How do you get your baby to sleep?

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JuneorJulyBaby?'s picture
Joined: 10/20/08
Posts: 2479
How do you get your baby to sleep?

The doctor wanted me to keep Emily up after nursing for 5 min at least to encourage her not to associate nursing with sleeping but that really isn't working, especially at night.

How do you get your baby to sleep (and stay asleep) at night? We have been nursing to sleep and then moving her to the cradle. Sometimes I fall asleep nursing and move her as soon as I wake up and realize she is asleep. With Nicholas we used to have to walk him around to get him to sleep so nursing for me is easier and more restful than walking. Also, sometimes we have to put her on our chest because she is a snuggle bunny and loves the warmth and hearing our heartbeat. I don't think we started sleep training Nicholas until closer to 4 months old. I hope I'm not establishing horrible habits but at this point I am so sleep deprived I will do whatever will work.

gaidinsgirl's picture
Joined: 08/28/06
Posts: 2004

hmm, it is my opinion that sleeping and nursing are supposed to be associated. It's the natural way of things. It's cozy and warm there. Most of the time Luke dream nurses anyway. He isn't really awake to begin with. I nurse Luke, he falls asleep and then I go put him in his chair or bassinet or I just hold him for a while and don't even put him down lol. If he wakes at night in his bassinet and I don't think he is hungry then I just put my hand on him and if that doesn't work I either nurse him again or bring him into my bed to sleep.

I didn't sleep train my ds1 or even dd really. I just go with the flow and don't put a lot of worry into training them into sleep or schedules or anything really.

kmm123's picture
Joined: 12/13/08
Posts: 1839

I nursed my first to sleep for months it was never an issue. He weaned around 13 months and we've never had a sleep problem with him. Rory is a much more difficult baby to get to sleep than Evan was - mostly b/c he doesn't nurse and fall asleep LOL I have to rock him and get him relaxed that way. Last night I had to send DH in b/c he was just very crabby. I really think sleep is as much about the individual kid as the tactics. Evan was a good sleeper from day 1, Rory not so much!

sugspop's picture
Joined: 02/22/07
Posts: 1418

I am no sleep training expert by any stretch of the imagination, but after going through some rough sleep training with DS, I am a firm believer that not every technique works for every baby nor are any two babies alike. I personally am not going to worry too much about sleep training until she is around 6 months old... working on a nap schedule around 3 months. Right now she falls asleep nursing, rocking, laying in bed or sucking on a paci and I'm fine with any of that. Most important for me is that she sleeps independently as much as possible, whether in her swing, maclaren, crib, co sleeper etc. I agree that it is natural to fall asleep nursing and I'm definitely not going to wake my baby! I believe in never waking a sleeping baby more than anything!

mlle_carrie's picture
Joined: 07/17/05
Posts: 1134

Jeez, I got worried for a second there because Evelyn falls asleep nursing all the time and I didn't think there was anything wrong with it. I do try to keep her awake and feeding by rubbing her head or feet if she starts to doze off, but at night, nothing puts her to sleep better than a nice long feeding. Typically, I try to burp her a little bit before I lay her down because otherwise she spits up a little or gets the hiccups. I also usually have to change her after a feeding because she inevitably poops while eating or right after. If she doesn't fall asleep after a feeding, I can sometimes get her to sleep by just rocking her a little bit, but other times DH has to take over. I am starting to think about getting a pacifier because she seems to like to pacify at the breast and fall asleep without really feeding. I haven't decided if I want to buy one quite yet.

I'm_a_pepper's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 606

Allyson falls asleep nursing almost 100% of the time, :). Austin was the same way. She will also fall asleep on our chest, or by us rocking her, or in bed swaddled.

"gaidinsgirl" wrote:

I just go with the flow and don't put a lot of worry into training them into sleep or schedules or anything really.

This is us too. I think with Austin he was a few months old before we established any sort of napping schedule, and I just let him set it. I am not going to worry about bad habits or setting a schedule just yet- it all seemed to work itself out last time, and I'm sure it will this time too. I think you're doing just fine! At this point we are in survival mode.

