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How do you stop feeding to sleep?

(23 Posts)
Snowgirl1 Wed 07-Mar-12 13:16:48

My DD is 10 weeks old and every night I breastfeed her, she falls asleep and I pop her in her moses basket (repeat until she doesn't wake up when I put her down). I intend to keep breastfeeing (fingers crossed) for at least 6 months, but am wondering how and when I should move to getting her to settle herself to sleep?

Alicethroughthelurkingglass Wed 07-Mar-12 14:23:53

Well, you don't have to, unless you want to. I still bf my 10mo DS to sleep - it was just too traumatic all round when I tried to stop. And he sleeps through (well, most of the time!) so I honestly think it's a myth in all those books that say thy'll expect to be bf again every time they surface in the night.

But, to answer your actual question... I've mostly been going by Penelope Leach (an old book!) who says iirc by 6 months aim not to be feeding them to sleep very much. The recommendation seems to be to feed them until they're sleepy but still awake, and then pop them in the cot to self-settle. Or else, if you have a bath and bed routine, to try switching it around so you feed before bath or book or whatever. There are lot of threads on here about this, so it'd be worth doing a search.

I'd not worry about it at 10 weeks though, and not worry about it at all because you think it's something you "should" do or not do. I'd only change it if it's no longer working for you/your family.

Snowgirl1 Wed 07-Mar-12 17:53:28

Thanks Alice, it's not that I particularly want to stop feeding her to sleep - or at least not yet - but it's got to stop at some point (assuming I don't want to have a 10 year old who needs bf to sleep wink) and at some point I might get the chance to have a night out (...well, I can hope!) and would like to go knowing that my DH or parents aren't having to deal with an inconsolable baby.

Thanks for the suggestion of doing a search; the book recommendation; and info on what the book suggests.

Lauwtje Wed 07-Mar-12 21:26:34

When my daughter was about 4 months old I slowly started trying taking her off before she was fully asleep. Sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn't. If it didn't I would just relatch her and try again. I must admit it took a long time, but I didn't want her to cry or 'force' to self settle if she wasn't ready.

Now at 8 months I can feed her at night, take her into her room awake, give her a cuddle until drowsy and put her in her cot. I've been able to do this for about 2 months now with more succes now she's a bit older!

StealthToddler Wed 07-Mar-12 21:30:03

I bf ds3 to sleep until 10 months when because of sheer exhaustion (working ft and he had started expecting to feed to sleep every time he woke which was every 2 hours) we decided enough was enough. Got to same stage at similar points with ds1 and ds2.

We don't like leaving to cry for a long time but needed to teach him to self settle. So I still bf at 7pm then he has a little play with his brothers and a story so all his wind is up and he is calm. Then dh takes him off to his bedroom. Ds3 "helps" turn the light off and then as long as he is calm he goes to bed. He now settles without a cry and sleeps from 7.30 to 6.30 and also settles in bed for naps happily. It took 3 days max.

First night he cried for 5 mins then we picked him up, cuddled and calmed him and put him down again. Cried for 5 mins then picked him up again. Then 3 minutes of crying and he was asleep. He slept all the way thru the first night then cried once in the night for 5 mins for 2 nights.

Overall in that process he cried a lot less than when I used to feed/cuddle him to sleep and he would wake the second I put him down.

It's hard and dh had to do it as I don't like any crying. But we are a different family. However I have never done this before 9 months!

jjazz Wed 07-Mar-12 21:54:56

10 weeks!!! You are asking the right question at the wrong time.
I wrote this post:
when my DS was 18 yes 18 months. It was a breeze for us and I dont regret feeding him to sleep for so long at all. Replace boob with cuddle/story and water form feeder cup when ever you are ready, be consistent and go with the flow. x

