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Stopping nursing to sleep...

(26 Posts)
Catarinah Sat 31-Oct-20 09:18:50

My little boy is 10 months and has associated boob to sleep for months now and the association is incredibly strong. To cut a long story short, he is now waking ridiculously frequently throughout the night out of habit for boob, as much as hourly so I'm not sleeping. The last 4 days I've started to not feed him to sleep for every nap and he's successfully gone to sleep without boob a few times for me and my mum (by rocking/cuddling/pram) but it does take a while. He co sleeps and I don't want to change this and stop the nursing to sleep as the same time (he cries everytime he's put in a cot). Last night I decided to start tackling the waking for boob at night and he woke 4 times, 1 of which I fed him back to sleep at 2am, the others I shushed and kissed/stroke/sang. 2 of these went quite smooth and it took 10 mins or so of crying, but one took an hour of on and off crying, I felt terrible but figured giving him a boob at the end would undo all the work. My question is, where do I go from here? Do i go cold turkey and stop night feeds all together? What about feeding to sleep for naps alone, only sometimes? I can't rock him for every nap as hes getting heavy. I gave him some water in the night too which he drank on one of his wakes. Can I continue to feed him to sleep at bedtime but then not when he wakes during the night? Some advice please. Thank you

OP’s posts: |
Catarinah Sat 31-Oct-20 09:21:04

Oh, and daddy is involved but nightime he gets even more hysterical for anyone but me, and he is yet to settle for a nap for daddy and seems to protest it endlessly and the situation gets stressful due to his crying.

OP’s posts: |
AllTheUsernamesAreAlreadyTaken Sat 31-Oct-20 09:22:24

You can do what ever you're comfortable with. I stopped feeding to sleep at nap time first, then stopped through the night and then before bed.

Goostacean Sat 31-Oct-20 09:25:34

I stopped feeding to sleep at 5mo, and baby has settled by himself ever since, at nap and bedtime, although we’ve had ongoing issues with feeding at night wakings. Can you try separating the feeding and going to sleep- feed with lights on, in another room if necessary, and gently prod baby if necessary before laying him down? That was how I broke the association.

Rosebud1302 Sat 31-Oct-20 09:27:50

As previous poster said, he is your baby and you do what works best for both of you. Personally I weaned off feeding for naps first (or at least cut down. If he absolutely wouldn't settle and got hysterical I fed). Then night weaned sort of alongside but a slight delay from what I remember. Lots of sending daddy in, lots of rocks and cuddles. But again if he was hysterical and wouldn't settle he got fed. Eventually the times he needed feeding dropped and dropped. Mine didn't feed to sleep for bedtime so I can't help with that part I'm afraid. But honestly do what feels best to you. I would maybe do the bit he struggles with less, first if that makes sense. And continue from there. But I know a lot of babies older than yours who still feed to sleep and mum is perfectly fine with that. So don't do anything because you feel you have to smile

Rosebud1302 Sat 31-Oct-20 09:28:58

Oh I forgot to say. For naps I started by feeding him downstairs in the light and then took him upstairs and had story and cuddle. So the association with the room and feeding was lost. And then I just brought the feed earlier away from nap time until it just faded out smile

Catarinah Sat 31-Oct-20 09:43:33

It's the nightime wakings that's not working because I'm really sleep deprived and return to work in 2 months so want to work on this now rather than drastically just before I return. The nap time would be "easier" but I actually don't mind feeding him to sleep for some of these as long as he is sometimes rocked/sang to sleep aswell, and pram of course. I don't mind feeding him to sleep at bedtime either, but want to stop after that feed until the morning really, but I'm afraid of confusing him and don't want him getting upset not knowing why he's sometimes fed and sometimes isn't... Or will he learn that after bedtime there's no boob until morning? Or is he too young to learn?

OP’s posts: |
Goostacean Sat 31-Oct-20 10:05:34

I think the two issues are linked. Think about it from his perspective, he goes to sleep all cuddled up, nice warm boob in mouth, all very comfortable- wakes up... where’s it gone??? Waaaahhh! I’d stop feeding to sleep, and see how that affects the night wakings, first.

MichelleOR84 Sun 01-Nov-20 09:00:16

I didn’t co sleep but around 9 months I stopped night nursing . My husband would go in and rock him back to sleep instead and within 2 weeks he was sleeping through the night .

As for day feeds , I rarely nursed before naps and always after ( at least by the time he was 9/10 months that was our routine ). I also use to nurse him before bed and then brush his teeth after so he never fell asleep on the boob . None of this was a conscious decision though ( except stopping the night feeds). It just sorta worked out that way .

I actually kinda regret it now 🙈 as my DS went on a nursing strike at 14 months and never returned to the boob . I sometimes wonder if I had treated the boob as comfort more if he would have continued nursing . I wanted to keep going until he was at least two 😔

Harrysmummy246 Sun 01-Nov-20 13:19:34

You're in the middle of a sleep regression. He's not waking for BF, it's helping him go back to sleep.

A lot can, and will change in 2 months. That's a 5th of his life so far

TigerQuoll Mon 02-Nov-20 00:45:44

It will be easier if you get him to sleep on his own first. Once that's done you can start sending dad in to resettle when he wakes. You smell like milk so it might be too difficult to get him to accept not being fed during the night if the person that settles him smells like milk.

Gibbonsgibbonsgibbons Mon 02-Nov-20 01:17:24

Do you feed while lying down? If not crack that & you will literally BF in your sleep grin

I think 10 months is pretty small to be night weaning tbh & I wouldn’t assume that removing the easy way to return him to sleep will remove the waking in the first place iyswim
Mine were all practicing crawling in their sleep around that age brewflowers

June628 Mon 02-Nov-20 13:13:58

I haven’t co-slept so I don’t know if that complicates things but I started by feeding DD after her naps rather than before. Then I stopped feeding to sleep and finally I night weaning at 9mo. At the time she was waking up once for a bf between 3-5am which I didn’t think she needed. Since she’s mostly slept through & when she hasn’t she’s been quick and easy to resettle. I have to say it’s been fairly recent so who knows if it’ll all go to pot but it was much less painful that I’d expected and I’m so glad I did it. Good luck.