OliveOly's picture
Joined: 08/03/08
Posts: 158

Ella falls asleep while nursing and than I place her in the bassinet. Funny as other pp have posted, a lot of times in the middle of the night I will fall asleep nursing her also. I did this with DS and have never had a problem with sleep.

Joined: 10/05/09
Posts: 672

Ryan falls asleep nursing sometimes and I'm happy to let him do it as long as it isn't the only way he'll go to sleep. He's been a great sleeper so far and often I just lay him in his bassinet and he sleeps. We swaddle him at night but not during the day for naps. He seems to have one really active phase in the morning and is sort of active at night (sigh) but other than that he sleeps like a rock. If he does fuss we pit our hand on his belly and say shhhh and that usually puts him to sleep.

Joined: 09/29/09
Posts: 1346

I'm all for nursing to sleep at this stage! With my first I would get up at night nurse in the rocker and put him to sleep. I'm a lot smarter this time... I get a ton more rest keeping baby in bed with me at night. During the day he sleeps in his crib and he starts the night in his crib as well. I did the same thing with my first. I never had any trouble when I weaned him or transitioned him full time to a crib.

Mama's are often a lot smarter than docs when it comes to non medical issues. You don't have to take all their advice especially when it doesn't seem right for your family.

PAmom2boys's picture
Joined: 04/29/09
Posts: 1494

I never sleep well with baby in my bed. I'm too scared I think.

Andrew nurses to sleep. I worry I'm starting bad habits but right now it's the only thing that works or tons of rocking/walking. At night I don't mind but during the day it's a bit cumbersome when I don't have help with the other young ones. L be starting a schedule sometime in january(if it works out) just for my sanity. Biggrin

kmm123's picture
Joined: 12/13/08
Posts: 1839

Anyone who doesn't nurse to sleep -- how do you get baby to bed at night? Rory sleeps really well at night once he's down but it's literally a 1.5-2 hour event EVERY night to get him down. Evan just nursed swaddled in the dark, got sleepy and went to bed. Evan always nursed to sleep and it was so easy. Rory not so much. I've tried starting the routine earlier and later -- and regardless it takes 1.5-2 hours to get him to give in and go to bed. I was starting at like 8:30/9 and he was consistently going down around 10:30 so I thought I'd let him relax and nurse with me longer and start trying to lay him down around 10....we we up until almost midnight and he was even worse b/c he was way over tired. So I'll go back to starting around 8;30/9. I was apparently hopelessly spoiled by Evan. Once Rory goes down he's consistently very very good and sleeps 4-5 hours then goes back to sleep fairly easily and sleeps 2-3 more. But the battle to put him down is exhausting. I've started asking DH to help but he's having no more luck than I do. So if anyone has suggestions.....I wish Rory nursed to sleep LOL And FWIW I don't really like cosleeping - we do it for an hour or so in the morning typically he wakes around 6 and I stick him in bed with me until Evan wakes up around 7-8'ish but I don't really like cosleeping Rory is like a furnace and he wants to sleep smack against me which makes me nervous

Joined: 10/05/09
Posts: 672

OK I have lots more questions about this:

To you guys who cosleep, how do you do it? I am so scared when Ryan is in bed with us that I cannot sleep. First off I pull my quilt way down to my waist so it's nowhere near him and make DH do the same. That means I am usually cold. Also, when he lies in my arm beside me I just cannot seem to settle down and sleep out of fear he will turn against me and suffocate. Lying him between us with a good distance from me and DH doesn't seem to do that much for him and I might as well put him in his bassinet. Lying on me is not an option - I am terrified he might roll off and fall off the bed. Oh and I have not been able to find a co-sleeper (for in bed) in canada, they were pulled from stores about 7 months ago.

Sleep/wake periods: He has a wake period (opens his eyes while nursing, hard to get to sleep) in the morning (about 6 AM - 11 AM), and then again in the evening (seems to vary and much shorter). The second wake period seems to vary quite a bit - sometimes early evening, sometimes late. He is quite fussy then too. When we try to put him to bed then he gets very grumpy and it's only possible on me or DH. We do try to wake him during the day for feedings but he is usually very sleepy all afternoon and it's almost impossible to wake him up! Do your babies have any sort of consistent wake periods? Can you manipulate them at this stage? Should we even bother trying? My doc says yes but I wonder.

