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Used milk as sleep aid when child was baby, but good sleeping habits now?

(25 Posts)
lottytheladybird Fri 22-Jul-11 21:34:04

Hi! I have a 1 year old baby boy and getting him to sleep, or to go back to sleep, is at times problematic. Before he was mobile, he would go to sleep on his own in his cot and sleep through the night.

When it's difficult to settle my DS, I breastfeed him in order to get him to go to sleep. I know this is not ideal and would like to know if you did this when your child was a baby, but have not had subsequent problems getting them into a good bedtime routine once they were a little older.

chocolatecrispies Fri 22-Jul-11 22:27:05

I breastfed to sleep for nearly 2 years, then we decided it was long enough and i stopped. It took a few weeks to adjust but he now goes to sleep quickly and easily with bath followed by cuddles, reading and music, I wouldn't worry, if feeding to sleep is working then do it until you or he wants to change! Breast milk seems designed to make babies sleep, so why not use biology rather than fight it because the ' experts' say something isn't right?

TurtlesAreRetroRight Fri 22-Jul-11 22:31:05

While it works and you're happy to do it, I'd continue. Nature designed it that way.

DD was fed to sleep for a couple of years. She (as I believe most children will) let me know when she was ready to self settle without it. She is 4yo now but for a long time she's had a bath and teeth brushed, cuddle, books and lights out. She falls asleep in about 17 seconds flat. She knows that bed is a secure, happy, comforting place and she will even ask to go to bed earlier when tired. Tonight I sat outside her room listening to her explaining to her doll that it's the weekend and so we're going on an adventure tomorrow. Her speech got slower and quieter until she was snoring.

HopeForTheBest Fri 22-Jul-11 22:53:26

I did it, almost exactly the same as Turtle, though ds (now 4) stopped bf at 14months (his "decision" iyswim).

He is an excellent sleeper. Always was, actually. I never saw the bf-ing to sleep as a negative thing though. I thought that's what babies needed and wanted.

lottytheladybird Sat 23-Jul-11 11:07:04

These comments are really encouraging and has made me feel better about feeding my DS to sleep. I feel that books always make you feel bad about feeding babies to sleep, that it's wrong.

Turtle - your DD sounds really sweet! smile

Scootergrrrl Sat 23-Jul-11 11:11:16

We are still feeding to sleep at 16 months which is great when I want to use the magic boob to get him to sleep and not so great in the middle of the night when it's the only thing that will get him back off to sleep.

TittyBojangles Sat 23-Jul-11 11:18:33

Awww, just had a little tear in my eye reading about your DD Turtle smile

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Sat 23-Jul-11 20:20:22

Feeding to sleep works! Use it!

Ditch whatever book said not to.

AngelDog Sat 23-Jul-11 22:52:24

I've always either (usually) bf'd 18 m.o. DS to sleep or (sometimes) rocked him to sleep.

IMO feeding to sleep is ideal. smile

DS sleeps better now than at any other point in his life. He can now self-settle if he's wide awake in the middle of the night, although not at bedtime yet.

He has just learnt to repeat the sequence of 'clean nappy, milk and sleep' which comes before bed. You should see the size of his grin as he looks forward to it. smile

<waves to MFM - sorry I didn't catch you properly on that other thread whose details I've completely forgotten now smile >

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Sun 24-Jul-11 07:21:49

<waves to angeldog! grin >

DesperateHousewife21 Sun 24-Jul-11 10:10:38

Im the same as you, I feed 1yo ds to sleep for nighttime and first morning nap.

I started to worry I was doing it all wrong, then I read an article on Kellymom which really reassured me, saying its perfectly normal to bf to sleep and the baby will grow out of it when he/she is ready to.

Thomasinathomas Mon 25-Jul-11 10:37:15

I'm starting to worry about this with my 9-week-old, as she's waking very frequently in the night for very brief comfort feeds (often every hour), but howling if I try to get her back to sleep any other way. She falls asleep feeding, then when I put her down, she wakes very quickly when she realises she's no longer being cuddled. It takes hours before she settles at night. Same for daytime naps. It worries me that I'm setting up really bad habits, and depriving us all of sleep - and she's getting much grizzlier than I am!

