What You Need to Know About Sleeping Through the Night Part 3

January 18, 2012 |  by  |  1 YO, 2 YO, 6-9 Months, 9-12 Months, featured, parenting
cute baby sleeping through the night

By 6-8 months your baby is fully ready and capable to be completely done with eating at night. Dr. Sears suggests that some parents really enjoy feeding their babies at night and will happily continue offering night feeding sessions until the child stops waking up on their own. If you are one of these mythical “I love waking up in the middle of the night” parents, best of luck to you. Personally I don’t know any people like this. And I think they’re really rare. Like unicorn rare.

But my point is that by this time your baby no longer needs to consume lots of food at night and is fully capable of getting all their calories in during daylight hours. And while a few babies will organically drop all their night feedings without any assistance from you, the vast majority of babies will continue to wake up routinely for a nursing session or bottle for years. So you can live with night feedings for the next 3 years, or you can take some simple and effective steps to gently wean your baby off their night feeding habit.

If you think you’re ready to stop night feedings you must have already read and done your homework from Sleeping Through the Night Part 1 and Sleeping Through the Night Part 2. Otherwise my no-fail night weaning strategy will fail miserably!

Start by choosing the feeding that is the least fun for you (typically this is the “dear God why are you awake it’s freeking 2:00 AM” feeding). Use the relevant process outlined below to completely wean off one feeding. Repeat.

Night Weaning for Breastfed Babies

  • Gradually reduce the amount of time baby gets on the breast by 1 minute every 1-2 days. For example if your baby nurses 10 minutes a side (for a total of 20 minutes), start popping him off at 9 minutes, 8 minutes, etc.
  • By the time your baby is only nursing for 2-3 minutes he may stop waking up all on his own. WHOOPIEE!
  • If your baby STILL wants to nurse then you have a few options on how to handle it:
  • A) Send daddy in for 1 minute of low-key soothing. Daddies are miraculously good at this. Also? They don’t smell like food. Babies are much more adaptive at getting the “no more food for you buddy” message from Dads.
  • B) Let him complain. This should NOT be a nightmare CIO scene. Most babies who have been gently decreasing their milk consumption are now USED to not eating at this time. Left to their own devices they typically complain for 5-10 minutes and then fall back to sleep.
  • When you are done feeding your baby at X time of night you are DONE. Don’t let teething/colds/travel get you back on the night feeding menu. If this happens you need to start over again. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.

Night Weaning for Bottle-fed Babies

  • Offer 2 oz less of formula. So instead of an 8 oz bottle, offer a 6 oz bottle. Then a 4 oz bottle. Etc.
  • -OR- Dilute the formula by reducing the amount of formula in the bottle by 1 scoop but leave the amount of water the same. So instead of 8 oz of water with 4 scoops of formula you would offer 8 oz of water with 3 scoops of formula.
  • Continue decreasing the dilution of the formula until the bottle is 100% water. (Or continue offering less formula in the bottle – 6 oz, 4 oz, 2 oz). After 1-2 days of “only water” bottles, no more bottles.
  • At this point your baby will probably stop waking up for this feeding all on their own. If not read the tips above (for breastfed babies) on how to proceed.
  • When you are done with a given feeding you are DONE. No more bottles at that time of night. The kitchen is closed.

I’ve done this with many families over the years and it works shockingly well. Don’t believe me? Try it. Then come back next week and share your success story in the comment section!

There are a few small caveats to night weaning that I want to share….

The Dreaded Early Morning Feeding

It’s really common for babies to wake up to nurse in the early morning, say 5:00 AM, and then fall back to sleep for another 1-2 hours. When starting the night weaning process I suggest that this is the LAST feeding session you tackle.


Because babies often respond to giving up the 5:00 AM feeding by deciding instead to start the day. I think the problem is that a) it’s close enough to their normal wakeup time b) they’re used to waking up at that time already and c) they’ve gotten enough sleep that basic exhaustion won’t just whisk them back to dreamland.

I have no magic solution to this dilemma. Try weaning off the early morning feeding and see what happens. Your baby may continue to sleep happily until their normal wakeup time. Your baby may figure out how to fall back asleep at 5:00 am with a little gentle soothing encouragement from you or your partner. Or your baby may flatly refuse to go back to sleep without being fed.

If the latter then you can decide if you want to simply concede defeat and continue with the 5:00 AM feeding rather than wake up in the early dark of the morning. Personally I think an extra hour or two of sleep is worth dealing with the 5:00 AM feeding. If you’re nursing I would strongly encourage you to give your baby a bottle instead at this hour so you and your partner can take turns.

Baby is Too Young

You are welcome to try to gently night wean when your baby is younger than 6-8 months old. Sometimes it works. More often it doesn’t. But there is no harm in trying to drop a feeding or two in the 4-6 month time frame. If things go smoothly, great! If not your baby may simply be too young and may not be physically ready to go for longer stretches without eating. Wait a few weeks and then try again.

Using CIO to Stop Night Feedings

Cry it out is a lousy way to stop night feedings. For starters, a baby who is used to eating a lot at night will cry A LOT if asked to stop eating at night all at once. I guarantee you many of those CIO horror stories you can find on baby forums were caused by misguided parents who had a baby used to drinking 24 oz of formula at night and then was cut off cold turkey. I get cranky when I skip a meal. If I didn’t eat all day I’m almost ready to eat my own young. Don’t ask your babies to do this.

Cry it out is a useful technique and it has a very specific purpose. But it’s not useful for night weaning.

So if you’ve taught your baby how to fall asleep on their own, you are ready to get started on night weaning!

Share a comment below. What worked/didn’t work for you? Any advice for handling the dreaded 5:00 AM feeding/wakeup? If so drop me a line. We’ll write a bestselling baby sleep book and become billionaires!

{photo credit: DonkeyHotey and Stephen Heron}


  1. We are ready to start night weaning. My little guy is 6.5 months old. We have successfully achieved getting him to go to sleep without being nursed to sleep for naps and bedtime. He fusses for less than 5 minutes now then goes to sleep (took 40 minutes of crying it out the first night, then 15 next night then less than 5). However, he has been getting up MORE often at night. He goes to bed around 6:45pm. He wakes at 9:30, 11:30, 2:30 then between 5:30-6:00 ish for the day. I have tried shortening my nursing sessions, but when I cut him off too soon he cries- a lot. One night we let him cry after he has nursed and I let him CIO and it was 30-45 minutes. It’s torture and I also have a 3 year old who wakes up to the crying. I feed him basically till he throws up before bed – so he can’t be hungry by 9:30! The 11:30 wake up is killer when I go to bed at 10:00. I’m not sure what to do! I feel like now that I cut the bedtime nursing he is trying to make up for it at night! What more can I be doing?

    • I’m having a very similar problem with my (just turning) 7 month old. To be honest, the one thing I haven’t cut out yet is the pacifier-which we’re going to work on this weekend. However, we’ve been letting him CIO going down for naps & bed with 90% success.

      The big problem for us has been night waking. I’m okay giving him a dream feed at 10:30 after his 7-7:30 bedtime but he’s starting waking up at 11, 1, and again sometime between 2-4. Sometimes he even wakes up at 9-9:30? He had a predictable pattern for a while and would only wake up once to eat and could resettle himself otherwise but lately he’s up unpredictably.

