BFing at night... Tell me it's ok to stop

(30 Posts)

I think I just need a good talking to. DD, 40 weeks, still BF and also demolishing three good meals a day. It's been a while since I had her weighed but she was on the 91st centile around Christmas time and is now wearing 12 - 18 month clothes. So it's ok to stop BFing her at night isn't it? She wakes between 1 and 3 ( or 4 on a really bad night) times a night, she will root for milk but I think it's habit. How do you know it's ok to not feed them at night? I am planning to gradually phase out BF around her first birthday and I think I need to tackle nights first. I'm reading No Cry Sleep Solution and other bits to get a plan together but any info or advice appreciated.

minkembra Mon 29-Apr-13 20:08:16

Yes. it is ok.
it is just a habit.
That said at that age she is going to fight you over it for a few days at least. the older they are the more energy/staying power they have to protest.

So expect to give up at least 3 nights sleep before she realises this is the new way. look at it as an investment in future sleep.
And you never know she may be fine about it.

mine gave up night feeds with very little protest at about 26 weeks.
You may need to cut down to one feed first though.

Good luck. happy slumbers.

minkembra Mon 29-Apr-13 20:10:06

Oh and as far as i know it is ok to give up night feeds once they weigh about twelve pounds. By that weight they can sustain themselves overnight. so i am guessing the has passed that milestone.

TheBookofRuth Mon 29-Apr-13 20:14:37

We did, DD didn't even fight us too much, although DH had to do all the night wakings for a few days till she got the message. She sleeps much better now, and when she does wake she goes back down much more easily and without a fuss.

Thank you both, I thought so. Minkembra, double the weight you suggested and you're closer to where she is! I know it might be tough, that's why I've been putting it off but I need her to start sleeping better and I think she needs it too.

melonribena Tue 30-Apr-13 19:36:09

Good luck minkembra! I want to try this with my 40 wk old ds. Let s know how you get on and what works for you.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 30-Apr-13 20:34:07

Think the weight thing is a total myth. If you do want to make changes the the isis website is a really good place to start.

You might also like Sound Sleep by Sarah Woodhouse.

Have you read this information on kellymom? Apparently only 55 percent of babies sleep through at 12 months so might have to give consideration to the fact that if you do night wean, you may have to think what you will replace it with.

Have you seen this on the 9 month sleep regression too? smile

Hello JiltedJohnsJulie I was hoping you would see this! You've given me advice before and it is always very helpful. Am surprised its onLy 55%, it seems like everyone else's baby sleeps through except mine now! In truth I have got used to getting up with her but I am concerned that me constantly picking her up is not giving her any chance to learn to settle. I have put off doing anything about it as I know it will be difficult and upsetting for her but have been considering Elizabeth Pantley's methods of letting her feed but taking her off progressively sooner than her falling asleep. I will read that book though. The main thing is that I think I need to crack the nights as a first step to weaning her off BF. She can take it or leave it during the day but demands it at night. This is really the only thing that worries me about her and I think I have built it into a big thing in my mind.

No BF doesn't mean no night wakings. So don't be lulled into a false sense of hope! When I might weaned ds (he was older), he still woke at night and it was harder not bf as didn't have that option to settle him - which is usually pretty quick.

People tend to talk about their babies and night wakings in generous terms. If you knew much they woke up each night over a few weeks as opposed to only hearing a snapshot, you might get a different impression.

You're right Creature, I know you don't always get a true picture from what people say. I suppose I had been thinking that her waking is linked to BF but that may not be the case. I think I have coped with the waking because it is usually a quick feed and back to bed but if I didn't have that to fall back on it could actually be worse!

minkembra Wed 01-May-13 11:42:05

gail it could be worse. It might not be. but the question is does she need fed in the night? no probably not. the issues of weight relates to is there stomach physically big enough for them to eat enough food that when they awake in the night they are not dangerously hungry (i.e. suffering from extreme low blood sugar)

she will have to stop eating in the night at some point. she may no stop waking in the night for a while. all babies/toddlers/kids wake up sometimes. Yes bf a baby back to sleep can be quite handy. but it is stop gap. if you keep feeding her she will likely keep expecting to be fed.

