breaking the nursing to sleep habit

Laura - posted on 11/17/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )

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I have gotten into the habit of nursing my son to sleep, usually while lying down in the bed, or on the floor. He is 8 1/2 months old now, and I'm planning to go back to work in January, when he will be 10 months, so I thought I'd better start changing the process now. Any suggestions? I'm concerned because he won't take a bottle anymore, he just chews on it, but he will take expressed milk in a sippy cup.



I guess the question is how to get him to separate the idea of nursing from sleep so that I am not required for him to go to sleep.



Nursing to sleep is easy, but not always possible. What do other people do for sleep routines?

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Minnie - posted on 11/18/2009

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Quoting Tammy:

I had this same problem with my son who is 4 months old. I would nurse him to sleep because it was easy, quick and was lovely bonding time. However, this turned into a habit and he wouldnt go to sleep any other way. It also got to the stage where when he would wake up during the night he wouldn't go back to sleep unless he had boob in his mouth. I did the cry it out method, which some mothers dont agree on, so it is up to you if you want to do it. I put him in his cot with his dummy and the first couple days he would cry for about half an hour before falling asleep. This took about 3-5 days for him to get out of this habit. Now i can either put him in his cot or rock him to sleep and it only takes about 5 minutes for him to go to sleep.



Research has shown that infants who are left to cry alone for extended periods have their brains awash in stress hormones- this can cause damage to the developing neural pathways.  These infants exhibit stress responses that are the same as an infant would in physical pain.





Although CIO appears to work (baby eventually falls asleep) it is only a result of the infant's need for self-preservation.



Even the CIO experts do not recommend practicing this on an infant younger than six months.  This is very dangerous.

Alisa - posted on 11/17/2009

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If you haven't checked out the book "The No Cry Sleep Solution" you should. I can't remember who wrote it but it has a lot of helpful advice and tips. I bought my copy at Barns and Noble.

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we used the 3 minute rule. It isn't quite CIO method. after a night-time routine, we put her down while awake. if she started to fuss, we started a timer for 3 minutes. wenever let her fuss for more than 3 minutes. after three minutes, one of us would roll her on her side, pat her back and shush her. we did not take her out of the crib. she would instantly stop crying and we continued until she was completely settled, though not asleep. once we left the room, we started over....if she fussed again, we started the timer.
the first day we had to reset the timer 3 times...on the second day only once. by the third day, she was putting herself to sleep with no fussing. now she is only 2 and a half months old and she always puts herself to sleep by 8:30 witihout any fussing. it's wonderful!
we started this when she was only 5 weeks old, so it may take a little longer since your baby is older. this process worked wonders for us.

Melody - posted on 11/18/2009

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What I did with my son...I think he might have been around that age...was to have Dad put him to sleep at night. We worked out a bedtime routine and then Dad would rub his back, hum or sing, cuddle, etc. Some nights it works better than others, and it might involve some crying at first but anyway, that's how we did it.

Keri - posted on 11/17/2009

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I have the same problem. When I started my daughter at this day care (at 11 months) I was worried because I had only ever nursed her to sleep and didn't know how she was going to go down. Her daycare now has a routine where they rock her to sleep (usually within 10 minutes with minimal fussing) and my husband and mother can do the same thing when they watch her. She won't do it for me, I still nurse her to sleep at night - but she can differentiate between "mom puts me down with a tata" and "this person puts me down by rocking me."

Tammy - posted on 11/17/2009

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I had this same problem with my son who is 4 months old. I would nurse him to sleep because it was easy, quick and was lovely bonding time. However, this turned into a habit and he wouldnt go to sleep any other way. It also got to the stage where when he would wake up during the night he wouldn't go back to sleep unless he had boob in his mouth. I did the cry it out method, which some mothers dont agree on, so it is up to you if you want to do it. I put him in his cot with his dummy and the first couple days he would cry for about half an hour before falling asleep. This took about 3-5 days for him to get out of this habit. Now i can either put him in his cot or rock him to sleep and it only takes about 5 minutes for him to go to sleep.

Jocelyn - posted on 11/17/2009

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What I did to stop my son from nursing to fall asleep was I would nurse him for a little bit until he was sleepy, then I took him off the breast and cuddled him until he was asleep. He adjusted fairly quick, but he was a bit older than your son...a little over a year I believe...

Minnie - posted on 11/17/2009

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Like the poster suggested above, the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantly.



LLLI recommends it, as does Dr. Sears, and while it IS a sleep-training book, it is gentle and safe. No CIO, and no ignoring baby's physical and emotional needs.



One caveat: don't expect instant or even quick results. Gentle does not = quick. This will take a couple of months.

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