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How do I get my 6mo old to drop the night feeds without using controlled crying?

(14 Posts)
loopylula Wed 15-Jul-09 10:24:42

Any suggestions ladies?! My 6mo old DD2 is still waking for feeds at 11pm, 3am and 5am and I know she doesn't need them all. She is on 3 solid meals and 4 milk feeds during the day, usually naps for 30mins in the a.m and 1.5/2hrs after lunch. She can settle herself well after feeds and I always put her down drowsy but awake and she is always in bed at 7pm.

My HV agrees she doesn't need the night feeds now and she is off the charts weight wise weighing nearly 9kg (she has always been exclusively BF)

My problem is that my HV suggests CC, which I am fundamentally against due to the fact that recent research suggest permanent neurological damage and emotional issues can be caused by the stress hormones released into the babies brains when they are left to scream themselves to sleep.

I need to find some middle ground! I also need to get more that 3hrs sleep as I feel I am not in the best shape to keep both my DD's amused and happy during the day.

Lovage Wed 15-Jul-09 11:09:50

I think there's a crucial difference between leaving a child to cry, and staying in the room with them while they cry, saying 'shh shh, time to sleep' or whatever you chosen mantra is, putting their bedtime music back on, maybe doing PUPD, rocking in arms, whatever.

I haven't yet got up the nerve to try this with my 9mo, because I'm not yet confident he's really not hungry, and also because crying in the night wakes DS1, but it's what I plan to do. It is how I weaned him off the dummy to go to sleep and it only took about 3 days.

It's also what we did with DS1 to nightwean at 18 months, but it did take 4 months, so it may not be as quick as people claim CC is. But it's much kinder I think because you are not leaving them alone to cry for long periods.

nannynz Wed 15-Jul-09 11:13:14

I helped a baby sleep through the night that was exclusivly BF and waking at least 4 times a night sometimes 8. First I made sure here day time routine was quite predictable then worked on her night time.

I had her in a different room from the parents. When she woke I gave her lots of cuddles and offered her water. She never seemed interested in the water so after two nights I just would give her a cuddle and put her in cot. If she woke a second time in the night I would bring her into my bed to sleep and pat her. It took about a week of doing this before she went down to no night wakings, she never cried. She was nine months when we did this.

Guess the thing is to be consistent in not feeding through the night.

loopylula Wed 15-Jul-09 15:44:13

Thanks guys. Some good pointers there. Lovage, I hear what you ar saying and I have considered that approach but I believe the issue with letting babies cry is that they lack the higher brain function that allows them to self-calm. This means that stress hormones are constantly being pumped into their brains as they cry and they merely drop off to sleep from sheer exhaustion or simple giving up on their parents responding. The problem is that they still have the high levels of stress hormones swimming around in their systems because the close contact with their parents which they rely on to calm themselves is denied.

nannynz – I like your approach, we have a great daytime routine and she gets plenty of naps and food. I may have to get my husband to try your tactics and I shall remove myself to the sofa because if she sees me in the same room she will cry harder for the boobs!

alison56 Wed 15-Jul-09 16:18:44

We did CC from 8 months and it worked well. Our DD is now 4 and no signs of any issues (she's apparently the brightest in the class!).

The sleeping through issue is different - when she was about 6 months old she was still waking at 3am-4am for a feed (which she disn't seem interested in).

I'm afraid my approach was earplugs. I wore them one night and if she DID wake up, I have no idea.

She slept through since!

francesrivis Wed 15-Jul-09 16:23:55

My approach with dd1 was to stop bfing at night and instead offer a bottle of diluted EBM straight from the fridge. She was unimpressed asnd slept through after 2 nights. Most people seem to think this was harsh, but at least it didn't involve leaving her to cry.

nannynz Wed 15-Jul-09 18:35:56

I also have done controlled crying with a nine month old who had a predictable day time routine and would just wake up to say HI. When she heard the door handle creak she'd stop crying and wait until I said it's night, night time, then she'd go right back to sleep(I did maternity nurse duties plus normal nanny duties with her older brothers from birth until she slept through). Sometimes if I just talked through the moniter she'd go back to sleep as well, she was only waking once in the night. Her mother had three older children who had slept through from 3 months and asked me to do control crying with her. The first night she cryed, but not hard for 45 mins, the next night 20 and the next night 2 mins and slept through ever since. It was hard to do but the outcome of her sleeping better was quite fast.

I always respect the parents wishes of the children I work with so have tried many different approaches for a wide range of child related behaviours.

ches Thu 16-Jul-09 04:48:35

She still needs the feeds. She is in the midst of a HUGE growth spurt. BF babies gain weight rapidly in the early months and then slow down their weight gain in the second half of the first year. Your HV clearly has no understanding of breastfeeding or of how breastmilk is much more rapidly digested than formula, often leaving bf babies hungrier sooner.

Solids at 6 months are a red herring. Until their poo changes to a peanut butter texture, the food is not actually being digested so the calories from the food are not available to satiate their hunger.

Four milk feeds in a day also does not sound like enough. Breastfed babies tend to take around 4 oz at each feed, maybe 6 oz at a large feed. That would make 16 oz of milk, just cracking the recommended MINIMUM 17 oz if the first morning feed were large. The 17 oz is more for a nearly fully-weaned child at the end of the first year; I believe 32 oz is the norm for pre-weaning and 6 months is early on the weaning path. If you want to drop night feeds, try to get day feeds up to 6 plus a dream feed, and always offer milk before food.

posieparkerinChina Thu 16-Jul-09 04:51:44

watched a program the other night that says protein keeps hunger at bay for longer... could you give your dc protein enriched last meal?

loopylula Thu 16-Jul-09 13:46:04

ches, thats interesting what you say about the quantities taken by bf babes. She did drop from 6 day feeds to the current 4 about a month after I weaned her – I thought that when I had her weighed this week that her growth would have slowed slightly but she has jumped another centile in the last couple of months and her curve is steady and sharper than the growth curves in the book. I took that to mean that she was getting all the nutrition she needed.

Incidentally, I have tried cutting down the lengths of her night feeds by a minute every couple of nights and she has been going through from the midnight feed until 5.15am! I am keeping my fingers crossed that it lasts!!

Sheeta Thu 16-Jul-09 13:53:00

Night weaning.

See this

very very useful.

DS was still feeding 2-3 times a night at a year old, so concentrated on one of the feeds, and reduced that, got him to 2 feeds, and then concentrated on the earlier one, reduced that and ended up with one at 5am. This has only JUST been dropped at 19mo hmm

could probably have done it quicker, but i'm more of a go-with-the-flow kind of person.

btw

PaulaAtMummyKnowsBest Sat 18-Jul-09 10:38:24

what i normally suggest to parents is to do a dream feed at 10/11pm and then to offer water when baby next wakes. If your baby gets upset, offer a small feed (max of 90mls but ideally less). Gradually reduce the amount of formula either by giving less in a bottle or by putting in more water so that it becomes more watery, increasing the amount of water so that the baby is taking almost no formula.

Most babies don't bother waking for water after a few nights.

waitinggirl Sat 18-Jul-09 17:25:13

what do you suggest for babies who have not yet successfullly taken a bottle? dd is nearly 7 months and has only taken a bottle twice after hours of trying by dh.

PaulaAtMummyKnowsBest Sun 19-Jul-09 13:45:56

does your baby take a dummy?

have you tried PU/PD?

What do you do for naps during the day?

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