      So hard to know what to do. Looking for any advice as well!

      • Hi.
        I’m in the same boat, my 7.5 month old has an 8oz bottle with a cookie around 7:30pm. And he will wake up again between 11-12 and screams bloody murder. So I have caved in to give anther 5oz bottle – he then would sleep until 3:30 for another feeding. By this time I’m pulling my hair. I’m so frustrated I don’t know what else to do. I have a two year old that sleeps thankfully. But I’m worried to do CIO because I don’t want to wake him. I’m in desperate sleep myself I haven’t slept in 7.5 months.

        Any suggestions?

    • Wow this sounds exactly like my 6m old and her nighttime nursing pattern as well. She successfully can put herself to sleep, but we too are struggling with her now gaining more night feedings and trying to get her to ween but it just isn’t happening. Have you found out anything that has helped?

      • I don’t have any advice as this is my exact situation too, but I’m considering pumping a bottle for the first feeding so a) I can control the number of ounces better and b) it’s a less attractive scenario for him (waking up to a bottle from dad vs. the boob from mom #nooffensedad)

    • We’re in this boat too. 6 months this week and though I’m trying to shorten his feedings, a) it’s hard when breastfeeding and b) it upsets him when I pull him off early. Did you end up having any success? Thank you!

    • I had this same problem at about 6 months with my little girl too. The problem was that I fed her right before bed. Ans it sounds like you’re doing this too. It’s not stated that obviously and clearly in the blog, but I heard about it in a podcast of hers(Alexis’), I think. If you feed them within 30 min of them sleeping at bedtime the eat-sleep association is really strong. Try feeding him about 20 minutes BEFORE the bedtime routine for a couple days and see what happens. When I did this with my girl, so went back to only waking up 1-3 times per night instead of the atrocious every 2 hours or so that she was doing when I fed her right before sleep. I hope this helps!

    • Alisha,
      Hi! I know your post was a long time ago! Can you tell me what you ended up doing? My situation is exactly the same, except that I haven’t started down the road of night weaning yet- but if I did I can imagine it would be identical to your journey above. My 6.5 month old is most often put down wide awake and goes to sleep on his own, sometimes with a little crying, sometimes fussing, less than 10 minutes usually. But he is up every 3 hours at night to nurse, full on feeding. I have at times cut him off a little before he is completely done just because I am so tired and uncomfortable and want to go back to bed. When I have done this he protests A LOT, fires and won’t go back to sleep until I cave in and let him nurse more. It is as if he’s STARVING! He’s a big boy, no concerns about weight or anything. I am tempted to cut to the chase and just CIO. But it makes me sad just to think about it :(. Advice please? Thanks!

  2. Jennifer Thomasen

    I’ve been trying to decrease the night feedings but she can’t really make up for it in the day because she is in daycare and I can only pump so much. I’m almost at 6 months pp and I have noticed my pumping output has decreased in the past 2 weeks. any advice on this? I know all the tips on how to increase supply such as herbals, massage, etc.

    • My advice is to ask a reputable local IBCLC. SO much can drive supply issues (pumping, sleep deprivation, stress, etc.) and truthfully I don’t put much stock in herbals or massage (althoughI enjoy both) for actually boosting supply. It could be that your pumping schedule needs to be tweaked. It could be the schedule (an IBCLC could let you experiment with a rented medical-grade pump). If you’re worried about supply night weaning might not be best (unless you’re going to replace the night feeds with a pump or two?). But again that’s all stuff that a good IBCLC could help you with. Good luck!

  3. My 10 month old little girl is co sleeping and nursing every hour. She sleeps poorly during the day too despite trying everything and driving her around in the car etc. How can I wean her off night feeds when she is lying next to me? Is my only option to make her go cold turkey and try CIO to put her in her cot without feeding her? There is no room in our bedroom for her cot and no room in her room for a futon or mattress for me. Please tell me the best thing to do! Thank you in advance for your help!!

    • I would put her in her crib if it were me, in her own room. This helped my little girl tremendously when I was no longer I. the room with her..

    • I had the exact same problem with my ten month old daughter, i got a pack and play idk if that would fit but it did with us anyway i started with that by putting her in it right after she fell asleep, and got a good routine that i went by every night, bath book and breastfeeding than slowly put her down in crib . This kinda works and i strongly believe she could smell my milk cause she now only wakes about three times, a big step cause it was every hour for me too. My best advice again is routine and crib , im working on her sleep association with breastfeeding still. Good luck

  4. How do we account for a growth spurt? We’re getting closer to weaning night feedings but, I get concerned that she may hit another growth spurt and want (need) more at night… Would that simply pause the program?

  5. Hello. My 10 month old wakes up to eat like clockwork 3 hours after going down and then about every 2-3 hours after that to eat again. We were doing a modified CIO where you check in every few minutes and gradually extend the time between check-ins starting when she was about 6 months old, but I recently stopped doing this because I could not stand having her cry it out anymore. I started nursing her to sleep because I thought that would be better. Here we are, about a month later, and she’s consistently waking up to eat. I read all three parts of your article (Thank you!). It seems like the gradual weaning is the place to start for us at this point. I nurse her to sleep for her naps too. She has started having major separation anxiety from me when it comes to sleeping. I don’t want her to cry it out, but I know she’s going to start crying when I leave the room if I put her down awake. I know putting her down awake is the thing to do though. What do you recommend for someone who does not want baby to cry it out to fall asleep? Thank you!

    • Your scenario sounds identical to mine. Same age and same scheduled wakings. It is tough

    • Hey there! I had so much trouble for a while because I definitely do not do cio with my son. It just doesn’t work for us. But I did learn that there’s a very specific cry where I can tell he’s not distressed. It basically is a cry that doesn’t get higher in pitch at all, but mostly has an even tone. This is a complaining cry. If he’s making that cry, then it’s fine to leave him. But putting him down for naps and bedtime was such a nightmare at first because he also had separation anxiety. What I ended up doing was putting him down and sitting in the room right next to him. Trying to comfort him was making it worse, and I was so tired of rocking him to sleep. After 1 time of sitting next to him while he screamed, I didn’t have to do it again. I do sometimes have to give him 5 minutes of crying before I go in again and comfort him or give him a bottle or whatever because sometimes he just gets mad and won’t take the bottle even though he’s hungry. After 5 minutes of crying angrily, he usually takes the bottle or calms down or whatever. That’s a whole different beast though.

    • Hi, one way that I dealt with this was to get the baby really drowsy through nursing, aaaaaalmost asleep but not totally asleep. Then he was so drowsy when I put him in his crib that he complained for 5-15 minutes after I left, but couldn’t fight the sleep and learned to settle himself. Lots of people, including this post, say 20 mins is ideal. But if you are at nursing to sleep like Inwas, I think that’s an impossible jump. Start little.

  6. Hello!
    I’ve been up since 4 so if this isn’t totally coherent I hope you get the gist. I did actually try to sleep at the beach today but basically just looked like a vagrant.
    We are trying to wean my 9 month old. He typically goes down between 730-800 (not while awake but now I see we need to work on that too).
    Sometimes he makes it to 1200, last night it was 1030, 1230, 215 and 415. Should I give him a regular full bottle first and then wean the others or are all bottles to be diluted after he goes to sleep?
    Just need some direction and sleep.

