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Posts Tagged ‘sleeping through the night’

If you have a newborn, I bet you are looking forward to getting a longer stretch at night, at least longer than 3 hours. I really wanted to get my twin girls to sleep through the night as soon as possible so I could get some sleep. I have a toddler, who was only 18 months old when my twins were born. Therefore, it was very important that I get some good sleep so I could be my best to take care of not only the twins during the day, but my toddler too.

Dreamfeed
A dreamfeed is a feeding that you give typically around 10/11pm. Your baby has already gone to sleep for the night and you wake your baby to give him a feeding and then put him right back to bed. Typically, this feeding you don’t turn on the lights. You don’t talk to you baby. You don’t make eye contact. You don’t change a diaper unless it is really wet or poopy. You try to keep your baby almost asleep through the feeding and then place your baby back down in his crib or bassinet for the night. The goal of dreamfeeding is hopefully fill your baby up so that he or she will sleep longer through the night. This means, you the parent gets to sleep longer.

Cluster Feeding
Cluster feeding is feeding in short intervals in the late afternoon or early evening. Many mothers who breastfeed do this because their milk supply is not as high in the late afternoons or evenings. This also keeps your baby from getting as fussy in the evenings, during the dreaded “Witching” hours. Clusterfeeding also acts like dreamfeeding, in that you are trying to “tank-up” your baby with lots of feedings/ milk in order that he would sleep longer at night.

My personal experience:
My kids have not done that great with dreamfeeds. I am not really sure why because I know so many moms who swear by the dreamfeed. The dreamfeed really helped their baby sleep longer through the night. I found that dreamfeeding actually made my kids wake up more frequently. I think they thought that if I put them to be at 7pm and woke them at 10pm that they should wake up and eat every 3 hours through the night. Yikes!!! I did not want that to happen. But I have use dreamfeeds when there have been points in my twins lives when they go to bed super early- 6pm and I want them to sleep until 7am. When they go to bed at 6pm, I know they will not make it to 7am without needing a feeding. I would much rather feed them before I go to bed than at 4/5am. You know what I mean.

Now with my son, I never cluster fed him. He never really seem to need it, but in hindsight, I wish I had done it with him when he was a small infant because I think it would have helped him to sleep though the night quicker. I did cluster feed my girls, and I did it for a long time. Once I started to clusterfeed them, it was like magic and they started to sleep longer stretches for me. I also breastfeed so my supply is lower in the late afternoon/ evening and I think the girls needed to cluster feed in order to get enough milk to hold them over through the night. Check out the schedules I kept with my twins to see examples of the clusterfeeding in the late afternoons/ evenings. https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/infant-schedules-by-month-updated/

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If you are reading this post, then you most likely are tired and thinking to yourself, “will I ever sleep again?” The answer is yes, but it will take some time. I know that I had some very unrealistic expectations of how my son would sleep through the night. I wanted him to achieve nice long stretches at night long before he was physically ready to do this. It was not until I picked up Kim West’s book Good Night, Sleep Tight, that I realized that I might need to change my expectations for how long I should expect my son to sleep at night.

What is sleeping through the night?

That answer is different depending on how old your baby is. Here is a run down of how long your baby can sleep at night without a feeding:

0-4 weeks old (1 month) will probably wake 2-3 times during the night. Most infants can sleep 3-4 hour stretches at this age. Consult your pediatrician before allowing your baby to sleep longer than 4 hours at a time at this age. Most infants need more frequent feedings at night to help with proper weight grain.

4-8 weeks old ( second month) will wake once, some still wake 2 times during the night. At 6 weeks old, my son was still waking twice a night for a feeding (1am/ 4-5am). I did sleep training starting at 6 weeks to eliminate the first middle of the night feeding. By the time my son was 8 weeks old, he was only waking for one feeding (4-5am).

8-12 weeks old (third month) most can sleep 6-8 hours stretches at night. By the end of the 12th week, most are sleep 8 hour without a feeding. This was true of my son, he would sleep from 10pm-to-4/6am and then require a short feeding.

4 months old can sleep 8 hours uninterrupted. This was also true of my son. He was typically sleeping form 9/9:30pm until 5:30/6:30am without a feeding. I would feed him when he woke up, but not a full feeding or he would not eat well at his 7am feeding (that was the start of our day)

5 months old can sleep 10-11 hours uninterrupted. At that age my son would sleep from 9pm- 7am without waking.

6-12 months old can sleep 11 hours uninterrupted. My son started to sleep from 7pm-7am (12 hours) without a feeding at 6 months.At 7 months, he started to requires less sleep at night an only sleep 11-11.5 hours a night. So we adjusted his bedtime by shifting it 30 minute to a hour later so he sleeps from 7:30/8pm-7am.

How can you encourage your child to sleep through the night?

See my post about eliminating nighttime waking/feedings: https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/05/04/how-to-eliminate-nighttime-waking/ You might also benefit from reading my post about dreamfeeding and cluster feeding. https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/dreamfeed-cluster-feeding/ Both of these methods have been helped to achieve longer stretches of sleep at night. Also remember that not all babies are the same. Some babies need less sleep than other babies, while other babies require more sleep. If your child is waking up cranky even after being feed, it could be possible that he/ she is not getting sufficient sleep.

Note: Information was taken from Kim West’s book Good Night, Sleep Tight

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