6 month old with waking every 2-3 hours at night

Kristi - posted on 06/23/2009 ( 21 moms have responded )

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I am having a horrible time with my 6 month old son. He is waking every 2-3 hours at night and wants to nurse. He will also not take solid foods even though I try daily. He is a pretty big boy- he weighs 19 pounds, but will not sleep longer. He did go through a phase where he slept 7-9 hours at night, but now he has been doing this probably since he has been 3 months old. I am worried that he is not hungry, but just wants me to soothe him back to sleep. I'm afraid I am creating bad sleeping habits. Please give me some advice!

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Sandra - posted on 06/24/2009

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That is absolutely 100% normal. It is not normal for a baby to sleep through the night at this young age, contrary to what you read on mainstream message boards. Nurse that baby whenever he wants, and when he's physically and biologically ready to sleep through, he will. Bring him to bed with you and everyone will sleep much better (if he's not already there with you!).



Rice cereal is no longer recommended as a first or any food - it's empty calories, inhibits iron absorption, and will NOT help baby sleep longer (it can actually make baby wake even more). The only nutrition your baby needs is your breast milk. It may be a year or more before baby sleeps through, and that's NORMAL and NATURAL.



You're doing a great job feeding on demand. You are not starting "bad sleeping habits", I can 100% assure you. Follow your baby's cues and you cannot go wrong. Dont' let your daughter cry to sleep - that's just telling her you don't care enough to parent her. It's not teaching her to self-soothe - she needs YOU to do that right now.



This will end. You will miss it, I can guarantee it. Love it while you can.

Sandra - posted on 06/24/2009

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There are several sites that can tell you not to feed rice cereal (not to mention it's plain NASTY tasting - I dont' feed my baby anything I wouldn't eat myself). A lot of information has been compiled by the ladies and mods over at mothering.com, you can do a search there and find many articles.



Pureed foods in general are not recommended anymore, and NOTHING but breastmilk (or formula) should be given to a baby under 6 months old. That's an AAP "policy" and the only exceptions are when docs prescribe rice formula for reflux babies (but there's even questions behind the validity of that procedure). Babies starting at six months can eat table foods with the rest of the family, spices, non-pureed, and all. And no food is used to help baby sleep, as that is a natural process that differs from baby to baby. Introducing solids too early can cause lots and LOTS of tummy issues, allergies, diabetes, obesity, and disrupted sleep.

http://geriatricmama.wordpress.com/fanta...

Sherry - posted on 06/24/2009

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Quoting Sandra:

That is absolutely 100% normal. It is not normal for a baby to sleep through the night at this young age, contrary to what you read on mainstream message boards. Nurse that baby whenever he wants, and when he's physically and biologically ready to sleep through, he will. Bring him to bed with you and everyone will sleep much better (if he's not already there with you!).

Rice cereal is no longer recommended as a first or any food - it's empty calories, inhibits iron absorption, and will NOT help baby sleep longer (it can actually make baby wake even more). The only nutrition your baby needs is your breast milk. It may be a year or more before baby sleeps through, and that's NORMAL and NATURAL.

You're doing a great job feeding on demand. You are not starting "bad sleeping habits", I can 100% assure you. Follow your baby's cues and you cannot go wrong. Dont' let your daughter cry to sleep - that's just telling her you don't care enough to parent her. It's not teaching her to self-soothe - she needs YOU to do that right now.

This will end. You will miss it, I can guarantee it. Love it while you can.


 

Chelseaszidik - posted on 06/23/2009

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My daughter went through this phase at 6 months old. It is normal during times of fast development for infants to wake often, fuss etc. A lot of experts say that infants wake frequently at night right before they learn a new skill such as crawling, pulling up etc.

Another possibility is that he is teething. Try giving him some teething tablets or tylenol if he is really upset.

Lastly, it could be an ear infection. This is how my daughter signals that she has an ear infection. For piece of mind I would go and have his ears checked.

