My 11 month old still wakes up to eat
(Lexington, South Carolina)
Question: My daughter is 11 months old and is still waking up every night at least once to eat. Her doctor says to not feed her in the middle of the night but I don't know what else to do. How do I get her to not want that bottle in the middle of the night?
Heidi's Answer: Dear Kolby,
A good first step will be to reduce gradually the amount she takes during that night feeding. At this age, she does not "need" this feeding really, but she may be truly hungry.
That is because she has taken to this habit, and so developed a true hunger feeling at night. Same thing would happen to us if we had a snack each night at say 2am, we'd quickly get hungry each night around that time.
Anyway, don't worry too much about it, many babies still do this at this age. And gradually decreasing the amount is usually very effective.
So start with diluting the formula you offer at night: add a little less formula for the same amount of water. Dilute a tiny bit more every 2 days.
Also only let her drink as little as possible and needed to settle her.
This will help reduce her hunger feeling and avoid her waking up. Give the whole process at least 2-3 weeks.
You don't mention how she goes down at naps and to start the night. If she goes down awake and self soothes that is fine. Once she then does not need the feed anymore but still wakes, put her down exactly the same way as at those other times.
If she does not usually settle herself, work with the gentle self soothiing method to help her with that. Do that at naps and night bedtime, and also when waking during the night.
That will give you the tools to guide her back to sleep even when she does not feed anymore.