Night Feedings ??

Erin - posted on 02/03/2011 ( 327 moms have responded )

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My almost 8 month old wakes up every 2-3hours at night for a bottle still. What are some tips or techniques to help wean him from night time feedings or will he eventually outgrow this?

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Kerry - posted on 02/08/2011

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Get your hands on "Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child" by Dr. Marc Weisbluth. This most likely has very little to do with how hungry he is by this age. He is programmed to wake at these times now and enjoys it all a lot, thank you very much. Time to teach him how to sleep longer. Sleeping long lengths isn't something most babies grow into...Or maybe they will by 4 or 5...Why deprive him and yourself of good solid sleep though? He is now developmentally ready to be able to go all night without food. The rice cereal thing is bizarre to me. Do you pack yourself full of carbos before going to sleep? Dr. Weisbluths book will teach you so much about sleep and learned behavior. It is a book I think every parent should read. Might be at your local library. I tried every thing under the sun to avoid having my daughter cry at night but ultimately letting her work it out (with me right there constantly checking in and reassuring her) was the only way she could learn to sleep without me and all my props. It was tough for a couple days but, boy, the results have been priceless. She is rested and so are we...everyone wins in the end. Good luck...I know it is hard. You are in very good company!

Pamela - posted on 02/08/2011

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If you do not already I would suggest giving rice cereal just before bed time and he may start sleeping longer.Most doctors advocate waiting a little longer but my mother use to say she never knew a doctor that raised a child.Sometime little ones just dont get fed enough and the tummy needs more.I do not advocate it by my middle son was eating mashed potatoes and gravey by 3 months and he did not grow up to be obese.It depends on the child and your gut instinct.Some children mature faster physically than others.If you are feeding rice cereal and he still wakes during the night try small amounts of baby food.It appears his tummy just needs more to last him thru the night.If you have checked with the doctor and there is nothing wrong then follow your gut instinct.Doctors will not tell you to start early on food but after raising 4 children,and helping with 9 grandchildren it is personal expierence I go by and not always the doctor.

CA - posted on 02/15/2011

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Soooo, yea, you have already received so much advice, and I'm not sure if I'll be repeating what someone else may have said, but I really have to get this out.

I would very strongly discourage you against any cry-it-out methods that have been suggested. I know it's a temptation, because it seems like, hey, it works if you stick with it, right? And you so badly want sleep. But you have to remember that you baby is a PERSON too. When he awakens and cries at night, he DOES need something. Maybe it IS food, even at this age - he could be growing. Maybe he just misses you. You have to HELP him adjust to this world and adjust to sleeping through the night.

It is not advisable to FORCE the child to "learn" to sleep on their own by crying it out. All that happens when the child cries themselves to sleep is - yea, they may eventually "learn" to sleep by themselves, or through the night or whatever, but what they have truly "learned" is that when they need you, you will not be there for them. Is that the true message you want to send your little baby? CIO is not only detrimental to the child, but also to the child-mother relationship. There's a REASON 95% of mothers who have consented to using the CIO method say things like "I had to cover my ears, go in the garage, take a shower, etc. I just could not handle hearing my baby cry." The reason is, we are not SUPPOSED to let our babies cry!!! Everything inside is screaming to go to the baby and help them!!! This is the way it should be. Don't we want our babies to trust us? To trust that we will be there when they call out for us?

Now, having said that, I'm not saying that you are doomed to sleepless nights forever. There are gentle ways to help your baby learn to sleep more effectively on his own. I would strongly recommend the book The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night, by Elizabeth Pantley. Also, a book called Bedtiming: The Parent's Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep at Just the Right Age, by Drs. Marc Lewis and Isabela Granic, which teaches you not *how* to help your child sleep but *when* to implement your personal strategies for getting your baby to sleep effectively.

Anyway, I hope this helps a little and I wish you luck! Most importantly, just remember, in the grand scheme of your baby's life, this is such a short period of time. And this will pass. You will get through this! :)

p.s. I learned a lot of information on the dangers of CIO sleep methods from visiting the links on this blog post: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/sleep-tra...

Lisa - posted on 02/09/2011

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I'm with Kerry all the way on this one. He's learned that if he wakes up at this time, you'll give him a bottle. It'll be tough for a couple of nights but if you stop, he'll eventually learn there's no more bottle coming and sleep through the night.

