This is an opportunity to create a support network via the web. If you have a question, I will post it here, give my answer and invite anyone who has other suggestions to lend their voice to the issue as well. We often learn the most from being open minded, nonjudgmental, and genuine in our questions and answers.

As some of you know who have been in my groups, I love to answer questions about parenting, infant and toddler behavior and development, sleep (or the lack of), and many other issues that come up as we learn about our children and ourselves. It gives me a great opportunity to pontificate!

Please remember that my comments are simply my opinion, and I will not provide medical advice for you or your baby.

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If you would like to discuss an issue further, please call me at 707-762-7006
Serving families in Sonoma County, California

So, here's our first question!

Tyler's (9.5 months old) still wakes up to get fed once during the night, somewhere between 3:30 a.m. and 5 a.m.  His last feed is right before he goes to bed, around 8:00 p.m.  I'm getting a little weary of getting woken up (partly because I never go to bed early enough), but don't want to cut him off it he's truly hungry.  Many of the books say he should be "sleeping through the night."  But what does that mean?  Especially since I've seen other people say a 9 month old should only realistically sleep 8-9 hours without food.  Who's right?  Probably both.  So, to make a short question long, are their cues to help me know when he's waking up out of habit versus hunger?  When's the "right" time to stop feeding him in the wee hours of the night. K. from Palo Alto

So, first off, there is no "right" time ( I bet you saw that coming)! One of the ways  you can tell if it is truly hunger or just a "check-in" feed is if he really eats! If he cries for you, latches, pulls off and smiles, then I think you are looking at a check-in rather than a hunger issue. It also depends on what is happening in his world. Sometimes kids this age don't eat as much in the day and they make up for it at night. If it is a pattern that is fairly consistent, you could try having your husband go in first to see if that's enough or wait an extra minute before you go in to give him time to settle back down himself. I would also suggest you go to bed earlier from time to time so you can catch up on sleep. Working as many hours as you are and being on with Tyler is a lot! His waking up may be connected to wanting to have an extra snuggle time since you are working outside the home. There's no one answer, but the main issue is to balance your needs with his needs and know that it's an ever-changing dance. Do what feels right for you and Tyler and don't worry about the "shoulds". Hope that helps! Elizabeth