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Reducing night feeds

(6 Posts)
Tangles451 Sat 15-Aug-15 11:18:24

My ds is 7.5 months old and has always been a frequent waker. I feed him to get back to sleep as it always what he wants. It makes him go back to sleep quite quickly normally, wheras if I rub his belly / rock him he just cries till I give in.

I am going back to work in a few weeks and actually need to be able to function so would like to try and encourage him to feed less in the night. He is also very heavy for his age and I am worried I am over feeding him, even though everyone says you can't overfeed a bf baby. He is having real food during the day, but mostly just plays with it. I don't think much actually goes in.

I don't mind still feeding him, but would like to cut it down to maybe a couple of times. How can I do this without giving him too many mixed messages? I am not ok with any method that leaves him to cry without comfort. I am ok to pick up / cuddle / rock to help him to sleep without feeding and hope that he will accept the same from dp. But if I feed him some times and not others how will he know what to expect? I don't want to teach him that he just has to keep on crying and eventually I will feed him each time.

Long and confused question I know, but hoping there is some advice!

FATEdestiny Sat 15-Aug-15 20:49:21

I can understand why you think this might be confusing and giving mixed messages. I agree. It will be very difficult for your baby to have any understanding that this time when he wakes you won't breastfeed him but another time when he wakes you will breastfeed him.

Personally I would go for an all-or-nothing decision.

If you are going to night wean you need to make sure he has plenty of milk throughout the daytime, as well as plenty of solid food. Then just offer water for all night wakes between bedtime and getting up.

FATEdestiny Sat 15-Aug-15 20:52:11

I forgot to mention the most important bit.

Night weaning cannot work unless you also establish a means of baby getting back to sleep without being breastfed.

You would be wrong to assume you can just not feed and baby will learn to just close his eyes and go to sleep on his own. this won't happen. Establishing a dummy may be worth doing if baby likes to suck (although late to do this at 7 months). Or a comforter of some type to suck/cuddle.

maymow Sat 15-Aug-15 21:18:08

I have been struggling with the same dilemma. When DD was about seven months I decided to stop feeding her at every wake (which was every 1-2 hours) and to only feed her if it had been at least three hours since the last feed. We went through a couple of awful nights where I put her in the sling, she was v cross but from the third night went down to 3-4 wakings. This was a big improvement but now we're stuck. She's 10 months and settles in the cot at the start of the night but when she wakes I either sing to her in the cot, feed her or (if the screaming is really bad) put her in the sling.

I agree it gives mixed messages to give different responses. I'm working on a staged gentle approach (as I can't do crying methods!). First step is to cut out all night feeds by reducing the time of each feed by a minute every other night then work on self settling using gradual retreat. The problem with giving water is (apparently) that baby still relies on you intervening when they wake - so need to use methods which encourage self settling eg comforter.

I have only just started so hope others post with advice / success stories!

Tangles451 Sun 16-Aug-15 18:11:03

Thank you for your advice. Although he enthusiastically gums at any food given to him, most of it ends up on the floor. I think that the cries for feeding are more for comforting back to sleep than hunger, but I'm not sure enough goes in during the day to completely night wean. I also know that my supply will reduce by not feeding him in the day when I go back to work, so don't want too much change at once.

I do accept that he will still need help back to sleep, it was just my hope that if rocking / having water then I can get help. I guess continue as things are for now until we are ready to night wean and hope I'm not too much of a zombie at work.

Good luck with the staged approach maymow

SleepForTheWeak Sun 16-Aug-15 21:41:32

I could have written that exact post!

I'm afraid I'm no help, DD went from 2/3 nights feeds at 7 months to 5/6 now at 10 months. It's not getting any better like they promise you it will!

She goes to sleep well at bedtime, usually asleep for 7 with just a bit of singing or humming from me. She's awake every 1-2 hours after that though.

DH and I have decided to seek advice from a sleep consultant. I need a concrete and consistent plan. I went back to work 3 weeks ago and have had to cut down my hours due to lack of sleep. It's a rubbish situation.

Good luck, I hope your DC is more responsive than mine!

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