thing1andthing2 Thu 08-Mar-12 15:33:27

I made the transition between about 6-8 months as I was going back to work at 8 months and needed DD to be able to go to sleep with the childminder. I did the shush-pat method from the baby whisperer - I put her down in the cot after a feed still awake and stayed with her touching her or patting her, and repeating long shushes. God, it took 40 minutes to get her off to begin with, but that quickly came down to 20 and eventually I could kiss her and leave her to go to sleep on her own. It wasn't easy but she had got the stage where she wouldn't reliably go to sleep on the boob anyway so I had to try something to teach her to get herself off.
My advice would be to wait until you need to do it- i.e. she doesn't go to sleep on the boob any more, or someone else is going to have to settle him to bed e.g at childcare. If that's the case, why not let your DH put him to bed after a feed and get him off and you go downstairs to have a glass of wine grin. Dads can be very good at it, and then dh can tell you what he does when he's cracked it and you can copy him!

alittlebitcountry Thu 08-Mar-12 20:01:01

I'm really glad I found this thread - perfect timing as DD (12.5) months has just dropped off in my arms over her bottle yet again.
I've been savouring every cuddle but feeling a bit guilty about not helping her learn to go to sleep in her own bed.
So thanks jjazz your thread has helped one more person smile
OP - good luck, I'm sure you'll work out whats best for you in time, I wouldn't worry just yet.

diyqueen Thu 08-Mar-12 22:11:22

You may well find that your baby stops feeding to sleep of her own accord - that's what happened for us. At 10 weeks my dd wanted to feed most of the day, always fed to sleep, would scream with rage if I attempted to put her down anywhere, had to be very deeply asleep before I could finally put her in her moses basket, was never asleep before 1am... She is now 11 months old, and this evening as usual went to bed at about 7.30 after a feed (we are still breastfeeding and it's still lovely - gets easier and easier as you go on), awake, snuggled down quietly in her cot and went to sleep by herself. We haven't done any kind of sleep training, in fact dd co-slept with me from 5 to 10 months until she suddenly decided she likes her cot after all - the stopping feeding to sleep and the earlier bedtime just sort of happened (though we've had a wind-down for bed with stories, feed in dim room etc. since she was a few months old).

Your dd is still tiny and will change enormously over the next few months, don't worry about her feeding to sleep just yet, contrary to what some of the books say it won't become a 'bad habit' or stop her ever settling by herself - she just needs to be with you to feel safe enough to sleep at the moment.

LetsKateWin Fri 09-Mar-12 21:42:48

I fed-to-sleep until DD was 12.5 months. When I dropped the night feed I used to cuddle and sing to her before putting her down and it seemed to do the trick.

Hope88 Sat 10-Mar-12 21:19:06

I still fed to sleep my DS at 2.5 and then I stopped breastfeeding. He is fine now. Able to fall asleep by himself in his own cot. I would not worry about it too much. All these books telling you not to feed them to sleep are obviously not right all the time. Well I did believe the books at the start but thought I would have to deal with it somehow later on because it was just too convenient to feed him to sleep to stop. But it transpired I didn't have to. I think it might be the nature's way to help tired mums with the babies. Why would otherwise be the sleeping hormone in the milk? Just enjoy it. It will be fine.

vesela Mon 12-Mar-12 23:00:13

I did it until I weaned DD at 15 months. I had the same worries as you when she was a couple of months old, but the fact that feeding to sleep was so useful/quick always won out in the end. I didn't have any problems weaning.

Milkmaestro Sun 23-Sep-12 08:48:48

How did you stop bf at bedtime/night? My ds is 19 months and cries and screams at any suggestion of no boob at bedtime...we have tried his dad putting him to bed and he screams for ages, often until he is sick sad I've been away over night a couple of times for work and he usually ends up crying himself to sleep with his dad cuddling him and then wakes frequently crying in the night OR simply will not go to sleep at all...

sedgieloo Sun 23-Sep-12 20:35:04

I'm a mum of one so not exactly voice of experience here but my thought is if you do not feed to sleep for every sleep and waking then it should be ok. If you do then baby may become reliant on sucking and a full belly to go off to sleep. If you can vary what you do starting with daytime naps then the night wakings won't always mean having to offer the breast. Sometimes babies do not give up wanting to feed to sleep. I have seen this in my own family. The night wakings can keep happening for months years with little one unable to relax back to into restful sleep when stirring without help to the exhaustion of the whole family. Other times it seems to just resolve itself. White noise or womb noise can be good at this age. Especially if little one is a light sleeper. We found this really helpful. I'm about to have baby no two and will use womb/white noise early on and although I plan to breast feed and co sleep I think I will have in mind to encourage some self settling for daytime naps if I can manage to with a toddler to care for at the same time smile

