22 answers

Stopping Overnight Feeding

I am looking for advice on how to phase out my 6 month old sons overnight feeding. He is now 20 pounds 11 ounces and sleeps in his crib with music on all night. He naps about 2-4 hours during the day. I can get him to sleep just fine. Usually he wakes once a night after 4-5 hours of sleeping but this past week he is getting up twice a night. Before bed I feed him a 7 ounce bottle. When he wakes I let him fuss for 3-5 minutes before getting him. Then I try to put his Nuk in and rub his tummy. When he still cries I pick him up and rock him. When he continues to cry I feel like I have no choice but to feed him. When I feed him he goes right back to bed and he will eat the entire bottle. So could this be a growth spurt? Will he sleep the night through on his own when he is ready? Or do I have to teach him to do this? I have tried to let him “cry it out” and after 30 minutes I couldn’t take it anymore. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks!

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When my son, who is now 9y old, was between 5-6 months he woke up and was always hungry. I asked my doc what to do and he said try a little baby cereal mixed into his before bed bottle. Worked like a charm. You may have to alter the nipple of the bottle make the opening alittle bigger or look for cereal nipples at a store. Most docs don't recomend this because most babies don't do or need this. My first two boys didn't but he is taller now than both of them were at his age by about 4-5 inches.

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Hi! There really may be no way to phase this out as he may be growing and actually REQUIRING an extra feeding. My 10-month-old niece is actually starting to wake up during the night again after sleeping through the night since she was about 3 months. Anyhow, the only thing you may try is turning off the music once he is asleep as ANY stimulation (music, light, TV, etc.) can bring a child (OR an adult) out of sleep very quickly when they enter lighter phases of sleep, which occur several times during an 8-10 hour sleeping session. In the lighter sleep phases, your body sleeps very lightly, and ANY stimulation of ANY kind will generally bring your brain right out of sleep and get it moving, waking your body up completely!!! Just a suggestion, but really it's not all that uncommon for a 6-month-old to wake up at night to eat!!!

~L.~ 26-year-old single mother of two girls, ages 6 and 7!

1 mom found this helpful

I completely understand your position. I never thought I would sleep again when my son was that age. The problem is that, although you can try cereal in the attempt to make him more full, I think that sleeping through the night at this age is not something that many mom's are lucky enough to have happen. Honestly, it will come...and the time will also come when you will have to teach your son to put himself back to sleep, but this may be too soon.

When I read the other responses to your request, I thought that the other moms were not very empathetic. Don't feel bad for wanting to have back some normalcy in your life...having a baby is truly a wonderful thing, but it was the hardest transition of my life and, honestly, I still don't think I'm fully adjusted and my son is 18 months old. Good luck...I hope that the cereal works.

1 mom found this helpful

First let me say that sleepingt hrough the night is a develmental thing and while children may wake up more due to hunger or whatever feeding them more during the day really isn't going to make them sleep all night, and putting cereal in a bottle, which yes i know most of us have done it is a choking hazard so be careful. so yes he will get over it in time, the amount depends on the baby and not so much on you, and while studies may show that cry it out works, there is no reason a child that young should have to feel that alone and abandond and there have been studies done that say later on in life these signs show up so while it might be a fix right now it isn't the best thing for baby in the long run, good luck and remeber things will get better with time.

1 mom found this helpful

There are several reasons why babies wake up in the middle of the night at this age - almost all are due to varying degrees of physical discomfort:

1) HUNGER. True hunger due to growth spurts - just because 6 month olds are "supposed to be able to sleep through the night" does NOT mean that's natural or normal. Think about every other mammal on the face of this earth - they sleep *with* their mothers and nurse/eat whenever they want. We're just mammals, too. Just because we're human mammals doesn't mean that our babies expect something different than being close to mom, nursing whenever they want. So I say go ahead and feed your baby - follow his hunger signs and feed him!