All you can do is love him through it. Maybe have Dad do some night time parenting so you can get some more sleep. Co-sleeping would also help the situation by allowing you to sleep and feed him at the same time. I'm so glad you are not leaving him to cry endlessly until he gives up and falls asleep from pure exhaustion. Keep up the great work!

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21 Comments

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Janna - posted on 06/24/2009

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I just read through the sleep chapter of Baby 411 and it talks about this. I would suggest reading it. It helped me alot!!!!!!

Jennifer - posted on 06/24/2009

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I have also heard that about rice cereal because babies don't have the enzymes in their guts to digest grains (rice cereal) until they are closer to 10 months old, so if given prior to that time, it can cause all those things Sandra mentioned. There is a great book that talks about introducing solid foods called Super Baby Food (I can't remember who wrote it, but its purple, you can find it on amazon.com).

Sherry - posted on 06/24/2009

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Sandra, I'm curious to know where you found out about the rice cereal not being recommened? My ped. told me to start my then 4.5 month old on it b/c she stopped sleeping thru the night...but she still wakes to nurse (which I secretly love) at least once. She's now 5.5 months still eating it and she just had her first sweet potatos last night.

Jessica - posted on 06/24/2009

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I had/have the same issue with my son, he is almost one. Up until 10 months old I could not get him to eat any sort of solid food he only nursed. He was also up a lot at night to nurse. My doctor said that it was fine and he would eat on his own time. Now at almost one he is better at eating, still not great but getting better. So far this week he has been sleeping better too. It is hard to ignore them when they are crying because you are afraid that they are hungry. The only thing I have found is that I do let him cry for a few minutes to try to see if it is a hard cry that needs me or if he can get comfortable again and go back to sleep. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. I feel like in some ways I might have created a bad sleeper because I went to him all the time, but at the same time he is happy and safe and that was/is what is important. So you need to do what you feel is right. Good luck

Chelseaszidik - posted on 06/24/2009

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Quoting Christina:

I see, that sounded like it was awful for you! Yeah, my little one is completely content. I switch back and forth, she doesnt prefer on over the other. I think she only takes one at a time during the day b/c of her eating 4 meals a day and she gets full quicker. I rarely get engorged anymore...she has me very regulated! Thanks for your concern!


I must have misread your post.  I thought she was only nursing from the same side all day and night.  It makes sense that at her age she would only take one side at a time.  Sorry for the confusion.  

Chelseaszidik - posted on 06/24/2009

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Great advice Sandra!!! It's refreshing to hear moms who know what is developmentally appropriate and who have children to parent them not to try to mold them and break them to do what they want.

Kelly - posted on 06/23/2009

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I had the same issue for 10 months. I finally decided to wean the night nursing using the No Cry Sleep Solution by Pantly. I would nurse for two minutes, place pacifier in his mouth and rock to sleep, next night nurse for 1 minute, then 30 seconds then only pacifier. After 4 days he slept 8 hours which was a first ever. He picked up his eating and nursing during the day! It has been almost two weeks with no night nursings. Best of Luck.

Jennifer - posted on 06/23/2009

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It definitely could be teething, that seems to really bother some babies and others not as much. It is also true that babies tend to sleep more restlessly before they develop a new skill such as crawling, walking, etc. The other possibility is that he's uncomfortable and unable to get into a deep sleep, so he is waking very frequently. I am a pediatric chiropractor and I see this with a lot of kids in my practice. And also with my own children, I can always tell when it's time for them to get adjusted because they are more difficult to get to sleep and sleep more restlessly. Just something to consider. If you'd like more information, feel free to email me drjenny@portlandchiropracticgroup.com. Good luck.

Danielle - posted on 06/23/2009

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My doctor warned me of this at my last appt...When babies become 4 months of age they enter what they call R.E.M Sleep...This can wake them up at night and babies need to learn to sooth themselves back to sleep. The fussing usually occurs when you rock them to sleep at night, they learn to depend on mommy to sooth them. At night try rocking him for awhile and when his eyes get heavy lay him in his crib to fall asleep on his own. Even if he cries, the doc told me to let my daughter cry herself to sleep. But the ritual has to be done everynight..I hope this helps.

