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Gradual retreat & night feeds - 6mo - what would be reasonable?

(7 Posts)
nearlytherenow Tue 18-Oct-11 13:44:14

I'm working on a gradual retreat programme to help my 6mo DS2 learn (re-learn, he did this fine until about 4.4 months) to settle himself for naps and at night. It's going well - 4 days in and he's going down for naps, at bedtime, and during the night with me sitting by the cot with a hand on him (as opposed to feeding him to sleep). At no point has he become distressed.

I am NOT trying to cut out all night feeds, and do not expect him to suddenly sleep through the night. But, despite going in the cot awake, I haven't yet seen any reduction in the number of night wakings (roughly 3 hourly from 7 - 4ish, then hourly until about 7). I would like to cut down on night feeds - I don't think he needs to be feeding every hour in the later part of the night. And I'd like to be able to confidently go out for the evening (he won't take a bottle, so if he's hungry I need to be there).

I'm trying to work out what would be reasonable - 4 hourly feeds at night? He still feeds 2.5 - 3 hourly all day, mostly quite well, and we're BLW so I'm not relying on solids impacting on his appetite just yet.

I did a similar programme with DS1 at the same age, and from the moment he went in the cot awake (took longer as we had to work through the whole feed to sleep / rock to sleep / hold to sleep stages slowly) he just slept through or only woke once, so I didn't really ever have to think about how to deal with night wakings.

Any advice / suggestions welcome - I really would stress that I'm not trying to force him to sleep through, but just gently encourage him to sleep the longer stretches that he used to sleep a couple of months ago.

Emsmaman Tue 18-Oct-11 16:25:26

Hi NTN, I don't have an answer for you, just want to let you know what we are trying. My DD is 6.5 months and my feeling is she'll never switch to eating enough during the day if i keep feeding through the night. The first part of the night is normally her longest stretch - 3 or 4 hours. Like you I've not seen any difference in nighttime sleep quality between different methods of getting her to sleep (pat and shush, feed to sleep, leave awake baby say good night sweetie walk out closing the door). After various research and trying to meet my own and dh needs I've decided that first waking of the night (10/11pm) will be met with bf no argument, I think she's genuinely hungry then as that feed is normally long. I'm trying to "push back" on feeding at the other wake ups. 4 nights in, and I've only managed to get her back to sleep for another 3 hour stretch once. Sometimes I end up feeding after ten minutes of cuddles if she's getting hysterical, sometimes after an hour, sometimes I get her back to sleep for up to 20 mins then she wakes up more determined than ever! Good luck.

nearlytherenow Tue 18-Oct-11 21:57:15

Thanks - hope it falls into place for you soon. Like your DD, DS2 seems genuinely starving at the first waking. It's hard to have the resolve not to feed him for later wakings (and risk being woken up 20 minutes later), but think I'm going to need to start at least trying - hourly feeds from 4 - 7 are surely not a hunger issue! He feeds pretty well through the day, I think it must on some level be some kind of sleep association thing / developmental thing - even though he's no longer actually feeding to sleep, I'm wondering whether he still needs a very full tummy to settle.

Lucyannieamy Tue 18-Oct-11 22:02:44

You could try the wake to sleep, that is feed but wake so at least there is eyed open before lying back in cot. Saying that we tried with little success until 8 months, so best of luck

nearlytherenow Tue 18-Oct-11 22:16:59

Lucy that's what we're doing (I think) - he is fed when he wakes but not (any more) fed to sleep, problem is that he will go in the cot awake and go off to sleep (with me next to him) upwards of 6 times a night! Only as long as he has had a feed though, if he wakes up and doesn't get fed (even if he's just been fed an hour before) he screams the house down.

haloflo Wed 19-Oct-11 09:17:17

Watching this thread for tips but too tired to post. (I have a 6.5 month old DD who is exactly the same. Wakes for feeds every 2-4 hours but doesn't feed back to sleep. Needs the milk then either self settles next to me or needs her dummy if I attempt to transfer her to the cot.)

<yawn>

nearlytherenow Wed 19-Oct-11 12:00:40

It's knackereing isn't it haloflo. And a complete mystery - I was so sure that self settling would be the answer. I think I'm just going to have to cut out some night feeds, but I just need to work out which ones! Or leave it a few more months and then cut out all night feeds, in a way that might be an easier message to convey to him.

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