A question I get a lot when working with families, I've been working through your suggestions for about a week now, but I'm having a really hard time keeping my baby awake through her feed at the bedtime routine. What can I do?"
Well, that's a great question. Really, when you're working with me, the number one rule is to make sure that you keep your baby wide awake through any feeds. That's the breast or the bottle.
Nine times out of 10, the problem is all around the sleep prop of getting to sleep on a bottle or a breast. And although I wish this didn't cause a problem it does, and I find if you don't break the connection baby has between feeding and sleep, it'll make the whole process harder.
It will result night wake ups because when baby wakes up in the night, she'll still have this idea that she needs a feed in order to get back to sleep at night.
A few things you can try.
Number one: would be move the feed up in the bedtime routine. Most people have the feed as the last step.
That can be really tricky. Especially, if baby is not napping great yet, then she could be really, really fatigued by bedtime. By the time, she's had a bath, and you've got jammies on, and you've read some stories, and then you're going into a feed, she might be way too fatigued to even attempt to stay awake at the feed.
Then you're really fighting an uphill battle where you're tickling and talking to her and trying to keep her awake, and she's so tired she really can't even help you out any. I would suggest you can even move it up to before the bath for babies older than 4 months.
So something like this...
Feed, then the
Bath and then
Jammies and then
Stories, and then
That will really help break any connection that she needs to feed to get to sleep or that feeding has anything to do with sleep.
If that seems like a bit too far up in the routine for example you have a very young baby under 4 months, then move it to right after bath. That can really help, too, because children tend to be a little stimulated from the bath. Most children really like their bath, so she'll be a little more awake when you get to the feed.
Then you can move into the next steps. The good news is the better naps start going, the less fatigued she'll be by bedtime, so that's something to look forward to.
The more the separation between feeding and sleep develops, the less likely she will be to even try to fall asleep while this is happening. You'll find in a month or so, even if she is really tired, she won't use feeding as her way of getting to sleep.
There won't be a connection there anymore. She'll happily have her feed, and then put herself to sleep just fine when she gets to the cot.
And like I always say, you often need to make this change with other changes and if you'd like help with putting any of my suggestion into practice check out my sleep packages.
Remember by changing nothing, nothing changes.