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Cutting out nightfeeds - help!

(13 Posts)
fifitot Fri 10-Jun-11 20:27:17

Baby is now 11m. At 10m finally got him onto bottles (I know! I should have gone straight to cups - ah well) as going back to work. He has 3 a day (though working to cut one out). Has one at breakfast, around 2pm and about an hour before bed.

At first because he wasn't taking all the milk and wasn't eating well, I continued his well established night feeds - still breastfeeding at night. He religiously wakes at 10pm 1pm and 4pm and I feed him. However I know he doesn't need this and I certainly don't! He is eating well and having 3 lots of 200 ml formula so he can't be hungry and for my own sanity I need to stop this feeding.

My question is this - should I give him a bottle at his 10pm wake up instead of breastfeeding in the hope it will fill him up and stop his subsequent wakings OR is this the cowards way out and should I just stop the nightfeeds cold turkey and shush him back to sleep.

WWYD? Any advice gratefully accepted!

eastmidlandsnightnanny Fri 10-Jun-11 20:41:15

If you have been using formula yes offer formula at 10pm and if he wakes in the night offer water in a bottle or beaker and hopefully he will soon get the message no milk is being offered- once you have got him sleeping through I would reduced the amount of milk offered at 10pm and then offer water if he wakes at 10pm as he should be able to go 7/8pm-7am without a feed if having enough food in the daytime.

my 9 and 1/2 mth old has a bf at 7am, 4.45pm (small feed) and a big feed at 7pm with bed at 8pm and is up at 7am - although this last week has been waking at 5.30/6am and chattering in cot - we have some very noisy birds outside so think that may be whats waking him

RitaMorgan Fri 10-Jun-11 20:47:28

I would do similar - feed at 10pm (don't think it matters if this is breast or bottle, depends if you want to stop all breastfeeding) and the when he wakes at 1am I'd have his dad offer water and cuddles. I think it can be too confusing for babies if you go to them and don't let them feed, so easier on them if it's dad as they won't expect a boob!

I'd try to cut the 1am feed first, then the 4am one personally, but if you need to move quicker then cut them both - your ds just needs to adjust so he's taking those calories in the day rather than at night. Once he's going 10-7 you can reduce the 10pm feed or move it earlier and earlier until you drop it.

ContentedMaybe Fri 10-Jun-11 20:48:14

Hi fifitot. I was breastfeeding in the night until my son was 6 months when my mother in law suggested he was likely feeding out of habit rather than genuine need. As we were on holiday at the time and sleepless nights would be less of an issue for my husband, I decided to try not feeding after the 10 pm dreamfeed to see what would happen. On the the first night, my son cried for about 20 mins, but when I actually listened to his cry, it was his tired rather than hungry cry, and while I had to wake my husband up to stop me from going to him, I did leave him be and he slept through until 6 am. The second night he cried for 5 mins. Since then, he's not cried and has slept through until 6 - 7 am without a feed. I know people have different opinions on leaving a baby to cry, but I felt it was important for my son to learn to sooth himself back to sleep.
As an aside, because I was breastfeeding and didn't know how much milk he was getting at the 10 pm feed, I started expressing and using the expressed milk from throughout the day to give him a full bottle (8 fl oz) at 10 pm. If nothing else, this gave me the confidence to leave him be, as I knew he was well fed. Perhaps if you give your son a bottle as you suggest, you will feel the same confidence...
Hope this helps :-)

fifitot Fri 10-Jun-11 21:07:13

Thanks - really helpful advice everyone. I think cutting out the post 10pm feeds first might be easiest as suggested. I may try and use ebm for this feed as worried about his teeth not being clean after the bottle...........not that he has any at the moment though!

I can't really leave him to cry - he has excema and gets very hot and bothered when crying and then scratches compulsively. Will just have to soothe without feeding - will get dh to do this as suggested.

Thanks again, will start tonight! Fingers crossed!

