Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

13 MO still waking to eat during night..

Let me preface this, by saying that I know that this can be a controversial topic and I'm looking for any moms who have experienced something similar and found a solution.

My 13 month old has had ear problems since she was about four months old, got tubes at 7 months and just had her adenoids removed last Thursday. Needless to say, she doesn't always feel the best. She is also above the 100th percentile in size, so she does a lot of growing as well.

My conundrum is that DD is still waking one to two times a night for a bottle. She does not get bottles any other time of the day but at bedtime. I have offered sippy cups at bedtime and she just bats them away and screams (like really screams) until she gets a bottle. Once she gets 8 oz. sucked down, she's out. When she wakes up to eat, it's all of 5 minutes to make the bottle, change her diaper and let her suck down another 8 oz. and she's ready to go back into her crib.

DH and I are both overwhelmed by the fact that we haven't gotten to really sleep through the night since she was born over a year ago. He thinks it's time for some tough love, but I'm not really sure. I held out trying to do too much to change things before this last surgery, because I knew her ears were still a big problem.And part of me is still holding out hope that she will start sleeping better in the next few days as she heals. But am I just enabling her and her need for a bottle to get back to sleep? Or is she really and truly hungry? 

I would really just love to hear from anyone who has been through something similar. DD1 started sleeping through the night at 4 months, usually for 12 hours straight. We did have to do sleep training for going to bed, but that's it. DD2 is a totally different bird when it comes to sleep. She goes down pretty well, but wakes a lot. 

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Re: 13 MO still waking to eat during night..

  • We ran into a similar issue with DD around 12 months.  We took her bottles of BM away during the day and switched her to cups but she still was BFing in the evenings, in the middle of the night (1-3 times) and first thing in the morning.  I asked our pedi. about it and she said that at that age (1 year) the MOTN feedings were just for comfort and not for nutrition.  So she suggested to do our best to rid her of MOTN feedings.

    I started slowly -

    Week 1: as long as DD had gone at least 3 hrs. before waking, I would go in and nurse just enough to comfort, but not a full feeding.  If she woke before 3hrs, if she couldn't put herself back to sleep after 5-10 min, DH would go in and comfort her back to sleep. 

    Week 2: wait at least 4 hrs. before going in to nurse. If she didn't make at least 4 hrs., after 5-10 min, DH would go in to comfort.

    Week 3: by this point, DD had caught on and she was only waking once (usually between 3-4 AM) to eat and then would go back down for the last few hours until morning.

    We had a little regression when she got a bad cold, but now at 13 months-1 week, she is back to sleeping through the night.  Sometimes she wakes up crying, but within 5 min or so, she puts herself back to sleep.

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  • I might try increasing her food and milk intake during the day. Is she eating and drinking a lot during waking hours?
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  • My DD didn't STTN until 16.5 months. We tried CIO and it didn't work because she was legitimately hungry. Since your LO is waking up and actually eating 8oz it sounds like it's not just out of habit and she's hungry. If she were just waking up and drinking for a minute or so that's different but with 8ounces I'd say she's legitimately hungry.

    You can start upping her calories and milk intake during the day and evening to see if she'll stay full all night and sleep. Also, unless LO has a BM I wouldn't bother with the diaper change.

     If I were you, I wouldn't CIO, especially with LO's medical issues. I know how much it sucks to not get more than 4 hours of sleep straight but it won't last forever. Hang in there ;)


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  • My DD is the same age and still nurses at night 3 times. I will try night weaning in a couple of months. I still think she is getting a lot of calories at night. I have tried to up her intake during the day, but we are not there yet.
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  • I have no advice but I am happy you posted this. I am in the same boat. We had severe milk allergies and were waking about 7 times a night until 11 months. Now she still gets a bottle in the middle of the night. She will scream until she gets it. I tried reducing the ounces, more food in the day, CIO. Nothing works. My dr suggests to just go cold turkey but that didn't help. I know how you feel. We haven't slept for 14 months here. I have decided to take my friends advice and give her that one bottle, because after all we have dealt with that one bottle waking is a huge improvement. Good luck. 

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  • image eyenigh:
    I might try increasing her food and milk intake during the day. Is she eating and drinking a lot during waking hours?

    Yes, she eats more than her 3 year old sister most of the time. And we eat dinner at 6:30 and bedtime is 7:30, so it's not far apart. And she drinks about 2-3 sippy cups of milk or (1) water a day.  

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  • image LatteLady5:

    My DD didn't STTN until 16.5 months. We tried CIO and it didn't work because she was legitimately hungry. Since your LO is waking up and actually eating 8oz it sounds like it's not just out of habit and she's hungry. If she were just waking up and drinking for a minute or so that's different but with 8ounces I'd say she's legitimately hungry.

    You can start upping her calories and milk intake during the day and evening to see if she'll stay full all night and sleep. Also, unless LO has a BM I wouldn't bother with the diaper change.

     If I were you, I wouldn't CIO, especially with LO's medical issues. I know how much it sucks to not get more than 4 hours of sleep straight but it won't last forever. Hang in there ;)

    Thank you for your response. That's sort of my thought process as well, she really seems hungry and I don't want to deprive her if that's the real issue. I will continue to try upping her calories during the day to see if I can get her to start cutting out feedings. Thank you everyone! 

