I highly reccommend "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". I learned so much about sleep which helped greatly in teaching my daughter to sleep. You'll probably be amazed at all the misconceptions we have about sleep.
I have a little boy who just turned 4 months old and he is definitely not the best of sleepers. I need some advice about the different methods out there. My little guy has almost doubled his birth weight (he's 17 pounds) and he is breastfed. At first, I was totally against the cry it out method. We've tried the "no-cry" sleep solution, baby whisperer, and several of the Dr. Sears books with no success. We've had 3 nights in the four months of his life when he only woke up once to eat. Our doctor said it is okay to let him cry it out (cold turkey) but I'm not sure how I feel about this. However, I am feeling a little desperate. Here are my specific questions...
1. Is it unrealistic of me to expect him to sleep for a long amount of time over night even though he is breastfed?
2. Has anyone had success with "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child"?
3. We have had to swaddle him from day one but I'm afraid that because we still swaddle him, he will never learn to use his hands to self-soothe. If we do CIO, should we leave him unswaddled and just let him figure it out?
Any advice would be much appreciated!
I highly reccommend "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". I learned so much about sleep which helped greatly in teaching my daughter to sleep. You'll probably be amazed at all the misconceptions we have about sleep.
I had great success with Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I felt like it helped me get through this stage. I was at my wits end and the doctor told me to wait until 4 month to try sleep training. My daughter would not sleep well at all. We followed the cry it out at 4 months and it took 4 nights and she was sleeping! We also had to swaddle her until almost 5 months. I tried to unswaddle her, but anytime her hands would get near her face it would wake her up. Once she started breaking out of the swaddle on her own, she was ready to sleep without it and did pretty well. I was also breastfeeding. What I did to see if she was waking up from hunger or just waking up is that I would get up with her and try to rock her back to sleep. When she did this 3 nights in a row, I knew she wasn't hungry. Good luck! There are many of us out there in the same situation.
I love Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. He discusses both methods and gives pointers on both. He also lets you know that sleeping through the night is NOT a hunger issue, it's a developmental phase in the brain. Younger babies just physically can't sleep through the night yet. There are a lot of people who will tell you that cry it out is cruel and I think it is up to you what you want to do. There are plenty of people that are on both sides of the fence. I did use the cry it out, but really it was only for a couple of days and that was it. Read the book, I think he has a lot of great ideas and he explains the entire baby sleep process well. He also has a section on sleep problems when they get older and sleeping charts for babies to adult.
Please don't let him cry, if he's crying at 4 months old, he needs something; whether it's food, a change or just comfort he needs something. All babies are different and some sleep better than others, but Dr. Sears' info on baby sleep patterns is very illuminating and tells us babies aren't really ready to sleep through the night so early. Somehow we as a parenting society have developed some expectations for our babies that just aren't really in line with their development and needs. Also their sleep patterns change frequently, just when you think you've got things sorted out they change again! It can be frustrating, but remember you can't spoil a baby, so if he's crying he needs you. If someone stops responding to his cries, he'll eventually realize no one is going to respond to his needs and this can really hurt his ability to form attachments to people, if he gives up after crying it out, it isn't a good thing at this age it's a realization that no one is going to help him. The important thing is don't do anything you aren't comfortable with instinctually as a mother, no matter who tell you otherwise. When your baby cries, he needs you and you as a mother you feel the need to comfort him, we're given these instincts for a reason, if we had no one to give us advice or help, we would still know we need to comfort and care for our babies. For thousands of years mothers have been parenting and nursing their children through the night and every child is different on how long and when and how often they sleep through the night. There is a lot of great information on nighttime parenting at Dr. Sears' website and maybe you can look up some specifics about what realistic expectations are for babies sleep habits. Honestly, enjoy and cherish your bonding time, day or night, so soon they get busy and you'll be wishing you had some of that wonderful snuggle time back!
My understanding from everything that I've read is that "sleeping through the night" for a baby is about 5 hours. I also know that babies need to eat at night and each baby is different. My daughter was genuinely hungry about 3 or 4 times a night (ie 7pm - 7am) for at least six months. The best thing you can do is feed your little guy when he's hungry. Remember babies have tiny stomachs so they eat more often. There's also no consensus on any weight milestone that says a baby should be able to sleep all night. I don't think that swaddling is a problem particularly at four months. It helps him feel secure and he will eventually learn to soothe himself. My daughter is almost three now and she sleeps pretty well almost every night...In the grand scheme of things a part of me misses the nights when she needed me so much and we spent dim hours snuggling together. They do grow up and grow out of it...Each child just has their own timeline for doing so.
Hi K.. This is just my own opinion as a mother who breastfed her daughter, but if it's not dragging you down utterly, why not just continue to feed him in the night? He's still in the process of learning he can count on you to meet his needs, building up trust in you and in people in general. It's certainly not uncommon for a four month old to awaken at night. When you start solid foods, he should sleep more soundly.