    • Hi! Based on Alexis’ recommendations, baby needs to be falling asleep independently at bedtime first and foremost. So if your baby is going to sleep with a bottle at bedtime, that has to be changed first prior to any night weaning. Once baby has learned to fall asleep on his/her own at bedtime, then you can start night weaning, one feed/bottle at a time. Good luck!

    • My situation is identical. My 9 month old goes down around 8:30 (with a bottle… need to work on that) and then wakes up like every 2 – 3 hours and needs another 6 ounces. It’s exhausting, and quite frankly, is taking somewhat of a toll on my marriage too. I guess tonight we will start working on putting him down while he is awake. But I had the same question – do we wean the amount on the first bottle and so on? Or the same amount the first night, then decrease second night, etc.?

      • Exact situation, except my baby goes to sleep on his own. Not sure which feedings need to be decreased? Just the ones you don’t want to wake up for anymore?

  7. Hello. my daughter is just about to turn 7 months and in the last few weeks her sleeping has gone to pot. I feed her until she is drowsy then put her down. She used to wake once for a feed now it’s at least 3 times, I know I need to master putting her down whole she is awake first but how long do that before I can start reducing the night feeds. I have tried and failed CIO at night, we have got to 2 hours of continuously crying before!

  8. Thanks to this site, my 9-month old is now putting himself to sleep independently at bedtime every night…with minimal fussing! Success! Not surprisingly for my sensitive little guy, night weaning has not been straightforward.

    He’s typically up twice – around 1/2am and 5ish. We slowly dropped the 1/2am feed and for the last week, I have not nursed him at the 1/2 wakeup, just rocked/soothed him. At first it was easy to soothe him back to sleep, but it’s becoming more difficult. I tried letting him fuss it out and he went on for 45 minutes both times until I came back?! (This is the kid who had 3 extinction bursts and took 2 weeks to go to sleep alone at bedtime, so perhaps not surprising.) He doesn’t seem hungry, he’s not trying to nurse at this time and seems perfectly happy to be rocked. (Nursing/cuddling is well before actual bedtime so I don’t think he has a sleep association.) He does sometimes get stuck sitting up in the crib, but other times he just wails. He is about to crawl, but I can’t imagine that would cause this.

    I’m ready to get consistent and eliminate this wakeup because, well, I am a barely-functioning zombie! Has anyone gone through this with a super persistent baby? In my case, should I just go for full extinction again?

    Also…it’s now pitch black outside at 2am (when I won’t feed him), 5am (when I will feed him), and 6am (when I’m hoping to get him up). This could be confusing, no? Maybe one of those “ok to wake” lights set for 5am could help him get the picture that I’m not nursing or coming in before then?

    Thanks to anyone who has insight on this!

  9. I started ST CIO method 5 days ago. My son is 14konths was co sleeping and is still breastfed and wants to be on the boob 3-4x at night since it’s accesible. He is crying less everyday at his bedtime. However, he is waking up 3-4x a night, the wake up closest to 1am is the only time I go in to feed, the others I let him be and he will eventually fall asleep. As the days go by I notice his night wakings are longer and his crying is worse (meaning louder & longer periods of time). I read that weaning cold turkey is not recommended. I’m seeking help on what is my next step? Am I doing things backwards? Should I have weaned no feedings before ST? Am I doing to many things at 1x? (No cosleeping, Own Crib, 1 Night feeding & im lucky to say I have a baby that hardly cries so this 45min of crying at night is abnormal)

  10. Hi,
    Looking for more suggestions about night weaning. My son is 10 months old, I have probably been doing night weaning for 2 months (!!) now!

    Backing up a bit: his naps are tough, but he does take them with some struggle.

    Bedtime is really good, I have stopped nursing him to sleep 2 months ago, I often put him down awake and he puts himself to sleep with no fussing (maybe 1 night per week involves crying).

    He LOVES to nurse at night. He is often up every 2-3 hours. It’s killing me! I try to keep the sessions to 10 minutes or 8 minutes or even less. Sometimes when I do a short session (like 5 or 6 minutes), it seems he is up again an hour later to nurse more.

    I’m ready to do some version of CIO (I did it successfully with my first at 8 months old, it only took 2-3 nights), but somehow I feel like our night weaning hasn’t really worked, since he never dropped a feed, and this could really backfire…

    Any suggestions?

    Thank you!

  11. Alexis,
    My 9 month old naps 2-3 times a day between 30-90 minutes. We don’t rock her or nurse her, and we put her down for her nap while she is still AWAKE. She initially cries hard when we put her down. We wait 5-7 minutes and then give her a pacifier. Our thought was to try to extend the time by 1 minute every 1-2 days before we would give her her pacifier. Once we give her her pacifier she is OUT and doesn’t wake for 30-90 minutes.

    We have a regular bedtime routine which also involves putting her down AWAKE (at least 30 minutes after nursing or eating) and giving her a pacifier 5-7 minutes later.

    She still wakes every 3 hours at night for nursing. Once she finishes nursing she falls asleep for another 3 hours. If she wakes sooner than 3 hours, we let her CIO until we hit the 3 hour mark.

    Our goals are 1) to have her sleep through the night and 2) to no longer nurse between 11 PM and 5 AM.

    We know from reading your blog that we need to nix the pacifier at bedtime. Do we nix it 100% to where she NEVER uses it (not in the car seat, not during the day between naps, etc) -OR- do we just remove it from bedtime only? OR do we need to WEAN her from the pacifier (which is the idea behind the 5-7 minutes) vs. stop using it abruptly?

    It looks like from your 3 part series on sleeping through the night that she won’t sleep through the night until we get rid of the pacifier. We just don’t know the best approach to taking the pacifier away….

    What is your recommended approach at this point?
    Thank you!

    • Honestly, I feel like gradually extending the time before you give her a paci is just going to teach her to cry longer and longer to get it. That being said, here’s Alexis’s advice about getting rid of the pacifier:

      • THanks – I’d prefer to let our baby keep using the pacifier during naps and at bedtime. But am I correct in understanding that because she still wakes to nurse every 3 hours at night that I won’t be able to wean her off of nighttime nursing UNLESS I quit giving her a pacifier? (I recall in one of the 3 part readings on sleeping through the night Alexis comment “when does it end? It ends when you stop using a pacifier, rocking, singing, patting baby’s back…etc”)
        So do I have any hope of getting our baby to sleep through the night and wean her off of nursing if she still uses a pacifier?

        • Good morning! I believe you can keep the pacifier for naps and remove it at bedtime bc nap sleep and overnight sleep is different parts of the brain. You could definitely still keep the pacifier for the car, general soothing during the day and remove it from naps and bedtime. And yes, the pacifier has to be removed from bedtime completely! you have to remove the suck (pacifier/nursing/bottle) = sleep association. Good luck!

  12. Hi, I am in serious need of some help. My daughter is 20 months and only taking milk at night with a bottle. I know that is horrible. I just don’t have anyone that I can ask for guidance in this area without them judging. But, will the gradual decreasing of milk work for her age? I know this is typically done at a younger age, but I failed as a mom in that area. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    • I don’t have any good advice, as I’ve never been good about night weaning and my bottle-fed kids got bottles/sippies of milk far longer than they should have. I just didn’t tell the ped that. I just want to say that you have NOT failed as a mom! You’re doing the best you can with what you have. We all make mistakes, but the fact that you would post here and ask a question means that you love your child and want the best for her and that means that you WIN as a mom! None of us follow all the rules or get everything right. The moms who claim to are lying about something or just deluded. No one is perfect. But you are not a failure!

