Q&A: I'm having trouble getting my nine month old to sleep at night--she wakes up often to eat.Dr. Christine Wood, M.D
Q I' m having trouble with getting my 9 month old to sleep through the night, or for even 1 or 2 hours straight. She drinks about 8-9 oz of formula, burps, then falls asleep shortly after. In 1-2 hours, she's awake again for another bottle. HELP!
A I will assume that she is a healthy weight and eats normally during the day. It sounds like she has a crutch to help her fall asleep, and that is the bottle. Babies at this age do not need to eat through the night. Every time she goes through a light sleep cycle, she awakens and requires the bottle to go to sleep.
I would first make sure your bedtime routine does not also include giving her the bottle until she falls fast asleep. You can give her the bottle until she relaxes, and then she needs to go in the crib to fall asleep. If she cries, I would leave, and then check back on her in 5 minutes, if she is still crying. I would continue this checking every 5 or 10 minutes, to reassure her that you are still around, until she falls asleep. It may take up to an hour the first night!
At the same time, you may start the same routine for her middle of the night wakings. Don't even go in until after at least 5 minutes, and then check and reassure every 5 to 10 minutes, but don't give her the bottle. Again, some babies are very persistent, and may cry up to an hour. The next night, wait 10 minutes before you go in, and start the same routine. The crying time should decrease every night, if you stick with it.
I find that most babies will end up sleeping through the night within a week. Now, a variation of this, if this seems just too difficult - try cutting down on the amount of milk you give her by half every night. You will still need to go to the crying routine once you get the volume of milk down and decide to stop the bottle. It is important to start doing this sleep training now. It only gets more difficult as they get older, and the milk in the bottle at night increases their risk of getting dental cavities.
Christine Wood, MD
Click here to Ask Dr. Christine Wood questions about your baby's health
Dr. Christine Wood is a practicing pediatrician in Southern California. She attended the University of Detroit for her undergraduate degree in chemistry and received her medical degree from the University of Michigan. She completed her pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. She was Chief Resident there and then worked in the emergency room at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. After three years doing pediatric emergency room medicine she went into private practice. She received her lactation educator certification from the University of California, San Diego.
She is the author of "How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It," a book that addresses the issues of why and how to feed kids healthy. The book also covers information about environmental threats and the role of nutritional supplementation for children. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.
Christine is also the cofounder of Call Your Ped.com a website designed to give concerned parents with non-emergency medical questions, solid, no-nonsense information that can give them information in deciding when to call the doctor and some home treatment advice. You can visit her website at http://www.callyourped.com
Showing 1 - 10 out of 11 Comments
Add Comment or question.
You are commenting as .
Please register or login if you would like to be notified by email of replies to your comment.