When to stop night feeding - HELP

Stephanie - posted on 11/27/2012 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I have a questions for you moms. I am looking at weening my almost 7 month son. I have heard many mixed things about doing so. I have a 18 month daughter who I weened at 10 months old because she was waking to play and I was using the bottle to get her to go back to sleep. It took two nights and she started sleeping 12-13 hours straight, and was a much happier baby. My son has been waking up and sometimes he will eat, and some times he plays. He doesn't eat good during the days that he eats lots the night before. Plus, he is waking more now then he did as a new born. I am exhausted and so is he. I am thinking of going cold turkey and just wanted to hear from other moms who have done similar and to hear what worked, what didn't. My daughter was upsets or two nights, but she was also more aware. I checked with my doctor and she said my sons weight gain is good and there is no need for him to feed at night. What kind of things has other mom done to comfort their little ones? I don't like the cry it out. I did do a version of this with my daughter, but that was because she didn't want me comforting her. I satin her bedroom door way humming a song to her. That was the only thing she wanted from me. I'm hoping I can comfort my son if/when he gets upset. I know that babies cry/fuss over anything they dislike, but it's still so distressful for me to hear my baby upset. The lack of sleep is really taking its,toll on not only my sons sleep and how much he eats during the day, but also on me. I am getting ran down and burnt out. Any suggestions is greatly appreciated.

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Jennifer - posted on 11/29/2012

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I completely understand your frustration, and I agree with Fit2BEMe that every baby is different, and you need to find what works for your little one. I do know that usually right around 6 months babies hit a growth spurt, that can last a couple weeks. My third child was a major eater at night. I tried desperately to get him to not take a bottle at night every 2hrs, but nothing worked. He has always been a little tall for his age (usually about the 85%), but his weight for his height always remained in the 50%, so I figured he needed the extra feeds. I waited until he was a year old, when he was eating more solids and not drinking so much during the day, and I switched his night feeds to water only. It took until he was 15 months before he started sleeping through the night. I don't know what you are used to doing at night, but if you aren't already, d everything in the dark. Don't turn on lights, don't talk to your little one, and unless it is necessary (his diaper is totally soaked, or he has had a bowl movement) don't even change his diaper.

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Stephanie - posted on 12/01/2012

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Thanks sooo much ladies!!! I wanted to give you an update. I truly appreciate feed back from all of you. I live how every mom has different strategies and parenting skills. I don't believe one size fits all for mothers or children so hearing all the different advice gives me lots of different ideas and insight. As a teacher, who focus on child pyschology, I know the importance of bonding and I hate hearing my wee one cry. But I also know the importance of letting little ones, even babies work through challenges on their own at times to learn the set skills. In this situation, my gut was telling me to cut out the feeds. He didn't seemed desperate to feed when I went to him at night. I think I was creating an issue because my 20 month daughter is a light sleeper and I didn't want my son waking her up. So I was running to feed him as soon as I would hear him stirring at night. Well, progressively it got to be more and more frequent. The past month I would be in his room 3-5 times between 11:30-6:00. Literally just fall back to sleep for 20-30 mins and up again. I have been sick for a month because my body is too sick/weak to heal. I'm no good to my husband or kids this way and started to feel soooo guilty that I wasn't the energized mom I wanted to be. This momma was near her breaking point. Plus, my son, who is a very happy baby, was becoming miserable during the day and barely eating.y gut was telling me that this was going to get worse unless I corrected it. Well, needless to say, night number one, I dream fed my son at 10:30 before I went to bed. I decided when he wakes up I would leave him fr 5 mins until I went to him to see what he would do. Well he woke up at 2 and I heard him grunt and start to suck on his fingers. Not even two mins later he was back to sleep. Didn't even fuss. He then woke at 5, and again, 2-3 mins, back to sleep without a tear shed. He woke up at 6:30 had a big bottle and a bowl of rice cereal and we started our day. He napped better during the day and was a much happier baby. Night number two, same thing dream fed him, went to bed. He woke at 1:30. Started to fuss/grump a bit, but didn't cry. I set my timer to force myself to stay out of his room for 5 mins. At the 5 min mark I went in there and he was sleeping. He did this again at 3:30 and at 5:30. We got the day started at 6:20. He has had two big naps already and again eating better and much happier. He didn't even wake my daughter up. So blessed that I listened to my gut and my head/logic instead of my guilt. I wish I did this a month ago when I started to suspect I was creating an issue. This is one happy momma. Every baby is ready to ween from night feeds on their own time. My daughter was using her bottle to relax herself to sleep, not because she was hungry. My son, I was using it to put him to sleep and keep him quiet lol. I will let you all know if we hit any roadblocks. But so far, he is a much much happier little guy at night and during the day. And he's eating again during the day YAY! Thanks again for all the words of wisdom.

