Sunday, September 25, 2011

Advice needed!

This post is a Mom blog type post whereby I will be soliciting advice from those who have gone before me...I am sorry for those still in the IF trenches. I wish it weren't so.

Sleep. Night feedings. Please help.

Our babies are over ten months old. We brought them home over three months ago. Somewhere along the way some friends of ours who also adopted "psuedo twins" told us they did the bedtime routine and fed their babies a bottle, but then also woke them right before they (the parents) went to sleep and gave them another bottle, and then they slept through the night.

We tried that! Basically, it meant that at 6:45 pm or 7 pm ish we fed them their last bottle and then woke them at 10 pm and fed them again. Guess what? They always sucked down about 6-8 oz of formula at that 10 pm feeding. Guess what again? They didn't sleep through the night, still waking for another bottle at around 2 am. Hmph.

Our pedi told us the other day to STOP the waking up forced feeding at 10 pm. She said that it was teaching them to need that feeding.

We happily obliged. Quite honestly most nights we are falling asleep at 9:15 pm so we were happy to go to bed earlier. The first few nights--EUREKA!--they slept longer, sometimes going until 3:30 am before waking once to be fed. So we were still waking once but getting to go sleep earlier so getting a longer stretch of solid sleep and it seemed like a decent plan.

But lately, here's the thing: they are waking TWICE per night to eat. They eat solids three times a day and take two small bottles daily and are starting (though they are not good at it at all) to take liquids from a sippy cup. We feed them dinner at 5:30 (it takes them about 45 minutes to eat because of the self feeding) and they seem to eat quite a bit. Then at 6:30 they have a bath, at 6:50 it's books, bottle, rocking and then to bed. They usually goof off in their cribs (despite nearly falling asleep drinking their bottles, so this, too, perplexes me) for a while and then drift off to sleep anywhere from 7:15 to 7:30 pm. But now they are waking at 11 pm and 4 am consistently for bottles. They usually drink about 6 ounces, sometimes the full 8. Last night our son woke at 10 pm crying...we let him cry for about five minutes, he did fall back asleep but then woke SCREAMING at 11 pm and there was no going back.

I guess I always thought 10+ month olds would sleep longer, could go longer at night. I'm not complaining really--at least it's pretty easy to just get up and feed them, change them, and they go back to sleep, but really I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice. I feel like sometimes we're doing something wrong.

Well, this is rambling. Just hoping someone can tell me the magic cure :) Ha.

I think they get enough to eat during the day...they get about 28 to 30 oz of formula total daily plus three meals of solid foods and they seem to really chow down at those meals! They eat vegetables, fruits, soy *meat*, grilled cheese sandwiches, bagels, waffles, etc. Our daughter is 90th percentile for weight and our son is 50th percentile for weight. I guess I just thought waking every four hours to eat at night seemed frequent, but maybe not....


  1. Even though they are 10 months old they have only been with you for 3, so they are still proably getting aquatined to the new routine. Also babies go through diffrent growth spurts. I think it is great that you gave up the forced feeding, they should adapt to their own rythm soon. This is comming from a mom of three. Each child had their own time table but each did find their own rythm. It must be a big change for your children though, they have been through so much, as you have been. Good luck! Congratulaitons on your wonderful family!!!

  2. my son is almost 3 and sometimes still wants milk in the middle of the night. At 10 months, my son was still breastfeeding during the night. It is probably just harder on you 2 b/c you have to get up twice. I read the Dr. Sears book and they talk about night feedings and I always agreed that I would not feed more than twice a night and I stuck to that.... I would consider that normal at least at my house!

  3. I think all children are different. Some sleep through the night much earlier than others. Some still wake up for years.

    Please don't get mad at this question, but are they getting enough to eat during the day? My almost one year old eats 24 ozs formula and eats regular food when we eat.

    It will get better. Just as with all good things that come to an end, bad things come to an end as well!

    Good luck!

  4. I think waking to eat at 10 mos is normal too. My son was also breastfeeding 1-2x at that age. It is hard to know what is hunger and what is comfort. Can you two switch off nights waking up so you ea get a solid night of sleep every other night?

  5. You may want to look at the Ferber sleep book. Basically, the babies' stomachs are used to getting most of their food at night. Ferber's book gives several strategies for gradually changing that, such as moving the feedings a little later every day or so, until they are at a decent hour in the am; or either cutting down the night feedings by one ounce every couple days or diluting the bottles a bit more with water every couple days, til they are getting just water which is not worth waking up for. At 10 months they can def sleep all night without eating, they just need to recalibrate when they eat.

