January 28, 2011,
K.D. asks from Evanston, IL on January 25, 2011
Weissbluth and Night Eating?
Hi there. I am the first-time mom of a 4month and one week-old (19 weeks). I'm very interested in using Weissbluth and we have been pretty good about the sleeping every 2 hrs for the last 6 weeks or so. She used to sleep for 5-6 hours, but has been at 1-3 for the last several weeks--I'm working and am exhausted! We put her down between 6:30 and 7:30 and she's up 4 or 5 times before she gets up for the day between 6 and 7am.
S.C. answers from Fort Wayne on January 25, 2011
She's too young for cry it out and WAY too young to be on a strict schedule. She should still be fed on demand.
I hate that so many so called experts make moms feel awful if their babies aren't sleep through the night by the time their 2 months old. In my experience, it's simply not true. Yes, there are the babies that sleep all night long, but there are also those that don't.
The only way your baby had to tell you something is wrong is by crying. I look at it like this, if I'm thirsty in the middle of the night, I get a drink. If I'm starving I get a snack. If my preschooler woke me up at 3 am and said "Mommy I peed the bed." or "Mommy I'm thirsty." I would get out of bed and take care of it. I think the same principal needs to be applied to little ones.
I totally understand that you work and don't want to be up all night long, but are you really going to be sleeping if the baby's crying? Wouldn't it be better and easier if you just fed her when she woke up? Then everyone can go right back to sleep.
That's just my two cents. :)
I wasn't very familiar with the method you were talking about, so I looked it up. I found this quote on ehow.com
"Babies who are younger than 6 months old should not be allowed to cry it out using the extinction method. Young babies don't understand the concept that you're coming back for them, so their needs must be met as soon as possible."
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S.G. answers from Norfolk on January 25, 2011
When my kids were babies, my husband and I worked on a "shift" schedule. For example, the baby would be down for the night at 7:30. One person would take the 7:30-1:00 shift. Then the other person would get the 1:00-6:30 shift. The person on shift was the one who got up if the baby cried, fed the baby, and put the baby back to sleep. The whole process took around 1/2 hour and then the person on shift could go back to sleep (and hope the baby wouldn't cry again til the other persons shift!) It worked out great because it assured that each of us would always get a stretch of sleep. Sure, it wasn't a full eight hours, but it was a length of time where we knew were were not the one "on duty." And I think it's a bit ambitious to let the baby cry at night at this young age. Please stop trying to steer your baby in a direction; let her steer you.
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A.G. answers from Chicago on January 26, 2011
I did use Weissbluth and started sleep training at this age. It is hard, but doing it now will help your child be a great sleeper later, and sleep training an older infant is a lot harder. Keep in mind, sleep training doesn't have to mean totally cold turkey, you can still feed, just stretch it out.
I still fed at night, but did stretch the times in between. At this age I think I would put to bed at 6 - 7 PM, fed at midnight or before I went it bed (only if they woke) and then feed at 4-6 AM, then right back down until 7 AM. I always kept feedings dark, quiet and short, and only changed diapers for poop. I kept this same method, just stretching the times between feedings as the aged, until by 6 months or so, I was at 6 PM to 6 AM consistently.
I would basically make sure they were doing a good 4-6 hours between feedings, so I knew they were not hungry, just learning to settle themselves. If they ever slept longer, then that would be the new baseline, ie I wouldn't go in for 6-7 hours if they did that a few nights, etc.
My first did take some patting and shhing at wake up times, but we wouldn't pick up or feed unless it was time. My second seemed to be aggravated more by us coming in the room, so we let him be...he settled more quickly if we didn't bug him, so each kid is different and it takes some experimenting...
Also, take shifts with your husband. My husband was in charge from 6 PM to 2 AM, then me 2-7 AM, for example. If you both work, you can alternate who does the 2-7 AM shift.
If you do decide to sleep train, find a support person who has done it that you can talk to...it is hard and I think it is actually harder on you than the baby, so make sure your husband and you are on the same page and you have someone to call when you think you can't do it anymore.
Lastly, people are very opinionated about sleep training, so make your own decision, but I will tell you, I am a better mom when I am rested, and my kids are happier too....
I also forgot, it really takes two steps, first your baby must be able to go to sleep at bed time alone, ie in the crib awake.....after that you can tackle the middle of the night wakings.....we would first cry it out for bedtime, then tackle the night wakings. You will find that if they can put themselves to sleep at bedtime, some of the night wakings may magically disappear.
Feel free to email me with more questions, or support.....I have done it twice, and had a great coach mom who actually had an appointment with Weissbluth who helped me trouble shoot.
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M.K. answers from Chicago on January 27, 2011
Do you have a copy of Dr. Weissbluth's book, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child?" The reason I ask is that the book is not simply about CIO. (Yes, CIO is discussed and two different CIO methods are described...as well as acknowledgement that some Moms are not comfortable with CIO.)
Dr. Weissbluth's book outlines, in detail, how many wakings and feedings a typically-developing baby needs during the 12-hour sleeping period. And he breaks this down by age (4 months, 5 months, 6 months, 6-8 months, etc.)
