Jennifer - posted on 02/16/2012 ( 18 moms have responded )




My daughter will be 7 months next month. From the time we brought her home she has never been a good sleeper. She is easier to get to sleep now but, does not stay asleep very long. She has NEVER napped off of someone for more than 20 minutes. She has been sleeping in my bed with me since she was about 2 months and she nurses ALL night. She never cries or opens her eyes but becuase she is sucking most of the night I know she is not sleeping very well and either are we! I am debating doing the Ferber method with her! I do not want to do it because I will hate to hear her cry! but, my husband and I are beyond exhausted and we NEED outr bed back and some time to ourselves! I also think it needs to be done to teach her how to sleep and stay asleep! I would like some advice though. Is this behavior at all? is it cruel to go from allowing her to suck all night to not at all?? HELP!!!


Tine - posted on 02/17/2012




This is pretty normal baby behaviour ... she needs you!!!!

Read some of James McKenna's work (he is one of the world's leading baby sleep researchers) for information on what is actually normal infant sleep behaviour.

Please DON'T do any kind of 'cry it out' method, it really is harmful, as is shown by lots of research. The peak child and adolescent mental health body in Australia for example recognize this and advise against it.

There are ways to help you get more sleep without resorting to that. Try books and online advice from Pinky McKay, Elizabeth Pantley's book 'The No-Cry Sleep Solution' or 'Nighttime Parenting' by Dr Sears.

My daughter, now 3 was exactly the kind of sleeper that your daughter is, and I very much sympathise with your feelings of exhaustion and frustration. The fact that you're co-sleeping says that you understand babies' nighttime need to be close to parents, and I co-sleep with both my kids. It is fine to experiment with different sleeping arrangements of course. My partner slept on his own so he could be functional for work!

The two things that really helped us though were homeopathics and time. She now sleeps through most nights, and just got more relaxed over time. A great homeopath gave us remedies for her that got her to go back to sleep and sleep for longer, safely. It really works, but see a professional homeopath. I don't like to suggest dummies, but perhaps in the case of a bub with a high sucking need it might help, if you gave it to her after a feed then snuggle her in close?

Anyway, best wishes, I know how you feel, and you sound like a great mum to me :-)

Lori - posted on 02/16/2012




Jennifer.... I wouldn't suggest trying Ferber. Even Ferber himself now has retreated and says his method of Cry It Out needed to be revised.

Have your heard of Dr. Sears?

I agree that you don't need to be letting your daughter be latched on ALL night long. That would be completely draining. But there are better ways of transitioning than just putting your baby down and letting her cry. Check out the link below. 31 ways to get your baby to sleep and stay asleep. The thing to remember is that not every method will work for every kid. You have to find what works for you and your daughter.

My older daughter was never a good sleeper either... though not quite as bad as you're describing. She had to be nursed to sleep, and if she woke during the night - had to be nursed back to sleep. She also didn't take naps longer than 20 minutes until she was over 1 year. Even then she didn't take naps longer than 45 minutes. I'd hear other parents talk about the 3 hour nap their child takes on a regular basis and was both jealous and wondering what was I doing wrong. Turned out I just have a high needs child. She needs more contact with Mommy, and she needs more stimulation during the day, and she needs less sleep than other children her own age. Once I embraced that, things improved a bit.

Sally - posted on 02/17/2012




It may be easier to find a more comfortable (for you) latching postion so you can just sleep while she nurses. The best reason for bed sharing is that mommy doesn't have to wake up to feed the baby. My two year old is often attached a majority of the night and I am only concious for a minute or two when it's time to change sides.

Every child sleeps on a different schedule. A few are out all night from birth and a few never make it and the majority do it at some time between 6 months and 3 years. Also every baby needs a different level of comfort and they cry and cling a lot less when their needs are met.

Why can you and your husband only get time alone together in bed at night? I know that's considered "normal" for our culture, but the idea that mom and dad should have a bed to themselves was invented in the US in the 1950's and most of the world still considers it utterly ridiculous. I know it's hard in our culture, but babies were designed by nature to sleep with mom and nurse on demand and most of the families I know get a lot more rest and a lot more happy parent time when they work around that than when they try to fight it.

