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Gentle Solution for 7 Month Night-Waking

Gentle Solution for 7 Month Night-Waking

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My seven and half months, has woken hourly to 2 hourly every night from when he was born. Had general anesthetic at 4, 5 and seven weeks for minor medical problem. Tried crying methods (which i will, NEVER do again) as they made him worse. Resettles with feed or comfort, co sleeps in his cot beside bed with cotside down in ok baby bag. Seeing pediatrician for possible milk allergy as developed excma/rash which is going now changing to soya. VERY sleep deprived as also have 27 month old (sleeps great) co sleeping with dad in spare room. Can't seem to self settle, cries in his sleep sometimes screaming when he goes into light sleep. However when he first goes to sleep and has his 45 naps during the day he settles by himself and goes to sleep by himself, is only the waking thats the problem.

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Here's a few tips for weaning baby off feeding to sleep:

  1. For babies under 4 months, start by reviewing The Happiest Baby techniques of Swaddling, White Noise and Side/Stomach position. Often using these settling techniques will make enough difference that you can change with relative ease.

  2. Use the feed/play/sleep routine during the day, so you are settling baby when she is tired....and feeding baby when she wakes up. There may be a transitional time when you need to continue 'top-ups' before bed, but the key to stopping feeding to sleep is not to feed before bed!

  3. Babies over 5 months generally do really well with a structured routine for daytime and bedtime, such as day sleeps at 9am, 1pm, 4.30pm and bedtime at 7pm.

  4. Aim for 10 minutes of awake time between your finishing your 6.30pm feed and when baby goes into bed. This can be cuddles, stories, a walk round the house or outside, massage etc. You may want to gradually work up to 10 minutes if you currently feed baby until she is asleep. Eg tonight aim for 30 seconds between feed and baby into bed, tomorrow night aim for a minute etc.

  5. Recognise that teaching your baby a new settling technique takes not expect her to like it immediately and sleep through the night after 1 days! But you should start to see improvements after 4-5 days if you are being consistent with always using the new technique and not confusing your baby by feeding her back to sleep in the night.

  6. For babies over 5 months you are likely to not need any feeds in the night, with the exception of a dreamfeed at about 10pm. See here for more info. Doing a feed with your baby ASLEEP means you fill her tummy without her knowing, and you go to bed knowing she is not hungry in the night.

  7. If you currently feed baby until she is asleep, change to feeding baby until she is drowsy. Put her into bed and then pat/sssh/put firm pressure on her tummy etc until she falls asleep. After a couple of sleeps, change to feeding until calm but let baby get drowsy and actually fall asleep in bed. Make sure you do the same for any night-waking!

  8. If you are feeling absolutely exhausted or are suffering post-natal depression, we really encourage you to look at a quicker program for getting baby to self settle - the health of your family depends on your getting decent rest. The Sleepeasy Solution program involves offering verbal reassurance at regular intervals and works for most babies in under 5 nights.

  9. If you have a really sucky baby, consider using a dummy for bedtime and during the night settling. Once babies are over about 5 months they can learn to put a dummy back in for themself, which means you don't need to feed them back to sleep!

  10. The No Cry Sleep Solution is a great resource if you want a very slow and gentle approach to weaning off feeding to sleep. The technique involves the 'Pantley Pull-off' where you un-latch your baby and gently close her mouth, she learns she can get to sleep without sucking. It is a very involved process, but will work if you are consistent and patient with it.

  11. Reassure yourself that you can teach your baby to fall asleep without feeding, and it will not be nearly as hard as you imagine it will be. This is absolutely the message we get from many mums every week - just decide on a plan and you will soon have a baby who loves to cuddle and feed, but doesn't rely on it to get to sleep at bedtime and through the night.

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