Attachment Parenting

sleeps better after nursing

I've been trying to get DD out of the nursing to sleep habit now that she's 18 months.  I'm the only one who can get her to sleep and DH and I would both like for me to be able to be away at bedtime.  Over the last couple nights I've tried nursing and rocking to drowsy and putting her down.  She cries and fusses, and even when she does fall asleep, it's a very restless night.  She'll be up more often and wakes earlier.  But if I nurse and put her down asleep, she doesn't wake overnight and generally sleeps longer.  Is this normal?  And will she eventually self wean and be able to sleep well without needing to nurse to sleep?  I guess I'd just like to know that eventually she'll be able to do this on her own.
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Re: sleeps better after nursing

  • It's totally normal, and partially due to a comfort thing (IMHO) and partially because there are chemicals in BM that help her sleep. At some point, she will stop nursing to sleep, even on her own if you don't push it. That doesn't mean she still will be happy to skip nursing before bed entirely, of course.

    Its different for every kid. DD stopped nursing to sleep around 18ish months, but I still nursed her before bed (in bed). She still won't go to bed without me being there, though. She will stay up an extra hour, or two, or however long it takes until I get home. 

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  • Nursing to sleep was the last thing my kids weaned from when they were weaning. And both of them were closer to two when they did. I did have some luck spacing out nursing and sleep with DS2 by having one last bedtime nursing session during his bedtime routine, but it did take some time to have him get used to it.
    Will she fall asleep with DH if you're not in the house?
    DS1 - Feb 2008

    DS2 - Oct 2010 (my VBAC baby!)

  • image nosoup4u:
    Nursing to sleep was the last thing my kids weaned from when they were weaning. And both of them were closer to two when they did. I did have some luck spacing out nursing and sleep with DS2 by having one last bedtime nursing session during his bedtime routine, but it did take some time to have him get used to it. Will she fall asleep with DH if you're not in the house?

    Yes, she will but it takes a long time!   I was away for work 2 weeks ago for 3 nights, and DH got her down around 8:30 (normal bedtime is 6:45).  He gave her a bottle of pumped bm and laid with her in our bed until she fell asleep. 

    Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

  • image Jenny952:

    image nosoup4u:
    Nursing to sleep was the last thing my kids weaned from when they were weaning. And both of them were closer to two when they did. I did have some luck spacing out nursing and sleep with DS2 by having one last bedtime nursing session during his bedtime routine, but it did take some time to have him get used to it. Will she fall asleep with DH if you're not in the house?

    Yes, she will but it takes a long time!   I was away for work 2 weeks ago for 3 nights, and DH got her down around 8:30 (normal bedtime is 6:45).  He gave her a bottle of pumped bm and laid with her in our bed until she fell asleep. 

    Well, in that case maybe just a change in routine and having DH do bedtime more often? You could nurse her and then he could do books/lights out (or whatever you do). I do still lay with DS2 while he falls asleep, but I don't mind doing it. 

    DS1 - Feb 2008

    DS2 - Oct 2010 (my VBAC baby!)

  • I was just coming to post a similar question. DD will go to sleep without nursing fine (I do nurse her at bedtime but then pull her off while she's awake) but she's restless at night between 3am-6am, because I've dropped her 3am feeding. I was hoping to night wean but it's been a little over a week since dropping that feeding and I'm getting less sleep than before.

    To stop the nursing to complete sleep habit, I consistently pulled her off when she was almost asleep. I did that for naps and at bedtime. The key for her was that I did not get up after pulling her off. For naps I lay in her toddler bed with her and at night we bedshare. In the beginning she hated it, but now she will accept nursing, cuddles, and will fall asleep with me (or DH) laying down with her. At nap time I get up and leave her once she's all the way asleep. There is no way I could put her down drowsy and walk away, I have to stay there and at least cuddle with her until she's asleep. Is that an option for you?

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  • She will stop eventually but I feel it's too young to push it. You could try night weaning if she's waking during the night, but I wouldn't stop nursing her TO sleep, especially if it works reliably and you're not uncomfortable!

    You could try leaving at night and having Dad put her to sleep. My husband could get my son to sleep if I was physically not home. But if he knows I'm home, forget about it! He's 2.5 now and even though I've cut down on nursing, he demands that I am the one who does bedtime. You might start having BOTH of you at bedtime, and then sneaking away for longer periods of time while she's focused on Dad. 

    Honestly, it still isn't like I just lay my son down and he falls asleep. It often takes longer now that we aren't nursing to sleep. Every kid is different though!

    FWIW, I totally understand your frustration. I'm in tears some nights because I end up just DREADING bedtime. It's hard when it falls on your shoulders night after night, especially when it takes a long time. 

    Alternative Housewife - Mama style on a budget

    Mama to Sebastian, born 9/2010 BabyFetus Ticker

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