How to get a breastfed baby to bed on time during sleep training?

Deborah - posted on 11/26/2012 ( 12 moms have responded )




I'm sleep training my five month old using the cry-it-out method, but I'm having trouble getting her to sleep on time (sometime between 7 and 8pm) because she resists being breastfed. So the bedtime keeps on getting pushed back to 9 and 10pm while I wait until she wants to eat - sometimes up to 4 hours after her last feeding! I am not sure why she won't eat when it seems like she's hungry, and I know she's tired, but I don't want to put her to bed for 10+ hours unless I know she won't be starving.

Has anyone else dealt with this issue?

What would you recommend?



Heather - posted on 12/09/2012




Ok, first of all, you aren't supposed to let a 5 month old CIO. She doesn't understand. Nurse her, let her fall asleep, then put her in her own bed. There is nothing wrong with putting her to bed after she nurses. Not all 5 month old's have set schedules yet either. So her nursing at 9 or 10pm, and then going to bed, is fine. She is also WAY to young to let her CIO in the middle of the night. Get up, nurse her, maybe change her diaper if it needs it, and then put her back down in her bed.

You can let her cry a little, for a few minutes. You can even let her fuss a little, but not CIO. That's not cool for a 5 month old to have to go through that.


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Deborah - posted on 12/09/2012




Thank you all for such good advice and input!

Four nights ago, she actually slept through the night (until 7am), and then the next night same thing (until 5am). The third night and last night, however, she was up and crying much of the night. I had finally felt like maybe what I was doing was working, and before reading your responses, my outlook was somewhat dismal. I feel like I have a direction to go now.

We just tried oatmeal and breastmilk for the first time last night, and she did very well, I think, but I didn't time it right, (ate at 5pm) so she was satisfied off of that and still didn't want to eat when it came to her bedtime (6:30pm). I didn't expect her to actually eat enough to be satisfied, since we were just trying, but I think next time I would try at 6pm to feed her the solid food.

Also, I have been waiting until she is obviously tired to put her down, so I'll try to encourage her to sleep before she gets really fussy during the day and also at bedtime. Perhaps this will also make for more successful feedings. We'll see how that goes.

Ania - posted on 12/05/2012




Every baby is different and you do not know your breast capacity, therefore you do not know exactly how much she eats and if she won't be hungry at night. Breastfed babies can breastfeed 2 times until 9 months old. after that you can do full cry it out. According to this one book: Healthy Sleep Habits Happy child. From 5-6 months old babies schedule should look something like this:

6-7 am wake up time

first nap: put baby down between 9 and not later than 10 am (biological time for a nap)

second nap: put baby down between 12-2 pm depends on when it woke up from the first nap (break no longer than 2-3h)

after that some babies take short nap between 3-5 pm

bedtime should be between 6-8 pm

first night feeding as fast as after 4h of sleep - 10pm- midnight. After that ignore your baby until 4-5 am for the second feeding and after that don't go until 6-7 am

When your baby reaches 9 months old you can eliminate those two feedings.

I do that with my daughter and it works very well.

Lately though she is reaching her major milstones like teeth on top and she is practicing standing in her crib at night (She is 6.5 months old) because of that she wakes up more often and she is awake fussing and crying, but I do not feed her I'm waiting it out and eventually she goes down on her own.

Another good tip...if your baby does not take long naps she needs to sleep nore often during the day. do not keep her up until she is fussing put her down when she needs it. My daughter when she doesn't go for a nap between 3-5pm she goes to bed for the night as early as 5pm and she also wakes up twice at night, and wakes up at 6:30 in the morning so early morning is always good, especially between 6-9 months of age when babies develop really fast and those developments affect their sleep and they are overtired.

If you put her earlier to bed she will not fall asleep on the breast...

Michelle - posted on 12/04/2012




I read the book Babywise and followed their advice. Our baby started to sleep through the night on his own by 6 weeks. We didn't train or force anything, he just did it one night and has been sleeping through the night ever since. By through the night I mean putting him to bed between 8:30 and 9 and getting up around 7.

Stephanie - posted on 12/02/2012




Hey Deborah, I did sleep training with my baby at 4.5 months. She was sleeping in my bed up until then. She did start sleeping through the night in her crib in her own room, also at this time I started giving her solid food, so I was sure she was eating enough before bed. At 5 months, your baby is old enough to eat rice cereal mixed with water or breast milk. You could give her a little cereal at bedtime?

I totally understand about being at the end of your rope on the sleep thing...I started putting my baby in her crib because I wanted my evenings to myself and to sleep better! And if you're not happy, how can your family be happy? Do what is best for you!

Are you still having a problem getting her to sleep on time?

Deborah - posted on 11/30/2012




She doesn't need to be nursed to fall asleep. But I can't put her to sleep for the whole night in good conscience if I know she will be hungry.

Dove, I know we have a difference of opinions on this topic, but I am glad you're happy with the way things are going for you. I hope we can meet eyes on another issue.

Deborah - posted on 11/29/2012




What I do if she doesn't want to nurse before bed time? I didn't want to put her to bed without doing it so I'd literally keep her up until she went ahead and nursed.

Before I started sleep training - which suggests a bedtime ritual that includes breastfeeding while awake - I'd do anything just to get her to eat. Sometimes during the day if I know she's hungry and tired, but too tired and fussy to nurse, I'll pat her down to sleep even for a few minutes and then try again. Sometimes I can nurse her in her sleep or she will be more cooperative.

As far as my decision to sleep train, I've read plenty of material supporting that a 5 month old can sleep though the night without eating. My daughter is also in the 75% for weight, and a very happy baby.

But I'm curious as to you would recommend? I feel like I'm at the end of my rope waking up every 3 hours every time baby wants to be held and soothed back to sleep. And with no forseeable end.

Stephanie - posted on 11/27/2012




I had a problem like this, also. It seemed like my little girl wouldn't nurse because she knew that it meant she'd fall asleep, or that it was bed time.

My solution to the problem was to put her in her crib. When she refused to nurse at bed time, this was after the whole bedtime routine and everything, I would just put her in her crib without saying a word. She would start to cry and I'd let her for about 5-7 minutes. Then when I went in to her she was ready to nurse. This could possibly work for you, maybe give it a try. Good luck!

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