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Is there anything actually that bad about feeding to sleep?

(14 Posts)
Lazymummy2014 Thu 06-Nov-14 14:31:33

In general I'm really happy with the way I'm feeding DD but I have this nagging feeling I'm setting myself up for a fall further along the line... help!

DD (5 and a half months) is ebf. I've always fed on demand and she doesn't have much of a routine during the day. She naps briefly a few times during the day, after falling asleep on me at the end of a feed. We have a really simple bed time routine, which involves the following:
- her getting grumpy/fuffy and me deciding it's bedtime (usually about half 8)
- DH and I take her upstairs, new nappy and into sleeping bag (at which point she gets all kicky and excited because she knows what's coming!)
- DH brings her through to our bed, we lie down and feed until she's well and truly zonked. This usually takes a while, up to 45mins
- DH picks her up and transfers her into her cot while still asleep.

She sleeps through (no night feeds) for between 10 and 12 hours. Sometimes she'll wake up at the transfer stage, in which case DH gives her a tummy rub, shhh-ing, and switches on her mobile, then leaves. Most of the time she'll whinge for a few minutes and then fall back to sleep on her own. Rarely she'll start really, really crying in which case we'll bring her back through, feed her again and let her fall asleep, and then put her back in her cot.

As I said, I quite like this arrangement, but all the other mums I know are doing bottle feeds and elaborate bedtime routines and I worry that I'm being weird! Also, I know that once teeth arrive you are supposed to clean their teeth after the last feed / before bed, so how would this fit in? I'd like to continue bf up to a year, or more.

(She's definitely feeding enough btw, she's bloody huge! 6 months at the end of the month and about to outgrow the 6-9 month sleepsuits!)

Hoping some lovely people can put my mind at rest!

MajesticWhine Thu 06-Nov-14 14:42:15

I suppose the down side of it is she is very dependent on you being there, and spending a big chunk of your evening there with her. You can't go out for a drink, or have your DH put her to bed. You basically don't have an evening to yourself. However, it sounds like she's giving you a really good night. 10 to 12 hours is brilliant.

catellington Thu 06-Nov-14 14:46:44

It's really up to you, if it doesn't cause a problem for you then there isn't a problem!

We still feed to sleep, dd is 21 months, takes about 5 minutes which I prefer to anything else ( she cries if I start singing !)
In my opinion lots of benefits, easy, nutrition, etc. no evidence that breastfeeding causes tooth decay, see www.brianpalmerdds.com/caries.htm.
We are in the process of night weaning, day two of no feeds between 7 and 7. Some people will think that's crazy but leaving it until it happens naturally has been a very peaceful and stress free process which we like in our household.

PickleMobile Thu 06-Nov-14 14:51:28

I still feed my 19mo dd to sleep. It works for us, I'm downstairs by 8pm, we're all happy!

Smartleatherbag Thu 06-Nov-14 14:53:28

It's great, feeding to sleep! You get to sit or lie down and have a cuddle, and your baby gets to know that she is safe and loved and that going to sleep is a nice thing smile.
If you want to change things at some point in the future, before she does, then No Cry Sleep Solution is lovely, but it doesn't sound like a problem to me, it sounds ideal!
Ime most babies grow out of it themselves when they are developmentally ready, so relax and enjoy and spare a thought for the parents who have to rock or walk or sing the baby to sleep! wink

Wolfbasher Thu 06-Nov-14 15:01:28

I did it with all 3 of mine. They gave it up by themselves around 18 months-ish - it just stopped working, and I moved to putting them down awake (which took a few months to bed in).

I was nearly always at home at bedtime. Sometimes it took only 5 mins for them to feed to sleep, sometimes up to 40. When DC2/3 were born, DH took over bedtime for elder ones and I did the baby. It was quite relaxing sitting there feeding while he was juggling stories and drinks of water and little people dashing off in their pyjamas I will never admit this to him

On the few occasions I wasn't there at bedtime, it was generally fine - they accepted DH putting them to bed (he used to sit in the rocking chair with them in his arms and then put them down). Only times it didn't go so well were when DC2 was teething and just couldn't get to sleep until I came home to be a dummy for him ;)

Jeggie Thu 06-Nov-14 15:07:37

Personally I think the positives outweigh the negatives. Teething and separation anxiety periods were hard, but I imagine they would have been harder without boob. Imo it is a great way to get them to sleep. And nice for them too.