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Mon 25-Jul-11 12:15:01

Thomasina please don't worry. You are not making bad habits. But you have a very young baby who needs reassurance that you are there looking after them. It is very normal for young babies to only sleep on you. It is nothing to do with anything you do.

Just go with it. Changing it now would be hard work and questionable from a psychological point of view. Plus your work would no doubt all be undone with all the changes your lo will go through in the coming months. It will get better on its own. I promise.

You can use bf (sorry, just reread and not sure if you are bf or not) as a sleep aid for as long as you want...all lo's will grow out of it eventually. But if you can get fed up of it before they do you can deal with it then. It will probably be easier the later that is, especially if they are at the point of knowing you will come back (around 9m iirc)

Comfort is a need in a baby as young as yours, almost on a par with food.

Ignore anyone who says anything about rods and backs. They are talking crap.

AngelDog Mon 25-Jul-11 13:02:37

I agree entirely with MFM - and I speak as someone who had a DS who would only sleep in a sling during the day at that age. People told me I shouldn't 'give in' to him or he'd still need it at age 2. Actually, the way he slept had all changed again by 14 weeks - and again by 6 months - and again by 8 months - and again at 11 months - and again at 13 months - and again at 18 months (you get the idea smile)

It improves lots after about 12 weeks anyway. Before then, babies go straight into REM type sleep from which they wake really easily (like when you put them down). After about 3 months, they go straight into a deeper sleep so can be moved more easily.

Yahboosnubs Mon 25-Jul-11 15:57:42

Thomasina I have the same issue with my 3 week old DD but have found that warming the Moses basket for a few minutes with a hot water bottle or a hairdryer (also good for white noise!) before I put her in it really helps. Also, she has to have been asleep for at least five minutes for it to work. It's lovely and natural that they want to stay cuddled with you when they're this little, but sometimes you need to have a shower/go to the loo/make lunch/sleep properly/swing your empty arms around, don't you?!

Thomasinathomas Tue 26-Jul-11 07:28:28

Ah, swinging empty arms around, now there's a thought! Although I reckon personal trainers could learn something from the exercise technique of changing a duvet cover while carrying a baby in a sling.

LO is wise to the hot water bottle trick, and to my t-shirt being left with her too. But I know it's all two steps forward, one step back - got a 5.5 hour stretch of sleep last night, a miracle! (Although I also fell asleep next to her cuddling her to sleep.) Probably won't happen again for awhile, but I'll cling to the dream of 5 hours on a regular basis.

Thanks, AngelDog - I was hoping this might be the case - It's just difficult when you can't see the future, and the two extremes of advice (live with it/train 'em or they'll be a nightmare) just leave you feeling like you're doing it wrong whatever you do.

pinkytheshrinky Tue 26-Jul-11 07:54:16

I have to agree with all the ladies who say this is completely normal. Mine are 10, 7, 2 and 11 months. The older two are and always have been amazing sleepers, they were breastfed to sleep until they were about 18 months I think and then had a bottle and then gave them up. The two year old takes a milk to bed but is getting to the point when he sometimes doesn't drink it so that is going to start changing soon. And the 11 month old still has a booby for bed and if he needs settling in the night.

I have co-slept with them all and have had the babies in our room until they are about 2 - i think according to the 'book' I have done it all wrong.

They are all nice adjusted good sleeping good eating children so I think it is the most natural thing in the world

Antidote Tue 26-Jul-11 07:54:45

Not to depress you thomasina, but my ds is 9 months and hasn't yet slept for longer than 3 hours on a regular basis. He has done 5 hours once or twice, but not often.

To be honest you just get used to it. I'm back at work full time, and doing ok!

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Tue 26-Jul-11 10:46:52

thomasina fwiw most sleep training (and def cc)isn't recommended till 6m, some say a year. I really think even the advocates would say this is way too young to worry about it. smile

I agree with's amazing how you adjust!

sedgiebaby Tue 26-Jul-11 11:14:51

Hi Lotty - I think it is possible you might get some different views if you posted on the sleep board. I have observed in my own family and circle of friends long term issues with sleep for mums who have fed to sleep for all sleeps for more than a year. In one or two cases the impact appeared to me to be negative in that the babies were not getting sufficient sleep because of being unable to self settle and multiple night wakings beyond the first year, what I mean is red eyed cranky babies! My own thought is if baby can self settle for some sleeps (naps for example) then probably it wont become an issue.