Where does your LO sleep during the day? I want to keep him in the living room with me and not always put him in his bassinet in the bedroom. I put him on the couch on a towel and pull the coffee table in front of him so he doesn't fall off, but it's not an idea situation. Do you hold your little one while he sleeps during the day or just let him lay down. I am worried that since Ryan sleeps in his bassinet at night he isn't getting enough cuddles if I don't hold him all the time during the day Sad

ETA: Diaper changes: Ryan usually poops halfway through a feed. We then change him because of the poop and also to wake him up (he falls asleep after 10 minutes otherwise). But sometimes he doesn't poop till after 45 minutes or even an hour of nursing/lazily sucking at the bottle, and we change him before that to wake him. That means we have to change him again, and then he's usually full and it really wakes him up and he is difficult to get back to sleep. These sessions take us 1.5 hours often - way too much. When do you change LO's diaper at night - before or after the feed, or both, or halfway through?
questions over question...

AshnBill's picture
Joined: 11/06/06
Posts: 5333

Another one nursing to sleep. Sometimes (daytime) she'll just doze off on her own. If she's been awake for awhile and is having a hard time settling i'll nurse and she's out within 1 minute.

Elle, we don't cosleep either, and during the day she sleeps wherever! Sometimes i hold her, sometimes the swing/bouncer, sometimes i'll put her in her crib. Just do what feels right! Smile
Diaper: The last few nights i've been changing her only if she's pooped, usually halfway thru.

Joined: 09/29/09
Posts: 1346

This is how we cosleep.

We have a queen size bed. Nick sleeps in a long sleeve onesie, a sleeper, and then a sleep sack. He sleeps up at the top of the bed by the headboard away from the blankets and pillows. I scooch downward near the bottom of the bed to leave room at the top for him. DH and I are also slim people so I think that helps to create a bit more room. I don't like anyone, including the baby, to touch me when I'm sleeping. Although were all in the same bed we aren't all cuddling and in each others space. Once nick is going longer stretches at night or starts scooting around I will put him in the crib. During the day he sleeps in his crib or in the swing. I don't think its safe to cosleep while holding your baby or baby laying on you.

At night I change his diaper before feeding.

I think at less than a month old is too early for most babies to have set a consistent sleep wake pattern. I don't hhink there is much you can do about that!

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

I've NEVER tried to keep my babies awake when nursing them. I find the best way to get them to reach a full tummy is to nurse on one side (I'll pull my nipple out of his mouth a little bit to get him to wake back up and continue sucking if he does fall asleep), then change his diaper to wake him back up, then feed him on the other side. This way he eats from both breasts and falls back asleep dry, full, and happy! During the day he'l awake in the mornings from about 8am-11am straight, so during that time I have to keep him entertained. I switch from holding him to laying him down to his Pooh chair... but he loves being held the most lol! At night I don't have any issues laying him back down usually, and if he fusses, I just give him a paci.

Joined: 12/01/10
Posts: 997

We usually nurse to sleep though lately he has had more wakeful periods after nursing which means we try to keep him entertained if during day or are trying everything in our power to get him to settle so that we can sleep if at night. We usually change diaper right before feeding him so we can make him more alert to eat if needed and avoid waking him after; we change after feeding only if he obviously needs it (like he stinks so bad that we imagine seeing cartoon squiggly lines coming off of him) but then I have to soothe him again before I can lay him down. I don't feel comfortable sleeping with him in bed unless my upper body is elevated and my arms are propped with pillows, even then I don't sleep very well. He somtimes naps with DH in bed in the morning but I'm checking on them constantly to make sure he is okay. I've fallen asleep holding him in the rocker but usually only when he keeps fussing in his bassinet and I'm super tired.

JuneorJulyBaby?'s picture
Joined: 10/20/08
Posts: 2479

Ok it makes me feel better that lots of people nurse to sleep Smile I think we will continue because it works!