I'm still doing it at nearly 3 but that doesn't mean I've done every bedtime. Dh does bedtime when I'm out and they just take longer. To be 100% honest, they do sometimes involve crying, but the crying in his arms type not the crying alone in bed. Grandma has also found a way that mostly works for them. There were anxious times eg settling With childminder but again they found a way that works for naps.

I used the no cry sleep solution and later jay Gordon's night weaning for various changes I needed to make, but I'm still happy to feed to sleep. Ncss is not the quickest method of sleep training (understatement!) but helped me feel I was doing something.

If you are happy right now, no need to change. Just be confident that when you need to make a change you can, and a few nights struggle will be wellworth the many nights of easy bedtimes /naps now.

Jeggie Thu 06-Nov-14 15:11:33

Ps we clean teeth before last boobie. I looked into it (WHO have not found a link either) and decided that would be enough for us. Some dentists don't agree, but I haven't seen any evidence that makes me want to do it differently.

Imeg Thu 06-Nov-14 15:17:35

It sounds like she is used to going back to sleep without you if she wakes up when transferred, so I think this should help in future if you want to change things. I got into difficulties with feeding to sleep because baby got so heavy I couldn't lift him into the cot without him waking, and then he would expect to be put back on (just comfort sucking). I would end up spending hours every evening stuck with him until he was finally asleep in the cot. Eventually I decided it was ridiculous that he would have a 15 minute feed and then 90 minutes sucking to get to sleep, so I decided to stop feeding to sleep, although I am still breastfeeding.
I think it's also good that your husband is involved and used to getting her to sleep - we ended up in a bit of a vicious circle because I'd always fed to sleep so husband had no confidence with helping, so I ended up always feeding to sleep (also he was often not back from work at bedtime).
We ended up doing controlled crying at about 5.5 months which was the right option for us but I know it's not for everyone. I still do the feed last, and he often dozes off but I take him off when he stops actually feeding and starts just sucking. He wakes up when I put him in the cot but usually goes to sleep on his own. Anyway, the point of this rambling is to say that I stopped when it wasn't working for me anymore, so I think you will know when it's time to change, and it doesn't have to be linked to stopping breastfeeding altogether. I don't have a particularly elaborate bedtime regime - book, bath, feed, bed. I do the bath because he enjoys it and otherwise he's very grumpy at that time, rather than because I think he needs bathing every day. I have occasionally skipped it when he's been extra tired.

On the toothbrushing front, I have just started and currently do it before the last feed, but I will be watching with interest to see what people suggest.

MsBug Thu 06-Nov-14 15:24:58

Your bedtime routine sounds lovely to me.

I fed dd to sleep till she weaned at 16 months. Then we switched to a cup of cow's milk before teeth then bed. It was fine.

batgirl1984 Thu 06-Nov-14 15:25:44

The advice I had was that the sugar in milk (lactose) doesn't harm teeth unless mixed with something else, eg starch. So you can do last feed after tooth brushing.
My problem with feed to sleep was when it stopped working I had to put in a routine. Which I did. Mine have the same short book in their room before being put in bed and its a magic sleep cue. (I was sick of it after a few months so branched out into others on the series. But the principal of sleep associations worked)

BertieBotts Thu 06-Nov-14 15:28:35

No, it's fine. People talk about "bad habits" because they think they might not want to do it when the child is older.

I don't understand this because if it becomes a problem or you don't want to do it any more, you can stop then. The argument seems to be that it's harder to stop later. Well, yeah, it's going to be distressing to go cold turkey at any time, but a smaller baby can't express emotions in a way that makes you feel as guilty! You can always wean them off it somehow.

Do what works, if it stops working or becomes a problem, then stop.

Lazymummy2014 Thu 06-Nov-14 15:29:36

These replies are great thanks everyone! I am glad to hear about the lack of boob milk - tooth decay connection, will have a look at the WHO info.

I know she is quite dependent on me being there, which is a bit limiting and occasionally frustrating, but I trade that annoyance for uninterrupted sleep overnight fairly happily!

vichill Thu 06-Nov-14 15:38:07

Sounds like you are having a particularly good bfing experience. I panicked about creating a bad habit when dd was 8 months, mainly due to other people's opinions on it.
A year on I'm glad I've kept it in my arsenal. Teething, frequent night wakings, separation anxiety and illness would have been a lot worse. I hardly have any memory of her crying as it has always calmed her down and got her to sleep. She's slowly becoming less interested in bfing and dh now gets her to sleep on his shoulder in 10 seconds flat. I honestly thought I'd be feeding to sleep until she was 8.

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