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Does he need formula?
Could he be hungry?


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#1 Kay1

Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:27 PM

DS3 is 5.5 months. He has never been a great sleeper but we were doing ok, lots of gentle self settling teaching had got him to the point of self settling during the day. Still waking several times at night but settling easily after a feed.

The last week or so he started having 2-3 hour unsettled periods in the middle of the night. That has now stretched out to bed time. He starts to scream as soon as its bed time. Even though he is clearly tired. I can't settle him at all except with the boob. Even then he squirms around for ages but will eventually settle. Problem is no matter how long I wait he wakes immediately I remove the boob and he just screams until I put it back. I have two other kids and I can't lie with my boob in his mouth from 6/7 pm all night unfortunately.

So I have finally got him down after another epic screaming battle and I know he's going to wake in 45 mins. I am so desperate that I am thinking I'll give him a bottle of formula to see if its hunger. If nothing else it might just knock him out and give me a break.

I am doing BLW with him but its so slow and because he refuses his last afternoon nap most days he's often too upset and hungry to safely have any food so he is on no solids to speak of really. I am starting to really doubt everything I am doing and just wondering if maybe feeding him formula would help. unsure.gif Last night he slept fitfully for 4 hours total, its 35 degrees in our house, I am alone with 3 kids and I am hanging on by a thread.



#2 Excentrique

Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:33 PM

could he be teething OP? is he growing ok, plenty of wet nappies? would you try a little bit of baby food on him (like spoon feed rather than baby led weaning). I'm not against baby led weaning but I don't think its for all babies either.

#3 mavisandjack

Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:34 PM

I am sorry you are having a tough time.

Did you mean that it is literally 35 degrees inside your house, where he is sleeping?

If this is the case, I would be trying to find a way to keep him cool.

My DD is often tired by dinner time even though we eat by 5. I have switched her meals around and so she has porridge for dinner, which fills her up. We do BLW but I spoon feed her dinner as she is tired and gets frustrated. You could try something similar?

I honestly don't think formula will solve your problem.

#4 kay11

Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:35 PM

QUOTE (Kay1 @ 18/01/2013, 06:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
DS3 is 5.5 months. He has never been a great sleeper but we were doing ok, lots of gentle self settling teaching had got him to the point of self settling during the day. Still waking several times at night but settling easily after a feed.

The last week or so he started having 2-3 hour unsettled periods in the middle of the night. That has now stretched out to bed time. He starts to scream as soon as its bed time. Even though he is clearly tired. I can't settle him at all except with the boob. Even then he squirms around for ages but will eventually settle. Problem is no matter how long I wait he wakes immediately I remove the boob and he just screams until I put it back. I have two other kids and I can't lie with my boob in his mouth from 6/7 pm all night unfortunately.

So I have finally got him down after another epic screaming battle and I know he's going to wake in 45 mins. I am so desperate that I am thinking I'll give him a bottle of formula to see if its hunger. If nothing else it might just knock him out and give me a break.

I am doing BLW with him but its so slow and because he refuses his last afternoon nap most days he's often too upset and hungry to safely have any food so he is on no solids to speak of really. I am starting to really doubt everything I am doing and just wondering if maybe feeding him formula would help. unsure.gif Last night he slept fitfully for 4 hours total, its 35 degrees in our house, I am alone with 3 kids and I am hanging on by a thread.


Why not try spoon feeding him? My first kid loved finger foods but my next was much happier being spoon fed. Different kids had different preferences.  My second was a big lad and I was happier giving him more solids than formula (he was entirely formula fed and I wanted him to get used to different tastes).


#5 Amber Spyglass

Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:37 PM

Keep hanging, on your own with three kids is difficult and you are doing a great job so far.
Personally, I wouldn't necessarily introduce formula. I'd keep persisting with BF and BLW (was great for us).
With feeding to sleep, he has built a sleep association. I had this with my eldest DD. I followed Elizabeth Pantley's gentle 'pull off' technique (google her website / books for more info). This wasn't an immediate solution, but it helped me transition her to fall asleep without my boob in her mouth. Introduce a blanky / lovey type item (I used a favorite teddy) that bub holds during feeding/sleeping, and leave it in the cot with bub during sleep times.
Good luck. It will get better.

