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I [heart] Davids · Sleeping through the night

Sleeping through the night

A question I posted on a local message board. I’m reproducing it here to see if I get any good advice from my friends. 🙂

I’m going back to work in a few weeks and I’m trying to get my nine-week old son Henry to sleep longer at nights (or through the night would be great!).

Here’s some info on his feeding habits.
I try not to feed him any sooner than 4 hours between feedings, but will feed him at 3 hours if he’s displaying hunger signs. He only eats around 2-3 ounces at a serving when bottlefed. I’m not sure how much he’s eating when he’s breastfeeding, but I can’t imagine it’s more than when he bottle feeds. When he bottle feeds, he is not a guzzler. He’s fooled me on more than one occasion when he sucked and sucked and made all this noise at the bottle for 10 minutes, 20 minutes or longer, only to discover he hadn’t actually drank anything. So, all of this to say that he’s not a big eater. But the doc says his weight (11+ pounds) is fine and if that’s what he eats, then fine. I guess part of me worries that he’s not eating enough to sleep long enough at night.

Now here’s his nighttime routine:
He usually gets fed around 8 PM (roughly 2 oz), then has a bath and goes down for the night in his crib. He falls asleep on his own and sleeps until around 1 AM. At that point he gets fed again. I’ve replaced nursing at night with a bottle. Sometimes he will just suck on the bottle without drinking but other times he’ll eat. Last night he ate 1.25 oz at 1 AM but it took 30 minutes or more to get him switching from the aimless sucking to actually drinking. Then, he goes back down to sleep easily.
He’ll awake again around 4 AM or 5 AM. Last night he drank 2 oz at that time but only after aimlessly sucking at the bottle for 10 minutes.
Finally, he wakes up between 6 and 7 AM. I think that’s his natural “wake-up” time even though he’s not technically due to be fed until around 8 AM.

So, I’d like to try to eliminate one of the feedings – maybe the 4 AM. Any suggestions on how to do this? I’ve tried offering the pacy before the bottle but he’s not having it. Would love your tips, hints and suggestions!

  1. Stew’s avatar

    I wish I had any advice. Alas, I am without experience on this matter. Hang in there!

  2. Cristin’s avatar

    Me either! I’ve seen firsthand the aimless sucking you mention though and I can see how annoying that could become. Sending lots and lots of patience your way. Love you much! I hope I can execute some of the things you’re learning for myself some day:)

  3. admin’s avatar

    I know yr gonna be a great mommajomba!

  4. Ele’s avatar

    Aie yai yai – I’m so sorry – I FEEL for you! I’ve given you all my tips – babies are obviously all different! It sounds to me like he’s not getting enough to eat during normal waking hours – but how do you get him to eat more??? Finn always ate 4 ounces at every bottle feeding – (now he eats even 8!) . The best I can tell you is that eventually, babies do sleep thru the night.

  5. Lindsay’s avatar

    I agree, I think his sleeping issues are most likely caused by hunger.

    My first thought is try a different nipple/bottle. It could be that he simply doesn’t like the nipple design or isn’t an aggresive suckler – so try out a heavier flow nipple so that it practically “drips” into his mouth. And you may even have to jump boat on the type of bottle your using now and try out a different brand/shape.

    (I went out to dinner last weekend and Ian would have nothing to do with the bottle for Tim (frustrating!) so I’m thinking of doing this exact same thing. First I’ll start off with a “3” flow nipple (currently uses 2) and if that doesn’t work I’ll try a completely different bottle/nipple setup (currently use Avent))

    Re: how many ounces he should eat, it seems that they’ll take at least an ounce for each month of age. So I’d say at 9 weeks, he should be eating at least 2 if not 3 ozs at each feeding – to stay satisfied until the next feeding.

    And lastly, in breastfeeding both of my children, I never had a 4 hour schedule. It was 3 at the max! Formula fed babies will go 4 hours but from my experience and lactation lessons, breastfed babies don’t go that long because it’s digested so much faster. This could also be the cause of any irratible-ness or finicky sleeping during the day, if you’re experiencing either of those.

    Hope that is helpful! Sending much love and best wishes from Tx :o)

  6. Dottie’s avatar

    Hi there….I’m a friend of Cristin’s and a lurker on your blog! I’ve got a 7 month old and she still wakes up to feed at 12 and 4ish. I’ve heard you can start expecting them to sleep thru at 3mos/13lbs. whichever happens first, but Ayla is 7mos/21 lbs and isn’t there yet. You can look for help on the Baby Whisperer’s website, or maybe Dr. Sears. Our ped. says they’ll give it up when they’re ready. My guess is he’s really hungry……if your hubbins can do one of the feedings that might help. Henry might also just be searching for a warm momma. Maybe you can wear a shirt for a few nights, let some milk get on it and give it to Henry to sleep with??? Anyway, good luck. Keep posting if you find what works..I’d love to know!

  7. erin’s avatar

    It is true that breastfed babies digest much more quickly than formula fed babies. If you can get him to eat more and maybe more frequently (on demand) during the day, he might be less hungry at night. Having said that, I think the 8-1 hour (5 hours) stretch for a 9 week old baby is pretty on target. You may be able to shift that long stretch to start later in the evening (try putting him down at 9 instead of 8, then 10 instead of 9 etc.)and then you’ll get more sleep while he’s sleeping (say 11-4) but I know my babies all woke up at least once between 12 and 6 and sometimes during growth spurts more frequently than that until they were closer to 6 months old. And, sadly the technical definition of “sleeping through the night” is 6 hours, not 12 hours. So he’s really just one hour shy of sleeping through the night! 🙂

    Hang in there. All babies are different. Eventually he will sleep more. Maybe when he starts solid food.

  8. Kelli’s avatar

    I agree with Erin. I was told that i was putting David down too early (at about 8ish) like you are doing now. So I started puting him down at 9:30 and then 10:00pm after a nice warm bath. I know it seems too late for a small babe-I thought so too ,but what I found out was that he would “skip” that 1:00am feeding and would wake up for about a 5:30am feeding. This meant I got pretty solid sleep from 10:30-5:00am. I guess David was so full after that last feeding that he would not need to wake up through the night.

    But yea like Erin said sleeping throught the night for a baby is like 5-6 hrs! LOL. Hope this helps, Say hi to little Henry for us!