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(Breast) Feeding to Sleep

(36 Posts)
glasshalfsomething Mon 09-Oct-17 21:32:49

I keep reading that the best thing to do is to put baby down drowsy but awake, but unsure as to when to start this?

DS is 10 weeks. Concerned that at some point, feeding to sleep will cease working as she's not keen on lying in her basket or cot awake.

When did you stop feeding to sleep and how did you approach it? Any tips?

northdownmummy Mon 09-Oct-17 21:45:46

My experience was that I fed to sleep till about 14 months. She’s now almost to and will go to daddy to be put down after a feed.
I went through months of trying to stop the feed and put her down drowsy but she just got angry and upset and to be honest it took so much longer. I decided to just go with the flow since feeding to sleep seemed to work for us.
I believe you’ve just got to take some time to get to know each other.
10 weeks is still very little and probably growth spurt time. Trust your own instincts

Celticlassie Mon 09-Oct-17 22:08:33

I’m doing the same. My LO is 6 months and I still feed to sleep in the night. She goes down so much more easily when she’s fed to sleep, and will often take over an hour to go down otherwise. I feel I should probably stop but am hoping she’ll just start to settle herself as she gets older. She’ll settle for my DH when she first goes down, but again, not as easily as when she’s fed.
At 10 weeks, though OP, I wouldn’t worry about making a rod for your own back or similar. Your LO is still tiny.

newmumwithquestions Mon 09-Oct-17 22:19:04

With DD1 I worried. Tried not to feed to sleep. Tried to do eat-awake-sleep cycles. She was a terrible sleeper. Couldn't put her down.

With DD2 I decided that I would deal with issues when they were an issue, rather than worrying that I would create an issue iyswim. She was a really easy baby. I fed to sleep until she was about a year.

A lot of it is personality. DD1 would have always been a hard baby and DD2 an easy one. But it was a damn sight easier not second-guessing what problem I might be setting myself up for and just going with the flow.

10 weeks is tiny. Are you managing to transfer her to her basket/cot once she falls asleep? Yes? Does she then stay asleep for a good while (longer than 45 mins at a time?) yes? Then you're doing brilliantly. Go with it.

glasshalfsomething Tue 10-Oct-17 03:33:40

Thanks all, reassuring that I don't need to rush it now. She's recently moved to very efficient feeding (10 min max) so I think I was worried that she wouldn't fall asleep as easy.

She does tend to transfer ok - certainly in the evening if not as much for daytime naps.

For those who fed to sleep for s long time; was that the only breast feed then, or were you still offering it at other times too?

Cupcakegirl13 Tue 10-Oct-17 04:03:33

Fed and rocked to sleep both of mine till they were about 18 months it never took very long (never wanted to spend my evenings sat in babies room) and it was the quickest route to sleep. Both of them gradually just stopped needing it and became more independent at self settling. Agree with PP about only worry about an issue when it becomes one and not before , right now they are still very small and need that reassurance.

Celticlassie Tue 10-Oct-17 06:54:53

I only feed to sleep at night (or in the early morning!) During the day after she feeds she stays awake and I either rock her to sleep or she sleeps in her buggy when we’re out.

April45 Thu 12-Oct-17 05:58:11

I don't think you need to worry about her not feeding to sleep.. it's how you stop them feeding to sleep now that's the tricky bit!

glasshalfsomething Thu 12-Oct-17 20:11:15


That's exactly what I am worried about! Curious as to when others began to break the habit...

April45 Fri 13-Oct-17 07:16:50

DS is 9 months and we're trying to break it now as he's now waking regularly and crying for a feed (sometimes every hour) to get back to sleep. He's prob been doing this for the last month or so. Before then it's worked well for us and whilst it's hard now I don't regret it

glasshalfsomething Fri 13-Oct-17 08:00:58

Good luck with trying to break it; hope it doesn't take too long!

teaandbiscuitsforme Fri 13-Oct-17 08:01:54

I started to break the habit at 16/17mo when I started to night wean. I appreciate with a 10 week old that sounds like an awfully long time! grin

However, I agree with the PPs who said it’s not an issue until it becomes an issue and then you can deal with it. For me, I was much happier with the 100% success rate of feeding to sleep and it only became an ‘issue’ when I was 5mo pregnant and wanted DD in her own bed and able to go to sleep without feeding.

raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Fri 13-Oct-17 08:04:54

This is nonsense and cultural rather than evidence based.

This is from the Infant Sleep Information Source - evidence based advice.

"Popular beliefs about when babies should be 'sleeping through the night' are based on studies conducted in the 1950s and 1960s on groups of formula-fed babies. However, it is normal for babies - especially breastfed babies - to wake and feed at night throughout at least the first year.? Encouraging babies to 'sleep through' before they are ready to do so makes it difficult to keep on breastfeeding, and may encourage babies to develop mature sleep patterns out of sequence with their other circadian patterns such as those controlling the regulation of temperature, hormone production, and the genes that control our biological rhythms."

raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Fri 13-Oct-17 08:07:49

BFing to sleep is normal. It's not a habit you need to break, don't let anyone tell you that it's nonsense. If you have your own reasons for not wanting to feed to sleep that's another thing - but don't be pressured into it. Our culture is anti-BFing and this is one example of how that manifests.

georgeisadinosaur Fri 13-Oct-17 08:12:34

I stil fed by DC1 to sleep until he gave up BF at 18 months. He was a pretty good sleeper and would settle himself fine if he woke through the night. Im doing the same with DC2 who is 10 months as its so much quicker and easier!

