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am I "Just a human dummy"?

(24 Posts)
Moulesfrites Mon 11-Jul-11 11:39:20

I am feeling a bit low in confidence with my bf at the minute. My ds is 24 weeks and ebf, except for the past few days we have started him on solids as he was showing the signs of readiness. Since about 15 weeks his sleep has gone haywire - it has improved in fits and starts but there are still nights, like last night, where he wakes up every 2/3 hours. He can go longer then this between daytime feeds, so sometimes I doubt that he can actually be hungry but i am so tired that all i can think to do is to feed him back to sleep every time he wakes.

I thought i felt ok about feeding to sleep as I had read on here about people doing it and seeing it as a positive thing, but i mentioned it to my mum and she said he was just using me as a dummy, which i found hurtful as she has always been very supportive of me bf as she did it herself. i am also nervous as i am supposed to be going out of Friday, so will have to leave expressed milk with dh and am not confident how well ds will settle.

Am i doing a terrible thing by feeding to sleep? for the first time i feel a bit "tied" by bf, and have started to get a few "are you still feeding him" comments - he is not even 6m ffs! but i dont know many rl people who have done it for this long, and i ideally would like to get to at least a year. just looking for a bit if encouragement tbh!

OTheHugeManatee Mon 11-Jul-11 11:49:18

You're not a human dummy. The hypothetical dummy is a (part of an) artificial human. Calling you a human dummy is a horrible way of depersonalising something incredibly intimate.

FFS, people say the stupidest things hmm

notnowbernard Mon 11-Jul-11 11:51:20


Could your Mum have meant it in a "He is using you for comfort" way? I refer to myself as a dummy sometimes, in jest - DS is 11m nearly and still wakes frequently in the night: between 2-4 times, usually <rubs eyes> and always has done (he's been better and easier to settle since about 9m or so, to give you a shred of hopewink)

Sometimes he doesn't need feeding back to sleep, sometimes he does. I can generally tell by how loud he's yelling, tbh. If he starts shouting his head off and refuses to lie down I know only the boob will do

I think (and he is my 3rd) that by 'going with the flow' you are doing brilliantly, as it's not always easy to do - it's bloody knackering, frankly. But I haven't worked out an alternative (I just know CC won't work with him)

Also, 6m-12m is prime age for teething and this might disturb his sleep even more, bf or no bf... (does with DS anyway)

It does get easier... I was where you were at 6m, I think DS was at his peak of awfulness, sleepwise, at that age

Hang on in there! smile

notnowbernard Mon 11-Jul-11 11:52:05

And there you have two polar opposite opinions. Take your pick grin

COCKadoodledooo Mon 11-Jul-11 11:53:04

I can tell you it does improve smile

I had similar comments, feelings and sleep patterns when ds2 was that age. He's now 20 months, and at bedtime I can read him a story, say goodnight and he'll lie down in bed and go straight to sleep. I still bf him during the day most days, but he no longer needs to feed to sleep. Don't worry, it hasn't taken this long to get it sorted wink

We (I) night weaned him at 13 months, although he'd settled down to one, maybe two feeds tops at night by then anyway, but he still fed to sleep at bedtime (not always bf, a lot of the time he had a bottle of cows' milk).

Try not to worry on Friday night (easier said than done!) - concentrate on YOU!

RuthChan Mon 11-Jul-11 11:53:37

I'll encourage you!!
I ebf both my DCs for more than a year each.
Both of mine fed to sleep for the entire time.
Yes, it can be exhausting and yes, you can sometimes feel like a human dummy, but it is all worth it and is so good for your happy healthy little person.

Babies rarely have regular sleep patterns that last very long. They are always entering new phases.
It could be that he genuinely is hungry at the moment because he's going through a growth spurt. Or maybe he's going through an insecure phase and needs to feel close to his mummy.
Whatever the reason, the chances are that within a week he'll be heading into a new phase and sleeping better again.
Please don't give up now, while you are so positive about continuing.

As for Friday, yes, it is quite likely that your DS will struggle to settle with your DH and a bottle, but don't worry. He will settle at some point and I'm sure your DH will be able to cope for one evening. You on the other hand, have probably earned a good night out several times over! It will do the boys in your life good to have some time to get to know each other better without mummy around!

