I’ve heard of the four-month sleep regression, but is it normal for a five-month-old to forget how to eat at night when they wake up hungry? Wesley used to start snuffling to himself to wake me up, I’d give him a boob, and he’d eat and go right back to sleep. I’d often fall asleep before he was done.
Lately, he wakes up and wails until I give him a boob, but instead of trying to eat he starts YELLING. Angry, frustrated yelling, writhing around, etc. Either that or he’ll mouth the boob a bit but not make any kind of effort to latch/suckle and then start yelling. A few nights ago, I had to get up and sit on the edge of the bed and nurse him in the cradle hold every. single. time he woke up. This is a baby who was pleased as punch to nurse side-lying every night for MONTHS and now seems to have forgotten everything he ever knew about nighttime feedings.
Sometimes what ends up working is if I let him have his pacifier for a few seconds, and while he has the sucking rhythm down I quickly swipe out the binky and give him a boob. But it isn’t foolproof. Once, offering the other boob worked; once, we had to specifically wash the nipple shield for that feeding (you’re supposed to wash them after every feeding but hell if I am getting out of bed multiple times a night to wash it – a quick wipe generally suffices); one night we had to thaw some milk and give him a bottle, TWICE, instead of merely breastfeeding him. And then this morning he refused to eat at all. I took him to daycare (arriving at 7:45am) when he hadn’t eaten since 4:15am and he typically likes to eat every two hours, if he even makes it that far.
I don’t know what’s going on. He’s CLEARLY hungry and looking for food; his nursing position is the same when he’s side-lying as when he’s cradle-held; he’ll often stop crying to take a pacifier for a few minutes, but after he realizes it’s not giving him food he starts crying again. He eats perfectly fine during the day (either from me or from the bottle).
Consequently, I am getting less sleep now than I did when he was a newborn. This is a problem. I don’t mind that he wakes up during the night to nurse; I mind that when he wakes up, instead of quietly eating his food and going back to sleep, he yells and screams and makes a fuss until I rouse myself completely and sit up and hold him on my lap to eat, staying awake the whole time.
Is this teething? Demon possession? Sleep regression due to milestones? Ear infection? Do I have a crazy baby?