#6 mandala

Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:39 PM

First thought was teething - have you tried giving him a dose of Panadol/Nurofen?

If that doesn't work, in your situation, I would try the formula. Usually, I would probably suggest you look for other signs that your baby is hungry (e.g. pulling off, wanting to switch sides, not feeling a let down) before trying formula, but you sound like you're having a really rough time and it'd be quicker to just try it to rule out hunger as a cause.

DS was a relatively good self-settler when I started having significant supply issues, but even though they didn't start until he was about four months, he never had trouble settling. He started waking for feed more often, but settled quickly. So even severe hunger (poor DS put on 200g between 9 weeks and 5.5 months) doesn't necessarily mean a very unsettled baby.

#7 kay11

Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:43 PM

QUOTE (Amber Spyglass @ 18/01/2013, 07:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'd keep persisting with BF and BLW (was great for us).


What if he is going hungry, or becoming anaemic? Why persist with BLW? Yeah it was great for your kid and my oldest also loved it, but it's not for all kids. I'm all for following kids cues on this and one reason he could be screaming is because he's hungry. I'd deal with that one first and see if spoon feeding some dinner helps.

One thing I did for my boy was rice cereal with frozen cooked grated steak in it and some applesauce. He loved it and it gave him some protein and iron. He wouldn't have got that from finger food. My eldest was OK at chewing on a chop bone, but he didn't go for it.

#8 ubermum

Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:43 PM

Why do people always think formula will be the miracle answer? Your son is 6 months and breastfeeding well. Sure BLW is great, but why not try some food on a spoon too. You could pre-load the spoons for him. My 7 month old has been similar and too cranky and hot to get into BLW at night. I have spoon fed her some vegies while she BLW some barramundi fillet tonight. Also, try to break the feed to sleep association. Feed and then pat/ settle your baby. You may like to give him a comfort toy (buy 3 the same- one to use, one to lose and one in the wash, believe me) and try that. There is no way my booby girl will even take a bottle of anything, even EBM anyway without getting upset.

Edited by ubermum, 18 January 2013 - 06:45 PM.


#9 sarahec

Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:46 PM

He might need something extra, especially on hot days. Give it a try. Maybe spoon feed some solids.

#10 LookMumNoHands

Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:46 PM

I would not be introducing formula at this stage. It could be the heat, teething, or any number of things. Agree with PP's that BLW doesn't work so well on some babies, and that spoon feeding some dinner might be the way to go.

It sounds like your having a tough time right now, but I think you should try other things first, before formula.

Good luck  original.gif

#11 kay11

Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:50 PM

QUOTE (ubermum @ 18/01/2013, 07:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Also, try to break the feed to sleep association. Feed and then pat/ settle your baby. You may like to give him a comfort toy (buy 3 the same- one to use, one to lose and one in the wash, believe me) and try that. There is no way my booby girl will even take a bottle of anything, even EBM anyway without getting upset.


I'd do one thing at a time though. DD fed to sleep until she was about 3yo (bottle fed and then sippy cup). It wasn't great and hopefully he'll get there sooner than she did, but I also know that with a really determined 'feed to sleep' baby, it's very difficult to break and a comfort toy just didn't cut it.

#12 deejie

Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:52 PM

I'm sorry you're having a tough time sad.gif

Personally though, I would not be giving formula. Formula is so easily seen as the solution to everything-- perceived hunger, poor sleeping. If you have been breastfeeding for 5.5 months it is highly unlikely your supply has suddenly dropped to the point where it is no longer enough for him. In all honesty, if it's not hunger, giving him a bottle of formula when he is used to digesting breast milk could actually make him sleep worse. Or, I have had a few girlfriends where it "worked" the first few nights and then didn't work anymore.

I would be looking at teeth, high temperatures causing difficulty settling or a developmental spurt which means he will be unsettled for a while. If you are worried about BLW causing hunger, maybe try spoon feeding for a while. You can always go back to a fingerfood approach later if it suits you.