Lisa - posted on 02/15/2011

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I started giving my son smaller amounts in his bottle during night time feedings. We went from 6 oz bottles to 4 oz bottles. Then we tried 2 oz bottles and a pacifier. Then we used a pacifier only when he woke up. Now if he wakes up, he puts his pacifier in himself. Sleeping through the night was a long journey for us too, but we're there! Good luck!!!

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Jessica - posted on 02/15/2011

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When my daughter kept asking/wanting her bottle we stopped getting one ready. We just lay her down without it and I will be honest it is hard because they cry but after a couple of nights it will stop. She was nine months old when we did this and I tried to slowly stop it and it just never stopped.

Kell - posted on 02/15/2011

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I agree with Laurie - at this young age, they're not crying out just to get attention or to be maipulative - they're crying out because they need something, whether it's a nappy change, a feed, or just a hug - they need that closeness, yes, even through the night, for a while - some for longer than others. Don't worry - it won't still be happening when they're off to college or anything like that!

Molly - posted on 02/15/2011

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At 8 months he should be sleeping through the night. He is just waking up out of habit, not hunger. You have to let him cry it out at this point. Should only last a few nights then he'll learn to put himself back to sleep. Good luck!

Sharon - posted on 02/15/2011

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I think it is just like trying to get your baby to sleep through the night. If it is becoming hard for you to feel your baby throughout the night, then it's time for you to stop the routine. It will take a few nights, but your baby will get used to the absence of a bottle. Cut it down to a bottle once throughout the night at first and then dismiss it all together.

Laurie - posted on 02/15/2011

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My son did this for 18 months. I would ask you - what is his growth doing? Mine needed the extra food because he was growing taller and by 2 was a very tall child - as tall as the average 3 yr old. So, he really may be needing the extra food at night for all the growing he is doing. Now that my son is older he is 6'4" so it made sense.

Don't be so quick to assume that it is attention that he is wanting and just needs to cry himself to sleep. That is NOT always the solution. Growing children use a lot of calories growing!

Deann - posted on 02/15/2011

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Do you have a set routine? I know that before my daughter had a routine she would wake up for a bottle but now before she goes to bed we put the lavender bedtime lotion on her and just a tiny bit under her nose then feed her and put her in her crib with her mobile on and she's out from around 9 to about 8-8:30 the next morning. Hope this helps some.

Jackie - posted on 02/15/2011

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It sounds like just a bad habit forming to me. I would skip the middle of the night feedings. He will cry at first, but eventually he will just go back to sleep. If you keep feeding him in the middle of the night you will be doing that for a very long time.

Kell - posted on 02/15/2011

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They grow out of it at their own pace - some sooner, some later - but they all get thre in the end. Xan was still having a night feed at a year old (I breast fed till he was 14 1/2 months old then he stopped of his own accord). Up until he was about 10 or 11 months old, he was still waking every 2-3 hours for a quick feed.

Mary Ann - posted on 02/15/2011

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Offer him a bottle with water in it. He will eventually realize its not worth waking up for. This was advice from my pediatrician long ago, and it worked for my 3!

Suzanne - posted on 02/15/2011

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My little one is seven months old and is also still being fed at night. If he wakes up before twelve he gets a dummy and after twelve I'll feed him. He usually wakes around one. I tried giving him water but that SO backfired on me as he was awake only an hour later and would not settle with water so I gave him a milk feed. Have you checked all the other factors - maybe he's hot or cold or thirsty... Is he drinking enough milk and water during the day, together with getting enough solid food? Perhaps he is just waking up and does not know how to settle himself back to sleep - there are some fabulous books and websites on sleep training that really helped me. Good luck! I know its not always easy, but they are so worth it, don't you think? One smile and all is forgiven :-)

Allison - posted on 02/15/2011

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I was nursing my daughter every 2-3 hours at night, then just once a night, til she was 9 or 10 months old. Then my supervisor at work said that I looked too tired, and was not focusing--she was right. I had several days of arguing with my then husband, asking him to go to Avery when she woke up, hold her until she went back to sleep. Once he agreed, there were two nights when she cried for about 30 minutes, in his arms, then a night or two of whimpering, and then she was ok. And I was much more alert at work
Of course with my second one, the marriage was in bad enough shape that I just slept next to Marin and let her nurse while I slept. But by even 6 months babies don't need to eat at night, and being functional at work or in a healthy marriage is really important.

