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Breaking feeding to sleep
how long did it take you?


8 replies to this topic

#1 Flutters

Posted 01 December 2012 - 08:20 PM

I'm not sure if this should be here or in the BF section, but I wanted to hear from others who have broken the feed to sleep routine. My DD is 10 months old and her sleeping has always been hit & miss. She has only just started having day sleeps in her cot (after feeding to sleep) in the last 3 weeks - before then it was only in my arms. She wants to feed to sleep every single nap & Im going back to work 1st week of Jan. I would LOVE to break the feed to sleep association she has, to be honest I'm getting jack of it. It took me 3 hours from dinner to get her into bed tonight....ahhhhh enough!

So for those of you who have done it - how did you do it? Cold turkey, or slowly..and roughly how long did it take. I am going to have to suck it up & try the shhhhh pat during the day, which is a bit sad because I am really enjoying our time together now she doesn't have to sleep on me, and I only have a month left with her full time before going back to work 3 days a week. Unfortunately I can't see breaking feed to sleep for nights before I've broken it for day sleeps. Plus I would like to give up BFing in the next couple of months.

So anyone want to share how they did it & how long it took? Ta!

#2 axiomae

Posted 02 December 2012 - 08:33 AM

Just warning you it will be hard - there will be tears and crying. Even the 'no-cry' methods involve a lot of crying because you're changing the rules on baby, so to speak, and she needs to learn a new way to go to sleep. Read up on self-settling and different ways to go about it. There are gentler methods, which take longer and have their pros and cons. Some people say it's kinder because you don't leave the baby when they're crying, others think it's kinder to go down a controlled comforting route because they 'catch on' quicker and there's less distress overall in the long run.

You could try feeding almost to sleep and then shh and pat, or you could go about it differently and change your settling routine with a feed before, say, books and a lullaby, and then doing some form of sleep training (which would be appropriate at this age).

It's entirely up to you and what you are comfortable with, just be consistent with whatever you choose. Don't chop and change on your DD - pick one method of settling her and stick with it, for ALL sleeps, so she effectively learns the new way of going to sleep, otherwise you'll confuse her and there will be more distress in the long run.

Good luck!

#3 Xiola

Posted 02 December 2012 - 08:46 AM

I've just done it recently with my 15 month old as her sleep was going from mediocre to ridiculous!  I'm only feeding her at night time at the moment so a bit different to you but I really needed to do it as she'd wake up in the night and cry for hours until she was fed again (I'd try and lie down with her, hold her etc but nothing would get her back to sleep).  I knew it was because of feeding her to sleep so last week instead of feeding her in a total quiet and dark I started leaving a dimmed light on and talking to her gently while she feeds...just boring stuff but so that she's focussed on me the whole time.  When she's finished she still snuggles into my should like she's always done but we then walk over to the light and turn it off together and then I put her into bed so she's still awake and nods off in her cot.

Since doing this she's slept through every night.  She has a grizzle usually around 11pm but easily settles herself back to sleep instead of expecting me to still be holding her.  

Not sure if this will help at all but it can be done without crying etc.  You're just breaking the association....good luck!

#4 meggs1

Posted 03 December 2012 - 01:39 PM

I did the day sleeps around 4-5 months.

I got my son a sleep friend (muzzie - a little piece of muslin cloth) and put that between us while feeding for a week or so, so it smelled "right".   Then I went cold turkey.  I cheated a bit at first and got him good and sleepy by walking to the shop and back in the ergo, and then rocking him in my arms until he yawned and started to flutter his eyes before putting him down and patting.  

He got it within a few days.  

He then had a good long phase of being able to self settle after a brief rock/lullabye and put down, but somehow he lost it at 9 months (when we went on holidays) and needs me to shh and pat.   He still self settles for daycare though.

