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Going back to work + sleep training my 8-month-old baby

(25 Posts)
mackoo0524 Fri 19-May-17 12:26:00

Hi everyone, really need some advice from mums who've successfully sleep trained their babies... I'm going back to work soon and my 8-month-old DS is still waking up 3-4 times a night sad(( DH can't really help with night feeds but I won't be able to cope with waking up 3-4 times a night AND working full-time during the day soooo I think I'll have to sleep train him!!!

At the moment, he wakes up for the day around 7.30am, has a 60-90minute nap around 10.30, another shorter nap around 3.30, and goes down for the night around 9pm, which I know is late if I put him down earlier, he would get up in the morning at 6!!! I can never get him to sleep more than 10 hours or so at night.

So after 9pm, he usually wakes up around 1am, at which point I'd feed him (only 3 ounces). Then he sleeps for another 3 hours or so, wakes up around 5am, at which point I'd feed him again (only 3 ounces), and bring him into bed with me. He usually wakes up again around 6.30 or 7 but I would pat him on his back to encourage him to stay down for a bit longer. And this would be a fairly GOOD night! On a bad night, he would wake up a couple more times but I never feed him more than twice a night. BUT on the other hand, he can sometimes do a 6 or 7-hour stretch, which is DIVINE but this only happens very rarely, maybe once in a fortnight!!!! He regularly did a 6 or 7-hour stretch when he was 3-4 months old but for the last few months he's gone back to doing just a 4-hour stretch sad((((

I'm not opposed to CC - in fact I did CC when he was 3 months to make him sleep in his cot and it worked well. But now I don't know if I should do CC and cut out all night feeds, or still feed him once or twice a night, but try to extend the first stretch at least?

I'm not that 'greedy' - if I can make him consistently sleep a 6 or 7-hour stretch at the beginning of the night I'd consider that a success!!!

Really not looking forward to waking up 3-4 times a night and working a full day so am quite desperate now please share your advice/ personal experience with sleep training. Thanks in advance!

fuzzyfozzy Fri 19-May-17 12:45:05

Hi
How's his weaning going?
Do you think he needs the milk in the night or is it comfort?

usernoidea Fri 19-May-17 12:52:25

I've got an 8 month who I've sleeptrained....I'm happy to give you more advice on it but as the pp asked how much is he eating a day before I suggest some things....x

foxessocks Fri 19-May-17 13:00:40

I've got a nearly 9 month old and also a 3 year old and in my limited experience they tend to have a bit of a sleep thing happen at this sort of age. I have noticed with my ds that he is busy learning to crawl, pull himself up, dropping a nap in the day, has teeth coming through, learning to make new sounds and developing his pincer grip. He was only waking up once a night a month or so ago but now is up 2 or 3 times and would probably be up more but after I've fed him for the second time I put him in our bed so we all get more sleep. Sorry not much help. Just to say you're not alone! And my dd did the same thing and then when she was about 11 months I just stopped feeding her at night and she then stopped waking up. So if you're confident he doesn't need to be fed at night you could try that. I'm​ going to give my ds a few more months because I don't think he's quite ready and neither am I to tackle it but I don't have to go back to work (well I do but I work evenings / weekends and not many hours) so totally get it's different for you - you have to do what you have to do to get enough sleep!

foxessocks Fri 19-May-17 13:01:39

Sorry that was rambled . I was trying to say that they have so much going on development wise at this age that I think they struggle to settle.

FatLittleWombat Fri 19-May-17 13:03:56

His awake time in the evening is too long. I'd either try and get him to have a short nap at 5pm if you want to keep the 9 pm bedtime, or bring his bedtime forward by at least an hour. He might be waking from overtiredness.
He is only having six ounces of milk a night which isn't much, I'd gradually reduce that amount until you cut the bottles out completely.
Those two things should already improve his sleep.

FATEdestiny Fri 19-May-17 14:10:12

mackoo0524 - How do you ger him to sleep at bedtime and naptime?

FATEdestiny Fri 19-May-17 14:11:18

... And does he have any form of comforter? (Dummy, soft toy, blankie)

mackoo0524 Fri 19-May-17 16:12:43

Thanks everyone for your replies!!!

During the day he has 3 meals a day, and 3 bottles of formula - 150ml before his first nap, 150ml before his second nap, and 210ml at bedtime.

Fate, His bedtime routine is just bath->pyjamas->milk+lullaby-> sleep. During the day he also tends to fall asleep while on the bottle so maybe that's part of the problem...??? But sometimes he doesn't fall asleep while feeding and can still manage to fall asleep by himself afterwards, but always with some crying.

No, he doesn't have any comforter... Not sure how to introduce one sad Never used a dummy either.