Good luck


View replies by

Emily - posted on 02/28/2012




Your baby is doing exactly what all babies throughout human history have done. She's not a bad sleeper, what's bad is our society's messed up view that babies *shouldn't* need their parents at night. It's ridiculous. If our ancestors left their babies alone to cry, they'd be eaten by predators.

You are doing an amazing job. It's exhausting now, but it will get easier over time. Babies don't need to be "taught" how to sleep. It's a skill that is learned and mastered over time naturally. Just as you don't have to teach them to walk or run.. babies inherently learn and develop on their own timeline. Hang in there, you're doing great. :)

DeserRai - posted on 02/28/2012




My son is 10 months and we have a similar situation. He is mainly breastfed. His interest in solids is fickle. I tried for a couple days to gently let him cry when he was about 8 months, five mintues then comfort him for five. But I couldn't stand him crying and hated seeing him heartbroken because I just let him cry. It went against every instinct I had. So I've accepted it for what it is. He will not sleep in his crib for naps. I have to laying next to him in our bed and his attached almost the entire time. At night he does about three hours in his crib, so I take this time to clean up the house and take a little me time. When he wakes up he sleeps the rest of the night with me and nurses most of the night. I don't get to much sleep at night but usually catch up during our naps. Hubby works at night so it doesn't interfere in that matter. We don't get to much time for ourselves but our baby is at the age now that we can leave with a friend for a couple hours and he'll be ok (although we have yet too). All I can say is their only a baby for so long. This won't last forever. And as far as hubby and you, this gives you an oppurtunity to find other places to have "you and him time" :)

Donna - posted on 02/28/2012




Congrats for holding out this long. Just to be sure with her feeding all night are you positive she is getting all the food she needs. I'm saying this as my friend who was advised to transfer her son to a bottle a few times a day instead of the breastfeeding due to the fact he wasn't not getting enough milk. I never had this problem myself but she was devastated but it worked. She started using a bottle 3 times per day/night and then breastfed in between that. He slept beautifully then and was much less fussy as he wasn't hungry anymore.

Also down another avenue she may be doing this for comfort. Therefore another comfort substitute must be found. For me this was done through a blanket or bankie as my sons effectionately call them. However I have to be honest when I say I still have my boys crawling into my bed some nights and staying there :-)

Sarah - posted on 02/26/2012




One step at a time. It's not going to be instant gratification but tiny changes over time will make it easier on both of you. Establish a strict bedtime routine (quiet play, bath, lotion, jammies, snack, brush teeth however you want to configure it). Make sure she has a full stomach before going to bed (some kind of fruit/veg/cereal combo, then we did cottage cheese w/ a fruit/veg combo; whatever your baby likes). W/ my daughter, we would first fall asleep together in bed letting her nurse as long as she wanted. Once in a deep sleep I would unlatch her. Take note of how she is nursing. There is a difference between actively eating and comfort sucking. I would wait for her to make that transition before trying to break the latch. After she got used to that, we would do all the same but after unlatching, I would turn away from her but not get out of bed. After that, I would stay awake and let her fall asleep, unlatch, and get out of bed. One of those tuck away bed rails kept her in bed. I would come to bed later but would position myself so I was facing away from her if she was still sleeping. If she woke up and needed me, I would come to bed. When she woke to nurse, I would offer, let her fall into a deep sleep, unlatch, then again turn away from her. Never at any point was she left crying by herself. She didn't leave our bed until after we night weaned (21 months), and did not fall asleep in her own bed until she was completely weaned (22 months). I still lay w/ her until she's asleep but b/c she's used to me getting out of bed, I can go to bed w/ my husband. She's 23 months now, sleeps part-time in her own bed, then w/ my husband and me for the rest of the night. GL, I hope this helps!

Maren - posted on 02/25/2012




do you still swaddle? my son never wanted to swaddle as an infant and I stopped around 6 weeks. At about 6-7 months he started not sleeping as well so I tried swaddling again, and it worked He loved it. I also have a 1 yr old that I baby sit when he came to me at 7 months he would take about 3 20 min naps, I started swaddling him also and it went to 2 1.5-2 hr naps.

