How did you get your feed-to-sleep baby to stop and self-settle in the cot?

(26 Posts)
missrose Wed 18-May-11 19:48:56

Just wanted to hear some success stories really - how did you teach your baby to fall asleep on their own, in their cot? Is this sleep-training? I'm not one for CC.

DD is 7mo and I've just realised that if we're at home she feeds to sleep, both for naps and in the night. I've read NCSS and am trying to take her off the breast before she falls asleep and get her to settle in her cot but she's putting up quite a fight! We've been doing it for a week but don't really seem to be getting anywhere. I'm trying to be consistent but there are times when I'm just too tired (she feeds between 1 and 3 times a night as well as getting up for the day at 5am) or she's teething and I want to be able to comfort her.

I'm not too worried about getting this sorted immediately as I have a couple of months before I return to work but I did think of starting something now, gently. To be honest, I think I am getting secretly quite stressed about it and really want to know that there will be a point when I put her down and she'll drift off to sleep. Please tell me this will be possible at some point before she becomes an adult!

blue22 Wed 18-May-11 19:59:33

Hi, I was in the same position as you. I went back to work totally stressing that DD would never sleep without me there to BF her. First day back - work overran and I didn't get back till 11.30pm (I hadn't left till 3 so not as bad as it sounds) and DP had given DD water and she'd gone straight back to sleep. The next night he did the same (even though I wasn't working) and then the 3rd night she didn't wake. She was 9 months and eating masses of solids during the day with 4 milk feeds as well so I was very confident she didn't 'need' the milk.
HTH

jasmin27 Wed 18-May-11 20:28:07

Watching this thread with great interest. I'm in same position with 7 month dd. I'm not back at work for another 4 months but secretly stressing about it like yourself. Dd will only fall asleep on boob, unlike other babies she does not fall asleep in the buggy or car seat. I'm thinking she will never be able to fall asleep any other way. I've not tried any sort of sleep training yet. Sorry no advice but keen to hear what others say.

ExcuseTheMess Thu 19-May-11 21:47:36

I've almost cracked it - by accident! My DD is coming upto7 months and would only ever feed to sleep, day and night. We've recently bought a travel cot in preparation for a holiday at the end of the month and I put it in the living room in the hope she'd nap in it.
One day after breakfast I lay her in it, to play and get used to the surroundings, and hoovered up the living room. To my astonishment, bang - out like a light!
Now I put her in awake, plug in the hoover and wait. She falls asleep within a couple of minutes without fail.
I'm going to aim to move the hoover further away over the next few days so eventually she'll do it on her own, but I have found since she's going off without a breast in the day she's begun to do it at night too. She would always wake 2 or 3 times a night and need feeding back to sleep but over the last few days has stirred at similar times and fallen back to sleep before I've gone in to her.

She also has a 'snuggly', one for day and one for night, which seems to signal that it's sleep time.

It seems to be going well so far - and I have a beautifully hoovered carpet into the bargain!

missrose Thu 19-May-11 21:52:36

I spoke to a friend who has a 2 year old and she thought that it was a bit early to start worrying about this and that it would come naturally with time.

Jasmin - What do you think about that?

The problem is you read so much stuff about how you MUST teach them to self-settle and don't feed to sleep and get them in the cot asap that you feel as if you're doing something wrong if you go against that in any way.

Blue - does your dd take a bottle? Also, did she feed to nap as well, or just night time sleep? I spent ages teaching mine how to do that, expressed for a month or so and then just went back to the breast because it was so much easier than anything else! Maybe now's the time to dig them out of the cupboard...

thisisyesterday Thu 19-May-11 21:55:15

i didn't teach them to do it, they just did it by themselves

i can tell you almost certainly that you will not be breastfeeding her to sleep when she is at University wink

missrose Thu 19-May-11 21:58:53

Excusethemess - Wow, that's amazing! Fancy popping round for a spot of housework? grin

I'm wondering how I can adapt your technique to make it work for us. DD is very nosy so if I was to put a hoover on she would want to know what was going on. That's part of the problem of putting her in the cot. She starts trying to grab the bars or cranes her neck to see what's behind her etc. Maybe I'm putting her in too early, but at the moment I put her down, wait for her to kick off then feed her until she's asleep, or almost asleep. Oh dear, I don't think I'll be writing a best-selling sleep manual on the back of that routine!

