Can you help with 11 month old that wakes frequently to nurse?

Angie - posted on 06/01/2012 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My 11 month old has always woken a lot at night. He goes through cycles of more and less sleep between nursings. It usually varies from 2 to 4 hours. I am beyond tired and really need more sleep. Is this in the normal range? My doctor has been advocating formula for some time to help him sleep through the night, but im not on board with that.
Any suggestions?

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Jenni - posted on 06/12/2012

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Try taking marshmallow (herb). Take as the bottle says and increase as needed. This herb helps babies sleep better at night while also helps your milk be richer. Also, try blessed thistle. I had a child like this. Actually a couple of my kids. They are fine now....12 and 4. The other two slept all night. It's their personality. I started letting my kids sleep with me when they did this. We got a big bed, a king, and we couldn't even tell the kids were in bed with us. Well, except for the legs and heat seeking bodies they are. They are like leeches seeking out my body heat. I do keep warm in the winter. My husband does mind it when he wants me to himself. Well, that is just good ol fashion birth control. I know I really don't care. lol At this age, I believe sex is only if you want more kids and with 4....well, I am just too tired. lol

Lori - posted on 06/05/2012

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Sounds like you're making progress Angie. Teething is always a rough time, and my LO's always wake quite frequently when teething. Currently my 18 month old is working on a canine, and I'm exhausted. She seems fine during the day, but at night just can't stay comfy. My husband laughed and asked "what all are you giving her?" tonight as I got out both teething tablets and tylenol.

And I agree with you about not worrying about sleep association. If he's sleeping, and not needing nursed to sleep I see that as a step forward. I've only recently begun with my 18 month old not nursing her back to sleep if she wakes in the middle of nap time. It was becoming habit for her to wake after 45 minutes and want to nurse... now I'll sing her back to sleep if needed, and since starting that a week ago, we haven't needed it a few times... YAY. My older daughter I never did any sort of sleep training and she started sleeping through the night on her own at 17 months old.

And the milk - I find it sort of funny, but symptoms that I never thought would be related to a food allergy/sensitivity have cleared up. And I keep finding milk in the strangest foods. It's just everywhere. Since I'm still nursing, I have to avoid it as well as have her avoid it. Since getting her off all dairy (cow dairy) I've realized just how sensitive to it she is. She ate some breakfast sausage the other day and threw up a few hours later. Come to find out - those sausages had dairy in them. Ugh. And another time, I asked at a restaurant if they added anything like sour cream to their guacamole and was told no, but when it was brought out it looked really really creamy. Since they'd told me there was nothing added I figured they must just really mash and blend it well. I let her have it, and within half an hour she was throwing up. I am now convinced the waiter who told me there was nothing added really had no idea what was in it. He just told me what he thought I wanted to hear. Well shame on him... but he did get to help clean up the puke.

Anyhow, sorry that's my rant about food allergies. It's just so hard sometimes keeping ALL dairy out of both our diets.

Janice - posted on 06/02/2012

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Most babies do not need to breastfeed at night for nutrition at 11 months. My daughter was just like your son. At 10 months I realized it she was waking out of habit not need. She was so used to nursing to sleep she didn't know how to sleep through the night. I chose to sleep train my daughter. I never used any formula. I just decided that the last feed at 8ish was bed time and when she woke in the middle of the night I would comfort her but I would not feed her. I would leave her in her crib and hug her over the rail while she was standing and then lay her down and hum songs. I rubbed her back or played with her hair. It was rough at first she cried and was up multiple times. However, each nigh became a little easier and after about 10 days she was sleeping through almost every night. We had set backs when she was sick and would have to spend 1-2 nights 're-training' her, but over all it was great to finally get a full night sleep! :)

Lori - posted on 06/01/2012

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My 18 month old still wakes usually twice per night. When she's teething or sick she wakes more.. up to every hour. And yes, I know that's exhausting. A few things have helped her sleep just a little bit better. Making sure she's got a full tummy when she goes to sleep. That can be full from cluster nursing, or full from solids. At 11 months your son's main nutrition should still be breast milk, but if he's eating solids regularly, try to have him eat within an hour before going to bed. Adding formula likely will NOT change your sons sleeping habits.

How often does he nurse during the day? It's possible he's reverse cycling, and eating more at night time and less during the day. Making an effort to feed him more during the day can help. At 11 months babies are so busy exploring their worlds that often they forget to eat. Then when it's time to sleep they realize they're hungry. Offer to nurse more frequently during the day - even if he only latches on for a minute or two - can make a difference.

