How to stop feeding to sleep...at 12 months(12 Posts)
I fear I have made a rod for my own back, and would love some advice as to how to tackle a change of sleep routine. DP is happy to pay for a sleep consultant, but I'd rather try to sort it ourselves first and save the money. Dd is 12 months and has pretty much coslept from birth (we had a snuzpod but it didn't get used much) and has breastfed to sleep for naps and nighttime sleep 90% of the time, the other 10% is falling asleep in her pram or being danced/rocked. She still feeds about 3 times per night, sometimes less sometimes more. On holiday a month ago she slept through the night two nights on the trot, (I unfortunately had insomnia so didn't benefit) so I know she doesn't need the milk in the night now, especially as she eats so much proper food and drinks plenty of water during the day. I'm happy to keep breastfeeding, I just don't want to be doing it all night and now DP has a new higher pressure job he needs more undisturbed sleep. But how do I stop feeding her to sleep and help her learn to self settle?
I've moved her into a full sized cot with the side off, pushed up to the bed so she isn't getting disturbed by DP or I moving, hasn't had much success, and she ends up in with us in the early hours. If I try to put a hand on her chest or stroke her face or hold her hand to calm her she becomes absolutely irate, same if I keep putting her back onto her back when she gets up. I always give in and just feed her to sleep for an easy life She won't take a dummy. Do I introduce a comfort cuddly toy or blanket? She has only recently started showing an interest in soft toys so that might be a goer or is it too late? Do I put her non spill cup in her cot so if she is waking due to thirst she can do it herself? I just have no clue what to do.
Please say someone has had success with teaching good sleep habits this late on, I feel as if I'm still going to be cosleeping and breastfeeding when she's a teenager!
Look at the Pantley Pull off for very gentle guidance and the Jay Gordon mehod for slightly quicker, slightly less gentle night weaning.
I haven't got any practical advice but I fed DD to sleep until she was 20ish months. BF until just over 2 years. We were co sleepers but she now spends 8pm-5am in her bed and comes in for a cuddle early morning.
First off, you haven't made a rod for your own back. Secondly, of course you won't be feeding her when she's a teenager. She's a year old, still a baby. There isn't (or at least shouldn't be) anything "bitty" about feeding a 12mth old.
She will be getting nutrition from the milk. A lot of people think they don't once they start eating but they do. It's also about comfort etc. Not saying that to guilt trip at all.
If you feel it's time to stop then fair enough. You don't need to "sleep train" or a sleep consultant.
Are you wanting to just stopping feeding to sleep, or night wean or wean completely?
Whatever it is you need to be consistent. If you give in at the slighest niggle then you won't get anywhere.
You can do it two ways:
1. just stop. I'd suggest that would be quite traumatic for everyone.
2. Go slowly. Obviously it will take a bit more work and will be longer but should go easier.
Assuming you want to wean completely I personally would:
1. Drop the "least needed" feed, the one she can distracted from.
2. When you are confident that's done, drop the next least important feed etc.
3. When it comes to the feeds she won't want to drop eg the one that helps her sleep, time them. Feed her but stop after a certain time. Gradually reduce that time.
4. If you want to give her a cuddly, then start cuddling it up with the both of you while you are nursing.
5. Don't offer.
5. Drop one feed at a time.
She may become a bit more needy/touchy during this time. She may also take to sticking her hand down your top and trying to "nipple twiddle" if she can't nurse.
Some feeds will take a lot longer to drop than others.
Sorry, should add you might need to think about your routine.
If you normally feed when you do x you may need to rethink doing x for a while.
On the other hand, she might respond better if you keep everything the same.
Gertie is bang on. Don't worry about making a rod for your own back - I was told that throughout my sons early months as I also fed him to sleep and then sometime around the 9m he just stopped. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Don't think you've contributed anymore than any other factor at play.
You're right - at this stage milk is not really required overnight - could you perhaps look to offer a bit of water instead? Perhaps if your little one is still looking for liquid around the time she needs the less important feed overnight, you could try a drop of water and go from there?
I agree with all of the above advice so far. You are not making a rod for your own back, you are teaching her that she is comforted and knows her mummy.
And 100% second you having a look in to Dr Jay Gordon blog. He highlights the need for babies (yes she is still a baby even at 12 months, she is completely dependent on an adult) to feed and feel love and attachment, even during the night. But he also highlights that today's society is driven to "fixing" babies sleep, when it doesn't actually need fixing; just a little tweaking.
