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Thread: 12 month old wakes frequently, nurses for hours

  1. #1

    Default 12 month old wakes frequently, nurses for hours

    I've been gritting my teeth and trying to put up with this, but I'm coming to the end of my rope!

    My 12 month old has gotten better over time--he woke to eat every 45 minutes until he was six months old, so this is actually an improvement. However, it isn't getting better fast enough!

    Bub wakes every hour after I put him down like clockwork. He does this for the first 2-4 hours of the night. Then he sleeps for 2-3 hours and nurses for 15-20 minutes for the rest of the night if I'm lucky (he sleeps from 7-6 or so, and takes one nap in the morning most days. He refuses to nap without nursing the whole time, so I'm not sleeping then either). He needs to be held upright for a bit before being put down again or he'll get indigestion, so although we're co sleeping, side lying and sleeping through his waking are not options. Additionally, the side I feel comfortable side lying on has very little supply, and it's almost down to nothing at this point (the producing side is too sensitive. Not painful, just sensitive.)

    If I'm not lucky, which is about half the time, he also wakes up at least once in the middle of the night and insists on nursing for an hour or more. I've been getting very little sleep for a year and my body is starting to fall apart. My joints hurt all the time, I can't concentrate, and I probably wouldn't even know if I was seriously ill. Is this normal behavior for a baby? The ped has brushed it off, but it just seems way more demanding than what my friends report at this age.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 12 month old wakes frequently, nurses for hours

    Sleep pattern like this is normal, in that it is not necessarily a sign of any issues of any kind. However, that does not help you if you are at the end of your rope.

    The book Sweet Sleep has many gentle ideas for helping baby sleep longer and other ideas for mom lengthening her own sleep.

    Some kids have a hard time sleeping longer stretches because there is something causing them wakefulness and discomfort. Your mention baby has to be held upright after nursing or he gets indigestion. This is a bit unusual at this age. So this might be something to look at in your case. How is your child's health otherwise?

  3. #3

    Default Re: 12 month old wakes frequently, nurses for hours

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*maddieb View Post
    . Your mention baby has to be held upright after nursing or he gets indigestion. This is a bit unusual at this age. So this might be something to look at in your case. How is your child's health otherwise?
    Generally, he's very healthy! Rarely sick and he's always stayed on his growth curve. He was a breech baby delivered by c-section. He had pretty bad reflux for the first 6 months or so and could not sleep lying flat, but he's since gotten much better. He had a mild reaction to me eating dairy when he was younger, but seems fine with it now. He still has a little reflux, I suspect, and it is usually a big burp that makes him squirm and wakes him the first time at night. That is why I hold him upright after nursing--it seems to help, and he won't go to sleep for long if I don't.

    When he was first born, the ped mentioned a minor tongue tie, but then said it wasn't a problem if he was gaining well. No one else who has seen him, including a lactation consultant early on, has mentioned it, though I also haven't asked or pointed it out specifically.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Default Re: 12 month old wakes frequently, nurses for hours


    How would you feel about trying a dairy free diet for a few weeks? If it doesn't improve at all in a week, that's likely not the cause. Both of my children were/are dairy sensitive. Painful, frequent waking was the biggest symptom in my oldest. Reflux was in my youngest, who's also a year old. He accidentally ate a yogurt covered pretzel his brother had left out yesterday. My normally amazing sleeper slept exactly as you described yours doing. His other symptoms like skin rashes have lessened but reflux affecting his sleep is a definite when dairy is involved with this kid.

    Otherwise, what have you tried differently in his sleep environment? Temperature, clothing, noise, light, and t.v. exposure can be detrimental to sleep.

    The above article is one of my favorites as it lists many books and websites that have helped do many in the gentle parenting community. I figure the advice to sleep train will come along so i wanted to point out some alternatives. Your baby's discomfort likely has a trigger. The level of exhaustion that comes with a poorly sleeping baby is just awful though. Are you getting help and support from anyone? Someone to watch the baby while you sleep in one day or take a nap?

  5. #5

    Default Re: 12 month old wakes frequently, nurses for hours

    It might be worth it to try dairy free again. He seems to have gotten over that, but maybe it's manifesting differently as he gets older.

    We've gotten the room as dark as it can be, an air filter and fan create white noise, and the temperature is pretty controlled. This kid is a little bit of a ninja when it comes to waking in response to any stimulus. I only get to the bathroom and back about half the time when I have to go, despite having carefully mapped out every creaking floorboard. For naps, I only keep him asleep by comfort nursing the whole time. Bed sharing did improve his sleep, but obviously not as much as I'd like.

    My husband tries to get me an extra hour of sleep in the morning, but work can conflict and it's not quite enough when I'm running on 4-5 hours of such interrupted sleep for such an extended period. Unfortunately we moved to our area for a job so we don't have a lot of family help and financially we're not in a position to hire help. Hopefully that will change. This would be totally manageable with two more hours of sleep!

    I ordered Sweet Sleep and hopefully it will have some ideas!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    Default Re: 12 month old wakes frequently, nurses for hours

    Is your 12 month old eating solids? I find my son sleeps better if I give him a snack before bed (about an hour after dinner at 5.) but my son is also not nursing as frequently in general as yours. Some babies nurse more if they have stomach upset as its their only tool for comfort.

    At 12 months milk no longer needs to be your child's primary source of nutrition so solids may help stretch out nursing sessions and help lengthen sleep. I would definitely avoid dairy until you rule it out. It could be another food sensitivity tho. My first born had wheat, dairy and soy sensitivity/allergy but grew out of them by age 2.5 my second had a dairy allergy and I still avoid it at 15 months.

    He will eventually grow out of this. I know it's hard I'm still exhausted many days. Last night my 15 mo old woke up when I went to lay down, then at 2/3am my 34 mo old woke up because he wet his pull up and if leaked, then at 4-5am my 15 mo old woke up to nurse and eat before finally falling back asleep at 6. The latter is an almost every day occurrence. Praise Jesus that my husband is able to help me sometimes in the mornings so I can get another hour or so of sleep after nights like this.

    I have tried to set myself a 9pm bedtime no matter what the house looks like. (Tho I forget sometimes.)

    would it be possible for you to get to sleep earlier?

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