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Stopping feeding to sleep - please help me out of this mess!

(13 Posts)
sambababy Tue 09-Dec-14 10:36:26

Until 4mo, DD was a fairly good sleeper. We'd get 5/6hr stretches and I felt luckier than some. Then 4 month sleep regression hit and it's been a nightmare ever since. She never used to feed to sleep, I would have to rock/bounce her and swaddle, but now at 7mo she feeds to sleep at night and for every nap. DH no longer has much luck settling her when she wakes in the night, even if she only fed an hour before, she wants boob every time. She is ebf (no solids yet but that's another discussion!), has never taken a bottle and I don't seem able to express anyway.

I feel like this is my fault and somehow I shouldnt have got her reliant on feeding to get back to sleep. I know kellymom says there's nothing wrong with feeding to sleep, and there wouldn't be if it wasn't 6/7 times a night!

We are travelling soon but when we return I need to do something about it. I can't keep going on like this. Please can you share if you had a similar problem and how you got over it? Is the no cry sleep solution worth reading? I don't think I can do cc. Thanks!

MrPop Wed 10-Dec-14 15:46:21

I wouldn't beat yourself up - I think a lot of babies like to feed to sleep. Plus they go through all kinds of phases so things that worked for a while no longer do, etc.

No Cry Sleep Solution does cover stopping feeding to sleep - google 'pantley pull off' or search on here. Basically it is feeding almost to sleep, then removing the breast but feeding them again when they get upset, removing when calm and sleepy ad infinitum until they fall asleep.

Didn't really work for my DSs - with both I comforted in cot (shh / patting) to stop feeding to sleep. I remember one awful night with DS then he 'got it' (Didn't stop the night feeds though but I didn't do it for the wake ups).

Another thing if you don't want to do CC is 'pick up, put down' - the baby whisperer thing, but I don't know if it is meant for younger babies?

FelixFelixNavidad Wed 10-Dec-14 16:00:58

We had the exact same problem. Dd (11 months) wasn't too bad until 4 months then she woke hourly for 4 months straight, then improved slightly but was still waking 5-10 times a night. We ended up feeding her to sleep out of desperation and it quickly became a habit which she expected every time she went to sleep.

Look up the thread called 'what worked for us' on here (sorry I'm on the app so can't link). It's a really straight forward method called gradual retreat which teaches baby to fall asleep themselves without being fed or rocked etc. We loosely followed it for a week a couple of weeks ago and despite some reservations, at the end of the week I realised we had made lots of improvement. By the first couple of nights she was falling to sleep on her own after around 5 minutes. I need to do it properly to wean her off the night time feeds, but now only after a minimal amount of effort, I can put her down in her cot and she will go straight to sleep without crying at all. I've just done it now for her nap smile She's also now only waking up 2-3 times a night for milk since doing it (before it was up to 10 times) which I assume must be linked to her being able to self settle. I highly recommend it! Good luck OP, I know how horrible it is when they wake up constantly.

FelixFelixNavidad Wed 10-Dec-14 16:03:18

Also another good thing to read which someone on here recommended to me is the Millpond Sleep Clinic book. I downloaded it from Amazon. It has lots of different scenarios with different problems in and has plans you can follow to rectify the sleep problems. It has gradual retreat methods or controlled crying methods so you can choose which one will work for you.

sambababy Wed 10-Dec-14 16:37:23

Thank you MrPop and Felix! I am going to search for that thread.

The other problem I have is its almost impossible to comfort her in her cot to get her to sleep because she rolls over and starts crawling around and if I leave the room, she stands at the side of the cot waiting for me to come back. We don't seem to have mastered this "drowsy but awake" state at all!

IWantDogger Wed 10-Dec-14 16:49:25

Sorry if this is off the mark as may be a separate issue, but could part of the cause be that she is hungry as she is 7 months and having no solids?

FelixFelixNavidad Wed 10-Dec-14 17:13:54

My dd also did the same until I did the sleep training. The first night she crawled around and whinged for 30-40 mins but finally went to sleep on her own. You just have to leave them to it no matter how long it takes. Basically the plan is you sit in a chair next to the cot and don't interact with baby, but obviously they are aware you are there. If they get distressed and cry, you can pat them and shush but stop and sit back in the chair silently once they have settled again. You just have to sit there until they give up and go to sleep. After a couple of nights they will learn its time to go to sleep, and it should take less time for them to give up and go down. You then move the chair further and further away from the cot over a period of time until you're out of the room and they are used to going to sleep without you there. If that makes sense! You have to persevere with it.

Dd is never really drowsy when I put her in the cot, she's like a Duracell bunny grin

Also make sure you give her a feed before she goes to bed. For example, if she has a bedtime routine of bath, bedtime story then fed to sleep, maybe switch it around so she has a bath then a feed before you get her dressed for bed then bedtime story. That way you know she can't be hungry when it's time to put her down in her cot.

Sorry if I'm rambling a bit!!

sambababy Thu 11-Dec-14 15:56:51

Thanks Felix, I think I'm going to try it.

IWantDogger I would think the same thing, but if she wakes up after only one hour, or even less, she still wants to feed every time. That can't be hunger already surely?. Most babies I know aren't eating a big quantity at this age anyway so whilst it might make some difference, I don't think solving her eating problem is going to answer my sleep prayers sad

museumum Thu 11-Dec-14 16:00:56

Yes read the no cry sleep solution. It's good. Although it's not "a solution" more an ongoing approach. It worked for us. Ds stopped feeding to sleep around 7mo (although still fed before bed and once in the night) and started sleeping through at 10mo.

Lorelei353 Thu 11-Dec-14 16:17:35

Much to my surprise Sshh-patting really worked for us. I thought it sounded mad but it worked surprisingly well, quite quickly. Then because DS was falling asleep in his cot, he later began to do that by himself (at age 1).

sambababy Thu 11-Dec-14 18:26:03

Ive just been reading the tread about the gradual retreat method. On one hand I think great, lots of success stories there. But on the other, this may just be me, but it seems a bit like cc with the mum staying in the room? I say this because people mention A LOT of crying happening, and I know no amount of ssh pat will sooth DD, trust me I've tried. I wonder if 7mo is too young for this method. Perhaps it works better when they understand instructions to lie down etc.

FelixFelixNavidad Thu 11-Dec-14 22:34:56

Dd didn't cry, but whinged a lot. She's not really a crier though. I think the difference is you're there to comfort them and not just leaving them in a dark empty room to cry alone. It does work, but obviously you have to be comfortable with the method. It may be worth looking up the no cry sleep solution if you're not keen on gradual retreat. I've not read it but see it mentioned a lot so I think it must be effective.

Serendipity71 Sun 14-Dec-14 20:29:00

sleepbabies.co.uk/html/top-tips.html
Have a look at this page, we used Sian as a sleep consultant and saved our lives... Website is helpful. We had to use a sleep consultant as were totally at a loss as what to do but if you remain focused you can probably do it off her website alone....

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