I would highly recommend reading these two books:
Sweet Dreams-A Pediatrician's Secrets for your Child's Good Night's Sleep by Paul M. Fleiss
Nighttime Parenting-How to Get Your Baby and Child to Sleep by William Sears, MD
I know you said you read some Dr. Sear's books, if you have read the ones I mentioned above you would understand what babies sleep patterns are really like and can be realistic about that (especially breastfeed babies). Too many people are not educated about babies true sleep patterns and how they differ from adults. I have three children and breastfeed them all and co-slept. I can say that none of mine ever really slept through the night until they stopped nursing. I did not have a problem with this as I knew they would up grow fast. I guess I don't understand why people are so willing to let their babies cry. The person who mentioned that the baby is in the womb longer than he has been alive is correct. They were comforted for nine months in the womb and still need to be comforted now.
Just enjoy your baby---they grow fast!
Best advice a person can get: if it doesn't feel right, don't do it - stick with your intuition. You have to do what feels right to you.
The cry it out method was made famous by Dr. Ferber and the method is often referred to as Ferberize or Ferberizing. Interestingly enough, Dr. Ferber has changed his thoughts on his first landmark book and softened it a lot. http://www.childrenshospital.org/views/june06/sleep.html
Here's how I feel: A baby depends on you for everything. Their way of communicating is crying. If you ignore them, think how helpless they must feel. If you can't tell, I failed at CIO, I don't have the heart. I was desperate once too and I tried a little of the crying it out and suddenly realized that it was devastating to me to not respond to my child. That was my ephiphony.
Sleep schedules make a huge differance. Different babies just have different sleep patterns. I think if you have 5, they are all different.
Jane Pantley's No-Cry Sleep solution seems like a nicer touch.
Good luck to you, and at the end of the day, no matter what book says what, if it doesn't feel right to you - don't do it.
Hang in there! They grow quickly and once you get one phase figured out - poof - they are on to the next!
Oh, and when my daughter was 4, she asked a question that I still ponder: "I'm the littlest one here, how come I have to sleep by myself and you guys get to share your bed? It's not fair."
I think it is unrealistic to expect him to sleep longer. My son was still waking up once a night at 5 years old. Consider yourself lucky, at 4 months old he was getting up 4 times a night. We discovered later that he has a high metabolism and gets hungry every couple of hours, still does. If you are trying different things then possibly the "unknown" might be making him cry.
He is only 4 months old, I think that might be a little early for letting him cry it out. Now saying that it is not realistic for a 4 month old to sleep through the night.
How does he fall asleep? Does he fall asleep while you are feeding him? Try to have a consistent bedtime routine and have be awake when you lay him down in the crib to sleep. If he uses you to fall asleep, he will need you to fall back asleep when he wakes up in the middle of the night. If you use a pillow to sleep and you wake up in the middle of the night and it is gone, you are going to look for it before going back to sleep right?
As far as swaddling, I did my kids for a long since they were Winter babies. Once they got bigger, I would swaddle the blankets under the armpit to keep them warm but that way they had access to their arms and hands.
Do note even though I said he was too young to cry it out by 6 months there is no reason why he shouldn't be sleeping through the night and that is when I would start CIO if necessary. Just think of your routine. 6 months is when they start learning of habits, so whatever you are doing at 6 months be prepared to be doing for a very long time.
I used the "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" book for a while, and basically, it just said, "Make sure your child is getting enough sleep at the right times." We used the cry-it-out method to help my first one sleep through the night.
Here is the way I came to think about it: I put him on his stomach for tummy time, and he wasn't very happy. He was fussing and crying, but the more we did it, the happier he became. Through his exercise on tummy time, he was able to crawl, then sit up, then stand up, then walk. With sleeping, the cry-it-out method gave him the practice he needed to self-soothe. Now he goes to sleep with no problems.
My second one turns two months today. He is breastfed. He will sleep about 5 hours before he wakes up for his first nightly feed, and sometimes he only wakes up once. We put him down to sleep while he is drowsy but awake, and I think we won't have many sleep issues with him. When he wakes up and is hungry, I wake him up more so he will eat more and sleep longer. If he is only fussing but not really awake, I let him hang out in his crib a while longer until he is really hungry or has put himself back to sleep.
I didnt read your responses so sorry if Im reapeating. I dont believe in the cry it out method. I have always read and been told you cannot spoil and baby under 6 months. They are too young to know how to manipulate you. So when they are crying they need something. I think its sad for a little baby to cry his head off. Brestfed babies usually eat every two hours. They digest breastmilk quickly. Since he is a big baby he may want to eat more. Sometimes I was feeding my baby every hour. I think at 4 months you can start offering him cereal before he goes to bed to keep his tummy fuller for longer. You might be against it but you could also give him formula just at night to get him to sleep better, if your truly sleep deprived it might be for the best. Dont worry, you will figure him out. Good luck and I hope it gets better soon.
