Babies: 3 - 6 Months

Those who've sleep trained and bf

Ok...stupid me...I just saw a similar post below...but if you want to humor me and answer still that's great too!   Sorry!

How long does your LO sleep at night now between feedings?

I'm really thinking I need to do some sleep training (Ferber here...) because DD has now associated nursing with falling asleep, so every time she wakes (5-6X a night recently!) she just wants to latch on and then she'll fall back asleep for an hour or so.  But...since I bf I'm just worried that doing this will make my supply drop.  She's not really eating at these night wakings, just latching on and doing comfort sucking, but I worry that if I go to long she'll actually be hungry and I'll just not know it if I let her CIO...but at the same time I want her to be able to put herself to sleep without needing me!

Any ideas?  Thanks! 

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Re: Those who've sleep trained and bf

  • My LO is younger than yours, but we EBF and just started sleep training (ferber too, modified a bit). We started early (we did it with my older son) because of what you stated above-- he will only fall asleep from nursing and it's driving me insane. So we felt like it was our only choice. We started last week and did modified CIO-- I nurse him for the last time before he goes to bed about 6pm, and once he's done or asleep (I don't prevent him from falling asleep, but try to put him down awake), I take him up and lay him in his crib with white noise. He usually always wakes up in this process, which is actually a good thing. So the first few days, he cried a bit-- not more than 15 minutes. He slept (sleeps) anywhere to the 1-4am timeframe (and a few times until 5am) and then I nurse him 20 mins or so, and put him back awake, and do the same modified CIO process (we do increments of 3, 5, 8, 15 mins). It's been a week and he hasn't cried at all either going down at night, or in these mid- night feedings.

    So all this being said, there comes the problem of when to feed them, and when to possibly let them CIO because they aren't really hungry. I think once you start teaching them to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own, they will stop all of this night waking to nurse (just to fall back asleep). If I were you, I'd start doing it sooner vs. later, and I think it will all resolve itself. I set a rule that if LO wakes before 3 hours, I will let him CIO. If he wakes after he's been asleep for 3 hours, I will feed him. He's capable of going 3 hours without eating, so if he's waking before that he just wants me to put him back to sleep. He hasn't woken more than once at night since we started sleep training.

    Is LO 15 lbs? They say once they are 15 lbs, they can technically STTN, and I think at 5 months old your LO is more capable of going longer periods. Still, I'd feed her if she wakes after probably 4 hours of sleep. Anything less, I might do the CIO. Up to you of course, but you have to find that balance of feeding her based on hunger rather than soothing.

    And I know some will disagree-- if she needs to be soothed, why not just feed her. But it sets a bad habit that is hard to break, and breaking it now will only serve you well for the future.

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  • I'm not sure I have any great advice, as I am in the same situation. My DD is 13 weeks old and I also bf.  She still wakes 2 to 5 times a night to eat also.  My pediatrician suggested offering her a binky when she wakes, but we tried this and it didn't work for us.  After giving it to her, she would fall back to sleep, but a half hour later she would be up again and I would feed her. So we are just back to change, swaddle, feed, back to sleep which must be what she needs because its the only way my DD will go back to sleep. Every baby is different. 

  • LO has been STTN since he was 10 weeks old. We did Baby Wise with him starting at 2-3 weeks. We have never "really" had to let him CIO. There are times when he'll kind of squirm and whine and settle himself down for naps, but if we try to soothe or rock him, it just gets him agitated. We started out feeding every 2.5 hours during the day, then every 3, and now he eats every 3.5 hours during the day, full feedings every time. His last feeding is at 8 PM, goes to bed right after that, and except for the occasional growth spurt, sleeps all the way until 8 AM. Our rule of thumb is, if he cries going down for nap/bedtime, we'll give him 5 minutes. If he is still crying (really crying, not just whining), we'll go in. If he is just whining, we give him 15 minutes, and usually he's asleep by the end of that. If he wakes up from a solid sleep crying (again, CRYING not just whining), we'll go in and see what's up. We check diaper, burp/spitup, or just some comfort, and if none of that is the problem THEN we feed. 90% of the time, if he wakes up in the middle of the night, it's because he needs to eat. I really think that the schedule during the day is what has helped him STTN as early as he did. I had never heard of the 15 lb rule until recently. LO was 5 lb 12 oz at birth (6 weeks preterm), and now weighs almost 15 lbs. His pediatrician has not been concerned about his weight or the fact that he STTN.  I know there is controversy surrounding Baby Wise, but Baby Wise strategies have worked very well for our family. Good luck! 
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    Landry Mark: 11/5/11
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  • We're planning on sleep training soon, but dealt with the night feedings first.  DD was waking to feed every 2 hours at 4 months.  We started pushing those intervals longer by comforting her when she woke (rocking or bouncing) but not feeding unless a given amount of time had passed since her last feed.  We started with 3 hours which took her about a week to get used to.  3.5 hours took 2 days.  4 hours took another 2.  Now she only comes out of the crib twice a night to feed.