  13. My son is 11 months, breastfed, never took a pacifier and uses nursing as a soothing method. I started a bedtime routine at 4 months. And transitioned him from co-sleeping to the crib at 9 months. I was never successful with putting him down while drowsy bc he would scream his head off. The crib transition period is still in process as he continues to wake up to be soothed (not necessarily nurse). Idk how to get him out of that. I’ve tried CIO. I’ve tried moving away slowly each night. I’m looking for some advice as he’ll be 12 months next which means I have not had a full night of sleep in almost 12 months.

    • I’m in the exact same boat. My son will be 12 months on the 1/1. Help us!!!

    • I have no idea what to do with my daughter either. She turns 1yo on Jan 22 and she’s still waking so, so many times at night. None of my other kids did this and I didn’t do anything vastly different with this baby. I have been nursing before bed, but she doesn’t nurse to sleep: she’s wide awake and still chatting, giggling, and trying to pick my nose (true story) when I lay her down. She goes to sleep on her own. Falling asleep at bedtime isn’t the issue. It’s the rest of the night. Starting about 12:30, she’s up every couple hours. She doesn’t always want to eat, but she wants to be comforted in some way (snuggled, given a paci, nursed) before she’ll go back to sleep. It doesn’t even take that long to get her back to sleep. Even if I have to nurse her, she’s a very fast nurser (at all times, not just at night), so it’s less than 15 minutes from the time I hear her to the time I’m falling asleep again…but then she’s up again in another hour or two. It just can’t go on like this. I haven’t slept well in about a year and a half because I slept horribly while I was pregnant. It’s been a long year. 🙁

      • Same age and I have the exact same problem. My little guy turned 1 on Jan 9th, and wakes every night between 10-12.00 for bottle then again at 2-3, then up and at em at 5.30. I don’t know what to do anymore. I have tried patting, rocking, singing and nothing calms him until I give in and get a bottle. We have a great routine, eats a lot during the day and he’s very capable of putting himself to sleep, but these night bottles seem impossible to stop. I feel like I’ll still be getting up when he’s 20!!!! Have you had any luck with anything yet Kathleen?

  14. Hi! My baby will be 8 months this week and I am exhausted from the night waking. We did CIO for bedtime and I think it’s a success. From moment she is in the crib, she is asleep in less than 15 min. Her bedtime is 7pm, she wakes up at 7am. It’s the night feeds that I can’t deal with anymore: she feeds at 11-12pm and then at 3-4am. On a good night, it’s at 1am and second feed is at 4-5am. Sometimes she is up at 11pm, then at 2am, 3am, 4am…what I find exhausting that after she drinks her bottle (or breast), she wants to play! One of the wake ups (usually the first one) is short, but the second one is 1 or 2 hours before I can get her to sleep. If I try to cut feed short, she screams! I am trying to give her bottle more (with formula), instead of breastfeeding, because I am noticing she sleeps longer…but sometimes at night she will not take the bottle. Any advice how to cut out the night feeds or at least one feed? I am so tired! Thank you.

  15. Hello
    My little one is almost 6 months old and had talipes so our sleeping pattern is non existent!
    It all changed when we started the process of correcting his feet due to the casts and the boots and bar.. he’s on 7oz’s formula I started dropping his last two feeds before bed a few months back be has a 5oz’s bottle before his bath then cuddles with daddy as he works late so we wait till he gets in before he goes bed then another bottle just before bed/in bed.. he was sleeping through the night and would wake up at 5/6 but the teething process is taking over as well as a growth spurt! He refuses to sleep in his crib so we’ve been co-sleeping in bed and it’s worked wonders! Up until now as I’m covered in bruises from his boots and bar! Last night was the first night I attempted to put him in his own room in his cot he went in at 10 and slept till 3, not bad for the first night but considering he has to be repositioned every few hours due to his boots and bar so his legs don’t ache and he doesn’t get caught up in the covers it does have his bad points, he has such a dummy and he will not separate with it I’ve tried he just gives me the evil how dare you look.. he’s fallen asleep on his own a few times from where he’s been absolutely shattered as he’s been fighting His sleep in the day but he will cry for 30/40 mins then give in.. SOMETIMES! other then that he has to be rocked, bounced anything with motion just to go to sleep he used to love his swinging chair but now he screams everytime he’s in it. I literally have no idea what to do because due to his boots and bar I can’t not go in and pick him up etc so it’s so much harder for me, any tips or suggestions would be helpful! I don’t check pages like this a lot so please feel free to email me just let me know why your emailing me so I don’t confused…
    Thank yoh

  16. Hi,

    My baby is 10 months old. Prior to that he ate every 2-3 hours and having to sleep in his swing to help him sleep. We have weaned him off the swing and his last feed would be about midnight. His sleeping schedule was great and we were getting enough sleep. Now he is sleeping all day and up all night. If we try and keep him up more doing the day with out so many naps he gets cranky. Or even try to shorten his naps to an hour an he ends up going back to with within an hour. When it time for bed he wakes about 1 am and up between 4-7 am. My son isn’t hungry he just doesn’t seem to be tired. He wants to be up crawling and playing.His father and I are exhausted. Any suggestions?

  17. Hello Alexis and other sleep deprived moms,
    I have an almost 5 month old boy and all the promises of him sorting out sleep on his own by four months have been horrible disappointments.

    Since birth, basically, he has woken up every two hours all night long from 9pm to 9 am. He has acid reflux and cannot sleep flat on his back, and he also has terrible gas that no amount of bicycle legs or excessive burping can remedy. I believe he is waking up from discomfort at least half of the time.
    The ONLY way to get him back to sleep is to shove some sort of food source into his mouth. Sometimes he eats for 1 minute and sometimes he eats for 10 minutes. It is obvious the 1 minute feedings are for comfort, not sustenance.
    After reading this article over and over, I’m attempting to put him to sleep in the nice, un-used swing he has wanted nothing to do with until now. I just put him in there for a nap but of course had to nurse him to sleep first 🙁
    My question is: If I can’t get him to go to sleep (in the swing or anywhere else) without feeding, how to I put him down without a horrible 40 minute crying session?

