try only offering water when he wakes and eventually he will understand that it is sleep time, and will stop waking up. If not, then letting him cry or just continuing until he is ready to give it up on his own are probably your only options. Good Luck!

Tammy-lee - posted on 04/04/2011

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well I guess lydia fos knows best so i won't voice my apinion any more oh and by the way i use juice with no added sugar so its less likely to rott their teeth and u should never start giving them milk again once they have stopped having it at night thats y they start to expect it again and its even harder to get them off of it u just have to be patient with them waking up. and eventually they will get the hint that they arn't gunna get anything at night time.

Lydia - posted on 03/26/2011

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don't offer juice during the night, it can damage the teeth with all the sugar and it might have opposite effect, that he will like it and wake up for it. You can try to give water. I have never tried it, but we are in the same boat over here... My girl slept through the night from 2-4 months old, than started waking once to drink (that was in an extremely hot summer, where I myself woke up several times at night feeling thirsty, so no problem. Than we travelled and everything was messed up in her sleep pattern and before she got back to any normal she started teething... we get new teeth here every other week and i get maybe one good night in two weeks... that is waking only once. But with nursing she's usually back to sleep within 10 minutes, but without i can stay up all night to try and soothe her, so I just nurse. Don't loose hope, eventually he'll sleep through the night. I found it easier to accept it and go with the flow than to try stress around with different methods to try to get her to sleep....

Michelle - posted on 03/25/2011

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I have the same problem too! My mother-in-law is pushing me to let her cry it out, but nursing seems to be the only thing that will comfort her. Same as above, I'd rather spend 15 mins nursing her than listen to her cry for ages. My first was formula fed by this age, so not sure what to do b/c 2nd one won't take a soother or anything. They will grow out of it :) Even in the last week, she has slept thru the night twice. Waking just becomes less until they are always sleeping at night. Enjoy the time together and don't stress about it. When I quit worrying about it was when she started to not wake up. Good luck!

Sandy - posted on 03/24/2011

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you may want to try giving a bottle of water at bed time instead, that way he isn't getting any calories, and won't depend on it. That suggestion was in some literature my pediatrician gave at the six month check up. I used the method in the book "sleeping through the night" by Jodi Mindell with both of my kids, but it's a controlled crying method, so you probably wouldn't want to use it, but with both of mine, it took three nights, and then I would always feed them if they woke up due to teething, being sick or whatever, after it passed they would go back to sleeping through. you just kind of have to find what you are comfortable doing, and what works. You may want to call your pediatrician for suggestions, the best thing is to be consistent with whatever you choose to do.

Roselyn - posted on 03/21/2011

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I am ok with feeding my 11 month old once during the night.... However last night he nursed ALL NIGHT LONG like a newborn. I figured ouy why this morning though when he woke up with a runny nose. He's sick and feels yucky.

Bonnie - posted on 03/19/2011

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Its ok. My first daughter regularly woke for a night feed till she was 14months when i weaned her once i weaned she stopped wanting a night feed. Cause. She just got cold milk in a bottle. Don't lose hope he will come through it and cherish those night. Cuddles, our number 2weaned herself last. Month and now sleeps through although i like the sleep. I miss spending those quiet moments just her and i

Amanda - posted on 03/19/2011

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my daughter will be one in two weeks and I still nurse at night. It's nice to know I am not the only one! We tried the cry-it-out method and I couldn't do it. I have just accepted that this is what she needs right now and she'll eventually grow out of it. She has been exclusively breastfed (not really by choice, but she would never take a bottle, even when I went back to work). I know teething or hunger aren't issues (she has only one tooth and eats a huge dinner). At this point, I'd rather spend 10-15 min nursing and getting back to bed than over an hour listening to her cry hysterically. Do what works for you, not what society says is "right".

[deleted account]

Hi, I started feeding my 11 month daughter supper earlier, at about 16h30 - usually rice and a stew with veggies, and a rooibos tea with a hint of apple juice bottle. Then at 18h30 I gave her her third and final bottle (200 ml). At 19h30 she goes to bed without any feeding, and wakes up at about 6am. Her other meals are cereal and a bottle in the morning, fruit and diluted juice for tea, a balanced meal at lunch (about 13h00) and a water bottle after her nap. It works for my Princess :-)

Lyndsey - posted on 03/18/2011

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hiya,

my son is one in april and i too am havin the same problem. Jake started sleepin through only wakin up the once but going straight back over but since hes started teethin hes constantly wakin up. ive tried alsorts and that controlled cryin he got more stressed and wouldnt go to bed nxt few nites after that so i had that on the head. only thing that works is nursin him to sleep... ive just accepted it now thats its a phase and he'll grow outta it when hes ready but am hopin its soon. am due my 2nd baby in july and it'll be tough if jakes stil wakin up his 3/4times a nite.

Kandy - posted on 03/17/2011

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It sounds to me like nursing is his soothing mechanism. According to my pediatrician an 11-12 months old child should be able to fast for 12 hours (while sleeping). And this is for formula fed and breast fed babies. I was not able to breast feed so I do not have the best advice for you, but wanted to let you now that he should not have to feed. Every child is slightly different, with my son when he started sleeping through the night we established a strict routine including a feeding regimen. He now eats 2-3 solid meals a day and then also gets 3, 8oz bottles a day. Once he got the grove of the routine he started going to bed with no issues what so ever. He still wakes at night but puts himself back to sleep.

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