Breaking the cycle of nursing to sleep??

Jennifer - posted on 03/30/2011 ( 13 moms have responded )

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What are your thoughts on this?? I nurse my baby to sleep and I don't mind it. Sometimes I wish I could get her to sleep without nursing but for the most part I'm fine. I feel like if I wait til she's a little older and can understand when I say we're not nursing to sleep anymore it will be any easier transition. I talked to a counselor at the La Leche League and she says nursing to sleep is natural. I really don't have it in me to start all over with sleep training...although I know it's inevitable. My baby is almost 9 months old right now...what are your thoughts? I'd love to hear others stories on how they transitioned from nursing to sleep. I've already read to no-cry sleep solution lol People recommend that book every time I bring this subject up.

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Cher - posted on 03/31/2011

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My boy is 12mnths old and is still nursed to sleep and its really starting to wear on me since ive been back to work for 2mnths now. The other thing is he wont go to sleep without it at all*unless in the car* and if he wakes up while im walking to his room or putting him down i have to start all over again and it sometimes takes 2hrs to get him to sleep. I dont know what else to do tho. I dont want to leave him in his crib to cry it out,ive tried just rubbing his back ect but he hates it and just gets up and gets up.UGH!! So i have no solution for you . If i had to do it again I think I would have tryed to wean him off falling asleep on the boob a long time ago when he couldnt get up on his own and roll and such and teach him how to fall asleep in his crib with his back rubbed..

Cheryl Dawn - posted on 04/01/2011

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We never had a routine. My boys just nursed or went to sleep on their own when we all laid down to sleep around 10 or 11 o'clock at night. My youngest used to get tired earlier so he would walk up to me, take my hand and say, 'sleep mama', so I would take him into bed, nurse him and out he would go. Then I could get back up with my husband and older boy (he is 19 months older than his brother, so this was between his 3-5 year old time, I think.) And when we were done with a movie or friends visiting or just playing games we would all go to bed.

So really your 9 month old is a bit young to even be thinking about putting him to sleep without nursing, he is still a baby. I would wait until he is over 2-1/2 or 2 to even start discussing it with him.

Liz - posted on 03/30/2011

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My daughter is 9 months old now, and people are always telling me to stop nursing her to sleep, but my philosophy is, sleep should be a secure, comfortable place for a baby. I wouldn't want to find myself in a cold crib without my mommy, left to sleep all alone. It is MY opinion that we were blessed with the ability to feed our babies, and comfort them for a reason, why shouldn't we use that? People aren't meant to be alone, we are meant to cuddle up next to each other for comfort and warmth. I know for me personally, when my baby is ready to sleep on her own, she will, and I'm not afraid it will take too long. But maybe that's just me. :)

Karen - posted on 04/01/2011

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If you're thinking of stopping the nursing to sleep before the child would choose that for themselves, then I'd suggest slowly trying some other things and just test the waters. If she gets really upset then just put it off for a bit.
I'd try moving the nursing back in the routine a little bit. What I do (although this is with a 2.5 year old, not a baby) is nurse in bed in a very dark room. Once she's done drinking and is starting to just suck for comfort and to put herself to sleep, I unlatch her (or now she does it herself quite often) and then I very quietly pray with her (you could also tell a short story, or talk about some nice things to dream about) . Then we lay together until she falls asleep (and me too, usually).

Krissy - posted on 03/30/2011

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I guess I jumped the gun on most things. I preferred them to get used to stuff at a younger age. They spent time in their cribs at a young age, like while I would put away clothes or something... just getting comfortable with their environment. I pretty much never breastfed in their bedrooms... which I moved them into once they were pretty much sleeping through most of the night. I let them nap there since they were newborns sometimes so they were used to the room.

Since I would BF in the living room. I'd carry sleepy, but somewhat awake baby upstairs and put down for bed. Sometimes a gentle rub on back til they were still a bit and then out the door.

No, there wasn't a TON of extra cuddle time and long drawn out nights... there still isn't a big night time routine. My kids are 9,6,3 and I homeschool them... so we spend a lot of the day playing, cuddling, reading... I don't give them a snack before bed... they brush teeth, dress, and give kisses... it takes about 15 mins most nights to go to bed.

I dunno... they all fall asleep quickly and don't fight us on bedtimes... but maybe I'm just lucky and my three like to sleep.

Our three year old wake often still and comes into bed with us. We are really bad and let her stay... LOL! I think it's cuz she's the youngest, as we didn't do that with the olders.

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Momof1 - posted on 04/01/2011

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For awhile (until my son was about either 6 or 8 months) I nursed to sleep. He was a great sleeper until he was 3.5 months. But by 6 months, he was up almost every hour. So I just started nursing him, then changing his diaper, then laying him down. He fell into that routine fast, because he was tired anyway.

