Author Topic: 9 month old - night wakings/feedings, nursing until drowsy, awake times  (Read 1101 times)

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Offline NattysMom

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Sorry this is super long....
My daughter is 9 months, breastfed and has 3 decent solid meals a day. I have a few problems, mostly sleep and Iím not sure if my awake times are working. Iím not sure where to start or how to deal with some. Iím sure theyíre all related to each other.

To go to sleep for naps I start her nap routine after her awake time is almost over, and if she is sleepy sheíll lie down in my arms,  Iíll hold her a minute or two until she relaxes and closes her eyes, put her down in crib with hand on her shoulder for a few seconds then leave usually with no issues. She doesnít really get sleepy cues until I start her routine and then she yawns and rubs her eyes. Although sometimes, which seems to be getting more often these days Iíll start her nap routine and she will be pushing against me/ twisting and fussing. So I put her in her crib and then she stands up happy. If she still doesnít seem sleepy Iíll go back out of her room and give her some more awake time. In 5-20 mins Iíll go try again and sometimes she goes down normally or sheíll push and twist again. When we leave the room sheís happy again. This can go on for quite a while and I think itís hunger. Not sure if itís real hunger or she wants to be nursed to drowsy. If I feed her she gets drowsy right away.

She really only takes a good full feed before bed, the rest of the day seems all snacking like sheís hungry but only eats enough to take the edge off. I try to offer often during day in hope that sheíll get all her calories during the day and less or none at night. If I donít offer she always seems hungry when itís nap time. When she wakes up for the day most of the time sheís not hungry and wonít nurse. And this is where I think itís related to her nights because she wakes up 2-3 times a night. I try to get her back to sleep but 99% of the time I end up nursing her and most of the time she doesnít seem too hungry to me. She may nurse for a few minutes or literally one suck and then back to sleep. Sometimes in the early morning hours sheíll eat a little more.

Anyway sheís not hungry when she wakes up probably because she ate at 4-6am and Iíll try all morning to feed her. Sometimes sheíll nurse for 2-3 minutes which canít be a full feed.

I want her to nurse about 30-60 mins before her nap but sheíll refuse until itís itís time to sleep. Sometimes Iíll try to trick her into thinking itís nap time, Iíll turn on her white noise (part of her nap routine) and then sheíll eat and try to sleep. I keep her awake and she gets whiny, but then sheís fine and can stay up until real nap time.
If she wakes in the night or in the middle of a nap sheís nursed back to drowsy/sleep which I really want to stop. Iím totally fine with a night feed if sheís actually hungry and its doesnít affect her daytime.

She has no teeth yet and doesnít show any signs so Iím never sure if teething is a factor.

Hereís a typical day give or take 30 mins:

Morning-
Wake Up 730/8ish
Try to nurse but usually wonít unless we had a night with barely any nursing, eventually I can get her to have a little.
Awake time: 3:30-4:00
Her morning nap time varies from 30m to 2h15 but Mostly 1h30m. If sheís OT from the struggle she may wake up after 30 mins and I nurse back to drowsy.

Afternoon-
Awake time: 3-3:30 depends on AM nap and what time it ended.
PM nap waking no later than 5. This nap is usually 40m but can be longer if AM nap is not long enough. Sometime extended by nursing until drowsy.

Last Awake time is usually 3hours. Iíve been trying longer but it makes bedtime a struggle. So not sure about this short A time.
Bedtime is pretty regular around 745-815. Unfortunately she is always nursed to drowsy for this, weíve tried to stop but that usually results in her refusing to eat until she sleepy and getting OT and then we can only get her down once sheís fully asleep.
 
I would like to implement a set Morning wake time of 7-730 because itís hard to fit 2 naps in 1 days sometimes but nights are exhausting so weíre both tired.

Last night and today have been hard so hereís an example:

Yesterday her afternoon nap which was 1h40m (extended by nursing) ended at 430. Nursed, solids, Bedtime routine & nursed from 740-745. She always pulls off when sheís done eating and wants to sleep so at that point I try to put her down while sheís still a little awake. Anyway she didnít go down happy after this, Iím thinking OT, even though weíre not even at 3h30 awake We struggled for a while and then she was very OT. Eventually nursed her to sleep and was able to put her down at 815. There have been times in the past that when sheís OT before bed she wakes up every 1-2 hours through the night so Iím afraid to mess with this Awake time.
She woke at 11:20pm. I tried not to nurse her but she got quite upset and awake, we were up struggling for an hour, eventually nursed to sleep around 12:20am.
She woke at 4am, very sleepy, nursed a few mins and back to crib.
She woke at 5:45am, nursed a little more, probably actually hungry by this point but my husband got up for work at 6 so I just took her to bed otherwise sheíd be up for another hour or for the day.
Woke at 8:20. Wasnít hungry. She eventually nursed at 10:30 for a few mins but not a full feed.
At noon (3h40m awake time) I started nap routine. No sleepy cues, she pushed and twisted so gave her another 15 mins of play. Tried to put her down again, I could tell she was sleepy this time but she still pushed & twisted. I put her in her crib and she kept standing up, she was still happy at this point. I tried walking out of the room. Eventually she got OT and was whining when I put her down and while holding. We struggled and she got very OT.  I nursed her at 12:50 until drowsy and put her down at 1, she ate a decent amount so maybe hungry?
She woke at 2:20, still tired, nursed her and she went back down quickly. Usually she would continue to sleep but woke up after 5 mins and I couldnít get her back down.
Very early bedtime at 6 (couldnít stay awake any longer), woke at 640, tired, nursed, wouldnít go back down until she had more, back in crib by 710, started crying a minute later, husband sent in to resettle but having a hard time. She wakes up all the way for him which results in him saying sheís too awake to sleep and then I nurse her, she latched for 30 secs and held until sleep completely.
Seems too soon for 2-1 nap transition?

Overnight she typically wakes up first around 11pm-2am and then a second time at 4-6am. Sheís done longer stretches of 6-8hours a few times but that was 3 months ago.  I usually let her fuss for a few mins before getting her because she does go back to sleep occasionally but itís rare. It seems the longer I leave her to fuss the more worked up and awake she gets. Sometimes sheíll fuss on and off for a half hour.

Just not sure where to start.
This weekend my husband and I are going to try to tackle the night feedings by not nursing the first waking and then gradually going later, hoping to get to 1 feeding around 3-4am.
I have no idea what to do about her nap situation.

None of this is new, but it seems her night wakings and early wake ups have gotten more frequent. I was hoping sheíd grow out of most of it. Iím going back to work in 2.5 months and I canít be up every few hours during the night. Sheíll be 1 by then and probably be doing 1 nap at daycare.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 01:44:35 am by NattysMom »
Rachel          ~ 🌷🌼 Natalie Aurora 💗 May 2017 🌼🌷 ~

Offline NattysMom

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Re: 9 month old - night wakings/feedings, nursing until drowsy, awake times
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2018, 17:58:43 pm »
Hereís  how today has been which is much better so far, but rare these days.

Last night she woke up at midnight and she nursed well but she was very awake, she was finally sleepy after an hour but she wouldnít let me put her down until she was fully asleep which was at 2am. She woke around 545, fussed and fell back to sleep but woke again 10 mins later. My husband had to get up for work in 5 mins so I nursed and held her until she was fully asleep, put down at 635.
I woke her for the day at 740. She nursed quite well so that started the day off great. She nursed well again 3 hours later at 1050am.
I started her nap routine at 1125, she resisted and no sleepy cues. She played for 5 mins, got fussy so I took her to her room again where she resisted. I walked around the house, she relaxed and started yawning. At 1135 took her to her room, she fought only a little. I had to keep my hand on her shoulder a few extra mins once she was in her crib but I left the room at 1140. Her having a decent feed less than an hour before made it a lot easier for both of us. So thatís what makes me think she is actually hungry when I try to put her down like yesterday. And I canít expect her to have a nice long nap when sheís hungry but I canít get her to feed well like that unless she eats decently when she first wakes up for the day which usually doesnít happen because she ate in the early morning hours. Hoping she sleeps until 1, which would put her catnap at 4-5ish. Then bedtime 3hours later. That will likely be an UT nap so maybe we need to start our day at 7am?
Rachel          ~ 🌷🌼 Natalie Aurora 💗 May 2017 🌼🌷 ~

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Re: 9 month old - night wakings/feedings, nursing until drowsy, awake times
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2018, 21:54:52 pm »
Hi there. Well this sounds quite tiring for you, all that feeding through the day and night and taking 2 hrs to get her back to sleep at night - phew!

