Please watch my baby sleep video on weaning your baby off night feeding.
To ask a question about your child’s sleep, just leave it in the ‘Comments’ section below! I’ll choose one and create a new video answer each week!View the Video Transcript
Hi! I’m Dana Obleman, creator of The Sleep Sense Program. If you’d rather read than watch, I’ve transcribed the text of this video below.
This week’s question comes from Maria and she writes:
“Our seven-month-old goes to bed fine after a bath every night around 8:00 but he does not stay asleep. He falls back to sleep after I nurse him but how can I help him stay asleep all night long?”
First of all when you say he goes to bed fine at bedtime, one of two things I think is happening. Either it’s possible that you rock him or nurse him to sleep and then transfer him to his crib or maybe he falls asleep completely on his own at bedtime. I have a lot of clients who are doing the Sleep Sense Program and they email me or call and say, “I have done everything. He is falling asleep great at bedtime and totally on his own; he just chats to himself and falls asleep but is still having night wakings.” If that really is the case, then great! Half the battle is already won; he is falling asleep great at bedtime and that is really the main goal.
If that is the case and he is still waking up to nurse, my next issue is that he falls asleep while nursing through the night. What can happen then is the baby learns the skills they need for falling asleep at bedtime but then falls back into the old familiar ways for the rest of the night. He might wake up randomly and you let him get on the breast and take the easy way back to sleep. If that is the case, you want to break the connection between nursing and sleep altogether, 100%.
It really cannot linger as a habit or else the baby will think you might go back to that and you may even find that he starts crying again at bedtime in hopes that you will nurse him to sleep again. I would say goodbye to that completely. For a seven month old, (you could run this by your doctor first and make sure he gets the clean bill of health and his weight is fine) he can probably be sleeping totally through the night without any feeds. So you might consider just pulling his night feeds cold turkey and then every time you have a night waking, you would either go back to your stay in the room method or use the leave and check method, until he goes back to sleep.
The good news is because he does it well at bedtime, it really only takes a couple of nights to get him through for the night wakings. That skill base is already there, so it is just a matter of teaching him that every time he wakes up, he is going to handle the situation exactly the same way. I would just pull him cold turkey from the night feeds.
However, if you want to keep a feed, or you are not confident yet he could go the whole night without food, I would keep one feed and I would make it really businesslike. Turn on the light or the lamp next to you and keep a close eye on him. Let him nurse enough for a feed but do not let it linger. You don’t want to let him start suckling his way back to sleep. Try not to even let him close his eyes. You won’t be as bright eyed as we might be during the day either, but you really want to break that connection between the breast and going back to sleep, so talk to him. Tickle him and even gently poke him a little if you see his eyes start to get heavy but make sure he stays awake through the feed. He then goes back to his crib awake and that way, you will have a better chance that he is going to start breaking that whole connection between nursing and sleep.
So that is my best advice for you. Either the eliminate night feeds or keep one but make sure he stays awake through it all and that should keep him asleep.
Thanks for your question, Maria. Sleep well!
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