Since a recent illness my 7 mth daughter is waking at night and now is unable to settle alone with out a great deal of crying
My daughter has been ill with a virus and for last 3 weeks taken to waking again between 10/12pm and not settling. While poorly – coughing etc- I found she would only settle on my chest and spent several nights with her asleep on me or able to slide her next to me. Then I tried leaving her to cry it out which on the first night went well. It took her less than an hour to settle at 1am and she slept until 7am. But last night she was still going after 2 hours! Before this illness she was sleeping through and taking milk well. I didn’t really feel that solids were that well established. My daughter had just started on protein but this illness has knocked her eating for six. She will sometimes take few mouthfuls at breakfast, lunch and tea. Other times she purses her lips. I have gone back to stage one of weaning and reintroduced milk at 11am feed. She is not finishing all her milk feeds as before. She seems to like finger foods though , she does have a 2 year old sister to watch eat. I feel at sea again as far as eating and sleeping going and think must be some link. I have taken on some advice from message boards but getting confused and anxious. My daughter does seem to arch back and get uncomfortable / even distressed after some meals. I have tried yoghourt but she seems to prefer warmer food.
At present she is taking 8ozs of formula at 7am, 8am, a few spoonfuls of porridge and fruit puree. 11.30am 3-4 tablespoons of vegetable puree if she takes anything followed by 4ozs milk, 2.30pm 4-6ozs, 5pm few spoons of vegetable puree, nibbles at soft vegetable finger food or toast, fruit puree. 6pm 6ozs of milk, [offered 8ozs].
My daughter naps at 9-9.30am, 12.30-2.30pm and 4.45-5pm. She is settled by 7pm.
It can take quite a while for a baby to get their appetite back fully after illness. As your daughter is still not really taking a lot of solid food in the day she may well be waking through hunger. Now that she is over the coughing and congestion of the virus but taking longer to settle each night consider she may be hungry. Until she increases the amount of solids, and is taking protein again at lunchtime, try offering her a dream feed at 10pm to see if 2-3ozs of milk will help her sleep all through the night. By offering her the 10pm bottle in her sleep, without fully waking her, should mean she just takes enough for her needs and then settles straight back again.
Until your daughter’s appetite fully returns give her a smaller breakfast to encourage her to be hungry at lunchtime. It is important that you get her back to eating protein again as soon as you are able to. Try encouraging her to take a small amount of protein at lunchtime. Offer 1 cube of chicken casserole mixed with her vegetable puree. It was a good idea to go back to stage one of weaning to get her back to eating but she needs some protein now she is well into her 7th month. As her appetite returns you can increase the amount of protein cubes you give her every few days. Until she is fully recovered her appetite may be smaller but it is important to keep encouraging her to take more protein rich food which will help fill her up. Also make sure you include a carbohydrate vegetable at this lunchtime meal. Sweet potato would be a good choice.
One of Gina’s tips may encourage her to eat a little more. Puree a casserole recipe into a thick consistency and spread it on pieces of bread roll. For a baby who enjoys to finger feed herself, this may be an ideal way to get her back to eating protein again.
By all means offer her a small milk feed after her lunchtime solids as this will help her have a good rest at her lunchtime nap. Since her nights are disturbed she needs to sleep well in the day to help her recovery. Once her protein intake increases you can begin to cut back the milk feed ounce by ounce.
At teatime you could try giving her some of the vegetable soups in Gina’s Contented Book of Weaning. Try ones such as Thick Lentil and Carrot on page 86. Even if she only takes a few spoonfuls, the content is carbohydrate rich and so will help fill her up for the night. This and other similar recipes could be offered with mini sandwiches or toast.
You could also try her with cheese sauces spread onto pieces of toast. She may enjoy these as the sauce would be warm, if freshly made, and more acceptable to her than soft cheese spread or yoghurt.
It may take some thinking on your part how to get her to eat food which will nourish and fill her whilst her appetite is still returning. Keep trying with different things and by all means encourage her to feed herself with finger food. It is amazing how much you can offer a baby of this age in finger food style, especially if she is a willing participant.
Once you have made these changes to her daytime meals your daughter’s night waking could well disappear. Once you feel she is eating the sort of food which will help fill her up, and the quantities she is taking begin to increase, you can cut back on the dream feed at 10pm to see if she is able to cope without it.
After illness it can be difficult to know whether a baby is waking simply through habit and it is important to eliminate other factors, such as hunger, before considering using controlled crying as a solution. Allowing the baby to cry for a prolonged period is not really the best way to deal with the problem at first. Once hunger has been eliminated as the reason for her waking and inability to settle at night you can begin to be more confident that using a sleep training method will address the problem within a few nights.
If you feel that your daughter seems uncomfortable or distressed after feeding on a regular basis take her to your doctor to have her checked over. Even if prior to having this virus your daughter showed no signs of gastric problems it would be advisable to have a doctor take a proper look at her.