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My Ngala • View topic - Can I night wean 9 month old who doesn't take much solids?

Can I night wean 9 month old who doesn't take much solids?

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Can I night wean 9 month old who doesn't take much solids?

Postby helpforsleep » Sun 18 Nov, 2012 9:31 pm

Hello

My 9 mth baby girl is breastfed, and continues to wake approx 11pm, 3am & 5am for nightfeeds. I introduced solids slowly from 5 months, but unfortunately she doesn't take alot, most days 1-2tsp but sometimes up to 1tablespoon. She dislikes most food on a spoon, so at the advice of the child health nurse we are introducing more and more finger food, but she hasn't figured out how to feed herself with this food, but she'll take anything I put in her mouth with my fingers. Unfortunately, she hasn't figured out how to swallow very well, as she will chew and chew food but then have most of it dribble out her mouth.

I did have a "fall asleep nursing" sleep association which we've managed to break successfully for a week and a half now (thanks to previous advice!!), but she still wakes those three times. On occassion she'll wake only twice.

She takes about 6 day feeds, which includes trying to cluster feed before bedtime to encourage longer sleep.

I would like to try to resettle her without a feed, but being that she is not taking a lot of solids yet I'm worried that she could be genuinely hungry. Her weight is fine, almost 10kg and she is quite long.

She never took to a bottle, but have got her used to a sippy cup now (water with meals and the occassional formula).

So my questions are:
a). how many nightfeeds would suffice given her low solids intake
b). if I can reduce her nightfeeds, is it better to discourage the feeding before midnight to try and get the longer stretch then, or should I keep the ~11pm feed and discourage the 3am & 5am?

Our bedtime is approx 8pm, and 7am wake up in the morning.

Thank you!
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Re: Can I night wean 9 month old who doesn't take much solid

Postby NgalaOnline » Mon 19 Nov, 2012 10:27 pm

Hi HelpforSleep

Thank you for your post. I am delighted to hear that the previous advice was helpful and that you have had some recent success in helping your baby to learn to settle herself to sleep - well done. It is common for babies to not show a lot of interest in solids and to only eat small amounts at first. Your breastmilk is still her main source of nutrition and food is largely for the experience of learning to become familiar with food at this early stage. Your approach of giving her some more finger foods is excellent, even if she is mainly playing with them at the moment this is part of her learning process.

At 9 months of age and especially for a baby not eating a lot during the day it is reasonable to expect a baby to seek one or two breastfeeds overnight. It is possible, however, for some night feeds to be more out of habit and comfort than out of hunger and it does seem reasonable to work on trying to get your baby to drop at least one of her night feeds - possibly looking at dropping a second one when she is eating a little more. There is no right answer as to which feed to drop first, this largely depends on you and your baby - for instance which feed does your baby show least interest in? Is there a feeding time that she seems to skip more often or is more likely to be resettled easier at? Do you mind staying up to do an 11pm feed or do you prefer to go to bed earlier? In general it is best to pick the feed your baby seems least interested in and aim to resettle at that time period. If your baby shows no preference between feeding sessions it would be reasonable to try to exclude either the 11pm feed or the 3am feed. By 5am it is reasonable to expect your baby may be genuinely hungry, plus many babies to wake for the day at this time and a breastfeed is a great way to settle her for some more sleep at this time.

Sending your partner in to resettle your baby is a great idea. Another idea that works for some people (although not all) is to wake your baby fully before offering a feed - ie change her nappy before the feed so that she does not associate rousing between sleep cycles with being picked up and fed straight away in a still drowsy state. Once you have changed her nappy you may like to then offer her a reduced feed (such as just one side) to reduce the amount her body is accustomed to receiving this nutrition at this time, before putting her to bed awake again. This approach is often slower and not always successful, but it does work for some people. Alternatively you may like to attend (or have your husband attend) your baby and offer her other methods of in cot settling such as patting, ssshhhing or stroking that you then reduce and remove over several days. It is very likely that your baby will show some anger and protest about this change for several nights as she was happy with the previous arrangements. It is ok for your baby to protest and feel some anger about the change so long as you are there to give her comfort and reassurance. Many parents find that the baby may protest for a reasonable amount of time the first 2-4 nights, but that by the end of the week the feed has been eliminated. During the time you are working on removing one feed you may find it easier to get up, dress warmly and stay out of bed whilst offering soothing to your baby as coming and going from a warm bed can be more frustrating.

I hope this information has been helpful. Please ring the Ngala helpline if you would like more help or support.
This information is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the personalized assistance that can be received from the Ngala Helpline by telephone.

For families residing in Western Australia you can also contact the
Ngala Helpline
Telephone 9368 9368 or 1800 111 546 for country access
Available 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm
or request a callback online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
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