My dd self settled as a newborn, later though, I found myself feeding to sleep for all sleeps (she got sick, plus I was trying to increase feeds to improve my supply and feeding at nap/nights/wakings) next thing she was waking hourly or more often and I was getting quite low at the lack of rest, also I was concerned she needed more sleep than she was getting. I decided to stop feeding to sleep at around 5 months and used other things to get baby to settle for naps and wakings, mostly from NCSS and Baby Whisperer (a routine for sleeps and shushing/patting etc). Within a month she was sleeping through the night eating better in the day and in a better mood, as was I! We have regressions when she is sick/teething etc and we co-sleep but because neither of us sleeps as well or as long co-sleeping, once this passes I do a bit more of the shushing/patting and we are back on track. Most of the time I tuck her in tell her its sleepy time and that is that! She naps well too and consistently gets 14 hours out of 24 which I believe is recommended at this age.

I'm a no cry mum, I don't like 'harsh' sleep training but there are gentler thing you can do to encourage self settling and sounder sleep for the whole family.

hels71 Tue 26-Jul-11 22:16:34

I BF my DD to sleep and co-slept until she was 34 months..when she asked to sleep in her own bed and informed me she didn't need BF any more......
She settles herself at bedtime with no problems, often singing happily till she drops off!!

redvelvetpoppy Wed 27-Jul-11 06:34:09

bf to sleep worked for us! It's one of the benefits of bf IMO grin Co-sleeping great too...the hormones produced during bf help a mum to get back to sleep more easily. I went back to work when DS was 1y & we've continued bf and a degree of co-sleeping & he is now 3 & has no difficulties self settling or going for sleepovers with family. He sleeps for 11hrs at night & I used to bf him to sleep for naps too if he wanted a feed.

I think for me the only disadvantage was that sometimes I'd pass out on the bed without meaning to & lose that freetime. But then with young children you take sleep where you can get it sometimes! Anyway we've had no difficulties getting him into his own bed, leaving him with a sitter etc etc

To Thomasina - at 9w your lo is going through such a demanding time growing & developing & it's natural to find yourself pinned to the sofa or bed just feeding & feeding & feeding....IT WILL PASS. I read somewhere, maybe Kellymom that if you meet the demand, the demand goes away xx

AngelDog Wed 27-Jul-11 06:40:49

Ha, that passing out on the bed when you didn't mean to sounds so familiar!

I struggled to go to sleep before I had DS (and always have done) but bf'ing to sleep has basically fixed my insomnia. smile

Waking at night, needing a feed & going back to sleep isn't generally a sign of sleep deprivation in babies. Even adults wake between sleep cycles, we just tend to roll over and go back to sleep so quickly that we don't remember it afterwards.

As Antidote says, it is amazing how you get used to it (especially if you're able to co-sleep). I was an exhausted wreck at 9 weeks although DS actually slept quite well at night then. By 6 months he woke far more often, but I was much less tired. confused

GotArt Wed 27-Jul-11 06:57:11

I BF to sleep till DD1 was 20 months, then she weaned herself. DD2 is proving to be the opposite in that I feed her and can lay her down awake and she nods off. They're all different, go with it and enjoy it while it lasts. You could give warm milk and a digestive while reading bedtime stories if you need to have not BF to sleep at night though. That's what I ended up doing with DD1. She gets water and cookie now (2.8 years old) and it works great.

dycey Wed 27-Jul-11 09:46:35

I stopped b feeding to sleep at bedtime at 6 months in the hope that he would stop waking up all night - he didn't! But once he had learnt the new pattern (about a week of crying for five minutes) he did settle every night after that with no crying and on his own. Not such a bad thing.

There are many ways to do this! But feeding all night for a year ( like I did) is knackering beyond belief. Or I found it to be so.

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