TheSnickeringFox Mon 11-Jul-11 11:54:10


A dummy is a silicone mum. Boobs came first!

I still feed my 8 mo to sleep and will do so as long as he needs it. It's lovely.

notnowbernard Mon 11-Jul-11 11:56:43

Tell you what though, I tried BLOODY HARD to get DS to take a dummy(and did he? Of course not...)

They ain't called pacifiers for nothing

TheSnickeringFox Mon 11-Jul-11 12:00:37

grin notnowbernard, of course we never did that...

<crams unused dummies into cupboard>

KnitterNotTwitter Mon 11-Jul-11 12:00:38

The reality is that your child is associating feeding with the love and comfort that you give as a mother - the special love and comfort that can only come from a mother. And that is a truely wonderful thing.

Your child wakes in the night, needs calming and turns to you - the person they most associate with safety and being nurtured - in all senses of the word. By responding to their needs you're further developing the lifelong bond you will have between you and setting the groundwork for communicating well with your child.

You've done fantastically well to BF this far and to be honest just because it isn't common in our society doesn't mean that it isn't normal.... Around the world in most cultures BF goes on for much longer than here - and they'd consider stopping earlier as un-naturally cruel.

In response to people who say he's just 'using you as a dummy'... remember that the boob came first and a dummy is a poor substitute IMO.

Enjoy your night out... Remember that whoever is with your DS may indeed struggle and your DS may well cry more than they would if you were there... but it's a learning experience for both of them and one that they'll get more familiar with the more times they do it...

TheSnickeringFox Mon 11-Jul-11 12:02:24

Lovely Knitter. Beautifully put smile

notnowbernard Mon 11-Jul-11 12:06:30

That was a nice post knitter smile

Moulesfrites Mon 11-Jul-11 12:10:34

thank you ladies, some of your posts have made me cry blush.

EauRouge Mon 11-Jul-11 12:27:43

I just wanted to back up what everyone else has said, it sounds like you're doing a great job so try not to let other people undermine your confidence (I know it's tough sometimes). Is there a BF group near you?

Longtalljosie Mon 11-Jul-11 12:32:45

Just to say I fed DD to sleep every night for her first year. I did wonder what would happen on nights I had to be away but actually changing it took about 3 nights of cuddling to sleep then we were away. All that worry for nothing!

The generation above us have been fed a lot of insidious crap from formula companies, the concept of the human dummy being just one. If you were cuddling your baby no-one would suggest you were being a human bouncy chair!

TheRealMBJ Mon 11-Jul-11 12:41:48

We live in a society that views giving and receiving comfort from mum as 'a bad thing' which is absolutely bizarre. We want little a babies to learn to 'self settle' before they can verbalised their needs. It is bonkers!

You are doing a lovely, lovely thing and as long as you and your DS is happy with the situation you should not be put under any pressure to stop.

You sound like a lovely, empathetic mum.

beancounting Mon 11-Jul-11 14:05:43

I agree with all the supportive posts above but I just wanted to add that I wonder if this could be the dreaded 4 month sleep regression? DD's sleep went totally to pot at about this age and like you I got into the habit of feeding her every time she woke even if it was every couple of hours (or at its grimmest every hour!).

There's absolutely nothing wrong with that and it worked for us in terms of getting more sleep at the time, but I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I'd tried to resettle without automatically feeding (e.g. cuddling/rocking/stroking instead) on every other waking because we did get stuck in a habit of feeding on every waking which lasted until about 7 months (and she's still a rubbish sleeper at 12mo but that's a different thread!). But they are all different, a friend fed her DD to sleep every night for 11 months and she slept through quite early on; so I would probably do the same again, there's something lovely about your DC being so snuggly and comfy and secure that they nod off on the boob!

And enjoy your night off, it will be good for all of you! smile

KnitterNotTwitter Mon 11-Jul-11 14:47:22

My theory on sleep regressions is that they're 'caused' by the increased brain activity linked to the brain wiring up to do new skills or to pass through new conceptual moments... Things like sitting up, rolling, crawling, walking AND/OR things like understanding sense of self, sense of separation, sense of time...

