Is sleep training inevitable?(27 Posts)
Do babies sleep through the night of their own accord, eventually? Or do most people reach the point, sooner or later, where they do some sleep training?
My health visitor has advised me to night wean my dd, as she is a year old and still wakes once to be breastfed. She tells me she will probably not do it on her own, but other people have told me different things.
At one HV is right she doesnt need milk but you can stop feeding her without leaving her to scream. Lay with her/cuddle/offer water and reassurance. It might be an exhausting few nights but very doable. Problem is teething I think. At 1 some big teeth can arrive and that inevitably can make for some unhappy nights. Feeding might be the easier option while she's little.
I never did any sleep training, my DD was a horrific sleeper, last night she slept 7.30pm -8am without a peep and that's fairly normal now.
I will say that I don't think it's realistic to expect most children to never wake in the night, there is so much to disturb them (thirst, heat, illness, bad dreams, fears and anxieties) and a lot will need a little help settling again. I still wake at night and I'm 35, probably a bit old for sleep training I certainly wouldn't bother sleep training in your shoes unless the one waking is disrupting you a huge amount. Whether you night wean is a different matter but may well not resolve the waking.
I never did sleep training. Didn't have to. She started sleeping through on her own at 7m. I honestly think some babies are just better at sleeping than others.
It's all about what's working for you and your family. If you're happy to feed once a night there's no issue. When you want to give up the night feed you can do it in a gentle way.
Personally I'd have been thrilled if my ds only woke once a night at a year old!
The only time I ever hear about babies over one having difficulty sleeping through the night is when they're still being breastfed. And I say that as someone who did.
You always have a choice. DD is now 4 years old, and occasionally sleeps through, but usually doesn't. We've chosen not to sleep train her (and she often wants a drink when she wakes), but that means our nights are often interrupted. Others wouldn't/couldn't cope with that - basically it's up to you (and your partner).
There's no way I would have been able to night wean my DD at one without a lot of tears so we waited. It happened very easily at 17/18 months though, she was much more ready then. She then started sleeping through in a single bed in her own room. It did take a little bit of 'training' - a couple of nights where DH went to her rather than me - but there was no battle because she was ready for it.
But then I don't agree with 'they don't need milk at this age', partly because it's not just about the milk for BF babies and partly because some do! My DD started nursery at 12 months so was no longer BF throughout the day so at this stage, she did need it at night.
If she only BF once overnight, do you feel you need or want her to stop? Because if you're happy, you could wait to see if your DD stops or shows signs that she's ready to stop by herself.
Depends what you define as "sleep training". Both my children reacted well to my stopping to feed them overnight. DH offered water and cuddles and almost instantly they stopped waking as often. They were not little babies though, nearly one. I don't consider what we did "sleep training" as that suggests strategies for dealing with crying etc but we didn't really face that, we just stopped association with waking for breast overnight.
I was just thinking I didn't have to do any with my youngest. (eldest needed enough for two and some!). But then, he was a very early morning waker and it took years of work to get him mostly sleeping till 6 am. Not reliably till age 6-7 and still needed prompting if he tried to get up early. Now he's entering puberty and all change
night wean my dd, as she is a year old and still wakes once to be breastfed
That breastfeed is probably more about comfort than calories.
It doesn't make it any less necessary though - young children need comfort to sleep well just as much as they need calories.
I would suggest introducing some form of comforter- a teddy, blanket, that kind of thing. The idea being that, over time, baby learns to comfort herself independantly in the night.
That is exactly what I'm trying to do - to disassociate waking in the night from breastfeeding, in the hope that she will stop needing that feed in order to go back to sleep.
She has a taggie, which she is very attached to and chews/sucks on whilst she is cuddled to sleep for naps and whilst she settles herself at bedtime. I can see on the video monitor that she does chew on it when she wakes at night and for the majority of times that she stirs, it does work for her, just not for this one waking , when she wakes fully and cries for me (usually somewhere between 3 and 5am).
I'm hoping she will just stop waking one day.