  18. My 6.5 months old used to be able to go to bed on her own. Last time, all I had to do is to give her a warm bath, then I put her in the crib, and she would fall asleep. Now, she starts crying and needs to be nursed to sleep.
    Also, lately she started screaming at night. She would cry so loud to the point that she would cough as if she’s chocking. I’ve tried letting her cry it out. Sometimes she would fall back asleep on her own, but sometimes it seems like she wouldn’t stop crying. Help! I’m losing my patience. And I’m this close to putting my headphone on at night so that I wouldn’t have to listen to her cry

  19. Need help with my 9 month old. He always fell asleep nursing. There was no way around it. Lately he nurses then we rock then I stop rocking and just hold him then carry him to bed. Now he keeps waking up all night. It’s horrible. I refuse to let him in my bed so I end up on the couch with him. But I really miss my bed. He’s currently crying in his crib right now. Going on 15 minutes. I’d like to go to bed and to lay his brother back down. They share a room. Any tips on how to get him to sleep thru the night. This being up 4-5 times a night and now adding the not going back in his bed is really taking a toll on me and on my love life with my husband. Please help

  20. Hi Ashley,
    I was in the same situation with my son when he was 9-months old. It’s not easy but we fixed the problem with a few steps:
    1. moved nursing to the very beginning of the bedtime routine (before bath, pjs, books, etc.) It needs to be a good 20-30 minutes before bedtime to break the nurse/sleep association.
    2. CIO for bedtime. It’s brutal but necessary. Still respond to his all night wakings as usual until you’ve got the bedtime well established with him going down awake. This step took us a couple weeks. Can you find another place for your other child to sleep during this process – an air mattress in another room perhaps?
    3. Last, work on night wakings/weanings. They should get much better on their own once he’s going down awake at bedtime, but if your son is like ours, we had to gradually cut down b/c he was waking up so much. One idea is getting your partner to go in so he knows he can’t nurse.

    Hope this helps! I just moved back into our bedroom after 10 MONTHS in the guestroom (12 if you count the crappy last months of pregnancy) and it’s worth it – good luck!

    • Thank you so much for the tips. We had the same problem with our older one too was just much easier because there was only one to worry about and I could let him cry it out.
      We live in a little apartment which started with only one room we cut our living room in half to add another. So moving our older son to another room isn’t possible. Also my nine month old is refusing bottles so if my husband picks him up he knows he won’t get to eat and screams even louder. He’s definetly testing our patience. But I will try moving nursing time to the beginning of bedtime rountine hopefully that’ll help some. Now they both just have to get over colds!

    • How long did it take for your son to cio? We’ve tried a couple of times and he sits up and has cried for 30 minutes and whatever sleepiness he had was long gone.

      • My son is very spirited, so he definitely cried longer than 30 minutes the first few nights. It took us over a week for him to cry less than 10 minutes. One thing you could try is a much later bedtime…maybe if he’s super tired he won’t put up as much of a fight? Then you could slowly move it back after you’ve made progress. It’s so hard! Mine also always has a cold/sickness from his older brother in school, so I had to go back to nursing him to sleep and start over a couple times. :/

        • We cleared the cold and he has on his own switched from nursing to fall asleep to rocking to fall asleep. So slowly making progress. He has adjusted his bedtime to 845 and no later. We tried pushing him longer but he’s not having it. He’s still up quite a bit but I’ve gotten a couple of nights of just waking up twice with either nursing or cuddling and back asleep in ten minutes. Feels like a small victory haha

  21. Thanks for the great article. Using this method seemed to be working beautifully for my 8month old breastfed baby. …Until last night when I cut the feed from 2.5mins to 1.5mins. It became a nightmare CIO scene from 12:30-3 of mostly crying! Neither I, nor dad, could calm him. What should I do in that situation? Pick him up and feed again? For how long? Or just let him cry while trying to reassure him? Not sure what happened there but it was pretty awful. Thanks!

    • That suggests there may be a lingering sleep association. Paci use at bedtime? Not falling asleep 100% on his own? Last feeding too close to bedtime?

      • Thanks for the reply. No paci use and he does fall asleep 100% on his own. But the nighttime feed is indeed part of his bedtime routine, and is the second to last step. Maybe I’ll try moving it up to the very beginning of the nighttime routine and see if that helps.

        • Hi! Did this end up working for you? I am dealing with this with my 14 month old who still nurses at least once per night. I am down to 7 minutes on her feed (out of 12 originally) and she is really mad and has been crying for 1-2.5 hours, even with 7 minutes of nursing! She always puts herself to sleep at bedtime (usually takes her 15-30 min), but nursing is near the end of her routine, so I did that before bath time tonight, and am hoping it helps after a few days. I feel like you- not sure what’s going on with the hours of crying 🙁

  22. Alexis, we have successfully got our 4 month old falling asleep on his own with no paci. But he wakes up frequently during the night. He was down to one night feed between 4 and 5 (on his own) and has gradually backed that up to more like 2:30 or 3. I reduced the ounces from 5 to 3 simply because he wasn’t taking his first bottle well or at all until 9 or 9:30 which is way too late of a start for us with our schedule. We have done extinction for the frequent night wakings and it’s been almost 2 weeks of this! He had one great night of no wakings until 4 but now back to waking up every 1-2 hours. What do we need to do??

  23. Is this method for night weaning suggested if the night wakings or feedings are not at regular/predictable times?
    7mo old falls asleep on own in crib after nursing to get to sleep. Wakes 1-3 times between 7pm and 7am, at unpredictable times. Goes back to sleep easily after nursing in the night. Naps fairly well in the day as also goes down awake after nursing.

    • Good morning! This method is only suggested AFTER baby has learned to fall asleep on their own at bedtime. If baby is being nursed to sleep at bedtime, then this night-weaning method is not suggested. Try moving nursing to the first part of your bedtime routine to break the nursing=sleep association. Otherwise, night weaning will be very difficult. Good luck!

      • Mine is falling asleep on his own No problem. He sleeps great until about 1 or 2am and then it’s completely downhill from there so…now what?

      • Thanks for your response. It turns out she is falling asleep on her own…she wakes up after nursing, we sing a lullaby, and I put her in her crib awake after which she falls asleep.

        • Ok! So even though she isn’t being nursed directly to sleep, she is being nursed very close to sleep- she does fall asleep nursing, even tho she is awake a few minutes in between. That’s where the sleep association comes into play. Try putting a 20 minute gap between nursing and her being put into the crib awake. So maybe nurse, change diaper/pjs, a book or two, lullaby, and then into crib awake. She will most likely protest this (cry) at first bc of the change. Check out the part 1 and part 2 of sleeping through the night series for more details and info. Good luck!

  24. My 8 month son has never been a good sleeper. He is able to fall asleep on his own. I read on another site about weaning him off his night feeds (on average he eats 4oz, 3X a night) it’s definitely a soothing thing, not hunger. So here I am about to start weaning him and he’s been waking up more frequently and a bottle won’t put him back to sleep. It’s been 2 nights so it could be a fluke, but I’m just so exhausted. He also goes to bed as early as 4:30 pm because he won’t take a 3rd nap. On average it’s usually 5/5:30 pm but I think that’s really early?? Even when he’s gone to bed later he wakes up the same amount of times if not more. Idk what I’m doing wrong.

    • Oh yeah and he’s usually up at 4 am ready to start his day. So his last night feed is basically 1 hour before he wakes. Some other info: he’ll nap up to 2 hours 2x a day if I’m home with him. If someone else is taking care of him he’ll nap maybe 40 min (on a good day) the whole day. I just recently became a SAHM, so his naps have significantly improved.

  25. I wanted to share my pacifier experience with my now 2 years and 3 months old boy. He did’t want to use it at anytime other than the night sleep. Started using it when he was a newborn regulary but when he was 6 months this change happened on its own. And since he was one of the babies that woke up every 45min-2hours since he was born until he was 8months (i didn’t find your website earlier and tried so many other techniques non of them worked, also couldn’t skip the 5am feeding but despite that he didn’t fall asleep after that feeding so my partner or I woke up with him and put him back to sleep at 8am or something – he was 7 months old when this started to happen). Anyway about the pacifier – when he was 1 year and 2-3 months he already fell asleep on his own and we left him to sleep in hos own room telling him one night that we’ve lost the
    Pacifier. He argued for some nights but gently talking to him did the job so he quit easily. Now my second boy is 3 months and doesnt want a pacifier but ia terrible sleeper as his brother so i will be trying all you suggest between 3-6 months and try not to make the mistakes with rhe first one.

