My 4mth daughter, who is fully breast fed, recently started to wake in the night, even since weaning she has continued to do so
My 4mth daughter has been the best advertisement for the Contented Baby book there is. She has been sleeping through from 11pm to 7pm since she was 6 weeks old. We have followed the plan religiously and she is a very happy baby who never ever cries.
However, 2 weeks ago she started waking up at 6am. Then around 4 days later she woke at 4am and then again at 6am. For the last 4 nights she has been waking up at 2am, 4am and then again at 6am.
When she wakes she makes a noise mid way between a loud whinge and a cry. She is in our bedroom so I suppose we react as if she is crying and feel that by dealing with it quite soon we can all return back to sleep.
We didn’t feed at first, when she woke, as we did not want to encourage her to feed in the night. Instead we tried to settle her instead. However, after a few nights we did feed her and she readily took it. She is a good feeder.
Unfortunately we were strongly advised by the Health visitor not to begin weaning until she is 6 months. However, we have bought the Contented weaning book and are on day 3 of the plan today. We also replaced her 10.30pm breast feed with an expressed feed of 7ozs to make sure she was having enough at this feed.
Sometimes she settles herself, but we are more inclined to help her by “shushing” and stroking her head. This helps us all get back to sleep faster. It takes about 30minutes to settle her back to sleep.
Can you advise how we are best suited to tackle this and return her to her regular routine?
My daughter is fully breast fed taking both breasts for 15 minutes on each side at 7.15am, 10.30am, and 2.15pm. At 5.00pm she receives one breast for 15mins and takes the second breast at 6.15pm. At 10.30pm she takes 7ozs of expressed milk. At 4pm she takes 4ozs of water.
Following the weaning plan we are day three giving her 1tsp of organic baby rice mixed with 2 tablespoons breast milk at 11am.
My daughter weighs 16lb 9ozs.
She naps at 9-9.45am, 11.45-2.00pm and 4-4.15pm. She settles at 7pm.
It is not unusual for a fully breast fed baby to need an early morning feed around 5/6am until weaning is well under way. If you feel she is hungry at 5/6am then offer her a breast fed and settle her straight back to sleep. You then can offer her a top up feed at 7/7.30am to keep her on track for the day. If your daughter is hungry for this top up feed as well you can assume hunger to be the cause of her early waking. If she loses interest in having it then assume the earlier waking is more of a habit and try to settle her with some cooled boiled water and a cuddle.
Your daughter is drinking quite a lot of water at 4pm, which could be affecting how much milk she takes at 5/5.6.15pm. Although it is a good idea to offer her water at this time of day, limit it to 1-2ozs.
To help your daughter sleep better through the night there are two ways you can deal with the 10.30pm feed. To make sure that she is not only taking a large enough feed but enough hind milk which will help her sleep longer offer her a 6ozs expressed feed at 10.30pm. Express yourself at 9.30/10pm. When your daughter has finished her bottle put her onto the breast for 5-10minutes so she gets some hind milk.
The other way you may like to try is to wake her later, around 11.30/12pm if she does not wake herself before this. Your daughter would then take a good feed at this time and should settle until nearer 7am.
Once her weaning is well under way, and she is sleeping through to 7am on a regular basis you can begin to move this feed back towards 10.30pm. Do this by waking her 15mins earlier every other night providing she continues to sleep through the night, until you are feeding her around 10/10.30pm.
If she wakes again in the night, having had a later, full feed, then offer her water and a cuddle to settle her back to sleep.
As she shares your room you will be more aware of her noises. Leave her for 15- 20minutes when she first wakes, if you feel that it is not hunger. It can take this time for a baby to resettle themselves. If left, they will learn to do so. Providing she does not cry continuously or become very worked up then see if she will settle herself back to sleep, as she has shown she is able to do so. At this age a baby will become more aware of noises around them and maybe disturbed, if in a light sleep, by you. You may consider moving her to her own room soon. If you have a room adjacent to your own and set up a baby monitor you will be able to hear her if she really wakes. You wont be so aware of her every movement which may result in you going to her too quickly, in an effort for you all to return to sleep as soon as possible.
Check all the other reason’s why she may be waking herself in the night. Is she still well tucked in with light cotton weight sheet or blanket stretched lengthways over her and secured with rolled towels down the cot sides? When she enters a light sleep she maybe disturbed by her Moro reflex which can still be strong at this age.
Check she is warm enough if sleeping in a lightweight bag. During colder weather she may need another layer on such as a long sleeved body suit or a thin cardigan to prevent her from getting chilly.
Beginning to wean your daughter at 4mths, when following Gina’s plan means a very gradual introduction to solid food. The amounts are only very gradually increased as these are first tastes and fillers. Milk will be the main part of her diet until much nearer 6mths. It is important that her milk is always given first when offering solids so she does not cut back too quickly.
If you continue to breast feed make sure that you keep your energy levels up by eating three good meals a day and healthy snacks in between. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids through out the day, preferably water.