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If I don't tackle 6 mo DD's nighttime comfort sucking, am I letting her down?

(11 Posts)
whenwillisleepagain Thu 02-Dec-10 08:43:36

Having vowed never to buy another sleep book after my DS was born, I now have 'No Cry Sleep Solution' on order with a view to doing something about DD. But at 6 months, is this the right time? She just started weaning so only getting tastes of food, nowhere near 'full' meals, and it feels like she's done a lot developmentally in the last 2 weeks as well (bypassing rolling and going straight to sitting, generally being even more animated etc). Looked on kellymom and the view there is that human babies need to suckle during night more than any other mammals, co-sleeping and bf (which I do) means they will wake quite a bit but it will all sort itself in fullness of time.

However last night I was reading Dr Ferber, I never felt comfortable with some of his approach, but find other parts useful. If he was describing me and DD he'd say '6 month old X was brought to my clinic by her mother who has been using her breast as a pacifier to get X back to sleep at night. Now at 6 months, X is waking as often as every hour between midnight and 5am. I advised mother to teach X some new sleep associations to help her get back to sleep during the night. '

I have tried with some success to get DD to settle herself at bedtime, which she can do if I time it right. But during the night seems different. I don't think she's drinking gallons of milk because she's not wet in the morning although her nappy is very heavy, and the breast I offer her feels like it's still got milk in. Have i been a crap mum by sticking my boob in her mouth when she stirs at night and letting her go to sleep on it? I have tried to make her wait / pick her up instead but she makes so much noise and gets so upset - and I do have to consider DS who is 4 as well. It's meant I get some sleep - she's in bedside cot, so we could try moving it, but now DD is coming up to 7 months and separation anxiety, is that another reason to wait or act now? I just got up this morning, thinking I have completely done the opposite of what I planned in terms of 'teaching her good sleep habits' but hey ho, she's my last baby and I have around 3 months before I go back to work - do I go with kellymom or Dr Ferber?

Sorry for long post - may put on sleep thread too.

megonthemoon Thu 02-Dec-10 08:49:17

Firstly you're not a crap mum . You are comforting her in the best possible way, rather than letting her get upset and that is being a good mum.

But every hour is tough, and unsustainable for you I'd say. My DS was usually waking once or twice at night at this stage and I had no problem breastfeeding him back to sleep, even if it was just comfort sucking, but I think I'd be tempted to try to change things if it was every hour - though perhaps not right at this moment. I think at this stage with all the new stuff going on for DD (weaning and developmental stuff) then you shouldn't attempt to change things if you are reasonably happy with how they are now.

Maybe think again in a couple of weeks to see if things have settled down.

PrettyCandlesAndTinselToo Thu 02-Dec-10 08:54:47

First of al - and I'm sure that deep down you really know this - you have not been a crap mother for trying to meet your Dd's needs, at the same time as meeting your ds's needs. Hey, motherhood is a perpetual juggling act of trying to do our best for everybody! And where does that leave us, the mothers? Knackered and doubting ourselves, that's where.

Hold fire until you read TNCSS. The trouble with many books is that they are very all-or-nothing, 'do itthis way or you will regret it'. TNCSS has a different approach, where you can cherry-pick what works for you.

In any case, while many 6mos can sleep through, many still need a feed or two. Perhaps your objective ATM needs to ^be reducing the frequency offeeds, rather than cutting them out.

TruthSweet Thu 02-Dec-10 09:14:08

Short answer is no, you are not letting her down - you are meeting her CURRENT needs not her needs in a few months/a years time - you can look after those needs when they are there. Why borrow trouble?

DD3 is 13 m/o and has always been nursed to sleep from (except when she falls asleep in the car/pram), guess what she no longer nurses to sleep. I haven't followed any books, she, by herself, has stopped falling asleep at the breast and is now put in to the cot sleepy and she falls asleep without crying. If I tried that at 11 m/o she would have screamed the house down.

We co-slept until about 10m/o (though would transfer into the bedside cot after she had fallen to sleep sometimes) but when we swapped rooms with DD1&2 there was no room for the cot to go next to the bed so it is now against the wall near the foot of the bed.

She then started her sleep in bed next to me and I always moved her to the cot, then it was feeding her sitting on the end of the bed until she went to sleep, now it's a quick feed and put her down in the cot whilst still awake (the short feed is finished by her - she turns to look at the cot).

I'm also pleased she now only wakes once in the night but I think she doesn't really wants a feed then as she will only take a little then turn away from me so I'm going to start cuddling her and putting her back in the cot rather than feeding her in bed.

The gist of all this is babies' needs change and as they grow up they gradually give up these in their own time. Your baby will sleep independently in her own time. Trust her.

HarriettP Thu 02-Dec-10 17:32:28

Really interesting to read all your posts. My DD is 23weeks and like TruthSweet she has always nursed to sleep (except for car/pram) she wakes 2-3 times in the night at the moment at 10min feed back to sleep.

I was made to feel like I was in the wrong for using myself as a comforter and that 'she had me wrapped around her little finger'!

Glad to see that it is likely that she will grow out of it when she is ready rather than making her and me upset by leting her cry at

sobloodystupid Thu 02-Dec-10 17:35:07

My little one 23.5 weeks wakes about twice a night for this, glad to hear I'm not alone... <whispers> I secretly enjoy it though

TheFeministParent Thu 02-Dec-10 17:36:50

Whatever gets you through the days and nights is fine!! She's not old enough to make demands only needs.

DreamingofFour Thu 02-Dec-10 17:38:13

Think this mainly depends on how the waking up is affecting you, as I am sure the baby is fine feeding every hour but would equally be probably fine with only one or no feed at night. I find that sleep deprivation sends me into a really horrible place and I am very very grouchy in the day, so was always motivated to get them to sleep through meaning I would be a much nicer mummy in the day. Having said that, I know several people who just don't seem to get grouchy with feeds and waking and in fact quite like that special closeness in the middle of the night - so, you are not a crap mum, whatever way you do it you are doing a great job, just remember to think about yourself too.

PassionKissUnderTheMistletoe Thu 02-Dec-10 19:58:01

OP, I'm in the same situation except DD is seven and a half months now. Still waking every hour on a bad night sad

I feel like I've moaned about it on here quite a lot over the last month and it's not getting any better. Bought No Cry Sleep Solution and it does have some good suggestions but it's main premise "don't feed baby to sleep/ baby must learn to self-settle" seems like an impossible dream to me at the moment grin

Let me know if you have any success!

MumNWLondon Thu 02-Dec-10 20:40:01

I sort of think this is a personal preference thing. Some people happy to bf baby during night, others aren't so keen.

Both DS2 and DD slept all night at 6 months once weaned (onto formula & food) without us doing anything special (DS2 - given HIPP goodnight formula at 11pm / DD was great sleeper did it on her own). DS1 was more difficult but we persevered with controlled crying and only offering water in a bottle when he woke up - took a week or so. Each time was going back to work at 6 months and couldn't deal with functioning at work and night feeds. DS2 aged 7.5 months still has dreamfeed at 10pm ish.

But thats my preference as a parent. FWIW DSIL still BFing DN every couple of hours in the night - he is 16 months. Showing no signs of growing out of it and she said she wishes she'd tackled it earlier and she's finding it impossible to crack despite trying lots of different things recently including controlled crying.

whenwillisleepagain Thu 02-Dec-10 22:04:15

Thank you all for your wise and kind advice. Finally my copy of TNCSS has arrived - had a quick look at it, but think I might just go to bed and read it tomorrow!

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