You said she is taking 3 decent solids meals so I am not sure why you would be so concerned about hunger at each nap time.  Clearly she is given more than enough opportunity to take milk so my guess is not so much that she is hungry but rather she has a strong feed to sleep habit and this is reinforced every time you want to get her to sleep.  Part of the difficulty here is that you decide to try to settle her without a feed but then after an hour or so you give in and resort to your "go to" method of feeding to sleep/drowsy and therefore reinforce the habit.
Personally I don't see the point in going through and hour or more of fussing or crying to then resort to the prop, I'd either just use the prop right off and get her to sleep on time (for naps) or quickly (at night so everyone can sleep) OR stick to your guns and tackle the sleep training.

There are sleepy hormones in breast milk so of course LOs often become drowsy when they feed, this can either result in a nap or just result in confusing the A times.  It is hard to work out the appropriate A time for a LO who is made drowsy from milk rather than because they are actually tired.

LOs this age need 4 milk feeds during the day and some are still taking a night feed or even two (more so BF babies) but so far as milk goes that is all that is needed. Anything offered in addition to this would be (for instance) as a "drink" after a solids meal, for pain relief, through illness, through recovery from illness where calories have been lost, growth spurts. To be offering very many more milk feeds both day and night is about comfort and habits rather than hunger.
LOs this age can also go longer than 4hrs between E. The E naturally extends when solids meals are coming between the E (so they are getting additional calories which help them go a little longer between milk feeds) and when they are sleeping (E is extended due to there being a nap at that time) and the milk feeds can extend to more like 5hr intervals rather than 4hr but this does depend on nap times.

Your routine could look something like this:
WU 7
E 7am milk
E 8am solids breakfast
A 3.5hr
S 10.30 - 12.00
E 12.00pm milk
E 1.00pm solids lunch
A 3.5 hr
S 3.30 - 4.30
E 4.30pm milk
E 5pm solids dinner
A 3 hr
E 7pm BT milk
BT 7.30
NF at or after 10pm and then 4hrs later if a second is needed (eg 2am)

Or if you prefer to continue feeding to sleep/drowsy and continue that prop for naps then you can move:
- the 12pm feed earlier to 10am and do solids lunch at 12pm instead of 1pm
- the 4.30pm feed earlier to 3pm and do solids dinner at/after 4.30pm
But you still really would not need to be offering milk all day and night, they would be regular milk feeds at expected times.

This is intended as an example and for guidance, not a strict schedule that must be followed.

I'm not sure if I have answered your questions, I'm not even sure what your questions were to be honest. I would say that sleep training could help a great deal but it is only worth starting the process if you and your DH are ready to do so and committed to making changes.
I hope you find something here useful.


Offline NattysMom

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Re: 9 month old - night wakings/feedings, nursing until drowsy, awake times
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2018, 01:26:38 am »
Thanks for the reply. My questions are, how can I get her to nurse when she wakes up for the day if sheís isnít interested? She can barely make it to 3 hours between feeds. Sheís quite petit so Iíve been feeding on demand which Iím fine with during the day. Sheís breastfed so I never know how much sheís getting.  She doesnít nurse very long.

Today was a good day because she nursed upon waking so that started the day off right.  no nursing until drowsy which is most of the time (except at bedtime and night)  This is what makes me think she really is hungry the days she fights.

this is how it went:

WU 740
E 750
Solids 930
E 1050
A 4h
S 1140-1250
E 130 (couldnít wait any longer)
Solids 230
E 315
A 3h30
S 420-5
Solids 530
E 6
E 730
A 3h
Put her down to bed partially awake at 8 and left room, she fussed for a bit then started crying. Struggled until 920 when she finally got to sleep without nursing.

Iíd like to be consistent and continue this which I will do for all bedtimes and continue during days. but I just donít know how to feed but not until drowsy/to sleep during the night. As soon as she pulls off I put her down.

Iím also wondering if her day sleep and awake times could be impacting the nights.

Should I not be feeding on demand? How do I get her to go longer in between feeds? I know I nurse too often in the afternoon but I donít see her going that long and expecting her to go down for her afternoon nap on an empty tummy.  I also thought feeding more during the day would reduce the night feeds. How do I not nurse until drowsy at night?
« Last Edit: February 16, 2018, 03:45:51 am by NattysMom »
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Re: 9 month old - night wakings/feedings, nursing until drowsy, awake times
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2018, 09:25:22 am »
Yes the guidance for BF babies is to feed on demand, I'm just not convinced that she is hungry after only 1hr 45 (or at less than 3hrs) for milk feeds if she's taking a good feed and also has solids meals between.
Do you offer water with each solids meal?
Can you give an example of the solids she takes on a typical day?



