View Full Version : Question for those who Ferberized...we are starting tonight!

03-23-2007, 09:32 AM
We are going to try Ferberizing tonight and I have a question! Right now, our DS gets up twice a night to eat for 5-10 minutes, and then immediately fall asleep on the breast. So my question is...do we eliminate the feedings cold turkey and just do the incremental soothing when he wakes up?

Or do we first try to space out the feedings further and further apart and THEN eliminate them?

Our baby is 5 months old and has doubled his birthweight and has always been 75% and UP since he was born. Our pediatrician gave us the goahead to try to Ferberize...so I hope it is oK!

Any advice from moms who have BTDT would be great!


03-23-2007, 07:37 PM
I'm not against sleep training at all (we used Weissbluth with DS1 when he was 8 months old) but consider it pretty normal for a 5mo to get up twice at night to nurse. As long as he's falling right back asleep, I don't think that I would mess with this one, personally - it could blow up on you completely. He'll naturally space out the feedings as he gets older and doesn't need them as much, but for the first 9 months or so, even the sleep experts agree that it is normal for a baby to wake at night to nurse.

03-24-2007, 04:23 AM

In the Ferber book, he says that babies older than 3-4 months of age are capable of sleeping through the night...unless I read it incorrectly.

My pediatrician at home says that a 5 month old should be sleeping a stretch of 8 hours or more a night, which is a once a night wakening at most.

My pediatrician here in Paris says I should go ahead and start spacing out the feedings and reducing them because he does not need them anymore and will compensate by eating more during the day.

And the Baby411 book says that a 4-6 month old should sleep AT LEAST a 6 hour stretch, which is a once a night wakening.

Plus, when my baby was 2 months old in the U.S., he could sleep a 6-8 hour stretch at night. We moved to Paris and screwed it all up. But in the infant carrier, he could sleep 8 hours or more at 3 months and up. So I would say that he is capable of doing this.

Please no flames...I'm just trying to help my son get some rest. Some nights, he goes back to sleep easily after nursing and occasionally he stays up crying. He is fussier during the day than normal and does not nap as well. In the States, he was a superior sleeper and VERY happy baby almost all day. Now, he is fussier than he normally is...

I'm not saying that anyone is wrong or anything like that. I am just trying to help my baby out (and every baby is different right?).

Thanks for your reply,

03-24-2007, 07:07 AM
So you're saying that at night, he is still waking up every 3 hours.

You can try soothing/consoling him without feeding and see if he falls asleep again. I've used a pacifier. Usually if he's hungry, he just spits it out and gets upset, so I'll feed him. If he's not hungry, the sucking will soothe him and he'll pass out almost immediately. I don't force the pacifier though. Only time I'll try to hold it in place for more than a minute or so is if he just ate and is fussy going down.

But I would only try it for maybe one feeding and if he's hysterical, feed him anyway. Meaning, I wouldn't cut out all the nighttime feedings at once cold turkey. I'd do it for the first time he wakes up after being put down and see how he takes to it.

It is possible he may have to relearn sleeping for a longer stretch if he did it before.

It seems like my DS goes through cycles of sleeping longer stretches and then waking up all the time. It kind of drives us batty, but what can you do? You can't really reason and negotiate with a 4 month old. :)

03-24-2007, 09:33 AM
Just wanted to say that at 2 months my ds was sleeping 10-11 hours at night. It just didn't last and that seems to very normal. I really think that the milestones (physical, emotional) just pile up and interfere with sleeping at dif't stages. Just didn't want you to think you did anything "wrong." 2-4 month olds just can be better sleeper than they are when they are older.


03-24-2007, 09:48 AM
Hi everyone!

Thank you for your encouraging comments. We are definitely not cutting out the feedings cold turkey because that is tough on DS AND on mom's milk supply! :)

So we are just stretching the time out between them and soothing him to see if it works. Last night, he actually soothed himself back to sleep in about 5 minutes for one wakening! Amazing! I did end up feeding him at 2:30am and he didn't wake up again until morning.

We'll see how it goes. I hope it is ok. :)

Thanks again for all of your help! Let's see how he does tonight!

03-24-2007, 11:26 AM
You have to remember that at 5 months old, probably 80-90% of the babies in this country are formula fed. Pediatricians are not used to seeing breastfed babies at that age.

I do think that twice a night feedings are not abnormal for a 5 month old BF baby. Both of mine were waking at least once a night until a year or longer, and they did eventually grow out of it. We worked on getting to sleep without nursing at the beginning of the night around 7-8 months by having DH rock them to sleep. The middle of the night stuff we didn't even bother with until much later.

03-24-2007, 05:30 PM
I think you stats are off for BF % and that's rather an over generalization about what pediatricians are or are not used to. I think I lot depends on the practice. Having said that, I think most babies are capable of sleeping for long stretches at 5 months and a lot depends on what the goals of the mother are. I certainly felt at 5 months if my DD or DS was only nursing for 5-10 minutes it probably wasn't for the nutrition so much as the comfort. I went back to work at 3 months for nights and my daughter was sleeping through the nights when it was my DH and a bottle of EBM before six months.


Oh yeah, used Ferber with my second and it definately helped. Of course there was a whole set of other issues we were dealing with, good luck. Hope it works for you!

Mom to Harvey
& Eve 6/18/06

03-24-2007, 05:49 PM
From the 2005 survey:


Exclusively BF at 5 months = 19.3%

Exclusively BF at 6 months = 13.9%

The percentages for any BF is higher around 40%, but really most of the patients seen by peds are on formula to some extent by that time.

03-25-2007, 12:57 AM
Thank you to all you ladies for your informative posts. And the data!

I would like to add that both my pediatrician at home and here in Paris know that my son is being exclusively breastfed. In fact, my pediatrician here asks every time to make sure that it is all I am giving him. And at DS's 4 months check, he did say...you are breastfeeding, it is ok to be waking up still. And then at the 5 month check, he said...ok...it is time to start reducing the feedings.

Not necessarily cut them out all together.

Thanks again for all of your experience.

03-26-2007, 07:11 AM
Don't feel pressured that you need to reduce feedings/wakings because the pediatrician said so - follow your own instincts and read a wide variety of sources. Pediatricians are trained in medical problems, not parenting/nutrition/sleep unless they are a specialist. Most of the parenting advice they give is just their own personal opinion. I found that with my first, the ped would throw out all kinds of parenting advice because I was a first time mom. I take most of it with the same grain that I take advice from any other mom at playgroup or in line at the grocery.

Some other reads on sleeping (you said you have Ferber already):

No Cry Sleep Solution - Elizabeth Pantley
The Baby Sleep Book - Dr. Sears
Healthy Sleep Habits - Happy Child - Weissbluth

I found that there was something in each of these that helped me learn sleep cues and encourage more sleep even though they are all very different. I found the first book I read sounded so logical that I was sure I found the answer, but reading more made me realize that there are many solutions to sleep and that all of them have some underlying simlarities. I also found that I could pick and choose the methods for each that worked for us at a particular age.

03-28-2007, 09:46 PM
Both my kids nursed at night until about 9 months. DD just stopped a couple weeks ago for most nights. I had to convince DS to. With him, I timed the feedings and reduced the minutes by 1 each night until we were at 1 and then I didn't feed him the next night. He still woke up, but I was able to get him to sleep without nursing.

How is the sleep training going?