RachelRosie Fri 13-Oct-17 08:16:31

We worried about this too... DD would settle on her own occasionally but our bed time routine was story in bed whilst having a feed then when she was asleep, pass to DH who put her in her cot. This worked fine for us until we moved her in to her own room at 6 months and we started weaning on to fully bottle fed (she has had 1 bottle a day since day 4)
She was waking a lot in the night and staying away, so I started only offering a bottle if she woke at night so I could rule out her feeding for comfort. We're getting there slowly.
As others have said 10 weeks is still very young so do not worry yet and don't worry about it been an issue until it is one... I know there's a lot of negative info about feeding to sleep but if it is working for you at the moment go with it... it won't be forever xx

NameChange30 Fri 13-Oct-17 08:22:16

In response to PPs... feeding to sleep does become an issue if your baby starts waking every 1-2 hours throughout the night and will only go back to sleep if you feed them. Trust me!

I have no issue with feeding my baby during the night until he naturally stops needing/wanting it, but not an unlimited number of times. My DS is 7 months and at the moment I am hoping to cut it down to two and eventually one night feed.

OP, if you are happy feeding to sleep, crack on. I was happy doing it while my DS was sleeping ok, it was only when his sleep got much worse (since the 5 month mark) that it became an issue. It also depends if you want someone else to be able to settle him to sleep. We switched from feeding to rocking to sleep during the day - but it sort of happened naturally as DS wasn't so sleepy after feeding. I also switched from feeding to rocking at bedtime, but I can't remember exactly when I did it. I'm still feeding to sleep for most of the night wakings when rocking won't settle him.

One thing I will say is that it's a good idea to give your baby the opportunity to sleep by themselves, just to see if it works - but not to worry if it doesn't. You could try putting them down awake, but if they start crying, just pick up again - no big deal. We didn't even try it and I do wonder if it might have worked - probably not but it could have been worth a try.

When DS's sleep got worse I read a lot of sleep advice and I disliked the books that called feeding to sleep a "negative sleep association". I think it's rather nice actually! But it is a "parent-led" rather than independent sleep association, so my preference is to gently move towards more independent sleep - for DS's sake as much as my own.

Here is a blog post I wish I'd read when my DS was your baby's age - the website is one of my favourite sources of sleep advice.

teaandbiscuitsforme Fri 13-Oct-17 08:58:22

Name It’s a personal issue. My 9mo has nights where is he frequently feeds every hour or two, particularly if he’s teething, unwell, trying to stand, etc. It’s not an issue for me, I knows it’s developmental/comfort etc. Like is said in my post, it became an issue for me with my DD at about 16mo when I was becoming more pregnant and Baby 2 was coming closer. I can’t imagine we’ll do any kind of night weaning with DS until he’s at least that age as well. We have no need to for the foreseeable future.

When it becomes an issue is completely dependent on personal circumstances.

georgeisadinosaur Fri 13-Oct-17 09:08:50

Name I'd agree with PP. I say "wasn't an issue" because my DCs had no downfalls to feeding to sleep, in terms of being able to sleep independantly now and being able to drop it. Both my DCs have had many many nights/stages of waking up through the night many times and DC2 still doesn't sleep through. Not feeding to sleep that caused it, mostly teething/being too excitable in the night or a growth spurt. I prefer feeding to sleep in the night than otherwise.

NameChange30 Fri 13-Oct-17 09:25:02

When it's every night for 2 months, it's not a growth spurt or developmental leap or teething. If you can survive on such broken sleep for 2 months + and still be a good parent in the daytime, good for you. I can't!

teaandbiscuitsforme Fri 13-Oct-17 09:38:02

And that’s fine! Other people might have changed things a month or so before you did because it suits them. That’s all I’m saying!

georgeisadinosaur Fri 13-Oct-17 09:42:21

I meant in response to OPs question really. As HVs often have people convinced baby needs to be doing xyz. HV told me baby should be fed, then woken then laid down and that doesn't work for me as shed be up a lot longer. I just meant its not that baby gets to so many months then needs to stop, it could happen naturally or before if its causing problems for the parents.

NameChange30 Fri 13-Oct-17 09:50:15

Agreed. There are so many health visitors and even sleep "experts" who imply that there is only one right way to get a baby to sleep. Actually it depends on the baby and also, to some extent, the parents.

raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Fri 13-Oct-17 09:50:37

Have people struggling with getting up in th enight considered cosleeping (according to safe cosleeping guidelines)?

Acorncat Fri 13-Oct-17 09:54:42

I'm sure breastmilk is designed to send babies to sleep, and mums too (the act of feeding anyway). I encourage mine to feed to sleep, it's so quick and easy. I was prepared to keep doing it though, eventually they started feeding a little bit then putting themselves to sleep, but not till well after 18m I think. As for night wakenings - that's what cosleeping is for!

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