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My daughter (10 months old) is recently waking up several times per night, wanting to be breastfed. This happens every 2 hours, so 4-5 times per night. She wakes up and requests to be breastfed, and if I don't, she will start crying. She does not accept a pacifier instead.

We already started feeding there, and progressed to a point where she barely is breastfed over the day, most time eating semisolids.

I started wondering whether it can actually be that she gets hungry so quickly/often? Or could it be that she actually is aiming for something else?

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    Have you started introducing solid foods to your baby?
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Apr 9 at 14:17
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    As @Zibbobz implied, first make sure she's not hungry. If she is growing well and on semisolids, try offering her a bottle or maybe some warm cereal. If hungry, she should want to eat. If your baby does not know how to get to sleep without being on the breast, she may be wanting to breastfeed simply because she's waking up. If she's using your breast as a comfort object, and her growth is normal and healthy, it may be time to start sleep training with other comfort objects. See the side bar; this is a very frequently asked question and reading some of the q/a may help quite a bit. Commented Apr 9 at 17:12
  • Yes, we already started feeding her. Thanks for the hint with the comfort object, as it really could be the case that she only wants the breast for comfort!
    – BenjyTec
    Commented Apr 10 at 6:25

2 Answers 2

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Yes, she is probably hungry, but at this point she doesn't need the nutrition constantly like that. You can train her to sleep for longer without concerns for her health.

Her body has gotten used to those feedings, so she does actually feel hungry. You can't drop them cold-turkey, but you can slowly cut down on their length.

If you're interested in additional resources, Dr Ferber's book, "Solve your child's sleep problems", addresses this situation.

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We went for the "10 minutes" approach. It likely has a real name, but that is what my wife told me it is called:

When a reasonable amount of time has past since last feeding: breastfeeding is sometimes an option. Its a bit of a judgement call, but my wife observed that he was mostly just soft nibbling, not really drinking. It was about comfort, not the nutrition.

We switched to the the 10min tactic: When he cries we go in his room, give him a friendly touch to confirm we still exist (about a long moment of time), but thats it and we leave. No talking or picking up.
When he kept crying we'd leave him for 10min (I believe its supposed to be 8min, but in our case that extra 2min made a difference). After that repeat.

The goal is to teach that you are nearby, but they need to sleep comfort themself, not via a breast. This does not really work the first time, but for us it was about four days, each day we needed to come back less.

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