21 answers

Sleeping Through the Night - Does She Still Need Feeding?

I have a three and a half month old and she has recently been 'ferberized'. She did really well with this method but is waking up earlier than I'd like. She usually takes her last bottle around 7:30 and is waking up anywhere from 4am to 7am crying. She is still only on formula and won't take cereal yet. My question is this - should she be able to go from 7:30 to 6 or 7 without needing food at her age? Or is it unreasonable for me to expect her to be able to skip that 4/5/6am bottle? Even when I feed her at 8:30 or 9pm, she still wakes up very early.

What can I do next?

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you should feed her right before going to bed and then at around 11 pm (or before you go to bed) I did mine at around 10 pm and he would go all the way to 7... I think she is too little to go all night without food!!!!

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Are you saying that she wont take a little rice cereal in her formula? You would still be able to give her formula via a bottle, it would just be a slightly thickened version.

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At this young, they are usually still eating every 4-5 hours...yes, it is unreasonable for you to expect her to skip that bottle...and she is still too young for cereal...Plus, thats a myth that cereal will make your child sleep longer.
I would be more worried that she isnt waking for 8 or more hours straight at this age....That is something you should look at, IMO.
And it actually frightens me that you decided to use this method at such a young age, as well. Even Ferber has stated that anything younger than 4 months is harmful to the baby...He actually recommends this for only 6 months and up....

At 3 months old, babies do not learn how to soothe themselves back to sleep--they learn that if they cry, no-one is going to come help them.

I am very scared for your child right now...you are expecting things WAY too young....

2 moms found this helpful

12 hours is a very long time for one that little to go without eating. She's still very young. She's telling you what she needs. That's the biggest thing as new moms we have to learn. The books can tell us all kinds of things but bottom line is we need to listen to our little ones and our gut. And I don't think the first responder was chastising you. I think she was genuinely concerned. I am not a fan of the cry it out method either. Our babies cry because they are talking to us, telling us what they need or want. Every book I read said not to hold the baby until they were asleep because they'd never learn to put themselves back to sleep. Well, I held me son every night, put him down in bed and he slept well and put himself back to sleep. Listen to what your baby is telling you she needs and you'll do fine.

2 moms found this helpful

Yes, I believe it is unrealistic for you to expect her to skip that feeding. 12 hours is a very long time for her to go without eating. You are very lucky that at such a young age she is giving you 6+ hours, you should consider anything more a gift. I always give my daughter her last feeding around 8PM and consider it a gift if sleep past 3AM. I tried feeding her later but she always woke up around the same time. It was as if she had an alarm clock in her tummy that rang no matter what time her last feeding was. It will get better I promise. I spoke to my pediatrician about this at her 4 month visit and he assured me that this was very normal. My daughter is now 41/2 months and just started cereal at lunch and is sleeping about 10 hours. It just takes time. You need to put your daughter’s needs before your own. That's our job as parents! Your profile says that you are a stay at home mom…if you feel tired nap in the afternoon when she does.

1 mom found this helpful

She is still so young. She has a lot of growing to do and will need to eat that early bottle. My son just turned 4 months. He was sleeping from 9-5, and that was great. But when he hit 3.5 months, he began waking up again about every two hours to eat. It's normal to do. It's the age. They need food to get them through their growth spurts. She's too young to spoil, so feed her when she needs it. To have gotten her to sleep that long in the first place is amazing. My first woke up at least twice a night for the first 12 months. At that point, I realized she was just wanting mommy, so I did the whole cry it out thing, and then she stopped. So, don't worry, she's growing and needs those extra feedings. My doctor told me with my son that he is needing more calories, so to start him on cereal now that he is 4 months, but he will not eat it. He doesn't like the whole spoon thing. Hopefully he will soon, and your little girl too. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

you should feed her right before going to bed and then at around 11 pm (or before you go to bed) I did mine at around 10 pm and he would go all the way to 7... I think she is too little to go all night without food!!!!

1 mom found this helpful

She is still young and she needs the nutrition whenever she can get it. Too many people try to rush a baby into sleeping through the night and while it may be good for your need for sleep, it is not so good for the baby's health. They have an internal clock that God has so intelligently placed within them that says, oh boy, it's been a long time since this little body has been fed, I better wake someone up and let them know that I am growing and need fuel to keep me going in a healthy way.
I would say, be patient, even if it takes many more months, which is not unrealistic either. I would also not give cereal until 6 months or older. Their bodies are still so young and it could take away from their nutritional intake. Cereal is not really meant to provide good vitamins and nutrition, it is really just to 1)expand their taste buds and 2)as a filler so they don't feel hungry. But it gives them a false sense of fullness b/c it doesn't really provide anything that they need at such a young age.
Take Care,
T. (mom of 4)

1 mom found this helpful

Yes she needs to eat. If she sleeps til 7 she's going for nearly 12 hours, and at 3.5 months that's a really long time. It's 9 hours if she sleeps til 4, and that's remarkable. Topping her off later might have more of an effect as you go on though; it was a good strategy for me.