  26. Hi Alexis. I need help. My 5.5 month old breastfed baby was sleep trained in the past, but then sickness for BOTH of us got in the way. He goes down ok USUSALLY awake, or pretty drowsy, but wakes up anywhere between 6-7 times a night. Some of those times he is able to put himself back to sleep, but other times I just go in to nurse. Only he doesn’t really nurse, he sucks for a few minutes at most, and then falls back asleep. I know that I need to move my nursing to beginning of bedtime routine, and last night I had dad give him a bottle that I had pumped so we both knew how much he was getting. He goes to daycare and is bottle fed and eats 4, 3-4oz bottles a day along with either rice cereal and/or one jar of baby food. His pediatrician says he doesn’t need a night time feeding based on his weight and suggested I let him CIO. He has had a few good nights of an 8hr stretch and even a night where I let him CIO at 945 and 11 after putting him down at 7, and he slept until 530 without nursing. So I know he can do it. I guess I just need to be consistent. Any suggestions or advice that I may be missing?

  27. So I have a 10 month old we are trying to night wean. She has been going to bed on her own for months! Like since 3 months old. Recently we tried having daddy go in when she woke up for her feeding (out of habit not necessity) and it worked great and the next two nights she slept through that feeding! But now she is waking up at that time again and if daddy goes in she goes back to sleep fine. But we want her to sleep through it! Not make daddy the new sleep crutch. If we let her “complain cry” she will fall back asleep but usually is awake in another 20 mins doing it again. Not sure what next step is now… any suggestions?

  28. I’m reading all these comments and it seems everyone feeds their baby during the night. I haven’t done that since my son was 3-4 months old. He is now 9 months old and we have been struggling with sleeping through the night for almost a month now (and it seems to be getting worse). I’m getting desperate, at this point I feel like I’ve tried everything and simply nothing works, I’m getting severely depressed and I honestly can’t believe some people do this 3-4 times in their lives.

    • Hi Eliza- I don’t have any tips for you as I am still feeding my 9 month old once per night, but I wanted to say if you are feeling severely depressed, please be sure and reach out to someone about how you are feeling. Maybe since you aren’t feeding him you and your partner can switch nights that you get up? I think sleep deprivation definitely contributes to depression and I have also heard of women getting “delayed postpartum” around the 8 or 9 month mark. Have you called your pediatrician to make sure there is no underlying illness that might be preventing your baby from sleeping? Hang in there!

      • Hi! I just wanted to say that I really appreciated your reply and that about a week ago my son started sleeping through the night again (apparently it was just because he was learning a lot of things in a short amount of time and that’s a lot for a baby’s brain to process) and since I am getting my rest again I have been feeling much better, thanks again!

  29. My son is 9 months and nursing to sleep, he has decided not to take the soother for about 3 months now so i feel as he partly uses me as a soother. He is in his crib for naps but bed time is another story. We tried CIO and it wasnt for us.

    My question is since we co sleep at night should i try to lay him down awake in my bed with me and then as soon as he catches on to that move him to the crib? If i try to put him down awake in crib he cries or stands up. What should i do?

  30. Help! My 6 month old sleeps swaddled but for weeks has been up every 2-3 hours on a good night! We had rsv at 4 months and required a lot of upright sleeping and developed some terrible sleep habits in the name of the rock n play. He will sleep ok with 1 arm out of the swaddle for the first few hours of the night after being nursed/rocked to sleep. This mama needs sleep and I have tried many strategies to 1. Get out of the swaddle (I can’t lay him down asleep conpletely unswaddled without tears), 2. Decrease night wakings (he eats at 1030 & 230am which I’m fine with.. it’s the midnight, 3am, 4am, & 5am wakings I can’t do!). I’m up for trying CIO, but looking for advice as to if it’s ok to take him out of the swaddle at the same time as starting CIO. He’s been in our bedroom in either the rock n play or pack n play, but if doing CIO I plan to put him in his own room. Seems like a lot all at once?! However, weaning anyone 1 thing has been unsuccessful.

  31. How many days do you offer the 2oz less of formula before decreasing it again?

  32. I started the night weaning process nursing a little bit less each night. Last night we were down to 4 minutes on one side and 3 minutes on the other, but he slept through the night! Do I consider this the end? What if he wakes up tonight? Do I go in and start up with the 4 minutes and 3 minutes, or not go in at all (which I’m fine with doing)?

    • Hi! That’s awesome that he slept thru! If he does wake up tonight, I would consider maybe letting dad go in to soothe or letting him complain a bit. Good luck!

  33. Cry it out methods are dangerous for the emotional development of young children. Perhaps before advocating this you should read the research. Maybe you should leave writing sleep books to the experts, like psychologists for example. I don’t think that a degree in technical writing and finance qualifies you to give advice on the subject. What you are doing is dangerous. I wonder if you will have the courage to allow this comment on your website. Sabrina Adams, Clinical Psychologist.

    • Hmmm…do I have the courage? Sure I do. Do you think you’re the first person who has said to me, “Oh look at all the evidence that sleep training harms kiddos?” Uh..yeah no. That has absolutely come up before. And as a result I have:
      – spent years researching kids and sleep
      – the efficacy and safety of sleep training
      – interviewed licensed child physchologist for the book
      – interviewed various pediatric sleep MDs, pediatricians, and other experts for blog and book

      So you’re welcome to feel I’m unqualified – feel free to not buy a copy. But I’ll stand behind it 100%.

      And the evidence to support your claim that it’s harmful is exactly zero. Not some, not “there’s two sides to this”, none. Full stop.

      I have never heard of Sabrina Adams and while I searched for her on pubmed, there is no peer reviewed research attributed to anybody of that name. So she whatever her opinion on the matter may be, there is no evidence to back it up.

  34. Hi my 9 month old has been fed to sleep from the start he sleeps all night other then the odd dredded 5 am feed here and there but if I skip that he just stays awake. My problem is I’m trying to put him on the bottle so taking away boob during the day and replacing it with a bottle this however is stopping him falling asleep for naps I have been trying everything to get him to nap with no luck I’m still feeding him to sleep at night any advice I want him to be able to fall asleep on his own before I take away his night nursing any ideas crying it out takes up to 2 hours a nap and is making him hate sleep I comfort him then put him back down and he just goes straight back to historics i need help

  35. Hi, came across your article while trying to find methods to wean off night feed for my 6mths old baby girl. We sleep trained her from the beginning. We send her to bed wide awake at night at 7pm after her last milk feed at 6:30pm. She will just self-soothe to dreamland, no crying. Most of the nights, she’ll wake up for 1 night feed (only once or twice a week, she’ll sleep through the night). Morning, she usually wakes up at 7am. Because she is sleeping 12 hours stretch, is her night feed still necessary? Can 6mth old baby be weaned off already?

