Any ideas on stopping night feedings?

Lisa - posted on 01/27/2009 ( 18 moms have responded )

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My 5 1/2 month old used to sleep all night (10 p.m. until 7:30 a.m.), so I know she doesn't NEED to eat at night. When she started teething she started waking up at night again, and because I was tired and just wanted to go back to sleep, I would feed her. Right now she is breastfed mostly but gets a bottle of formula before bed. I plan to stop breastfeeding in a month or two, and I want her to be completely done with night time feedings by then since bottle feeding can't be "on demand" like breastfeeding. Any ideas on how to do this?

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Ally - posted on 01/31/2009

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Babies grow at different rates and at different times. Just because a baby sleeps through the night at some point does not mean that they don't start needing food to grow properly at different times. I would strongly recommend not stopping night feedings if your baby is hungry..most breastfed babies still very much need a nightime feeding or even two bc the breastmilk is so easily digested. Growth hormone levels are also much higher at nighttime which is why babies wake at night to feed. They need the calories to grow...and giving them water during that time would take away from the nutrients they need to grow. I am still nursing a ten month old at night I know I wouldn't want to go to sleep on an empty tummy....just try and enjoy the night time feedings even though it is very frustrating at times you will know you are giving your baby what he needs when he needs it...he wont want to nurse at night forever...thats what i keep telling myself :)

Rene - posted on 04/01/2010

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First, absolutely do NOT give a 5 month old a bottle of water. Children under 6 months should not drink water and infants over 6 months should only receive a few ounces of water a day. Almost all liquid consumption should be breastmilk or formula until one year of age. Speak to your pedi first about water and/or diluting anything.

In regards to the night feeding: just because your baby didn't need to eat in the middle of the night last week or last month does not mean she doesn't need to eat now. She may be going through a growth spurt and need more food. Or she may not be eating enough during the day. Often when babies become more aware of their surroundings, they become very distracted during BF and do not eat like they should. That's when they wake up at night to eat.

Some things you can do to help: breastfeed the baby in a quiet place, free from distraction during the day. Do not let the baby go longer then 3 hours during the day without breastfeeding. The idea is to get the baby to eat all the food she needs during the day. When the baby does get up at night only feed her and then put her right back into the crib.

Every baby is different. And babies go through lots of phases. None of them last forever. Hang in there.

Stasia - posted on 02/01/2009

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i completely agree with Ally!! There is a strong base of research against CIO so I would suggest educating yourself on that before you do it if that is your choice. At fve and a half months she may be waking from something other than hunger (still teething pains) or something like that and she may just need your comfort. Nursing is a huge form of comfort for babies.
I am curious why you are wanting to stop breastfeeding so young? If it isn't too difficult for you to continue it may make your nighttimes easier for a while.

You can also try comforting her to sleep another way while you breastfeed (rocking and breastfeeding or singing etc) that way she will associate your voice and you rocking with going back to sleep.

Water is also not recommended for a baby so young, as Ally said it takes away from their nutrient comsumption.

i wish you the best of luck and much more sleep!

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Mara - posted on 04/02/2010

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I've been advised that if your baby sleeps more then 6hr stretches then you should feel lucky. I had a baby that also slept 9hrs stretches in the beginning and upon teething slept smaller intervals- more like 4/6 hrs. I also started putting her to sleep earlier which helped- more like 7/8pm verses 9/10pm. That sometimes meant a little one waking in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, your best choice is probably to just roll with it until she is 1 years old and off the bottle or breast and go to sleep earlier yourself. It's really hard to know for sure if they are actually growing and hungery or fussy and needy. Good luck with your decision.

Vanessa - posted on 04/02/2010

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I remember seeing at our maternal health nurse a sign that said, 'about 80 percent of babies will wake at least once a night under the age of one'. My first slept through from 6 weeks. My second started to sleep through, then got a cold. Then slept through and reacted to immunisations (ran fevers for 4 days straight). This happened until she was 15 months old. She now sleeps 13 hours at night and 2.5 during the day. And Oscar (5.5 months) still wakes once a night. It will happen eventually! I love feeding him at night, even though it is done in the darkness of the night. It is a special time and I know I'll miss that special time when he stops!

Trina - posted on 04/01/2010

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Donna is absolutely right about this. Babies do go through growth spurts and there are times when they need more food. That is ok. There is nothing wrong with feeding a hungry baby. Honestly, I would feed my baby. Who would want a little one to develop hypoglycemia from not being fed at night? :(

Donna - posted on 04/01/2010

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Babies go thru growth spurts. During the 1st year is the greatest body & brain development for humans, this all takes "fuel" & their tummies aren't very big. All our body metabolisms are different - some babies can sleep thru the night while others NEED food, they aren't being naughty. Babies also have a natural instinctual need to suck (for survival). They aren't little adults & need lots of nurture. See what Dr Sears (Paediatrician & father of 8) website says about breastfeeding, trust, communication & crying it out etc. A friend recently took her baby to the Dr as he'd been waking a lot, grissling & wanting to feed. Dr discovered down his throat (not visable) was all ulcerated from a strange virus. Just as well she had followed her motherly instints caring for him even tho she couldn't see a problem.

