At 6 months they should be sleeping through the night? Time to think about night weaning? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 03-16-2011, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We went to the doc today and she told me that my son should be sleeping through the night all ready and not need to nurse in the middle of the night at all now. I'm not concerned at all and I kinda don't care to think about night weaning yet. He sleeps really well,always has. He can fall asleep with out nursing and doesn't make a fuss when I take my boobie from him when I think he's done eating at night and often he'll unlatch and turn over and go to sleep on his own. He has been waking more often to nurse at night though over the past month, he doesn't fully wake or even cry really and I'm happy to nurse him as often as he needs me to.

Is it really time to consider night weaning?
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#2 of 35 Old 03-16-2011, 02:04 PM
 
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NO, you don't need to night wean.  It seems to be popular for peds to recommend this and it's ludicrous.  Sounds like you and your baby are fine, happy and healthy so don't worry about it.


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#3 of 35 Old 03-16-2011, 02:14 PM
 
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Some babies naturally night wean and start STTN around that age, but I don't think it should be forced on a baby who isn't ready for it! My 11 month old still nurses once a night, and I am just fine with that; she's a petite girl and doesn't eat much solid food, so it makes perfect sense that she needs milkies, which are metabolized pretty quickly, at night!


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#4 of 35 Old 03-16-2011, 02:19 PM
 
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No. What he is doing is perfectly age appropriate and he is probably going through a growth spurt if he has been eating more lately. BTW, I think the medical definition of STTN is 4-5 hours, not from bedtime to breakfast. My 27mo has been sleeping in long stretches through the night since she was a few months old, but she still snuggles up to nurse several times a night. All 4 of my other kiddos have done similar.

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#5 of 35 Old 03-16-2011, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've also read that STTN is also defined as 5 hours of sleep at a time during the night. I'm fine letting him nurse as he wishes at pretty much anytime.
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#6 of 35 Old 03-16-2011, 03:42 PM
 
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I think as long as you're happy, there's no reason to change anything. If you were looking to help him sleep more at night, you could look into clusterfeeding him in the late afternoon/early evening so he's pumped full of milky calories going into the night. That could make his first chunk of sleep longer, which is supposed to be our deepest sleep. The longer you can get him to sleep in that first chunk, the more likely he will extend that sleep eventually all night. It seems to be suggested by some of the sleep rsearchers that people who wake frequently in the first half of the night are more likely to report not feeling well rested, as opposed to people who wake frequnetly in the second half of the night. In babies, being well-rested generally makes them sleep better and longer which is why withholding sleep from babies (cutting short naps and putting them to bed later) totally backfires. The nights where my son sleeps the longest stretches, and sometimes 12 hours straight, are the nights where he has lots of milk during the day, eats a healthy amount of solids, gets good naps, and goes to bed within 3 hours of waking from his second nap (so for us thats around 6:30-7:30). So in short, your baby doesn't need to be sleeping through the night by now, but I don't think it can hurt to try to enforce healthy sleep habits to encourage more consolidated sleep because there will come a time where you WILL want him to sleep all the way through.

 

 


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#7 of 35 Old 03-16-2011, 03:46 PM
 
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Good grief, no. I don't nightwean my babies until around 18 months. I can't imagine forcing it on a 6-month-old.

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#8 of 35 Old 03-16-2011, 07:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post

Good grief, no. I don't nightwean my babies until around 18 months. I can't imagine forcing it on a 6-month-old.


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I like to think your ped was just joking with you, as nobody could seriously expect a breastfed 6 month old to sleep through the night!

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#9 of 35 Old 03-16-2011, 07:10 PM
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If you don't mind nursing, I see no reason to change it. If you feel like you really need more sleep, I think most 6 mo. olds can make it through the night without nursing. We've started the nightweaning process earlier with each kid-- at 14, 9, and 7 months. I'd never have believed my first was ready to sleep through the night until he started doing overnights at his dad's where he slept all night easily! I've also found that my "underweight" kids (2 out of 3) actually start gaining once they stop night nursing. I think the sleep is more important to their growth than the nighttime feedings. 

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#10 of 35 Old 03-16-2011, 07:58 PM
 
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It's biologically normal for a six month old to feed throughout the night. No worries.