Hi K.. Wow! We started the Cry it out method when my son was 5 months old and it was ROUGH. I won't lie! We started on a Friday night and basically started what is routine now. And we DONT deviate from that routine at all, NO MATTER WHAT! This is what we did: Dinner for Bryce at 6:30pm (this meant I didn't eat until Bryce was asleep), Bath right after dinner, then nursing after dressing the baby and then put Bryce in crib, while still awake unless he fell asleep while nusing. Put Bryce in crib and put blanket on then mobile was one and I left the room..I put a timer on for 5 minutes and the first night he didn't cry for the first 5 minutes, so I extended the timer to 10 minutes and he didn't cry until 5 minutes into the 10. I waited until the 10 mintues was up to go in and lay him back in position w/pacifier and turn mobile back on. Then set the time for 15 minutes and he cried the whole time for 15 mintues. But I stuck it out and had to force my husband to not go resuce Bryce. After minutes I went in again turned the mobile on and repositioned him w/pacifier. I let it go one w/15 minute increments for an hour, then after an hour was up I went ahead and got him up and nursed him. After that when I laid him back down he was still awake a little bit but he only cried for 10 minutes and went to sleep. Then the next night the same thing, except way less crying. And the nights kept getting better. The kicker is when the baby wakes up in the middle night, as soon as you hear the baby crying start a timer for 15 mintues but don't go in and feed the baby. Now hooray, he sleeps through the night all night!!! And he knows his routine very well. He doesn't cry when I lay him down. Sometimes he will talk himself to sleep. I still breastfeed, so don't think just bc you are breastfeeding doesnt mean the baby shouldnt be sleeping through the night. Also my son has always wanted a blanket to sleep with. I refer to him as Linus from Charlie Brown, b/c he always wants his blanket. LOL... Just know that it will get better. If you are interested in talking more, you can email me direct at: ____@____.com. Thanks, hope this helps. I will just add that Bryce using two blankets at night. One that he pulls up by his head and the other to actually cover him up. Another thing you might want to consider is making sure he is not cold or too hot.
you have a lot of issues going on here, but it sounds like you just need to get some sleep.
It has been a long time since I have had child this young, I really don't have a suggestion for the swaddling/not swaddling. I do know my daughter could not stand being swaddled from day one. The nurse finally gave up. She was just happier unswaddled. She was a thumbsucker in utero, I think that had something to do with it.
My understanding was that since breast milk was more easily digestible you should actually expect to have to nurse more often, not less than bottle fed. But, I would expect that he would sleep all night by now. But, it may not be a feeding issue that is waking him up, but something else - daytime sleep pattern, when he is going down for the night, etc. Your son has changed immensely in the last 4 months and will continue to do so. His feeding, sleeping, changing will all continue to change. What he did or didn't do yesterday doesn't mean he won't do or not do something today.
As for crying it out - I would certainly try it.
I loved the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". My kids are now three and four and I still refer to it at times. I took all advice offered there and have not regretted it. I suggest this book to all new moms. It is not miraculous however. Sleeping issues still come up but I feel like I have a framework for making it better. Good luck with your little one.
We've only had one baby so I have nothing to compare him to. We stopped nursing at night when he turned 6 months. At four months it was twice a night and in his own time he dropped one. I think that's normal and under 6 months I don't think the cry it out method is warrented. After 6 though, my doc told me that he should be able to go all night. So, for the last feeding we tried the cry it out method and it worked in 2 nights. It was a little painful for the parents, but he only cried for 45 minutes max.
On the swaddling, my baby was swaddled until 7 months. He never wanted a pacifier or his fingers. So we kept swaddling until he busted out. The baby will let you know.
Do you bathe him before putting him down for the night and lotion him down. nurse him, burp him and he should go to sleep
talk positive things in his spirit. mother of four.
Hi K.! I totally feel for your situation and you must be exhuasted. It might help to think of this as a season that will soon pass. Right now, your son is still getting a good portion of his nutrition from your nightly nursing.(Which is completely normal/natural.) You may focus on getting more feedings in during the day, which may allow him to sleep longer stretches at night. He still may wake at night and this is completely normal, as I'm sure you know from all the reading you've done. The issue is trying to find a way as a mother to cope with the lack of sleep. With my first son he didn't really night-wean until he was about 14 months old and by that time I was ready for a full nights sleep.... REALLY READY!! Now, with my 3 month old daughter I have realized the wonderfulness of laying down while nursing. It allows me to sleep while she gets her food and we have very little nighttime disturbance. However, I understand this does not work for all families. Something else that might help is wearing your baby during the day. This will help him feel more secure at night and may encourage him to sleep a little longer. Also, do you have help at night? I would have my husband bring my son to me and then take him back to bed, then I didn't have to get up to nurse and my husband go back to sleep while I nursed. This seemed to allow us all to get the most sleep. AND..... most importantly, NAP!!!! (if you can with the baby!)
You still have a pretty young baby and most experts do not recommend allowing a baby under six months of age to 'cry-it-out', although it is your decision and it can still be done gently. (Like setting the timer for 5 minutes at a time.) Good luck
I have an 8 month old and he has been sleeping through the night since 10 weeks of age. I used CIO, based on Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. He is no longer breastfed, but at the time he was. The first night was the hardest (for me - listening to him cry was heartbreaking), but by the third night he no longer cried and began going right to sleep. He sleeps with a "glow bug" - he loves that thing, I turn it on and he looks at it and smiles and closes his eyes and goes right to sleep. Sleeping through the night has never been a struggle, it is very rare that he wakes up in the middle of the night. I'd say it's happened twice in the last 6 months - and he loves going to bed. I also have a 4 year old that I did the same thing with - crying it out - and it worked the exact same way for him. Just wanted to share my experience - Good luck!
