Grayson was about 10 months old and we were still in the trap. The dreaded trap that happens when your little one gets used to feeding every 2-3 hours (even at night). This trap is easy for parents to find themselves in. When your child wakes up in the middle of the night wanting his or her bottle, the easiest and quickest solution is to plug their mouths with a nice warm bottle…but this causes more problems in the long run. It’s a hard cycle to break.
I stopped breastfeeding at 6 months because Grayson was too much of a busy body and wouldn’t stay still for the feedings. He would flip and flop like a fish out of water and breastfeeding became a nightmare. It was evident at the 6 month mark that my breastfeeding days were over….with our firstborn at least.
I didn’t want to switch over to formula yet because of the health benefits of breast milk (and it’s cheaper). So I began pumping and giving him bottles. When that proved to become way too much of a bother after a few months, we moved on to formula.
There was still one huge problem in all of this, our son was like a little robot that was programmed to wake up every 3 hours to feed. It was like clockwork. He seemed to be too busy and distracted during the day and could care less about stopping to eat. Even in his dark and quiet nursery, he just didn’t want to fill up during the day. Therefore he finished countless bottles throughout the night. His eating schedule was completely backwards.
Because he had gotten so used to us giving him a bottle every time he woke up in the night, it had become a routine. At nighttime, on cue, one of us would have to march downstairs, warm up a bottle in the microwave and feed our son (sometimes up to 6 ounces) before he would go back to sleep. Otherwise he would cry incessantly and never fall back asleep. This happened at least 2-3 times, every single night. We alternated nights getting up to feed him, but after a while, we knew we had to do something to break this habit.
We’d also have to change him a couple of times a night due to the large amounts of liquid he was taking in.
We became the walking dead after almost a year of having our firstborn.
I’d go to mama play dates and grudgingly listen as the other mothers went on and on about how their babies slept 12 hours straight the night before.
I knew there had to be a way.
My husband and I couldn’t break the cycle. No matter what, Grayson would wake up every 3 hours on the second and he would not stop crying until a bottle filled with warm milk hit his lips.
I Googled to try and find the answer but didn’t find too much that would solve our problem. Until I came across an article from a mama blog that seemed to have some pretty good advice. The article said that when you feed your baby in their crib all the time, your baby associates the crib with their bottle. So everytime you put them in their crib or they wake up in their crib, they expect their bottle.
The advice went on to say that mom’s should feed their children elsewhere to break the association between the crib and the bottle.
I started feeding Grayson everywhere from the couch to the change table to the floor. Anything to get him away from the association with the crib for the nighttime feedings.
The same. Dreaded 3 hour wake up calls throughout the night.
My husband and I were banging our heads on the wall trying to think of something. We began to work it out as best as we could. Our son gets up every 3 hours because his body was telling him he’s hungry. And we feed the habit when we bring him a nice warm bottle in the middle of the night. And then he would guzzle down that 6 ounce bottle…
Then it happened, we had that AHA moment!
He downed a 6 ounce bottle every night because we gave him a 6 ounce bottle every night. We came up with the idea of slightly reducing the amount of milk we give him at every feeding to allow him to adjust to getting less and less…until he didn’t need a bottle at all anymore!
It was worth a shot, and frankly we were exhausted and all out of other ideas.
So the next night when he did his 3 hour wake up call, I went in with a 5 ounce bottle instead of 6.
He downed the bottle and that was it, he didn’t seem to notice the difference.
The next night, I brought it down to 4 ounces, then a couple nights later down to 3….you get the picture…
Within 10 days we stopped giving him the night time bottle altogether and just placed his soother back in his mouth when he cried.
On the tenth day, he passed the 3 hour wake up call altogether! He slept right through it, and so did we!
He hardly woke up during the night after that. It was few and far between that he’d even wake up at all until the morning.
10 days…weaned off the nightly feeds completely. It was great! And he started eating more during the day as well!
We’d conditioned his body not to need food during the night, but to eat all of his food during the day, like we did…Pretty soon after that we were no longer zombies and reverted back to our human form.
So that’s it! 10 days and successfully weaned from the nighttime feedings!
I hope this works for you guys! Let me know your experiences with weaning your young ones off of the nighttime feedings and what age you finally get them out of this habit. 🙂