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Alternatives to CIO
7 month old feeding to sleep


10 replies to this topic

#1 Elle232

Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:38 PM

Wondering if anyone can help me or has been in a similar situation. My 7 month old DD has always been fed to sleep. This never use to be a problem as it would take maybe 10-15 mins and she'd be out to it.    
However it now takes over an hour every night to get her to sleep. She will sometimes rock to sleep in her pram or rocker but even then will take at least half an hour of rocking. And once she starts crying, there's no stopping until I feed her. I mean like full on hysterical screaming until I feed her.
I have tried patting/cuddling/shushing to sleep and she will scream for an hour and a half. Even then she didn't go to sleep, I gave up and fed her and she was out like a light.
So how do I break the feed to sleep habit WITHOUT having to leave her to cry it out? I can't keep spending an hour feeding/fussing/feeding to get her to sleep every night!!
She is fully breast fed and will not take a dummy. I have tried various bedtimes which don't seem to help. (obviously she's much worse when she's overtired)
Definitely don't want to wean her, just need a break in the evening or even to the point where my husband could put her to sleep. TIA I'm at my wits end and all anyone will suggest is leaving her to cry.

ETA Once she's asleep she's a great sleeper, will only wake once for a feed around 4-5am.

Edited by Elle232, 19 January 2013 - 08:47 PM.


#2 axiomae

Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:14 PM

There are lots of different gentle techniques that you can use to help your LO get to sleep without feeding, but do be aware that your LO WILL cry. There will be no avoiding it. You don't have to leave her alone to cry, but there will be crying when you're trying to change habits. You can pat, shhh, camp out, rock etc, but it will be different from all she has ever known so it will be hard for her. It will take patience and love from you to assist her to self-settle, and a few rough nights in the process.

#3 tick

Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:20 PM

If it's taking that long to get her to sleep at night it might be time to re-jig her daytime hours a bit.  Perhaps drop the third nap if you haven't already, or space the naps out a little better so that she's not too overtired at the end of the day. It can take a few days to get used to a new routine, longer awake times etc, but I've found with both of my kids that it always helped with bedtime!  Then down the track when bedtime gets to be a pain again, drop another nap!  And so on.  If you can get her back to quick bedtimes then there may not be any need to change the way you get her to sleep .....

#4 Tesseract

Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:20 PM

The book called The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley is designed specifically for this problem. As the title suggests, it's very anti-cry! It is a bit of work though, it's not a quick fix, but it is very gentle.

#5 Cat People

Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:21 PM

Hi OP, a good book to start with is No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.  You could try your library for a copy.

I know it's really hard, but I probably wouldn't try to change too much in the first year as there is so much going on - separation anxiety, teething, heaps with development, etc.   I pretty much write off the first year in regards to sleep/settling and do whatever works and equals the least amount of stress/crying for us both.  Both of my kids fed-to-sleep but I found it much easier to make changes once they were 12 + mths.  But if you don't want to wait, the above book should be able to help you.  Hang in there.

#6 niggles goes feral

Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:35 PM

From what you've described it sounds like she is unsettled because something is bothering her or she is not tired or overtired. I'm not sure the feeding to sleep is the problem, just that it's not really working as a solution at present? Does that sound right?

I started rocking my previously self settling baby at around that age. Sh-shing, walking and singing also helped but to tell you the truth for several months nothing worked consistently. I had to change things up regularly. He cut 4 teeth, learned to roll, learned to crawk, stand and now is learning to walk. All these things have interfered with his sleep in my opinion.

He won't feed to sleep (I have some complicated feeding issues) and now won't be rocked either. So this has been my alternative approach now I'm left with little other:

Sng him a song and lay him in his cot with his dummy, and his water bottle in the  corner (he's 1 and likes a drink of water after crying - it settles him).

If he stays laying down I sing and gently rub his back or pat his side.

If he plays, crawls and stands I sit nearby and ignore him.

If he stands and cries I reassue him with words and singing for a while.

If he becomes distressed I try to lay him down and repeat the process.