Have a read, print it out and also get your husband to read it. I literally handed it to my DH and said we are doing this in 3 weeks, be prepared. So we planned, worried it wouldn't work and the result was a pretty painless stopping of night feeding between 11pm and 6am every night. Our dd nailed it in 2-3 days and it wasn't upsetting for her or me.
You might read it and think, you know what, I'll leave it a few weeks and that's fine too. Go off your own gut instinct. I read it at 11 months and wasn't ready, so I went back to it at 14 months and we were totally ready. I saw a significant different in her solid food intake during the day - she was eating well anyway, but all of a sudden she upped her game with eating. So constantly offer snacks and food to her throughout the day, as well as water too.
Dr Jay Gordon Blog
In terms of a pattern or routine, you need to really follow hers. Have you read No Cry Sleep Solution book? If not, I have a copy and I am happy to give it to you/post it. It taught me to really read the cues of her sleep and also what you are doing each night before bed (noise, light, stimulation etc) and then work around that. You will have some babies that want to sleep 9pm - 8am, and others who like an early night (7pm - 5.30am) and that is just their natural sleep pattern. You have to find hers and work around it and as she gets older, it will pad out longer in the evening (going to bed earlier) and sleeping in.
As much as routine is a bit like marmite for some, a pattern at bedtime is the best thing you can start. Children like to know what is happening and they like the repetition, so try the same 'things' each night. ie. story, feed, bath, feed, story, bed and repeat it. You will get used to a couple of feeds before bed, but not the last thing before bed, i.e. DH can help out with bed time, so you can start to come away and her not be as reliant on you.
I've gone on enough. I'm sure I can think of more things so will post them later x
Thank you so much for all your advice, I clearly have a lot of reading to do!
I don't want to stop feeding completely at all, I love feeding her and I know it is still good for her, reading all your replies has really crystallised a lot of things for me so thank you.
To be honest I'm getting a lot of comments from family about babying her and have we got her into her own room yet, surprise that I'm 'still' breastfeeding her, she doesn't need milk at night anymore, dd needs to get more sleep in the night and then she won't get grouchy, the teenager comment has also been said to me, and I guess I internalised it, and it's getting to me. I had really bad anxiety and depression before I had dd (so bad I didn't leave my flat for months on end), I was so so happy not to have PND and have felt the best I ever have in terms of my mental health since I had her, but recently I have felt the anxiety creeping back, and it doesn't help when you are a new mother and have criticism and 'advice' from every angle. I also have her 12 month check with the HV tomorrow and have been feeling anxious about that to be honest. I think that prompted my posting.
DP loves cosleeping and was reluctant to at first, and I am not actually bothered by the lack of sleep too badly as I have stayed at home for another year so I can nap in the day with dd. I love cuddling up to her in the night and waking up to her smiling at me in the morning. We have a king sized bed, and dd is a starfish sleeper so she often wakes as she has bumped into one of us or is turning over or readjusting position disturbs her. The hotel bed that she slept through the night on was two large singles pushed together, it was so so much more spacious I think that might be the answer. Would it be weird to call the hotel and ask them the dimensions so I can replicate it exactly?!
I'd be surorised if it was the bed - it was probably more that you were on holiday and she was tired from all the new experiences etc mine slept very well on holiday too (definitely not through the night though hehe).
So your family say you're babying her - babying a baby seems legit!! Honestly don't LISTEN to all this nonsense. My favourite is 'my friends cosleep with their children and they're 11 and still in the bed' etc. So much scaremongering and using extreme examples. What you're doing now is wonderful and totally natural. You can't go wrong! One day, she'll turn over and will have had enough and you will probably miss it. I know I will!
Good luck whatever you decide OP x
I nightweaned but continued to bf until 2.5 months.
Ignore the negative advice. If the set up works for your family, leave it as it is
I'm also a very strong believer in doing what's right for you and your family and ignoring what others have to say about it. It's not a rod for your back if you are happy to do it and you have a happy baby
Cosleeping and feeding to sleep doesn't work for us - my daughter wakes the second I remove the breast from her mouth. She doesn't sleep well with me next to her and it is very clear from her mood when she hasn't slept well and is overtired. For these reasons, I have trained my daughter to fall asleep without the breast and sleep in her cot. Saying that, I am still happily breastfeeding at almost 11 months - family can think what they want about it.
If you are happy to continue as you are then keep things that way. If not, others have advised methods for breaking the feed to sleep cycle. I personally would recommend doing that to avoid the association between breast and sleep and to rearrange your routine so she gets breastfed on waking rather than sleeping
Join the discussion
Please login first.