LeggyBlondeNE Mon 13-Jun-11 12:50:23

Fifi - how did the weekend go? Am thinking of trying to cut our 4am-ish feed myself...

fifitot Mon 13-Jun-11 20:22:23

Leggy - it's kind of up and down, lots of crying. Have settled on a 10pm BF and then nothing until 4am. When will BF again. I won't feed in between - well that's the theory. He wasn't bad last night but over the weekend, it was hellish, he went mad. Determined not to give in though - he really doesn't need it as is eating like a horse now and has 3 200ml bottles of formula a day too.

The plan is to phase out the 1 am feed and then like you the 4 am one.

Good luck!

TittyBojangles Mon 13-Jun-11 20:44:48

Once you do get rid of the 1am one try moving the 4am one later and later over a few days until it reaches a getting up time, this is working quite well for us and now DS doesnt wake til 5.30am... hopefully he'll make it through til a more socialble hour sometime soon. Good luck and let us know how you get on.

jenniferkk Mon 13-Jun-11 21:04:03

We recently managed to cut the night feeds out without too much of a problem. We still do a 10pm dream feed as the boy goes down very early at about 6pm. We stopped the 4 am feed by offering plain water in a bottle when he woke, he rejected the water and within about 3 nights realised it wasn't going to get better and since then hasn't asked.
Although he still cries out once a night but only because he's got himself caught in an unfortunate position but these days I can untangle him from the bed cloths in my sleep!
good luck

fifitot Mon 13-Jun-11 21:40:23

Thanks both. How old your LOs btw? I am being told that at 11m my boy doesn't need a dreamfeed but I can't see how he would go all night without one!

chocolatebourbon Mon 13-Jun-11 22:09:32

Hi Fifitot,
My little one had breastmilk every time he woke up at night until 11 months old (like you, prob about 3-4 times a night although no fixed times). By then I was totally exhausted and back at work - I couldn't take the lack of sleep any longer and I had totally failed with all attempts at formula/bottlefeeding. I stopped nightfeeding cold turkey at just past 11 months - no milk between 7pm and 6am and being really firm about it worked within 3 nights. Dad was in charge and came in on the second night begging me to bf but to be honest by this stage I felt it would be more cruel to give in only to start again the next night with confusion all round. It was harsh but it did work. I think you have to wait until you are really ready and then set rules you are going to stick to.
I did the same to daytime wean down to two fixed morning/evening feeds at 15 months and then no feeds at 16 months. I know it sounds really mean but I had always fed on demand so there were no fixed feeds to "drop", and any attempt at more gradual reduction just led to confusion. I am pregnant with number two now, so grateful to have a little break before I start again!

Woodlands Tue 14-Jun-11 09:17:20

We've just cut out night feeds fairly recently. We tried cutting out the 3am feed at just under 9 months (he was still having an 11pm feed) and it didn't work - he would wake right up and be awake for two hours each night. he wasn't terribly unhappy, just awake, and because he was in a co-sleeper cot, we couldn't sleep either. then he got ill, and then we were away, so we gave up trying for a few weeks. At about 10 months i was fed up with him waking every 2 hours for a couple of nights, so I slept in the other room and left him with my husband. He woke and cried for about 25 minutes at 4am, but then went back to sleep. The next night he woke and cried for 5 minutes - and the next night he didn't wake up till 6am!

Then a couple of weeks later we moved him into his own room, which meant that we weren't disturbing him when coming to bed, so we could cut out the 11pm feed. In fact the night before we did this he slept through for the first time from 7pm-6am, and then he did the same the next night in his own room. That was two weeks ago, and for a week of that we have been on holiday (he had his own room in both places we stayed). There have been about three nights he has woken some time in the night, but apart from that he has slept through every night! It is just bliss to be getting full nights of sleep after ten and a half months of broken sleep. I love it.

Good luck - it will all suddenly fall into place, like it did for us.

fifitot Tue 14-Jun-11 19:44:01

Thanks both. I am still doing a BF at 10ish when he wakes but not feeding until morning when he gets a bottle. He woke last night at 12 but went off a bit of crying but then woke at 2 and was up crying for 2 hours.............Then woke up at 5.30 screaming for a bottle. So it was a bad night. Must keep going though................

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