Carrie - posted on 03/31/2011

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I fed my children to sleep for as long as it worked! Unfortunately, they all grow out of it - and while some babies grow out of it later, mine all did long before I was ready. It is the easiest, most natural way to get your baby and young child to sleep, so while it works, use it! Use it for as long as you can!

Lori - posted on 03/30/2011

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If you don't mind doing it, I'd keep it up for a while still. I saw nursing to sleep as a perk of being a breastfeeding momma. I always could get my daughter to go to sleep happily. At about 19 months she stopped nursing to sleep. She still nursed right before bedtime, but she would finish up, unlatch and roll away trying to go play. That was when I started making story time and songs part of her bedtime routine. We'd nurse then read a book, then sing a few songs, then she went to bed.

I was mostly worried at the time about leaving her with a babysitter at nap time, but she never really had a problem napping without nursing if I wasn't around.

Jennifer - posted on 03/30/2011

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Thanks for all the input ladies. I know our time for breaking this cycle is coming. I think the longest I'll go is a year and a half but hopefully by 13 or 14 months we'll have it all straightened out. I've starting putting her to sleep other ways like walking in the stroller and driving to show her there's other ways to fall to sleep. Also I have been establishing a better and better routine with her. I do need to get more strict with the routine. We eat, take a bath, put on lotion, then there's a half hour or twenty mintues we'll do a variety of things like play in the living room or watch tv with daddy before ultimately reading our stories and nursing to sleep. That twenty minutes or so needs to be eliminated or better managed. Maybe I should start feeding her later. I have been establishing the word No in a kind and gentle manner too. She'll bite softly sometimes and I'll tell her no. She stops. She's recently started crawling and she's good about not playing with things when I tell her no. I've recently been making her sleep in her crib too. She sleeps half the night in there before coming in with us. The baby room is also the guest room so we sleep in the spare bed. I'm not far when she cries so I can get to her quickly and she knows I'm there. I think we'll slowly get there. Thanks for all the stories. They really helped. It's great to hear other people's adventures in parenting. I think it's better than any book or "method". You guys are awesome. Thanks again

Niki - posted on 03/30/2011

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i nursed my first to sleep every time until he was weaned at 2 yrs - agjusting to going to sleep without boob was a terrable, traumatic experience with lots of crying etc and i wish i had done it differently. we basically just went cold turkey, and it took 3 days of 2 hrs of crying, which was horrible for both of us - then for a couple years its was really hard to settle him, id have to lay with him for an hour or so untill he was asleep and it was quite exhausing, most of the time i just eneded up going to sleep at 8pm with him! Id reccoment getting your bub used to going to sleep well before you stop breastfeeding - so that he doesnt have two major things to go through at the same time like my boy did. start a good bedtime routeen (ours is bath, put on PJs, have a feed, then lay down have a cuddle and a story or a song, then lay him in his cot when hes nodding off) i think doing it earlier rather than later, as your teaching bub how to fall asleep - and relearning how to do this after 2 or 3 years of falling asleep on boob might be more difficult than say 1 year of it. maby try doing it really slowly, feed him until he just closed hi eyes then lay him down, then feed him until hes really drowsy etc etc - but make sure you've a good bedtime routeen in place first.

Cinda - posted on 03/30/2011

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I HOPE waiting isn't a bad idea b/c I've waited!
My son is 2 1/4 & STILL nurses to sleep at night. He's pretty good about going down for afternoon NAPS without nursing but not to bed, usually. We'd made HUGE progress about getting him to go to bed w/o nursing just before he turned 2 but then he got REALLY SICK & stayed sick for about 6 weeks and we fell back into night-time & middle-of-the-night nursing b/c he was having such a hard time & nursing was so soothing & comforting for him. We're in the process of breaking the middle-of-the-night nursing habbit for a second time. He does pretty well. He'll wake up asking for it & will usually fuss & cry for about 10-15 minutes & is then back to sleep.
A friend did it until her son was 29 months. At that point, she just had a conversation w/ him & told him something like 'mommies boobies are empty, there's no more milk'. He was generally fine with it at that point.
I co-sleep w/ my son as well. I sometimes lay in bed & nurse him to sleep & then just get back up if I'm not ready for bed.
Like you, I hope to just be able to have a conversation w/ him soon about discontinuing nursing to sleep. I know there's still going to be some crying & fussing but I think that's inevitable.
I guess it's just a matter of how LONG you want to nurse to sleep. I always knew I wanted to try to nurse until my son was 2 to 2 1/2. So this has been just fine for ME but I know it's not for everyone.
Good Luck.

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