I don't think that you are unrealistic in your expectation that your baby start sleeping longer periods at night. But as a mother of two entirely different breastfed babies, I will say that it takes time to sleep through the night reliably. Sam is 10 months and has been sleeping through the night reliably for 1 month now (unless he is sick). Hanna, my daughter who is 2 1/2 stated sleeping through the night more reliably around 6 months. Hanna co-slept until 6 months, Sam never really enjoyed co-sleeping, always preferred to be returned to his bed, but he has continued to awaken through the night longer than Hanna. I think that the important thing is to realize that baby's have needs, and that most of their crying is due to a need, there really isn't such a thing as a spoiled 4 month old, althrough there could be a 4 month old who has been conditioned not to cry out through the night (as it does not result in the fulfillment of his need for comfort). I do relax how quickly I respond to crying and the type of crying I respond to as my babies get older. After 6 months I let them fuss a minute or two to see if they can self-soothe back to sleep. Even adults wake in the night, eventually we all must learn how to put ourselves back to sleep. But this will happen slowlly over time, each baby is different. We had to let Hanna fuss quite a bit, especially at naptimes between the ages of 9months and 11 months, but this was a vey short time and she was definitely not hungry or wet or uncomfortable in any way at this age. At four months we would still have rocked her to sleep. Sam is proving to be easier at this same age. So each child is different. As to swaddling I would continue it, as long as it is working at naptimes. Sam, at 10 months, still likes to be cozy in a blanket (though not the traditional swaddle anymore) for his naps. Hanna outgrew her swaddling before I year on her own, perfering a tummy sleeping position. Don't feel bad though if letting your baby fuss more at naps or night if that works better for you and your family schedule. I think the most important part of any type of sleep training is consistency, and the child feeling secure at all times that you are still nearby and in control of the situation. If you are doing the best attachment parenting feeding on demand and soothing to sleep, yet are stressed out or even angry at your baby for not letting you rest I think more damage is done than calmly placing a baby in bed, fed, dry and warm, and letting him fall asleep on his own. Best of wishes to you! Trust yourself, you know your baby better than anyone else!
Sorry but I never did the "cry it out" method when my son was born. I read in a parenting magazine that from birth to 6mths they need that comfort from mom or dad. A nursing baby will wake every couple of hours to eat they dont stay full as long as formula fed babies. Its also good to have him nurse every 2-3hrs it helps the milk supply come in better, better for you and him. Once babies turn 6mths its ok to start doing the "cry it out" method if you choose to do so. I was always against the "cry it out" method. I always love to comfort my son, he was never alone, when he napped he was in the livingroom in his little bed, he slept in our room until he was 4-5mths old in a porter crib. I say you do what you need to for your little guy.
You have a lot of advice here but I just have to add my two cents. I think people are wrong that a BF baby can't sleep through the night at that age, especially a larger one. Mine DD started sleeping 12 hours at night at about 3 months. She always was a good sleeper, sleeping "though the night" (5-6 hours) by 1-2 weeks old. Anyway, we did a mild CIO to help with the going to sleep on her own. What we did was (assuming nothing else was wrong), let her cry for 5 min., then go get her, burp her, rock her etc., then 6 min., then 7. After three tries, I'd assume she wasn't ready to go down and we'd get her up for a while and then try again. I believe they need to learn to self-soothe. The longest I ever let her cry was 10 min. I would literally time it so I didn't go in earlier because it is hard to listen to them, but often, right as it approached 5 min., she'd just fall asleep. This really only lasted about 1.5-2 weeks. Since then, we have her bedtime routine and put her down to bed and she goes right to sleep on her own and sleeps twelve hours. It can be done. Just depends on what feels right to you and how important it is to you. By the way, I'm just now weaning at 14 months, one feeding left to go. So this certainly didn't disrupt anything and she's a very good natured, secure and well-loved baby that is above average in height and weight, so she hasn't suffered for it at all. Babies need sleep and so do their parents. Good luck!
