I continue to be grateful for receiving the Baby 411 book before our baby was born. We have followed their advice (which is pretty much based off of Ferber’s book) and it’s been extremely successful with our baby. We were able to prevent a lot of problems, I think, before they had a chance to start.
By generally knowing what you’re going for: a baby that can go to sleep on his own without your assistance (no feeding, no rocking, and no being in the room with them to help them go to sleep–aka NO sneaking out of the room after the baby is asleep!), you can start at 3 months and keep working towards that goal. At 8 months now, our baby generally can be put in her bed awake (sometimes sleepy–sometimes looking pretty awake) and go to bed on her own. Nowadays she plays with her stuffed animals and talks to herself before going to bed.
We ended up not taking as hard of a line as the authors of that book suggest. For instance, they say no pacifiers after 3-4 months. We still use one, but it’s never been an issue. If she woke up every few hours wanting her paci, I’d follow the instructions in the book and stop giving it to her when she goes to sleep. But that’s not been an issue for us, so I continue to let her have it when she goes to bed.
The other thing we didn’t take a hard line on is the night feedings. The authors are adamant about stopping the night feedings around 4-6 months. We tried one night just letting her cry and not feeding her, but she was really upset and my husband pointed out: she’s hungry! So we continued to feed her at night. Since 5 weeks, she’s generally just woken up 1x/night for food. With the one exception of 4-5 months–she randomly started waking up 2x/night–we couldn’t figure what was going on. Then someone told me….she’s ready for solid foods (we were still feeding her milk/formula only). We added solid food and bam–that totally handled it and she was back to her 1/night routine. I was a little concerned that we were having a “trained night feeder” as the book suggests, but last month my husband really bumped up the solid food intake in the day and lo and behold, that did it. She started sleeping thru the night.
I’ve heard some people define sleeping thru the night as 6 hours of sleep. Well if that’s the case, she’s been sleeping thru the night since 5 weeks! I define sleeping thru the night as “none of us wake up in the night!” So that’s what happened–she sleeps now from 8pm to 5am – 6:30 am. That’s sleeping thru the night–not a peep all night. Anything less, in my opinion, is not really sleeping thru the night.
So anyways, that did it for her–she just needed more solid food. She’s a big baby (9.5lbs at birth), so that explains why she needed the food, I think. She’s sleeping thru the night about 80% of the time now and I think the occasional night feedings are fading away.
So I wanted to pass that along to any of you that are following the Baby 411 advice, but are still concerned about not feeding your 4+ month old baby at night. I suppose if this went on to 1 year of age and she was still waking up in the night, I’d follow the advice and stop the night feedings. But it didn’t have to come to that for us.
I think it’s good to have the advice in the book to follow, and then you can adjust it depending on your baby. You know your baby and can make the right decisions based on that.