Wombat, thanks for your advice. Do you think it's better to keep to two feeds a night but reduce the amount at each feed, or cut out one feed altogether??

usernoidea Yes please share your experience would love to know how you did it!!

fox Yes I think there's lots of going on in terms of development he's pulling himself up and learning how to crawl etc... Is this some sort of sleep regression then?? It's been going on for a few months now sad(

tatohead Fri 19-May-17 17:25:44

My daughter woke up every 2 hours until 18 months and I went back to work into an exhausting job at 10 months. You just get used to it. I never bothered doing anything as I was happy for her just to develop naturally with her sleeping but just in case your training doesn't work, rest assured you'll be ok, tired but ok!

usernoidea Fri 19-May-17 18:47:57

I think you probably know this but if he's taking 3 meals a day there is no need to feed him during the night at all...this in turn will allow him to up his food during the day.

We do 3 meals a day and 180 MLS first and last thing. Nothing during the night. I used to until about a month ago. Then just went cold turkey. Gave him water for a few nights then nothing

mackoo0524 Fri 19-May-17 19:36:22

Tatohead: thanks for your reply! When did your daughter 'grow out of it'??

Usernoidea: Yes I think he gets plenty to eat and plenty of milk during the day!! So you gave him water every time he cried, as soon as he cried, or did you wait a certain amount of time before going in?? And after giving him water for a few nights did he stop waking up??

43percentburnt Fri 19-May-17 19:44:04

If he does wake at night can't you do the evening shift whilst dh sleeps. Then dh do 3am onwards whilst you get sleep? Or vice versa.

You do get used to the sleep deprivation! My bf 15 month old twins wake a few times each night. If they were ff dh could share the load.

mackoo0524 Fri 19-May-17 20:29:55

43percent thanks for your reply! DH does help sometimes but DS takes ages to settle with himsad( Yes you do get used to the sleep deprivation I suppose I'm already quite used to it and can function just fine during the day so... maybe I'm just being a bit greedy!! LOL... Your twins still wake a few times each night at 15 months?? That must be really tough!!!

The other problem for me is that I sometimes struggle to get back to sleep after each feed, like HOURS!! I've often had to resort to sleeping pills and on nights like that DH would take over...

pikapoo Fri 19-May-17 21:04:12

OP, I tend to be in the camp of avoiding sleep deprivation (your own) if you can help it, and that means trying to help the baby sleep through if you can (rather than waiting for them to grow out of it). Because, why not? And there are many different ways out there, some more drastic that others.

Like a previous poster, our DS had a similar sleep thing going on around 8 months where he was waking more often (I was still BF at the time). But we knew, given his daytime milk and solid intake, and his humongous size (he is a year old and over 12kg shock), he was not nutritionally deprived and so we made the decision to night wean by having someone other than me (in this case, visiting MIL) settle him at night whenever he woke up, for a few nights. I literally did not go into his room so as to try and break the breastfeeding back to sleep association.

It was tough the first couple of nights as he cried quite a bit, bit MIL stayed calm and cuddled him while making sure he didn't have a dirty nappy etc. So it wasn't controlled crying in the sense of just leaving him by himself in cot.

After about a week, he started to sleep through consistently. Another key thing we found was he would still wake up at night once or twice, but just moan a little to himself and then fall back asleep again. I believe this is the critical part - him being able to fall asleep by himself instead of needing a teat to comfort him back to sleep. He's a big fan of his comforter (we have an Angel Dear one (and 4 spares to rotate!!), you can find them online, but there are loads of different comforters you can find in stores) - I definitely suggest offering him one at sleep times (you could just put it on your shoulder when you cuddle him so he feels it against his skin and face), after some time he may start to use it to rub his face and chew on a bit, which is what my DS started doing to help himself fall asleep (to my delight)

Good luck!

foxessocks Fri 19-May-17 21:08:40

Yes I think there is meant to be a sleep regression at this age , if you can call it that, I think it's more just a huge amount going on development wise and it can affect sleep - that's just my experience though , both my children have been the same at this age. With my dd when she got to nearly age 1 I wanted to stop breastfeeding so at that point I went cold turkey on feeding at night. I spoke to the HV and she said that milk wasn't needed at night at that age but not to offer water either as they shouldn't need anything (unless very hot weather or poorly etc ) , she advised just sending dh in to pick up baby, hold her and then put her back down, no eye contact, no talking, just holding to reassure you're there and then back down and repeat that as many times as they wake. It worked with my dd , in 2 nights she stopped waking at all and has slept through 12 hours a night ever since (she's 3 now). Ds is only 9 months so haven't tried it with him yet , he wakes more often than dd did so it might be harder but I'm certainly going to try the same method in a few months time when I want to stop breastfeeding. If you want to try it now then I would have thought it's fine not to give milk at night at this age. But once you decide to try something you have to be consistent so don't do anything until you have a plan! For us, we waited until dh had some time off work in case it was really hard and we were all exhausted!

pikapoo Fri 19-May-17 21:08:51

A couple of our friends have also had success with sending in DHs with water (so not dissimilar to what we did - basically changing the modus operandi during night wakings and getting the baby to adjust expectations/habits)

mackoo0524 Fri 19-May-17 21:51:52

pikapoo thanks soooo much for your detailed reply!!! Really helpful. I think I should try introducing a comforter - already have a few at home so will give that a go. It's great that your MIL helped with the sleep training!! Did she give your DS any water at all during the night? Did you just go cold turkey on night feeds?

fox oh wow that sounds great, hopefully your DS will start sleeping better soon too!! When you sleep trained DD, did you let her cry for a certain amount of time, or did your DH go in to comfort her as soon as she started crying?