I've finally put away my book and I can't remember the details of each month. However, I do remember that night feedings are not eliminated (during a 12 hour sleep period) until no earlier than 9-10 months of age. If I had to guess, I think he indicates your baby should be eating 3 times per night (during the 12 hours). Take a look at the "4 months" section of the book and he'll spell it out for you. (Including, how many naps and duration of naps your baby should optimally have during the day.)
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D.T. answers from Chicago on January 26, 2011
First of all, no one here should be casting stones. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and way of handling situations. Having said that, my baby is almost 3 months old and I have used the cry it out method since he was about 4 weeks. I have also used it for my other 2 children and it worked wonderfully. As my mom says, so long as you have fed them, burped them and changed them, there is nothing more they need. I start out by letting them cry it out for their AM nap or first time I put them down in the AM. They is really the only time I let them cry it out. This way you know if it will work or not, how long it may take and what to listen for.
Now until my son was 2 months, I did not use let him cry it out at night, I fed on demand. At my 2 mo drs appt, my ped told me that my son was very healthy and that if I wanted to schedule him and let him cry, it is perfectly fine and healthy. Babies this age can definitely go longer periods of time without eating. What I did initially was put him to bed by 10p and not feed him until 4am. When he first woke up, I would go in and give him a pacifier to soothe him. Now that I have been doing this for a little while, I have been letting him cry it out. It has worked wonderfully and he usually only cries for about 5 min max and then doesn't get up until at least 4 am and has even gone until 5:30a. The trick is that I don't get him up until 4. If he were to wake up and cry again, I would give him the pacifier, but that hasn't happened yet. I also know his cry for pain or something wrong and would definitely get him if I felt something was wrong. I don't feel comfortable letting him go longer than 6 hrs right now, but if he can go longer, more power to him. I am backing up his bed time as well, since he has been falling asleep on me even before 9p. So now we start to get him ready for bed at 9; change his diaper, feed him, turn off lights. He is usually in bed by 9:30 and again, no further feedings until 4. As he starts on cereal, I will then start to push him longer and get him to go until 530 or 6am. Oh, another thing, he has also been falling asleep while feeding him at the 4am feeding. This kind of signals to me that he doesn't really need this feeding as much and could go longer. But, I am not there yet. Both of my other kids were going 8p to at least 6am by 4 mos. And other people have said that if you put them to bed earlier, they will sleep longer. I am not there yet either and not too sure about that, but may try it in the future.
Again, this doesnt work for everyone or every baby and you have to be comfortable with it. And let me say that since this is my only son (finally had him) and my last, he is my prince and I totally baby him. This wasn't easy for me and my husband had to help ease me through this. But, it has been the best thing I have ever done. The scheduling has begun and is going well. I now know he likes a short AM nap and a long PM nap and try to put him down at the same time every day. I have not used the swing too much, just crib and bouncy. Good luck!!!
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K.B. answers from Chicago on January 26, 2011
weissbluth was my pediatrician - all my kids started sleeping through the night by 3 or 4 months - the night being going down at 6 - waking at 10pm to eat and then sleeping until - 6a or so. they woke up starving but they slept. we used to supplement with formula at bedtime because it stayed with them longer -
his sleep tricks really work. good luck.
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J.W. answers from Chicago on January 26, 2011
Hi K.! I'm going to disagree with Deb T - 4 weeks is way too young to cry it out. There is new research that says you really shouldn't do that. Just because a baby is physically capable of going through the night without food, doesn't mean that they are emotionally ready to sleep through the night. It's a milestone much like potty training and every child is different. Remember, the emotional needs of babies are just as important as their physical needs.
I wouldn't start sleep training until after your baby has cut her first tooth - usually around 5-6 months. There also are much gentler ways to sleep train your baby. Google Elizabeth Pantley - she has many wonderful no-cry solutions. Now, I am not against crying and I've used some modified cry-it-out methods, but my son was older. Also, please remember every child is different. My daughter was sleeping through the night at 6 wks, no problem. My son, on the other hand, is not the sleeper she was - so we, as parents, have to adjust. It's hard when you're a working mom, and the exhaustion is unbearable, but remember they are only this little for a short while and she still really needs you! It won't be long before she's sleeping through the night!
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K.K. answers from Chicago on January 26, 2011
I was a nanny for twenty years and have used Weissbluth method. First, your baby still needs to eat so she is waking up to eat. That said, she shouldn't be eating everytime she wakes up. At four months it could be many different reasons she is crying, teething, which she may not cut a tooth for awhile, changing her sleep patterns, growth spurt, or reaching a milestone, babies tend to wake up when they are going to reach a mileston, if she is not turning over yet, she soon will be. The best thing at this point is to go and console her. She is not spoiled, her a baby to be spoiled they have to know the difference and that usually happens around three years old. So, go in keep lights low, talk in a quiet, soft, loving gentle voice, to let her know you are there and that you care. She might need just to have her back rubbed, or rocked for a few minutes. My son at four months old needed to be held for an hour and then he would sleep for several hours.
If the crying continues and doesn't improve, watch for hic-ups, drooling and spitting up, could be acid reflux. you could try to raise one end of the bed to see if that helps too.
As moms, we all know how hard it is to work and be up all night. Hang in there, it will get better. Just know when you are up in the middle of the yet again, you are not alone.