Elle- for your questions: Once baby is back at birth weight the dr. said no need to wake for feedings. We will feed on demand after Emily is back at her birth weight, hopefully she will go to a 3 hr schedule. This also helps with growth spurts where they feed a lot more than normal. During the day Emily sleeps in the swing, bouncy seat, car seat, or someone's arms. Basically anywhere. Once Emily is a little older we are going to try and follow the EASY schedule of "eat, awake time, sleep, you time" We usually change diapers right before a feeding to try and get Emily to wake up. During the night I try and remember to change her diaper before each feed because after the feed she is knocked out asleep.

.hilary.'s picture
Joined: 01/31/10
Posts: 1505

We bought a Snuggle Nest for cosleeping. Elaina will sleep in her crib in the day, but at night even though it's right up against the bed, she won't stay in it for long. I was going insane from lack of sleep and I am too worried to have her just loose in the bed. The Snuggle Nest goes in between our pillows, and has three walls so I don't worry about rolling over on her. It has sleep positioners to keep her on her back (though she can still get on her side a bit) and they sort of just keep her contained in there. It has a handy nightlight too which is perfect for nursing. Anyway this way we are close and she knows we are there and I can cuddle her a bit when she stirs. Last night we used it for the first time and I got WAY more sleep. Then this morning we napped together after DH went to work and got four hours straight, I don't think I've gotten that since she was born!! So, best $50 we have spent. It does take up a fair amoun of room but we are willing to trade some space for more sleep time, lol.

We nurse to sleep, that's the only way I can get her down. Sometimes baby wearing or rocking and swaying with her works (DH can get her to sleep pretty regularly with those techniques) but I still have too much stitch pain to be swaying or rocking while standing. Lately she has been fussing a lot at the breast so I think I am going to start offering both (previously she would be full to the brim off of one). I will change her in between like Krystal does and then after the second breast hopefully just slide her up into the cosleeper to sleep. I really hope we can get into a routine with this!!

Joined: 10/05/09
Posts: 672

Thanks for the details everyone, very ineresting to see what everyone else does. Hilary, where did you get the snuggle nest?? I looked for a cosleeper like that everywhere but the lady at babiesrus told me they no longer carry them. Darn Canadian shopping! I saw them on US websites everywhere.

.hilary.'s picture
Joined: 01/31/10
Posts: 1505

I know, that's always my frustration too...always seems harder to find stuff in Canada!! I found it at a store called TJ's, I think it might be a BC only store. But you can buy online! http://www.tjskids.com/ it's on sale right now Smile

Veni Vidi Vici's picture
Joined: 03/13/10
Posts: 113

bizarre doc advice. Nursing puts babies to sleep for a good reason. lol

We nurse to sleep, and cosleep. did that with my daughter too, love it!

fireflies11's picture
Joined: 03/26/11
Posts: 613

I'm all about whatever works! Not worried at all about bad habits.
I swear, every night is different in our house! Last week I got two nights of 9-hours straight! But this week we are back to 4-hour stretches. We gave up co-sleeping because I could not sleep with him in our bed. We tried the Sleep Nest but he didn't like it, he still wanted to be right next to me. We moved him to his crib. I nurse him to sleep, but we have the same issue with pooping during the feed. If I change his diaper, he is WIDE awake and it can take an hour or two to get him back down. I found the best way to get him down is snuggle him right up against me and then move him once he falls asleep.

PAmom2boys's picture
Joined: 04/29/09
Posts: 1494

I change the diaper first then feed at night. during the day I do the opposite so he starts to stay awake after feeding then if he doesn't settle on his own to sleep for a nap I either put him on the breast again or carry him and walk around the house or bouncy chair until he's asleep. I have a pack n play set up in the living room for daytime naps.

I am trying to use EASY too. I'll follow it more by 3 months. I feel he's still too young for it to work like I'd like right now. I loved EASY for all my other kids. It really worked for us.

clio's picture
Joined: 11/05/07
Posts: 590

I should say first that I FF; I take medication that crosses into my breast milk that isn't safe for him. So there is no issue with falling asleep while nursing. But we don't work on a schedule either. He sleeps when he sleeps. At night, if he falls asleep while feeding, I change him in the middle of the bottle to wake him up (he usually poops then anyway; he's a very forceful pooper, so we feel the vibrations when it happens). He then is either sleepy again after finishing his bottle, or I do the "5 S's"--swaddle, stomach, shh, swing and suck. (I feel like a promotor for the book The Happiest Baby on the Block. I swear, I'm not.) Anyway, by the time I'm half way through that little routine, he's completely out, and we get a good three to four hours sleep before he's hungry again, or needs a change.

