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Weaning off night feeds

(10 Posts)
sheeplikessleep Fri 17-Dec-10 10:50:34

How long did it take and how did you do it?

DS2 is 9 and a half months and still wakes 2 times a night and I feed him back to sleep. BUT, he isn't hungry in the morning and often just feeds for comfort. He is on 3 full meals and 2 snacks a day BLW and is taking in quite a bit of food now. He is BF about 4 times a day too.

Last night, at midnight, I fed him, he was quite awake and it took nearly 2 hours of leaving to cry a bit, cuddling, rocking to get him back to sleep. All the time I was saying, I'll just feed him again and DH saying 'no, we need to get him used to not feeding at night / being fed to sleep'. I know he's right, but when you're tired, it's so much harder.

Any hints or tips on how to get our LO off the night feeds would be very much appreciated! DH is off work now for Christmas, so it's an opportune time. DS2 does settle better for him (often I've been trying for up to an hour after feeding, when DH goes in and cuddles him, it's 10 minutes and DS2 is asleep).

I always thought I wouldn't do CC, but 9 months with at least two nightly wakes is starting to take it's toll on us all.

Thanks for reading

NapWhatNap Fri 17-Dec-10 11:02:25

We weaned dd off night feeds at 7 months (she is now 10 months), and this is how we did it:

We planned in advance a stretch of a few nights when dp was not working and we had no overnight visitors or trips away planned.

When she woke, DP went in with a beaker of water. Not once did she drink any but I think it did give her the message that milk was not on offer! Then DP used the pick up/put down technique, where you pick them up until the moment they stop crying, at which point you put them straight down.

(Quick point: as your ds is older, it may be better to skip the "pick up" part of pick up/put down. Just wait til he stands up in his cot, then lie him straight back down saying "lie down, sleepy time" or something. This has worked for us while dd has been having a bit of a sleep regression in the past few weeks- picking her up just got her more worked up).

When DP lost the will to live, I took over (but it was important that he went in first, so she didn't think the milk wagon had arrived!).

It took two nights. The first night she woke once and was up for 70 minutes. The second night she woke once and was up for 50 minutes. The third night she slept through and became sooo much better at self settling.

Now she generally sleeps through, apart from when she is teething, has a cold, or is learning a new trick.... So that's about half the time then!

But it feels good not to be feeding at night- in fact I tried it in desperation last night when she was up with horrible teething pain, and it didn't settle her in the slightest. This confirmed for me that the night feeds are now ancient history!

sheeplikessleep Fri 17-Dec-10 11:09:33

napwhatnap - such a helpful and reassuring post, thank you. i'm going to copy and email through to dh! he is pretty happy to do whatever, but wants us to be trying to encourage ds2 and doing something.

what did you do nap-times, as he is still fed to sleep then too. same time or tackle later?

thanks again

NapWhatNap Fri 17-Dec-10 12:42:10

Can't help with naptimes I'm afraid as a) dd never did feed to sleep for naps and b) her naps are totally inconsistent and often crap, so I'm not well placed to advise! I always find it easier to tackle night time sleep though, as you can just carry on for as long as it takes, and parents and baby all have biological imperative to sleep... eventually!

One thing I forgot to say is, in our experience, you've got to be consistent. It will confuse your ds if you cave in and offer milk sometimes and other times don't. Just stick it through.

But like I said, it really wasn't too hellish after all, she soon cottoned on.

sheeplikessleep Fri 17-Dec-10 13:27:43

thanks napwhatnap. i'll leave naps for now, although in one mind i think for consistency, we should do those too, but then i think i need some sanity!

as we perservered last night for nearly two hours (and he then didn't wake until 6 this morning), i feel like we have made the first step and go for it tonight too.

i quite like the idea of either dh or i sitting with ds2. i know i need to encourage some self-settling before he starts at the cm's in 6 weeks. i'd rather her learnt some new sleep associations with us at home, than with the cm, who he doesn't yet know.

thanks again for posting.

sheeplikessleep Sat 18-Dec-10 11:35:17

napwhatnap - similar story last night. dh went in when he woke at 2am. dh cuddled ds2 when he was distressed, but when he calmed down, he put him in the cot and patted his back.

bit weird, as he fell asleep about 2 or 3 times, but each time, he woke up 10 minutes later? this was between 2 and 4am, he then slept until half 6.

we're going to continue with it for a week and see where we are then.

Liloosmum Sun 19-Dec-10 13:28:11

So what do you do when he wakes after 10 minutes? I've tried this with my DD (6.5 months), but when she wakes after 10 minutes I always think that she must have woken up for a reason and that's it's usually because of hunger. So I feed her then. She currently wakes every 3 hours unless there's something else bothering her (she's just got her first tooth!)

sheeplikessleep Sun 19-Dec-10 14:12:51

liloosmum. i don't think ds2 is hungry, as he is on 3 solid meals a day (and eats a lot), gaining weight well, but isn't eating his first bf / breakfast well.

last night, he woke twice - midnight and 3 and was awake for 5 and 10 minutes, before falling back off asleep. i'm hoping this is a good sign!

NapWhatNap Sun 19-Dec-10 14:14:50

Sounds good to me sheeplikessleep. Seems your ds is starting to appreciate that milk will not be forthcoming at night time!

sheeplikessleep Mon 20-Dec-10 07:43:54

nap he slept 7 - 5.30 last night , yay!

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