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Feed to sleep trap(18 Posts)
Hi, don’t know where to start but here goes- I have a 3m DD who I’ve fallen into the trap of feeding to sleep with. She refuses the bottle and dummy and very rarely will be rocked/pushed to sleep. I can’t stand her crying so always ‘give in’. I can’t put her down without her waking back up, or will lay down on our bed so that’s where she has all her naps. If I’m lucky I can transfer her to the bedside crib for night time sleep, then she inevitably ends up co-sleeping later in the night. I flit between thinking it’s the most natural thing, to being frustrated that DH can’t settle or feed her. She also had her 12 week jabs recently which has just thrown her sleep completely off so I’m no longer getting a stretch of 4+ hours, it’s more like 1-2! I suppose what I’m after is either some actual advice on how to get her to sleep without my boob or screaming, or some stories on how your little ones grew out of feeding to sleep, aren’t obsessed with you and you only, and some reassurance for DH that eventually she’ll be the daddy’s girl that I secretly thinks he’s craving ☺️
Any advice welcome!
They grow out of it and as they become more mobile the bond with their dad's will grow.
How would you feel about planning to feed to sleep and/or cosleep?
Personally, I struggled like you did when DD was that age. I’d read all about the importance of teaching your baby to self settle from an early age, and was absolutely determined to master the “drowsy but awake” thing. I’m sure it works for lots of people, but in my case it was a disaster - DD would get really distressed, or would wake up within minutes of being put down, or would nod off for a bit but then be awake and screaming in distress... it was a nightmare and I felt totally crap.
I decided that I couldn’t deal with this level of stress in the evenings and to just feed her to sleep lying next to her (we had a beside-bed cot you could put the side down on). Very quickly decided it was brilliant! She was content to nod off, and once she was definitely asleep I’d roll away and read a book/do something on my iPad for 20 minutes as she always woke to check I was there after one sleep cycle! A quick bit of patting, or at worst a 2 minute feed and she was right back off again and would sleep solidly for a good 4 hours or so. Because she’d gone to sleep without a battle/stress we managed To avoid over tiredness and she slept far better than if we’d had a battle, and I was much more chilled out too!
I actually stuck with feeding her to sleep for a looooong time, because it worked so well! She’d go to sleep happily if it was dark, light, off schedule, lots of noise downstairs.... there was no need to have everything else perfect, so it worked really well for us. So we kept up bedtime feed till she was 2.
It didn’t stop her learning sleep independence in other ways and at other times of day (which I had worried about massively). By 4 Months, she was perfectly happy napping in the pram or in the car, which I found hugely helpful as we were so flexible. My DH liked to snuggle with her on his chest for naps when he was looking after her (and watch the telly!), my DMum liked to take her out in the pram and then park her up in the garden. When she started nursery, her key worked cuddled her to sleep on the first day, but on the second day she just lay down on her mat like all the other kids and went straight to sleep with a lullaby. I wasn’t totally stuck at home for all evenings either - although my DH didn’t get the hang of settling her when she was small, my DMum and my MIL could both sing her to sleep or get her to nod off with a bottle.
When I decided I wanted to make a change, it was far easier than I thought. I was worried as it had been such a long habit it would be hard to break. Nope. Not a tear in sight. I just started finishing the feed while she was awake and then cuddling her or singing to her until she fell asleep. After a couple of weeks we dropped the feed entirely. Then I used to sing the same songs, but kiss her goodnight and leave before she was asleep. No tears at all, because she was older and didn’t need the comfort any more. She’s an extremely good sleeper now (3, so quite a lot older), and we don’t have any trouble with bedtimes, which are lovely and calm, or early morning waking or anything like that.
I’m expecting twins at the moment. I’m going to try the “drowsy but awake” thing again, as all children are different and seem to have very different needs with regards to sleep. But if feeding to sleep is what works, this time I won’t be afraid of it! I’ll do it as long as I’m happy with it and it works well, knowing that if I change my mind and want to do it differently later, it’s really not a bit deal and older children need a lot less support and comfort.
Basically, do what works for you. Don’t feel guilty about it! You can always make changes as soon as it isn’t what you want to do any more.
Oh, and DD loves her daddy to bits. They have tonnes of fun together, and she’s massively disappointed if I do bathtime because he makes big waves
My only bit of advice is to stop reading what you are ‘supposed’ to do (says who...?!) and just do what works for you.
I personally don’t see feeding to sleep as a trap, but more as a gift to get everyone to sleep or back to sleep in the quickest way possible.
It won’t be forever, I promise! I know it feels like it now, but longer stretches will come!
I found by the time mine was about 20 months or so feeding to sleep no longer worked on her anyway. It was the biggest waste of worry thinking about how I was going to stop feeding to sleep when she just grew out of it. She also had no drowsy but awake state as a baby. Its got to be developmental.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I definitely think the only ‘trap’ I’ve fallen into is reading too much crap about them not being independent sleepers or listening to family and friends give unasked for advice. I’ve been guilty of making comments about a friends family sleeping arrangements so I suppose it’s a given that mine wasn’t going to go ‘to plan’. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy breastfeeding this much (except the back ache!) and my original thoughts were that I’d do it for six months before returning to work and that she’d take a bottle- not that easy! Throughout pregnancy I was just worried about creating a clingy child because chuck all the sleep deprivation, fussy eating and general worries about motherhood at me- a clingy child who won’t go to anybody else is my worst nightmare!! I’m going to have to leave her with her grandparents for a few hours so I’ll see what happens with both nap and a Doidy cup.
