Brigitte Langevin is a sleep specialist. She is a speaker and author whose goal is to improve the quality of sleep and understand dreams. She is the author of several books on the subject. Helping my child sleep provides a great deal of information for parents. She is a dynamic person who is much sought-after for her humour and ability to make theoretical and scientific concepts accessible to all. Nights are more satisfying so performances during the day are improved thanks to her help!
Seven month old needs night-time bottle
I am a caregiver. I would appreciate your input regarding a 7 month old baby who does not sleep through the night. His older sister, who is 4 years old, attends my daycare. When her mother drops her off at daycare, I can see that she is exhausted. The father, who works full-time is exhausted too. The mother tells me the baby still wakes up 3 to 4 times each night. She gives him a bottle. He eats solids at dinner and drinks an 8 oz bottle yet continues to require additional milk during the night. Is this normal? The mother is returning to work in 3 months, what can she do?
I must say that your concern for what this family is going through touches me. They are lucky to know you...
First of all, a healthy 6 month old baby who eats well during the day (solids) is perfectly capable of sleeping 10 to 12 straight hours during the night. If he is unable to do so, it is often due to mistakes on the parents' behalf. Obviously, parents are unaware of these errors. They are simply acting to the best of their knowledge. If only parents were given a manual upon the birth of their child, they would be less at a loss under such circumstances. At this point, it is important that the baby be weaned during the night. At this age he can very well drink all the milk he needs during the day. Having a bottle during the night has become a bad habit which must cease as soon as possible since it is affecting the sleep of both the baby and the parents. Sleeping well is just as important as eating well.
To succeed, the quantity of liquid must progressively be decreased (approximately 30g or 1oz per night). If the baby does not accept the decreasing quantity of liquid, you may gradually decrease the concentration of milk (for example, 6 measures in 180g of water, then 5 measures in 180g of water, then 4 measures...). Once a baby is drinking only water, you may again attempt to decrease the quantity. However, it is common for a baby to simply lose interest in the night-time bottle. He will simply not wake up for a bottle during the night. If this method does not succeed in under two weeks, parents must then take a look at their behaviour. They must beware of their own anxiety which is easily transferable to their child.
Furthermore, it may be a good idea to suggest that the parents talk to their baby, explaining their plan. They should not hesitate to tell their baby exactly what they expect of him. If the parents are anxious about changing their baby's habits, he will feel this. Confident parents allow the baby to be confident too. This makes changes much smoother. Finally, I must repeat my appreciation of your conscientious work in regards to this family!
Brigitte Langevin, author
Speaker and teacher
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