Offline NattysMom

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Re: 9 month old - night wakings/feedings, nursing until drowsy, awake times
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2018, 17:03:56 pm »
She has water with all meals, she likes a lot though. I try not to give her too much so she doesnít fill up On that instead of milk or food.

For breakfast (about 1-1.5 hours after waking/nursing) we almost always give her baby oatmeal cereal, about 2 tbsp with breast milk and a tiny bit of fruit sometimes. If she eats that quickly Iíll give her egg, Cheerios, toast, yogurt, avocado, smoothie, fruit or veg to self feed.

For lunch and dinner I give her a meat or lentil/bean and a few veg, rarely pasta/rice usually totaling 1-2 ounces. Lately she eats it all and then she may get some fruit or veg to self feed.

We started her on purees at 6mo. Sheís always liked the cereal but we struggled with meat & veg, sheíd refuse after a few spoonfuls. So we went to finger foods which she seemed to eat a lttle more but still not enough so we recently went to a combination of both and sheís spoon feeding meat and veg much better now.
Rachel          ~ 🌷🌼 Natalie Aurora 💗 May 2017 🌼🌷 ~

Offline NattysMom

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Re: 9 month old - night wakings/feedings, nursing until drowsy, awake times
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2018, 17:19:25 pm »
Last night was actually quite good even though bedtime was difficult and she was awake from 230-4am!

After getting her down at 920 she slept until 230, but she was wide awake. She nursed well and then crawled around me and her crib. She started getting sleepy around 330 at which point I would normally nurse her to sleep because itís quickest. but I resisted which was easier since she ate well not long ago and with minimal crying got her down awake by 4am. Then I woke her for the day at 720. She did nurse but she wasnít as hungry as Iíd expect.

Only one wake up is great. Staying awake for 1-2 hours isnít new but not common. Not sure why sheís so awake in the middle of the night?
Rachel          ~ 🌷🌼 Natalie Aurora 💗 May 2017 🌼🌷 ~

Offline jessmum46

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Re: 9 month old - night wakings/feedings, nursing until drowsy, awake times
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2018, 18:55:59 pm »
Hi just popping on to add some support :) those long middle of the night wakings are a nightmare aren't they?! We generally got those with random developmental things, or discomfort, occasionally UT or crazy OT....

Routine wise I wonder (just a thought) if your last A could be too long?  When my LO was on similar A times earlier in the day we typically did 4hA, 1h30 nap, 4hA, 30-40 mins nap but then only 2-2.5h last A.  With long A times earlier on often they can't cope anywhere near so long at the end of the day, especially on a short nap.

All that said though....I do think probably your main issue here is a feed to sleep dependence.  And that can really make it quite hard to see where routine is or isn't right. The advice for breastfed babies is of course to feed on demand, but that doesn't have to mean 'feed to every cry'. She isn't a tiny baby any more, and whilst going 3h between breast feeds is a stretch for many tinies, for a baby on solids too (which are digested more slowly) I think it's unlikely that she can't manage a decent stretch now between eating.  It becomes more about calorie intake over a day and less about the time interval between feeds as they get a bit bigger.

Just as an aside -  a full feed at this age can easily be less than 5 mins.  They do get very efficient!

At night for genuine night feeds where she is genuinely hungry you don't have to worry about feeding to sleep - it's not an issue.  Just feed and put down.  However....I'll be honest I think you may struggle to assess whether she is genuinely hungry or not when you are in the habit of resorting to a feed to settle.  You may want to think about how to tackle this.  One option would be to night wean completely which (personal opinion here) I don't think is unreasonable at this age for a LO on three meals plus demand BF in the daytime.  That said, some people do like to keep a night feed for a while longer and it really is up to you.  If you're keeping a feed though, maybe think about how to keep it to one only?  You could for example decide that you won't feed before the time you fed the previous night.  So you fed at 2.30am last night, so tonight not before 2.30am and you resettle all other wakings in another way.  If that means her feed tonight is 3am, the next night you don't feed before 3am etc This might naturally push you towards just one 5am ish feed or even weaning.  Or you could pick a time that you are happy to feed after. 

Not sure if any of those thoughts will help you or not.  Good luck with whatever you decide!
***Katherine***







Offline NattysMom

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Re: 9 month old - night wakings/feedings, nursing until drowsy, awake times
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2018, 23:03:55 pm »
Thank you for the insight and suggestions. It is very helpful.  :)

We will try a shorter A time before bed tonight.

