My baby just turned 7 months. He was a great sleeper from a younger age as I got him waking only 1-2 times a night at one stage but then we done a few trips away from home over the last few months and it threw him right out then he got sick/teething. But now we are back home and he has been waking every 2 hours during the night and he expects to be fed every time. My boobs are so empty throughout the night due to feeding so much. I have gone in after a while of him crying to pay him but his cry gets worse and chucks himself around, I’ve tried picking him up and rocking him but his cry gets worse as he try’s to put his head down to feed, I’ve tried a lullaby comforter, I’ve tried the self soothing thing but he could go from half and hour or more it seems and his cry gets to a point it sounds like he would get a sore throat from it all…. This is my 4th baby and my others were never like this. Please help! I need sleep to help with my other kids also.
I don't really have an answer for you, but some things to consider/think about.
Is there any chance that your milk production isn't keeping up with the (energy) needs of your baby?
For the short term, you could consider bottle-feeding your baby during the night. This might help in two ways:
- If your baby is too hungry to sleep, then a good bottle feed would fill him better than sucking the last drops out of an empty breast. That in turn would allow him to sleep longer stretches.
- The bottle-feeding duty can be shared with your partner, allowing you to catch more sleep.
For the longer term, take a critical look at his eating/drinking habits and see if you can find a way to send him to bed with a stomach full enough to last the night. That could mean giving him an additional meal, either of milk or of solids.
If you always feed him to sleep it's very likely this is a sleep association issue, rather than lack of food, as babies can sleep through the night from 3 months or so. A baby's sleep pattern is not constant — there are periods of light sleep and periods of deep sleep (aka "sleep cycles"). If your baby wakes between cycles he is unable to get himself back to sleep without breast feeding because that's the way he knows how to fall asleep.
There are a few options here that are basically on the spectrum between "live with it" and some degree of sleep training. Basically, you need to somehow break this association and help him fall asleep unaided. We sleep trained our daughter at 4 months with the Ferber method and it went well — by the third night she was sleeping all the way through. But! It's not a one-stop solution. It is easy to fall back into a pattern of regular waking and sleep associations. This happened to us after a run of sickness, teething, and so on — we fed her to sleep a couple of times and before we knew it we were back on multiple wakings. Fortunately it's usually quite easy to get back on track again.
Note: sleep training is a divisive issue and some people are very against it. I am comfortable with the decisions we made and their outcomes and I'm not going to be drawn into any kind of debate or argument about sleep training.
You can try cosleeping with the baby, then it is much easier to feed and get enough sleep. If he drinks your breasts empty, they will produce more milk so that he does not need to suck out every last drop desperately, so it should all readjust in time.
If you can't produce enough milk, try feeding him something that fills the stomach well in the evening (e.g. oatmeal or milk rice).
My experience: I think my child drank around every two hours day and night until I introduced him to food (around 6 months old). Then daily breastfeeding sessions got less frequent, but nightly not. I kept up the nightly breastfeeding until 18 months, then finally weaned him. And if I remember correctly, it was every 2-3 hours that he wanted to drink during nighttime, right to the end. Yes, it was definitely not a need for food at that age, just a convenience he was used to. But one that I decided to endure to have my peace and sleep (and an alive teddy bear to cuddle).