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Thread: Will sleep when ready...is that true?

  1. #1

    Default Will sleep when ready...is that true?

    Hi everyone, I'm a new member here. I know sleep is a common topic but I'd like to hear from moms that didn't sleep train and have children who sleep.

    Here's a little background:

    I have a 9 month old son (20lbs.) that I breastfeed. He has never slept through the night or longer than 4 hours. He continues to wake up at night anywhere between 3-5 times a night. He usually starts his night off in his crib, 7:00pm to 10/11pm then comes into our bed for the rest of the night. Of course my pediatrician continues to lecture me about him not sleeping through the night and feeding. According to her and all the other doctor's in the practice, he doesn't need to eat at night and this is all a bad habit/comfort. He goes to daycare during the day and eats anywhere from 15 -18oz of BM, has solids and nurses about 2 times before bed. Based on that they believe he doesn't need food. They keep telling me I need to sleep train and if I don't he will never sleep.

    I'm not sure I agree with him that it's a habit or for comfort. When he wakes up at night, he will only go back to sleep after eating. He will feed for about 15-20 mins then fall back asleep. I wish he would sleep more because I am very sleep deprived but I don't feel like I need to sleep train. I feel that he will stop feeding and sleep when he's ready. I have thought about trying to get him down to 2 or 3 wakeups a night but I'm not sure if I should or how to go about that.

    So my question is, am I crazy to think he will sleep when he's ready or am I doomed like every sleep or blog says? Did anyone else's baby just start sleeping without any training or teaching self soothing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Will sleep when ready...is that true?

    Welcome to the forum!

    I would ignore your doc's advice about sleep. He spends, what, 15-20 minutes with your baby every few months? Whereas you spend hours every day with your baby. So, who knows your baby and his needs best? That's right: you do.

    One of our smart mommies here calls night nursing "a working mom's best friend". First of all, night nursing helps the baby maintain his nursing skills. This is important when the baby is being bottle-fed at daycare for a lot of the time. Second, night nursing helps you keep your daytime supply high. You need to come up with 15-18 oz of milk per day, and night nursing is keeping your prolactin levels high and helping you do that. Third, the more calories your baby takes in at night, the less he'll need during the day. Working moms whose babies sleep all night long have to provide larger quantities of milk for daycare than those whose babies eat during the night, and anyone who has been pumping for months knows how difficult it can be to fill those daytime bottles.

    Your doctor is absolutely wrong that not sleep training means that your baby will never sleep. I really have to wonder if the doc has examined the ridiculousness of this statement- does he think that someday your child will be 40 years old, unable to sleep at night because he was night-nursed as an infant? I mean, really?!? Sleeping through the night happens when a child is ready. A baby has a lot of teething, developmental milestones, potty training, and ear infections to get through before he's really ready to sleep all night, by himself. In my experience, there is a very wide range of normal when it comes to sleep. I know kids who were formula-fed as babies and still get up and need to sleep with mom and dad. I know breastfed babies who sleep perfectly happily in their own cribs and rarely wake.

    If the night-nursing is getting you down, I suggest taking a look at Elizabeth Pantley's book "The No Cry Sleep Solution" for a pretty realistic look at infant sleep and some gentle ways to encourage more independent sleep. I also suggest considering co-sleeping, if you're not doing it already. It doesn't work for every family, but a lot of moms feel that they couldn't have made it through the first year without it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Columbus, OH

    Default Re: Will sleep when ready...is that true?

    I was just reading something about this very same question. The author reminded her reader that doctors are often thinking about this from only the nutritional standpoint, and not even long-term nutrition. Your doctor is basically saying that your 9 month old can now regulate his blood sugar so that he won't slip into a coma if you don't feed him for 12 hours. But that's not the same thing as not "needing" to eat. Let alone other reasons why your son might need you in the middle of the night...

    Anyway, that made sense to me and made me feel a little more secure about how I'm doing nighttime feedings.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014

    Default Re: Will sleep when ready...is that true?

    Hey I agree about the No Cry Sleep Solution, especially the part about removing the nipple before they fall asleep so they learn to sleep without it. That worked wonders after some effort on my part. Now either DD or I just detach when it feels right and we both go back to sleep. (A word to the wise - don't fall into the trap of all parenting books, even this one is pretty prescriptive and can't give you all the right answers.)

