When DD wakes up during the night, I guess my automatic reaction has been to give her a bottle. But she falls asleep as soon as she starts drinking her milk. I have been waking her up to get her to take more of the bottle in hopes that she'll sleep longer but instead I think I created a baby who wants milk to get herself back to sleep when she wakes up at night. She has been waking up more often and frequently lately and I'm afraid it may be because she is accustomed to getting milk during the night, but doesn't neccesarily need it.
So I have 2 questions. The first one is how to I get DD to go back to sleep without drinking her bottle? And the second is how do I know if she's hungry or just needs a sleep aid?
I'm afraid giving her a bottle just to have her fall asleep on it is just making the problem worse.
You're supposed to feed an infant once overnight. Is this happening again and again each night or just once, maybe twice?
My baby isn't born yet... not until Wednesday, but we plan to follow the Happiest Baby on the Block method. We've heard so many great things about it and our hospital recommends it.
Ok, my LO isn't due for a few more months so I am NOT an expert on babies but have you tried a pacifier? It may not be about the milk so much as her wanting something in her mouth to soothe her.
@mrsSonthebeach- She was only waking up for one feeding and now it has moved to three. The thing is she is only taking a sip at the other 2 feedings and falling right to sleep. So it seems as though she is waking up and doesn't know how to go to sleep without falling asleep on the bottle, so instead of me going in her room and giving her the pacifier I am warming a bottle and feeding it to her for less than a 1/2 oz (she takes 4-6oz at most feedings).
@iheartnerds- She does have a pacifier but it always falls out of her mouth before she is fully asleep and then it makes her wake up and cry again.
So I just put her down for a nap after her bottle and waited until she was drowsy but not asleep and DH and I spent more than 30mins keep giving her back her pacifier and she was still fighting it, so I tried to see if she was hungry and sure enough she fell asleep instantly when she started drinking.
I am having a similar problem. Posting to bump for you and see the advice :)
How old is your baby? She might be also going through a growth spurt where she needs more milk. If you feel she is getting enough milk and she is waking her self up at night let her fuss for a bit. She will eventually learn how to make herself go back to sleep. Our son is 15 months and he wakes up at least once or twice a night and crys a bit and then goes back to sleep. I usually can tell by his cry if it is awake and fall back to sleep cry or is awake because he is up for the day/night or just needs milk. I tend to let it go like this, if the baby monitor goes off once/twice wait if goes off a third time I get up and wait for a minute outside his room. He than crys again I know he needs milk.
How old is your baby, it's entirely possible she's going through a growth spurt. My little one is about 4.5 months and she's going through a stage where she'll wake every two hours (le sigh) and will eat. We had the problem with her falling asleep while eating but that we figured out was because we made the room 'too comfortable' so she'd fall asleep before she got her fill and would subsequently get hungry again. Last night she only woke up once *hallelujah*, and she drank the whole 4oz before falling back asleep.
So if she's taking a sip and falling asleep then she may not be very hungry. She's just waking up and soothing herself by sucking on her bottle. This is very common in infants. Some people will sub a binky but you dont exactly want them to become dependant on a binky. Ultimately it depends on how old your baby is, try a few different things. Consult her pediatrician if you are concerned. With my dd we tried sticking to a routine every single night. After a few nights she was was sleeping like a champ and we were finally getting sleep! Good luck! oh and I just saw she takes a pacifier, try a different brand. My dd only liked nam pacifiers, every baby is different.
How old is your daughter? She might be going through a growth spurt or be teething, and the bottle may be soothing her gums. Also, I'm not a mother yet, but I'm an early childhood student and teacher, and what I find works well is to rub a baby's belly, back, or the bridge of their nose to put them to sleep. I've yet to find a baby/child who hasn't fallen asleep through their forehead or the bridge of their nose being rubbed/ stroked.
Your daughter might also be quite wide awake when she is put to sleep. Try not to overstimulate her before bedtime. Massage with scented oils works amazingly well, especially with lavender oils, as well as a bedtime story or wind down period
Mine is 11.5 weeks, I think we were very close together so I think Roxy's is about 10 weeks? (correct me if I am wrong)
theres nothing wrong with a nightly feeding. I would keep giving her the bottle vs a pacifier because a pacifier may be a harder habit to break later on, My baby is 16 months and still occasionally wakes up for her bottle. The older they get the less they will need that nightly feeding. Also once you start solids you will notice they sleep through the night a lot more. At least this has been my experience.
