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Is feeding your baby to sleep a bad thing?

(27 Posts)
g0ldie Thu 04-Apr-13 16:10:16

Just that really. I ebf my 8 week old we are starting to add bedtime routine bath time etc and started to question if I am storing up problems for the future by breast feeding baby to sleep? Any thoughts/experiences book recommendations very much welcomed!

tiktok Thu 04-Apr-13 16:15:59

It's not a bad thing at all....I am always mystified when you read something or hear something that suggests it is. It is very normal and natural and cosy and loving for a young baby to feed to sleep. They grow out of this tendency, and if you are still having to do it because they will not settle in any other way when the baby is older, you can gradually bring in other techniques so they are not reliant on it.
Certainly no need to have a moment's worry about it with a baby of 8 weeks smile

Who's been telling you different?

noblegiraffe Thu 04-Apr-13 16:24:53

No, being able to feed to sleep is really handy. I fed DS to sleep for months. However, I also made sure that he fell asleep in other ways too as time went on, so scheduling nap times in the car, pram, rocking etc so it wasn't the only way he could fall asleep and my DH could also get him to sleep if necessary. It's one thing to be required for all their feeds, but another for all their naps too!

When he was about 7 months, he started pulling himself off the breast before he was fully asleep in the evenings and getting himself to sleep by shaking his head back and forth without me doing anything about it. It was actually quite easy to move the nighttime feed to before his story time in the end.

ExBrightonBell Thu 04-Apr-13 16:26:40

I don't think it's a bad thing, from my limited experience of my pfb ds! Now he's 8 months old, I feed him to sleep at bedtime, and he then sleeps through. If he stirs in the night he usually self settles, which he has learnt to do of his own accord in his own time. If he doesn't self settle it will nearly always be teething or wind.

The sleeping through also happened in his own time - I have done nothing specifically to enforce this. He can also be settled to sleep by other people if needs be, and I can also put him down to sleep without feeding him if I need to for some reason. So I haven't experienced any long term issues from feeding him to sleep as a little baby. Perhaps I have been lucky!

MadameJosephine Thu 04-Apr-13 16:43:26

Some interesting reading here

kellymom.com/bf/normal/comfortnursing/

I totally agree with the 'in conclusion' bit at the end which reads as follows:

'If nursing your baby to sleep and/or nursing baby for comfort is working for YOU and your family, that’s all that really matters! Nursing is not only nourishing; it’s also nurturing. Your breast is a wonderful place of comfort and security to your child, not just a feeding “trough”. The time spent nursing your baby is a very short period in the total life of your child, but the memories of your love and availability will last him a lifetime. Trust that your baby will fall asleep on his own in time, and enjoy every sleepy moment while it lasts.'

MintyyAeroEgg Thu 04-Apr-13 16:50:03

I think it is fine for a young baby and, ime, quite difficult to stop some babies from falling asleep while feeding.

However, a very significant number do not just grow out of it and I have seen literally thousands of threads on here from desperate sleep-deprived parents who have older babies and toddlers who cannot go to sleep without a nipple or bottle and who cannot sleep through the night if they wake up and find that nipple or bottle gone.

Its something to be aware of ...

MrsHoarder Thu 04-Apr-13 16:56:04

I do wonder how many of the parents who don't get a sleep routine going with young babies and go for feeding to sleep have more difficult babies to get to sleep than those who get a "proper" routine going. Anyway, still feeding 11mo DS to sleep most nights. If I'm not here he'll go to sleep for DH but its nice to end the day with a bf in bed.

crumblingpile Thu 04-Apr-13 17:00:21

I still feed my 2.3 year old to sleep, it's lovely and it works.

Welovegrapes Thu 04-Apr-13 17:13:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

g0ldie Thu 04-Apr-13 17:23:42

Thank you all for your responses. It does work and feels/is completly natural and lovely which was why i started. Google just kept on giving me information about how to stop which made me wonder if it was a bad thing.
But it seems as part of a sleep routine its good. Like the idea of having naps as a different way of getting to sleep and book is on order!
Thanks!

Startail Thu 04-Apr-13 17:45:44

No!
DD2 would still feed to sleep sometimes after she started school and aged 12 still falls asleep hugging at watching TV ocationally.

Doesn't mean that from 8 months old she wast perfectly capable of eating a baby yoghurt, drinking some juice and going to sleep for DH while I went swimming once a week. (She never did bottles or milk, still doesn't like milk). Or doing the same for my sister or a babysitter as she got older.

It's hardly a trial watching the TV on subtitles for 30 minutes while snuggling your child.

As others have said its a very useful trick if they are ill or wound up. So is cornering your dad to read to cartoons in bed, which is her other relaxation tool.

BecAndAlex Thu 04-Apr-13 23:20:02

No. Nothing wrong with it at this age. Baba will learn how to fall asleep in other ways as they get older. A bottle is part of our bedtime routine.....bath bottle bed. DD(17wks) gets fed in her room and often falls asleep on the bottle and I just put her in her cot and its lights out, night night. Sometimes she doesn't fall asleep but its still into cot, lights out, night night, and she still goes to sleep.....all the cues are there for bedtime. She also sleeps in the day without needing a feed. Lots of babies have dummies which they can't sleep without as sucking is a real comfort for babies and a natural desire. I don't see the difference.

howiwonder Thu 04-Apr-13 23:25:22

I had appointment with the health visitor today who spent a long time advising me not to do this with DS2, explaining all kinds of elaborate things to do to avoid him falling asleep on the boob. I glazed over, smiled and nodded with no intention of doing a single thing differently.
I love feeding DS2 to sleep, and i know it certainly doesn't last forever and created no problems with DS1. It's the perfect thing to do with an 8 wk old, enjoy!

