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So, feed to sleep, good or bad, what's your opinion and why?

(24 Posts)
FifiFerusha Sun 15-Nov-15 20:59:16

Hi all,

I have been thinking about this recently. When my first was born it was always said ' don't feed to sleep'. So I tried not to and in the end she won me over and I let her feed to sleep. Now at 5 yo, we still sit with her until she sleeps. Never sleep trained her properly, mu fault. Now with DS, 4 mo, I was determined to make no mistakes. Even tried the EASY thing which isn't really me but it was going ok. Sshh patted to sleep, which was going ok but never really got quicker. Now DS seems very distracted and therefore will only feed when sleepy. So he has won me over and now has a strong feed/sleep association. So, on one hand it worries me. All the hard work gone wrong, going against what it says in the books, the dread of having 2 bad sleepers in the house(although I am sure I have time to change things. . But in all, if both my baby's instinctively wanted me to feed them to sleep despite trying not to, then surely it is instinctively the right thing to do. I imagine in early time baby's were attached to their mother feeding to sleep as they pleased and more able to develop their own sleep pattern at ease. So why is it so bad. I guess I just want to know anxious that I am not helping my DS by letting him do this. So feeding to sleep, why it it good, and why is it bad? What's your opinion? X

Tory79 Sun 15-Nov-15 21:04:22

It's one of the things breastfeeding was designed for! I always fed my eldest to sleep and he stopped of his own accord and just started pulling off and asking to go in his cot around 15m. Despite all the feeding to sleep he only went through a brief stage of wanting us to stay with him and then by 18m he was able to settle himself.

So a lot of it can just be about the individual child rather than sleep associations.

I am currently still feeding my 14m old to sleep, I've got a horrible feeling he won't be quite so amenable re stopping!

The only bad thing to me is that I have to do all his bedtimes and nap times for now!

anothernumberone Sun 15-Nov-15 21:04:54

2 bottle fed just fell asleep while feeding.

One BF fed to sleep and fed while asleep here. Worked very well for us. I just tried to be as traditional with breastfeeding as possible because I do not believe our ancestors faffed about with sleep techniques.

It had its draw backs in terms of ever getting out without DS but all in all I would say I had equally good quality sleep on him, even though he fed a good bit at night, as I did with my other 2 who did not feed after the first few weeks but took dummies.

lilac3033 Sun 15-Nov-15 21:07:56

I think it depends on how the individual baby's parents feel about it. I did it with DD for a few months then weaned her off feeding to sleep (dropped it from naps around 4 mo and from bedtime around 5.5 mo). I wouldn't say it is good or bad. It worked for awhile but I didn't want DD relying on me and only me to get to sleep. I am lucky it has been relatively painless making the switch. If I had a baby that really struggled with it I may have kept going longer. Just depends!

Luckystar1 Sun 15-Nov-15 21:10:33

I'm all for it! Especially at night. I don't feed to sleep for naps, so he can settle himself. But I haven't persevered with breastfeeding for nearly 13 months not to reap some benefits!!

FifiFerusha Sun 15-Nov-15 21:32:09

Anothernumberone -'I don't believe our ancestors faffed about with sleep techniques' , love that comment. . And agree, sometimes we have to look back to understand how to do things.
However I know what you mean a Lilac. This morning( always find first nap the best one to try out any sleep techniques) got DS to sleep with ssh pat, like the good old days and oh how he got angry, but I saw it through so I know feeding to sleep isn't the end of the world and could wean off. . But in terms of ease and well, I kind of think I might have been sucked into( ha, literally) feed to sleep by DS and am siding with it, just for now. . He Won't feed otherwise, so barely have a choice x
But, yes, the dependency on me is a worry, maybe go with it for now and plan for later, more appropriate sleep techniques . God, I am I saying this again.

Lucky star , great that yours can self settle and feed to sleep, how did you manage it? My DS is a sleep fighter, really tricky.

anothernumberone Sun 15-Nov-15 21:38:42

Sorry I did not mean to slag off sleep techiques that you are using, you know how things read differently in your mind.

