Ask SIFTW: 7 month old feeding at 3am

June 11, 2008

Lauren writes:

I have a 7 month old who is habitual waking at 3/3.30am for a breastfeed.  I know at this age he should be sleeping through.  We put him down at 7.00pm.  He has solids at about 4pm and then a bottle at 6.30pm.  I always (now) try and put him down awake so he is learning to fall asleep by himself.  (I previously breastfed him to sleep which I know is a big no no).  Anyway for the last 2 weeks we have tried to get him to stop feeding at 3am, however I am finding this extremely difficult and am getting very tired.  I basically go in to him to check that he is dry etc and then try and shush / pat / kiss him back to sleep.  Doesn’t really seem to be working – should I just leave the room and let him cry it out????????
 
HELP.

Hi Lauren, we’re not very conventional here at SIFTW and what I would say is that 7 months is very little and you are not alone in having a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night. Actually I won’t tell you how old mine was when he started to sleep through MOST nights, as it could be taken to be a little bit depressing. It’s little solace when you feel like crap every morning because your sleep is broken, but I think your bubba is doing quite well for his age. Do you have a partner who could get up with baby in the morning and allow you a little bit of a lie in to catch up once in a while. Even a sleep in once a week can do wonders, I find.

It sounds like the shush/pat/kiss is not working too well at the moment. I would probably take the route of least resistance, the one that gets him back to sleep ASAP, and yes, that probably means feeding him. There’s plenty of time to drop this habit later as their diet moves more towards having a proper dinner and their tummies can go longer.

There are those crazy babies who sleep through from a few months old, but I really feel that they are the exception.

Best of luck.

xx

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10 month old twins and rocking to sleep

June 1, 2008

Lynn writes

I have twin 10-month-old girls who have always been challenging sleepers, though recently things have started to really improve. The girls usually take 2 naps during the day, 1-2 hours each, which is a huge improvement from the 30-40 minute naps they used to take. And even better, their nighttime sleep has improved too. Most nights we’re down to one waking per baby, and some nights they even sleep through. My question has to do with getting them to sleep. When they were younger I spent a couple of months trying to get them to fall asleep on their own but since I don’t want to let them cry it out and most gentle sleep training methods don’t seem to work for twins, I gave up and have been rocking them to sleep which is usually a much faster, easier method. I’m okay with the current system, but sometimes I worry about the future. I’ve never heard of an 8-year-old being rocked to sleep so I’m figuring we’ll transition out of the rocking-to-sleep at some point. But how? Does it always have to be a painful process? Does it ever happen naturally the same way their sleep has improved naturally?

Hi Lynn, I’m glad the sleeping has improved for you lately, you’ve got double trouble on your hands already! What I tend to think about methods of getting kids to sleep is that you do what works until it no longer works. That’s what happened to us with rocking to sleep and feeding to sleep. We rocked and fed and rocked and fed to sleep, and then one day those little eyes just didn’t want to close. So we had to figure a new way to do things.

These days, we have a cuddle, sing a song and put the Imp into his cot and he’ll mumble for a bit and drift off. What a dream! I can’t really say how we got from rocking and feeding to this point, it was such a gradual change, but I really feel as they become more confident in themselves and understand more of the world, they gain the independence to do such wonderful things and put themselves to sleep.

So I guess my advice is to do what you need to do to get them to sleep (at least they seem to be staying asleep for the most part which is 9/10 of the battle), and as they grow out of this stage, you will find new and innovative ways of getting them to bed and to sleep.

love SIFTW