Startail Thu 04-Apr-13 23:38:49

WTF, why is it wrong to let a baby fall asleep on the boob that's what babies are disingenuous to do .

As stated above that's what DD2 did most nights for many many years. It didn't mean she couldn't fall asleep any other way. It's just it was a lovely way for us both to end the day.

I didn't feed her to sleep for naps, because she didn't have one. She wanted to sleep at nursery pick up time which wasn't possible and wouldn't sleep once DD1 was home. That's something else that didn't matter. Parenting lore is full of things that don't matter or are plain unnecessary. Burping babies is another one, I never really bothered with.

Startail Thu 04-Apr-13 23:40:15

Fucking autocorrect I Re-spelt designed twice and it still mangles it.

DW123 Fri 05-Apr-13 08:08:21

I fed to sleep at naptime, bedtime and through the night for 2 years. I'm still feeding back to sleep at night but we switched their bedtime routine so DH could give them a cup of milk instead. It went fine and then I switched naptime milk in the same way. I am still grateful I can get them back to sleep through the night and it takes a few minutes. I go straight back to sleep.

Its worth researching the dental issues as some people use that as a reason not to feed to sleep but from what I've read if you are bfing to sleep its fine.

And finally, if it works for you and isn't diet coke then I would ignore people who say you shouldn't. They don't know you or your children.

TiredyCustards Fri 05-Apr-13 08:30:19

No - my experience is that one day it won't knock them out like it used to, so you just pop them in bed and they drop off by themselves.

minipie Fri 05-Apr-13 12:34:43

Depends on whether you are willing to feed them back to sleep every time they wake up in the night.

this is usually not a problem if a) you co sleep and can feed lying down or b) you have one of those magical babies that doesn't wake very much in the night.

but if you have a baby who wakes every hour, and needs boob to get back to sleep, you might wish your baby had learned to fall asleep some other way...

DeathMetalMum Fri 05-Apr-13 19:02:19

I stopped feedong dd to sleep around 14 months - when it stopped working (would take forever and dd was geting overtired). We swapped bedtime routine around a little and took around two weeks for dd to get used to. Although the first couple of days she was very upset we got through. She also stopped waking in the night shortly afterwards. Feeding to sleep was not a bad thing for us at all.

detoxlatte Fri 05-Apr-13 19:11:23

Depends what you mean by 'bad'.

I you want baby to settle to sleep without you in a few months' time, you may need to go through a process to make this happen. That process may or may not work.

If you are willing to feed to sleep until DC decides to stop, then this could be something that you have fond memories of doing when DC is a much older, pita, stroppy teenager grin .

flutterbynight Fri 05-Apr-13 20:20:57

I was pleased to come across this thread and all the positive responses as I still feed DS to sleep at 5 months. It works for us and he can fall asleep in other ways too but it is lovely to have those sleepy cuddles with him smile

dietcokeandwine Fri 05-Apr-13 21:01:27

It is definitely not a bad thing at 8 weeks smile I have a 9 week old and being able to feed him back to sleep in the middle of the night never feels anything less than miraculous!

It might, potentially, become a bad thing if your baby struggles to ever learn how to fall asleep without feeding.

Of course lots of babies do simply adapt and evolve and learn to self-settle very naturally and easily. Lots of others, unfortunately, do not! I have seen enough sleep threads from desperate parents whose much older babies and toddlers have to feed to sleep and wake throughout the night needing to feed back to sleep etc etc. The problem is, at this stage of the game you have absolutely no idea whether your baby will become one of the easy self-settlers or one of the ones who is awake and needing to feed back to sleep ten times a night at 18 months old.

So yes, feeding to sleep is lovely and snuggly and there is no reason not to do it at this stage BUT as time goes on it is worth making sure your baby does not become completely and utterly reliant on feeding to sleep. They do need to learn, at some point, to fall asleep in other ways too.

CityGal29 Fri 05-Apr-13 21:07:32

No both mine gradually grew out of it 12-18m plus when suites me too really. Just enjoy it there's so many stupid bf things people say that cause stress and anxiety grin

Nancy54 Sat 06-Apr-13 10:19:05

I don't think what you're doing at 8 weeks will necessarily have any bearing on what the baby needs to get to sleep in a few months anyway. One of my twins was 'self settling' at 8 weeks but now 6 months generally needs feeding to sleep and the other fed to sleep at that age a d now self settles. I say just do whatever's working atm and things are bound to change anyway

leedy Sat 06-Apr-13 12:11:05

Another one on the "it's not a problem til it becomes a problem" bench - DS2 is 20 weeks and feeding to sleep is still both massively useful and snuggly! He does a fairly long stretch at night and I know can get to sleep other ways for naps etc so I'm really not worried about it.

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