intro/nursing to sleep — The Bump
Attachment Parenting

intro/nursing to sleep

Hi there!  I'm a long time lurker of this board, first time poster (I think).  Before having DS, I knew very very little about AP.  Without realizing it, a lot of what I do for/with him is AP.  It just happens to be what feels to be right for us.

One thing that I do (not sure if it's part of AP) which I get a lot of slack for, is I nurse LO to sleep.  At first it was that he had a difficult time staying awake during feedings when he was so little, then it became the easiest way for me to help him to sleep, now it's an activity I really enjoy.  I know that I'm building a bad habit and I risk LO needing to nurse to sleep all the time with me (DH and other family members can get him to sleep by rocking).  I'm just not sure if it's something we should work at stopping and what's the best approach would be.  

Will you talk to me about your experience with nursing LO to sleep?  Did it become a problem later on?  How did you break this habit?  TIA!

Re: intro/nursing to sleep

  • it's only a problem if you think it's a problem. :)

    your LO is so little, i wouldn't worry about it at this point. i think the best thing to do is let other people have the opportunity to put your LO to sleep sometimes, which it sounds like you're doing, so that's great. i think it can be problematic if you are the only person who can get your LO to sleep. but if your DH or other family members can get him to sleep, too, and have their own techniques for it, then what is the problem if your technique for getting him to sleep is nursing? it is a totally natural thing for a baby to want to fall asleep at mama's breast, that is the most comforting place for them to be.

    my advice would be to just keep up with letting other people put your LO down for naps or bedtime if possible- even if it's only once in a while. then at least you have the option of going out at night, or just getting a break from the routine. eventually, when your LO is older, you could try to introduce other ways that you put him to sleep- you can not nurse immediately before bed, and instead try rocking, music, stories, or whatever else works to get him to sleep. then nursing becomes just a part of your whole nighttime routine.

    i personally always took the past of least resistance RE getting our DS to sleep. at 22 months, i still often nurse him to sleep for naps, and sometimes he nurses directly to sleep at night. there have been phases where DH always put him to sleep, and phases where only i could get him to go to sleep via nursing, and phases where both of us can get him to sleep. but, it never bothered me to the point where i felt it was a habit that had to be broken.

    TL;DR: there's nothing inherently wrong with nursing to sleep. if at some point it's not working for you anymore, then change it. now, with a 3-month-old, i totally wouldn't sweat it. ;)

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  • I did it until she wouldn't do it any more.  Something like 18 months?  Then she did it again for 6 months or so after she dropped her last nap, right up until she weaned entirely.
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  • flclflcl member
    Thanks for the reassurance and tips.  I really appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences with nursing to sleep.  It makes me feel a lot better about what we're doing.  Hope you all have a great weekend!
  • Ditto PPs. We nursed to sleep until about 10m, and then she stopped falling asleep at the boob, so we put her down awake, and patted/rubbed until she fell asleep. Now she just babbles in her crib for a bit, and then nods off. Nursing to sleep, for me, felt too natural (and was way too effective) to stop until we were both ready.
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  • mmookimmooki member
    I nursed dd to sleep until she stopped falling asleep. The before bed nursing session was the last one we dropped when she was 22 months old. We had been down to that one for months, but she would rarely fall asleep anymore. Once we stopped nursing, we changed her bedtime routine and while it has its hiccups at times, she goes to sleep pretty easily these days.
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  • I agree with the PPs. I nursed to sleep until he stopped needing it to fall asleep around 12 or 13 months. After that he learned to go to sleep on his own after our snuggle time.


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  • flclflcl member
    Thanks ladies. LO had his 4 month app yesterday and his pedi brought up her wanting me to wean nursing him to sleep. We've decided that if we're still happy and it's working for us, why change things? It's helpful, though, reading about others' positive experiences. Thanks all for sharing!
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