Ferber Method and Breastfeeding

Mollie - posted on 02/27/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )




How does the ferber method work if you are breastfeeding? She sometimes falls asleep when I'm nursing her.


Codie - posted on 01/04/2011




i have a baby almost 7months. when he hit 6 months i decided i was tired of co-sleeping bc he too would wake every 2hours or so every night for nursing. i didnt use any certain method... here's what i did and it works unless i do something to interupt:
set up a night time routine - i warmed a bottle of lavendar night time lotion and massaged baby for 10minutes and changed diaper. this was done in dim lighting for maximum relaxation for baby. then i read to him for 10 minutes. fill belly well and put baby in crib after baby is good and asleep. i also use a "summer swaddle me" velcrow swaddler for my baby. they make them up to 28lbs. this helps baby stay asleep when you move to crib.

you have to be strong and know that it may take a couple weeks before anything works.

it took about 2 weeks of getting up every 2 hours, going into baby's room, and nursing and rocking back to sleep. use a night light so you don't have to turn on bright lithts that will jar baby fully awake.

this will help you and baby realise when he/she is actually hungry and when baby is just looking for comfort. when baby is right next to the breast all night, chances are its mostly comfort. when you remove the breast for comfort and only provide it for a feeding, baby will tire comfort feeds.

in the end the stretches of time bw wakings and night feeds will lengthen and after about a month baby should be sleeping a good 5 hours at a time. mine usually sleeps 5-7hours. unless like i said, i interupt by changing something in the routine such as putting him to sleep later.

don't give up and put baby back in bed with you! it WILL take time for results but they will come!

good luck ladies:)

Geralyn - posted on 03/01/2010




Tammy, that was not my experience with nighttime nursing. There are some MAJOR growth spurts after 6 months that caused, if anything, an increase in the number of nurses at night. Also, my son was not solid with solids - meaning really getting substantial nutrition and filling up, so solids as more of a primary source of nutrition - until around the age of 12 months or so.... So he most definitely nursed regularly throughout the night. Once he became solid with solids and he approached about 14 months, I could cut back to basically nursing at the beginning of the night and then in the early a.m....

I just think whatever you do in terms of encouraging sleeping through the night - whether its Ferber or some other method - that you be sure to not cut the necessary nighttime nursing out prematurely.... Gotta love those growth spurts!!! Lol...


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Amy - posted on 01/04/2011




Hello, I want to use Ferber for my breastfeeding, 1 year old son. He currently sleeps with me in the bed and wakes every 2 hours for feedings. I am exhausted. He slips in his own crib for naps and for the 1st part of the night (7pm-10pm - 1st night waking) or sometimes I put hi, back in his crib until the second night waking if I am up. I was wondering if I can skip the "night-weaning" process that Ferber describes in his book and go straight to the progressive check-ins, or if I really need to go through the night weaning process. The reason I ask is because a few weeks ago, we used the Dr. Jay Gordon approach where we went into his room and patted his back from 10pm-5am until he fell asleep again (with no nursing) and he was able to fall back asleep. However, the night wakings continued (after 1-2 hours each night) so the program did not work. Thanks for your help.

Tammy - posted on 03/01/2010




The Ferber method isn't recommended until at least six months, since that's when many babies don't need a middle of the night feeding (or at least as many of them!!)

Try to put her down while drowsy, rather than continuing to nurse until she's asleep.

If she does need a middle of the night feeding, I would suggest doing a "dream feed" at your convenience rather than just responding when she wakes up. That way, she's not using the breastfeeding as a way to fall asleep, and messing up the new sleep associations you're trying to establish.

You could also alter your bedtime routine a little bit... for example, with my son, I starting changing the order a bit so I'd brush his teeth and sing a lullaby after he nursed, and then the nursing wasn't the last step in the bedtime routine.

April - posted on 03/01/2010




Geralyn is right that age does matter, but sometimes other factors come into play in which older babies really do NEED nighttime feeds. For example, my son is 14 months old and is refusing solids, and has been for a long time. Night nursing is crucial to his health at the moment. Without it, he would be grossly underweight.

Geralyn - posted on 02/28/2010




That is a great question. How does the Ferber method work with nighttime breastfeeding? A mom would have to be able to tell whether the "crying" was for hunger versus some other need. Jennifer, I hope that you are not referring to all 8 month olds not needing nutrition at night. I am not sure what your source of information is, but many 8 month olds are not "solid" with their solids, and, therefore, continue to need feeding during the nighttime.

Mollie, I do not know how old your baby is, but age would matter. If she is hungry or thirsty at night, it would be best to continue to nurse her until she is able to sleep through the night without needing food or drink. You should really consult Dr. Ferber's book if you do not have it. Many people do the "Ferber method" without reading his materials.... Good luck with your little one!

Shaina - posted on 02/28/2010




I agree wit Kyra. We did the same thing with our son. If he was already asleep we didnt wake him up but we also didnt TRY to keep him asleep. Good luck!

Jennifer - posted on 02/28/2010




LOL! Just did it. How old is your little one? Mine is 8 months so no longer needs nutrition at night (preemies are different too). So, we put her in her crib to play at first (just to get use to it). Then we started one night putting her to sleep in there. I nursed her right before I put her down (when she isn't tired). She cried when I laid her down but don't be tricked into picking them up. We went in a couple of times to soothe and say goodnight and then she was out. We didn't get her until 6 AM to feed and change. It took three days and now she is use to the routine overall. I get up around 2 or 3AM to pump. Good luck and you will be relieved how much sleep you can get (I was nursing 5-6 times a night). Nap time is a whole different thing. I nurse her to sleep and then lay her down (for us the Ferber method only worked for bed time). It hasn't mixed her up either with falling to sleep on her own at night and maybe as she gets older she will do the same with naps and not rely on me. Let me know how it goes.

Kyra - posted on 02/28/2010




I'm not really up on the details of this method but if it's the one where you're supposed to put them in the bed awake then no it doesn't work so well when your baby falls asleep feeding. I had all three of mine do that and just couldn't bear to wake them before putting them in their cots. I'd suggest that you just persist in putting her down when she's not asleep and follow the method whenever possible.

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