L.L. asks from Springville, UT on February 11, 2008
10 Month Old Baby Not Sleeping Through Night Yet.
My 10 month old baby boy has rarely slept through the night. He usually only wakes up once between 3-6, but the ONLY way to get him to go back to sleep is for me to nurse him. I've tried letting him cry it out, but he'll last for up to 2 hours before I finally give in and go nurse him. He's been eating solids for a few months and it is his main source of nutrition. I've tried feeding him just before bed to keep him full longer but it doesn't seem to make a difference. Sometimes my husband can get him to go back to sleep for 30 minutes or so by snuggling him and giving him a pacifier, but he always wakes up again. The funny thing is, almost every time he's done nursing, I'll lay him down and he'll be completely awake and I can hear him babbling happily to himself until he falls asleep again. He can put himself right to sleep at bedtime, but I'm afraid I'm training him to rely on nursing to calm down in the middle of the night and go back to sleep. I'd like to get a full night sleep for once. What happens when I wean him? How can we teach him to put himself back to sleep? Is he too dependent on nursing?
So What Happened?™
Funny enough, the night after I wrote this, my baby slept through the night. And he's been doing it pretty consistently since then. Go figure!? He must have decided he'd had enough of waking up. When he DOES wake up I'll just check his diaper, and snuggle him for a few minutes until he calms down. Then I put him back down and he'll go back to sleep. Thanks to all of you who gave advice!!
S.L. answers from Boise on February 15, 2008
I'm not the type to immediately turn to drugs, but my son wouldn't sleep through the night for 3 months! I was at my wits' end. It wasn't until the end of those three months that I saw a whole bunch of teeth coming in all at once. He only woke up because he was in pain! Tylenol and baby Ambesol did the trick to get him back to bed.
Since your son has never slept well, maybe that's not what it is, but it doesn't hurt to take a look, or even try a dose of Tylenol.
My son also woke up around 5-6 every morning because he was hungry. You wouldn't think a little person like that could need so much food, but he just did! I, too, would feed him right before bed, but it just wasn't enough. So I would nurse him to sleep, and he'd stay in bed with me until we woke up at a blessed 8:30 or 9:00 (he went to bed late, at 10 pm, because otherwise he would never have seen his student daddy). He eventually grew out of his food shortage stage, and stayed asleep in his crib until 8. No dependency on sleeping with mom to wean him from!!! It just happened on its own.
M.R. answers from Great Falls on February 16, 2008
I nursed both of my children until 18 months and 15 months. They both got up pretty much every 1.5 hours for the first year. Every baby is different but it really sounds like he needs to nurse. Especially since you can put him down and he be awake and happy and fall asleep. He is not too dependent on the nursing. At this age your baby really needs to know you are there. Letting them cry it out is not good for them, the first 2 years are so important and letting them cry it out teaches them that you won't be there for them when they need you.
Also for the first year of their life breast milk or formula should be their main source of nutrition. Food should never replace a breastfeeding session in the first year. Many people don't know this and it results in poor nutrition for many children. And please research the Babywise book before considering it. There are many studies that say it is not recommended. Let your baby guide you on when they are ready to stop nursing, nursing on demand, and going to them in the night when they need to nurse are the best things you can do. Obviously if your husband can't get him to sleep and he will cry for 2 hours he just needs mommy. It may not be that he is hungry- just that he needs that quick comfort of mama and to nurse.
Remember sleeping through the night only means about 5 hours to a baby, not 8-10 like adults. Good luck!
A.R. answers from Grand Junction on February 11, 2008
I actually figured this out when my grandmother came to stay with us when my son was 3 months old. If you're nursing him he's probably waking up hungry which is why he plays happily til he falls back to sleep. There's nothing wrong with nursing your son, but my suggestion give him an 8-10oz bottle of breast milk before you put him down. He'll probably sleep the night away. I wasn't accounting for my son's growth and at 3 months I was feeding him 5 oz bottles every 30minutes to an hour. I was going insane! Then my grandmother said, have you tried feeding him more?? One thing you can also do, but you have to hold the bottle or watch your son closely while he eats it, is add a tsp of rice cereal for every 2oz of milk. You do have to watch him though, because they can choke if they're not careful. I hope this helps!
