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I wonder why anyone worries about feeding to sleep

(26 Posts)
BertieBotts Mon 15-Aug-11 19:45:44

And making a "rod for your own back"? Asleep in 6 minutes. Easy. And I get a cuddle while doing it smile And he's now old enough to go to sleep no fuss without milk if I'm not available grin

(To those facing feeding-to-sleep marathons: Let this be the light at the end of your tunnel. To those worrying about feeding newborns to sleep: Stop!)

sancerrre Mon 15-Aug-11 19:49:04

Oooh, I like the sound of this. How old is old enough to go to sleep no fuss without milk? All the books and the paediatrician tell me I'll be feeding to sleep till he's 18 if I don't stop now.

sparkle12mar08 Mon 15-Aug-11 19:55:27

The problem is when they're 2.5 years old for example, and your whole evening is screwed because of those 6-10 minutes at 7:30 ish. Always late out to dinner, can't go to cinema, can't go out for the whole day and come back late etc, etc, etc. Yes ds2, I'm looking at you! Feeding to sleep as a very small baby = exactly my kind of quick and convenient parenting. Feeding to sleep at 2.5 years = a royal pain in the ass. The trick is to find where you're comfy stopping somewhere between the two (assuming you want to).

SareBoyle Mon 15-Aug-11 19:59:13

Exactly the same for me-evening feed to sleep is working; but if they are happy going to bed because of it what is the problem? It's only when you read a book that you question your parenting insticts-surley happy baby is most important and will make a secure toddler who is happy to do to bed?

BertieBotts Mon 15-Aug-11 19:59:35

I can't remember when DS first went to sleep fine without milk, somewhere between age 1 and 2, I think.

Aah sparkle, that sounds annoying. Does DS not settle for anyone else?

BertieBotts Mon 15-Aug-11 20:02:49

Although between 1 and 2 we had the feeding-to-sleep marathons, and although he settled for others it was nowhere near as quick and easy as he does now. Think he was quite a few months over 2 when I first thought of just leaving the room (with a warning of course) if he was messing around and not feeding properly. Hence he knows he needs to actually relax now and it takes 5-10 minutes and he's sparko.

pozzled Mon 15-Aug-11 20:04:39

I worried about DD1 feeding to sleep because all the books I read told me it would be disastrous. Now I have DD2, who is 9 weeks and I bloody WISH she would feed to sleep- the only thing that works for her is bouncing for ages in the sling. A whole lot more tiring and much less snuggly.

EauRouge Mon 15-Aug-11 20:12:35

"All the books and the paediatrician tell me I'll be feeding to sleep till he's 18 if I don't stop now."

I can recommend some better different books if you like grin

Ooh, we don't want to make our children dependent on us, do we? wink When anyone says something like that to DH he tells them we are sending DD1 down the mines. He is baffled by the notion of making a small child independent.

I will miss feeding my DDs to sleep when they are older. It will be nice to be able to have several a glass of something alcoholic and watch something sweary on the telly but this period of my life is going to be very short so I will enjoy it while it lasts.

God, I'm over-tired and emotional. grin

RitaMorgan Mon 15-Aug-11 20:14:37

Actually I think the best thing is to have a baby who will settle in a variety of ways - a child who will only feed to sleep is as much of a bind as one who will only fall asleep at home, in their own cot in total darkness and silence.

Generally though, while it works do it - when it stops working, change it. New mothers are often told you have to pre-empt habits before they become problems. I stopped feeding to sleep at bedtime when it started disturbing ds's night time sleep, but up til then it was brilliant. I still feed to sleep if we are away from home or ds is unsettled and it is easier.

AngelDog Mon 15-Aug-11 21:00:17

I agree with Rita that only feeding to sleep is annoying, as is only going to sleep in another way. Like pozzled, I spent weeks in the early days trying to persuade to DS to feed to sleep (he'd only sleep in the sling). He did get the hang of it eventually.

I love feeding to sleep still at 19 months. DS has been going to sleep for DH without milk since 9 months though (we didn't try it before then). DH rocks him to sleep.

DS started self-settling after being awake in the middle of the night before 12 months, although not yet at bedtime.

Moocachoo Mon 15-Aug-11 21:30:15

I am a trainee NCT antenatal teacher and a recent research update has said that they now think that a baby feeding to sleep is actually a developmental milestone like learning to roll over and sit/crawl/walk etc that has neurological as well as emotional benefits. I cant put my hands on the actual research at the mo but will try to dig it out and post the link. Rest assured its ok. I BF my son to sleep pretty much until he was 18 months and even beyond if he asked for it (except for nights out!!) He has never had a problem going to sleep as a toddler, is in bed awake and falls asleep by himself every night (He's 4 now). I think it was the best investment I ever made as we have never had any sleep issues apart from illness ones. Enjoy!!

Alibabaandthe80nappies Mon 15-Aug-11 21:33:11

Feeding to sleep is the most fabulous parenting tool ever!

TheRealMBJ Mon 15-Aug-11 22:37:13

Wht interesting research Moocachoo. It would be great if you could link to it when you find it.

I love it when DS does actually feed to sleep. It is sooooo easy. It happens so seldom now though sad but mainly cause I lose patience with the pain before he drifts off. (31 weeks pregnant and tender breasts and nipples akk round sad)

FutureNannyOgg Mon 15-Aug-11 23:25:46

If babies aren't meant to feed to sleep a) why do they all do it? and b) why is BM full of hormones that make them sleepy?