Christina - posted on 06/23/2009

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I see, that sounded like it was awful for you! Yeah, my little one is completely content. I switch back and forth, she doesnt prefer on over the other. I think she only takes one at a time during the day b/c of her eating 4 meals a day and she gets full quicker. I rarely get engorged anymore...she has me very regulated! Thanks for your concern!

Chelseaszidik - posted on 06/23/2009

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Oh no I would never want to force her and there was not weight issue. What was happening to me was a lot of pain on the side she wouldn't take because she would NEVER nurse on my right. It would get so full and the let down would be painful when she was nursing the other side. After 3 months I didn't see much of a light at the end of the tunnel and it didn't get as full because it didn't get stimulated but I was seeing a doctor for an unrelated issue and mentioned it and he suggested seeing a chiropractor. He said it was more common than most people think for an infant to be "out of wack" and therefore not nurse on one side because of pain. I instinctually thought that she was in pain when I attempted to nurse her on that side because of her reaction. She would scream like I was killing her and stop as soon as I took her out of the nursing position. I tried everything because I was told it was most likely a nursing strike. I tried offering her while walking, while in the tub etc. It was not a nursing strike.

I reluctantly took her to the chiropractor. I was nervous and did a lot of research. I thought that it would be like adjusting an adult and I was not comfortable with that. I would never inflict pain on my daughter knowingly unless it would save her life. The chiropractor who specialized in infants (this is key they must specialize in infant chiropractor) just felt my daughters back and sides and neck. I held her the entire time. She explained that she had some tightening in her ribs on her right side which made it painful to lay on her right side. She said that over the course of several visits she could fix it by just gently poking her. She did just that and after the first visit my daughter took the right side, not for long but she took it!

I am so glad I took her to the chiropractor because she now is comfortable. An infant can't tell you how they feel and if they have been "out of whack" since birth their body continues to over compensate for the issue and makes it worse. They don't know that what they are experiencing isn't normal because it's what they know. Often infants get "out of whack" in utero or during birth. We really have no way of knowing if it happens without having them assessed by a chiropractor.

I am not saying that she is not fully satisfied by one breast at all. The exact opposite is true. An infant can thrive on only one breast with no issue. Our bodies are amazing and can compensate in many ways to feed our infants. Addressing the issue was just a thought I had to make sure that she is not out of whack and to alleviate any discomfort you are feeling from getting full and the let down.

Christina - posted on 06/23/2009

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Thanks for the advice, but my daughter pulls herself off when shes full...If she wanted more, she would cry for it...she weighs 19 lbs at 7 1/2 months, so I think she's fine at one breast. Why would you take her to a chiro? You wouldnt want to force her, unless there was a weight issue, right?

Chelseaszidik - posted on 06/23/2009

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Christina,

Would like some help with the nursing on one side? My daughter exclusively from one breast from 3 months of age to 6 months of age until I took her to a chiropractor. This has all changed and she is now 9 months old and will take both breasts equally. My left still produces much more but they are slowly evening out!

Christina - posted on 06/23/2009

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Have you tried just giving him plain rice cereal as a first solid food?....Unfortunately, breastfed babies need to be fed at least every three hours...even in the middle of the night. Sometimes my 7 1/2 month old daughter will sleep thru, but a few nights a week she wakes to nurse....she eats 4 meals a day and nurses every 2 hours (one breast). before bed she gets cereal and both breasts. Breastfeeding is a very demanding job...but it is the best sacrifice you can make as a mother...its hard, but its not forever. It took me a while to realize that she really did need to eat that often. Breast milk doesnt last as long in their tummys, so they need to eat more often...I hope I've helped a little.

Claire - posted on 06/23/2009

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My daughter does exactly the same thing! She is just over 5 months old, and has been waking every few hours in the night, has a few minute of feeding, then falls straight back asleep. I hope some advice is given, as i am in the same boat!

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