Kellilyn - posted on 02/15/2011

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once they hit 10 pounds-they can sleep at least 5-6 hrs. at 8 months old-i'm guessing he's already on solid foods too. a snack (cereal/oatmeal) right before bed should help out a lot! good luck!

[deleted account]

I'm no expert but I am a stay-at-home mom of 3 and have read tons on the subject since my 1st child wasn't sleeping through the night at 9 months of age. If your 8 month old baby was fed right before bedtime, then your baby is not hungry....he is either needing attention or has not yet learned how to self soothe himself back to sleep. If you work full time, sometimes babies realize that nighttime is the only time to get mommy all to themselves and do not go back to sleep until comforted by you. If the problem is that your baby hasn't learned to self soothe, then there are a few different schools of thought on this one (ferber method, co-sleep, etc). My kids all used pacifiers since all babies have a strong sucking reflex and the urge to suck helps them to self soothe. We all wake up throughout the night but we know how to go back to sleep, most babies have to be taught how to do that. Rocking, singing, feeding him to sleep etc, does not help him throughout the night when you're not there to do it again...doing those things throughout the night just trains him to HAVE to have those things to fall back asleep. One important thing to note is make sure your baby has "object permanence". When something falls off his high chair, does he look down on the floor for it? If so, then he's smart enough to know that when he cries (not for hunger), "mommy will come and snuggle me (and she'll bring me a warm bottle, score!)." I would read up on The Ferber Method. I do a modified version of that, and it worked like a charm w/ my 2nd...I'm praying it works as well w/ my 3rd, but he's only 4 months. I'm not gonna lie, it's hard to let them fuss themselves back to sleep but as long as you know he's not hungry, has a clean diaper, not teething, (you, know, the checklist), then you can be sure that your baby is going to be just fine. My husband would tell me to go take a shower (since I'm a whimp and couldn't stand to here them cry) and he'd go in every 8 minutes and do our thing (you don't talk, talking just stimulates the baby, you basically just let them know you're there without picking up...you don't want them to feel abandoned). Within 2 weeks, they have learned to self soothe and everybody in the house is happier. Why? Well because Mommy is getting her much needed rest finally! Do what works for you, combine methods or come up w/ your own! This is just step 1 of giving them a little independence and like all the other times in their life when we parents will be forced to do it again...it's hard! Hang in there Momma!

Courtney - posted on 02/15/2011

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Try feeding him more during the day. I found that if my daughter got enough to eat then she wasn't as hungry at night. Also, you could try giving him one ounce less at each feeding during the night. If you are breastfeeding the way to gauge that is get ahead in your pumping so that you have enough stored for the night. Then you can put it in a bottle. Just an idea!

Anna Celsea - posted on 02/15/2011

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My doctor told us to just let him cry for three nights and he will learn to fall back asleep without the bottle. If you can't do that you can transition a little slower by starting with a bottle of water for a few nights. The main thing that helped me was putting him to bed a little later and giving him a full bottle about a half hour before bed to fill him up.

Sara - posted on 02/15/2011

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only you know whether it is hunger or thirst... my 14 month old still wakes in the night (once or twice) for feeds and I am nursing her still. All I know is that it won't last forever don't worry XX

Jo - posted on 02/15/2011

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my 3 kids woke every 2-3 hours for feedings at night, I sometimes got them to sleep 5 hours in a row until they were between 10-12 months old after that the slept a solid 5 hours at least. I think it all depends on the child my pediatrician told me to make my first daughter wait at least 4 hours between all feedings at about 6 months. I tried that for almost 3 days and realized it wasn't working for her... She slept better and had better muscle control if I was feeding her when she was hungry. It seemed like I was depriving her of nutrients by making her wait... I don't wait more than 20 minutes if I'm hungry.. You have to do what you think is best for your baby not what others think.. good luck on your decisions

Maureen - posted on 02/15/2011

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obvoiusly the child he needs some thing, it could be just water so try giving baby some water before bed.

