Nursing to sleep

16 posts / 0 new
Last post
TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043
Nursing to sleep

Hi ladies! We haven't entered the "extended" phase of BFing yet but my initial goal is 18 months. I work, so to achieve that goal I plan to more or less enforce morning and night time nursing. After 18 months, I'll probably just let her do her thing. My pediatrician has been suggesting that I put her down to sleep awake and without nursing. I love my pediatrician and this is about the only piece of advice I've so far ignored. She's reached the point of being fidgety/go-go-go/no-time-to-nurse during the day. So, night time and before naps are just about the only time I can get her to nurse well. Nursing is also really effective at putting her to sleep. Despite all my instincts telling me this is fine, my pediatrician's nagging voice in my head keeps telling me I should be trying to put her down without nursing. I mean, she WILL learn to put herself to sleep eventually, right? She goes down for naps just fine when she's just with DH or at day care. So, she can do it but boob is the only thing that works when I'm around and I'm totally fine with that. I actually look forward to that part of the day. I'm just a tad worried that I'm setting myself up for a huge struggle when she's 2-3. From those of you who've BTDT (and I assume aren't still putting their pre-K kids to bed with the boob) did you find the transition easy/difficult?
Thanks! Hope to hang out here more in about 5 months!

Joined: 07/11/06
Posts: 253

Now here's a thread I can help with, lol. Both my kids would have my milk to go to sleep at that age as well. I EPed with my daughter, but with my son I have nursed exclusively. I worried about this as well, but I have to say, I fully support nursing little ones to sleep now. BOTH my kids naturally got to a point where they weren't fully asleep when they popped off, and so they kicked the habit of nursing to sleep entirely on their own with no push from me. I still nurse my son at bed time, but now he nurses, pops off awake, I lay him in his crib and he blows me kisses or waves, then I leave a contented little boy to fall asleep. My daughter got to a point where she could have her bottle while we read her story, and then we could leave.

At your little one's age mine were both still nursing to sleep. So I have to say, I would encourage you to follow your instincts. In my experience with two completely different children, they will get there!

I hope that helps!

mommycarrie's picture
Joined: 09/07/06
Posts: 358

Anyone who isn't in the room with you helping you put your baby to sleep doesn't get an opinion on what you choose to do! Smile Do whatever works for you. I always nursed both my babies to sleep - it's easy and it works! No need to re-invent the wheel, and you don't have to "teach" your baby to sleep... they will do it on their own in time. Granted, it might not be on your schedule... but as long as you're happy with it, stick with nursing to sleep if it works. (PS: I weaned around 20mo, and my son sleeps just fine.)

sbaldwin's picture
Joined: 07/18/05
Posts: 164

Ha ha...i love that last post. So very true. I can tell you that i still nurse naya to sleep for her naps and bed so we are nursing 4 x a day. Some days she falls alseep on the boob and i lay her in her crib and some days she pops off and i lay her in awake. She is always just fine either way. You will be fine and i would just keep doing what is working for you and your baby. Now if i could just get my 5 year old to stay in his bed at night that would be great...but thats a whole other post...lol

Joined: 01/25/02
Posts: 2023

I have extended nursed 4 babies, 14mo, 18mo and my twins are now 16mo. I have nursed all of them before bed. The first two I always nursed to sleep, and when we cut out that last nursing it was more difficult, but certainly not impossible! My dh usually put them to bed when we were ready to cut out that feed. At 6 and 8 they are great sleepers, and they were great sleepers at 2 as well. Smile My twins have nursed and put to sleep usually awake and that works too. Smile

Joined: 11/23/07
Posts: 870

my 2 cents- currenty american sleep expectations for babies are UNREASONABLE. and your Pedi has been med-school brainwashed into certain limitations because they have to control everything possible in order to feel like any slight deviation in their patients lives is not their fault. so ignore the pedi, and do what you and your child need Smile

for years it was legal to beat your kids and that was ok with everyone then too! was it good, NO, but it was allowed and even suggested, thats why it was allowed in schools.