  36. Melissa schoelkopf

    I’m working on cio, night 4 and we’re getting better but she’s waking up around 1-2 to be fed and then I end up putting her in bed with me. I do not want to get rid of night feedings yet because she’s a nurse all night baby and we’re just starting this sleep on your own process. When she wakes at night I let her cry for about 15 minutes before I feed her to make sure it’s a time to eat wake up. So my question is when I night feed do I put her back to bed to cio again?

    • I’m in the exact same boat! My 6 month old had been sleeping with me and waking to nurse back to sleep 6+ times a night!! So I too am wondering if crying herself to sleep is successful, what do I do when she wakes?

      • Brittany
        So were on night 7 and she got worse but then night 6 and tonight she fell asleep within 15 minutes. When she woke up to eat at first I ended up with her in bed with me. Now I feed her and put her back in her crib- shell cry for no more than 10 minutes. However, she has dropped the 1am feeding on her own and has been sleeping until 5 or later at which point i bring her to my bed bc honestly im so tired i dont even know im doing it. (Im finishing school this semester so my study time begins when the house is asleep)
        I will say this has been the most heartbreaking thing ive had to do. watching her play hide the baby (peek a boo) from the monitor waiting for me to reappear is awful and of course i have one of ‘those’ friends that says cio is borderline abuse at which point i went to a normal friend for reassurance.
        from my very limited experience- (1 week expert here) I found that if i dont go to her for a few minutes she skips the night feeds on her own. Keep in mind though she breastfeeds and eats 4-8 oz of food plus dissolving corn crunchies at dinner. I do hope this helps and that your little one gets through this rough patch to sleep great. were also fighting teething and the mommy only phase and although she is a very happy baby (my son was definitely not) when she wants something she has this pterodactyl scream that can pierce eardrums. I mention all of this so you know what might be similar and different. GOOD LUCK!!!

        • Thank you Melissa!! Last night was half ways successful. After 2 hours of crying I finally rocked her to sleep and put her in her crib…she slept from 10p to 2a! Which is a huge improvement . I did put her in bed with me after 2a feeding because I was so tired I couldn’t take listening to anymore crying. But I will try to feed and put her back in crib tonight. Hope your babe continues to sleep good! 🙂

  37. Hello!

    My 9.5 old girl wakes every 2-3 hours at night to nurse (always has). She takes two solid naps per day, and I put her down for naps and bedtime completely awake (she gets to sleep on her own no problem). She was EBF the first 8 months, and I slowly weaned her onto formula during the day and BM via nursing at night. She’ll use a paci sometimes, but isn’t attached to it, or any particular lovie.

    How do I get her to stop waking up so much to nurse?! I’ve tried gradually cutting down the time she nurses, but she’ll then just cry and cry back to sleep (up to an hour). From her 7-7:30 bedtime, she’ll be up every three hours, and then every 1.5-2 until morning (6:30-7:00). Patting her bum to soothe her (even when Dad tries) does not work. I’m DYING for sleep.


    • My son is just about 7 months and I used to nurse him in bed when he woke up at night and that would normally be about 2-3 times a night. I decided to stop this and started nursing him in the rocking chair in his room and this gradually knocked him down to 2 and eventually 1 feeding a night. Sometimes (could be more often and I just don’t hear him) he wakes up multiple times a night crying but being a single mother and full time college student I refused to get up. I know this sounds harsh but he gets plenty during the day and doing this actually identified that he wasn’t actually hungry but probably just wanted comfort. More often than not the loud cry would quiet down to the sleepy cry and soon he would be back to sleep. This is with me NOT going in his room because in the beginning I would go in naturally when he would cry and once someone was in there he wasn’t going back to sleep on his own. I could just have a better sleeper but a lot of night waking especially in your baby’s age is just for comfort and separation anxiety. I don’t know if you’ve tried this but good luck!

  38. I’m having the same problem and mine i’s almost nine months. I read on this site today that you are not supposed to feed right before bed because that still causes a eat sleep association and I was feeding him right befor laying him down. I changed it tonight and fed him, then read books then laid him down awake. Hoping to see some improvement.

  39. Hi- I’m looking for insight with my 10 month old. He is a very good natured baby but has always struggled with night waking. 3.5 hours after his last nap he nurses, then we get up and lower the shade and turn on the fan together, then we sit and read a book. Then I lay him in his bed and he fusses but falls asleep within 5-30 minutes. He used to be scared to let go of the crib rail so I every now and then I would silently lay him back down and exit. BUT then an hour later he is up. He has been waking at 9, 10, 11:30, 1, etc all night since he was 4 months old. Last month I was excited because he was only nursing for a few minutes at 11:30 and 5, and the other times his dad or I could lay him back down and just pat his bum for a while. But for two weeks now he is fighting everything except nursing. I don’t want him to go back to eating every hour so out of desperation we have tried just letting him cry except at his regular eating times- and he will cry and cry for an hour or two and has yet to fall asleep that way. He is so darn sweet and it is the only time we hear him cry so it kills us. Help 🙁

  40. I am at my wits end here. My 11 month old breast fed baby has all of the sudden started waking up every night between 2- 3 AM. We have tried a variety of things – having her cry it out (I can handle about 45 minutes of screaming, but then feel terrible about it), having my husband go in and rock her (she will fall asleep and then after she is put down, will wake up and then start another cycle of endless crying), and then I cave and go in and nurse her – she feeds ravenously, and then falls back to sleep for the rest of the night until say, 7 AM. Since I am starting to think about weaning from breastfeeding, all of the sudden having an additional overnight feeding is the opposite direction I want to go in. She eats solids three meals a day in addition to nursing twice a day (once in the AM, once in the evening) and getting 2 bottles of breast milk during the day as well (around a total of 20-25 oz of breast milk a day). I can try nursing for less time, but am just so exhausted that I end up falling asleep when I feed her and then I wake up a couple hours later…

  41. How do you tackle the whole object permanence/putting down awake issue when sharing a room? Do I have to stay in my room once it’s baby’s bedtime?
    Our little girl was a champ at putting herself to sleep, we almost always put her down awake. We were paying ourselves on the back (ha!) But the week she turned 5 months that stopped and now at 8 months we’re over the party all night thing!

  42. Hi Alexis,
    Just to let you know, we solved the last 4-5am feed a few weeks ago (my son is 9 months). Having followed your advice, I was only feeding at this one time in the night but I didn’t want to keep this because as I weaned the time got earlier and earlier and he didn’t seem to sleep very solidly. I thought it would be best for all if we just stopped feeding at night fully. I had been breastfeeding at breakfast time (around 7am once we all get up) and the next meal (at around 10.30) was solids. So I swapped; breasfast is now solids and the next meal s breastfeeding. This way his waking up isn’t associated with breastfeeding. Then I just stopped breastfeeding at 5am using CIO (we were down to 2 minutes anyway but until then he still kept waking up for it). The first night he cried for about 15 minutes and then fell back asleep for another hour. The second he only cried about 2 minutes and since then he has slept through until 7am. This was my way of dealing with the small but lingering breastfeeding association.
    Will this help you become a billionaire?!

