Baby O first slept through the night at 3 months old.
8 pm to 6 am. A whooping 10 hours.
When Daddy K and I woke, we wondered: “Did we sleep through his cries?”
Baby O has always been an early sleeper, taking his longest stretch of sleep from 730 pm onwards. So even though he had been doing a good 6 hours stretch from 2 months, we still gotta wake in the wee hours around 1-2 am. No matter what we did, we can’t seem to move his bedtime habit.
I tried dream feeding. (What is a dream feed?)
It didn’t work. He just woke up in scattered hours.
After that well-rested night, he regressed a little, again waking at 12 plus- 1 am crying and sucking his thumbs. Here’s how we got him to stick to his 10 hour regime:
1. Regular schedules in the day
Baby O doesn’t wake at the same time everyday. However, we made sure he does a steady routine of eating every 3-4 hours before bedtime so he will be hungry enough to finish his meal yet full enough to last through the night. Eating too early might encourage a snacking habit. He could wake in the night feeling juz a tad hungry and demand to be fed. You prepare 120 ml but he just takes 60 ml and goes back to sleep. Milk wasted, sleep wasted. Unless your baby has reflux issues, eating too little during the day also means he will need to feed during the night. We want him to finish at least his minimum intake so he doesn’t go to bed only to wake again not long after.
For Baby O, we realised no matter how much we feed him during the day, he will still wake up after sleeping his longest stretch about 6 hours later. It seems more like a habit than pure hunger. Instead of feeding him, we tried coaxing him back to sleep.
2. Help Baby develop his ability to sleep on his own
We started from 2 months when I was weaning him off the pacifier. This is so when baby wakes in the middle of the night not due to hunger, he can soothe himself back to sleep without our help. If your baby is on formula milk, you can check whether he is taking enough in the day with this calculation: Total Daily intake (ml/24 hours): (Baby’s weight in kg) x 100 (min intake), x 150 (max intake).
Baby O sucks his thumb to self- soothe. Sometimes, all it takes is to re-position him (he will turn sideways and get stuck) or tuck him back into his blanket for continued good sleep.
3. Core night
We roughly followed the core night method (?), which basically means once your baby shows he can sleep a certain length of time through the night, you don’t feed him in this period anymore.
When Daddy K was doing the night shift, I suggested not to feed baby immediately when he woke and allow Baby O to soothe himself to sleep. If he is still crying after a while, (either baby is too persistent and we gave up or we are too tired and gave up) we feed him anyway and try again the next day.
A few weeks after his first “core night”, he consistently slept approx 10 hours during the night into his 4th month.
Like us, you might encounter so called sleep regressions from time to time. Baby might be sleeping through but suddenly wake in the middle of the night again. If hunger is over-ruled, it probably is just baby’s way of dealing with another milestone. More info here: Sleep regression
I still wish Baby O will choose a slightly later bedtime and wake-up time. But for now, I’m just contented with getting enough sleep 🙂