…it’s biological.” (Weissbluth in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, Chapter 5, Kindle location 3808) He’s referring here to the fact that good sleep begets good sleep and I if I’m not mistaken, I think he says it later in regards to an earlier bedtime meaning a later wake-up time.
As you may have read, I’ve been following Dr. Weissbluth’s nap and sleep recommendations pretty closely recently.
One of the biggest changes in our routine is that we have dropped the late night feeding. With only a few exceptions, Weissbluth maintains the old saying “never wake a sleeping baby”. This includes waking the baby for a late night feeding or “dreamfeed” before Mom goes to bed. In fact, he basically calls the practice rude! In Chapter 6 (Kindle location 4068) he says:
In fact, despite what is commonly believed, you cannot change the wake-up time by keeping your baby up later, feeding solids before bedtime, or awakening your baby for a feeding before you go to sleep. The last seems insensitive, anyway. How would you feel if someone woke you from a deep sleep and started to feed you when you weren’t hungry?
Now, the late night feeding/dreamfeed works beautifully for some people and I’ve been nervous to abandon it because it seemed that Cora still needed to eat so much! I mean we had her taking 7 feedings during my day and then she would usually wake up for an 8th! But even so, I had recently been considering this practice differently, even before picking up Weissbluth’s book. I had been thinking that if we know good sleep begets good sleep and that sleep disruptions can cause sleep disruptions, was this late night feeding still appropriate?
After reading the above passage, I decided to just go for it that night and I didn’t wake her for a late night feeding before I went to bed. I knew that meant I ran the risk of going to bed at 10 and Cora waking at 11, but I made a decision to let go of that control and be okay with it. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but at any rate, I think it falls under the umbrella of “not logical… biological.” Here’s what happened:
Day 1: Bedtime between 7:30pm and 8:00pm. Cora woke up at 11:30pm and about 5:00am to eat. This was perfectly in line with how Weissbluth describes sleep patterns of babies her age.
Day 2: Bedtime at 7:30pm. Cora woke up at about 1:30 and then again at about 6:45am — late enough to start the day. Whoa.
Day 3: Cora went to bed in a pack ‘n’ play at a friends house because we were over celebrating her birthday. Her bedtime was about 8:30pm instead of about 7:30pm, but she had no problems going to sleep or staying asleep while we were there. She barely awoke when we got her up to leave after 11pm. When we got home, I was going to see how much she awoke and decide then if I should feed her or let her sleep. She didn’t even flinch, so down she went. She awoke about 3:30am and then let me “sleep in” until 7:30am!
Day 4: Bedtime at 7:30. Woke up to eat at about 1:30 and slept until 6:40am. Nice.
Day 5: Bedtime a little before 7:30. It finally happened. I went to bed about 10:30 and she woke up at about 11:00 to eat. And then she woke again at 3:30am. After that she slept until about 6:40, but played happily in her crib until about 7:00.
Day 6: Bedtime at 7:30. Woke up at 1:00am to eat, and then again at 4:15am. Eh. Wishing for better, but in line with “normal.” Then she slept until almost 8:00am.
Day 7: Bedtime at 7:30. Woke up at 10:20 to eat. So early… Woke up again at 3:00am, then up early around 6:30 because I had to go to work.
We’ve kept this up for a few weeks now, and pretty frequently, she’ll only wake up once each night! I’m loving the 5-hour stretches of sleep. It truly doesn’t make any sense. You would think a full tummy would mean a more full night of sleep, but I guess the disruption was a bigger deal than I would have thought. Dr. Weissbluth’s suggestions are definitely still fitting Cora very well.