I think you need to go with your instincts...that is what God gave them to you for. I agree with the other Mom's that breastfed babies need to be fed more often...they tend to process their breastmilk more quickly than formula fed babies do. I never believed in the "cry it out" method when they were under 9 months or so of age...if they are crying they need something...even if it is just comforting...they need it. As you know...breast milk is sort of a supply and demand thing...so the more you nurse the more you are going to produce...and the longer he may sleep in between feedings. Just concentrate on enjoying your new baby...and do what makes BOTH of you feel good!!! He will grow up so quickly...a few sleepless nights right now is a small price to pay!!! (And since you are breastfeeding...would you object to taking him to bed with you in the middle of the night..he nurses..you sleep...perfect solution for both of you!!!)
it never hurts a baby to cry for 5-10 minutes. I wouldn't be able to stand it longer than that but usually 5-10 minutes is all they need. I also gave them water in the night and after a few nights of just getting a bottle of water they didn't wake up for it anymore. My babies all slept through the night from 6 weeks-2 months old and I considered sleeping from 10 pm-5:30 am sleeping through the night. That is almost 8 hours without eating and usually fed them at 5:30 and they would go back to sleep until 7:30 or 8:00. Breastfed babies usually eat more often than formula fed babies. I did both so can't say that they were strictly bf but when bf they ate about every 3 hours for 20 minutes and when they had formula wouldn't be hungry again for 5 hours. They were on a regular feeding schedule and that probably helped with their bedtime routine as well.
I don't think that anyone else can tell you what to do. I don't think it's a matter of right or wrong and certainly not a morality issue.
I enjoyed being up with my own babies in the middle of the night. But some people need more sleep and I'm talking about moms and dads, not babies. The babies will learn to adapt to whatever environment or rules you put on him.
I do believe if you want to teach him to sleep longer at knife you need to find a way to fill up his tummy. Hopefully, you've taught him to drink from a bottle because all sorts of emergencies would necessitate him being able to do so.
I suggest you pump a little breast milk and mix it with some rice cereal and give him it in a bottle just before bed. You can use the tip of a sharp night to give the nipple hole just a little more room and you might need to waste a few nipples to get the right size for him.
I also agree with at least a little bit of co-sleeping. Maybe you could get up and feed him the first time and put him back to bed. But the next time he wakes up pull him into bed and let him nurse with you while you rest next to him. This way, he'll learn to go to bed in his own bed and you and daddy will have private time before you go to bed. Co-sleeping the last few hours shouldn't cause you and daddy too many fits later.
I would never had expected my kids to sleep through the night at 4 months. Some babies do, some don't. He is a large baby (mine were too, always gained weight - almost a pound the first week they were home instead of losing weight). Definitely with being breastfed I would not expect him to sleep very long - being a healthy size baby. I would start giving him rice cereal in a bottle before he goes to bed. My kids weren't swaddled that long. The blankets didn't fit them (they were also 28 in by 5 mths), but were pacifier babies & by 4 mths they would soothe themselves back to sleep by putting it back in their mouth their selves. I would suggest not reading so many books. These people get paid to put these out there & although they can be helpful they can be contradictive. Start trying to read into what your baby is asking for. You really do have a maternal instinct, most mothers have & you will do fine with your own decisions. Each baby is different & cannot be classified under a stereotype in a book or by a doctor. There's too much emphasis on what's right/wrong & what makes a bad/good mom when really it's fictitious. As long as you are caring for your baby & doing the very best you can (& I'm sure you are)you are always a good mom. That's all we can do, is our very best & hope we've done what's right. The only way I would do CIO at 4 mths is if I knew for CERTAIN that he was dry, well fed, & not sick. If those three things are accomplished then crying does not hurt a baby (even for a period of time). They really do strengthen their lungs that way.
It is somewhat unrealistic to expect a 4 month old breastfed baby to be sleeping through the night by now. I had two son's breastfed them both and they were up every 2-3 hours at first and then slept longer as they got older. Although by 4 months old I was giving them cereal in their milk to help them sleep longer at night. You can check with your doctor about this. They normally start you on rice cereal by this age. I did not let my boys cry themselves to sleep at this age. I would get them as soon as they started crying. I know you need to let them cry for a certain ammount of time to strengthen their lungs. Another Mom suggested that if you want to let him cry himself to sleep you could lengthen the time more and more each day. As far as swaddeling, I swaddled at first but then did not by the time they were 4 months old. I think it is important to let them suck on their fingers if they need to. You could still swaddle his body but leave his arms free. That could be why he is not sleeping very well, he feels too confined. With my first son I was right there everytime he started to cry, changed his diapers and breastfed him. I would breastfeed him untill he was done and he turned out to be a very happy and content boy and very peaceful. With my second son they told me to breastfeed only 15 min on each side, after that it was just colostrum after that. Well he ended up being a very happy but very energetic and ADD son. Not sure if this had anything to do with it, but it makes me wonder, M.
When my son was around 3 months old we decided to let him cry at night. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do! Thankfully it only took him about 3 nights to "get it." We used our own version of CIO: we let him cry for about 20 minutes before going in and checking on him. Since we started there were only a few nights where we had to go in and check on him, as he would usually fall back asleep before the 20 minutes were up. He hated being swaddled but relied on his pacifier and would cry when it fell out of his mouth, so we took that away at the same time and replaced it with a small blankie that was easier to find that he could suck on instead. It was the best thing we ever did for his sleep! He was exclusively breastfed until 6 months, so if you aren't ready to give him rice cereal yet, you don't need to. At 3 months he would wake only once overnight (12 hours) for a feeding. At 6 months he was making it almost all the way through the night (waking around 4:30 for his first feeding) and by 6 1/2 months, he was sleeping completely through the night (11 hours). As I said, lying in bed while he was in the next room crying broke my heart, but in the end it saved my sanity and set my son up for good sleep habits. Good luck to you!
