Waking 4-8 times a night to feed at 7 months old, mum was shattered

Baby Asher was 7 months old when his mum called me, exhausted and fed up, she was at a loss as to why her little boy was waking so frequently over night. We chatted about her options and mum felt that an over night was actually her best option, as she had tried some sleep training on her own before, but at 3am always ended up caving and giving in as the exhaustion was too much.

When I arrived to do Asher’s over night consult, it was clear he was a thriving healthy baby, he was smiling and clearly loved his parents. Despite being closer to 8 months than 7, he was consuming minimal solids and breastfeeding every 2 hours throughout the day, as well as 4-8 times a night.

Mum loved breastfeeding, and was lucky to have Asher with her at work, but was starting to feel very drained by the constant demands to nurse from Asher on top of his regular wake ups at night. After a bit of a chat it sounded to me like Asher’s frequent demands to nurse throughout the day were more about tiredness than hunger. Clearly some of his feeding was when he was hungry, but mum explained he would often rub his eyes, crying and try to feed to sleep, crying and getting frustrated when he didn’t quickly fall asleep.

I discussed with mum how Asher’s 4-8 feeds a night would also be dulling his appetite for solids, we devised a plan to continue to offer Asher his solids twice a day, and increase the variety of food also, as Asher was yet to try any meat and was limited in the variety of fruits and vegetables he was having also.

We decided to wean Asher down to two night feeds for the first week, then one feed the following week, keeping an open mind as to how hungry Asher might be as he would have some catching up to do in the day once we dropped those extra night feeds. Mum was shattered by excited to be making a change.

Once we got Asher ready for bed and mum began her night routine of feeding Asher after his bath it became evident to me that mum was so concerned with not creating a feed to sleep association she was putting a hungry baby to bed. No wonder previous attempts at sleep training had failed! Mum wanted to stop nursing after about 6 minutes as Asher’s sucks had slowed, and she thought he was done. I suggested we keep him on until he was no longer swallowing, and switch sides to wake him up if he gets too drowsy, and allow him a nice long full feed. He actively feed for nearly 30 minutes!!! This was his biggest feed in months!

Once we put Asher to bed wide awake after his feed, mum explained he usually cries on and off for up to 40 minutes before finally settling. He didn’t make a peep!!!

We spoke some more after Asher was asleep and dad pointed out Asher always sleeps well until 9pm when mum and dad tried to go to sleep. Their flat was designed with the bedrooms off the lounge, I suggested the lack of noise once mum and dad turned off the TV and went to bed was probably contributing to Asher waking up. We popped some white noise on outside Asher’s door at 9pm and for once he didn’t wake when mum and dad went to bed!

Some other changes we made was a sleeping bag and warmer PJ’s. Even though it was the peak of summer Asher’s room was very cool at bed time, and due to being a down stairs flat it was actually built into the ground, this meant it didn’t get hot and stuffy over night like a regular bedroom in summer, and Asher was actually a bit cold over night.

That night Asher only woke for one feed at 3am!!! He stirred and grizzled a few times, but he self settled and acted like a dream baby! Not the hard night I was expecting at all!

But this is a clear example of why a home consult is considered the golden standard for sleep help. You can read all the books on how to sleep train in the world, but they won’t be able to watch you feed, or see that your babies room is cooler than you thought, or notice how quiet your house gets at 9pm. It is these holistic changes which ensure that the actual sleep training is just the cherry on the top.

It has been a month since I went to see Asher, and he now sleeps 12 hours a night, and takes 2 amazing naps a day. He eats like a champion, and has 4 good breast feeds a day. He cut the day feeding back on his own, once he wasn’t exhausted from his frequent night wake ups, he just fed when he was hungry.

If this sounds like you, or you would like to chat to us about how a home consult, or any personalised consult from our team might help you. CLICK HERE.