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night time feeds; put into cot awake?

(11 Posts)
rooibosh Wed 19-Sep-07 19:18:44

I have always put my 4 month old (tommorrow) ds into his cot awake at bedtime (7pm) and soothed him if crying and left him if ok and he goes to sleep by himself. However, when he wakes in the night (at best 12pm, 3am, 5am and 7am; very occasionally 12, 4 and 6.30ish) he falls asleep while feeding and I daren't wake him as if he cries he could wake dd (2 1/2). but I know he can't get himself back to sleep without milk as if he wakes unexpectedly after just 2 hours he won't settle without milk and cuddling him back to sleep without no longer works. I'm intending to put him in the cot awake at least the first time he wakes to increase his ability to sttle himself, and risk my dd waking, any advice?

MaeBee Wed 19-Sep-07 19:33:08

self soothing is a great technique for a baby to learn. it sounds as if he already is off to a flying start cos sometimes he falls to sleep anyway. i did the pickup put down method with my baby, and it worked really well at teaching him to sleep - no miracles but an excellent improvement nonetheless! it means you don't leave them to cry, you comfort them til they calm, but you still put them down in the cot awake, but sleepy. takes a fair few goes and patience but really worth it.
however, 4 mths is very little, and most advice ive heard (except from the really strict back to the 50's style parenting) says babies are likely to need feeding until 6 mths. also, night milk is known as "growth milk" cos you produce more and better stuff. so your baby might genuinely NEED to feed, at least some of those times he wakes.
what i would suggest is something more gradual. you could feed him, but before he falls asleep latch him off/keep him awake and put him into his cot AWAKE. that way he has fed, but will get himself off to sleep. this way you can teach him to fall back to sleep on his own, but you aren't stopping him feeding.
if you are going crazy with all the night feeds, you could try dropping the 3am one.have you a partner who could help, at least to look after your older child so you aren't fretting about that too?
you can find more out about the pickup putdown method on www.babywhisperer.co.uk. (think thats right)as i said, it really helped us.

rooibosh Wed 19-Sep-07 19:58:07

Thank you for the encouragement, I wasn't trying to stop night feeds anyhow, 12 and 4 would be fine by me, it's just that there's this thing where, unless he has a long sleep to start with he gets into a shorter and shorter cycle of sleep when he really can't be hungry; I'm quite sure he can go for a minimum of 3, possibly 4 and occasionally 5 hours. I just want him to be able to self sooth if he's woken unexpectedly. I'll look at babywhisperer, we've been doing some of that with staying awake for 1 1/2 hours after feeds in the daytime for a while now.

MaeBee Wed 19-Sep-07 20:01:48

best of luck! let us know how its going and if you want support. btw, well done for getting a 7 oclock bedtime, took us months to figure that one out!

rooibosh Wed 19-Sep-07 20:07:02

Took us months with the first, who was grumpy all evening, then friends who'd done the same as us first time told us to try it as they don't know why it took them so long to try either. Took a month or so of hour to hour and a half long settlings in the eve though!

rooibosh Wed 19-Sep-07 20:09:37

BTW, i looked on babywhisperer just now and can't find actual advice on the website, just a flash looking chat room and stuff for sale. Don't want to buy the book as i think i understand the gist, but am intrigued all the same.

gingerninja Wed 19-Sep-07 20:18:25

Rooibush, My DD sometimes goes down awake sometimes I have to cuddle her (more so since she learned to pull herself up because if I lay her down she just pops straight back up) anyway, how she goes to sleep makes no difference on her wakings. She can put herself to sleep and wake 4 times in the night. I cuddle her and she wakes once. I stressed for too long worrying about this kind of thing. 4 months is a key develpmental time and teathing starts. My DD's sleep went very wonky at that age. All reasons why he might be unsettled and need the extra comfort. Personally I wouldn't worry about creating bad habits. Books just add pressure and make us feel like we're useless for not 'doing it right'. Do what works for you, it will all change next week and the week after and the week after that........

MaeBee Thu 20-Sep-07 08:48:06

after advocating checking out the babywhisperer, i do totally agree with gingerninja too! i think there are some tricks worth trying, but im no stickler for religiously following any magic method. indeed, nowdays im often in the room still as my boy falls asleep (although his sleep has gone to pot again this week. grrr.) BUT, for me, i knew that my baby was waking every 2 hrs and needing help cos he didn't know how to get himself off to sleep, which is why we did the pick up put down method.
but, yes, as gingerninja says 4 mths is very wee and i wouldn't want to encourage anything harsh. however, gently helping him learn to fall asleep alone is a great talent for him!

CorrieDale Thu 20-Sep-07 09:03:40

yep, 4 months is an absolutely classic time for poor sleeping. The way I see it, if he can get himself to sleep at bedtime, then he can already settle himself - this isn't something that you have to teach him, necessarily! My DD does the same at 11 weeks and I reckon that's about as much as I can expect.

Perhaps the reason he falls asleep while feeding is that he really wants to be asleep, but he's too hungry to do it? So he falls asleep before he's properly full? That's what I think DD does at her night feeds. I have noticed that if she goes 6/7 hours for the first swathe of sleep then she has a stonking feed and falls asleep (while feeding!) for another 4 or 5 hours. If she only gets 4 hours for the first sleep, she'll get a much smaller feed before nodding off and waken every 2 hours thereafter. Well, that's my theory, anyway.

BTW, I got the BW from the library. If you go down this road, ignore her bfing advice - ask Tiktok instead!

rooibosh Thu 20-Sep-07 16:41:05

CorrieDale, that's my experience exactly, if he sleeps from 7-12 or 1 he'll sleep another up to 4 hours if i'm very lucky, but if he wakes any earlier the gaps get shorter and shorter. It was just this has been the case for over a month and i was hoping for some more consistentcy. Who is ticktock?

rooibosh Sun 23-Sep-07 19:21:49

Just to let you know MaeBee, I decided to put him back into the cot after middle of the night feeds asleep and that is working well. Also used the pu/pd idea in the day once (having sneaked a look at BW in a bookshop) and it worked. Incidentally, I realised he's been teething too!

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