Melissa - posted on 02/15/2011

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We started giving our son rice cereal at 5 months because he was always hungry, that worked as well as feeding him more solids and letting him cry it out at night. He finally got it but it was rough at first. Good luck:)

Sharon - posted on 02/15/2011

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I had an expert sister in Cape Town who helped routine my eldest daughter who was very unwell (she did this as a profession) - perhaps this will help you.

1. He should be consuming max 750mls of milk per day if not less at 8 months due to solid food.
2. Three meals per day, porridge at night (oats/ maize meal) This is filling !!!
3. He could be waking up due to habit and not really because of hunger.
4. Is he on a dummy, this would give him comfort. Keep about 4 dummies in a mug of cooled boilder water in his room and rotate. When he cries give him a wet dummy rather than a bottle. If he doesnt settle give him another wet dummy and so on. He will then bond to a dummy for comfort. Dry dummies are nasty to babies. My kids eventually threw their dummies away (Dummies must only be used as comforters for sleeping and not at any other time)
5. When he cries at night, dont put on a light or make any sounds but rather settle him down by patting his back and do the dummy thing.
Does he have a thin cot matress, if so it could be uncomfortable and cold. Lay blankets under the matress and then a single duvet on top, then the bottom sheet. This would certainly help him to feel more comfortable. You see, our beds are lower to the ground and have thick matresses, whereas these cots have a huge space underneath and thin nasty matresses. The cold comes right thru, you can cover as much as you want on the top of baby but it is more important to warm up the matress !

5. Dont change his nappy at night if it is disposable but rather put an extra nappy pad inside. This should be sufficient until say 5am.

As the Sister said to me, if baby is bathed, fed during the day, has a clean/dry nappy and a comfortable cot there is not reason for baby to demand attention / food.

Here is a basic night time plan she taught me.
4pm Winding down, no excitement and all activities to be low key.
5-6 pm Feed porrige and give baby some milk
6:30pm Bath and dressed for the night
7:+/-pm Bottle of Milk
7:30 put to bed. Do you have dimmer switches in your home ? If not use lamps only and no overhead lights as the baby needs to now understand what night time is about.

Before you go to bed, give a top up bottle in the dark, no fuss and no nappy change no eye contact. Put baby to bed and that is it, no need for any further milk until the next morning.

If you keep to this routine (it will take about 3 days to settle into it but for your own sanity stick to it) you will never look back.
Sister's motto was HAPPY BABY, HAPPY MOTHER.
This routine was used thereafter on my second daughter Kelly and people were amazed and the problem free time I had.

Dawn - posted on 02/15/2011

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My doctor told me that the kids didn't need to be fed in the night after 6 months as far as nutrition goes. We got the book by Ferber, and it was extremely helpful. I followed the advice in there, and both my boys were sleeping through the night after 3 nights.

Lil - posted on 02/15/2011

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Its not trying to get more food into him during the day But to get him into a routine I never put my babies to bed early

as during the day time i had other children running around so I used to put then in to bed at a certain time then theevenings as mu Husband was in the Royal navy I used to play with baby then before i went to bed i bathed him fed him giving him extra Milk powder in his bottle as i could not breast feed Then take him upstairs with me of a night and he used to sleep through the night
They tell you never to pick a baby up if it cries i did not listen to this If the baby cries its for a reason maybe because it is bored but i always gave it a cuddle for a few moments and put them down again
but that is just me
Lil

Vicky - posted on 02/15/2011

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My baby is almost 3 months old. I am nursing her exclusively, and she has been sleeping through the night since she was 6 weeks old. I feed her every 2 hours during the day, and I allow her to nurse for 1 straight hour right before bed time. She gets herself good and full and sleeps for 8 hours straight as a result.

[deleted account]

If you are certain it is hunger and not just waking up and needing the bottle for comfort, I would up his protein for supper with maybe a snack before bed that contained protein. This will help keep his blood sugar stable and keep it from triggering "hunger."



Starting around 2 weeks, I get my babies out of the bed and breastfeed them again at 11. All 7 of mine have slept through the night by 2-3 months onward with some waking during the predictable growth periods. The waking up was never more than once a night and only lasts a week to two weeks at the most.