 

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#11 of 35 Old 03-16-2011, 08:14 PM
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my ped was kind of like that as well, but not forceful about the issue.

listen, i like my sleep and i value sleep for my kiddo and i wanted dd to sleep as much as possible at whatever age it was appropriate. i feel like i did everything i could to enable her to do that in light of her personality (got her out of my bed by 3 months to avoid convenience nursing, moved her to her own room at 5 months or so once she was sleeping better, didn't run at every stirring, etc, etc....) i am was not one of those people that was going to be nursing still every 2 hours at 2 years old. 

so that's where i'm coming from. but regardless, at 6 months dd was still nursing once a night on average, usually in the very early morning. i think some kids can do it and maybe some can't. dd is a pretty low-maintenence sleeper but at that age there was still a wake-up or sometimes two per night. there are for sure ways to help them reach their full potential as far as sleeping as much as possible but to make the blanket statement that every kid can be 100% nightweaned at 6 months seems like a stretch.

i would just kind of nod and "uh huh" at our visits. i think her dr just wanted to make sure we were on the right track and since i was confident that we were there was no need to rock the boat.


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#12 of 35 Old 03-17-2011, 01:37 AM
 
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NO!!!
Sometimes you just gotta nod and go uh-huh when the ped makes recommendations that clearly do not fit for you. I know it can cause doubt because doctors are "authority figures".... But YOU are the #1 authority on what is best for your baby, period. You have the mothering instinctm whereas most doctors are going on their "education", which is oftentimes askew, IMO. Besides, pediatricians are medical doctors, not childrearing experts....there is a difference!
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#13 of 35 Old 03-17-2011, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatioGardener View Post





yeahthat.gif

 

I like to think your ped was just joking with you, as nobody could seriously expect a breastfed 6 month old to sleep through the night!


No,she and the nurse were very serious. I even said to them that maybe when he stirs in his sleep I can just pat his back and see if he goes back to sleep with out nursing. He really isn't fully awake when he nurses most of the time. They were quite serious about STTN and night weaning though.

I'm just going to continue and let him nurse as often as he needs to on demand. I'll consider night weaning when and if his night nursing starts to affect my sleep and makes me extra tired.
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#14 of 35 Old 03-17-2011, 06:39 AM
 
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I would never expect a 6 month old to STTN although it was at that age with my DD (my second) that I start to curb the perma-nursing overnight. So I stopped nursing her between my bedtime and hers (between say 7pm and 10,11pm). If she woke she got DH or just cuddles from me. And if she kept wanting to nurse at night (like every 45 minutes) I'd do my best to do other things with her instead. I did all this because I got in an awful rut with DS nursing him an insane amount overnight and it was just a bad scene.

I would say with my efforts I got to nursing her maybe 2x over the night and then around dawn. That was totally tolerable. Nice, even.

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#15 of 35 Old 03-17-2011, 06:42 AM
 
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What!!  Obviously my son did not get the memo!  I night weaned at 13 months and he will be 2 years next week and STILL does not sleep through the night consistently.  His waking in the night had nothing to do with the nursing. 


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#16 of 35 Old 03-17-2011, 08:21 AM
 
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I'd also like to say that it has nothing to do with breastfeeding or not breastfeeding, just in case someone reads this thread and thinks formula is the answer to sleep. My son is totally formula fed and still woke once a night for food until around 8 months. At 6 months he was waking consistantly once a night to eat a bottle and go back to sleep. Yes, he woke only once whereas some breastfed babies wake many times.... but some do not. Even Dr. Weissbluth (big sleep researcher and a really recommended book by pediatricians) says that 6-9 month old children can be expected to wake twice a night for feedings with another feeding at around 6-7am, and that this behavior is "normal and not changeworthy." All of my friends whose kids never ever woke up at that age used CIO to make it happen, whereas my friends who did NOT use CIO had it happen sporadically from about 6 months on but saw consistent STTN in later months.