    She still wakes more often than every 4 hours - more like every 2 - but it's because she wants her binky, not the boob.  We're going to try sleep training this weekend to kick the paci. 

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  • I BF with my 4 1/2 mth old and she doesnt take a passie and never has and she wants to try and fall asleep while I am nursing her, and everytime she falls asleep I rub her jaws to get her to wake up and call her name and jiggle  her and etc. Then when that stops working I unlatch her to wake her and then she just latches back on. But for the most part she stays awake until 730pm when we do our evening feed right before bed that is the hard one cause I want to make sure she has a full belly. At night she sleeps 11hrs and by the morning I am engorged but she is really hungry and the balance works well and as long as she is eating very great during the day your milk supply will be just fine. I have 3 kiddos and this being my 2nd one that I have nursed even when yours gets old enough to be weened off it will take a few days before your supply dries up and that is not nursing at all for a few days. So going a few hours straight during the nite without BF will not hurt your milk supply. Good luck.
  • I should add, that as long as I am drinking enough water and eating enough calories, my milk has been fine. 
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    Landry Mark: 11/5/11
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  • She's 5 months old? She does not need nutrition in the middle of the night. So don't feel bad for letting her CIO. It will change our life :)
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  • image canadiansciencegeek:

     We started with 3 hours which took her about a week to get used to.  3.5 hours took 2 days.  4 hours took another 2. 

    Question for you, when you waited a week to get use to the 3 hrs, was it because your DD was having trouble making it to the 3 hrs for each feeding?  The Ferber book seems to say the next day do 3 1/2 hrs so I am curious why you did not jump up to the next interval.

    Did your DD get use to the 3 hrs and start waking only at 3 hrs for food?

    We tried 2 hrs 45 mins last night and it was very difficult.  I was dreading jumping up to 3 hrs tonight and after reading your post am wondering if we should just wait.

  • I've never tried it, but one thing I've heard is to anticipate their need before it arrises and then gradually space them out.  So if she wakes up normally at 9 to nurse, get in there and nurse at 8:55.  Then try spacing it out, doing it later and later each time. 
    I've never tired it, but if you're considering CIO I'd at least try that first. 
    When she's having a night like that, I bedshare. It makes things easier on both of us.
  • image ctrfrei1:
    She's 5 months old? She does not need nutrition in the middle of the night. So don't feel bad for letting her CIO. It will change our life :)

    This is my feeling too. We just started a modified CIO with my DD and I will feed her every 5 hours throughout the night. The first 2 nights she ate at the 5 hour mark, last night she slept through it! :) 

    E. 1.27.10, C. 11.1.11
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  • image yankeefans:
    image canadiansciencegeek:

     We started with 3 hours which took her about a week to get used to.  3.5 hours took 2 days.  4 hours took another 2. 

    Question for you, when you waited a week to get use to the 3 hrs, was it because your DD was having trouble making it to the 3 hrs for each feeding?  The Ferber book seems to say the next day do 3 1/2 hrs so I am curious why you did not jump up to the next interval.

    Did your DD get use to the 3 hrs and start waking only at 3 hrs for food?

    We tried 2 hrs 45 mins last night and it was very difficult.  I was dreading jumping up to 3 hrs tonight and after reading your post am wondering if we should just wait.

    When we first started shifting to 3 hours (from 2) she would get very upset at the 2 hour mark and need a lot of rocking/comforting to fall back asleep, if at all.  I think she really did get a lot of her calories at night and was legitimately hungry.  After a week, she was still waking every 2 hours, but not expecting to be fed until the 3 hour mark.  (We'd plug her paci back in and she'd fall asleep.)  We're now almost at that point with 4 hours between feeds.

    We didn't start reading Ferber until we'd already started this process so didn't know he suggested moving up 30 minutes every day, and I'm glad we didn't.  I feel like that would have been too fast for my child.

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  • OP- where is your LO sleeping?

    I EBF, and we sleep trained last weekend for the first time and it has been so easy! I was in the same boat, DD was nursing about every 2 hours at night, sometimes just for a few minues to fall back to sleep. But we were also bed sharing, and I think it was just so easy for both of us to resort to nursing when she woke.

    I moved her to her crib last weekend ready to tackle the frequent nursing as well, turns out I didn't even have to. She is sleeping so much better in her crib! She only wakes once or twice a night to nurse. So I don't even question whether or not she's hungry. Our longest stretch was 7 hours!

    We also used Ferber's method, and it took about 3 nights (no more than 15 to 25 minutes of crying) and now she is pretty quiet when I lay her down awake. Also, she has never cried in the middle of the night after a feeding when I lay her back down. Not even day 1. The only crying was when I first laid her down. She goes back to sleep very easily.

    I will warn you that my boobs are still sometimes engorged when I wake up. They were so used to nursing every 2 hours, so especially the night she went 7 hours, they were so full! I just pumped though. It seems to be improving now.

    Good luck!

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