A babies' digestive tract is a lot shorter than a grown person. It really does "go through" them faster. So when they're tiny, they need to eat more often.
When you have a new baby, no matter how many books you read or people you talk to, you still end up having to figure things out for yourself. Everything is new and sometimes scary. You don't know what to expect. And that's because each baby is a different person. What works for one may not do diddly for another.
It's still a little too early for baby to go that long without her early morning bottle. If you're a stay home mom, you have the chance to get her early, give her a nice quiet feeding and then relax or go back to bed if she decides to go back to sleep. Interrupted sleep is incredibly frustrating, but you can get through it. You can also take advantage of her naptimes during the day and have a nap yourself.
Enjoy your new baby! Don't fret over the sound of her crying at 4am. There are many moms who would cherish the sound of a new baby crying at any time. Before you know it she'll be learning how to get into your "baby-proofed" cabinets and climbing on the sofa and those quiet feeding times will seem like a distant, sweet dream.


Are you saying that she wont take a little rice cereal in her formula? You would still be able to give her formula via a bottle, it would just be a slightly thickened version.

That is fantastic!
Congratulations on getting some well deserved sleep! But yes, I think it is too early to expect her to sleep more than 10 hours without a feeding. That is about as much as you should expect at her age. I would NOT recommend trying to push her bedtime back, (assuming that she is going to sleep shortly after her 7:30 pm feeding). That can sometimes have them sleep less well. I would just be happy that she is sleeping well and get accustomed to waking up a little early. Mine always woke up around 7 am. Some of that, imho, is whether or not they are "night" people or "early risers"... this may be her natural internal clock for the rest of her life. My husband wakes up early and doesn't stay awake late.. it's just the way his body clock runs. Mine is opposite... babies are tiny people, so... maybe she's just not a night owl.. but is an early bird.
Congratulations. First babies are challenging b/c you as the mommy can be worried you are doing the "right" thing... and it's a steep learning curve, but it sounds like you are doing just fine!

Oh my...I think you should feel REALLY lucky :)...I have three boys under the age of four...youngest is 5 months....All of my sons go to sleep around 9:00PM my two and and four year old FINALLY sleep through the night BUT wake every day between 5:45 AM and 6:30 AM...my husband works nights so I am left to put all three to sleep my self @ night...With my first son..when he was the only one I would put him to bed at 7:30PM BUT I nursed so he would usually wake up at 11PM, then again maybe at 1AM and then up for good at 6AM....He took two naps until he was around two, then one 2 1/2 hour nap mid day.
My 5 1/2 month old son wakes ALL night long...He goes to bed at like 9:00PM...wakes at 11PM to eat, 1AM to eat, 3:30 -4 AM to eat and unfortuately for him gets up at 6:30 when his brothers wake...takes a few cat naps during the day.

NONE of my children have been sleepers...but I am also an extremely light sleeper.... and I nursed each one til 11 months of age If I had your situation...I would feel like a million bucks because I could SLEEP :)

Truthfully though she may be waking because she is teething, or going through a growth spurt and truthfully hungry or just wants to be comforted...Some kids are just early risers..all of mine are regardless if they go to bed at 7, or 10.

I would say you need to feed her ..Seems like she is going too long between feedings..at night...Question though does she eat a ton thoguhout the day?? Making up for the depletion at night/

I hope this helped??


It is phenomenal that a 3 1/2 month old will sleep from 7:30-4 or sometimes even 7! You should be extremely grateful that she is sleeping that long! If she wakes up at 4 (which is 8 1/2 hours since her last bottle!) then in my opinion yes, please, feed her! For her to go 8 or more hours at this age is amazing! My son didn't start sleeping those long stretches until almost 9 months old!

First let me start off by saying - that we should not be posting horible statements like the first one you got. We are here together to learn and gain wisdom - not be chastised and made to feel bad.

Now - my advice. Every child is their own person, so no one can tell you how your child should be behaving. I had twins 5 years ago & they started off not sleeping more than 2 hours at a time for months - I being sleep deprived could not always get up the moment they started to cry - a little crying never harmed a child. However - if you know that your child is demanding food at that time - then you in my own opinion should go ahead and give that feeding. Very few mothers are lucky enough to get a 3 - 8 month old to sleep from 8:00 pm - 7:00 am. If you would prefer to sleep in later - then maybe adding a midnight feeding is the answer.

