Have you ever thought how night-time feedings could affect your child’s sleep? Is your child’s sleep problem caused by night-time feedings? If you haven’t considered this yet, then it is probably a good time for you to read this.
Many parents are getting so confused when it comes to night-time feedings. Some moms and dads tend to feed their babies each hour during the night while others do it only a few times. There are also those “lucky winners” – parents who can have their deserved rest all night long as their babies don’t demand any night-time feedings.
So, why should some parents be up each hour during the night and others shouldn’t?!
You will probably be guessing that all of this has to do with the child’s age, and you are right in a way. However, that is not always the case…
Some of the 3-month-old babies can sleep through the night without any night-feedings whereas some 18-month-old babies tend to still request for nigh-time calories. Some of 6 months old babies can have 4-night feedings while some of 5 months old tend to have none. Why?
Babies who demand frequent night feeds are doing so in order to continue their sleep journey and not to satisfy their hunger.
As they doze off on the breast, they want to wake up and continue sleeping on the breast too. Similarly, those who drift off while being bottle-fed get furious to wake up alone without a bottle in the unknown place which they can’t remember.
Imagine, how would you feel if you have slept in your bed and woke up in the street? I bet, you would be shocked and would try to get back to your own bed as soon as you could…
The children experience the same feelings…
So, if your child during night waking nurses only for few minutes or takes only a few sips from the bottle he or she is behaving like a child who is dependent on a dummy: it is the breast or bottle itself that he or she needs in order to go back to sleep and not the food.
Furthermore, usually, parents overlook the other problem. Once the kid relies on the breast/ bottle to go back to sleep and he or she wakes up just after feeding or has completed the feeding but is still awake, what is he or she going to do then?
Such situations usually result in sleepless nights for the entire family.
Another signal that your child’s frequent night-time feedings may be unnecessary is repeated nappy changes during the night.
Just think, if the baby keeps wetting that much, he or she can’t be getting too little to drink!
In addition, regular night feeding often creates a negative cycle as the child is filling up on calories during the night and therefore, he/or she is not that much hungry during the day.
- If you want to keep some of the night feedings, do so, but I would strongly suggest you dissociate feeding from falling asleep first. Feeding should take away the hunger and should not be used as “mechanism” putting the baby to sleep.
- Check with your pediatrician to make sure that your child does not have medical or growth issues which could require more frequent feedings. Some babies who still have not outgrown their reflux, for instance, may require more regular small feeds.
- You can cut back to 2 night-time feedings by the time your child is 2 or 3 months, 1 feeding by 3 or 4 months and none at all at 6 months.
- Try to reset your child’s hunger clock so that he or she takes in more calories by the day and is not searching for them during the night.
Indeed, child’s sleep problem could be caused by night-time feedings. Instead of allowing your child to get enough consolidated night rest, you could be just encouraging him or her to have those repeated wake ups.
Many studies have proved that mothers were also showing depressive symptoms because of unnecessary infant night waking-feeding ritual. So many moms are giving up breastfeeding just because of this unnecessary and frequent night waking causing severe exhaustion.
Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep! The food is a necessity for the body, sleep is a necessity for the brain. Night-time sleep can’t be replaced and, therefore, it should be your priority!