13 answers

When Can I Begin Sleep Training?

I have a 5.5 month old breast fed baby who does not sleep through the night. He still wakes every 3 hours to eat. Does anyone know when I can begin sleep training, i.e. the Ferber method? Is 6 months too early?

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Thanks everyone for your advice! I really appreciate it! We have several outside factors that lead me to beleive we should hold off on any sort of training. My son is a whopping 20lbs, wasn't a premie, but did have surgery at 2 months old. He was sleeping through the night by 3 months, but then we had to leave the country for a few weeks and that was when he stopped sleeping through the night. I'm not sure I agree with the ferber method anyway. I can't stand to hear him cry at all. But I am desperate for some sleep!

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I found it easiest to "sleep train" my son by playing the radio softly. He found the soft music soothing and tended not to cry as often. He was about 5 mounths old when I started putting him in his own crib. I would also hold him and feed him in the same blanket that I covered him up with at night. I think he found my scent on the blanket comforting.

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Hey Steph!
My son loved having a fish tank in his room. You know, one with a filter, so there was a soft, constant humming in the background. We started sleep traing about 5 months or so. He still got up once a night for mommy-food (ie. breast feeding) but we found that he slept longer when he had breast milk in a bottle from daddy. Personally, I think Ferber method is a little cruel. Maybe try a modified version. that's what we did. Let him cry for 10 minutes, send daddy in to re-tuck in. Let cry for 15 minutes. Repeat and always increase wait time by 5 minutes. Make sure you watch the clock, because if you go by what the time "Feels" like, you'll go in wwaaaaaaaayyyyyy toooo early. I know you hate hearing him cry, but this really worked for us. Oour son would still get up for a 4 or 5 am little bottle, but it was only a few ounces maybe 5. He too is a bbbiiiggg boy who gets hungry, even in the middle of the night. Eventually he'll grow out of it. Our son was putting himself to sleep by 7/8 months and sleeping all through the night by 10/11. He now sleeps 14 hours a night!!!
I hope this helps you. If you would like to talk about it, just send me a message. I know this all probably sounded a little confusing, but I can break it down to be wicked simple for you. A friend of mine told me what to do and it worked like a charm.
Good Luck!!!!!

1 mom found this helpful

My biggest tip would be to give your son cereal before his longest usual chunk of sleep. My son for instance would sleep from about 8 pm until 11 pm and, after feeding him would sleep for 4 or 4 and a half hours. When I started feeding him cereal at the 11 o'clock feeding, he consistantly slept for at least 5 and a half hours. And let me tell you . . . when he slept from 11 to 6 the first time, I was worried, at first, then extatic!

Don't Ferber a 6 month old!!! if he's still waking, it may be from habit or teething.. try having your husband going to get him during the night, if it's habit, and he doesn't smell you then he may go back down without eating.. but I'd say if he's eating a lot, he's probably still hungry. teething starts earlier thanyou think and they feel things moving around in there long before a tooth pops out, he could be feeling that.. wait it out a little bit longer

My son is 11 months and I too am nursing him. He slept through the night for the 1st 6 months. Then he started teething. Now he wakes up anywhere from 1 to 5 times a night. Sleeping through the night is far and in between. I would say that 6 months is the right time. My son does not sleep in a crib he sleeps in his bigboy bed in his own room so when he wakes up I go in there and lay with him till he falls back to sleep. He is getting to the point where he has been able to get himself back to sleep so I don't rush in there right away anymore.

I have read most of Ferber's book and I believe he suggests around 5 or 6 months to begin sleep training. You should also talk to your pediatrician as there may be other considerations other than age (e.g. weight, if your baby was a premie, etc.). I started a bit earlier out of desperation (around 3 months). My opinion is though if you are not ready to be consistent and deal with some crying, then don't waste your time. I would also suggest if you do try it, start over a weekend. That way if you are up at night, you have the day to recover.

I used Ferber's method and I am a huge fan. It is tough, but if you are consistent you will see results in only a few days (I started to see results in a day). My daughter is now 16 months old and is typically a good sleeper. Recently between colds and teething has not been sleeping great. So, once her teeth come through and she is feeling better, we will need to "re-Ferberize" her. His book talks about this too. I would suggest buying his book as I found it a good read. Good luck whatever you decide!!

Hi there- my son was breastfed also - I sleep trained him when he was 8 months old. I used Marc Weissbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child. He states that children can still need to eat at least once in the night until they are nine months old.

I would wait unti your baby is at least 6 months old because before that point, they don't understand that you are not gone forever - they don't have object permance yet.

He will grow out of it though and his sleep will lengthen naturally if you don't want to sleep train.

I found it easiest to "sleep train" my son by playing the radio softly. He found the soft music soothing and tended not to cry as often. He was about 5 mounths old when I started putting him in his own crib. I would also hold him and feed him in the same blanket that I covered him up with at night. I think he found my scent on the blanket comforting.

Letting a baby cry it out can be detrimental to their mental and physical health. When a baby is left to cry it out, their stress levels rise high enough to cause a stroke in an adult body. Your baby is still young enough where waking up at night is normal. Please give him or her more time. Even Dr. Ferber himself recanted his cry it out methods for young babies.

Hi - I can tell you that i have an 8 month old, and she still wakes once or twice a night to nurse - so you are not alone. We tried to sleep train her at about 6 months and it killed my milk supply - so be careful. Since we started solids she seems to be more fortified during the day and thus sleeping for longer stretches during the night. Give yourself a little bit of time - I am sure that real food will help. Breast milk just is not made to be filling enough! An excellent book to look at and maybe get from your library is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Weissbleuth. It has some great advice. hope that helps!

Hi, I nursed my little guy untill about 8-9 mos. and up untill that time he never made it through the night. At about 10 mos or so he went to bed at 7 and got up at 8. Now at 17mos he still sleeps like a trooper.
My advice is this, be careful with the Ferber Method. Take a few and look up Drs Sears and their ideas methods on sleeping. They produce some good info on how long bouts of crying, which the Ferber Method suggests can/will have some long term negative effects on your little one. I trully understand how needed sleep is at this point, just know all your opitions! Lots of luck hang in there.....

I have a 4.5 month old and I'm in the exact same situation as you are...I'm up to nurse every 3 hours. My son is 16 lbs. so there's no weight concern but he's a hungry boy - I imagine it's the same with your baby. I even spoke to a sleep expert and she said as long as he's truly waking to feed (which he is because he goes right back to sleep after a nursing), then it's ok. However, one thing that has helped a little is giving him cereal in the evening and then a good nursing on both sides before bed. I have gotten 4-4 1/2 hours out of him a few times. And believe me, it makes a difference to get another hour or so at a time. Good luck and I totally feel for you!

This is around the time babys start sleeping through the night. Some take longer. Just remember, no naps in the late afternoon/evening if you can avoid them. Take a nice bath and then fill up the belly before bedtime. It works like a charm. PS> I don't agree with the Ferber method. This method was much easier for me. Just hang in there and it will naturally happen for you and you will be so grateful.

I think 5-6 months would be a little early for that sort of thing.Is he eating any cereal or baby food? maybe an evening feeding of cereal would help. As for sleeping through the night,from my own experience and other moms I know-some kids don't do it till a year or more. My oldest slept from 11pm till 5am till he was about one, dosen't sound bad but he never napped more than 20 minutes-EVER. My youngest always napped and went to sleep early but I remember for a couple of months he woke up between two and three every morning-I would get up with him but wouldn't feed him,he would just want to hang out.
Good luck.
He's three and still gets up at this time once in awhile. They are all different, and most of them cause mommy sleep deprivation.

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