    IMHO, I would run, not walk from any Sears books.

  6. I wish I had advice for you...I tried every sleep training book out there (Ferber, Weisbluth, etc.) and NOTHING worked. I remember going on vacation with friends when my son was 9 months and their baby was 9 weeks and their baby slept through the night (without any sleep training) and my son was still getting up 3-4 times. After he turned 14 months, he finally started sleeping through the night. So, in my experience, nothing made him sleep through the night until he was ready. I agree with your pediatrician that the 10pm waking is only training them to wake up then. Just concentrate on getting them to eat more during the day and maybe try water instead of milk at night if you think they are getting enough during the day. It's rough!!! (runningmama from more room in my heart)

  7. I think the commenter asked about the amount of formula they get because you said they get 2 small bottles a day and you're stopping the forced feeding, so it made it sound like they were getting less than 20 ounces a day.

    I agree with everyone saying each child is different--my oldest was drinking 36+ ounces of milk while she was 1, and my youngest drinks 16-24 ounces of milk (he's 1).

    Good luck, unfortunately as soon as yours get you used to a routine they will change it on you--mine have done it several times already lol

  8. What about adding a little cereal into their bedtime bottle? It might keep them fuller longer thus eliminating the one extra feeding throughout the night. Add just a teaspoon to the night bottle with a large enough nipple to allow it to pass, and see if that helps at all. Good luck! I hope you can find something that works!

  9. My question is - are they getting the 28-30 oz during daylight hours, or does that include the night feedings too? I would try to get them to eat 24-30 oz during the day (yes, they will eat or drink all the time!) so they aren't looking for that nutrition at night. That will at least rule out whether they waking up for the need for food, or the need for comfort.

    I do think every kid is different and some may need more comforting, but I also think kids become used to whatever routine they are on. And if you are feeding them part of their needed nutritional intake at night and/or always giving them food/bottle when they wake up, then of course they will wake up and want it. But if you can teach them to eat/drink all they need during the day, then it becomes less about the bottle and more about comfort. It might weeks to "untrain" them with nighttime bottles, and maybe some bad nights of lots of crying (you and them).

  10. This is so not advice, I feel completely unqualified to provide "advice". So, I'll just tell you what A was doing at 10 months (a month after she came to us).

    The ped told us to start reducing formula and increasing solids. The way we did that was to do a bottle on waking, one late morning, and one after the nap (around 3:30 or 4p). We replaced the evening bottle with food for dinner, and serve it on the later side - like around 6:30-ish with a combination of self-feeding and some spoonfed chunky purees. It was pretty much finishing up right before we would start the bedtime routine. She would then sleep from about 7:30 until about 7:30am (don't hate me - we got lucky and frankly needed all of the sleep we could get to adjust to all of the parenthood catching up we needed to do). She got her first bottle pretty much within a few minutes of getting up in the morning.

    In the beginning the sleeping thing was HARD and we had no clue what to do. A friend recommended the book called the "no cry sleep solution" and we started putting her to bed awake. Against my pediatrician's advice, I also put a glow worm in her crib (sent by a friend who has twins and said it was "a must") - that was the best thing for her and us, and I felt the suffocation risk was pretty low at 10 months. She would push the belly to turn it on and it would play soothing music for a few minutes then turn off. She still wouldn't sleep without it - she also turns it on in the mornings as she is waking up.

    Good luck with finding what will work best for you!

  11. BTW, if you would like that book, I'm happy to send it to you - email me offline with the address.

  12. Our twins woke up three times a night for bottles til they were 19-20 months. It was easier to just give them each a bottle when one would cry and then collect the empty bottles from the middle of the room (they'd toss them out of their cribs when empty) in the morning. I think they were 4-6ish ounce bottles at night but around 16 months when we'd had enough getting up 3x/night, we started diluting their formula with water til it was all water (about 19 months) then they just realized they didn't actually need/want it at that point.

    Now at nearly 5, they go to bed at 8:30 and get up at 8am. Your good sleep days are coming :)

  13. i hope you got some good advice.
    thinking of you lots.