boy can I relate. I was not able to breastfeed due to past surgery :( but I could relate to the lack of sleep. I kept reading all these solutions and they seem to be all the way to one side or the other, check your child every time they cry to CIO. Dana Obleman helped me quite a bit (even talked to her in person!) and you can do an internet search to find her. She's a psychologist AND a mom :)
What worked for me was something more in the middle and more age-appropriate i.e. there is different levels for different ages. At four months she had not slept over 3 hours, we were exhausted and had to do something. I did some crying, with some checking on my child here and there. Ultimately, they WILL cry until they figure out how to self-soothe; you cannot get to self-soothing without going through crying. However, you dont have to walk away and ignore everything for hours. I had to turn off the volume on my video monitor so I wouldnt respond to EVERYthing.
As for swaddling-my daughter struggled against swaddling SO much we had to quit. I started leaving one hand out, then two, then forget it. It became more dangerous to try to keep her in it (oh the heart attacks of her whipping that blankie up over her head). Everyone goes on and on about how wonderful swaddling is but it was impossible to keep her swaddled.
Keep investigating til you find what resonates with you. There is no shortage of information, but I kept finding middle ground is where I felt most comfortable. Hope it helps and get some sleep! :) I thought I'd never get through that time but it went faster than I expected.
As you already know you will get TONS of opinions about this subject--don't let any of them make you feel like a bad mom. I have 2 boys both breastfed exculsively until age one and both slept through the night by 8 weeks. I also checked with my doctor(ped) about letting them sleep that long before doing it.
1. No it is not unrealistic to expect long stretches of sleep in a breastfed baby--I have done it with 2 of them.
2. I did not use the book but have heard it is good.
3. We swaddled because our boys loved it and when they needed to they would work their hands out of the swaddle so we woujld swaddle with hands out!
We also only let our boys cry/fuss for about 5 minutes in the begining then we would go to them NOT pick them up but talk to them and rub their tummys for 5 minutes then leave the room. This was a good compromise for us because we wanted to teach our boys good sleep habits but also make sure we felt good about it. It really didn't take long. As they got older if they woke in the night (RARE) we would let them cry for 10 minutes or so before going to them to reassure and pat but NEVER picked them up. I hope some of this helps, and remember there are many ways to do this and you just have to find what is right for you!!
I'm not sure about other methods but we got the Happiest Baby on the Block book and dvd and used that method for my son. It was great and he started sleeping through the night at about 2 1/2 to 3 months old. With that method you do continue to swaddle them and can use a pacifier if you want to do that. You also do the white noise sound and rock them to soothe them to sleep. The dr that wrote the book's theory is the baby needs a fourth trimester and this helps to create that. My son is now a year old and we don't swaddle him anymore but he was fine with being swaddled for comfort til he was about 7 months old. Hope this helps.
This will make many, many opinionated mothers mad, but we tried letting our boy sleep on his tummy around 4 months and he slept an extra four hours from that point on. (he was also a larger baby with good muscle strength which apparently reduces risks).
We also did the cry-it out method using the 5 minute, then 10 minute then every 20 minutes after that, pat on the back and some soothing words method (don't pick up. had to be relatively confident he wasn't pooey, hungry or sick). It took a good week or more and my husband and I had to do shifts and crack jokes to lift each other's spirits between 2am and 4am!!! but it worked and we haven't looked back. We have a VERY happy, healthy, secure boy.
I don't know if you are still taking advice... I have a 6 year old that was a terrible sleeper and 13 month old that has been a much better sleeper. Both were breastfed. Based on my experience, I would have to say you most likely need to give it more time. I have read all of the books as well. My 2nd started sleeping what I call through the night at 10 months and I was very happy. All night to me isn't 5 hours it's more like 10 hours. I combined the no-cry and the healthy habits books. I think a consistent routine is very important to set the stage. I couldn't let her cry it out for any length of time. I started by nursing and putting her to bed asleep. At 4 months I was still getting up with her. Closer to 6-8 months, I tried to stop nursing her every time she woke up at night. I would try and just hold her and bounce her next to her crib but not sit down so she didn't expect to nurse. This helped set the stage. I then worked to put her to bed slightly awake. Once she was able to do that we struck gold. I would let her cry for a few minutes. Sometimes that is all it took. Also, I found that if I put her down at the first signs of being tired, it was much easier to get her to settle down than if I waited. If I waited too long she would get worked up. Hope this helps. I wouldn't give up yet. He's only 4 months. It will get better!! I can't remember which book it was in, but I found documenting the nap and night time wakenings was very helpful in seeing the progress or what the pattern was to help modify it or see what was working...
Dr. Weissbluth is very helpful (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child). So are some of Tracy Hogg's tricks (The Babywhisperer).
For me, having had my first son who slept 8-11 hours almost immediately and was formula fed, and then having had my second son who is breastfed and barely sleeps that much now at 10 months, here are the things I feel I know:
1) some crying is okay because they do need to learn to fall asleep alone. No matter how you look at it, if you are there in some way, they are not alone.