My advice is to make sure she's eating enough at her "real" feeding time, and then let her fuss the other times she wakes up. It's old-school, but worked for me. With both kids, it was rough for about a week, but once they learned to soothe themselves back to sleep, it was awesome.
Oooh though -- 10 weeks? That's younger than I thought. Ask her doctor, but keep in mind that it's much easier to establish good sleeping habits while they're young, than to try and change bad sleeping habits when they're older.
I used to play classical music or the soundtrack to "The Sound of Music", swear to all that is holy, to my infant daughter (21 yrs ago) when she would rouse in the middle of the night. Try it. Have a soft, low speaker unit at the ready for those 2am'rs. Regarding feedings though, I breastfed for the first 6 mos, and breastfed bitties need every two hours (don't get me started; that shit was hell), so the feeding wasn't the issue; it was when she woke up and didn't want b-milk and just wanted to giggle and squirm. I'd put the music on and hum to it and she'd just go still and hyper-focus, no lie I will never forget the look, on me, and the 'ceiling' trying to 'grab the music' and smile til she went back to sleep.
The infant thing is so hard as they are all differnent and respond to different stimuli in varied ways. Good luck to you.
Depending on her age, I'm a big fan of letting them cry it out. Obviously you're not going to leave a distressed child to scream to the point of being utterly inconsolable, but if she's crying/winging/making noise, perhaps you should consider it.
It is hard, and it doesn't work for all children, but I have found it to be the most effective solution to a problem like this.
ETA: Is she 10 weeks? Obviously that is too young to use the CIO method, so I would definitely talk to your doctor/nurse if you're concerned.
Do you go straight in when she cries? Maybe leaving her for a minute or two, just to see what she does, is another option. If she's really just looking for the comfort if the bottle and not the actual milk, she may not be fully awake and so leaving her for one or two minutes may mean she goes right back to sleep.
Thank you for everyone's reply.
I am not discouraging night feedings at all and have no problem with her eating during the night. I am also not practicing CIO as I do believe she is too young. To give you an example, she went to bed at 8pm last night and woke up at 1:20 and took a 5oz bottle. She then woke up again at 3:00 and refused the binky and took less than a 1/2 oz and stayed down until 5:30 Therefore I know she didn't wake up to eat but instead I think she just woke up and didn't know how to put herself back to sleep.
At night I do put her to bed awake but drowsy and she is able to fall asleep but for some reason in the middle of the night she can't fall back asleep without milk. Does anyone have tricks that worked? I just don't want her to get in the habit of looking for milk whenever she opens her eyes.
I have no great ideas for you other than at times, the only thing that would get my DD to sleep was to swaddle her and bounce (while holding her tightly over my shoulder) on an exercise ball. Weir, but she loved it.
It may be frustrating, but she may really need that little bit of milk to get her to sleep. Don't worry, she won't be waking up every night forever....this will pass.
@roxy821: Have you tired just going in and rubbing her back and shushing her (not taking her out of bed) to soothe her back to sleep? SIL did this with my niece when they were sleep training her in her own bed. Taking her out and rocking her is also no good because she'll start crying more often just to be held/rocked in the night. Eventually they weaned her off needing her back rubbed too and she figured out how to go back to sleep on her own.
@LovelyLaura- Can you tell I'm afraid this is a bad habit that will never end lol :)
@MrsSawyer- Did she do it until your niece fell asleep? Just curious if I should stay with her until she falls back asleep.
I have heard the best way to break the connection is not to give her the bottle right away.... so maybe try changing her diaper when she wakes up so she doesn't think 'I woke up its time to eat'.... also I am using white noise which sometimes helps?
I would also reccomend trying out different pacifiers. My daughter only takes soothers but they just help her focus and fall asleep, she doesn't cry when they fall out.
@roxy821: Yea I think they stayed pretty well until she was asleep again, at least until she was calm and in a "sleepy daze". Best of luck to you, this can't be an easy phase to be in!
I didnt read through all the posts but if she is growing through a growth spurt, it might be helpful to mix some cereal with her formula at her last feeding before bed time that way she stays full. Also, use a sound machine so when she drifts out if her REM sleep, she isn't woken up easily :)
I'm totally fucking kidding. Don't listen to a damn word I say.