As for tonight DS went down at 9pm as usual, sleeping soundly in his cot now... I think I'll hold off on the sleep training because I clearly don't have a plan yet!! Still not sure whether to go cold turkey, or cut down to 1 feed, or stick to two feeds but give him less milk, or give him water, or what.... grrr..... Hope he'll do a nice long-ish stretch before waking up!!!

mackoo0524 Fri 19-May-17 21:55:09

Just one more thing to add... Part of me thinks that he shouldn't need any milk at night, considering his daytime food and milk intake, but part of me thinks that maybe he IS genuinely hungry, or at least thirsty at night?? Considering lots of adults can't go without food and water for 10 hours.... So I guess at this point in time I'm leaning towards 1 feed at night...

foxessocks Fri 19-May-17 23:49:03

Dh didn't leave her to cry at all, if he heard her then he went straight in and picked her up and put her down when she was nodding back off again. That said, I think he probably didn't hear her as quickly as I did so may have left her a few minutes longer and sometimes she'd have a quick whinge and fall back to sleep...it's always worth waiting five mins before you go in. Only thing is with my ds is he gets upset so fast so if you wait too long he often gets himself in a state and then is harder to calm down - every baby is different I guess and I definitely don't claim to be any kind of expert!! I'm up with ds as we speak feeling frustrated that he wakes up at this time every night and wondering about reintroducing a dream feed or just going cold turkey with feeding at night now. So I'm also undecided - you are not alone!!

As for the no food and drink for that long, I think with my dd it was obvious she didn't need anything because as soon as she was picked up she relaxed so it was just comfort she wanted. She still goes 12 hours without a drink , just has a big glass of milk when she wakes up, so it is possible but again every child is different. I often wake up thirsty in the night myself so it is hard to know what to do for the best! My HV said don't offer water at first in case it just creates a new habit of waking for water but she did say obviously use common sense if you think they really might be thirsty...hot weather for example.

Right I'm going to put ds back down now and figure out what I'm going to do tomorrow as well!!! I may try to break the habit of this wake up by sending dh in but then offer a feed if he wakes after say 1am...I've heard people do that. Might be a compromise. But may just confuse the situation. Babies should come with an instruction manual!

fuzzyfozzy Sat 20-May-17 02:33:18

Could you give him supper to see him through?
If you're not happy going cold turkey on the feeds you could start watering them down so they're not as appealing?

usernoidea Sat 20-May-17 06:04:58

I waited 20 mins each time then tried to settle with patting and shushing then a bit of water if need be. Only took a couple of nights but I did this more so to increase his hunger during the day to therefore be fuller for nighttime
Is he eating lots of protein/carbs etc?
I'm pretty sure this waking is habitual and a comfort thing as you're giving him what he wants not what he needs

FatLittleWombat Sat 20-May-17 06:12:54

I would reduce the quantity of milk you give him gradually. I say so because DS1 didn't mind the watered down stuff, he still kept waking for it!

tatohead Sat 20-May-17 06:45:26

My daughter stopped waking every 2 hours at about 20 months and suddenly went to sleeping through or waking just once. It was like a flip had switched but she'd also got all her teeth through that week too so I think that she just suffered a lot at night with teething pain, she never ever showed signs of it in the day though!

beekeeper17 Sat 20-May-17 09:30:53

Could you increase the amount in the bottles during the day so he's getting 3 x 7 oz bottles during the day? He might not take it at first but if you keep offering he might start to take more? I would say he possibly needs a bit more during the day, and I found that the night time wakening stopped once I worked out what my dd was having in a 24 hour period and then trying to get in a routine where she took the same volume but all during the day between around 7am and 7pm. They say they should have between 500 and 600ml daily at this age.

I found that the night time wakening and feeding stopped naturally once she was getting more during the day, rather than me cutting down her night time feeds if that makes sense.

I would also try an earlier bedtime, you may have earlier mornings for a while but they should hopefully get a bit later and later and then you'll also get your evenings back! I have found that the more sleep my dd gets, the better she sleeps! I know every baby is different so sorry if none of this is helpful, but I just wanted to share what worked for me.

Good luck!

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