My 12 month old still wakes up twice a night - is this normal?

Donna - posted on 12/31/2012 ( 4 moms have responded )

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Hi Moms,

My daughter just turned a year old a few days before Christmas. Since she was born she has only slept through the night 2 or 3 times and we are TIRED! Both my husband and I work full-time and we also have a 3-year old son.

Our daughter goes down to bed anywhere between 7:30 and 8:30 and, like clock-work, she wakes at 2am and 5am and nurses. I am trying to wean her onto whole milk during the day by starting to mix it into her bottles. She still nurses in the morning and at night. And she is also on table food. I have been getting up with her to nurse her all along b/c she is on the 'light' side - 5 %ile for weight.....she had trouble nursing in the beginning and this is where her weight curve is. We are not concerned (neither is the pedi) b/c she has maintained that level. But - this is also why I get up to feed her......b/c I don't want it to drop. But, by this point, she should be getting more nutrition from solids and not as much from breastmilk, right? Is this waking thing normal? To me it almost seems like a habbit, rather a necessity, b/c she wakes at the same time every night. Thankfully, she goes right back to sleep after nursing for 10 minutes or so, but all these nights of broken sleep are adding up! Anyone have any thoughts? One thing I might try is giving her a bottle in the middle of the night - that way I can tell if she is hungry or just wants comfort. Hunger is one thing......comfort and we might have to try to break the habbit. We did use the Ferber method a few months ago when we returned from vacation to get her to fall asleep on her own and it worked. Maybe it's time to start this in the middle of the night if she is just looking for comfort.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!! Thanks!!

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Donna - posted on 01/02/2013

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Thanks, moms. So.......last night I went in both times she woke up with a bottle. She immediately pushed it away. I held her for a little bit until she settled and then put her back down in her crib. I was prepared to do the 'Ferber' schedule. I think the first waking I had to go back in after 5 minutes to re-settle her and then she fell asleep. With the second waking I only went in the initial time (tried to re-offer the bottle and it got pushed away again). She whined but went back to sleep. So - I am thinking it is comfort, not hunger. Now.....if we could only teach her to NOT throw all her pacifiers (4 of them!) out of the crib! I have also put in another toy and a lovey for her. I noticed this morning that she was playing with the ring-toy at some point.

We'll see how tonight goes.....!

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Sarah - posted on 01/03/2013

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Wish I could help but all I can say is been there done that and it will get better, probably sooner than later. Conor didn't sleep for the first 6 months of his life pretty much, every hour ish he would be up and screaming (I wish I was exaggerating) and I tried everything. By the time he was 8 months we were down to about 3 times a night, which was awesome in comparison. I tried different methods to eliminate those and nada. He didn't sleep through the night until he was about 18 months. Now he is a fabulous 12 hours a night sleeper at 2 1/2:)

I would however work on trying to eliminate the middle of the night feeding, at this age she's probably just doing it for comfort. At least that's the word on the street...lol.

Hang in there!

Gigi - posted on 01/01/2013

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Well, for the question is this waking in the night normal, I think in your case -yes. If she always got food in the night, then it is something she expects by now and is trained to "need". Probably it is party the comfort as well, but she is for sure also getting food she needs. At that age, children should get enough nutrients from food they get during teh day and not need to eat during the night. But if you cut it out in one go, she might not fall asleep because she will really be hungry. Are you trying to wean her off breastfeeding completely? If so, then substitute the night feedings with bottle and give her less milk than she took from you. Lower the quantity gradually and you should see increase in daily eating. You will still need to deal with comfort issue, so maybe give her a soft toy to take in the bed with her. And maybe she will sleep the whole night without needing the soft toy at all.
What I don't suggest is that you cut out her expected night food in one go and leave her there to cry. I think it would be too much of a shock to her since it was you who gave her the food in the first place.

Brandy - posted on 12/31/2012

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I wish I had a magic solution for you, but my thought would be by now she is waking for comfort if she is only nursing for 10 minute stretches. However, comfort is a real need for a baby, has she ever taken a lovie or a pacifier? My ds is 17 months and we introduced a lovie around 10 months or so and now we cant go anywhere without it, but it helps him sleep at night so it doesnt bother me. I would definitly try the bottle and see where her waking is coming from. She may just be waking out of habit, anything is worth a shot at this point.

Good Luck!!

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