ANYWAY... i agree that anyone not in the room has no opinion on how your kids sleep. if your Dr told you to sleep with no pillows flat on your back and if you so much as roll to your side you have to wake yourself up and start all over would you do it? DD still nurses to sleep, but we are both ok with that at this point. i'm hoping she'll wean by around 3 because she's a candidate for early pre-school and if she's big enough for preschool then she's big enough to stop having mo-mos. DS, even though he's only 3 months, already does a better job of putting himself to sleep. DD just has a different sleep cycle than DS and thats the way it is.

try reading the no cry sleep solution for preschoolers and toddlers, it has GREAT ideas in it Smile i'm re-reading it right now to help get DD in her own bed for a little bigger portion of the night. or we'll have to buy a king size bed. i'm no small fry, DH is bigger than a linebacker, and DD still takes up 3/4ths the bed and we have stiff necks. if we had a king size i dont know if we'd find it important to have her sleep in her own bed.

Joined: 01/18/06
Posts: 1626

I nursed my first to sleep til about 13 months. At that point I nightweaned her for my own sanity and it was FAR easier than I expected. I expected the worst since she was very very attached to nursing at night.

My next DD I nurse her right before bed and sometimes she falls asleep, sometimes she doesn't.

I agree do what works.

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

Thanks ladies! You've given me the reassurance I needed! I find that quite a few of the things pediatricians tell their patients stem from the parent's expectations rather than actual science. I've asked my pedi about things I've heard on this forum and he just rolls his eyes and tells me the truth. That's why I love him! I've never called him on the sleep thing. I just do an internal eye roll Wink

Joined: 02/27/09
Posts: 120

Yeah, my ped told me that I should let Morgan CIO at 4 months :eek: Ummm. I don't think so. I still nurse her to bed and sometimes she falls asleep and sometimes she doesn't. Just go with your gut and everything will be fine Biggrin

Joined: 07/11/06
Posts: 253

I wish more doctors would do research and be open to giving parents a variety of options to try what works best for them. I don't like hearing that your Pedi said you should let her CIO when you have something that works for you. They need to get more impartial!

mommycarrie's picture
Joined: 09/07/06
Posts: 358

"OntarioGal" wrote:

I wish more doctors would do research and be open to giving parents a variety of options to try what works best for them. I don't like hearing that your Pedi said you should let her CIO when you have something that works for you. They need to get more impartial!

Not only that - but I feel like most aren't sharing MEDICAL advice. I highly doubt they take a medical school class that says "Tell parents to let their babies cry it out." I think they are sharing their own personal experience. That's fine - as long as they are not making it sound like a recommendation from the AAP.

When I googled "American Academy of Pediatrics" and sleep... this is what I got. http://www.healthychildren.org/english/ages-stages/baby/sleep/pages/Getting-Your-Baby-to-Sleep.aspx

The most it says is "wait a few minutes to respond to your child's fussing." Then it suggests checking on them to see if they are hungry, wet, dirty, or if something else is wrong. It also mentions in the first line that children's sleep patterns are irregular until at least six months, and it's normal for the baby to sleep only a few hours at a time. So where does any ped. come off recommending CIO at 4 months? Grrrrr.

Sorry to rant... just frustrating.

Starflyr's picture
Joined: 10/20/07
Posts: 428

Yeah, that makes me mad when I hear of others recommending that (or *shudder* BabyWise)

I nursed Brayden to sleep until he was 14.5 months old - about the same time we weaned entirely. He actually gave it up on his own - my supply was so low at that point, he got pissed off instead of relaxing, so I just quit offering and he was FINE with that.

He learned to put himself to sleep shortly thereafter (though since he's almost 3, we're going through the 2/3 yo "I DONT WANT TO GO TO BED!" phase)

I *am* a pedi, and I tell parents this: I will discuss medical things - development, speech, growth, vaccines, safety, stuf like taht. I do NOT give parenting advice. Just FYI, if you ask me for parenting advice, I'll give it to you, but it's based on what worked for ME, which is mostly AP style (Im a crunchy granola mom) and it may or may not work for you. take what works and leave the rest.

I especially love it when pedis who dont have kids take hardline stances on things like extended breastfeeding, sleep training, and getting rid of the pacifier. SO MANY of them at the 1 yo visit say "Ok, ditch the bottle/boob, take away the pacifier, and get him sleeping in his own crib. he's old enough now."

