Night time sleeping/nursing/comforting

Christina - posted on 03/15/2011 ( 5 moms have responded )




My son's 11 months old. We're (typically) down to one nursing at night, right about halfway through. The thing is, this nursing isn't a true feed. It's more like phantom nursing, more like he's just using me as a human pacifier for comfort. The reason I know it's not a true feed is that I'm normally in and out of his bedroom (and him back to sleep) in under 10 minutes, if not less time.

I won't deny my son a nursing session in the middle of the night if it seems that he needs it...but by this, it's apparent that he really doesn't. That he wakes up, starting crying and then can't get himself back to sleep as by this point he's standing in his crib.

If I take him out of his crib to rock him, he instinctively goes for my breasts and throws a fit until he has one. I can't lay him down and try to rub his back or tummy because he just stands right back up.

Any tips to help us with this?


Amy - posted on 03/15/2011




My son started doing that too around that age. I just rocked him like i was pretending to burp him and pretty soon he was asleep. Once I stopped giving him the breast [i'd even say, all gone and gesture to my chest] he stopped waking at night. Yeah, his was like that too. he'd just want to suck for a couple minutes but not hard enough to actually consume much of anything.

Yes, the pulling at the shirt wanting his boobie. I think that was the time I introduced a sippy cup with my breastmilk. I said milk in here - cup - all gone here - boob. Was calm and firm and if he wanted milk, that's where he got it. I held him just like I was going to nurse, but gave him the sippy. By the time he was 14 months he asked for cup instead of nursing. So if he woke at night I'd give him what I pumped before I went to bed and he laid himself down and snuggled his cup in bed. After a bit we changed it to water, and now he doesn't take anything at all at night. If you're firm, calm and consistent about no boob at night but give him an alternative like a cup so if he's really hungry, it's there, it should help make it easier. Good luck hon!


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Merry - posted on 03/15/2011




We did the same thing and now Eric is almost two and on his own he has stopped waking for me in the night.

Every time he wanted me I'd be there, every time he wanted to nurse I'd do it. I never pushed him into self soothing. I never made him learn to fall asleep on his own.

But on his own he has begun to self sooth. This started a few months ago, so like 20 months he started self soothing back to sleep.

I think the fact that I never pushed him into it made him comfortable growing into self soothing at his own pace.

Yes it was a pain, yes it seemed pointless but I believe emotional needs are just as important as physical needs.

Your son might not need the milk physically right now, but he does need the touch, the contact, the cuddles, the reassurances of your breast.

Breasts are not just for them to eat from, they are also designed to comfort them.

Pacifiers are just replicas of breasts anyways. He wants the real deal and he trusts you to be there.

I'd encourage you to keep going, it's only ten minutes of your sleep wasted. And to him it's immeasurable comfort and soothing..

If you can, just go with his needs, emotional and physical, and I promise you will see him self sooth more and more and it's even more beautiful when it isn't something you forced onto your baby. When you see them grow up on their own in their own time it's so rewarding.

Also, sleep patterns are every 40-60 minutes and then a new sleep cycle begins. So unless he is waking every hour or so he IS self soothing somewhat. Just not completely. So every time he changes sleep cycles he isn't asking for you, just once! That's awesome and it shows he is already content in knowing you are there if he needs you, so he doesn't need you every time he wakes.

You are doing great, he benefits greatly from you breastfeeding him in the night. Emotions are precious things, and for our babies, they are easily hurt.

Christina - posted on 03/15/2011




Louise - while I am one that doesn't like the use of a pacifier, truth is that he won't take one anyhow. Hasn't since birth which upset them at the hospital since for SIDS they have all newborns sleep with pacifiers here.

Louise - posted on 03/15/2011




It sounds like he is using you for comfort. Have you thought of giving him a dummy at night so that he can self soothe. I know lots of people do not like giving a dummy but he is learning to self soothe and if he needs a little extra help for a couple of months I would give him a dummy. At 11 months he does not need a night feed as he is getting all his nutrients during the day. I would try a dummy for a couple of nights as 11 months he can take his dummy out and put it in his mouth should he wont one. When he has started to sleep through the night you can then make the decision whether to continue with a dummy or try without. Sleeping through the night is something that is learnt, like self soothing.

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