7.5 months - Sleep Decisions

Hey there,

My son is 7.5 months old and has always been a poor sleeper. He woke every 45-60 minutes until sleep trained at 5 months and then woke every 2-3 hours until 6 months and then I introduced formula overnight to him to help get longer sleep stretches (a myth, I know, but it worked for us!)

Now he had a few good weeks of waking 1-3x only over a 12 hour period but is back to only one 3-4 hour stretch then waking every 2 hours after that. Needless to say I know he can do better for sleep but he’s relying on being fed super minimal amounts every few hours at night and then he settles himself back to sleep. It’s definitely a habit and not a need.

My question is, we are about to further sleep train him in the next week or so but not sure which route to take. Should we allow only one feed over night and train him to settle without one the rest of the night and then eventually wean off that feed or should we just stop it entirely all in one go ?

His schedule is:
7am wake
10am nap (1-1.5 hours)
230/3 nap (30-45 minutes)
7pm bed

He has three meals, two snacks a day, some water, breastfeeds about six times a day, and has about 6-8oz of formula as well now spread throughout the day and at his first evening wake-up.

Question for you-when your baby wakes up the first time in the night does he seem truly hungry? If yes, then I would continue with one feeding in the night, but if he’s just trying to be pacified each time he wakes up, then I would go cold turkey. I’m not a professional in this space, it’s just my mom experience and advice. You need to do what you feel your baby needs :heart:

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That schedule looks great for this age! I don’t think this is the issue, but I might try to pull his morning nap back to 9:30 (ideally 9:30-11, second nap at 2) and I’m wondering if he might then be able to get closer to 1-1.5 hours for that second nap? If he’s only getting 2 hours of sleep some days, that’s definitely on the lower end. 2.5-3 hours each day is ideal. So there could be some potential overtiredness in there overnight.

What sleep training method did you use? I would start by keeping in one feed, and aim to not feed him before 1 am or after 4 am. After 3 days, I would consider pulling it if you know he’s eating well during the day! It sounds like he’s waking up looking for that feed each time, so feeding him at a more consistent time each night could help. Then refer to your sleep training method for those other wakings until he’s back asleep.

The reason I’d likely pull the feed after about 3 days is because if he doesn’t truly need it, it could likely continue to cause those night wakings because he knows he’ll get a feed and is wondering which waking it will be, causing a longer night waking each time. But I first like to see what they can do on their own!

And you may already be doing this, but you could breastfeed at bedtime and give him a top of bottle, just so you know he’s truly full.

Does that all make sense?

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That all makes sense - thank you so much for the thorough response!

Would contact napping “saving” short naps be worthwhile do you think as well as trying the schedule change? Just to make sure he gets more day sleep?

We will start trying tonight to drop to one feed then. We did a modified Ferber (shorter check ins and physical check ins we can’t leave him physically unchecked unfortunately).

I am not a fan of “saving naps” at this age. We don’t want him to learn that he needs someone to help him into that next sleep cycle. When he wakes from a short nap, try to wait least 10 minutes (20 would be more ideal, as long as he’s not going crazy), to see if he’ll fall back asleep. Even if he doesn’t fall back asleep, you’re trying to tell his body clock it’s still nap time!

And that’s okay, you definitely don’t have to leave him physically unchecked! I would aim to wait 10 minutes after he wakes up and starts crying, and then at the 10 minute mark go in if he’s still just as upset. If he’s started calming a bit, wait another minute or two to see if he can keep calming more. Otherwise go in, and aim to stay in for just 1-2 minutes, providing voice and touch to try to comfort him!

Good luck!!!

10 minutes is far too long for safety unfortunately he can only go 5 maximum. Which makes all sleep training and naps and everything hard.

Okay, then certainly stick to what is safest for him! It may take longer, but it sounds like you’re used to that from sleep training at 5 months, and as his safety is the absolutely top priority, that’s okay!

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