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#17 of 35 Old 03-17-2011, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He isn't waking every to nurse every 45 minutes so that's good for me. He never fully wakes either and he never actually cries either during these wakings. Maybe b/c we co sleep and he doesn't have the chance to cry? My friend who also co sleeps, but with a side carred crib isn't able to nurse so she bottle feeds breast milk and her daughter still wakes in the night a few times at 9 months. I think if he was waking to nurse every hour or so then I'd have a problem with it and change something. I don't even know how to night wean. Do you just make sure they nurse a lot right before bed and then say no to boobie if they ask for it? I don't think I can say no to a baby when they ask for food if I think they're hungry.
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#18 of 35 Old 03-17-2011, 10:41 AM
 
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Actually, since I work outside of my home, I plan to nightwean LAST.  As it is, she doesn't nurse much unless she is going down for a nap (she just sucks for 20 seconds and pops off unless we are in bed).  She nurses ALL NIGHT though.  It's reverse cycling. At night she gets nutrition + comfort. I would never consider stopping that until I am convinced that we are both ready physically and emotionally. Fortunately our ped is very supportive, but if she wasn't I would do as PP suggested and just nod and ignore. 

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#19 of 35 Old 03-17-2011, 11:54 AM
 
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At 18 mos, my ff munchkin is still waking a minimum of 3x/night to eat. He goes through in excess of 16 oz of formula each night, so it's not about comfort. And he's a skinny kid, too.
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#20 of 35 Old 03-17-2011, 04:50 PM
 
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As an adult, I still get up at night to get a drink or snuggle from dh.  I don't understand why some people have such unrealistic expectations from infants!

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#21 of 35 Old 03-17-2011, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You know I do get thirsty often and need to get some water in the night. It's so darn hot in here and I don't control the heat, maybe he's just thirsty. I also roll over just to give him some cuddles and smell him and give him a little kiss while he's sleeping.
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#22 of 35 Old 03-17-2011, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by MamitaM View Post

We went to the doc today and she told me that my son should be sleeping through the night all ready and not need to nurse in the middle of the night at all now.

 


AAP  currently recommends nursing on demand. Sleeping through the night means 6 or 7 and there's range of ages that's considered normal now instead of a specific age. Many of the old guidelines are based on formula fed children. Your doc is not up to date in her recommendations. I hear it's really common for docs to not have current accurate data on normal sleep and nursing patterns in infants and toddlers. You can ignore her advice or tell her that her info is outdated and not based on AAP recommendations. Here's a good article http://www.kellymom.com/parenting/sleep/sleepstudies.html . Several studies indicated that night waking is very common until 18 or 24 months. On a personal note my DD started sleeping through most of the night, 9 hours between nursings, after all her teeth came in. My DD nursed on demand, we never night weaned, until she weaned herself.  What's nice is that as a 5 year old she has no sleep issues at all. She sleeps 10 hours, is up for 14 and then sleeps again. She started going to sleep by herself right after turning 4. We co-slept before. I feel our time co-sleeping and nursing on demand was an investment in her physical and mental health. She has no anxiety associated with sleep, no drama about going to bed and none of the getting back up problems common in young children.

 

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#23 of 35 Old 03-18-2011, 11:53 PM
 
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My son's ped. recommended feeding on demand until at least 9 months.  He told us that babies still need to eat in the night until 9 months and after that, they don't need to.  Luckily, our son started sleeping through the night around 8 weeks, but around 6 months he started wanting to eat 2-3 times per night.  I figure that he knows when he's hungry and when he needs to eat.

 

We did do CIO around 10.5 months to help him learn to fall asleep on his ownhide.gif  but we always went to him when he woke up in the night.  Right around 12 months he stopped wanting to eat at night altogether.  He only wakes in the night about once a week for a cuddle, and I offer him a bottle but he ignores it and goes right back to sleep.

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#24 of 35 Old 03-19-2011, 04:57 AM
 
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Another opinion is always good. I took DD2 for her well visit the other day. She is almost 11 months old.

This is how our visit went: the ped did his physical examination of her and then held her on his lap and looked at her while he asked me questions. He asked if she is crawling, babbling, lots of eye contact........... yes........he asked how she sleeps........ I told him -TERRIBLY! She still wakes up every 2 hours. She only takes 1-2 short naps a day and they are like jokes.

He looked at the baby and said, "AAAAHHH, but she's a nice baby, we'll keep her.

That's his professional opinion on the subject.

 

Thinking a baby is supposed to sttn is an opinion- that's all. There are so many opinions and pieces of advice on the subject.