User - posted on 11/29/2012

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I've got a currently sleeping (but mostly vomiting) kiddo on my lap, so this will be short. My son wasn't ready to night wean until two. He slept next to me, so feeds were short, and to go back to sleep. It was always dark, and if he wanted to play, I just patted him until he fell asleep.



However, what you're talking about reminds me more of a sleep regression: http://moxie.blogs.com/askmoxie/2006/02/...



Also, check out the No Cry Sleep Solution. I loved it!

Fit2BMe - posted on 11/29/2012

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One thing I will say is that while I have heard it works for some, I have never been able to do the "cry it out" method. This isn't to say that mothers who do that are in the wrong, but just that it was not for me.

I found the book "Baby Whisperer" to be incredibly helpful, as well as a very quick and easy read (which us super busy and sleep-deprived women need!)



Here are her basic points in the book.

1. Keep the baby on a routine (not a schedule where the clock dictates, but a natural and consistent order of things) E.A.S.Y. E-eat, A-activity, S-sleep, Y-you time (while baby sleeps).

2. Watch for baby's cues to be sure they're not getting over tired, which makes for poor quality and often shorter sleep at night.

3. When baby cries but does not need feeding DO NOT PICK THE BABY UP OUT OF THE CRIB! Instead lay your hand on the baby to comfort from outside the crib and help soothe in that way.

4. She talks about how to appropriately use a soother to help push off feeds and extend time between them.

5. Talks about not allowing night-time to be playtime, doing everything in the dark and not engaging the baby at all.



There are a number of other really good points in the book that I found really effective. I read it while pregnant, applied them all from the start, and ended up as a result with a super great sleeper and routinized kid who was still able to be flexible when needed.



As for your "right now" situation.

Immediate steps you can take are for sure doing everything in te dark and not playing with him, talking to him, rocking him, or otherwise engaging him at night. If he must feed, do it, but don't linger. If he must be changed, do it, but fumble with it in the dark and do it as quietly as possible. Then just lay him back down and hold your hand on him a bit if you need to rather than rocking or anything.

Then try to stretch out feeds, either using a soother or not (depending on if he is a soother baby and your personal feelings on this matter. Sucking is a self calming strategy babies have, so he may be using you simply for comfort and/or to help him get back to sleep. Not necessarily, but there is a good possibility of that if he's not always eating. The first few nights of using the soother, or his fingers, or just your hand on his back may mean you standing over his crib for a bit, however it does get better. The trick is to be sure to leave when he is almost asleep yet not quite. It takes some finesse.

Fit2BMe - posted on 11/28/2012

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I can only speak from experience, with the respectful acknowledgement that every baby is different and every family circumstance is different, so ultimately you'll need to do what is best for you and your little one according to your own "gut" or discernment on the issue.



Our son was a soother baby at night, this allowed us a luxury that we didn't entirely expect or intent, however learned quickly. When he woke in the night to nurse, I nursed him in the dark, did not engage/play with him, and even changed him in the dark, returning him to his crib/cradle without song, or rocking or anything. We saved those for before bed only. For this reason, he got the message that night time wakes were not for play or attention, just to feed, change, and get back to sleep.



As he moved out of the Newborn stage, when he initially woke for a feed I would first offer him the soother and hold it for him (at that time he wasn't able to fully control it himself). He would suck away to sooth himself and often fall back to sleep, which put off the feed a bit, increasing in length each night. Eventually he would still need that feed, however the soother was used to push it back and help him stretch it out a bit. If he was ever really upset I nursed him. What ultimately happened though is he would stretch out so long using the soother that eventually he slept through those feeds and went longer at night until he built up to 13 hours.



In your situation, I'd be inclined to try both of these. The difficulty is that your babe is a little older and wiser, and therefore may be a little less resistant at first. If he is used to having your attention in the night, he will not easily let go of that and may fuss. Likewise the feeding being replaced by a soother ( after gradually weaning off by using the stretching out method.). The great thing is this, if you decide this method sounds reasonable to you, babies pick things up quick when you are consistent. The key is consistency though. If you flip flop back and forth second guessing yourself, feeling guilty, or whatever, it confuses them and they cry more as they haven't got a clue what to expect. If he learns this is the new norm, he may resist a wee bit at first but will adjust, as will his belly. It might mean feeding him extra before he goes to bed or in the morning when he wakes up, however it does sound by your description like the matter is more about learning that night time is for sleeping.



Good luck, and hang in there mama!

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