  14. I don't think you are doing anything wrong. I think it just depends on the baby. The only thing I would say is, when my daughter was that age, I thought she ate A LOT during the day, and at our Dr appt I mentioned that when I was done giving her her meal she would cry. My dr said, if she's crying she's not done eating and to give her food until she stops eating herself. My point is, if you had asked me I would have said she ate a ton of solid foods, but actually she was ready to eat more, I just wasn't giving it to her b/c I was wrong about how much she wanted to eat. I pass this on, just in case your sweet babies might possibly eat more during the day, and then stay asleep longer at night.

    But overall, I think you are doing great, and even though it seems like 11pm and 5am are close together, I think that seems pretty normal.

    best wishes.

  15. One, every kid is different. And then they switch it up on you once you figure one thing out. The girls were great sleepers, but they've always been that way. Everybody gets something they have to deal with- ours was just not sleep issues.

    Maybe it's that the girls ate a lot more during the day. A lot. Like a good Hispanic mama, I fed them. A lot. They had solids for snack, breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, snack, dinner (our dinner was a lot later- around 7 pm to fit our schedule; snack before breakfast if I couldn't get it cooked fast enough). Their metabolisms are crazy and kids tend to be grazers (even in preschool they offer snack or a meal every 3-4 hours). We would give meals with water then feed them milk. Ava at 6 months ate 2-3 jars of baby food- by 10 months she was eating table food (minced)- Elle went straight to minced table food at 7 months. I am not kidding when they sometimes would eat as much as me. As toddlers, they both out ate me all the time and continued to be in the 35th percentile for weight. Elle can out eat anyone when it comes to spaghetti.

    Try feeding them more- maybe more table food then pureed- some protein, carbs, veggies/fruits each meal like we should all eat. Let them feed themselves (yes, it will be a mess).

    And anytime there is a growth or developmental spurt it all goes to hell. Shift work helps- you do the 11 pm, he does the 5 am so at least you each get a shot at some solid sleep (assuming they're holding their own bottles).

  16. Only got a moment but... what Pie said! If they are hungry at night, they are unlikely to reset themselves without a bit of help. Of cousre, if you are fine with the night feedings then there is no problem! But if you need them to get through... we ended up using a technique in 'the sleepeasy solution' (which I *LOVED*) called 'night weaning'. The basic idea is that you wake the baby an hour before they would normally wake themselves up, and on night one give them their usual feed, night two the usual minus one ounce, night three the usual minus two ounces.... becasue they are getting it an hour earlier, you kno that they are not actually hungry afterwards, and it's a slow enough change that they get gradually hungrier during the day without a massive jolt to their systems. What can I say? It worked for us! But if you're happy getting up during the night, or if you think they need the extra soothing, there's nothing wrong with keeping things the way they are. I do recommend T S E S very highly - I found it a very helpful (and direct, ie short!) book. Good luck!

  17. I've been trying to comment for days but I always just get to reading your post when I get called away from the computer! I think my DD was getting one night feeding at this point too. I never woke her to feed her after about 6 months...and she did great usually...and now, at 19 months, she sleeps from 7pm to 5:30-6am every night with no wakeups, so I think we might be lucky. That being said, I've heard recommendations that if they wake during the night, feed them a bottle of water so that they still get the attention but stop relying on the calories. I didn't try this with DD b/c she was always in the 25% for weight and I figured that if she needed the calories, then so be it. I also am terrible at letting her cry it out. It seems abusive and probably feels that way to you too since your babies are coming from a less secure history. Oh! Now I remember!!!! I think we eventually transitioned from feedings in the middle of the night to snuggles...She'd wake up, we'd go in (alternating or just me usually), I'd get her out, sit in the rocker, snuggle her, she'd fall back asleep and that would be it. It was exhausting for a few weeks but my doctor assured us that she didn't need the nighttime feeding. And, eventually, her body realized that nighttime calories weren't needed and she stopped waking. That is all I can say. I will see how it goes with my double trouble in about 10 months, lol, b/c I have an idea that 2 babies in one room makes this A LOT harder!

  18. What Pie said!!
    It's twins didn't sleep through until at least 18 months. Definitey take shifts with dad.

    One more suggestion I received all the time. Just let them cry...even if it takes a long time for them to fall back asleep. I struggled with this one. I'm too weak...but I've heard others that have done this with great success.

