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Can exclusivity cause sleep problems?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My 14-month-old won't eat anything except breastmilk and is up hourly at night. Is she really hungry at night because she doesn't eat any solids during the day? Is that what is causing her to be up so often at night? I can't keep this hourly night-waking up, it's exhausting, but yet I don't want her to be starving either, IF that is the case, due to not eating solids during the day. Is breastfeeding alone enough for a 14-month-old?

Any advice, insight, suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated for this exhausted momma!!
post #2 of 10
How much does she nurse during the day? I'm a big believer in following the child's lead on food, but she does sound like she might be hungry. Maybe she just doesn't like the kinds of food you've been offering her. I don't know. I know pediatricians would say that breastmilk isn't enough at that age.
post #3 of 10
My son started sleeping better when he ate more solids. But his eating more solids was a gentle push from me to begin with so I think it may have been behavioral, too. Like he no longer nursed at the drop of a hat b/c I had (for example) stopped nursing him outside the house so he was more used to finding other ways to calm down. Actually I never nursed much outside the house but I stopped coming home to nurse and stopped pumping bottles for him.

Any signs of food allergies? That's the other option. I would say though that no child NEEDS (nutritionally!!) to nurse every hour. I'm not getting into the argument about whether a child needs to nurse hourly at night for emotional comfort (I think not).
post #4 of 10
My 22 month old just seemed to go on a "solid food" strike and started waking every 90 minutes or so at night... YAWN!! He USED to be a good eater.

Know what I did? LEFT THE HOUSE!!! Gave hime to DH for a LONG day. He never cried for "ne ne" but ate like a FIEND all day and slept through the night for the second time IN HIS LIFE!!

He's back to his usual WAY BETTER "crappy" up-twice-a-night stuff but I am more careful to offer water before dinner if he asks to nurse... I'll nurse him if he asks again, but I got him a new sippy cup and now "you SURE you don't want water in your SIPPY?" often gets a nod.. and then he eats more dinner.

HTH! and good luck!
post #5 of 10
almost 16mo DS similar situation. days he eats well does not = better sleep here yet.
Some toddlers are eating very few solids, or even no solids, at 12 months. This is not unusual and really depends on your child - there is quite a big variation. We like to see breastmilk making up the majority (around 75%) of baby's diet at 12 months. Some babies will be taking more solids by 12 months, but others will still be exclusively or almost-exclusively breastfed at this point. It is normal for baby to keep breastmilk as the primary part of his diet up until 18 months or even longer. An example of a nice gradual increase in solids would be 25% solids at 12 months, 50% solids at 18 months, and 80% solids at 24 months.
hth...also read http://www.amazon.com/My-Child-Wont-.../dp/0912500999
made me feel better
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you!!

I am relieved to know that I'm not that far off base with regard to her feeding expectations for this age. Also, I've been given advice to have her CIO and that just doesn't sit well with me. Especially if she is genuinely hungry! It just sounds/seems too cruel to me! That's one of the reasons that I came to this board, thinking it was a more "Attachment Parenting" style oriented and that's along the lines of how I think. Even as desparate for sleep as I am, I could never handle the CIO method! My heart couldn't take it. (Besides, how far would you have to take it, if someone went that route? Making the child go "cold turkey" or Wouldn't only letting them cry alittle bit be "giving in" and only making the problem worse?)

Anyway, thanks soooo much for the help! I really appreciate it.
post #7 of 10
You definitely don't have to (and shouldn't) CIO. There are lots of threads on nightweaning and if you google 'jay gordon nightweaning' you'll find a method that is often recommended. good luck!
post #8 of 10
For my kids, sleep issues were always related to some general health problem. Chiropractic care (just a session or two) helped tremendously for my son. We had other stuff that's probably not applicable, but my daughter's sleep got better once we took out some food allergens (gluten and dairy, so not easy but something to consider) and low-level food intolerances are more common than I used to think.

I would probably look for a reason--unless your LO is so busy during the day that she goes multiple really long stretches without eating, I wouldn't think she needs food that often at night, but she may have something making it difficult to sleep and need the comfort and support in getting back to sleep.
post #9 of 10
now that I don't have a little one on me....I'm so happy to hear youre not into CIO!
cosleeping makes it easier for me to not to fully wake. DS starts off in his crib and after the first waking he ends up with me.
Another trick I do, I started counting down from 5 and saying byebye or night night ninny as often as I can. Then at night/in bed when he latches on just for comfort I say that and he usually pops himself off before 3... like ok, nite nite. It decreases the annoying constant comfort latch so I sleep better. And sometimes during the day he covers it up/puts it away for me after I say this....tooo cute!
If you want to nightwean, some say the best way is to have your partner there at night to comfort her for night wakings since comfort from them doesnt mean ninny. My sis sidecarred her DDs crib and it went:mommy, daddy, baby. If she'd wake and was hungry, she fed her but then always passed her back to daddy who put her in the crib and rubbed her back. I know some women have to actual be in a separate room from LO. My DH does shift work so that wouldn't work for us. Glad you found MDC....its been a huge help for me!
post #10 of 10
My 15 month old DS also refuses nearly all solids (will eat a bite or two of banana or yogurt). He is a terrible sleeper but I do not think it is because of the night nursing. I have two friends who both have big solids eaters and their babies still wake up a lot at night. I really think it depends on the baby. Definitely read My Child Won't Eat by Carlos Gonzalez.
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