    It sounds like you are already co-sleeping? Or do you only bring DS into your bed on his first waking? I used to do that but found even that one time getting out of bed to collect DD really exhausting. Now I feed DD to sleep in our bed and she sleeps there alone till around 10 or 11 until we get there. Now all I have to do is role over once or twice at night Except when teething is bad or DD has a cold or something which leads to fussiness or comfort feeding, overall I get enough sleep. Admittedly, I sometimes nap with DD during the day and I would miss that if I was working on top of being a mum!

    Anyway I think you're doing the right thing by your DS, you've just got to make it work better for you. I think you're right that sleep training is not the way forward. Good luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Will sleep when ready...is that true?

    This makes me so sad. You and your baby are apart during the day, so your nights are even more vital to you both. Even if the ONLY reason your baby wakes and nurses at night is because he loves you and wants to connect with you (and it's not, as of course a 9 month old also nurses at night for hunger and thirst) but even if it were, how is that bad? How is that wrong? By what right does your doctor or anyone else lecture you for loving you child and meeting his normal and healthy needs, day and night?

    Your baby is only little for such a short time. This is when your child learns love and trust and normal healthy attachment by having his needs met with love by his parents. And yes, being comforted at night is a need for young children. And nursing is a great way to provide such comfort for many reasons.

    I have three children 10, 7 and 18 months. The two oldest nursed for years, we bed shared, and they nursed at night. No sleep training of any kind and very gradual natural weaning. They have slept in their own room for years now. They not only have zero sleep issues (sleep from 8pm to 6 am not only with almost no waking but without even any bedtime arguments usually) they also are great kids, the kind of kids teachers and coaches and other parents go out of their way to compliment me for their respectfulness of others and eagerness to learn. My 18 month old nurses several times a night and I love it. We bed share so my sleep is barely disturbed. With my oldest, his night nursing did make me very tired. But I have figured out this was almost entirely due to the fact I worried every time he nursed I was doing something wrong. Once I learned that his behavior was normal and healthy I relaxed and I think I sleep better at night with a dear nursing child beside me than not.

    I suggest the book "kiss me" by pediatrician Carlos Gonzalez. He blows a big IMO irrefutable hole in all this nonsense you are being given by your child's pediatrician.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; February 24th, 2014 at 09:48 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Will sleep when ready...is that true?

    Thank you everyone for your responses! I feel much better about what we are doing and I will continue with it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Northern Virginia

    Default Re: Will sleep when ready...is that true?

    My doctor said a similar thing and I pretty much ignored him. If doctors get all offended about people trying to second-guess them then maybe they should learn more about things before saying them! But just some of the practical stuff you were asking about: My LO slept about the same as yours until about 18 months. She had worse times and better times. Some nights we woke up every 1.5 hours, some nights got 6-hour stretches. Around 18 months she overall got better, but was still waking 1-2 times a night most nights. She only recently, at 28 months after self-weaning, has occasionally slept through the whole night without waking. I'd say that was twice. But usually she wakes up once or twice and falls back to sleep pretty easily with some snuggling. We do a similar thing with her starting out in her bed (formerly crib) and coming in with me after first wake-up.
    Mom to my sweet little "Pooper," born 10/12/11, and "Baby Brother," born 6/23/2014, and married to heavy metal husband. Working more than full-time, making healthy vegetarian meals for family, and trying to keep up with exercise routine.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014

    Default Re: Will sleep when ready...is that true?

    Hi jag19 and welcome to the forum! I found these 2 links helpful when I had the same problem.
    And I didn't sleep train my DD but she sleeps well at night.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Murray, UT

    Default Re: Will sleep when ready...is that true?

    My son, who is now 2.5, was exactly like your son. He woke quite frequently to nurse until he was about 18 months when it dropped to once a night. He basically night weaned himself when I was pregnant, but I think it was because I didn't have milk and he was actually thirsty because he still wakes up in the night sometimes and asks for water.

    Sealed for time and eternity to Chris on 08/26/10
    Mom to Ezra 06/24/11
    and Rebekah 12/27/13

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Default Re: Will sleep when ready...is that true?

    I definitely have experienced night nursing as not strictly for comfort/habit. I had six weeks during my pregnancy where I had no milk. My son would wake and nurse at his normal times but for much longer. Twenty minutes instead of five or less. Then he'd wake totally up crying for chocolate milk and occasionally he'd demand a snack. Once my colostrum came in, he stopped waking up and went back to nursing his few short sessions at night. Eventhose have decreased with the addition of a Amber teething necklace.
    He's also began falling asleep without nursing with no encouragement on my part. One night he just turned away from me and babbled himself to sleep. He's 2.5 btw.

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