Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sleep Training Question

I got the following comment on my sleep training post, and since many of my readers commented about having done some kind of sleep training, I thought maybe I would ask for your input again. This mom is right in the middle of it, so if you have any ideas for her, please comment quickly!
Hey, your blog was so helpful b/c I am dealing with the same issues. Our baby is four months old and we are 5 nights into sleep training. she is getting much better and at naps we can put her down awake. the issue is that we put her to bed at 7, and she has been waking up at 11/12 and will not put herself back to sleep. before we started training she would usually go to 1 or 2 and sometimes later, so we don't think she's hungry. so my husband sleep trains her at 11/12, it takes about 1.5 hours. then some nights she's woken up between 2 and 4, at which point i feed her. my question is like yours-- if this is basically behavioral training, and i make her cry at 11 but feed her at 2--- she can't distiguish, so should i not be feeding her at 2?! also, we're a bit baffled at the early 11/12 waking that won't go away... anyone have theories on that?!


Paula said...

I'm afraid I can't help with this one--my babies sleep in bed with me where I can roll over and nurse them back to sleep if they wake up, without fully waking up myself. I know it doesn't work for everyone, but for me sleeping cuddled up to my babies is one of life's greatest pleasures.

Amy F said...

It's been a while since I've had a newborn so I'm not the authority in sleep (and I didn't follow the same method as Bonnie (that I know of...though I do believe that sleep begets sleep and sleep equals happy baby). So while I don't remember everything, I do vividly recall that my son went through periods that made us change up our sleep routine a little. For instance, I remember us adjusting his bedtime back a little because he was getting too much sleep and started waking up again during the night (wanting to play, interact, be held). Periodically he would also start waking up at another extra time whenever he was going through a new growth spurt and needed to eat. We helped remedy this by feeding him more milk at his right-before bed feeding. (And sometimes, being lazy, I would just feed him....and usually, if that was the problem, within a week, things would go back to the more normal schedule).

So, I'm not completely familiar with the procedures that you are using, but I would just recommend making little adjustments to the sleep routine and see what happens. Experiment. See what happens when you put the baby down, say, a half hour to an hour later. Does she wake up crying at the same time as before? Or a little later? Try increasing the amount or the time you feed her so she'll be able to sleep until the 2am feeding. Or try adjusting the times of your reduced feeding schedule. She could really just be hungry when she wakes earlier than you want her to. Try, say, feeding her at 1:00 (in the middle of the two times....if you usually feed her at 2-ish) and see what happens.

The most important thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a text book baby. The hours for sleep they give are truly an appropriate suggestion. Some babies fit the scenarios and some won't. Shift things until you find what works for your baby. As long as they are happy and healthy you shouldn't worry too much if your baby won't follow what the book says.

Kristen and Josh Wilde said...

I would try feeding her when she wakes up at 11/12, and if she wakes up again at 2, I would feed her again. My son (now 1 year old) went through various spurts of needing to be fed at different times during the night. Now that my son is eating regular food, I think he's getting a lot more nourishment during the day (verses when we were breastfeeding) and he never wakes up at night. (knock on wood!) The schedule outlined in "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" allows for 2 nighttime feedings, so I don't think the point is for babies not to be fed at night if they're hungry. Rather, the goal is for them to put themselves back to sleep afterwards. Four-month-olds have tiny tummies, and if you happen to be breasfteeding you don't really know how much they're getting.

Buzz Carter said...

I say, just give the child back to his parents to deal with.

Wait, that's what you do with GRANDCHILDREN.

Sorry for the confusion.

Lorinda said...

I love what Amy said. another thing that has helped my good friend/sleep training mentor: get a white noise machine. or two of them: one for you and one for your baby. This time really will go quickly and then you will not remember what the big deal was. My mom always used to say, "the more a baby sleeps, the more he will sleep." I believe that, and i also believe that a mom who sleeps through the night is a happier mom. Good luck. it sounds like you are doing great!

Lorinda said...

i woke up this morning thinking about this... possibly because my 1.5 year old started screaming at 5:30. He usually sleeps until 7 or 8 (I put him down at 7 or 8 or sometimes 6). I didn't go get him. He went through a phase (phaze?) where he was waking at this time every morning and was starving. I would feed him and put him pretty much straight back in bed. he wasn't finished sleeping, he was just hungry. So i guess what i'm saying is, yes, babies get hungry at night and they do have growth spurts where they are more hungry (and also more tired), but babies also get in bad habits and i am a lover of sleep training. i didn't figure it out really until this baby (my 6th), but it has been so worth it. Like i said, he sleeps 12 hours a night and takes 1 or 2 long (3 hours) naps during the day. When you think about it, we don't see him that much, but he is so pleasant when he's awake, it's worth it.
so aside from checking for necrotic arachnid puncture wounds, i don't think there is a right or wrong way to do this(see what i worry about? we really do have Hobo spiders). I didn't pick up baby this morning and i think he's asleep again. Sometimes i think i'm a bad mom because i ignore him so much, but if he's happy playing/sleeping in his crib for hours at a time, who am i hurting? no one. and i might just be saving the life of the next person who gets on my bad side :)