    The sleeps issues are hard, it's really hard...but you WILL get through it. And you WILL get some sleep again one day. My twins are 2.5 and now sleep 11 hours a day. Ah, heaven.
    ~mrsbadgerwi (long time fan and follower)

  19. I wonder if it's more of a comfort thing than a hunger thing? They're eating and drinking about the same that my son did at that age (which was just a couple months ago). He usually has a morning and afternoon snack, too, which you could consider adding. But it sounds like they're getting enough, which makes me think they like to drink milk to sooth themselves back to sleep (or at least to relax). Maybe you could try rocking or reading or singing or something else to try to break the association that if they wake up in the middle of the night, they don't automatically need to have a bottle?

  20. Truitt did this too and we started trying to "trick" him by slowwwwwlllyyy putting less and less in his overnight bottles....It seemed to work, but I was never convinced it didn't just line up with him growing out of it...(although I do like to think it was because of my awesome parenting)Tracy

  21. have you read Dr Weissbluth's sleep books? His twins book is great but so it the other one. We are very strict Weissbluthers and it has worked pretty well for us. with one of our twins we cried it out - best thing we ever did (it only took 3 nights).

  22. Every baby is different. Me girlfriend with twins has one baby who sleeps through the night and the other who wakes maybe twice a night at 6 months. So right there is shows you how different each baby can be.

    For my daughter who is 10 months now she sleeps through the night and that started around 4-5 months.

    Sometimes it's not always feeding that is the issue but the inability to self sooth back to sleep.

    Do your babies take binkies? That was the trick for us. My daughter needed soothers, a binkie, her bear... and sometimes she just needed to cry is out. Which would only last a few minutes.

    I wish you luck... been there and understand how sleepy you are and mushy your brain can feel after a night full of feedings.

  23. I typed up a really long comment back when you first posted this and then my hubby closed the screen and I lost the entire thing. Ugh!!!! So here I am again, trying to remember what all I said.

    Basically I really don't have any constructive advice because I'm still in the same boat and Tyler is 15 months. Hoping that makes you feel a little better. Tyler still gets up 2x/night to nurse. He nurses full time, has 3 full meals a day and grazes all day on snacks, so I highly doubt he's waking for hunger reasons. I think he does it for the comfort. Suckling and being cuddled by mom/dad is the ultimate comfort for them. I'm sure your babes require this comfort even more due to their circumstance of only being with you for 3 months. I've never tried to wean Tyler from this, so in his defense, why would he give it up? I guess I figure I need to keep my supply up anyway, and I'd be bursting by morning if he didn't nurse in the middle of the night. I really don't mind because I know it will end some day soon. They grow up way too fast! Ok, well, I don't mind the first waking, but that second waking is brutal!!! Many days I wake a complete zombie. I do wish the waking was 1x/night and maybe I could try a few tactics to make that happen. Let me know if you find anything that works.

    I would take advantage of taking turns getting up with them. I don't have that luxury as Tyler will not let Kerry comfort him back to sleep, I assume since Kerry lacks the boobs.

    Anyway, sorry I'm not much help. Do know you're not doing anything wrong, this is very normal. My pediatrician said some babies sleep through the night and some don't, and that both are completely normal.

    Keep us posted!

  24. I feel like I'm in no place to give advice- having had ONE child, from birth is nothing like your situation.
    I think that most people are right that (a) each child will be different for you and (b) it's fairly normal-ish for them to be waking up (maybe not q4h but still at least one time).
    How do you get it down to just one time though? Good question....
    I think that offering ONLY water at night could be one way? a few nights might be rough, but when they figure out it's not the "good stuff" then it may not be worth waking up for. If you feel like they're legitimately hungry, then obviously that wouldn't work.
    Sorry it's such a rough patch right now! I hope their sleep schedules settle down really soon for everyone's sake!!

  25. Such good advice so far - and in general I think you'll figure it out if you just keep tweaking things. No matter how many books you read you still have go through a certain amount of trial and error to find what works for your little ones.

    I finally found our secret trick in camomile tea. After F has his bedtime milk we brush his teeth and then I rock him while he has a few ounces of lukewarm tea. I think he has really come to associate the taste with "sleepytime" - if he wakes up in the night (teething, foot stuck in the bars, whatever) I sometimes give him a few more sips of tea and it calms him right back down.

    Anyway, I hope you are sleeping all the way through the night soon - when F started going 11 hours I felt like I had a new lease on life. )Which I probably did!)