Is My Baby’s Early Rising Caused by Hunger?

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  • November 19, 2013

Would you like to have me answer your early rising question in my next video? If so, scroll down and submit your question in the comment section below. I will pick several questions a month to answer and post them here on the blog!

Hi. I’m Kim West, The Sleep Lady. In this video blog, I’m going to answer Tina’s question:

“Thank you for your dedication to desperate parents and encouraging healthy kiddos. My situation goes like this: my 10-month-old sleeps in a pack and play in our room and as this is the only space we have for her right now. She goes down for naps, usually with ease, no milk, no rocking awake and takes two naps and hour-and-a-half to two hours each.

“We sometimes have to wake her so these naps don’t become too long. She goes down to bed awake between 6:30 and 7:00 with the following routine: bath, jammies, bottle, milk, lights out, sound machine, and she’s been waking up once anywhere from 1 to 5 am and the only way to get her back down is with a bottle or bring her into bed with us. We have the bottle down to two ounces but less than that and she screams. I despise bringing her into bed and I’m usually so exhausted I want to do whatever works.

“Sometimes if the bottle’s around 5 am, she won’t go back to sleep and will wait until at least 6 am with her shouting periodically until we turn the lights on and get her up. According to the pediatrician she’s getting enough milk and food during the day. Why won’t she push through until 6 am? She sporadically made it until 6 am but never consistently. I’ve tried shushing her and shuffling away each night but this usually ends up with hours of crying. Any help you can offer will be relished. Thank you.”

This is a common time for growth spurts and sleep regressions, although it doesn’t sound like things have been substantially better than this. But that certainly might not be working in your best interest. She could even be getting ready to walk, if she’s not already pulling herself up in the crib so stay the course.

I recommend you talk with your doctor to rule out are any underlying medical problems that could be waking her up in the middle of the night. It sounds like she can put herself to sleep at naps and at bedtime from an awake state so she has the skill mastered there. If she has the skill of putting herself to sleep for the onset of sleep then you have to ask yourself– why is she not be able to do that in the middle of the night?

I’m not there at bedtime, but I believe you when you say she’s completely awake at bedtime. Consider moving her bottle before bath just in case the bottle is getting her all cozy and snuggly while you are reading a book. See if changing the bedtime routine order helps.

Is it possible, especially during a growth spurt, that she might need a few ounces during the night? In the short term why don’t you, as an experiment, (I don’t want you to train her to cry until you finally give her a 2-ounce bottle) either do a dream feed or a set time feeding after 1 am. Meaning when she wakes after 1 am, go in and give her a 2-3 ounce bottle, then kisses and back to sleep. Then you’re consistently responding the same way. You’re not sometimes bringing her into your bed, sometimes shushing or patting, sometimes shuffling, sometimes giving her a bottle. This way you will have a plan on how you can consistently respond during her wakings at night. For all wakings other than the dreamfeed or set time feeding, maintain your Shuffle position. Don’t start the day until 6am.

There are three tips I’ve given you:

  1. Rule out underlyning medical conditions;
  2. Move the bottle earlier at bedtime; and
  3. Either do a dream feed or a set time feed with the bottle during the night to see if that’s really what she needs for now.

You’ll know when she no longer needs those calories during the night when she stops waking up for them, or you go to dream feed her and she’s not interested.

Alright, Tina, I wish you the best.

Kim West,
The Sleep Lady

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

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