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Early weaning/Sleep problems

  1. #1
    Tats is offline Registered User
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    Early weaning/Sleep problems

    Hi

    I have a 7-month old boy whom I've started feeding solids with from about 5.5 month. He's finally started to enjoy food and has been eating 3 meals a day quite well for the last few days. I am still breastfeeding, but my son seems to be loosing interest in milk. It's been happening for a while and he seems easily distracted and not so keen to nurse during the day. Even if I don't give him that much solid food he would still eat poorly during the day. Has anyone experienced the same? Is it possible that my son is weaning himself? He is a nightmare during the night, though, and could wake up sometimes as often as 1.5-2 hours. But out of 6 wakings, for instance, he'll eat well only twice, the rest - comfort sucking and going back to sleep in seconds... So I have two issues which are kind of intertwined. Any suggestions on what I can do as I'm going crazy from sleep deprivation and worrying that he isn't getting enough nutrients etc. I have been to see a number of doctors. He is absolutely fine, but the doctors don't have any sensible suggestions.

  2. #2
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    Dear Tats,

    There is an idea that starting solids will make your baby sleep longer but many mothers I’ve spoken to have told me that the opposite happens and the baby wakes up more.

    One reason for this is that too much solids are introduced too early and the baby doesn’t get his sucking need satisfied. Thus he wakes more at night to get to suck more. Do you think this could be what’s happening with your baby?

    This is one of the reasons why LLL recommends that you breastfeed first and then offer solids until the baby is around one year old.

    It is unlikely that a baby under one year will wean himself. Often nursing strikes at this age are mistaken for baby led weaning. Usually the baby isn’t happy when on a nursing strike and will show this by being unhappy or waking up more.

    The following information is from the LLL web site, When should I start solids? http://www.llli.org/FAQ/solids.html

    When your baby does start other foods, remember to breastfeed first and then offer solids. Also, a baby doesn't need large quantities, just a teaspoon or so to start. Other foods still aren't as good for your baby as human milk during the first year, so you're just trying to get baby used to other tastes and textures. Mashed banana is an easy food to start with, and babies almost always like it. Protein foods come early in the rotation-- mashed tender cuts of meat, etc. Eggs should wait a little while.

    Television commercials will have you believe your baby needs solids for the iron supplement. Your milk has iron in it, and while in small quantities, it's very easily absorbed. Some doctors may want to check your baby's blood for anemia at about nine months. This can put your mind to rest. Breastfed babies rarely become anemic. If you wait until later in the first year to start solids, you can avoid the expense of commercially prepared baby food, or the effort of pureeing your own table food. An older baby, with a couple of teeth, can handle some food from your straight from your table, simply mash it with your fork, if necessary, add a little water. Avoid dairy, citrus fruits, honey, and eggs until he is about one year of age. Also avoid sugar and salt. Introduce one new food at a time, to be safe. Wait a few days to see how your baby handles it.


    Best wishes,
    SARAH
    Last edited by LLL_Sarah; 12-29-2005 at 12:53 AM.

  3. #3
    Tats is offline Registered User
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    Early weaning/sleep problems

    Thanks Sarah for your reply. I have been through the information on solids on the LLL website and other sources before. It doesn't make any sense to me that my son is waking up because of solids being introduced. He is offered to nurse during the day regularly and yet he doesn't want to drink milk. He is far too busy playing etc. which means he is catching up at night. That's more the problem I have and the LLL book says this phase will pass. With me, it hasn't (it's been going on ever since he became aware of the environment) and I don't believe it will.

    I am on the verge of giving up breastfeeding and I really don't want to. At the same time, I am very very tired of sleepless nights and constant sucking which can last for an hour even now when all my friens around me feed their babies in 5 minutes. I am not happy and he is probably picking up on it. So I don't know what is best: solids and fomula or breastfeeding and suffering. Plus the stress I go through every day when he doesn't nurse properly doesn't help. There is just something wrong about that. He is still underweight compared to other children and at 7.5 months he just doubled his birthweight. If I don't give him solids, I'll probably have to feed every hour and even then it won't be enough for him. He is definitely ready for solids because every time I eat something he actually cries out because he wants to have it too apart from the stuff I give him.

  4. #4
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    Hi Tats

    Your bub sounds a bit like mine, although mine wasn't much of an eater at that stage. Mine liked to play all day, eat (b/f) all night and nap in between. Very exhausting for mummy. I felt that my baby needed a longer sleep at night and I certainly did. My Dr confirmed what I suspected, that my large chubby bubby didn't need to feed all night, just wanted to. You mention that your baby is a bit light for his age? I would check with your Dr whether he still needs night feeds first. A general rule of thumb is that they don't physically need them after 6 months.

    I last fed her at 10pm (b/f), then no more feeds until 5am. I comforted her, (dummy, cuddles, etc) if she woke and cried, but didn't feed her. First couple of nights, she was probably a bit hungry. But, she learnt to make up for it in the daytime. Within 2 weeks she was reliably sleeping 10-5am, then gradually later in the mornings. Around 9'ish months I dropped the 10pm feed, so she would sleep around 7pm to 6am, which was great.

    First few night were exhausting and it would have been much quicker and easier to feed her back to sleep. However, I wanted her to learn that night time is for sleeping, daytime for eating !

    Friends have also tried controlled crying at about this age with success. I wanted to try a more gentle approach first and was lucky it worked. She was obviously ready for it. I also noticed a marked improvement in her moods during the day once she was getting a good block of sleep at night. Not to mention my better mood of course.

    I'm no expert, but 7.5 months sounds a little young to self wean. When b/f during the day, perhaps try a dark boring room with nothing else to do but drink milk? Or if you are out, will your baby tolerate a muslin over his head so he can't see much?

    Good luck !

  5. #5
    Tats is offline Registered User
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    Early weaning/sleep problems

    Thanks Jane very much. Your suggestion sounds more reasonable and does actually make a lot of sense. The problem you had sounds very similar to mine except I'm imagining things which aren't really there on the grounds on no sleep and tiredness I guess... I don't know whether I will ever be able to do controlled crying on my son, but going gentle as you suggest is definitely worth a try. He has a bit of a cold at the moment, but as soon as he is over it I'll try! Thanks so much! I hope it'll work!

  6. #6
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    Dear Tats,
    I've sent you a private message.
    SARAH

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