Reverse cycling at night, short naps, and a dummy….
Baby Zoe was 6 months when her mum phoned me for a 15 minute consult, this was the first opportunity I got to see what was happening with her little girl. This mum was getting frustrated with her daughters frequent night wake ups to breastfeed back to sleep, and then only having short naps over the day.
Mum believed Zoe maybe was fine with 3 quick naps, but really wanted to sort her night sleep, as she didn’t think she was hungry as she had started the transition to formula feeding throughout the day due to a 6 month struggle with milk supply.
Mum felt lost in what to offer in regards to breast-feeding, and small bottle top ups, and breast-feeds at night, she felt Zoe was just snack eating all day, refusing any solids and needed a plan to get back on track.
Frustrated, fed up and ready for better sleep we booked Zoe's mum a consult straight away.
It was evident to me that Zoe’s frequent night time feeds meant that she wasn’t overly hungry throughout the day, then her small frequent day feeds, alternating between breast and bottle meant she never really developed an appetite for bottles or breast, and subsequently could not nap for very long or wait very long for her next quick feed.
- Short Naps
- Short Feeds
- Tired Baby
- Fed up mum with no time out
Mum had made the decision to finish breastfeeding so we supported her in that and taught her how to offer Zoe bigger bottles in what we call a 45 minute feed window 3-4 hourly throughout the day in order to leave decent gaps between bottles, but also to allow Zoe enough time to get used to drinking more milk, as breastfed babies often don’t consume more than 120ml per feed as the composition of the milk changes over time rather than baby relying on bigger and bigger feeds like a formula fed baby.
This meant by day seven Zoe is having four bottles of 200-250ml throughout the day! This was a huge increase from her 300-400ml a day she was having when she first began.
Zoe also had a dummy to sleep, and while these can be a life saver for new-borns who can’t sleep, in Zoe’s case I felt it was falling out frequently and she had no ability to replace it, so it was better we ditched it and taught her to sleep with a lovey/cuddly. It turns out this lovey, is the round plastic clip which attached to her dummy previously, she has a nice association from when she had her dummy of playing with this clip as she drifts off to sleep.
Zoe was having short naps, and irregular naps. We designed a routine to teach Zoe to stay awake slightly longer than she was, (1.5 hours – 2/2.5 hours) and also to allow mum to walk her daughter to school who was turning 5 the week of our consult. I explained how to tweak things if Zoe fell asleep on her walk to school which was too early for her nap, and how to keep her on track so the majority of her sleep occurred between 9am-2.30pm when big sister was at school.
Over the week mum incorporated darker curtains, louder white noise (when the digger moved in next door for renovations! Didn’t they get the memo we are sleep training!), and Zoe began to lengthen her short midday sleep to 1.5 hours, and we are still working on achieving the 2 hour nap goal!
Overnight we dropped Zoe to one bottle, and then slowly dropped this too! Mum was so nervous on night 7 which was Zoe’s night of no milk (the night before was 50ml). But Zoe did it! She slept from 6.30pm-6am! 11.5 hours!!!!!
This was mum’s email to me in the morning:Have I told you how amazing you are? I didn’t have to get out of bed last night…!! She woke at 4am but just made some noises and went back to sleep until 6am…!! It’s happening
It was my pleasure! Mum still has some goals to work on, such as the 6am wake up, and a 2 hour lunch nap. The late afternoon nap has been a challenge as we would expect too, but to ditch a dummy and achieve 11.5 hours night sleep, and consolidated lunch nap in 7 days is amazing. Mum was a sleep training super star, and Zoe was obviously ready for the change!
This is why our packages start at 7 days of support, we can achieve a lot in 7 days!
Emma is the owner and founder of Baby Sleep Consultant, she is a certified infant and child sleep consultant, Happiest Baby on the block educator, has a Bachelor of Science, and Diploma in Education. Emma is a mother to 3 children, and loves writing when she isn't working with tired clients and cheering on her team helping thousands of mums just like you.