Jenny - posted on 04/01/2010

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My only advice would be cry it out. Hardest thing we ever had to do, but it worked. Took us about a week for her to sleep through the night. Our pediatrician said that by about 4 months, they are capable of sleeping through the night (at least 6-8 hours straight). We're up to almost 12 hours of sleep at night now at over 9 months.

Beccie - posted on 04/01/2010

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I wouldnt recommend stopping the night feeds yet. She may be going through a growth spurt and needing that additional food to help her grow. It can also be a sign that they are ready to go onto solid foods as they just cant get enough nutrients from breast/formula milk. My l/o slept through from 5 weeks, then at 3 and half months was waking all night to feed. He was a big baby from birth, and was always really greedy, so at 5 weeks I had to combine breast and bottle as he wasnt getting enough from me alone. I spoke to my HV about the night feeding, and she said because of his size he was probably ready for solid foods to help fill him up more. We waited until he was jus over 4 months and started giving him some baby rice in the morning and then an hour or so before bed, and the change was remarkable. He started sleeping through again which was such a relief ! Just because you start giving solid foods doesnt mean you have to stop breast feeding etc. Hope this helps x

Madilyn - posted on 03/31/2010

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at 5.5 months they are growing and teething, I would continue the night feedings

Rachael - posted on 03/31/2010

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if you try again do it gradually like leave her cry for 6 mins then go in settle go out dont pick her up if she crys again leave for 6 mins go in settle so on so on after a few days leave for 8 mins then few days later 10 mins you will find she ill eventually learn you dont rush in when she cries and settle herself its hard but it only took my son 10 days till he went down awake and slept through without crieing and waking up if he does grizzle after 2-3 mins he settles himself

Kathy - posted on 03/31/2010

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i have a one year old who still takes middle of the night bottle ,my ped has recommended slowly diluting the bottle til it's only water . this will tell his beely night time isn't for eating . she said he has gotten used to eating at night to he is really hungry so we have to retrain him . i working on this this week ,will let you know how it goes. i would not suggest going straight to water ,i know that would make my son madder.

Beth - posted on 03/31/2010

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We are not interested in the cry method and at 4 months have started putting Addie down for naps in her crib ( she still sleeps with us since I am breastfeeding) and so far with a little back patting and some binkie help she is falling asleep on her own as long as her nightlight turtle is with her. We hold her till she is sleepy and then lay her into her crib gently waking her enough so that she is then putting herself back to sleep. Now after only a couple times of this she is sleeping on her own and absolutely no crying. she sleeps for about 4-6 hours before waking only once a night to eat. we started before she had enough time to get any other routine started. I don't know if this helps but good luck! I also do not actually put her on my breast but actually pump and bottle feed her the breast milk. ( I am trying to store as much as possible so I can stop early with the breastfeeding but still give Addie my breast milk)

Jennifer - posted on 01/30/2009

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I was having the same problem with my 4 1/2 month old. If I held her, she would sleep 7 hours straight, in the crib though she'd wake after 3 1/2. I think she was hungry, but if I was there I could soothe her to sleep. I just started a routine that helps calm her before bed as well as just starting her on rice cereal (two teaspoons mixed with 1 oz of breastmilk). The very first night it worked and we've kept it up the past week (she's sleeping 7 hours compared to 3 1/2)! At 9:15 I give her a bath, then massage her with lotion (warm up in your hands first). Then I give her rice cereal. Because she has to take an iron supplement, I mix it with breastmilk and feed her a bottle. She usually falls asleep when she's done. I wait for her to go totally limp and then put her to bed. She start crying twice in the next hour (though doesn't come totally awake if I can get to her fast enough), but I go in her room, put my hand on her stomach and pat her until she calms down. I couldn't follow some friends advice and let her cry it out. Though I haven't tried it, I've heard the water thing does work too.

Azra - posted on 01/30/2009

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 hello,



 Try giving her  water  instead ...    for few days they may cry but will eventually get used to it ...



 

Lisa - posted on 01/30/2009

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We tried letting her cry once...she screamed for an hour straight without letting up, so I finally went in and got her. After that she was SO awake from crying so long that it took us 2 hours to get her back down. We may try again now that she's a month older, but that one horrible night we had makes us iffy about it! She has started putting herself to sleep for naps, so we may be headed in the right direction.

Dube_cindy - posted on 01/29/2009

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We let our son cry it out.  it was really  hard to stick to but it worked.  it took three weeks for him not to wake up at 0300.  now he sleeps till 530.

Emily - posted on 01/27/2009

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My 5 month old hgas completly refused to sleep through the night.. this is what his pediatrician recommended and it has seemed to work, it just takes time. We dont let him call asleep with a bottle at all! Once he is drowsy his bottle gets taken away and he is laid down in his crib ( which usually results in crying). We then check on his every 5 mins until he fallas asleep, and then he is only fed every 4 hours at night ( we've been doing this for two weeks, he originally was at 8 feedings a night,... now doesn to two and has spaced them apart himself).. and once he wasnt waking up between feedings we are not decreasing the amount of formula he is fed at his last feeding ( it is decreased by an ounce every 3 days). and then once that feeding is gone and he is sleeping through the night, we will do the same with his other feeding.. Its hard to let them cry but it has worked out well for us.

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