I breastfeed on demand. A couple of my children went through periods where they would nurse, but not fill up on milk. They got into the habit of "snacking" so they had to eat more often...like every hour. I was advised to stretch those "snack" times out as much as I reasonably could to teach baby to nurse until they had a full meal. Once that happened, they were back to a regular nursing pattern where they would consume more milk in one sitting.



Make sure you are not letting him nap too late. It may take more effort to soothe him if he's tired later in the day, but it will be worth it if you can get him to a regular schedule.



Something else I do is to keep the noise level in the house at normal (not quiet) during nap times. This makes the baby sleep lighter and triggers deeper sleep at night.



I know it is hard, Erin, to be woken up every couple of hours. I just miscarried a baby and the hormonal changes gave me 4 weeks of insomnia. I could not sleep more than an hour at a time. Just be very patient and understanding on yourself and your child while remembering "This too shall pass." It is the tough days of motherhood that grow wise mothers in character and strength. Your 8 month old will be an 18 year old waving goodbye as his car pulls off for college before you know it. So enjoy every moment, even the difficult ones.

Kathleen - posted on 02/15/2011

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i would definetly be trying to get more food into to him during the day. its probably more of a habit than him being hungry.getting him into a good routine is good,bath,bottle and bed at the same time every evening..better if he is in his own room,which is dark.maybe also giving him a dummy when he wakes up,but dont even look or speak to him.then he doesnt think its a game.

Christeen - posted on 02/15/2011

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He's too old to be doing that. You should do what was already suggested and add more to his bottles during the day and not an extra bottle. Every time my daughter needed more she would wake up during the night and then I knew I needed to up an oz or two.

Amie - posted on 02/15/2011

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Give him a good size meal at night and only give him one milk bottle during the night. At the other times give him water. He shouldn't need that many bottles by his age.

Lil - posted on 02/15/2011

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I found that if you don't worry about the baby waking up Have the wireless going My other children used to play But as the baby was so used to the noise they did not wake up
Its only if you tell the other children SHH baby is asleep
and they would be trying hard to keep quite That i8s not fair on them so if you bring a baby up with noise it will get so used to it That baby wont wake up at the leadst sound
Lil

Sólrún Ósk - posted on 02/15/2011

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have you tried give him more than bottle before sleep ?
if he is not hungry but thirsty give him water at night time

Sharlie - posted on 02/15/2011

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try stopping one bottle at a time. just keep getting up to give him his dummy... after a couple of nights he should sleep through, you just need to break the habit!!

Rosie - posted on 02/15/2011

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If you go to work, your caregiver, in that time frame (8 to 10 hours) will be feeding baby and baby is most likely consuming 15 to 20 oz, presumably baby has eaten before daycare and will eat after daycare, maybe twice .... I find that increasing the ounce intake per bottle is better than adding a bottle, so if baby takes 4/5 4oz bottle, increase to 5/6oz, so on so forth .... that extra oz per feed goes a long way and spread over the day rather than too much all in one go to get that extra bottle in ....

Lil - posted on 02/15/2011

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Well late at night i used to Play with the babies then bath the baby by this time they should feel tired I used to give them a little extra feed then cuddle them to sleep usually they go to sleep quick and i would then put them in there cot depending just how old they was If they cried at first i used to pat them to sleep again Or i would start to give them water in a bottle then they realised it was not worth waking up for the bottle But that all depending just how old they was But it worked for me I also found that a cuddle would help them fall back to sleep
Lil

Ana Maria - posted on 02/15/2011

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i cant either,besides i have a 3 month old baby which sleeps throughout the night and i cant let the 2 yrs old cry for the bottle because i dont want her to wake the baby

Aveoamare - posted on 02/15/2011

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my son was doing this, and I ended up just ignoring him until he fell back to sleep. Now he sleeps through the night. It took 2 nights, he cried for a half hour at each waking. My doctor told me that at this age babies should sleep through the night, so figured if he was well fed at dinner, and he was changed right before bed, he was okay.

Rosie - posted on 02/15/2011

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This is probably habit rather than hunger, if you think your child is hungry and on formula, add a little bulk, and extra scoop to a couple of bottles during the day, not an extra bottle .... Children usually do grow out of things and into others;) I would most certainly try to wean off this night owl behavior. Rule of thumb, 3 days, nights in your case, so whenever you are weaning, training, start on Fridays. Day time consumption should be around 30oz. and this should get an 8 mth old through the night! @ this point I'm certain it's a habit. Try water too, if he finds he's not getting anything "good" he'll hopefully decide it's not worth it;) Food before bed is not always best as this can unsettle the tummy, spaced thru the day is a better solution. again, add an extra scoop, or a little rice to his bottle. Good luck.