As for the sleeping arrangements, we had it all planned out: pack 'n play in our room until 3-6 months, then crib. But the first night was so stressful with neither of us sleeping that we quickly changed our plans. As DH said, there was no point in neither of us getting any sleep, so we bought a Moses Basket the next day and set it up in the living room. I take the first shift until 3 am, and then DH relieves me. Luckily, we have a very comfortable couch, so I, at least, sleep very well when Jonah sleeps. Can't really speak for DH, though...

beccasweet's picture
Joined: 04/10/11
Posts: 679

According to the LLL book suckling actually produces a chemical that causes sleepiness so it seems a little odd to me to try and keep baby awake after nursing when its natures way of putting them to sleep.

I nurse laying down at night and co-sleep. When she is done nursing I turn her on her back and move her over just a little so she is next to me but far enough that if she turns her head her nose wont be in my chest. My one arm is up with my hand under my head so my elbow is out above her head sort of protecting her. I keep the blankets below my waist and sleep with a long sleeve pj top over a nursing tank to keep me warm. We used to swaddle and still do to get her to sleep but I've read that if you co-sleep baby should not be swaddled so they can move and poke you if they need to so I take her out of the swaddle before I go to sleep.

JuneorJulyBaby?'s picture
Joined: 10/20/08
Posts: 2479

Becky- we have been co-sleeping with Emily's cold and swaddling too. I swaddle her up to her chest and leave her arms out so that she can poke me that way if she needs to. It seems like a good compromise to the whole no swaddle thing.

fireflies11's picture
Joined: 03/26/11
Posts: 613

"clio" wrote:

I do the "5 S's"--swaddle, stomach, shh, swing and suck. (I feel like a promotor for the book The Happiest Baby on the Block. I swear, I'm not.)

Love this book too! With DS1 I read The Baby Whisperer, and a few other "sleep" books (can't remember their names) I even looked into Babywise. But the 5 S's were by far the best for our family!! I felt like it all made sense and really worked for DS1. Jonah is not as high maintenance as DS1, but we still swaddle and use white noise in his room. He is not a big fan of the paci but loves to use me as a paci to sleep. Now that it doesn't hurt to nurse, I don't mind it since it works so well!

Joined: 10/05/09
Posts: 672

".hilary." wrote:

I know, that's always my frustration too...always seems harder to find stuff in Canada!! I found it at a store called TJ's, I think it might be a BC only store. But you can buy online! http://www.tjskids.com/ it's on sale right now Smile

Thanks so much Hilary. Bought the snuggle nest at TJ's on Saturday and Ryan LOVES it. He sleeps so awesome in it! He likes the womb sounds sountrack (sounds like heartbeat on a doppler) and falls asleep immediately when I put it on. And I love having him between us in bed. so much easier for feeding and checking on him. Yay!

clio's picture
Joined: 11/05/07
Posts: 590

"fireflies11" wrote:

Love this book too! With DS1 I read The Baby Whisperer, and a few other "sleep" books (can't remember their names) I even looked into Babywise. But the 5 S's were by far the best for our family!! I felt like it all made sense and really worked for DS1. Jonah is not as high maintenance as DS1, but we still swaddle and use white noise in his room. He is not a big fan of the paci but loves to use me as a paci to sleep. Now that it doesn't hurt to nurse, I don't mind it since it works so well!

I was absolutely astounded when it worked. Jonah doesn't seem to be a very fussy baby, so perhaps that's why it works so well. In fear of having a fussy, colicky baby, I also bought a "Sleep Sheep" while preparing for his arrival, and it is awesome for the white noise. (Though the whale call option, although appropriate for his name, is a little disconcerting...) Even I fall asleep to sound of the rain or the ocean.