I night weaned him twice - 9 months and then (after I drifted back due to a horrendous series of ear infections) again at 12 months.  Again it was cold turkey.  The first time I did "comfort settling" which is like CC but you don't time it, you just listen to the intensity of the crying before you go back in.   The second time I just did lying him back down and shh/patting.   As PP said there was still a fair bit of frustrated crying as bub can't understand why you won't help him sleep.

I have to say the CC worked "better", in that he slept though afterwards, whereas now he still wakes once about half the time.  But I found it too distressing for me and couldn't face doing it again every time his schedule got out of whack, whereas the patting I can do.

It's absolutely key to make sure that for the first week or so of night weaning you put them down fairly awake, but with a good "bank" of tiredness (like a swim or a good play in the park), so you can do the "work" of teaching to sleep at 7pm when they are really tired, and you are awake and have the strength to do it (and a glass of wine after).  If you miss that chance you will have more work to do in the middle of the night when you are tired and desperate and they have just had a nap and are rearing to go.

The other lesson I learned was if you wind up with an early riser don't be tempted to do an early morning feed and let them fall asleep in your bed to grab an extra few hours sleep.   My son was onto that in a flash and 5.30 became 5.00 became 4.00 and before I knew it I was feeding mutiple times overnight again.

#5 MrsSmith247

Posted 03 December 2012 - 03:56 PM

I've been googling this all day, then got overwhelmed so came in for my EB fix and see this topic!

Unfortunately as a PP mentioned, even the no cry options still involve crying. My DD is very attached to feeding to sleep and apart from the occasional time in the car or ergo, every single other sleep she has been fed to sleep.

My husband is a shiftworker who also travels for work, so night settling is solely up to me. Im still not entirely convinced Im ready to do anything yet, but Im still very interested in what options there are.

I have a feeling it will have to be cold turkey with my bub. She is far too attached for a gradual process and she doesn't really have the drowsy period the books all talk about.

I do wish i never let this habit form. Lesson learnt sad.gif

#6 MummyKylie

Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:29 PM

OP I was about to put almost the exact same post up (except my DS is 3.5 months and still will only sleep in the ergo during the day) when I came across this!
I'm not quite ready to start the process just yet as I'm about to go on holidays to my parents.
Please give feedback on how you went and what method you used.
Good luck!

#7 ReadySetRace

Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:43 PM

DD1 fed to sleep until 12 months but I went to work at 4 months - she learnt to go to sleep for other people in different ways (sung to and rocked by our nanny, cuddled in our bed and with a bottle for Daddy).

I did it the gradual way at 12 months - put her to bed more and more alert. If not alert enough would give her a little jiggle to wake her or talk loudly. There was no prolonged crying - if she cried I got her up and did the routine again!! Annoying but she got it soon after 12 months.  We also had a sleep toy and the same lullaby playing in her room.  She was always good at sleeping through once I got her to sleep so can't comment on that.

#8 Cranky Kitten

Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:22 AM

I used some of the methods from No Cry Sleep Solution - a bit of a deceptive name because there is a bit of crying involved, but no leaving them to cry alone while they figure it out for themselves. DS fed to sleep until around 9 months when I developed an aversion to the sensation of his comfort suck so had to start ending his feeds as soon as he stopped actively drinking. He fussed for a bit but soon came to accept cuddles instead.

We have a very consistent night time ritual, I think this helps prepare him that sleep time is coming as he starts yawning as soon as he gets out of the bath these days and goes down relatively easily when not in the middle of teething purgatory.

#9 smum

Posted 16 December 2012 - 04:17 AM

You might like the work of a US paed called Dr Jay Gordon who has great gentle ideas on what he calls 'changing night time sleep associations', but its really about weaning & night weaning.

it may pay to bring in another sleep association that others can do or give, now before you stop feeding to sleep. Many of my friends who have returned to work outside the home say that their wee ones just settled differently for others but that both mum & baby needed that feeding to sleep nurturing to reconnect after being away from each other during the work hours.

Feeding to sleep is really normal for babies, the sleepy hormones in breastmilk were made for that exact thing original.gif

Good luck mummas.



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