2) stopping swaddling is much more traumatic for the parents than the babies. Both of mine were swaddled until 4-5 months, and the transition is always difficult, but it doesn't last that long. For us, putting them down on their tummies (use your judgment there) helped a lot.
3) your job as a parent is to teach them many painful things, and learning to sleep alone is just the first one.
4) some kids (especially boys) are not good sleepers. All you can do is not start bad habits or eliminate them as soon as you can.
I hope it gets better for you!
First and foremost, doctors are for medical issues, not parenting, IMHO.
Babies wake frequently to eat, this is normal.
It takes some children longer to sleep through the night. My cousins baby slept through the night at 3-4 weeks. My 5 year old never has and I don't know if he will anytime soon. I do think expecting a 4 month old to sleep through the night is unrealistic.
Hi Mrs. W.,
I can give you two different answers. Both the girls were breastfed until they were 12 months. With kiddo #1, I had to let her CIO. (She was a little older however. About 14 months old.) Our doctor told me that to her knowledge, a baby had never died from crying. She told me to go out and buy earplugs if it was necessary. It took almost a full week of her crying for up to 3 hours straight each night, but I hung in there and just kept telling myself I had to let her cry for my sanity and for her future sleep habits. With kiddo #2, she had night feedings until she was 11 months old. When I asked the doctor about it, she said that if she was actually feeding (not just playing or soothing herself) then to keep it up. She was smaller and just couldn't make it through the night without eating. Then one night, she didn't wake up and that was the end of her nightly feedings. Remember, tell yourself it won't last forever and just enjoy the snuggles. Someday you will miss them!! P.
First of all, doctors are for medical advice, parents are for parenting. You have a lot of advice here, you came to the right place, but ultimately this decision rests only with you and your family.
I have a two year old and a ten month old and no one has ever cried it out at our house. I believe a breastfed four month old who is gaining weight like your boy probably needs that night feeding. You said in you number 1, "even though he is breastfed," it's formula babies that sleep longer.... breastfed babies are more likely to get up at night.
From my personal research, and some of the support I've gotten on this community, my husband and I have decided to let our babies be babies. The notion of crying it out is uniquely American and relatively new. A four month old is only a four month old - heck, he spent more time in your tummy than he has outside of it! It makes sense he wants some snuggles and to be held close in the middle of the night. However, as I said, you need to decide what you and your family feel is the right decision and you came to the right place to get all kinds of answers from mommies and they are the real experts!
I am the mother of a 3 1/2 year old and a 2 year old. My son, the older child, was breastfed for 3-4 four months and he was a great sleeper. We really lucked out with him somehow. So, to answer your first question, no it is not unrealistic to expect a breastfed baby to sleep for long amounts of time over night. He slept for 6-7 hour stretches. We never woke him up to feed. We did a pretty consistent nighttime routine and I had a CD that played sounds of the ocean that seemed to soothe him. I also swaddled for months. Both my children eventually let me know they were tired of being swaddled because they would break out of the blanket. Also, we pretty well lived by the rule that if the baby has been awake for two hours it is time for a nap (this was from the book "healthy sleep habits, happy child"-that book was helpful). Good luck, and I hope this helps.
I am going through this same situation, although mine is alot older. I have this same conversation with my doctor every time I visit. One thing that he said, that I think of now and then, is that it is very confusing to a baby when you change things up. Mine wakes up many times to nurse back to sleep. If I were to not allow that, and just let him cry, I think it would be really hard on everyone - especially him. That's why I have stuck it out, co-sleeping and getting some rest during the day when I can (not always). This second baby has a very strong will, and fighting it in the middle of the night is not my idea of good timing.
My first baby, however, was a different story. At 3 or 4 months, he started spacing out feedings at night - from every 2, to every 3 and then 4 hours. Eventually it was just once/night at around 6 months... I think. If you are seeing that trend, and your baby is gaining weight well, I think you'll be fine if you are patient. Just remember to take care of yourself, pamper yourself a little bit extra since you are doing a little extra for your baby. That seems to help with my state of mind too...
Just my two (or more) cents.
Have you started feeding your son rice cereal? Give him a few teaspoons of that before your bedtime nursing and it should help keep his tummy full for longer periods of time. I swaddled my son from the beginning and he just outgrew it on his own and has been able to self-soothe himself back to sleep (no binky either) since he was about 3 months old. We still have relapses of him getting up at night (sometimes because he's sick or because he pulled his blanket off and got cold) and it turns into a habit. It usually only takes one night to let him cry it out and we're back in "good" habits of him going back to sleep on his own. You know your child best so whenever you think its time to go in and soothe him, do it, but if you really want to use CIO, you can't be afraid of hearing the crying for a night or two.
