You’re just SO tired! Little Suzie woke up every hour last night and it seemed like she needed to be fed every single time. You can feel yourself on the edge. If you don’t get some sleep soon, you’re bound to go insane!
Maybe you’ve been in this situation, maybe you came to this post because you ARE in that situation. Don’t fret. You are certainly not alone. It’s an incredibly common issue that sleep consultants see regularly.
We see moms (and dads) come to us frazzled because their baby is waking up more than usual for feedings and they just don’t know what to do anymore. They’ve tried everything that friends and books recommended.
We all require sleep to function – baby and parent alike. If baby isn’t sleeping, then parents certainly aren’t sleeping either and that’s something you just can’t keep up for the long haul and expect to survive.
What are things you can do to break the habit of excessive night feeding? What can you possibly do? Isn’t it just a phase?
Here’s the thing, when the baby becomes reliant on a bottle or a feeding to go back to sleep it becomes what is referred to as sleep prop. There are far more things than just feedings that can fall into the list of props. Here are a few.
- Back rubbing
You know, all those nurturing things that we all use to put our children down for the night. Now, don’t worry – we’re not saying you can’t rock your baby to sleep. We’re saying we don’t want the baby to become reliant on the rocking to get to sleep.
By all means, do not take this list as a command to stop loving on and nurturing your baby. If the action becomes a habit, your child will need this action to sleep every time they enter a sleep cycle.
This is why the baby wakes multiple times and requires feeding. Sleep cycles tend to last 1-2 hours at a time for babies. While you may not be aware, you actually enter a brief wakeful period in between each sleep cycle.
The hope is that they would fall right back asleep, until such time they’ve become attached to their sleep prop – which in this case is a feeding.
Do you see where we’re going? The end result is baby now requires feeding every 2 hours to fall back asleep. The baby (past the very newborn stage) is probably not really hungry and doesn’t truly need fed but have rather now been tuned to the fact that they need a feeding to sleep.
What’s the Solution?
The key here is that you can incorporate feedings into the bedtime routine without training your child that they MUST have that feeding to sleep. For example, you could do bath time and then a bottle or feeding and then maybe a quick storytime right before bed.
You don’t want to nurse or feed the baby while they fall asleep, this is where the line is. You can incorporate this type of behavior into your routine all day so that baby isn’t dependent upon a feeding to sleep. Try a routine like eat, play, and then sleep.
You might just be surprised!
When your child is younger than 6 months old, they may still need feedings throughout the night, you just don’t want feedings to become a habit that your child can’t sleep without. If you’re past the point of return, try weaning slowly from the 2-hour feedings you’re suffering from.
The process can be challenging but we’re certain you can work your way through it if you stay strong!
Contact Petite Dreamers today!
If you’re having difficulty with night feedings, and things are not getting any better, contact Petite Dreamers today! As a Singapore Paediatric Sleep Consultant, I can help you find the answers to get your baby (and you!) sleeping again. I look forward to hearing from you and helping you through this difficult time.