I do think she is an efficient nurser plus I have a fast letdown but sometimes I donít feel much lighter and she only takes one side. At bedtime she takes one side until pretty much empty and plus some of the second side. Often the night feeds are better than the day feeds.

I will go with your suggested strategy for one night feed and hopefully in the next couple of months she will drop it in her own.

We will be sticking with no nursing until drowsy for naps & bedtime. Hopefully our weekend ahead isnít too sleep deprived.

If we were to go to 4 hour feeding how gradually would you stretch it? 15 mins every 3 days?
And if she had 4h A & E, her nap and feed time would be at the same time, would you not feed until she woke up even if it becomes 6 hours? Is that reasonable to expect her to go down for her nap like that?

Update: last night went really well, she went to bed at 720 which was 3h15 A time (her longer nap was cut short by an unexpected visitor) It was tricky to get her to eat because to keep her awake I kept the light on and sheís used to darkness at bedtime. She didnít struggle too long though. She woke at 11:10, she cried hysterically when I sat down so I stood/walked, gave her some water and after 45 mins she was ready to sleep and I could sit. It did take another 45 mins to get her to stay down but not once did she seem hungry. She was down finally by 12:50 and then she slept until 5:45!!!! I fed her a good amount (I was quite engorged) and she slept until waking herself at 6:50 which is earlier than I wanted but she did go to bed earlier. So tonight I wonít feed at the first waking unless itís past a certain time, not sure what time I should go with because last night could have been a fluke. Maybe Iíll have her sleeping through the night by next weekend! So happy with this progress.

Since she nursed an hour before waking at 545 her nap and feed times donít overlap today and I was able to do 3h45m between first 2 milk feeds today and she ate well. I think 4 hours is a good idea but I donít think she could do more than that. Still unsure of how to do it when they overlap though, it was hard to keep her awake even an hour before her nap. Also she seems to be spitting up now more which has been rare the last few months, although not a lot and it doesnít upset her.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 16:01:13 pm by NattysMom »
Rachel          ~ 🌷🌼 Natalie Aurora 💗 May 2017 🌼🌷 ~

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Re: 9 month old - night wakings/feedings, nursing until drowsy, awake times
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2018, 17:32:08 pm »
It's completely normal for a 9mo to need a feed or two at night and I personally wouldnt recommend actively weaning them until at least a year. I also think you don't need to worry about feeding to sleep at night.  Tracy said there is no need to have A time after E at bedtime or for night feeds. As creations said there are hormones in the milk, even more so at these times, precisely to get LO to sleep.

There are lots of reasons for a baby to nurse in the day. Some so do frequently due to a mum's small storage capacity or baby's small tummy or appetite. Nursing is also designed to serve many more functions than to just satisfy hunger. It could be for a drink, teeth or tummy hurt, comfort, overstimulation or just to touch base now she's getting more independent. These are all valid reasons to nurse and limiting feedings is outdated advice now.

She will stretch time between feedings when she's ready.
Cadan Dec 2009 and Colby Aug 2011


Offline NattysMom

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Re: 9 month old - night wakings/feedings, nursing until drowsy, awake times
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2018, 21:06:22 pm »
I will keep all of that in mind. Iíll still feed her about An hour before each nap even if itís less than 4 hours. I like to nurse more in the evening before bed anyway.  But I really think part of the problem is I just donít know if sheís really hungry or not day or night and she rarely took full feeds because of that.
Rachel          ~ 🌷🌼 Natalie Aurora 💗 May 2017 🌼🌷 ~

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Re: 9 month old - night wakings/feedings, nursing until drowsy, awake times
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2018, 18:55:40 pm »
I just wanted to update this...

We are doing 4h between breastfeeds no problem.

She was fighting me on naps because she needed a huge increase in AT. We were around 4 for morning AT and increased to 5h. Sheís been having long naps most days so we are usually doing only one nap with EBT if needed. Her AT before bed was around 4-4h30m.

Also offer water at first night waking and goes back to sleep no problem. I feed her if itís been at least 7-8hrs since her BT. She eats much better during the day too.

Sheís almost 11mo now and the last month has been much less stressful since weíve figured this all out.

« Last Edit: March 28, 2018, 19:00:49 pm by NattysMom »
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Re: 9 month old - night wakings/feedings, nursing until drowsy, awake times
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2018, 07:31:46 am »
Great update :)