PacificDogwood Thu 19-May-11 21:59:51

May I just state the old chestnut 'every baby is different'?

DS4 is now 14 months, was weaned off the breast about 6 weeks ago and has started going to sleep without the aid of milk.... <<drumroll>> 1 week ago shockgrin <PD does little happy dance>

DS1: did it by 8 months or so
DS2: precious little preemie baby did it from about 6 weeks onwards, 4 weeks before his due date shock
DS3: self-settled from about 10 months and is now, aged 3, the world's best sleeper.

I do think it is a bit early to worry about it at 7 months, mainly because if you LO doesn't take to it, it is going to turn into a horrid battle for both of you. I have always been at my most stressed when I felt by baby should be doing something, rather than just going with the flow. Nothing wrong with encouraging them towards the behaviour you are looking for, but IMO it is sooooo worthwhile backing off for a while if your LO does not seem ready.

FWIW, IME bottle or breast feeding made no difference to the sleeping side of things.

missrose Thu 19-May-11 22:20:36

Thisisyesterday and Pacific - thanks for your messages. I really wanted to hear that it would happen in time and that it was ok to wait and take your lead from the baby.

As I was saying in a previous post, most of the stuff you read about sleep says that you have to 'teach' them and they 'learn' and implies that it is something you have to do rather than something that will come to them in time when they are ready.

At the moment I'm feeding her to sleep every night and most naps, if she's not out in the buggy. My fear was what I would do if she wanted to continue this and I'm back at work - it breaks my heart to think of leaving her as it is, never mind if I factor in not being around to BF her when she needs me!

alfiemama Thu 19-May-11 22:43:38

My lo also falls asleep with the hoover (I tip it upside down) we found the prince lionheart bear worked as well. Only problem is now we are trying to get her to sleep without it as I can't turn the Hoover on in the middle of the night.
We are trying pupd by baby whisperer, early days though.

krisskross Thu 19-May-11 22:53:21

hi i found the book the baby whisperer really helpful on this (and its not as hideous and california as it sounds)- gives loads of advice on how to do this.

My 2 have always gone to bed awake and got themselves off and its only because I stumbled on the advice in this book for that we got into the habit of it.

I am not one who thinks babies should be put into a routine, however I think they do need to learn to sleep early or it will be very hard for them to get used to being on their own. The other thing is to learn when your baby is tired- but not too tired (or they will go into meltdown) then when they go to bed hopefully they will learn to chat a while and doze off. Early on they dont have the negative association of being alone.

jasmin27 Fri 20-May-11 01:06:39

Missrose- i'd like my dd to self settle before she's 2 but like you not sure if thats just because we are always hearing that. If it works for your friend and shes happy thats the main thing. I wouldn't mind if dd picked up another sleep association such as being rocked or just sitting with her etc. Our paths might cross again when we do decide to try sleep training.

Swannykazoo Wed 14-May-14 21:04:20

Re-animating this thread -wanted to ask the same question myself and thought it might be interesting to hear how the posters ended up. Does feeding to sleep really need to stop for everyone to get to sleep? (My LO is nearly 5 months and being a nipple badger all night long it seems)

Secretscary Tue 20-May-14 14:37:23

Hi Puggle. Mine is 4 months and we are the same. Hoping that this will magically pop into place somehow!

solenneguest Thu 01-Jan-15 17:05:31

Puggle01 and secretscary how did things pan out?! I'm in your situation now and really curious to find out about your experiences :-)

BryonyRobinson4 Thu 01-Jan-15 20:44:28

solenneguest I am in the same situation. I don't know what to do. my little one will nap in the day if I rock him to sleep but on a night will fall asleep on the breast and be winded. only the moment I lay him down he screams the house down. I would really appreciate some advice?

bundybear Thu 08-Jan-15 16:25:21

I'm in a similar situation with dd3 who is 8 months old (today!). She's always been breastfed to sleep for all naps and at bedtime, during the night etc etc. She also naps in my arms and we co-sleep. I'm not back at work until May, but had a minor freak out with the New Year that she would never sleep without me and decided that I needed to do something asap. I won't do cc and don't have time for endless dangling over the edge of a cot, so this is what I've been doing this week...