Maggie - posted on 02/15/2011

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I would love to know! My lb is 26 months today and i'm still making at least 5 x 250ml bottles per night!

Sharleen - posted on 02/15/2011

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Pacifier, they sometimes only need something for comfort, it worked for my first child, she slept throughout the night on 2months and my twins on 5 months!

Kristy - posted on 02/15/2011

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We are in the same boat everyone says to go cold turkey and let her cry it out. But I just cant!

Ana Maria - posted on 02/15/2011

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i have trouble getting my 2 years old daughter to stop her from having a bottle at night.i got her used to have a bottle because i couldnt get her used to sleep in the cot.and now she sleeps in the bed and still has the bottle.she wakes up at night and if shes finished her bottle she stars screaming.as soon as i give it to her she goes back to sleep.

Jeannine - posted on 02/15/2011

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Feed more during the day not from a bottle as it rots their teeth and don't be fooled by the fact that it's only "baby teeth" that are affected by the rot it goes into their adult teeth too..
I'm of the mindset of a few posters here which is give him less and less and then let him cry and settle himself. I know that people will tell you this is mean. but it's not it's just re-learning it takes time and patience and you'll feel that he's gonna go bonkers or you'll go bonkers, but honestly those FEW days of crying will be over much sooner than if you KEEP getting up to feed him!

Grace - posted on 02/15/2011

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My son is now 14 months but i remember when he was about 6 months I weaned him from night feedings.. from 6 months a baby can be able to sleep throughout the night without feeding. As long as you ensure that they eat well for dinner and just before they sleep give them a warm bottle of milk. If the baby get up at night feed them but reduce the amount of milk and do this for another one week and then stop it completely. Then finally he'll stop waking up at night to feed. It took me two weeks to train my son but eventually i succeeded. By 7months he was sleeping throughout the night for upto 11 or even 12 hrs without getting up to feed.

Ana Maria - posted on 02/15/2011

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my 3 month old daughter goes to bed at about 9 and she wakes up at 7-8 in the morning.i feed her before puting her to bed.maybe you need to feed him more before bed time?

Faith - posted on 02/15/2011

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r u still giving him/her milk if so then try some warm water with vegemite most kids love this and mayb he will b more satisfied with this as he may not b hungry but thirsty

Joanna - posted on 02/15/2011

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my doughter has 19.5 and still waking up for a bottle at night and i have no idea when she will stop:( and what to do

Sue - posted on 02/15/2011

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at 8 mths bubby should be sleeping through the night.of 6 children i only had one still waking at this time i tried everything until i decided enough was enough.If my son was fed,bathed,dry and warm and not thirsty only offer water if he's thirsty he will drink it,then let him cry himself to sleep.it's tough but dont pick him up or rock him.Reassure him that you are there and walk away he will quickly learn that night time is sleep time.good luck

Brianna - posted on 02/15/2011

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My 10mth old stopped doing that stuff around 4mths old but to help make sure it stayed that way I would give her a bath then a bottle right before she goes to sleepb and since your baby is old enough put ceral in it and make the bottle a lil thick with mine she's in the bed every night by 10 and doesn't wake up until 930- 10

Thereza - posted on 02/15/2011

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My little one is 2years and still wakes up twice at night, for water, tea or even milk depends on what she demands to have!

Lisa - posted on 02/15/2011

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aloha erin! he may not be getting enough to eat - try feeding him some rice cereal before he goes to sleep. also, when he wakes in the night, don't rush right in to feed him - give him some time to get back to sleep. he might be developing a habit.

[deleted account]

Hey michelle
I followed Gina Fords house for contented twins she which as written from the contented toddler serious. I strngly reccomend her- we copped a lot of crap from our family because i talks about limiting sleeps during the day and at certain times for the day etc however it worked for us. You can pick it up from ebay or angus roberson. You have to read her book because she breaks the whole routine dwn into days hours and weeks etc. Even though your bub is 8mths its not to late to start.

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