I also figured out when my daughter was 14 months old that she has a dairy protein allergy. It's not severe to where it's obvious it's an allergy, but when I cut dairy out of my diet and hers, her congestion cleared up, and she started sleeping better.

I'm not saying there is... but maybe there is a food in your diet or his that is upsetting his tummy?

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Caroline - posted on 06/15/2012

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hiya Angie , my 11 moths old is the same he only has me during the morning then he has some brekfast, lunch, tea then seems to wants me like around tea time anything up to when he goes to bed,(9 is his bedtime) but he does fall asleep bf then i put him in his cot, he then wakes several times a night to nurse from me, he wont take a bottle, just spits it out, he has juice during the day aswell, i dont want 2 stop feeding him untill his ready. My fiancee is trying to get me to go back to work saying if ur here he will have u if not he wont, but i feel like i dont wanna stop just cos i have 2 go back to work! maybe thats me being selfish but his my last baby so i want 2 enjoy it, i dont know when his gonna be ready to stop breastfeeding, he does take more at night then during the day...i have 2 other children too, my other son is nearly 6, and my daughter is 9 in july also my baby is onein july. he too wakes every couple of hrs for a feed.......i started to give my son some baby cereal so it fills him up a little bit more, he still wanted to bf but not for very long, without it he used to feed constantly during the night. Sometimes his fine he goes for 2-4 hrs then other tomes he goes for like what seems to feel like every hr... i love feeding him, as its very rewarding..... :)

Ronda - posted on 06/12/2012

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Feed him baby cereal just before bedtime. I had the exact same problem with my lil one and since I have been giving her solids right at bedtime, it has gotten a lot better.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 06/11/2012

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My 15 month old hasn't been much of a sleeper since she was born. I just advocate co-sleeping as a way for you to get sleep. I know peds and GPs don't really like the idea, but there are so many advocates for it that you can do your research and do it properly. It's awkward at first, but at least you get to sleep! And you can perfect different nursing techniques as well.

I also know for a fact that formula won't do diddly to keep your baby asleep It's a myth that formula keeps a baby full longer and sits longer. My brother and I are adopted and I didn't sleep through the night until I was 6 months old. My nephew is formula fed and he doesn't sleep through the night either. I'd question your Dr's basing his suggestion on a myth rather than just pushing for formula.

Good luck.

Margarita - posted on 06/10/2012

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Glad you're finding options. I know this wasn't part of the question, but you may wish to consider switching to a different ped in the same practice. If all he/she does is suggest the formula, then never mind, but if he's pushing it, and generally questioning all your parenting choices, you may wish to switch to someone you're on the same page with.

Another thought I had that may or may not be an issues (though teething alone can be the culprit) is background noise. Given the number of hours he sleeps at this stage, chances are you're still running around getting stuff done and may inadvertently be waking him if he hears you in between sleep cycles. You can get a white noise machine, but I found that a cheaper solution is simply running a fan at the lowest setting.

I did find that the Hylands tablets worked beautifully for teething at night. I didn't bother during the day as there were plenty of teethers and such she could use, but come night time, a couple of little tablets, just once when she woke up the first time after going to bed, did the trick.

Good luck =)

Angie - posted on 06/05/2012

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Thank you, guys! Yes, Heather he is eating food 3 times a day... and Janice, I think we are on the same pave as well. I have started to not nurse him until midnight. So he goes from 6ish to midnight with out nursing. If he wakes up I put him back to sleep with the ring-sling. I know this may cause problems down the road with sleep association, but i would rather break him of the nursing first. If he gets a good nursing in at midnight, he has been waking up around 4.
Also, Lori, I think you have a good point. Both of my kids have had milk/beef sensitivities/allergies(?). We took the soy formula out of his diet (I was putting it with his cereal) and replaced it with an HA one. After I read your suggestion I looked at the new formula ingredients and, sure enough, milk product. I have taken it out of his diet to see what happens.
And, finally... he has teeth popping through! LOL so.... any and all of the above, right? I guess we will wait and see.
The one thing I am glad about is that he doesn't fall asleep nursing!
Thank you for your help.
Angie

Heather - posted on 06/03/2012

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It's totally normal. He should honestly be sleeping longer. Is he eating baby food 3 times a day yet?

Dove - posted on 06/01/2012

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My only suggestion is one you most likely are too tired to hear. ;) Wait it out. I know there are links available to read for night weaning, but I didn't night wean my son until he was 2 and he was old enough to understand more. Up until he was almost a year and a half he would wake anywhere from 1-5 times/night (10-11 hour night).

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