Fingers crossed! Thanks again! Xxx
It’s easy to read “experts” on the internet and start questioning everything that you do . Remember that they exist to make money out of people’s desperation! I’m not saying that you can never pick up useful advice, but they obviously make it sound like if you don’t do it their way you are going to have horrendous problems later on, because that way you’re more likely to spend money on their programme!
Spending time with your baby doesn’t make them clingy. I did everything “wrong” with my DD according to some internet sites (bf to sleep, coslept into toddlerhood, cuddle her whenever she wants it). She’s a very independent 3yo who plays well on her own, is highly sociable with children and adults and happily trotted into preschool this morning with barely a backwards glance. She loves time with her grandparents and keeps reminding my DMum that now she’s a big girl she could have a sleepover... (my mum would rather look after her here if she does an overnight, but DD really wants the excitement of staying at their house).
Oh, I never got DD to take a bottle from me unless we were in the car and she was desperate. She’d have one from my DMum or DH though, and they can use a cup from 6 months or so. Snacks and cups make bottles a total non-issue in a relatively short time.
@Whydoireadthis I fed to sleep until 8/9 months until my boy decided he would just have the bottle I gave him and didn't want b feeding afterwards. (I did both as when I just offered him breast he used to feed for two hours!!) He then was just in the bottle and from about 10 months onwards would sleep without bottle at night too. Just feed to sleep whilst it works. You won't be doing it forever!!
My oldest grew out of it around 8-9 months and started rolling over after a feed, going to sleep on her own and sleeping 12 hours. My nearly 2yo I'm currently trying to night wean as shes still obsessed. She does love her dad, she has so much fun with him, but he can't get her to sleep and never has. Hopefully by the time the new babys born she will have cracked it!
Do what suits you. It's not a trap, it's a tool! Mine grew out of it naturally around 9mo, slept through perfectly from 11mo (is now 20mo and we've had 3 night wakes total). It's so hard to follow your instinct when everything is telling you it's a "bad habit", but just be guided by your baby. There are gentle ways to move away from it if it's not working for you anymore but panic, she's still so small. Mine was a useless sleeper/napped until she was mobile and it was like finally her body was as tired as her brain! X
Thank you for all the reassurances! I’ve got used to it, It’s nicer when it works straight away but she’s been dead fussy the past few days so a lot of fidgeting! 😂 I’m assuming she’s hit the ‘4 month regression’ if that’s an actual thing too as she’s started waking after about 30/40 minutes which is a delight 🥴
@Whydoireadthis I don't know about regressions and them hitting exactly at 4 months. My baby slept for reasonable stretches and then at 5 months til now (6 months) he's been waking a lot earlier for feeds. I think they just have different things going on at certain times which affects sleep. Could I call it 4 month regression? I don't know 🤷🏼♀️ Try not to stress though, it's all totally out of our control and try not to worry, it's probably nothing you're doing. Babies have mind's of their own and they all sleep in the end.
@crazychemist I soooo needed to hear that today!!!! I was just about to spend 50 quid on a sleep training programme but I have always been dubious of them.... I feed my baby to sleep and she’s 8 months. I know she is capable of falling asleep independently so I have faith that it will happen. Just trying to give her as much food as poss and bottles atm so I can get night weaning and then weaning fully done and have sons of my life back.
@Whydoireadthis if it helps,
Sorry! @Whydoireadthis if it helps.... I am still doing it and I read something today along the lines of “someone decided that baby’s should sleep all night and independently but unfortunately it simply isn’t true for all babies and when you decided to be a parent, that is what you signed up for!” So I would say do what works for you. People will try and offer advice and you can try it if you want but it may just not work for your little one. Good luck!
@Hellothere19999 As soon as I got a few replies I felt so much better about it! She doesn’t take a bottle but last night I put her in the crib while I brushed my teeth and she just randomly went off herself so I think she will get there eventually. You’re right- someone decided this for babies because it’s slightly inconvenient! It’s just the crying I don’t like, the whinging I can deal with but once it’s at the screaming stage, I just whip the boob out 🤣 x
I fed to sleep at of mine 😂 much to my mums horror. Eldest is now 11 sleep is shit but has adhd and asd. Ds is now 3 sleeps most of the time with a cuddle. And still feeding to sleep my 1 year old though planning on stopping that very soon. As long as everyone's happy.
@Whydoireadthis me too! I can’t help it.... it seems natural as well? I’ve just been reading on another thread... no other mammals would purposely deny something so natural to their baby’s! We do it so we can train them to go back to sleep and that’s kind of sad isn’t it?? Anyway, whatever you decide to do is the right choice for you and your kid so don’t worry about it. I’m just going to do what works for me and my kiddo x