My advice is just to follow YOUR instincts. You will know (physically) what the right thing for your baby is and will be.

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#25 of 35 Old 03-19-2011, 07:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Layney82 View Post

My son's ped. recommended feeding on demand until at least 9 months.  He told us that babies still need to eat in the night until 9 months and after that, they don't need to. 


I disagree with blanket statements like this. I think it's much more realistic to base it on your specific child. For example, my 11 (nearly 12!) month old daughter still gets up once a night for milk. She is practically EBF, as she barely eats solids and certainly not for a full meal. She is on the smaller side, so I would feel terrible withholding milk from her if she's truly hungry. I wouldn't want to risk it given our circumstances. Other babies are probably ready to go all night without milk. It's just different for everyone.


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#26 of 35 Old 03-19-2011, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by mom2happy View Post

Another opinion is always good. I took DD2 for her well visit the other day. She is almost 11 months old.

This is how our visit went: the ped did his physical examination of her and then held her on his lap and looked at her while he asked me questions. He asked if she is crawling, babbling, lots of eye contact........... yes........he asked how she sleeps........ I told him -TERRIBLY! She still wakes up every 2 hours. She only takes 1-2 short naps a day and they are like jokes.

He looked at the baby and said, "AAAAHHH, but she's a nice baby, we'll keep her.

That's his professional opinion on the subject.

 

Thinking a baby is supposed to sttn is an opinion- that's all. There are so many opinions and pieces of advice on the subject.

My advice is just to follow YOUR instincts. You will know (physically) what the right thing for your baby is and will be.


It sounds like maybe your pediatrician is a keeper.

 

I fixed the link in my previous post and here's another good article on normal baby and sleep patterns http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detsleepthrough.html . You are right, thinking a baby should sttn is an opinion, but it's not an opinion held up by research. It's completely normal for sttn to happen sometime during a child's toddler or early preschool age.

 

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#27 of 35 Old 03-20-2011, 12:09 AM
 
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My daughter often woke up once a night until she was 18 months- especially if she was going through a developmental stage, teething, or just needed to connect with me more than we had during the day. Usually it was hunger. That's just how her metabolism was I guess. I imagine all kids are different. Is your ped concerned there's a medical problem ?
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#28 of 35 Old 03-22-2011, 01:27 PM
 
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I think your LO probably COULD go all night if he needed too as long as he was getting enough during the day, but if you are not seriously sleep deprived there is no reason to change a thing! This is a parenting issue, not a health issue at this point, and your the PARENT! My 6 mo old nurses at least 3 times a night! Im not planning on nigh weaning any time soon! There are times I'm sleep deprived and will ask DH to be in charge of sleep for a few hours so I can get a good chunk! So DS will fall asleep without nursing, if I'm exausted, but most of the time I'm happy to either nurse him in the rocking chair or bring him in bed with me! 

 

right now my plan is to nurse on demand round the clock untill he is a year old, at that point I figure nursing can be on my terms a little more!! :p 


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#29 of 35 Old 03-22-2011, 06:25 PM
 
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Of course the answer is a resounding NOOOO!!! 

 

If it works for you and your baby do not let a single doubt cross your mind.

 

Unreasonable expectations like this are why breastfeeding relationships get derailed so often. It's one thing if you say, "I am having difficulty functioning because I don't get enough sleep," and a doctor telling you that, medically, your child will not suffer if you night wean. It is another thing entirely to offer the "advice" that all 6 month olds should start night weaning even if everything is going fine. 

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#30 of 35 Old 03-22-2011, 08:38 PM
 
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I disagree with blanket statements like this. I think it's much more realistic to base it on your specific child. For example, my 11 (nearly 12!) month old daughter still gets up once a night for milk. She is practically EBF, as she barely eats solids and certainly not for a full meal. She is on the smaller side, so I would feel terrible withholding milk from her if she's truly hungry. I wouldn't want to risk it given our circumstances. Other babies are probably ready to go all night without milk. It's just different for everyone.


I agree entirely - sorry, it wasn't clear from my post, but my son needed to eat in the night until about 12 months.  He was still hungry, so I fed him.  I only included my doctor's statement to say that at least some medical professionals don't think it's appropriate to deny food at night to a baby younger than 9 months.

 

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