2) BLADDER PRESSURE. This is the reason for my baby's first night waking. Many babies at this age who are diapered full time are still aware of their need to eliminate (pee/poop). Many, many babies wake up 3-5 hours after going to sleep because they have a full bladder and the pressure wakes them. By simply holding them in a supported position over the toilet and making a "psss psss" sound, babies will gladly relieve themselves and literally fall back to sleep as the last drops come out! Instead of offering your baby a bottle, at his first noises (don't wait until he's full-blown crying!), simply take off his diaper and give him a chance to pee. For more information on this gentle, fun approach (used all around the world, is what all moms did before disposible diapers were invented!) - :
Positions
http://www.diaperfreebaby.org/PottyingPositions.htm
Part Time Infant Pottying
http://www.viviente.com/2005/10/how_to_do_parttime_pottyt...
Potty Whisperer DVD
http://www.white-boucke.com/video.html

3) TEETHING. Usually involves more waking than what you're describing.

4) ILLNESS. Usually involves more waking than what you're describing.

1 mom found this helpful

You should never try to withhold a feeding just because you want to continue sleeping. If baby wakes up hungry, you feed him, period. I don't mean to sound harsh, but baby's belly's aren't like ours. My 10 month old STILL wakes up anywhere from 2-5 times a night for feedings. Some babies just eat more frequently, and while it may be inconvenient for you, your baby needs to know that when he's hungry, mommy's gonna come take care of that need. And you'd spend less time awake, if you stopped trying all those 'tricks' to get him to go back to sleep, if you'd just feed him when he awakens. He's more likely to go back to sleep quickly that way. By letting him cry it out and rubbing his tummy, etc. etc., you're just drawing out the process, and he's just getting that more awake and agitated.
As for putting cereal in the bottle, some people frown on it. But I've had more than one pediatrician tell me it's fine to do. You don't give baby a bottle and leave him alone with it. So where the choking hazard comes in, I don't know. You hold baby and bottle until he is done. We had to start my 10 month old on cereal in the bottle age 2 1/2 months of age, due to his severe reflux. And he's never once choked, or faced any other problems from doing so. We also did this with our oldest son, who is now 6. And he never had anything happen to him, either.
If baby is hungry, feed him. You're a mom now, sleeping thru the night is a luxury now, LOL. Anyways, enjoy the nights with your baby. The quiet of the night, just the sound of him breathing, while you rock him and feed him. Those can be really peaceful times if you allow them to be. He's only going to be a baby for a year. So take advantage of those quiet mommy-baby times. Trust me, it goes by way too quickly.

1 mom found this helpful

The increased waking may be from a growth spurt coming on. My baby is 9 months now and still wakes once in the early morning for a bottle but with my first son he was sleeping through the night by 7 months. Each child is different and they will sleep through the night in their own time. Some things to help you at least get a longer period of sleep if he is on solid foods, increase the amount you are giving him and give him some cereal later in the evening or adding cereal to his bedtime bottle. That will help put something more solid in his belly and sleep a little longer. Generally at this age they will ony sleep 5-6 hours before they wake for food because they process the formula so quickly. Don't count on a true full nights sleep for a few more months though.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,

I too have a six month old son (he will be 6 mos on 23). I feed him ever two hours through out the day and at about 2 or 3 I give him fruit/veggie mixed with rice cereal. My son goes to bed at about 7 and will sleep until about 4 or 5 in the morning. Every few nights sometimes more sometimes less he will will wake up more than usual. I look at it like this, we as adults also wake up more during some nights than others. I also believe that if feeding makes him happy then go ahead and feed him. He is still very young and relies on you very much still.

I feel your pain sister! My son was 10 months old the FIRST time he didn't wake up to eat! Some people may suggest that he isn't hungry, it's just a habit he has. Whether that's true, only he knows and he can't talk yet! Just do what you think is best and have faith in yourself. Remember its temporary, you will sleep again someday!

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