Just remember it's a long time for them to go without nourishment - they are growing sooooo fast and need so many calories to pull this off - just listen to your child - she tells you her needs.

I have never read up on the Ferber method, I have listened to others talk about using it, I would say that if your child is on a routine and it is not working, slowly change it, maybe do not put her down until 9:30pm & give her a feeding, then, start her evening bed time routine. Also evaluate her sleep schedule during the day - I know this sounds silly - but a well rested child through the day - sleeps better at night.

Your little one is still very little and you 2 are still going to lose lots of sleep before you both sleep through the night on a regular basis. It is over sooooo fast - try to enjoy all the time you get together - even if it means you yawn through your good morning to her :) .

"Sleeping through the night" is actually not a good term for it. Generally, babies at 3-6 months, if they are "sleeping through the night" only sleep from 5-8 hours in a row.

If she's waking up hungry, she's just not ready yet. Give it a few weeks. My boys woke up later and later at night, until they finally just gave up the middle of the night feeding and wake up at 7 or 8 in the morning.

If your child is sleeping through until that time then she is fine. If she are hungry she will wake up.... What you can do is pick her up and feed her before you go to bed @10-11 and most likely she will not wake up and you'll be able to put her right back down and she'll go right back to sleep. Take your blessings that she is sleeping that long and you can get some sleep!!! You have nothing to worry about!


If your daughter is sleeping that long, she is fine. Babies will wake up when they are hungry. My daughter, who is now 28, took a bottle (while at the hospital) around 10 at night and at 2 AM the nurse wanted to wake her and get her to eat. I told her I would break her arm if she woke that baby up, that she would wake up when she was hungry. She slept throught the night 11-6 from the time she got home. I was a lucky one. My next child, son, was the complete opposite, he needed a bottle every hour on the hour.

If you want her to sleep a little longer in the morning, try changing her going to bed time gradually. Keep her up an extra 10-15 minutes for a couple of days and then 10-15 more until you can get her to sleep until 6, then consider yourself lucky.

Good Luck and let me know how it works out.



Wow, I am really surprised you used this method with a baby so young. Even Dr. Ferber himself does not recommend it for infants younger than 4 months old. But yes, I do think your expectation is a bit unrealisitc. At that age she likely still needs that early morning bottle, but within the next month or so she will probably be able to go the full 12 hours without it. We used a modified version of the Ferber method with my son when he was six months old, and he has been sleeping 12 hours a night ever since, but I think your little one may still be a bit young to go that long. If she is still waking for that early morning bottle at six months old, then you may just have to eliminate it cold turkey, and she will be old enough that you will know she can do without it.

I just wanted to add that there is nothing wrong with rocking/nursing your baby to sleep, IF the baby then sleeps through the night (at 4 months or older). It is when baby wakes every two hours thereafter expecting to be rocked/nursed/held again in order to go back to sleep that you have a problem.

Mine slept very well at that age, 11-12 hours per night and woke between 6:30am and 7:30am, although 6:30am was more the norm. I think it's quite realistic to expect them to drop that early morning feeding.... and mine was exclusively breastfed until 11 months, no formula except in the NICU, so it's definitely possible. Each baby is different, so you'll figure out how best to work it out with yours, just wanted to give you a positive story in case that helped you to go for it! :) There is nothing about your story that makes me scared for your baby, that's for sure! I think some Moms forget what it was like when we grew up.

Good luck!

First let me say--that we did babywise/baby whisperer which is similar to the Ferber method. And my answer to your question is--"it depends."
Our son did fine going from about 7-7, but would also wake up at first around 4...and then I just kept waiting 15 minutes to go get him to move him forward to 7--which he did by about 4 months.
Baby whisperer and some other sleep training books also recommends a "dream feed" around 10pm (before you go to bed youself) where you basically wake them to feed them and they will almost be sleeping through it) they recommend dropping the dream feed around 6 months...
we tried the dream feed ourselves, but he wouldn't eat much and would still wake up around 4, so I just kept gradually moving that morning feeding up until 7. Two of my other friends successfully used the dream feed method though (baby whisperer)--so I would suggest trying either or both.

I wish I had an answer, but I'm glad you asked this question. My 6 week old will sleep for about 8 -12 hours straight in the night. She's up a lot more during the day. I wonder if I should be waking her up to eat. She usually goes down at 10 and wakes up around 4 for a diaper change, and right back to sleep. I also don't know if its just that I sleep through and she wakes up. She sleeps in our bed and can latch herself for nursing, so maybe she does that and I sleep through it. But I worry that I should wake up and try to feed her if she's sleeping.

She still needs that feeding. She's waking up for a reason and it's probably cause she's hungry!

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