REALLY? um, no.

Star

Joined: 07/11/06
Posts: 253

"mommycarrie" wrote:

Not only that - but I feel like most aren't sharing MEDICAL advice. I highly doubt they take a medical school class that says "Tell parents to let their babies cry it out." I think they are sharing their own personal experience. That's fine - as long as they are not making it sound like a recommendation from the AAP.

When I googled "American Academy of Pediatrics" and sleep... this is what I got. http://www.healthychildren.org/english/ages-stages/baby/sleep/pages/Getting-Your-Baby-to-Sleep.aspx

The most it says is "wait a few minutes to respond to your child's fussing." Then it suggests checking on them to see if they are hungry, wet, dirty, or if something else is wrong. It also mentions in the first line that children's sleep patterns are irregular until at least six months, and it's normal for the baby to sleep only a few hours at a time. So where does any ped. come off recommending CIO at 4 months? Grrrrr.

Sorry to rant... just frustrating.

Good point.

Joined: 07/11/06
Posts: 253

"Starflyr" wrote:

Yeah, that makes me mad when I hear of others recommending that (or *shudder* BabyWise)

I nursed Brayden to sleep until he was 14.5 months old - about the same time we weaned entirely. He actually gave it up on his own - my supply was so low at that point, he got pissed off instead of relaxing, so I just quit offering and he was FINE with that.

He learned to put himself to sleep shortly thereafter (though since he's almost 3, we're going through the 2/3 yo "I DONT WANT TO GO TO BED!" phase)

I *am* a pedi, and I tell parents this: I will discuss medical things - development, speech, growth, vaccines, safety, stuf like taht. I do NOT give parenting advice. Just FYI, if you ask me for parenting advice, I'll give it to you, but it's based on what worked for ME, which is mostly AP style (Im a crunchy granola mom) and it may or may not work for you. take what works and leave the rest.

I especially love it when pedis who dont have kids take hardline stances on things like extended breastfeeding, sleep training, and getting rid of the pacifier. SO MANY of them at the 1 yo visit say "Ok, ditch the bottle/boob, take away the pacifier, and get him sleeping in his own crib. he's old enough now."

REALLY? um, no.

Star

If this were facebook I would *like* your comment!

Why does it seem like doctors on more the 'crunchy granola' end of the spectrum themselves are more likely to be open-minded to all the various parenting styles, where those on the other side tend to push their own beliefs more?? Certainly there are exceptions, but I have heard of a lot more people complaining of being pushed to the hardline approach when they didn't like it rather than the other way around.

Illiana's picture
Joined: 09/29/05
Posts: 338

DD nursed to bed until she was about 2 years old (we nursed til 3 years) now at 5 years old she gives me a hug and a kiss when she's tired and will put herself to bed. Co-dependence at an early age has been shown to lead to independence in children. DS either nurses to sleep or dh rocks him to sleep at almost 9 months old.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

You've gotten good advice so far, but I wanted to add my own perspective. I think it's precisely *because* I'm a full-time WOH mom that I crave my child's bedtime nursing. There's no better way to relax at the end of a long day than with my snuggly little man latched on and heading off to dreamland. (Well, actually, a glass of wine & back rub from DH is better, but that comes after the kids are in bed...) He's so on the go all the time, and when I get home it's a whirlwind of cooking dinner, looking at everything the kids did during the day, listening to all their stories, running around after him because he says, "Mama get me!" and then finally getting everyone ready for bed. The fact that I can just hold him & snuggle him at bedtime for more than 2 seconds is a treasure that I cherish.

Some nights he nurses, then rolls over & sings a little song to himself before he falls asleep, other nights he nurses to sleep & I have to pop him off (sometimes 2 or 3 times if he goes after the breast!) and occasionally he falls asleep while we're reading a book before we even get to the nursing. My little guy is almost two and when he was about 18mos I started a routine that will hopefully take him into independent sleep. I pat his back, tell him a story, talk him through relaxing his body, tell him how much we love him. With my daughter, I started doing those things while she was nursing, then started doing them before she nursed, and then finally did them instead of nursing. Good luck, you know your baby better than anyone, do what is right for the two of you, not anyone else!