Hello I had a question for you. Will a baby naturally end up sleeping through the night? Like my 11 week old daughter is on a pretty normal 3 hour schedule. She eats around 5 and then I end up waking her up at about 8-9ish to eat one more time before I go to bed, and she ends up waking up around 3-4 to eat and again between 6-7. When will she eliminate the 3-4 feeding? I just mainly want to breastfeed and not do cereal or anything. She has only had breastmilk so far. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. By the way, I love your blog. :-) As a young 22 year old wife and mother I appreciate the wholesomeness that is here. Thanks again.
Ah, yes....the age long question implored by all of us sleep deprived parents. I can assure you that sleep will come again and it gets better with age (and then worse as they get to be teenagers, but that's a whole different story!). Every child is different, just like every family is different. It just takes some time to figure out what works for you.
To answer Mrs.Lucas' questions specifically, I will say this. It is amazing that your 11 week old little one has a pattern already! That is a very good sign. Have you ever tried just letting her sleep without waking her up at 8 or 9? I only ask this because our second child would go to bed at 6:30pm and would sleep until about 2am or 3am. The middle of the night feeding will eventually work itself out of the schedule and usually it's the first one to go. As for timing, it is different with every child. You will be able to see cycles soon though. The middle of the night feeding will go away for a night or two and then come back. It is perfectly normal for regression to occur just before a good change happens. I would never worry about middle of the night needs until at least 6 months. After that point, then you can start working towards establishing good sleep patterns. I always refer to this website when I have questions. I am also a very schedule oriented person (and my kids are too, luckily), so I love to refer to this website too.
On a side note: Be wary of people that urge you to start cereals, especially when you don't want to. It won't help your little one sleep through the night, that just happens to be a coincidence that when they are ready to start solids that they are also ready for longer night sleep periods. Talk to your doctor about it at her next appointment. (If the advice that you get just doesn't sit right with your instincts, then I urge you to get a second opinion from another doctor.) Exclusively breastfeeding until 6 months (give or take) is a very healthy way to go and it's supported by the APA. Our Little Man had to start on cereals at 4 months and it was a very difficult decision because I was determined that he wasn't going to have anything but breast milk until 6 months. The reason we started was because he was ready for it. He was reaching for my spoon, making mouthing motions with his mouth and more importantly his digestive system was ready for it. He needed the additional nutrition. (We have been blessed to have such an amazing Pediatrician work with our children! He is full of amazing advice and is very conscience of nutrition and breastfeeding. Plus, he loves our cloth diapers too!!!) So, follow what you want for your child, trust your instincts, and get good advice from a doctor that will help guide you on your journey.
And we're back to sleep: An important thing to do for starting good sleep habits is to get a good bedtime routine down. This will help your little one learn the cues that bedtime is near. We would do a little bath followed by a nice rub with lotion. Then I would nurse my little one to sleep (and rock to sleep if they didn't fall asleep while eating). I would then gently tuck them into bed. When nursing stops is when we start to introduce stories (mainly so I could still get some cuddle time in, but it's also good for them too). We would start the routine at the same time every night. I am an insomniac and the one thing that I've learned (which applies to babies too) is that a night time schedule is very important to stick to. Even getting off by a half an hour can make a difference; maybe not that night, but definitely the next and it will affect nap time too.
As she gets older, then it will be time to decide what you and her need from your sleep routines. I personally have the middle road belief of 'parenting to sleep'. I rock and nurse my babies to sleep and then tuck them in, and we do this until they are a year or two old. I don't like the Farber method of 'crying it out', but I also don't agree with co-sleeping either. We learned that with our son, he has to cry himself to sleep. Once we figured that out and kept our night time rituals the same, it was an easy and painless thing for all of us. He puts himself to sleep very easily now, even when he wakes in the night. That first week of figuring this out was agony, but just stick with your plan (whichever one you choose) and it will work. The important thing is consistency and patience. If you give in once, it is that much harder to get back on track.
Thank you so much for the very kind compliment. I greatly appreciate that you felt comfortable enough to ask me these questions. I will never claim to 'have it all figured out'....in fact, I really don't. I just know what has taken us years (and a couple kids) to figure out and if some of my experiences can help someone else, then I love to share them.
I would love to start doing a question and answer post routinely. If you ever have any questions or are curious about something that you think I might have some interesting information on, please feel free to email me at obsessionsottw at gmail.com. I know that most of the time it will be a parenting, kid, or marriage question, but I will even try to help if it's something odd, like your car, pets or jewelry.....