You may also want to try a pacificer, if you can get the paci in at the same time you remove your breast it may help her stay asleep.

Pam - posted on 02/23/2012




i had the same problem and posted same exac question.. i was so exhuseted all day and started getting big i did the cry it out wil only have to do it for about 3 days or have to do it for your child she needs t sleep its important for their brain development and she needs to learn to sleep... i do both bf and formula, first i do breasts then see if she wants formula about 4 oz 6:30 bath her and i give her the bigger amount of 6 oz at 7ish and put her in her bed and she falls asleep now on her own , never thought she ever would be able to sleep without me...they are smart and she will learn quickly...its your responsibility as a parent to make sure she gets sufficient sleep and ialthough i hate cio it helped her and me..people say cio is bad for them but in long run not sleeping is even worse for them and she will be happier when she gets her sleep

Anna - posted on 02/21/2012




You'll be surprised but all night nurses get plenty of sleep while nursing. It's the mother that suffers. I'm very much against any of the cry it out methods. I recommend Elizabeth Pantley's The No Cry Sleep Solution. It'll give you a lot of tips on how to improve your baby's sleep, including bedtime routines and earlier bedtime. Here's a link to her website, you can get some ideas from there

Hella - posted on 02/17/2012




Read Elizabeth Pantley No cry sleep solution. I had the same issue with my son. He is 3 years old now, and I just weaned him of my breast. He loved to sleep with my bra, that helped a little bit. Read the book, it will give you lots of good idea what to do, and how to do it. I never let my child cry over this. Some child just don't like to sleep alone. It is normal. by the time they turn 3 usually feel better sleeping alone, and stop the breast. I always respected his feeling, and yes it was hard sometimes, but most of the time we loved sleeping with him. Now he has a little brother, and I know he can't hardly wait to share his room with him.

Just read the book. :) Good luck

Heather - posted on 02/17/2012




Try getting her hooked on a pacifier. OR, try NOT letting her nurse all night long first. It isn't ok to just put her in her bed and end her sleeping with you AND nursing at the same time. You could do some damage. Yes, it's cruel.

So stop letting her nurse all night long for a week, maybe two. Then start in the beginning, putting her in her own bed for her 2 naps. If she doesn't sleep long, but if she wakes up, and she isn't screaming her head off, leave her in her crib. She might just fall back to sleep!

Then start off her bedtimes after a few weeks with her nursing, then you putting her in her crib to go to sleep, and walk out. Yes, here begins the ferber method. It SUCKS! It will suck for the first night mainly. The second night shouldn't be as bad. Our son, on the third night, fussed a little bit, then he went to sleep and has been a good sleeper since then!

I hope this helps.

Ania - posted on 02/17/2012




Well...I know that there are books outhere that talk about sleep training and all that, but from my method was working on my son...He didn't sleep until he was one year old and I tried really hard and was persistent, but he wasn't ready, so I just went to bed at 8 pm every night to get some sleep myself, co slept most of the night and wait it out. Not every baby is developmentally ready at 6 months to sleep all night, especially exclusively BF babies they don't sleep through the night for a long time and it is normal. If you don't want to sleep with your baby in one bed, move her crib to your room. I know how you feel believe me, but sometimes it is more frustrating to try these sleeping methods...

[deleted account]


Are you able to slip your finger to break the suction at all during the night? Sometimes I have to wait until my daughter is in a deep sleep to unlatch her. Personally, I wouldn't go from nursing all night to not nursing at all. That will be upsetting to her and cause you to become engorged since your breasts are used to being emptied all night. Many breastfed babies still need to eat during the night right now, but I understand you not wanting her latched *all* night. You can try unlatching her while she's sleeping and using other methods to calm her if she wakes after being fed. Patting her back, shh-ing, singing, rocking, etc. You will have to play around with it to see what works.

If you want to transition her to a crib you may want to do that at a separate time from decreasing or eliminating night nursing. Doing two huge changes like that are bound to upset her. She sounds normal, but I understand being super tired. My first didn't sleep well until around a year and she still woke a few times then. I didn't co-sleep with her, but I wish I had. I went against my gut with her. So if you're gut is telling you you don't want to sleep train then follow it. There's nothing wrong with soothing her in other ways after she nurses or transitioning to a crib.