I am afraid i do actually believe that you are doing your dcs a favour by teaching them to settle themselves. learning to go to sleep is a useful habit for your whole life. (but i am aware that there are people who have wildly different opinions on that topic)

but you OP was is it ok to stop feeding her? answer: yes, it is.
it does not guarantee a peaceful night but it is definitely medically/developmentally/physiologically ok. she won't starve/lose with/fail to thrive/suffer undue physical discomfort if you don't feed her. it may take her a few days to get used to that and to learn to eat more before bed and she will be hungry when she wakes up but that is about it.

equally is it ok to keep feeding her? yes if you want to.

FWIW my two pretty much stopped waking up when i stopped night feeding them altogether at 5 months. they slept 7 til 7 and would only properly wake up if they were ill. they did grumble a bit occasionally. then I moved them out of our room and they slept like logs thereafter (really i am not making this up). but all babies are different.

be kind to yourself. see how it goes.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 01-May-13 18:42:53

min I'd be really interested to see the research on the size of babies tummies and sleeping through the night. Have you got any links?

gail glad you've found some use for my ramblings in the past, thought you might like sleeping through the night.

If she's not feeding much in the day, do you think there might be a bit of reverse cycling going on?

Thanks Minkembra, I admit I feel a bit guilty about stopping the night feeds because it's something that I think I have established for her and she is going to be upset when I do something different. I have been putting it off because it will distress her - i would never leave her to cry but i know she will cry over this and I feel I am breaking the trust I have established. She really does pack the food away though and usually only wants a quick bit of boob to get her back to sleep so I am pretty sure it is habit rather than hunger. JiltedJohnsJulie I had wondered about reverse cycling. I've ordered that Sarah Woodhouse book and had a look on the Isis website which is fascinating, certainly different to a lot of what you read in baby books isn't it?!

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 01-May-13 20:13:15

Yes it is very different but I like it because its evidence based, unlike most baby books. Think its also important to remember that many (not all) parents lie! grin

5madthings Wed 01-May-13 20:21:45

I think the12lb in weight and then they dont need a night feed is bollocks. Someone in mnet once said once they are 11lb they dont need a night feed....ds4 was born weighing that much, of course he still needex feeding in the night!

No feeding in the night doesnt mean no night waking. Mine all grew out of night feeds at various ages. Bfeeding isnt just about food tho its an important comfort and security,i always opted to give mine the comfort knowing they wouldnt always need it.

I was always boring mummy in the night tho, minimal fuss and had a bedtime routine, kept it dark and quiet and made iy clear night time was sleep time but never denied them comfort that they needed so a feed or pat on the back etc.

Mine are 13, 10, 8, 5 and 28mths and sleep fine, go to bed happily with story/kiss/cuddle etc.

You can encourage good sleeping habits without haviving to be harsh. The pantley pull off technique is quite good.

The wonder weeks also has good info re sleeping i think?

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 01-May-13 20:32:45

Just love Moxie's response to [[http://www.askmoxie.org/2011/06/qa-12-month-old-not-sleeping-through-the-night.html this one] smile

SirBoobAlot Wed 01-May-13 20:43:41

The 'X weight, no night feed' thing is bollocks a total myth.

It's perfectly normal for a 12 month old to still be waking in the night. And, especially if she's only having quick feeds, it may well be a comfort and reassuring thing for her now. That doesn't mean it's not needed, and certainly not when there is a big development with separation anxiety around this age. Also common, because of this, for babies who were sleeping through to start waking back up, just because they need to know you are there.

By all means give it a go if you want to, but be prepared for the fact she may well get distressed, and will take longer to settle when she then does wake up in the night.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 01-May-13 20:46:28

Sorry its here smile

Agree with sir too.

Am comforted by the litany of replies from people whose babies still wake at 12mo on the moxie article! Actually, most of the people I know who say that are FF now, I know that doesn't guarantee sleep but maybe it has an effect. It makes me feel better to know its not just about food too, that she is getting something emotional from it. I also know that other inks are affecting her, she recently cut four teeth within a month and right now she is about to start crawling so her legs are twitchy and I think BF helps with calming both of those things too. I can cope with night waking, a recent phase of waking at 5.45 full of beans was much tougher though. I think tonight I might try a dream feed, I never persevered with them when she was younger but it might be a interesting experiment. Thanks everyone.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 01-May-13 21:17:48

If she's about to crawl that could well be affecting her sleep and in that case I doubt very much if formula would make any difference. sorry

5madthings Wed 01-May-13 21:23:36

Oh yes crawling and other developmental leaps impact their sleeping time.