DS is 12 months, sometimes he feeds to sleep, but if his Dad is doing bedtime, I go up and give him a good feed, then leave his Dad to cuddle him to sleep. Either way, he needs bedtime milk, it's just a case of who gets the pre sleep snuggles.

BeyondTheLimitsOfAcceptability Tue 16-Aug-11 00:00:56

I feed DS (10m) to sleep if I have him. If not, I feed him then someone else cuddles him to sleep. He wont cuddle me to sleep though, he'd rather have boob! Only in the evening though, he goes down for his naps without a feed (most of the time!)

No probs with my back-rod grin

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Tue 16-Aug-11 07:12:24

I've always done whatever to get ds to sleep and am SO glad. He sleeps in a variety of places so we can have a life, but a boob can be deployed when he needs to calm down. He always feeds to sleep of an evening but i have no doubt he would settle for dh, just as he does during the day. I just haven't tested it (fell pg again at 10m so no nights out here!). He's just having fun with the 18m regression but otherwise has taught himself to sleep through.

I do think some people are obsessed with not creating bad sleep habbits, that that becomes a habbit in of it's self. I would find it really really restrictive to have a baby that depended on a strict routine/it's cot etc to get to sleep.

5littleducks Tue 16-Aug-11 08:01:51

Depends on the baby I think. I did not do any routine with my DS and fed him to sleep until when he was about 10 months old he needed to be fed to sleep every hour during the night and we were both dying of tiredness!

I don't think I will feeding the next one to sleep after the first few months...

VeronicaCake Tue 16-Aug-11 09:10:28

I agree that it is pointless worrying about habits when babies are tiny, at least up to 6m. But there does come a point when exclusively feeding to sleep can become a worry. If the mother is going back to work and someone else will need to put the baby down for naps, or if (as in my case) she becomes ill and has to spend time in hospital it is useful if there are alternative ways of getting the baby down. I found my emergency stay in hospital especially hard because I knew DD would be very upset that I wasn't around, and even more upset that I'd taken my boobs away with me. Also feeding to sleep always took around 20-30mins around here and she didn't even start doing it until she was 4m old. I'm interested that it is a developmental stage as everyone I spoke to seemed to think it was a magical property of breastmilk and I agonised over the fact that newborn DD never fell asleep after a feed.

I think RitaMorgan is right, you want a repertoire of techniques for soothing an older baby of which feeding is one. And over time you gradually shift the balance towards self-settling, whilst knowing there are other things to try if your child is sad or poorly or over-tired.

ComradeJing Tue 16-Aug-11 09:27:09

<hollow laugh>

Feeding to sleep is great if your dc sleeps well but it's a nightmare of unbelievable proportions if they don't. My DD wakes every 40 minutes like clockwork and the ONLY thing that got her back to sleep without screaming was feeding. Every 40 sodding minutes. She wouldn't go down for anyone else. I'm like a lone parent. Every single nap/bed time for 7 months.

Now I'm ff (medication, would have liked to continue) it's sobs for 20 minutes and she still wales up after 40 minutes. I haven't had a full nights sleep in 7 months.

Feeding to sleep was the biggest rod I have ever made and there is no way I'll do it for any future dc.

Cosmosis Tue 16-Aug-11 09:32:04

but it is a problem if it's the ONLY way they'll fall to sleep, which it was for me for a while.

AngelDog Tue 16-Aug-11 09:58:37

At one point I substituted feeding to sleep for rocking/patting to sleep, in the hope that DS would stop waking so often. He woke just as often, but took a lot longer to get back to sleep. It was clear that actually, it was just sleep that was the problem, not the feeding bit. Sounds like your DD is the same, ComradeJing - if stopping feeding hasn't helped the sleep problem, it wasn't due to feeding to sleep in the first place. Sorry to hear about you having to stop bf before you wanted to.

Moocachoo, that research sounds really interesting - do you mean that starting feeding to sleep or stopping feeding to sleep is the milestone?

BaronessBomburst Tue 16-Aug-11 10:46:16

Watching this thread with interest. I fed DS to sleep despite everyone telling me it was wrong, but it worked so I didn't care! He still feeds to sleep for his afternoon nap, unless he's in the buggy or the car, but stopped falling asleep in the evenings when he was about 12 months old. He still gets very sleepy on the boob, and then DH takes him up and cuddles and pats him down in his cot until he settles- which never takes very long. We also tend to put him to bed when he's tired as opposed to at a set time. So anytime between 9 and 10pm. Again, I'm criticised but it works for us all so why change it? DS is now 18 months BTW.

mumwithdice Tue 16-Aug-11 10:59:17

Marking my place as I too want to see this research. DD feeds to sleep (8 months) when she's with me, but her grandad can get her to conk out on him just by walking.

I don't mind the feeding to sleep, but I would rather she slept in her cot once she is asleep so DH can come back to our bed. Anyone on this thread experienced this? Sorry for brief hijack.

notnowbernard Tue 16-Aug-11 11:09:05

Well, DS is nearly 1

He still feeds to sleep, frequently. A 'good' night is him waking twice

More commonly he wakes about 4 times

I have no issues with feeding to sleep per se... but I have 2 other DC, I work p-t nightshifts. I am bloody knackered most of the time, frankly

I would REALLY love it if DS was able to settle himself back to sleep even occasionally

FutureNannyOgg Tue 16-Aug-11 11:19:49

When DS went to nursery at 8 months, the feeding to sleep was not an issue for us. By that time he figured out that milk only came from mummy, and has never looked for or expected it when I wasn't there. He naps in a cot at nursery, with minimal rocking, at home he is cuddled or fed to sleep.

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