If he screams as soon as the breast is removed, it doesn't sound like hunger to me. It sounds as though he is sucking for comfort. Have you tried panadol or other painkillers to see if that helps?

#13 AntiBourgeoisie

Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:52 PM

Hi OP.
First of all - hugs, and hang in there!
Second of all - no he almost certainly does not need formula.
All babies go through periods like this, and for the most part it settles within a few weeks. Don't do anything rash now, don't make the mistake of thinking that this will last forever. It is highly unlikely to.
Your baby might be teething, might have a funny feeling tummy with new solids, might have 'growing pains', might be going through a developmental spurt - who knows. Sometimes some teeth pop out, mostly parents never know what caused this.
I always suggest panadol and nurofen soon before bedtime, and also after the appropriate hours have passed if they wake in the night. I also always suggest bonjela. These things are virtually risk free, and will help control any physical discomfort ( even if its not pain or teething, they usually have no side effects).
Then I suggest you just do whatever you need to get through for another week. Enlist family, friends, anyone to help through the difficult patches. And wait.
Your baby usually will not 'revert' to a previous state, but will 'improve' from this acute issue. Once that happens, THEN work out if you are happy with it, an if not, make plans to change it.
It's my opinion that any sort of sleep training during an acute phase is virtually doomed to failure, and any advice we give now ( or assertions like 'he has a feed to sleep association') is largely irrelevant. I suspect that most babies who have 'failed' sleep training have done so because their parents have tried it at the wrong time - things plod along, then something gets acutely worse and so you go 'right, had enough, must fix it!'. But now is not the time.
Will he feed in a sling? Can someone else sort out your other kids while you get comfy in front of the TV?
Whatever is going on, your baby needs you right now. You cannot 'spoil' him right now. Just hang in there a bit longer! And reassess in a week. If its not better in a week (so two weeks from when it got worse) then see your GP to exclude anything medical (eg ear infection). But mostly, babies seem o start getting a bit better again after 7-10 days.
Take care, OP.

#14 LovenFire

Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:57 PM

I would introduce formula to see if it helps.  

By all means, try to spoon feed some solids too as he is probably of the age when some solids would help.  I too tried blw and the LO doesn't always have the energy for it, so I try spoon feeding too, but my bub finishes the night with a bottle.  Then wakes at about midnight for another 90mL or so, and then through the night.

By the end of a full on day with 3 children, it may just be that he needs something more than breast milk (pulling on my flamesuit - oh bite me).  Formula may not be the answer, but it sure would be my first port of call.  Get the sample packs and try.

Good luck OP, you do sound like you need a break.

Edited by LovenFire, 18 January 2013 - 06:59 PM.


#15 Amber Spyglass

Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:00 PM

Kay11 - I was addressing the OP and offering my advice, based on my experience as help.
Not everyone has to offer the same advice as you in order to be right. The OP can decide for herself what will work for her, not you.

#16 axiomae

Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:02 PM

hugs OP, sounds rough. You're doing the best you can and sound like a caring loving mum.

Just wanted to comment that it was only after establishing solids that my LO stopped waking through the night. We spoon feed puree until she refuses it, then offer finger foods BLW style. She has caught on and after a month of doing it she now eats more finger foods than puree. Maybe you could do this too? It gives them a chance to practice biting and chewing and experience texture while eliminating the problem of hunger. Just a thought - DD stopped night waking after about a month of this, may be just a coincidence but could have been a hunger thing.

Could you try a dummy for your LO? Not sure if they will take it at this late stage but it may be that they just have a need to suck... sorry that's probably not much help, but my heart goes out to you, hugs!

#17 LovenFire

Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:04 PM

Anti - you always suggest panadol or nurofen before bed ... Surely trying formula is better than routinely medicating baby to sleep??????

#18 apple80

Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:04 PM

Is he thirsty? If he has started solids have you tried giving him water? My boobs seem to have trouble keeping up on really hot days (my baby is the same age) and water helps.

Good luck. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job. One 5.5 month old crappy sleeper is hard enough without two extra kids to worry about and nobody else to help. Hang in there.