I have a 5 month old baby boy and was facing the same problems with sleep. I read Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child and it is awesome! I also swaddled him until about a month or so ago, out of fear that his hands would keep him awake, but now he actually sucks on his hands to self soothe. I would try putting your guy down unassisted for a nap during the day, a while before you anticipate he needs to sleep. That way he has chance to try and go to sleep on his own before he is overly tired. I don't know if you have trouble with daytime sleep, but that was our big issue. My baby is also breastfed, and rarely wakes now for a nightime feed. Once we were able to get him to sleep on his own during the day, he started sleeping longer and sleeping through the night. But, that book was VERY helpful, not that any book has all the answers, but it helps when you find something that really addresses the trouble you are having! Good Luck!
I'm a FIRM believer in CIO and think it has saved my sanity. I'm a MUCH better Mommy with a full night of sleep.
1) No. My 5.5 month old has been sleeping 12 hours since she was just under 4 months and she has severe silent reflux, Delayed Gastric Emptying and milk and soy allergies. Sleep is a trained habit, IMO. She barely weighs 14 lbs and doesn't take any solids. My oldest slept through the night at 6 weeks to the day.
2)Never used it but hear good thing about it.
3)I broke the baby of the swaddle around 2.5 months for this same reason. I just did it gradually. One arm out for a while, then the next, then nothing all together.
I have a 7 month old little boy who was not a great sleeper - but now he is!!! He was swaddled as well. Here's what we did that worked for us. First we weaned him off the swaddle. One arm out for a few days to a week then both arms out then no swaddle (although we do use a wearable blanket for warmth now that winter is settling in). After a week or two with no swaddle we used the cry it out method. Now, I won't lie - it sucked. My son handled it fine, but it is VERY hard to listen to them cry. We made sure he was fed and safe then we rocked him till he was droopy eyed put him in his crib and we went outside with a timer. It is easier to be where you can't hear the crying. Then we followed the Ferber method (we never went more than 10 minutes without going in) If you do this both you and your husband MUST agree, because at one point one of you is going to want to cave and you'll need the other for support. Just tell yourself that in the end it is worth it and he will have no recollection of crying. My son is so much happier now, because he sleeps through the night and is a great nap taker too. Best of luck - I know this is difficult.
"Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" is an AWESOME book!!!!! I would highly suggest this book. I just gave mine to my cousin who has a 10 week old baby and he just started sleeping through the night. My pediatrician recommended the book and we stuck by it and our 33 month old is an awesome sleeper!
My babies were all breast fed, exclusively. I had four. They all started sleeping through the night around 5 months of age. They started out, waking every 2 hours and that lengthened to where they only got up once in the night. Then, they started sleeping through the night. My pediatrician told me to give them water if they got up in the night, after that. He said they'll figure out it's not worth it. I do believe in letting them cry it out when you put them to bed. Make sure there's no problem, they are not hungry, not wet, and everything's okay. Then, let them cry. They'll learn to self soothe. I had one with colic and if I hadn't learned to let her cry, I'd be in the insane asylum today! I have no experience with the swaddling. I didn't ever swaddle mine, after they came home from the hospital.
We used cry it out for both kiddos. The key is to listen to the cry. There are cries you need to know. Some of them are trying to tell you that he wants more than just held or attention. Some mean he needs food, he's cold/hot, he's hurt, he's sick... whatever. You will know what cry means what after just a few days!
Remember that it takes 3 or 4 days for him to adjust to the new method. The first two days are VERY VERY hard! So, give yourself a break and go ahead and cry with him. After he figures it out everyone will be much happier - including him b/c he got a full nights sleep.
Here is my best 2 cents for your questions:
1 - I don't think it's unrealistic to hope he can sleep through the night at 4 months. I would say that if your doc says he needs to eat once, then feed him. It sounds like you are getting up multiple times though and he sould be fine with one feeding at night, that's for sure.
2 - I have never tried "Healthy Sleep Habits.." but I did try the ever-so-controversial "On Becoming Baby Wise" with great success. Those who critique it didn't read it closely enough. It is not a let him cry it out at all costs kind of book. It advocates letting them work out some frustration and listening to the cries. My daughter cried for 5 to 10 minutes and then would go to sleep. She slept from 7 to 7 starting at 8 weeks and then took 3 naps during the day. My son slept 7 to 6 beginning very young and took shorter naps during the day. He would cry for 15 to 20 minutes before zonking out. When he was sick or whatever, we just knew what the cry was and rocked him or whatever. You do NOT want to do the cry it out when they are sick or in a new place or whatever b/c that is just cruel.
3 - I would continue swaddling him. don't freak him out without his swaddle. If he likes it, go for it. He will outgrow it here in a couple of months anyway. They always work their little hands free :)
Hope that helps. Don't let anyone make you feel bad about whichever method you settle on. You choose the book/theory/method that you feel best suits you and your family and then STICK WITH IT. Don't give up. NONE of them work the first night and those that you do find work aren't fool proof. Just as soon as you've "got it all figured out" they start to teeth or get an ear infection or something and you have to start over again.
Oh, and one more thing. The cry it out method works best (in my nonexpert opinion) if you have a schedule. It can be a loose schedule, but some sort of schedule so that your little guy knows that it is time for bed and will actually be tired at the time you ask him to sleep.
Good luck and happy sleeping!