@careiejuly- I'm just afraid changing her diaper is really going to wake her up and not help at all trying to get her back to sleep.
@MrsSawyer- Thanks, I wasn't sure. It is an exhausting phase but I figure doing it now is a lot easier than after she's stuck in her ways.
@MissEMich- If she was hungry I guess that could help but she's just using food as a sleep aid. Also my doctors are saying 4 months before cereal.
babies can choke on formula with added cereal. plus they are more LIKELY to choke if you are to do this. after raising three babies i went through this phase a lot. i used a fan as white noise, butt patting and when worse came to worse fed her. all of mine were breast fed and they want that comforting smell of mommy and their natural sucking reflex. they grow out of it but i find the white noise works at keeping them asleep. i cant sleep in silence. drives me nuts.
Your baby is still VERY young. She is waking up in the middle of the night looking for comfort. Pat her back or rock her a bit. Remember she is used to hearing your heart in the womb so quiet sounds very loud to an infant. Don't listen to others saying she should be sleeping through the night or that bottles in the middle of the night are bad. Do what is best for you and your baby and right now that is waking up 2-3 times a night!! They will grow out of this by age two. GL!
My 13 month old wakes a few times in the night for a breast feed, varies from once to three times a night. She is getting better at just allowing me to rock and pat her. Do you have a music box or anything? You can try creating sleep associations with other things besides milk, for instance when I put my baby down to sleep with a music/nightlight that hangs on her bed and plays Mozart, and she has a comforter which I hold against her while she has her feed and put in the cot with her. When she wakes as soon as I put the music on she becomes drowsy because she associates it with sleeping.
BUT all babies are different, night waking is completely normal. Sometimes it can become a soothing thing, if as you say she is just starting a bottle and dropping off again it sounds more like soothing than being hungry. The following links may help:
Not a parent, so take this with a grain of salt, but I second the pacifier idea. Sounds like she just wants something in her mouth. And different babies take to different pacifiers- my sister's two girls would only take one certain kind of binky (can't remember the brand, but it was shaped like a circle and kinda looked like a smiley face.)
However, if she really is hungry, I suggest mixing a tiny bit of baby cereal into the bottle she drinks before bed (if you're not already). Not all parents go for this, but this was my mom's trick to get all us kids and the grandkids to sleep through the night. You start off with just a little- maybe a teaspoon or so- and add more as necessary until she is full and sleeping through the night. My mom started us as young as two weeks old- basically whenever we started waking up more than twice a night for a feeding. It's worked wonders for the grandkids- that much I can say from experience.
To be honest your LOs sleep/ wake times sound normal to me. My LO recently went through the four month sleep regression so I did a lot of research about baby sleep. I remember reading that babies typically have one long sleep stretch in the beginning of the night and after that they wake up in the same intervals that they are waking and feeding during the day. Does your LO eat every two hours during the day? I have found what helps me is that my LO goes to bed at 7 so I do a dream feed at 10:30 before I go to bed. This helps her sleep little longer and gets me a little extra sleep too. Through the course of the night after the dream feed my LO has two more night wakings and is up by 8 o'clock in the morning. She is almost 5 months. Just some ideas for you!
Please do not add cereal to your child's bottle. That is an old thing that is now proven to be dangerous and unhealthy and I have not heard of any Dr giving that the green light since way before my son who is 5. I'm sure you are already aware OP, just putting that out there for others who might now be.
At 10 weeks I don't know that I'd try to discourage the behavior. That is still really little and I'd continue to feed on demand.
Thanks for all the tips and advice. I am happy to report DD slept through the night last night at 12 weeks! I stayed up every night for almost a week teaching her how to go back to sleep by giving her her pacifier and rubbing her back, even if it took a while for her to get to sleep. I would give her the pacifier and if she rejected it I knew she was hungry but if she took it then I helped her try to soothe herself without actually picking her up or giving her milk. Last night she went down at 7:30, sleep by 8 and didn't get up until 5:45. Guess even the phases that seem tiring only last a short period of time.
That is awesome! Well done! It takes real strength and perseverence to say "no" your baby. Don't be put off if she goes through patches of not sleeping so well, with growth spurts, teething etc nothing is set in stone so don't get frustrated if her patterns go up and down. Just keep doing what you're doing :)
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