#19 kay11

Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:10 PM

QUOTE (Amber Spyglass @ 18/01/2013, 08:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Kay11 - I was addressing the OP and offering my advice, based on my experience as help.
Not everyone has to offer the same advice as you in order to be right. The OP can decide for herself what will work for her, not you.


Fair enough and I never said she had to take my advice. But when I was desperate, hearing 'do more of the same' was depressing and I personally found that unhelpful. Sure it's an option to keep doing what she's doing but she doesn't feel like it's working and her kid is screaming.

#20 ubermum

Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:13 PM

QUOTE (kay11 @ 18/01/2013, 08:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Fair enough and I never said she had to take my advice. But when I was desperate, hearing 'do more of the same' was depressing and I personally found that unhelpful. Sure it's an option to keep doing what she's doing but she doesn't feel like it's working and her kid is screaming.

It doesn't mean that doing something different will be the cure though. Sometimes, it is just a developmental stage and they ride it out.

#21 Miranda Grace

Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:13 PM

Neurofen and Panado? Really?
If you are at your wits end, give a bottle of formula, see if it works and look at things again tomorrow.
Don't dose up your kid on medication for no reason.

#22 bikingbubs

Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:14 PM

I personally wouldn't at that age, but if its something you want to try then go for it! There is no harm in trying and it will eliminate all the what ifs.

#23 Amber Spyglass

Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:17 PM

Actually Kay11, I wasn't just saying do more of the same, I was essentially saying I thought she was doing ok with feeding, and that it sounded more like a sleep association to me, I then mentioned what helped me break a feed to sleep association.

#24 kay11

Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:24 PM

QUOTE (ubermum @ 18/01/2013, 07:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It doesn't mean that doing something different will be the cure though. Sometimes, it is just a developmental stage and they ride it out.


What sort of developmental stage means you leave a kid screaming and don't try to fix it? As a mother I would find it hard to sit there and say 'must be a developmental stage' when he might be hungry, thirsty, hot whatever.

I've come across this in "controlled comforting" (just keep at it - for weeks on end - and they'll learn eventually) and breastfeeding (it's very rare to not produce enough milk for your baby). Mother's intuition has to kick in somewhere and say that enough is enough. Both were incredibly depressing parts of my parenting of my babies and both left me feeling like a failure. I now find it much easier to just change what I'm doing when I don't feel it's working for my kids.

OP sorry about the hijack and hope you are all having a better day tomorrow.

#25 Felix101

Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:29 PM

Op, I think you need to trust your mumma instinct and do what you feel so right for you and your bub original.gif
    
Although, in saying that, Im going to give you my opinion anyway! But I'd completely disregard it if I was you and it didnt feel right right for you or your situation original.gif

I agree with PPs that it sounds more like comfort than hunger, and I think a dose of panadol or similar is worth a try. Does he take a dummy? Maybe it could help too. I'd also think about nappies, weight gain, all the usually indicators of getting enough food.

In terms of baby led weaning, does he seem hungry as a result of it? We do BLW and I constantly have my MIL telling me that he will be hungry if I don't ensure he gets X teaspoons of rice cereal, and that he'll sleep better if I make sure he actually gets some food in, etc, etc.... And I have to remind her that doesn't have a switch that automatically flicks the second they turn 4,5,6 months or solids start that says its time to be insatiably hungry. If you bub isn't getting much solid food in, but isn't used to getting much solid food in, and you dnt have any supply issues there is no reason (in theory) why he can't be fully satisfied by breastmilk alone. But every baby is different, and if you really feel its hunger, then your mum - you are in the position to know best original.gif

So again - look to your mumma instinct. Take a few nice deep breaths, forget about the stress, the exhaustion, look your lovely little fella in the eyes and do whatever you think is going to help him, and you. If that's formula, purées, getting a friend/family to come help, or look after the older kiddies, or just all of you hanging out in a nice cold bath for a while, then you need to do it. But if you do think its food, and you try formula, purées, just for the sake of your sanity and coping, keep in the back of your mind that it may well not provide a solution to the problem.

And remember tomorrow is a brand new day! I hope it's a cooler, more settled one for you original.gif




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