BF to sleep (lack of support)

(18 Posts)
CtotheB Sun 31-Jul-16 20:39:56

Hi All, first time poster so please go easy!
I've got a 15 week old DD. She is a really good sleeper (I think FTM). She will generally sleep from 7.30-3/4am for a quick feed then back to sleep until 6/7am. Recently my OH has taken a great interest in the bedtime routine. As much of a hands on dad as he is, breastfeeding has been a bit of an excuse for him not to get involved so much (she's crying = she needs fed).
For the past 10 days I've put her to bed on my own, with a bath, Pj's and feed. Usually I'll feed her on my bed, and she will fall asleep from a feed. If I try and move her to the cot at this point it will wake her up, and the only way to settle her will be by feeding her. So I'll leave her to sleep on my bed, and move her to the cot when I go to sleep (10-11pm).
OH has decided that he wants to do his share of the bedtime routine, but by me feeding her to sleep, I'm making a rod for my own back because he doesn't think he can settle her to sleep. So he has suggested that I don't breastfeed her at night, and we bottle feed expressed milk. He also suggests we let her cry to sleep because he "doesn't want her to get in a bad habit, she is only crying for your boob and we can't give in". I find this massively distressing, but I can't feed herwithout undermining him, obviously then causing an argument.
What is your views on feeding to sleep? Does it last for ever? Is it the best thing for me to do (it feels like the most natural). Should I let him take over and allow her to cry to sleep?
Thanks for any advice, I don't have anyone really who I can ask.

Huishnish Sun 31-Jul-16 21:34:41

Hi, I breastfed DS1 to sleep until he was 5 ish months, when he started sucking his thumb and got good at settling himself. As you said, it feels like the most natural (and lovely) thing. He was an awful sleeper until 10 months so in some ways I felt I had made a rod for my own back, but at 22 months he now sleeps 7:30-8 every night, almost without fail. having sworn I wouldn't I'm now doing the same with DS2 who's the same age as your DC. He sleeps pretty much in the same pattern as yours too. I may be wrong but I feel like he'll start to self-settle when he's ready, and for how he's happy, rarely cries, sleeps well (at night at least, naps a different story) and I love the feeling of his wee head on my arm as he drops off to sleep. Breastfeeding doesn't last forever and as I know he's my last baby I think this time it's best just to enjoy it. I think you can encourage self-settling by having a good bedtime routine- bath, boob plus Ewen the sheep worked well for DS1 and I'm hoping it will for DS2. I'm also intending to get into a napping routine during the day, even if it's in sling/car/buggy. I'm sure your DC will get there in her own time and if you're not comfortable letting her cry to sleep don't do it! they are still so tiny at 15 weeks. Good luck!

CanISayOfHerFace Sun 31-Jul-16 21:45:38

If you're happy with what you're doing now then I wouldn't change it. It sounds like your baby is sleeping beautifully.

I personally wouldn't let a baby cry itself to sleep. I don't know much about this kind of sleep training but I assume 15 weeks is very young for this?

I'm not sure why you would be undermining him if you continue what you're already doing. Especially if it's just a suggestion.

Maybe he could do bath time instead?

Ragwort Sun 31-Jul-16 22:00:30

This is my personal experience - I did breast feed but I never 'breast fed to sleep' IYSWIM - DS would have his last feed before bath and bed - so either DH or I could do that final routine - it worked for us - he self settled immediately as he never 'got used' to being breast fed to sleep. If he woke in the night I would do a very quick b/feed and then he went straight back to sleep in his own room.

Of course, it might just have been sheer good luck grin.

HonkHonkNose Sun 31-Jul-16 22:07:49

I still bf my 2 yo to sleep. It works, we're both happy with it so why change things.

Plus I cherish the cuddles as time goes by so fast and I know it won't last forever.

I'd tell my dp I was going to carry on as we were. You're not making any sort of rod for your back - all your baby's emotional and safety needs are met. That's what it's about.

TooMinty Sun 31-Jul-16 22:19:27

She is a good sleeper for a bf baby of that age - two good stretches of sleep with just one wake up is great. I think she's way too young to leave to cry (and I have done CC with both of mine). I might be tempted to do what previous poster said and switch round bedtime routine so feed isn't last, but at that age would still cuddle or rock to sleep if she can't self settle. Which I guess your OH could do! But if he just wants more involvement then why doesn't he do bath/nappy/pjs before you feed?

DontBuyANewMumCashmere Sun 31-Jul-16 22:27:31

I BF my DD to sleep at night until she was about 16 months. One night she just didn't ask (sign) for milk. It took about 3 weeks to properly stop feeding to sleep at night, all at her own pace.
For another month roughly she wanted morning milk.
She stopped wanting any milk at all around 17.5m

At night we went slowly from cuddling her in our arms (DH could finally take a turn!) to putting her in cot and letting her go to sleep on her own.
Right now (just shy of 20m) she often still needs us sat next to her but increasingly she will fall asleep without us in the room, and sleeps through the night about 75% - the remainder she needs a quick hug and sometimes I'll just get into bed with her (there is a double bed in her room) so we both get some sleep.

She has never cried herself to sleep.

I accept that 16m is a long time to go without having help for bedtime but if he starts doing bath, teeth, story and you just come in for milk then he gets a turn, you get a break, no one cries and your DD can learn to do it at her own pace, not when you decide she's ready to learn.