I recently night weaned 11 month old DD. We stopped feeding her and cuddled her back to sleep. She had been waking twice a night. The first night she was upset on and off for 2 hours whilst we walked her around, lay with her etc then we had a week of random nights, sometimes awake 2 hours (but happy), sometimes back to sleep with a quick cuddle. We have now had a week of sleeping though 8-7/7:30! Sure it won't last forever but great for now!
That's good to hear BendingSpoons. I hope it continues for you! Can I ask, were you bottle feeding or bf at night beforehand?
My partner is in the forces, so is never home for enough nights in a row to take over, so it's up to me.
Have you tried waking her when you go to bed, say 11pm or whenever. Do a nappy change to properly wake her, then breastfeed and go back to sleep.
This is often used as a way to avoid early morning wake ups. It's a bit like a reset button, restarting her night. The idea is tgat come early morning (3-5am you mention) when she goes through a light sleeping phase, that her nappy is a little more comfortable and her tummy a little less empty so that she doesn't wake up fully.
I was breastfeeding, usually at about 12 and 4. I wasn't sure if it would help her sleep through but I wanted to share the load with my DH, as I was starting to get resentful of being the one always getting up. I am back at work so had already reduced day time feeds to morning/evening on work days.
She was also used to going down for naps without a feed. At night we still do bath, feed, story, song, bed. I wondered about bringing the feed earlier but there doesn't seem any need at the moment. Before we night weaned, we worked on bedtime first, to make sure she was properly settling herself from awake. She has always sucked her fingers as her comfort thing.
If you decide to do it then good luck! But only do it if it's right for you. Personally I am glad I have done it, as I now feel I can continue breastfeeding for longer and for us it wasn't too bad. I also picked a time when I could give her lots of feeds and cuddles in the day, for my benefit as much as hers!
Mine was a shocking sleeper (up to feed every hour of every night). I night weaned him and stopped nursing to sleep shortly after his second birthday and he was reliably sleeping through by about 2.5. I didn't do any 'sleep training' other than this.
He may well have slept through sooner if I'd made those changes earlier (although he might not, and it wasn't an instant fix either when I did do it). To each their own but I'm glad we nursed through the night for as long as we did. Best of luck with however you decide to manage things.
Fate - I haven't tried it. I'm a bit worried that she would be grumpy about being woken up, cry anyway and then take ages to resettle. One of the suggestions that the HV made was to make her bedtime an hour later (currently 6.30pm) and give her some weetabix right before bed, which is similar to your suggestion. I might just give it a go tonight and see what happens. It's worth a try!
Thank you all very much for your replies and sharing your experiences. Lots of food for thought!
I sleep trained at 10ish months as my BF son was up at least 3-4 times a night for feeds and the sleep deprivation was just too much for me - cutting out the night feeds (going cold turkey) was one aspect of the training
10mo EBF DD2 sleeps through, 8-7 and has done for a while now - with intermittent bumps where she'll wake up once in the night for maybe a week at a time (usually when she's learning something new). I did some sleep training at about 7mo to get her to go down easier but have never denied her a feed in the night,
4yo DD1 still doesn't sleep through and asks for company at least once a night. We did no sleep training when she was a baby and now it seems like she doesn't actually know how to fall asleep on her own. It's a difficult decision to make, you just have to do what works for your family.
My first baby learned to sleep through the night (reliable 5 hour stretch) at 18 weeks old and learned to sleep the clock round (11ish hour stretch) by 13-14 months. Nothing I did, just luck.
My second baby learned to sleep through the night (reliable 5 hour stretch) at 3.5 years old and learned to sleep the clock round (10ish hour stretch) by 4.5 years old but still isn't reliable. Nothing I did, just luck ;)
I never had to. I was very lucky my lo slept through on his own from 3 months though.
Thank you all. I think I've decided to try, as has been suggested, to give her a feed when I go to bed and see if that encourages her to make it longer through the night. I'm going to hold off the night weaning for a few months and give her more chance to get there on her own for now. I'm feeling run down and no-one is here as back up at night, so I don't have the stamina for a potentially upset baby at the moment.
We're planning to try for a second baby this year, so if we are successful, that may prompt me to night wean, but we are doing fine for now.
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