Sleeping FAQ: 6-9 months – Night Waking

My daughter has begun to wake several times a night at 7.5-months-old

My daughter is suddenly waking up to 5 times each night. The last 3 nights she has stirred at 8.30pm, 10.30pm (very quick and asleep again within 5 minutes) 12.30pm (I fed her as per the suggestion on the FAQ’s) then wakes again at 3am (leave her to cry and she settles within half an hour) then wakes at 6am to start her day.
She was born a month early and is still on the lower end of the weight scale. She has a small appetite and will not take any more solids than I have mentioned above. Due to diabetes and Coeliac disease in our family I am not giving her formula, gluten or dairy in her first year, which somewhat restricts her diet. All my daughter’s food is home-made and organic.
I have not given her any water or diluted juice as I feel with her weight I should be filling her up with all the food and breast milk that I can.
Can you give me any ideas on how to get her to sleep longer in the night?
At present she weighs 14lbs and feeds at 6.30am both breasts, 8am 4 cubes apple/pear mixed with tbsp baby rice mixed with the 2ozs breast milk. 10.30am 1 breast, 12pm 4 cubes, 1 chicken, 1 sweet potato, 1 carrot, 1 squash. 2.30pm both breasts, 5.30pm 2 tbsp baby rice with 1 cube pear mixed with 2ozs breast milk. 6.30pm both breasts, 12.30am one breast when she wakes in the night.

There may be a reason other than hunger which is waking your daughter in the night as she is managing to settle back to sleep without too much fuss. Is she moving around the cot more and perhaps disturbing herself? Some babies get their arms stuck in the cot spars and so briefly wake. This can be prevented by pushing rolled-up towels well down between the mattress and cot side. Letting her settle herself back to sleep is advisable, but briefly check on her after 5-10 minutes of crying just to check that she is alright. If you can do this without being seen then she will not begin to associate waking with needing you to comfort her.

Continue to give her the midnight feed unless you notice a disinterest in her 7am feed.
Although premature and started on solids at 6 months it would be a good idea to begin to introduce a little variety at teatime with the introduction a vegetarian dish rather than always giving rice and fruit. Given your dietary restrictions it would be advisable to ask advice from a doctor or dietician about how to introduce some more substantial food at 5pm. This meal is usually carbohydrate-rich to help babies settle well and get through the night. As they are often tired by this time, it needs to be something they can easily eat such as vegetable soups enriched with beans or lentils offered with gluten free bread if your daughter is beginning to enjoy finger foods.

Try to offer your daughter a small drink of cool, boiled water from a beaker after she has received her 12pm solids. This will help her get used to drinking something else than milk, which is an important part of her development. She will probably take a very small amount and not fill herself up too much to cut back on her next breast feed.
Be aware: how active your daughter is by day, if she has plenty of floor time and time outside in the fresh air, which can both help her sleep better.