I think there's something else, your breast milk at night time will contain more hormones to control their sleep than day time milk (is this right?) and so if you want to give her expressed milk it'd be best to pump at night for her night feed?
Happy to be corrected and sorry if I'm wrong.
Good luck OP

CtotheB Sun 31-Jul-16 22:29:32

Thanks for your responses! It's really reassuring to hear that I'm not the only one.
I will suggest switching around the routine. I think he mainly feels it would be better to not get her to depend on me alone to go to sleep at night, so that I can have some nights off and he doesn't have to contend with a screaming baby who wants boobs. I can understand this, but I don't think letting her cry until she self soothes is the best method.
Unfortunately there isn't anything on the NHS website to clarify the method of controlled crying e.g as to what age is best to start. Perhaps this is because it's not a method they can recommend(?)
You're all right though, she is still so young and I don't want to make her grow up before she's ready! But I feel like perhaps he is a bit jealous that he can't settle her to sleep. I've suggested that on his nights he does it another way (by cuddling her/ letting her suck his pinky) but he thinks it needs to be a constant, one method/ routine..

53rdAndBird Sun 31-Jul-16 22:36:00

he thinks it needs to be a constant, one method/ routine

No, he's wrong. Plenty of breastfed babies (including mine!) will be happily settled to sleep different ways by Dad/grandma/nursery, even if they're BF to sleep by Mum most of the time.

Also, don't let her cry herself to sleep. 3 months is way too young for CC - she is not getting into "bad habits", she is tiny and wants comfort.

CtotheB Sun 31-Jul-16 22:44:57

53rd what methods did they use to settle? She pushes the bottle out her mouth and no amounts of bouncing, rocking or shh-ing seem to work until a boob is shoved in her face.
To be honest I think someone has planted these ideas in his head, and I can't seem to convince him otherwise..Is there any research I can show him that states guidelines to show him that she is too young? I think he thinks she's almost attention seeking.. Why do people think babies have such manipulative minds when they can't even control their poops!

TooMinty Sun 31-Jul-16 22:47:26

I don't think the NHS would offer a guideline on CC - most other websites/books etc suggest 6 months at the earliest I think.

I also wanted to add that I found expressing very difficult and DS1 wouldn't even take a bottle most of the time anyway (didn't even bother trying with my second!) - it's worth trying if you want to but be prepared for it to be more hassle than it's worth!

I think it's too early to be concerned - I got to 6 months of only being able to settle through feeding and wake ups as frequent as every 40 minutes at night before I considered sleep training my DS1... Your DD may just naturally learn to self-settle herself as time passes, or you can try the gentle approach of switching round the bedtime routine so at least either of you can settle her if she doesn't.

Good luck smile

dinodiva Mon 01-Aug-16 07:26:05

I BF to sleep until DD was 8-9 months, when we moved her onto a bottle (she's now 10 months). She wasn't interested in bottles until she stared weaning and became used to other things in her mouth. I stopped because I wanted to have a bit more of a life, because I go back to work soon and because I felt I was becoming an enormous dummy, particularly at night. BF'ing is about SO much more than just milk though. Although I don't BF any more, we do cuddle DD to sleep at the moment.

I like this article on kellymom
kellymom.com/bf/normal/comfortnursing/

DontBuyANewMumCashmere Mon 01-Aug-16 09:06:04

Another Kellymom piece which says we shouldn't expect children to sleep through, and instead need to reset our expectations.

NHS report on Aus study which kind of supports the fact that 'behavioural intervention' has no negative effect on children later on, at 5 yrs,but it was noted that the children were at least 7 months old

Supernanny website also suggesting nothing before 6 months old.

Kidspot another Aus site lays out the flip side. Quite anti article.

It's a tough one. Only you need to decide, and get your OH to read some of Kellymom too, it's an excellent source of reliable info.
Good luck.

SpeakNoWords Mon 01-Aug-16 09:18:53

15 weeks is still a very young baby, not quite even 4 months old. To suggest sleep training when you actually have a really good sleep routine and a good sleeper is ridiculous! Especially when the only motivator is to do things the way your partner wants, not for any reason that would benefit your child.

I'm another one who fed to sleep and didn't do any kind of crying-based sleep training. My DS just stopped feeding to sleep of his own accord at around 11 months, and then could be put down sleepy and fall asleep on his own. He would also go to sleep for grandparents/babysitters from that sort of age too. They do get used to different routines from different people.

"His share" of the bedtime routine can be bath and pyjamas, I cannot see what the issue could be with that. I also cannot emphasis enough how well your baby sleeps at the moment! I wouldn't change a thing.

CobsAhoy Mon 01-Aug-16 10:37:41

Hey OP,

Here's something that might help with this idea of a baby somehow manipulating you to get what it's wants...

sarahockwell-smith.com/2016/06/02/the-manipulation-myth/

Timetogrowup2016 Mon 01-Aug-16 12:13:10

The NHS says controlled crying is Ok to do after six months.
All my health visitors and Gps and midwives have told me this and they gave me a NHS leaflet about it. Not sure if it's online or not

Nottalotta Mon 01-Aug-16 21:41:03

She won't be bf to sleep forever. She sounds a fantastic sleeper, so personally I wouldn't mess with it! I also wouldn't leave her to cry, but would think about alternative methods of settling her for the future. I say that as ds is 1 and bf to sleep is not reliable anymore, and although cuddling is working now, we've had a few difficult weeks getting there.

Look at 'pantley pull off' where you unlatch baby before sleep.

Coconut0il Tue 02-Aug-16 00:26:03

Aww 15 weeks is so young. I would do exactly as you are doing. I still bf my 11 month old to sleep. Your DH can still be part of the routine, he can do bath or story or lie down with you as you bf.

It is a bit harder for my DP to settle DS2 but I usually only go out a couple of times a month. He gets DS2 to sleep by pushing him back and forth in the pushchair. I transfer him when I get home.

They soon grow and routines change. Not sure how to link but there is a lovely section about bf to sleep on the Kellymom site. There is no way anyone would ever persuade me to leave either of my DC crying. Do what you feel is best for you and your DD.

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