Nursing to Pacify at Night - Help!

Jessica - posted on 11/25/2010 ( 2 moms have responded )

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Help! My son is 3 1/2 months old. I am breastfeeding, and he is sleeping with me for most of the night, since, until recently, that has been the easiest thing to do. After the first few weeks, he settled into a routine of sleeping for 4-5 hours, waking to nurse, nursing to sleep in the crook of my arm, then waking 2 hours later, and me switching him to the other breast, etc...For the last two weeks, though, he has been on the breast *all* night from the first waking, pacifying himself. Some have suggested that he is cluster feeding, with a growth spurt. However, that is not it. He gets on there, then falls right asleep. Then he wakes up shortly (when it slips out of his mouth) and wiggles, wiggles, wiggles until it is back in his mouth. It is awful - I am not sleeping well at all. If I try to put him back in his bassinet (beside the bed, where he starts out in the evening), he cries. I am very sleep deprived. This is my second child, and it didn't happen with the first, who slept with me until he was a toddler. Help! I can't tell if he is getting enough to eat (unlikely, since he is falling asleep right away), but then I can't get him to stay awake enough to finish. I have occasionally given him a bottle, to see if he is hungry, etc, and he drinks 6 oz completely before falling asleep. So, I am stymied. What to do?? It is really not working for me. I want to keep him in my room until 6 months of age, the advice re: SIDS, but I need to sleep. How to get him to stop using me as a pacifier, and to know when he is hungry vs. crying because he is used to cuddling with me? (Btw, he naps in the bassinet, and goes to sleep in the evening there, just fine). I know there is the advice to strip him down to keep him awake, but for one thing, that isn't necessary with the bottle, and for another, I don't want to do that - I am exhausted, and just want to go back to sleep with him. That is supposed to be the upside to breastfeeding at night!!

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Jessica - posted on 11/25/2010

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That makes a lot of sense! He tends to prefer my finger over a pacifier, which helps but doesn't solve the problem entirely - I might try giving him the pacifier more often, or slipping it in there as I move my breast out. Thanks!

Alison - posted on 11/25/2010

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If he is 3 1/2 months old and is a healthy baby, you probably don't need to worry about him getting enough to eat as much as fixing the situation so that it works for both of you.

Here is how it was explained to me: A baby falls asleep in a certain state (with a boobie in his mouth) and when he wakes up he needs to be in the same state before he can doze off again. So ultimately the solution is not to let him fall asleep on the breast. Or rather, if he does fall asleep, wake him up and let him go back to sleep without it (you might want to try a pacifier).

I'm not sure if he is too old for this, but I sometimes would lay my baby on my tummy and rock them a bit to get them back to sleep.

Good luck!!!

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