breastfeeding related to soothing for sleep? — The Bump

breastfeeding related to soothing for sleep?

hi all! 

my LO is 1 1/2 months old, and we are EBF. she keeps a pretty consistent schedule with her naps and sleep time at night, and we've been doing well for the most part. however, some of the things i'm struggling as a FTM (and am hoping for your support/advice), is of coarse, SLEEP! During her naps, i will usually put her in her swing, and she would nap for about 45 minutes to an hour and then will wake up and start to cry. i pick her up, and then she needs to be soothed to sleep. depending on the day, she will either want to be soothed by sucking my breast, or just patted on the back. she'll easily fall back asleep after about a few minutes, then i will put her back in her swing and she will sleep her other 45min-1hr that is left of her nap. she will do this during every nap time! i also notice that she does not want to be soothed by my husband, she will only start screaming more and get really awake and impossible to soothe to sleep again. also, i tried a pacifier, and she doesnt like it. she's also a bit colic, but it only seems to affect her at night when its time for bed and even that has gotten considerably better since we started her on gripe water one week ago. (nighttime sleeping is another story) right now i'd like to here what you all are experiencing, what you have tried, whats worked, ANYTHING! i'm getting worried because i would like to get to sleep better given that eventually she will need to be going to daycare at 3 months old, and before then i will be dropping her off at least once a week so she can get used to it a bit. she is using my boob to soothe, and although its not a huge problem right now, i dont want either of us to suffer if she cries miserably when its time for her to go to daycare. how can i get her to sleep better through her naps??? PLEASE HELP


Re: breastfeeding related to soothing for sleep?

  • Hi there!

    We totally developed a sleep-nursing association, which we're trying to kick at 4 months of age - also in preparation of transitioning to child care in a couple of months.  From what I understand, you don't want to do any real sleep training at your daughter's age (not yet mature enough to have strong sleep/wake rhythms), but something small that might help if you're worried about developing a sleep-nursing association is using the idea of never letting nursing "touch" sleep.  So if you do nurse her, you would unlatch her and maybe sing a song or pat her back to get her all the way to sleep.  

    At 4 months, we've introduced a feeding schedule to undo the association, which is a bit extreme.  However, before we started it, we were still nursing every 1-2 hours throughout the day.  Our sleep specialist noted that this meant she was never hungry, but also never full, which would interfere with her being able to take longer naps.  At a month and a half, you still need to feed more frequently, but watch your schedule to make sure the duration between feedings is getting longer rather than shorter. 

    Good luck!  For us napping has always been harder than night sleep, and I can totally understand the frustration of needing to be on-call to help your LO back to sleep (no matter how much you love holding and cuddling). 

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  • PERFECT! i pat on the back often because i noticed it soothed her, and so i've just naturally continued to do it...i will try and do it more frequently, and try unlatching more when i know shes just sucking...i know shes still tiny, but as long as i could get something down during the day, i'll feel more comfortable knowing she will be in the hands of someone else:) thanks!
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  • It does help to put even a few mins between nursing and sleep.  And pp is right in terms of it being likely to early to sleep train but helping you lo in small ways to learn to fall asleep on own is great. We did sleep train at 4 months and it helped us now I still nurse before naps and bed but dd can get to sleep herself so it doesn't create a problem and DH can out her down.  She also started daycare at 4 months and naps fine in a pack and play and I was super worried she wouldnt 
  • thank you so much for sharing that, it definitely eases my worries a bit about putting her in daycare<3


  • Yes.  We are having the same issues with DD not being able to go to sleep unless I nurse her first.  The funny thing is, DD actually prefers the bottle when she is hungry and wants to eat but she wants my boobs to sleep.  A couple weeks ago, my mom took care of her because we had a wedding and my mom said that she cried all night because she was so exhausted but she was fighting sleep because she was looking for my breast.
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