  43. My son is on 2 bottles a night, what one should I wean him off first or should I start with both? 10pm and 3/4am.


  44. I used your site in the past to change my son’s sleep.. when he was younger it worked like a charm. He was sleeping 8 hour stretches. Up until he hit a growth spurt at the beginning of 9 months. Somehow that growth spurt turned into a bad habit. He’s 10 months and doesn’t go to sleep when we just lay him down. We started modified crying it out at bedtime and he’s back to falling asleep on his own. However he wakes 2-3 times a night for a bottle. He is standing in his bed screaming for it. After his bottle he is wide awake. I’m unsure how to handle this.. rock him back to sleep and mess up how we’ve been letting him go to sleep on his own at bedtime.. or let him cry and wake up our other 3 in the house…

  45. My 11 month old has had a major sleep regression after getting hand foot and mouth a few weeks ago.
    He now has separation anxiety completely towards me and is waking in the night often for a couple of hours at a time. Even co sleeping is no longer settling him and we are both shattered.
    I’ve also just gone back to work so he is getting used to an extra person looking after him and his daytime naps are all over the place. He’s never done longer than 45 minutes at a time during the day.
    After reading these posts last night I’m ready to try the cry it out method.
    My question is is it OK to try on a baby with separation anxiety? I don’t want to make him more distressed.
    Is there anything I can do to help him with the anxiety?
    Also his sleep time has moved around so much in the last few weeks how do I know which one is now ‘normal’?

  46. My 12 week old has started refusing to nap. He will only sleep during the day while being held (if even then), and while we walk. He is very fussy throughout the day. When he does fall asleep, it is usually around 5 or 6 and I worry he won’t sleep come bedtime.

    At 7p, we give him a bath, followed by some quiet play time in the darkened room with a noise machine. Then I swaddle his lower half and take him into another room to feed him (I find that if I stay in the dark room, I get too tired and try to put him down earlier than intended). He usually falls asleep while eating. Once he’s eaten from both sides, I wait until he wakes/fusses just a little and try to put him down so he’ll know what’s going on. However, he immediately freaks out and we a suddenly wide-awake baby on our hands. Only by now, it’s 9. If I wait until he’s completely asleep, he usually goes down for at least 4 hours before waking. But again, I have to nurse him until completely asleep. Why does he flip out as soon as I put him down awake? I know it’s too early for CIO, but I don’t know how to get him to fall asleep on his own. Any ideas?
    Thank you!

  47. Hi Alexis,

    My son is 6 months old. From birth, he has been exclusively breastfed. Breastfeeding has been hourly, through day and night for the whole 6 months.
    We began baby-led weaning a few weeks ago, and he’s doing great. He has 3 meals a day and feeds himself, and he also drinks water. However, his milk feeds haven’t reduced at all – they’re still hourly day and night. I believe he is hungry, because he never vomits, and when he feeds, it’s a completely different suckling to when he is suckling for comfort (i.e. when he’s ill). He is a big boy – he weighed 8lb 12oz at birth and weighs 27lbs at 6 months. We co-sleep, but just like his mum, my little one has never been a good sleeper. He’s never been able to sleep for more than half an hour without waking. On the rare occasion he’s slept for longer than this, it has been when I’ve held him close the whole time and comforted him back to sleep every half an hour by either breastfeeding or rocking. I assumed that hourly feeding in the first few months was the norm, but now we’ve started weaning, I worry that I may be setting us up for bad habits. I’ve loved my breastfeeding journey more than I could have imagined so I’ve never questioned the hourly feeds before… I’m not sure if it’s reassurance or advice I’m looking for here, but I realise that surviving on so little sleep is not healthy for me, and I don’t want to make LOs transition to his own bed and room too distressing for him. Apologies for the long message and thanks for your amazing blog posts!

  48. When night weaning a bottle fed baby and we reduce feedings (from 6 to 4oz) do we decrease the amount every night until no more night feedings? So by night 4 we’ll be at 0oz or do we feed a couple nights at 4oz, a couple nights at 2,?and so on?

  49. I have a 8.5 month old baby boy who has never been an easy sleeper. Everything in your posts are spot on and I find myself nodding in agreement as I read thinking “yes, this is exactly what we’re going through”.

    We let him CIO at 5.5 months (wouldn’t go in to feed until after 4:00am). We saw big improvement and had a few weeks of decent sleep before he got sick and we had to stop the CIO. All of this said, since then he’s had a rough few months of several illnesses and travel. We now find ourselves with a terrible night sleeper. I think he’s become dependent on nursing to fall asleep and he is waking frequently throughout the night. Based on reading your posts, I think we need to tackle the following:
    1. Wean from night feedings
    2. CIO

    My question is with regard to weaning from night feedings. It is nearly impossible to get him to settle and relax in the middle of the night without feeding him. I can hold, rock, etc, but there is a very low success rate of getting him to fall back asleep without nursing. Is it a terrible idea to go cold turkey and let him CIO without weaning him at all? He typically eats between 1 and 4 times over night, most commonly nursing twice.

    Additionally, his bedtime routine is currently as follows:
    -snuggle time (he has a hard time sitting still and listening to me read a book, but he does like to watch videos of himself on my phone. This seems to relax him. I am concerned that the phone is stimulating so I’d like to replace this activity, but I don’t have any ideas of other relaxing activities as he is extremely active and squirmy)

    I realize it is not good to have nursing as one of the last steps in the routine, but again it is very relaxing to him. I do plan to move the nursing step to earlier in the routine so it is not associated with going to sleep.

    Any advice and input you can provide is appreciated!

    • Hi Sarah,
      From what I understand from this site, you need to tackle the nursing to sleep first, so that he is going to sleep independently. My son was nursing through the night at 8 months as well, and the first (and most important step) to better sleep is having him go to sleep from the awake state at bedtime without nursing. For us, this meant moving nursing to the beginning of the bedtime routine, even before his bath. After you’ve mastered bedtime only, then you can work on weaning the night feedings. However, you will likely find that the night wakings improve a lot on their own once he’s going to sleep on his own at bedtime, because he no longer needs nursing to get himself to sleep. Hope this helps!

      • Yes, I failed to articulate that clearly but we have officially moved the nursing to mid-bedtime routine to separate it from associating nursing with falling asleep. Tonight we read books after nursing and I put him down awake (about 10 minutes between nursing ending and going into crib). He cried for 25 minutes before going to sleep. Not too bad! I really wasn’t sure what to expect and was dreading it terribly.

        I am conflicted as to whether or not to attend to him for night waking/feedings as part of me feels it would be best for his personality if I just “rip the badaid off” and let him cry through night wakings until around 4:00am. I am going to see how the night goes and follow my gut.


        • UPDATE: As previously mentioned, he took 25 minutes to fall asleep and only woke up only once (2:00am) to eat. This is an amazing turnaround with where we’ve been! Feeling an incredible sense of relief (an more rested than I’ve been in months). I realize this journey will have more ups and downs, but I am counting the blessings of a decent night sleep because the deprivation I’ve been experiencing is excruciating.

          Sending well wishes out to all moms struggling with their little one’s sleep. I have to constantly tell myself this is temporary and things will get better long-term.

  50. Meredith Bazirgan

    My baby is 7.5 months. Last night she woke up three times to nurse, and then up for the day at 5:30. She goes to bed at 6:30 typically. She ususLly naps twice but if the second one is short (45) she’ll do another one for 45. Two nights this past weekend she slept 6:30-2:30! Then up for the day at 5:30. I wonder why? I usually put her down a wake unless she nurses down. I wonder if she was overtired yesterday? I’m wondering how to handle it when your baby sometimes sleeps that long and then wakes up again. Thanks!


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