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Is it bad practice to rock/feed a newborn to sleep?(16 Posts)
Sat here with my first baby, DD, 6 weeks! After a rough start, especially with feeding, we are away with bf and I was feeling pretty confident, until HV yesterday who warned me that rocking her or feeding her to sleep was creating bad habits that could lead to sleep problems in the future.
Just wanted to hear some of your experiences as am in a bit of a panic!
I have been able to put her down drowsy a few times and she has fallen asleep in her bed. But most of the time, she needs rocking or bouncing on exercise ball to get her off for a nap. In the middle of the night she often falls asleep on my boob, so I just put her back down. And this morning for example, she seemed really hungry and has fed a lot, eventually falling asleep on my boob again.
Am I setting us up for a rocky road with sleep? Any experiences / advice welcome, thanks!
No you're not setting yourself up for anything.
Some babies are good at self-soothing and settling to sleep on their own and some aren't. Some change as they mature, both ways.
All you need to worry about just now is providing affectionate and responsive care so your baby feels safe and comforted.
There will be lots of people saying that they put their baby down awake from day one and never let them get dependent. I guarantee that they would have done that anyway.
Lots of people are smug about 'good' first babies and then realise when a subsequent child arrives that they had nothing to do with how easy the first one was after all.
I had the nightmare baby first. I did exactly the same with number 2. In fact I wasn't allowed to put DD2 down at all for the first month (medical advice) so she was in my arms 24/7 and, as soon as she was ready to go in a crib she was able to go down awake and fall asleep easily immediately.
I think your HV needs some updated training.
Thank you. Yes, she really knocked my confidence, have been second guessing myself since she left. Will try and forget about it and carry on as we were! xx
Agree with Goldmandra. Good sleeper or bad sleeper is definitely innate to some extent, and I also know a fair few people who have one of each despite having treated them both the same.
If you want to rock/feed/cuddle your baby to sleep then do it. I did it with mine for his whole first year and I would go as far as to say he turned out to be an excellent sleeper - going to bed happily, self-settling quickly and rarely getting up in the night. So I really don't think it is setting yourself up for disaster.
Oh, that's lovely to hear. Thank you! x
Useful advice I was given was basically do whatever you need to do to get your baby drowsy but always let them do the last part of actually dropping off to sleep. So they go to bed ‘awake but drowsy’ (ideal is eventually to go to bed ‘‘awake and aware’)
My experience has been that it absolutely hasn’t caused any problems feeding my daughter to sleep. I honestly don’t know how she would have slept at night any other way in those early couple of months. It was natural and instinctual to have her drift off to peaceful sleep after a last feed in the dark. What was I meant to do? Wake her up again so she “learned” to drift off herself when she was so tiny? Not going to happen. It was the way we all got good rest, and the lactation consultant I spoke to said it’s absolutely the best thing to do early on if it works for them. They are too tiny to train them into doing anything!
Gradually as she grew, feeding to sleep stopped working. This was around the time she discovered her thumb and she just naturally started to be ok being put down awake as she learned to self soothe. It was nothing I trained her into doing as a parent. I just watched what she was doing and pretty much was led by her.
Now she’s nearly 5 months old and the routine is a bath as soon as I see her rubbing her eyes in the evening, baby gro, sing a song quietly, final feed in the dark, put in cot awake, she sucks her thumb and off she goes. Don’t let anyone tell you you are making a rod for your own back etc. They learn to sleep independently in their own time, as their brains develop. I don’t think it’s anything we can teach them before they are ready.
If that's what you're comfortable doing then no. Some children are snuggly and some learn to self soothe early. My DS is 19 months and needs me to still sit in his room with him while he falls asleep. We read his stories and tuck him in and then I sit and read or something while he nods off just looking at me. They're only little for such a short time so I'm of the opinion there's no such thing as making a rod for your own back. Our primary job is to make sure they feel safe and loved. Enjoy the cuddles 😊
My DD was always rocked to sleep. Some days it took me ages. She's grown up to be a very good sleeper. Can't remember when I stopped rocking her. I was completely led by what she wanted and needed and now I know I did the right thing.
Now with my DS i mostly feed him to sleep. It feels natural and is very easy so can't see why I wouldn't do it. If I chose to 'train' him I'd never get any sleep. I'm dreading stopping breast feeding for this exact reason but I'll cross that bridge wen I get there. If I need to rock him to sleep when I no longer BF I would not hesitate to do so.
I think if you're rocking your baby to sleep from newborn you will constantly have to rock them to sleep... as that's how they are only able to get to sleep. Whereas if you put her in the cotbed or whatever she sleeps in and soothe her to sleep, she will eventually learn to self soothe.
My god! LO is 6 weeks old? Why on earth is the HV telling you that things you do now will create bad habits later?!! Your baby will change from week to week and nothing you do now is creating a rod for your own back.
I say all this as the mother of a 6 month old who had all the same concerns and fears and can say that having breast-fed and co-slept and fed-your-sleep until v recently, and used a dummy, LO is now in his own room, sleeping through the night, going down drowsy but awake and self-settling (not every time but more often than not). If I can do it, anyone can!!!
Trust yourself - you can do this and are doing a great job. Big hugs!!!!
I've been told the same thing about my 8 week old but regard to her falling asleep at night feeding on my boob, that she ll get used to it and don't go to sleep without it.
I'm at a loss on how else I should be getting her to sleep otherwise. HV said that she should be going to sleep on her own but she's never drowsy she's either alert or asleep lol
Plus I refuse to wake her up if she's fallen asleep whilst feeding at 9pm just to get her to go to sleep on her own it's madness. It just so happens she falls asleep whilst feeding and I put her bed.
Honestly just go with what you feel happy & comfortable to do. I rocked my son for months, and again like above comments, he sleeps incredibly well now and has done since he was 9 months old. He puts himself to sleep and wakes up happy and content. The time goes by soooo quickly. I miss all the cuddles we used to have
Well my DH asked the health visitor the same question just yesterday - can you spoil the baby keep picking her up etc and she basically laughed at him and said no of course not and that's what babies need at this age, they cry for a reason and it's actually more harmful to let the baby get upset and tbh I agree with her! This is our 4th baby and our have always slept through very early on. (DD was 3 months and the latest one!)
You are fine. A 6 week old doesn’t understand patterns or routines yet. Do what you need to do and worry about sleep later (6months+).