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Breastfeeding baby waking up repeatedly throughout the night

By January 15, 2011 - 5:42pm
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My 5-month old grandson wakes up several times a night, sometimes as frequently as every 45 minutes. Sometimes when he awakes, he does so screaming as though he is in terrible pain or being terrorized by something (although I can't imagine what a 5-month old could be that afraid of). At those times, he is inconsolable for as much as an hour or two. Other times, he lets his momma feed him and falls asleep. And yet other times, he eats and then is content to stay away for 45-90 minutes. I feel sooo bad for my son and daughter-in-law, because they're not getting much sleep at all. At least when my own two boys weren't sleeping through the night, I would put them in bed with us and we'd all fall asleep. But that is an absolute NO-NO these days, so they won't even try that. Does anyone have any suggestions on what their little guy's problem might be? Or what they might want to ask their pediatrician to look into?

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I have suffered these issues during my post pregnancy period and I would recommend you to take proper rest to stay healthy in the later days too. Always seek out medical attention to clear away your doubts.view site

December 10, 2012 - 11:24pm

Many parents still do "co-sleeping", so it's not as taboo as you think. It never worked for us, and I really like my own space away from my kids, but it does work for many breastfeeding moms as an option.

My 9 month old (who is bottle fed) was having terrible separation anxiety, starting about 6 months, and just wanted to be held at night. It makes sense, actually, and there may not be anything wrong with your grandson. My advice:
1. Rule out any medical conditions through pediatrician
2. Have parents read: No Cry Sleep Solution book and The Baby Whisperer
3. Write down the times of each feeding, asleep and wake times, as well as night awakenings...it is amazing that the little babies actually have some predictable schedules of their own, and it is helpful to see it in writing (they can then use this information to begin shifting some of the times/feedings to a more reasonable schedule)

I read five books regarding sleep, everything from the "let him cry it out" to "no crying at all", and it really is up to the parents what they feel is best for their family and their son. We tried the "let him cry it out" and it did not work for us; my other friends said it worked great. We followed The Baby Whisperer book with my first son and it was helpful; the book that helped us most with our second son was the No Cry Sleep Solution.

I know it is awful to be sleep deprived as the mom, and I have found the 9 month mark to be MUCH better at the "sleep training", although they do want to start good routines now. Much of what I have learned with my two boys: consistency with bedtime routine, consistency with nap routine, consistency with feeding schedule. It does not have to be rigid, but the more consistent the parents are (and it is hard), the better most healthy babies do with sleep. They may need another 4 months until they see real results, or they may see some improvement within a few weeks.

The only way my husband and I managed with the lack of sleep is to take shifts, so we knew we would at least get 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. The dad can give a bottle full of breastmilk for a few feedings. If she does not want to give any bottles, I would suggest talking with other exclusive-breastfeeding moms for advice on how they coped, what strategies they tried. Does she have any other mom friends, or belong to any mom's clubs? There are some great breastfeeding mom discussion boards online, if she would like those resources!

I hope she can hang in there! It DOES get better with each passing developmental mark (6 month is a biggie). The nine month mark has been the biggest positive change, and we are getting 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep...it will happen for her!

Is she worried about any medical conditions that she needs to talk with the pediatrician about? One word of caution about pediatricians: they only receive about 5 hours of training total for sleep issues, and as much as I love our pediatrician, he did not give good sleep advice to us. She can take all the advice and information she can get, and then apply it to her situation and her child and see what feels right, what doesn't.

January 15, 2011 - 8:55pm
(reply to Alison Beaver)

Thanks, Allison! I really appreciate your thoughts and suggestions! I'll pass them on to my son and daughter-in-law There are a couple of medical conditions that may or may not be affecting baby's sleep. He's got horrible excema, which the pediatrician says is probably what is waking him. I'm not sure I agree. They also just started treating him for GERD. I live thousands of miles a way, so I'm not really much help, other than to offer encouragement and PRAY. Thanks again!!

January 16, 2011 - 6:51am
(reply to kathienewell)

Sounds like my situation, too! My older son has eczema (it never was so severe that it woke him up, but if left untreated, the itchiness could potentially wake him up). My 9 month old had acid reflux from birth until 6 months of age; he was weaned off Prilosec at age 8 months, and this is when we saw a lot of improvement! The GERD is awful, as you have to hold the baby upright for so long after eating...parents really don't get a break. We are now sleep training the baby, since he was falling asleep in our arms after feeding (nothing we could do to prevent, since he had to be upright for 20 minutes after each feeding, and newborns eat every 2 hours!!). He was only able to fall asleep with someone holding him, which makes sense--that was all he knew. This is why "crying it out" did not help; it was not HIS fault that he was sleeping this way and he was not being manipulative. He just needed a different behavior, and we had to teach him.

Babies can get on schedules. When I was breastfeeding, the lactation consultant was so nice and reassuring (another GREAT resource for your daughter-in-law...talk to a Lactation Consultant or two or three!), and said that eventually the goal is to have babies eat three meals a day, with two snacks. The goal is two naps a day, while sleeping through the night (which, humorously, is defined by 5 hours uninterrupted sleep...I define it by more like 7-10 hours of sleep!).

Let me know if they need any specific resources, as if you give us their zip code, I can look up mom's clubs, lactation consultants or other resources if she is too tired (understandably) to search online.

January 16, 2011 - 6:58am
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