HELP!! Is this a Habit or Hunger??

User - posted on 04/23/2013 ( 4 moms have responded )

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My son is now almost 5 months old and has to have a bottle before going to bed. When he falls asleep i take it out of his mouth. He wakes up 2 or 3 times a night crying but wont take his pacifier. he wants a bottle in his mouth to go right back to sleep. Could he be hungry or is this just becoming a habit??

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Sarah - posted on 04/24/2013

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Sounds like habit. If he was hungry he would drink more then a few sips before dozing off.

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Liezl - posted on 05/28/2013

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Different babies start sleeping through the night at different times. His tummy is still very small at 5 months, and it is possible that he is hungry. I had the same issue with my son, and found a reasonably easy way that helped a lot.
He had his last feeding before going to bed, and then I would feed him again at 10 PM before going to bed myself. He would sometimes wake briefly, but usually he would just stay asleep and drink while sleeping. This usually helped him to sleep until morning (and if he woke earlier, at least I got 4-6 hours of sleep).

Tine - posted on 04/28/2013

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Five months? He is a tiny baby, with a tiny baby's very natural needs.
One of these is comfort. Naturally, biologically, babies come to the world expecting to have a breast for food, comfort, sleep. Babies have very powerful innate needs, and sucking is one of them. It's not habit, it is a need. If his food comes from bottles, then his sucking needs are being satisfied by this as well, it is a very powerful and completely natural healthy association.
Think of sucking as a need on the level of pooing or being warm enough. It will not disappear by five months, but if he is allowed to suck to his heart's content now, he will need it less and less as he gets older.
What he sucks on is the question of course, while breastmilk does not cause problems if babies suck to sleep and feed overnight, formula can be detrimental to teeth health once they come in. I guess this means that he will need to have something else to suck on if not mum's breast; a soft teething toy made from silicone or natural rubber, or a dummy perhaps.
If you have him close to you at night his (also completely normal and healthy) night waking will be less of a hassle and you will be able to respond to him quickly, Having you nearby will help him to feel more secure and reduce his need to find security in objects like the bottle or dummy too.

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