ReshapeWhileDamp Mon 24-Sep-12 18:46:40

Not sure - DS1 would have been between 18 months and 2 years, and it happened naturally - I still breastfed him but was by then putting him down awake, sitting in his room for a minute or two and leaving. It worked 3 out of 4 times.. smile He's now 4.5 and a good independent sleeper.

DS2 is 21 m and mostly feeds to sleep, but is coming into that magic time when sometimes, I can put him down sleepy and he will actually go to sleep! Hooray! grin

At ten weeks ... I wouldn't sweat it, OP! grin Honestly, it's what boobs are for at that age. Makes them all lovely and sleepy, makes you all lovely and sleepy. My HV said, about DS1 feeding to sleep, 'it's only a problem if you want it to be'. Horses for courses.

SunsetsandSeagulls Mon 24-Sep-12 19:02:32

I bf'd my DD to sleep until 15.5 mths and now she just gets straight into bed. It was a nice transition done at her pace. I was back at work when she was 12 mo so just did morning and night bf, so it's totally doable after 6months and I think must be a great way to drop off. smile

Iggly Mon 24-Sep-12 19:06:39

Milk I started introducing a beaker of milk before a BF with ds at a similar age. DH would also do some of the routine. So when I wasn't there, it wouldn't be much different. DH was heavily involved in bedtime - can you get yours involved more?

As for the OP - don't worry if it works! As baby gets older you can try to get your DH involved more and get baby used to different ways of sleeping.

Startailoforangeandgold Mon 24-Sep-12 19:06:52

Why do you want to???

I still BF DD2 to sleep some nights after she'd started school, its the most beautiful thing you do as a Mother.

Only problem was it got to the point where I needed DH to lift her off and carry her up stairs as my grotty knee complained.

mummysmellsofsick Mon 24-Sep-12 19:14:15

I still feed to sleep my 10mo. I have watched other mums put their babies through all sorts in an effort to teach them to self settle. When I'm not there other people rock him to sleep in the rocking chair. No biggie... I'm sure they learn naturally in their own time.

mummysmellsofsick Mon 24-Sep-12 19:15:00


Startailoforangeandgold Mon 24-Sep-12 20:18:38

It doesn't get any better. I had both DD2 who is 11 and DD1 who's 14 doze off on me during the Olympics (having a hug not feeding wink).

DD2, DH can just about manage to give a piggy back, but DD1 is taller than me and has to be woken up.

i can assure the mum's of small DC's it still feels beautiful when you realise that they've dozed of on you

Iggly Mon 24-Sep-12 20:27:17

That's sweet Startail

ButtonBoo Mon 24-Sep-12 20:33:06

DD is 11mo and I still feed to sleep. But at night only. She gets to sleep for her naps with a little rub in the back.

We stopped feeding at night at around 7mo, once she was fully weaned. It was honestly no drama at all. I really feared it but the first night she tried to latch on so I just repositioned her and cuddled her back to sleep. The next night she didn't even try to latch on and after a few nights she just started sleeping through. Then teething set in!! But that's another thread. Stopping feeding during the night wasn't anywhere near the drama I feared. I kept putting it off expecting her to scream her head off but she didn't.

At 10wks feeding to sleep is fine. I started stopping this for maps when DD was 4-5mo and replaced with ssh-pat. That stopped working around 6-7mo and now I just put my hand on her back or smooth her hair for a few mins. I think the best thing to start changing is to feed and then pick up or move until they wake up and then cuddle or ssh-pat back to sleep. You can then increase the time between the two by a little week by week. The first time it needs only be 30secs and they'll still be so sleepy they should drop straight back to sleep.

Good luck!!

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