Honestly I promise this phase does pass, I drf think it helps to have a bedtime routine and keep things quiet, dark and boring in the night but I could never withhold comfort in the night if they needed it.

There are gentler ways to sleep train if you need to go down that route.

But with teething, illness, developmental changes their sleep ius likely to be a bit disturbed whatever you do.

It's just a constant round of phases isn't it?! Sitting up, teething, crawling....she just woke for the second time since going to bed at 7pm. I picked her up, fed her for a coue of minutes then put her down gently with boob still in her mouth. About 30 seconds later she unlatched herself, got comfortable and went back to sleep. Perhaps this is a good way forward!

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 01-May-13 22:07:37

Sounds good smile

And yes it is a constant round of phases just wait until you get the "can x come for tea Mum, please", the 'Tude and I've heard it gets worse once they are in high school....

fififrog Wed 01-May-13 22:11:41

I took the view that I shouldn't feed her more frequently at night than in the day. In my case I had a tough sleep problem to crack at about 5 months when she started waking every couple of hours. I thought if I only feed her every 3 in the day why the he'll should I feed her every 2 at night. With the help of a sleep consultan for moral support, we got her self-settling at bedtime via gradual withdrawal, and used similar method if she woke before an agreed feed time. So initially we set that at 11pm as last feed was about 7pm. She quickly got the message she wasn't going to get more than 2 feeds a night (in our house 6am is morning unfortunately) and then off her own bat decided to drop to just one feed. This then moved later and later and I only dropped it when she stopped going back to sleep after the feed - prob about 11 months. Incidentally she was large (91st most of her life) and everyone kept telling me she'd sleep through really quickly. Utter balls. She's now 2.1 and in the last month i'd say she sleeps til 6am without making a noise most nights. Previously it was the other way round. However she has usually settled herself back to sleep when she wakes since we did the sleep training, but usually shouted out whenever she woke (1 second shout = 2 hours awake for DH so you can imagine how relieved we are she has finally quietened down!)

fififrog Wed 01-May-13 22:14:25

PS when people say their kids sleep through it's usually just because they ignore or sleep through any noise they hear and eventually the kids learn to go back to sleep quietly unless they're ill or have a nightmare...

Makes sense fififrog, I was considering doing similar - no feed from bedtime until 12 for example and then gradually pushing it back to 1am, 2am etc. However it has just taken me two hours to get her into bed because she is so damn twitchy (she was up on all fours today a few times) so I think tonight I will be doing anything it takes to keep her asleep.....

Misty9 Thu 02-May-13 21:48:12

I'll admit I went for the least effort approach smile and ds stopped night feeds of his own accord at around 13mo. As pp have said, his night wakings didn't stop until 15mo and by god it was so much harder to get him back to sleep when not bf! I vividly remember looking at the night traffic out our bedroom window (the only thing which stopped him crying) at 2am during a particularly bad phase grin

But, ds was only waking 1-2 times per night after 10 months or so. You said your dd is 40wks? So...9mo ish? Personally I believed that ds was still waking for hunger until his first birthday, and even if it was comfort then that was still a need and I was happy to meet it.

Do what works for you and her, and don't listen to other parents they lie

Yes, I have no other ideas about how to get her back to sleep. The nearly crawling means that she is so active at night right now, at about 3am today I tried to put her back in her cot and she turned herself round 180 degrees by walking her feet along the bars and kept turning onto her side and poking me through the bars.... Nothing settled her other than a feed. But I have to say I really thought she was feeding rather than just comforting, maybe I need to just carry on for now until she is over this particular phase and then reassess. Thank you all so much, I love this topic as the stuff that gets shared is so interesting. Sweet dreams everyone!

fififrog Fri 03-May-13 20:58:28

Yeah, definitely just do what works to maximise sleep! These phases seem like they will never end but they're actually usually pretty short. I used to agonise over what to do to get DD back to sleep that didn't involve sitting with her for hours. By about 18 months prolonged and/or upset waking was very rare and I just brought her into bed if it happened. Then, I don't know when it happened but now I give her a kiss and she says night night! Amazing!

What gives me hope that it isn't a massive ishoo is that she will go to sleep without boob in the car/pram or when she is with DH or my DM who looks after her three days a week while I WAH, so it isn't like this is the only way she will sleep ever. We shall see!

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