FifiFerusha Sun 15-Nov-15 21:53:01

Didn't take it as a slag off at all. I thought you made a really valid comment. I am feeding to sleep. I think sleep techniques are ideal as they are convenient if they work. .mine just isn't working as well now so need reassurance that it doesn't matter and you made me feel better x

FATEdestiny Sun 15-Nov-15 22:16:42

I don't believe the problem is feeding to sleep. The problem is not putting baby down to sleep. The two are often tied together - the baby who is breastfed to sleep then continues to sleep in Mothers arms, is difficult to transfer, wakes easily once transferred.

It doesn't have to be that way.

I think it is pretty impossible not to feed to sleep in the early months (up to 3 or 4 months old).

But upon feeding baby to sleep, I have always not sought to keep baby sleeping soundly. Indeed I would aim to rouse baby. That might just mean lifting baby to my shoulder and some robust back rubbing to slightly rouse a dozing baby.

Done from birth this gets child used to being transferred after falling asleep feeding, winding to slightly rouse then being 'put down' to sleep.

That and a dummy, are the key to independent sleeping IME with my four children.

FifiFerusha Sun 15-Nov-15 22:32:12

Fatedestiny- that is also reassuring as I pull DS off when he is lightly sleeping, wind him a bit and then transfer. He shuffles a bit and then back to sleep. I think he knows he has been put in his cot. Maybe I am doing something right. With DD however the transfer was the issue and she hated it. . Would feed to sleep until she fell off. Glad it is a little different with DS x

FATEdestiny Sun 15-Nov-15 22:42:52

At 4 months old that's fine.

I think half the problem with transferring come from this expectation that you have to be super gentle and super silent and super careful not to disturb the sleeping baby. So this becomes self-perpetuating and any slight movement or change causes distress.

If you do the opposite - get a very young baby used to being moved around in that sleepy/dozy stage then when they get older transfers are no biggie.

53rdAndBird Sun 15-Nov-15 23:13:46

Some babies just won't do that though, FATEdestiny. Mine would not sleep out of my arms, no matter what I tried (and I tried everything, I was desperate to put her down so I could sleep myself!). Cot, car seat, pram, bouncy chair - all torture devices apparently. I have concluded that most babies do prefer being held to sleep, but some feel more strongly about it than others...

OTOH we ended up doing all the things the sleep books tell you not to do - feeding to sleep, holding for naps, co-sleeping - and she will go to sleep fine now at 19mo without needing to be fed or rocked at all. At nursery she'll just curl up on her own and fall asleep by herself, and even now when I do feed her to sleep, half the time she'll pull off, crawl away a bit and go to sleep in her own space. So I think all the doom-laden warnings about feeding to sleep are a bit exaggerated, to say the least.

Luckystar1 Mon 16-Nov-15 06:27:55

I don't know how I got him to self settle tbh! He 'woke up' to the world very young, so by 3 weeks he was no longer doing that lovely baby thing of just drifting to sleep. So I had to work seriously hard at naps. I've found that just putting him down awake, in a quiet, dark place and giving him a chance to fall asleep worked best. We also use a Ewan.

Google the awake times for your son's age for a guide. I was (and am!) militant. But I had to be or it was days and days of screaming!

cabbageleaf Mon 16-Nov-15 06:58:45

I used to feed to sleep until about five months or so, then it took longer and longer for DS to drop off, so I had to change my strategy. It was a real battle getting him to sleep well, but now, at a year old, he sleeps through most nights - touch wood - and that only happened once I night weaned him. So I do think feeding to sleep can be a problem, especially feeding back to sleep during the night after six months or so. But, IMO, feeding to sleep is perfectly ok during the first five or six months, then you need to look at different ways to get baby to sleep (but remember that some babies aren't sleep trained at all and self settle and sleep through at a young age, so it depends very much on the baby!)

fluffikins Mon 16-Nov-15 09:53:52

I stress about this on a daily basis. Ive read that the way they fall asleep the first time in the night is how they'll need to transition.m each time but I'm not sure how true that really is. I've tried to break the feed to sleep but it seems so ridiculous as the feeding works so well and clearly is a natural mechanism.