We've been dong this for 2 weeks. He's still unsettled - there's a lot going on in his world - and so it doesn't always work quickly and it doesn't always work without tears. But it works consistently, eventually and there are no mixed messages. He's in charge of his own sleep and I'm there to reassure him as much as I can...but there is nothing else I can do for him and since I know that, I know I'm doing the right thing by leaving him in his cot and not persevering with rocking and feeding that doesn't work  

That said, your baby is younger and may just need that extra reassurance. If a feed eventually works then I think I'd be happy to offer it. It's about being responsive to what you think your baby really needs - which is not always what baby wants but sometimes is. Good luck figuring it out for your baby. You'll get there.



#7 -clare-

Posted 20 January 2013 - 01:41 AM

I would try eventually breaking the association by getting yuur partner to create a new routine... We are doing this atm with success. I feed dd on couch, hubby takes and does book in her room, blow light out and he lies on her floor, saying night night if she cries, over five nights he is nearky out the door with no crying

#8 Elle232

Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:34 AM

Thanks for all the replies!

Will definitely have a look for the no cry sleep solution book. There are so many different books it's nice to know which ones are worth the read.

Funnily enough I have been playing around with her sleep and nap times as she was sleeping a lot in the day but not sleeping well at night. She's started having shorter sleeps and now sleeps better at night but it may take a bit of trial and error tp get the balance between not tired & overtired.

Even if feeding to sleep was working again, I'd really like to try and break the association. It would just be nice for someone else to be able to put her to bed.

Another question? If I persevere with not feeding to sleep, do I have to do it all the time? Ie stop feeding her to sleep at all? And if I do that how does it work with night feeds as she always falls asleep feeding in the night.

#9 mandala

Posted 20 January 2013 - 02:52 PM

DS didn't have a feed to sleep association, so my experience is probably not useful, but...

After DS started self-settling at night, he had about four months of 1, 2 or 3 night feeds at which he would usually fall asleep while feeding. He didn't develop a feed to sleep association from those four months.  We also had a couple of nights when DS was sick when he sucked constantly while dozing, and didn't have any problems once he recovered.  Even the sleep school we attended specifically said that you do whatever you have to do with a sick baby, and worry about it once they're better. If that means you feed, cuddle and rock all night, that's what you have to do original.gif

ETA: I think niggles has some good advice. Your baby is the only one who can fall asleep - your job is to provide her with a suitable environment to do so.

Edited by KRT, 20 January 2013 - 02:57 PM.


#10 axiomae

Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:58 PM

When I was breaking the association I made a routine for ALL sleep times. When she showed tired signs I would put her in the sleeping bag while telling her it was bedtime, then close the curtains, have a cuddle and sign twinkle twinkle, before telling her we loved her and put her into her cot. She would protest. I rocked the bassinet and then did body rocking after moving to a cot until she was asleep. When her grizzling was under 5 mins consistently I was happy to leave her to self-settle. Don't worry about the over night feeds - those are fine to feed back to sleep if they're for genuine nutrition - if its a sleep association problem (where they aren't hungry but can't resettle without a feed) its another story.

#11 AntiBourgeoisie

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:41 PM

Some babies get inconsolably angry and upset with the Pantley method. Some babies seek comfort from the slot extract yourself from the room approach. Others just get angry that mum. is. right. there. but. not. giving. me. what. I. want.
I personally prefer the Dream Baby Guide by Sheyne Rowley for this reason (mainly because mine would not have taken to the Pantley approach. I also like this because because it is an all-round parenting book - she takes the approach that good sleep is not just about sleeping, it's about being well fed, well rested, well played, and generally feeling secure and happy - and she tells you how to accomplish all this. It's a great first time parent book that also teaches you how to put your baby to sleep (anywhere, anytime).
Both, though, are a bit dogmatic. It's an authors job to convince you that their technique works for everyone. It's probably not true, and you will find the little tricks that work for your particular little person.
Additionally, both will say 'never feed to sleep, never feed to resettle'. Personally, I think they are separate issues. Some babies will feed to sleep but not look for it in the night. Some will settle easily at bedtime but expect feeding at re wakings. Some just want comfort boob all night long.
If its only one feed in the night, and your baby learns to go to bed without, and only wakes for one feed, and you are happy with this - keep the feed to sleep during the night, but not bedtime. You CAN treat them as separate issues.



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