Harrysmummy246 Tue 03-Nov-20 17:17:25


It will be easier if you get him to sleep on his own first. Once that's done you can start sending dad in to resettle when he wakes. You smell like milk so it might be too difficult to get him to accept not being fed during the night if the person that settles him smells like milk.

Not always true. I could resettle DS when we did night wean but daddy was absolutely not going to be an accepted alternative, and if I was awake having to listen anyway, what was the point

Catarinah Fri 06-Nov-20 07:45:09

Completely agree with @Harrysmummy246 about dad not being an alternative, he just gets way worse. Yes i feed laying on my side.

To update...

Night one wasn't as bad as I thought, the first couple of wakes took about 15 mins of crying (but not hysterical) and he fell asleep after offering some water, 3rd wake he cried a lot more for about an hour, but on and off, and eventually settled. However, the 2nd night he woke and he felt really hot so I fed him and took his vest off, and then he woke after that he was even hotter so I gave him Calpol. Turns out he had gastroenteritis sad took him to see GP who has to keep him hydrated and keep giving calpol so obviously stopped trying to break feed to sleep. He's back to his usual self now, so last night after he woke 3 times in 2 hours I refused boob, and the screaming/crying he did in space of 15 minutes was like nothing else, he was absolutely hysterical. I felt terrible and was also crying until I eventually gave him boob (I know it probably undoes what I did but I couldn't bare to listen to him break his heart any longer). I did take him off before he fell asleep though and managed to pat/stroke him back to sleep. I honestly feel like I don't know what to do because I can't continue to give him my boob every time he wakes because he's waking about 7 times every night, and I can't bare to listen to him cry like that it's just not the kind of mum I am or want to be sad To end on a positive thought he has now fallen asleep on me by danging with no boob for nap times a lot in the last week which he hasnt done for months, but I still cant put him down because he wakes up!!

OP’s posts: |
June628 Fri 06-Nov-20 07:53:09

Hi OP, I didn’t want to read and run. So glad your DS is feeling better; sounds like a stressful time for you!!
I hope you find something that’ll eventually work for you flowers

Catarinah Fri 06-Nov-20 11:10:40

Thank you. Another worry I have on topof all this is that hes barely eating solids asa result of all the night feeds sad

OP’s posts: |
bananabob Fri 06-Nov-20 11:29:33

Hi OP my baby is 10 months old too and I'm experiencing exactly the same as you, he wakes up multiple times a night to feed I never even get one full hour of unbroken sleep. This has been going on a few weeks now, he was a really great sleeper before that! I think I'm just going to try and ride it out I'm hoping it's just one of the many different phases they go through with their sleep.

June628 Fri 06-Nov-20 12:12:04

@Catarinah oh bless you! There’s a thread currently on night weaning in the sleep section where a few of us have done it. Nice supportive bunch, don’t know if it’ll be any help to you at all but you can see some of the suggestions/ what has worked for others on there.

Harrysmummy246 Fri 06-Nov-20 18:46:03

@Catarinah If he's been ill, BF is easily digested and will help him get back on form.

Leave it for a while before you start attempting night weaning again.
FWIW, I nightweaned when DS was much older and to start with it was only reading a book and talking about it. We tried a cuddle first and if that didn't work, BF. Occasionally he didn't BF but I never let him get worked up- it always then takes so much longer to settle them and yourself back down so sleep is even worse.

I also counted down on feeds to delatch or if he didn't, delatched him myself and the countdown gradually became less of the way back to sleep and then we'd have a cuddle.

But he was 18m+ so had more understanding.

Catarinah Fri 06-Nov-20 18:57:50

Yes I think you're right, both him and I get upset. I'm going to wait a bit until he's himself again, and when he wakes I'll try and soothe him without, if he gets upset I'll BF and take him off before he's asleep and try soothe him to sleep, but I'm going to put less pressure on myself to stop and do it gradually...

OP’s posts: |
LolaLollypop Fri 06-Nov-20 19:02:09

Will he take a bottle OP?

If so, once he has fully recovered from his bug, maybe try dad with a bottle during the night? Once he’s happy having that, replace the milk with water so he doesn’t associate a wake up with a milky drink.
At 10 months you want him to be eating a good portion of solids during the day and ideally not feeding at night.

whoareyouIwonder Fri 06-Nov-20 19:08:58

Honestly that age is a well known killer sleep regression

I would just ride it out and carry on BF

weepingwillow22 Fri 06-Nov-20 19:19:06

Until 6 months my LO was waking every 2 hours to feed at night. I broke the association by sending my DH in to settle him during the night and to settle him before bed. It took 3 nights but he then started waking just once for a feed. I still do this because he seems hungry.

In the last few months my DH has been busy with work and I started to feed to sleep again at bedtime as I find it quicker to settle LO. This however has not affected his night sleep and he still self settles and wakes once for a feed during the night.

I am also still feeding to sleep for naps and planning to drop this when he transitions to one nap as I understand it is easier at that point.

So what I think is key is teaching the self settling and transition between sleep cycles and feeding to sleep as and when you feel like it should not affect this.

Gibbonsgibbonsgibbons Sun 08-Nov-20 02:17:52

OP it seems like you’re instinctively trying something like Dr Jay Gordon’s night weaning - to identify a block of hours you would prefer not to feed during & build up to it. He describes it here (rather long winded! You might want to scan down!)

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