S.N. asks from Mundelein, IL on June 05, 2007
Bedtime Routine - Mundelein,IL
I have a six month old who is still nursing and typically wakes up once or twice a night to nurse, I get home from work typically about 5:45 and he will nurse eat dinner and then bath and off to bed, he typically is not intersted in nursing again before going to sleep but I think he might be getting up around midnight due to hunger, so thinking of switching the routine to feeding him solids upon arrival home and then nursing just before bed. He typically goes to bed at 7pm . I am wondering if this is a normal bedtime for a 6 month old and if anyone has suggestions for a tired mom who is ready for a good nights sleep
K. answers from Chicago on June 06, 2007
This sounds pretty typical to me (based on my experience with my son, who's now 12 months and still nurses). Your boy is probably not actually hungry at midnight, though - it's a learned hunger at this point (he expects to eat during the night), and depending on how you feel about it, you can probably night wean him without impacting his daytime nursing schedule much.
If he's only eating once - around midnight - during the night, and then sleeps straight through, you might try gently waking him before YOU go to bed (around 10 or 11?) and nursing him then. This never worked for me, though (ie, he would still wake up at his usual snack time). My son's bedtime has been around 7pm since he was 2 months old, btw.
The Ferber book (Solving your Child's Sleep Problems) suggests that drinking too much at night is a problem. Based on my recent experience with my son, I have to agree to a point. After I stopped my son from drinking his bath water (he would drink probably up to 1/2 cup!) his diaper was no longer soaked and he started sleeping much longer - until around 5-6 AM instead of 2-3 AM - instantly. I think the wet diaper makes them uncomfortable. If you go on this theory then you're actually better off nursing your son at 5:45 when you get home, rather than right before bed. Also, by nursing him before his bath/bed, he does not associate nursing with sleep. This is good, since you don't want to HAVE to nurse him to go to sleep. Ferber recommends night weaning - accomplished by decreasing the time you nurse your baby each night until you're no longer nursing him. For me, I wasn't willing to do this at 6 months - it just seemed mean to me. But you can certainly do it if you want the sleep badly enough.
Another suggestion Ferber has, which is a good one - is that if your son wakes up and it's not his "usual" snack time, send your husband in to settle him instead of going in yourself. That way he won't be expecting a meal. Finally, give him 5-10 minutes to settle himself - he may surprise you and fall back asleep.
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R.M. answers from Chicago on June 06, 2007
My daughter is older now (almost 2) but I remember this. What I did was put her to bed at her normal "bedtime" of 7, and then nurse her just before I sent to sleep. So if I would go to sleep at 10pm, I would nurse her at 9:45. IT wouldn't interfere with my sleep and she would only get up once in 7 hours due to hunger.
Alternatively, you could pump at 9:45pm and then have your spouse/significant other feed the baby when he wakes up at midnight. I did that once in a while too, when I was dead tired.
L.M. answers from Chicago on June 06, 2007
I started our daughter (now 6.5 months - 1st child)) on a night time routine at about 4 months. Being a 1st time mom you will find the things that work for you and the baby. I NEVER thought I would be the one giving advice.
I nursed until she was 4.5 mos. Since breastmilk is much thinner than formula, they wake up more often because they get hungry quicker. We started her on solids at that point too. If I remember she slept MUCH better at the point. She still goes down around 7 or 7:15.
My after work routine is:
5:30ish: dinner w/ solids (cereal, fruit & veggie) only (cereal seems to fill her up). She eats quite a bit because she gets solids (veggie & fruit) and a bottle at lunch time (around 12:30). A snack (4-6 oz bottle) mid afternoon to hold her over until dinner.
I then begin the wind down period around 6:45 or so. We go in her room at 7ish (and DO NOT COME OUT), she gets an 8 oz bottle (with breastfeeding it's hard to figure out how much he is actually getting, but maybe cereal/soldis will help).
She then sleeps until 6 a.m. I give her a bottle and then she goes back to sleep (all alone) until around 8:30. We are very lucky....she's a sleeper like I was. She WILL wake up sometimes. Our doc said to soothe her a little (pacifier, back rub, etc-do not pick her up). Our goal was to get her out of the routine of getting fed during the night.
I hope this helps. In a selfish way I do miss nursing her in the middle of the night. That's why I love when she wakes up before I leave for work, then I get to feed her and see her. Makes my day better :-)
J.S. answers from Chicago on June 06, 2007
Hi S.~I started working my daughter into a schedule when she was about 1 month old. I started by letting her sleep in her own room at 4 wks. Before then she was in a bassinet in my room. Once she got used to her crib, which took a few days, I tried putting her on a schedule. During the day, it feels like she is constantly attached to me, but is worth it when bedtime comes. She eats at about 8am, then sleeps from 9am until about 10:30am. She will eat again when she gets up, and again at noon and 1pm. After her 1pm feeding, I put her down for a nap. Sometimes I am rocking with her for quite a while, but she is almost always completely asleep by 2pm. She will then nap until about 4pm, and again eating when she wakes up, at 5:30, 7:00 and again at 8:00. With her 8pm feeding she usually ends up falling asleep while eating. I was told not to let her, so I was waking her for a while after eating. Doing that caused it to take a long time to get her to bed, and she was waking up 1-2 times a night, which I know isn't bad at all!! But, I decided to try and let her just go to bed while nursing, which definitely works for us. She is now sleeping thru the whole night, about 9pm until 8 or 8:30am. She is now 14 weeks, and it did take me about 1 month to get her on that schedule, but it was definitely well worth it. If you have any other questions, go ahead and email me-I've also got a 4 yr old son!!
Good luck & Congrats on the new baby!!!