The brain gets all hot and active, and therefore baby can't drop into the deepest levels of sleep (and give you a rest)... however when you think about it your baby is going through all this stuff and it is only natural that they'd like someone to be there with them.... We're social animals and do our best when we're in supportive loving groups.... and by responding to your child in a loving way at these times also teaches/shows them how they should respond when they're the carer looking after someone else.

It was at the three month point that DS started co-sleeping with us as that meant that i could function despite his hourly waking. I fed him to sleep until 19mo, and he was waking less and less and taking less and less milk at that point when an ectopic pregnancy and subsequent stay in hospital meant an end to our BFing... I still miss it...

Moulesfrites Mon 11-Jul-11 21:19:53

funny you should say that knitter as he has just got to grips with sitting and rolling - he has come on so much over the past few weeks so that might explain it!

shuckleberryfinn Mon 11-Jul-11 21:36:34

I love being the owner of the baby shutter upper. :D I usually answer such comments with a huge grin and the phrase "she's a lucky girl". Just thought I'd share. It's not possible for you to be used as a dummy for previously posted reasons.

The thing is breastfeeding is a mysterious and magical thing (once you're over the hell weeks anyway) and if they want to suck I think they want to suck for a reason. It's easy to say and hard to do but roll with it is my philosophy.

IgnoringTheChildren Mon 11-Jul-11 21:47:39

Your experience sounds almost identical to mine with my DS2. At the time I found it so difficult, felt like a human dummy as I wasn't convinced he was hungry and the fact that I was so exhausted didn't exactly help my reasoning! I ended up co-sleeping for a while (which I would never have considered with DS1) and I was concerned that I was doing everything wrong and setting myself up for a difficult time.

Looking back I now think that he actually was hungry a lot of the time before he started eating larger amounts (he's BLW and when we first started on solids it made his sleep worse!) I did try not to feed him to sleep as he's a windy feeder and tends to wake up screaming if not burped before bed, however he wasn't good at settling himself (how many babies are?!) and would only take a dummy very occasionally (which is possibly more irritating than never taking one!)

Anyway he's now 7 months old, is eating loads of solids, will settle himself to sleep during the day and about 50% of the time at night, and is sleeping through some nights (although he did wake every couple of hours throughout the night almost every day we were on holiday last week angry). I've not really done anything to try to achieve this either, although I do now leave him a little longer when he wakes at night (I used to go to him straight away as I was worried about him waking up DS1 and DH) as he will often have a little cry when he wakes up (he hates waking up at night!) and then settle himself back to sleep in a couple of minutes.

Hopefully it will get easier for you soon too!

BoosMaw Mon 11-Jul-11 21:56:15

To leave him with your DH will be a good thing, it will be an opportunity for him to try to settle without BF, and may lead to an improvement in the night time situation.

I BF both my DC on demand, and let them self wean, and never imposed any limits. It was utterly wearing at times. My DS totally self weaned at 11 months, my DD had cow milk allergy and we struggled to get her off the boobs, she fed for quite a bit longer than that but had no alternative. 6 months is so young - ignore any batty opinions and follow your instinct.

japhrimel Mon 11-Jul-11 21:57:10

Could it be partly reverse cycling? I was bemoaning DD's inability to sleep through anymore despite being able to go 4-5 hours without a feed during the day, then it clicked when talking to another MUm and I realised she was getting most of her milk at night! During the day she is so distractible now that we can "forget" to nurse often enough. I've done 2 days of making sure she feeds about every 2 hours during the day and her sleep has (fingers crossed...everything crossed!) improved.

Nagini Mon 11-Jul-11 22:04:27

I've just stopped feeding my DD at every whimper in the night. She was getting ridiculous, waking every hour/ 1.5 hours just for a 10 min suck and not taking any milk (get the let down going then come off... not at all annoying hmm ) Now I won't feed her between 12-5. She gets a cuddle off daddy. After 2 days she started to sleep through a lot longer. She was about 26 weeks. I did feel like a human dummy. Now I feel much better and I even had a dream the other day! I hadn't slept deep enough to dream since about 8 months pregnant! smile

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