D.K. answers from Denver on February 12, 2008
My daughter did not sleep through the night until almost at the year mark. Maybe try giving him formula before bedtime as it stays on their stomachs longer. Also try getting him a voice activated music box, if he fusses, cries it will kick on and be quiet however slowly get quieter for 5 minutes, enough time to get him settled back in. It worked wonders for my daughter and son. I would say it is safe to let him cry it out at 10 mos though just don't use your breast or the pacifier to get him to go back to sleep, both ar habits you will have a heck of time later to break!!!
M.W. answers from Boise on February 12, 2008
Please do NOT consider the advice in the "Babywise" book. There are much better books out there, whether you are in favor of the CIO method or are a fan of attachment parenting. That said, there is nothing abnormal about a baby not "sleeping through the night" at this age. (It sounds like he is sleeping for a good, long stretch and just waking up in the early a.m. hours.) Some babies just want mommy or want to be comforted or want to know that someone will respond to their cries. He is not too dependent on nursing; he just enjoys it, as he should! I know it can get tiring for you (believe me, I've been there before and I'm there now with my 9-mo.-old) but things will get better. My babies sleep with me and my husband until they are almost two years old, and we have never had any sleep problems with any of our kids. I love the closeness that comes from nursing my baby whenever she needs it, even if it's to help her get back to sleep, and even though it means I don't get to sleep through the night. It does get better as they get bigger, and you will look back one day and miss that special bonding time with your baby.
T.P. answers from Provo on February 11, 2008
Every one has a different idea of "sleeping through the night". For me, my 11 month old goes to bed at 7:00 & sleeps until 5:15. Most people say that's too early to wake up but that's his natural wake up time whether I put him to bed at 5:00pm or 10:00pm. I stopped giving him a bottle when he woke up so I don't think he's waking from being hungry. Some mornings he'll go back to sleep. I consider it sleeping through the night because I no longer have to get up at midnight or 2:00am. With my first child, I gave him water in a bottle because I'd heard that he might be waking up for comfort. It worked on him but hasn't on this one.
I hope you can figure out what to do. Sorry I'm not much help but maybe you just have an early riser. My 5 year old is also up at 5:30 every morning & has been an early bird since birth!
B.J. answers from Pocatello on February 11, 2008
I just had my fifth baby and have nursed all of them. Lots of people (especially those who work) think it is bad or strange to nurse your babies for a long time, and to nurse them to sleep and back to sleep. I think it is natural, after all don't they often fall asleep nursing? I do a funny thing to wean them and it cures them of wanting to nurse in the night, though they do still wake up occasionally-depending on the child. I decided it needed to be their decision to stop nursing so it wasn't so emotionally traumatic for them. When they are ready to wean (all of their nutrition comes from solid food and they are only nursing for comfort) I dab a little mustard on my nipple to make it taste yucky. When they pull away I say-Oh is it yucky? and I give them lots of loves and snuggles for the next few nights. Believe me-once they taste the mustard they don't want to nurse anymore. If you replace it with a sippy cup, use water so they don't become attached to it. Different things work for different kids-even in my own family so try things until you find one that works. Sometimes just putting their favorite blanket back on them without saying a word or touching them works for me. good luck! And don't worry--a few sleepless nights aren't the end of the world :)
K.M. answers from Salt Lake City on February 12, 2008
At around 9-10 months a baby starts to learn what it means to be seperated from you and they are also starting to learn object permanence, which means that your baby realizes that you exist even when he can't see you. Seperation anxiety starts to develope. Has your baby been showing any signs of seperation anxiety during the day? A lot of previously sleeping well babies suddenly begin to wake during the night. This may be what is occurring with your son and your reassurance and comfort is what helps him calm down and go back to sleep.
However, if he is getting plenty of nursing and feeding during the day, it's true, he doesn't need food to get back to sleep and he may begin to develop a "sleep association" with the nursing.
The bottle of water was a great suggestion, but only if you are O.K. with the use of the bottle and if your son will accept it. He is old enough to use a sippy cup or normal cup with no lid with your help. Holding him may or may not also create a sleep association.
So, you could go in, gently reassure him, offer him water and the pacifier and encourage him to go back to sleep. While not picking him up. This may take a lot of repetition and consistency, but he, hopefully, will learn that all is well, the water is not worth it and eventually sleep through those tough spots.
GOOD LUCK! Whatever you decide to do, use your motherly instinct, follow it, your own instinct is the best advice to give yourself, YOU CAN DO IT and BABY CAN HANDLE IT!