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  • My little guy is almost 17 mos and we are in the same situation. He also wakes and will suck down a bottle. So I too feel he is really hungry. I've tried to substitute milk for water to 'trick' him into not waking up for milk to no avail. My ped also said he doesn't need it. But I'm his mommy and I feel he does. I'm exhausted but will keep this up as long as he needs it. This can't go on forever right?!?  I don't have a solution just wanted you to know you're not alone. 
  • AJW515AJW515
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    I feel your pain.  My almost 18 month old has been chronically sick, getting ear tubes at 12 months, and has newly discovered sleep apnea due to enlarged adenoids.  She still wakes at least twice a night, and rarely goes back down without 5 oz of milk in her sippy.  I've tried to trick her with water, decrease the amount slowly over several days, let her CIO, but in the end, just giving her the milk, and putting her back down is the easiest at this point.  I'm hoping that getting her adenoids out will help, but I'm afraid this has now become a habit.  I just feel bad weaning her, doing extended CIO, or any other extreme measures because she's been so sick.   If you figure out how to do it, I'm all ears!  DH is ready to try for #2, but at this point, I just need sleep!!

  • Nicb13Nicb13
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    Have you talked to your pedi about this? Does he/she have any suggestions?

     

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  • image Nicb13:
    Have you talked to your pedi about this? Does he/she have any suggestions?

    Yes, Pedi said she should be off bottles and to just go cold turkey. But I just don't feel right about that one - this was actually the NP. But she also said that taking bottles will make her ears worse, which seems really odd since her ENT disagrees. 

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  • image wochoa22:
    My little guy is almost 17 mos and we are in the same situation. He also wakes and will suck down a bottle. So I too feel he is really hungry. I've tried to substitute milk for water to 'trick' him into not waking up for milk to no avail. My ped also said he doesn't need it. But I'm his mommy and I feel he does. I'm exhausted but will keep this up as long as he needs it. This can't go on forever right?!?  I don't have a solution just wanted you to know you're not alone. 

     

    You are not alone.  My 13m old is not sleeping through the night. she is up 2x a night to feed (bottle).  we have upped her feedings throughout the day and always make sure she has dinner before bedtime.  We have a nighttime routine (dinner, bath, bottle/ rock til she is near asleep and then place in crib) and has not helped. Her normal bedtime is 730ish, so DH and I have tried to keep her up til 9pm last week, but some days she woke up 1x sometimes 2x.  Prior to that, we tried CIO for 4 nights. After her crying for almost 2 hours on and off all 4 nights, we would give in and giver her a bottle.  I gave in bc it was so much easier to give her a bottle,change diaper and be done within 10minutes and back to sleep, as opposed to hearing her cry so long. We are frustrated and exhausted but dont know what else to do. I know her molars are coming in and even the nights ive given her tylenol, she hasnt stayed down more than 3 hours.  I just dont get it, and with DS on the way in 5 weeks, I really wish I had a resolution !!

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  • Honestly, for me it was just easier to nurse her back to sleep rather than do any kind of strict sleep training and eventually she grew out of it.  I did make sure she had a nice big dinner with meat, veggie, starch and fruit.  I made sure I to only spend 5 minutes (2-3 minutes each side) nursing her.  After that she was rocked or I patted her back.  Have you tried decreasing the amount? 

    My DD never took a bottle, but I thought laying flat after having a bottle causes ear issues.  Since your DD is at a good weight she really doesn't need it.  Also, don't change her diaper that might be keeping her awake as well.

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  • This post makes me feel SOOO much better about this because we are having similar problems. Our 12.5 month old son still wakes at least once, sometimes twice a night and stands straight up in his crib and cries. I have tried to wait it out and see if he goes back to sleep but once he stands, it's all over. Once he sees us, he screams louder.  We have tried to comfort him, but he will cry when we stop rubbing his back or leave the room.  We try not to rock him or take him out of the crib so that we don't start bad habits that way.

     Going back to the beginning of bottle weaning, though, we started right before a year. We took one bottle away a little at a time and replaced it with the Nuk Learner Sippy cup which is a rubber sippy tip that is similar to a bottle but really is a sippy cup. He does great with this sippy cup. We currently only give him sippy cups all day with either water, juice, or milk.  Before bed, we give him 8 oz of milk in a bottle and again when he wakes in the morning. He does not fall asleep with his bottle anymore though. He falls asleep on his own in his crib both at night and for naps. We finally got over that battle!  

    The only thing that works in the middle of the night is the bottle. We have weaned him off of milk because we know he is not hungry. We put a bottle of cold water in his crib when he goes to sleep. Sometimes, he will wake and find it himself. He usually doesn't drink the entire thing at night so he just needs the sucking. We also have not used pacifiers since about 9 months so sometimes, we think he just likes to suck on the bottle to suck.

     

    We aren't really worried about weaning off of the bottles at bedtime and in the morning but I am sooo frustrated with the middle of the night stuff. I don't want him to need a bottle but he just won't sleep without it. Sometimes that doesn't even work! 

     I wish you luck with weaning the night feedings and I hope it all goes better! I haven't breastfed since he was 6 months since going back to work almost depleted by supply so he has been bottle fed since then. Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

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  • DD is 13 months and still wakes for a bottle most nights (only once unless she is going through a growth spurt).  I figure it is common with BF babies, why is it such a big deal for FF?  DH and I trade off, and the feeding usually only takes about 10 minutes.  I also have an almost-4-year-old bad sleeper, so I am used to interrupted sleep.
    DS born 8/8/09 and DD born 6/12/12.
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