But what happens when they go to nursery??

Luckystar1 Mon 16-Nov-15 09:58:17

Fluff I remember reading that too. Don't stress. Honestly. If at night time they are sleeping for longer than 1-1.5 hours at a time then they must be able to settle themselves. Otherwise they would be constantly waking as if from a nap. Surely!

Anyway, depending on your baby's age, night feeds are probably still required anyway, so who are we to determine is the waking is due to hunger or not?!

JoandMax Mon 16-Nov-15 10:07:02

My 1st was fed to sleep, around 6 months he started falling asleep himself for naps and by about 1 at bedtime. No sleep training involved he just kind of did it so we went with it! Age 7.5 now and still an absolute dream sleeper, never have any issues with him.

2nd child was tube fed so never fed to sleep and at age 5.5 still has me sitting with me until he's asleep and in bed with us around 1am a few nights a week.

So in my sample of 2 I would absolutely go for feeding to sleep!!

MigGril Mon 16-Nov-15 10:17:52

I don't get how not feeding to sleep with breastfeeding is ever really going to work with tiny babies anyway. Looking at how breastfeeding works, hormones are realised into the milk to make baby sleepy and help them sleep. They are also realized into the mum to help mum sleep, this is how we have evolved to be surly you are just trying to fight nature if you do anything else.

With bottle feeding you can do things differently of course but even then a baby with a full tummy is going to feel sleepy just like you do after a full meal.

Anastasie Mon 16-Nov-15 10:24:04

Of course it isn't a bad thing to do OP flowers

You sound like you followed your child's cues. There is NOTHING wrong with that.

I have fed all of mine to sleep for as long as required (apart from ds1 whom I weaned off BF at 16mo as I was under pressure to - thanks mum)

Follow your instincts.

This makes me really sad: Never sleep trained her properly, my fault.

Sleep training is a concept invented by someone or other either to make money out of selling books/consultations, or to disguise a lack of responsiveness to children, because of other pressing issues (not always a parental choice, our society inflicts all sorts of pressures that are incompatible with raising small children)

I hate that it has become another stick for people who are reponsive to beat themselves with. You can't train a baby and nor should you try to.

nottheop Mon 16-Nov-15 10:30:54

The 4 month sleep regression threads are evidence that a strong sleep association of feeding, rocking or walking etc can lead to the waking after each sleep cycle. When that happens, it's pretty dire but it isn't guaranteed.

I totally made sure that ds was self settling by 4 months, going to sleep on his own in his cot. He didn't regress but didn't sttn until he was 7.5 months old. Teething still wreaked havoc after this point too.

PebbleTTC Mon 16-Nov-15 10:34:30

Can I ask what feed to sleep is? Is it breastfeeding / feeding until they fall asleep in your arms and then putting them in to cot?

Diddlydokey Mon 16-Nov-15 10:38:50

Yes pebble that's it. Falling asleep with the Boob or bottle in the mouth.

PebbleTTC Mon 16-Nov-15 10:47:43


Our little fella does that for the middle of the night feeds, I couldn't see how you could stop it at that time but maybe try changing for day time naps? I am on my first baby and don't have any routine or anything but I find the days where I seem to catch the tiredness at the right time he will go down to sleep awake but happy to sooth himself with dummy or just talking to himself. Mind you this only happens about twice a week so maybe I don't know anything!

fluffikins Mon 16-Nov-15 10:50:43

Thanks lucky star that is encouraging!

Dd is 5 months and right in the regression waking every 2 hrs and I just feel like I have no idea what to do for the best. All I know is that I don't want to do cio or cc. She's a wilful little one though so putting her in a cot 'sleepy' is never going to work! confused

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