Starting with naps, instead of feeding her, I just held her in a cradle hold (boobs well covered!) and shhd her a bit. She yelled for about 5 mins (felt like about an hour) then went to sleep. She slept for over an hour which is unusual for her, and I fed her as soon as she woke. I've repeated this for every nap this week and she's been settling down in my arms without feeding and with just a minute or two of shouting.

I've also been trying to do something similar in the night - when she stirs, instead of immediately sticking the boob in, I've been making myself wait for a couple of minutes and just cuddled and shhd her and she's mostly just gone back off. If she doesn't then I've fed her.

My plan is to get her used to falling asleep in my arms but without feeding and then attempt to get her down into her cot. I'm expecting it to take a loong time but I'm heartened by the fact that she's napping without feeding.

HTH

xx

Plateofcrumbs Fri 09-Jan-15 20:09:30

I've been doing 'pick up - put down' (aka the baby whisperer approach) with DS for a week - he previously would only sleep by us rocking him, sometimes for an hour. In a week we've got him falling to sleep in his cot in about 10-15mins - he does cry and whimper a lot to get there but I don't leave him at all (either pick him up if he is crying hard or shush him and stroke cheek if just whimpering).

I was very sceptical abut the idea he would 'learn' to self settle but I can tell he is learning. He also sleeps better through the night as he can resettle himself.

QuietTinselTardis Fri 09-Jan-15 20:18:36

My dd was always fed to sleep and it gradually stopped working. So she'd feed then muck about ( crying if put in cot) and when she was crying with tiredness I'd feed again and she'd drop off. Complete pain in the bum.
One eve she was mucking about on the bed and I was sat on it ignoring her looking at Mumsnet when I realised she was laying face down and hadn't moved for a few minutes. So I looked and the little bugger had only fallen asleep! The next weekend we went away to a friends and she fell asleep in the buggy without it moving and so we decided to see if she'd settle herself to sleep at bedtime as I knew she could do it. I fed her, put her in cot and went out and after about 10 mins on off crying and a couple of quick cuddles she went to sleep. That was that.
It didn't work for night wake ups but for nap times and bedtime she'd go into the cot awake and just go to sleep which was a blessed relief.
So my only advice is watch for signs that she can drift off by herself and then go for it.

QuietTinselTardis Fri 09-Jan-15 20:21:11

Bugger only just realised this is a zombie thread. fool

Swannykazoo Mon 09-Feb-15 20:30:27

DOn't worry Quiet, I had re-animated to try and find out how things were going. Same question was asked to me - well i have a 13month old still co-sleeping, still feeding to sleep at night but just in the last week has been needing to go to bed at 7 upstairs in bed not on my lap (so not pinned -hurray!) and also will sleep at nursery without being pushed around in the buggy. So....maybe one day......

Leo18s Sun 15-Feb-15 10:20:19

Hello there, my 18 months old is not easy to go to sleep without the brestfeed, I've try few months back to stop him at evenings and it was difficult as I was rocking him and shhs and all until I was in pain for an hour or so and he was crying and screaming and then....he had a toth coming and I started again.
Big mistake, I know all baby's are different now I need to start again and is really hard I can't wait for all this to stop.
I dont know how long will take now, any tips?
I loveded when I started but now is to much,

Helenc19 Tue 24-Feb-15 22:21:28

Just keep feeding to sleep and make life so much easier for yourself for as long as you can. Dont worry about them having someone else putting them down for naps/bed they will cope fine, probably much beyter than you think
DS self weaned and now I have to sit in the dark with him for 45 minutes every night, would much rather have a nice cuddly feed for 20 minutes.

stacey43 Mon 21-Nov-16 18:43:09

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Nottalotta Tue 22-Nov-16 19:09:52

Ds stopped feeding to sleep of his own accord, it just stopped working. So we tried cuddling, rocking etc but he wasn't keen. He was almost 1. At 1 I startedgoing him a cup of warm cows milk at bedtime. After a few nights he preferred it to bf (he swapped and changed between boob and cup the first few nights)

Then I started putting him in his cot with the milk (apparently not advised) and started doing ( very very) gradual withdrawal which has worked a treat. I did it slowly, but after a few weeks he would be put in the cot awake with milk, music/lightshow on and I left the room. It can take up to 25 minutest most nights he lays and watches thelights til asleep.

This is a baby that I couldn't put down to sleep ever!

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