Try sleeping with one of her blankets so it smells like you then wrapping her in it when you put her down. If she smells you she may sleep longer in her crib. White noise also helped us. Good luck!

Jodi - posted on 02/16/2012




I have twins, and with one of them, I had the same problem. She had to have my nipple in her mouth at ALL times throughout the night. SO frustrating right?! Around 8 months old I just couldn't take it any longer. Here's what we (my hubby and I) did.

First, we gave them an extra snack just before bedtime, usually something easy to digest but that will stick with them for a while. Applesauce with some rice cereal to thicken it was our favorite. Then, we put window darkeners (we used old car sunshades) in the windows to black out their room. We started a strict bedtime routine. Snack, bath, 2 stories, rocking and putting them down still awake.

Here comes the hard part, we laid them down in their pack n' plays and left the room. Wait 2-3 minutes, go back in ONLY if they were crying. Lay them down again, no talking, no eye contact, just lay them down and walked back out. Wait 3-5 minutes, do it again, again ONLY if they were crying. We would increase the time between going in a few minutes each time, but never exceeded 10 minutes.

It was so hard, but I knew, that for us, it was for the best. I was cranky all day because of lack of sleep, so was my baby. My husband and I needed our bed back (he slept on the couch) for our marriage. It sucked, but I'm glad we did it.

I was told this could take up to 2 weeks to work, but for us, in 3 nights they were both sleeping through the night. Occasionally, one of them will wake up, but it has been amazing. I don't promise it will work that well for you if you choose to do it, but it has made all the difference in our house!!!

Good luck, and if you have any other questions, or need support while sleep training, you are more than welcome to message me! *hugs*

[deleted account]


Please review this community's guidelines below:

This group is here to support families that breastfeed. We follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and La Leche League International (LLLI). This group is here to promote breastfeeding and support families who choose to breastfeed. Group Guidelines: 1. We do not encourage the use of Formula. Please refrain from recommending the use of formula.* 2. This group does not encourage weaning an infant under 12 months of age for any nonmedical reason. 3. In line with LLLI we do not support or recommend the introduction of solids until around the middle of the first year. 4. Debates about when to wean are discouraged. Any posts that personally attack a member for their weaning choices, be it mother led, child led, or otherwise, will not be tolerated. 5. No posts that violate Circle of Moms No THUMPS guidelines. *Please note: We ask that you not recommend formula because it can cause issues with breastfeeding. Supplementing should be done carefully. Some moms need to or choose to use formula and that choice is respected. We ask that it not be recommended to others because they may not know the issues that can arise from supplementing.

Thank you,



Victoria - posted on 02/16/2012




First Let me say Hi Mommy and congradulations on breastfeeding her this long. I was a lactation counselor in NYC and let me tell you it isnt always easy to breastfeed your baby. However allowing your baby to nurse all night will not teach your baby boundaries when it comes to the breast. How I kow this? I had the same exact problem that my daughter is now 4 years old and still tries to grab my breast. After 2 years of breastfeeding my daughter eventually had to hold my breast at night to sleep. it was very stressful.

You need to start setting some boundaries. Like one for instance start leaving for an hour a day like go to the gym or something but let it be the same time everyday so that gives your baby some structure. you also might want to breastfeed at certain times of the day like every 2 hours. At night if she will drink formula then i would try and start 3 oz of formula because it is thicker than breastmilk and it will coat her stomach at night and she wont wake up as much or start pumping and give her your breastmilk in a bottle and yes make her sleep in her crib. You have to be tough and loving at the same time but your baby's safety is priority. But if you don t start seperating yourself from your child every night then you will end up like me and have your child sleeping with you every night until they become a toddler or even longer. Stop the madness!!!!!! Yes we love our babies and we want to do what is best for them but sometimes what we think is best for them actually isnt.

You have done an awesome job breastfeeding your baby and as a breastfeeding mom I am very proud of you. I hope my advice was helpful.


Victoria Sipes

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms