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Crying-in-arms?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

Working on weaning my daughter of needing to breast feed to sleep. Trying to Pantley Pull Off method from the no cry sleep solution, but it really hasn't been working.

 

Sometimes, I just have her cry herself to sleep on my shoulder. I am holding her and reassuring her, so she is not alone. I have read that this isn't damaging like crying it out is because I am there with her. I am wondering if I am right in thinking this. Does anyone have any articles that support this thinking?

 

Any suggestions on helping baby fall asleep without nursing?

 

Thank you.

 

 

post #2 of 31

interested to read the responses 

 

post #3 of 31

I was so happy when I stumbled upon this post this morning!   I have been doing this the last couple of nights because my son is now waking every 1-2 hours to "eat" and he doesn't even eat that much during the day.  exhausted!!  Usually its fine since he sleeps in the bed with me but it is now taking him awhile to get back to sleep.

I would love to see the responses

post #4 of 31

We do something similar with ds, who is 4.5 months.  With him, though, he seems to NEED to cry a little before he can go to sleep. He won't fall asleep nursing but he is obviously exhausted and ready for sleep.  We rock him until he falls asleep but he cries the whole time. DH says he must sing himself to sleep, lol.  He is usually asleep within minutes. It's as if he's whining because he's tired, not because he's unhappy with what we're doing.  Like he's saying "I'm so sleepy mama, help me go to sleep".

 

Not sure how helpful this is, but I don't think it's damaging for a baby to be held lovingly while they fall asleep.

post #5 of 31

No I don't think it's damaging either if you're holding the baby.  I've had to do that many times before because my son has a hard time falling asleep without a bottle.  After he has 2 bottles, and still not asleep (but obviously tired), I try to rock him to sleep but he usually cries.  I found this article:

http://www.awareparenting.com/comfort.htm

post #6 of 31

Not sure how old your DD is, but my kids were about 18-22 months when I weaned them at night.  With them, I would slowly reduce the time I left them on the breast as they began drifting off to sleep AND I began singing to them while they nursed, throughout the nursing.  For instance, I began by unlatching after three breaths without suckles, all the time singing (this makes singing a comforting part of their sleep routine).  This would wake them up and they'd latch back on.  I'd do it again.  and again and again and again...  as long as it took for them to unlatch and completely fall asleep.  This makes for a long sleep routine for the first week or so (depends on how much they want to keep nursing and how easily they transition).  They get more and more used to the idea of doing the last bit of drifting to sleep without being latched on.  

 

Then you slowly, over weeks, shorten the time on the breast until they fall asleep completely on their own.  This can take a long time, but is very much worth it, in my opinion/experience, because it doesn't really leave much room for trauma at the experience.  The only time I had them get upset during this process is on the first 1-2 days of actually sleeping completely on their own, with nursing being finished when they start sleeping.  This seems like a bit of a jump for them, even if you've taken a month or more to get them to that point, so they can be upset about it.  This is when it helps to have the song that you've been singing to them at nursing/bedtime for all that time as well as something physical to comfort them, like a hand on their belly/face/hand to remind them that you're there.  On that first day, it is hard because they are crying and obviously want to nurse, but if you stick it out and you've done a good job of taking all the transition time, it should be better by day 3 of completely falling asleep without the breast.

 

That's what I've done and it worked great with both kids.  

 

Good luck!

post #7 of 31

I've seen several discussions here of crying in arms, and get the idea in theory, but I can't be the only one who has difficulty with it in practice. For instance:

 

How do I know for sure all her needs have actually been met. If she stops crying when I nurse her, how can I be sure that she wasn't actually hungry. What if I last fed her an hour ago? Two? Three? And is comfort nursing a need? I've always thought of nursing on demand as including the demand to nurse for comfort, not just hunger, but when do you draw the line? u

 

Also, my daughter will nurse to sleep at nap time, which I'm fine with. Then she'll start wailing as soon as I put her down. I can then pick her up and either nurse her back to sleep or let her cry herself to sleep in my arms. But still every time I put her down she immediately cries. We can easily repeat this cycle for three hours. It also often extends to nighttime. I obviously can't hold her all night, so putting her down is a must. So, what about those babies for whom one instance of crying in arms doesn't then lead to a peaceful naptime or night?

 

Maybe reading one of the aware parenting books would help, but from here it seems like it's not necessarily a workable plan. Or maybe it's just my baby?

post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenifera2 View Post

How do I know for sure all her needs have actually been met. If she stops crying when I nurse her, how can I be sure that she wasn't actually hungry. What if I last fed her an hour ago? Two? Three? And is comfort nursing a need? I've always thought of nursing on demand as including the demand to nurse for comfort, not just hunger, but when do you draw the line? u

 

Also, my daughter will nurse to sleep at nap time, which I'm fine with. Then she'll start wailing as soon as I put her down. I can then pick her up and either nurse her back to sleep or let her cry herself to sleep in my arms. But still every time I put her down she immediately cries. We can easily repeat this cycle for three hours. It also often extends to nighttime. I obviously can't hold her all night, so putting her down is a must. So, what about those babies for whom one instance of crying in arms doesn't then lead to a peaceful naptime or night?


I feel that when my babies were crying, they needed something.  If I nursed them and they calmed down, they were crying because they needed to nurse.  Comfort IS a need for a baby, and some of them are most comforted by nursing.  There's nothing wrong with that.  Also, babies go through many growth spurts in their first year and will need to nurse more often and longer at certain times.  I never tried to force my two boys to wait to nurse if they seemed fussy and they were otherwise comfortable, as far as I could tell.  For a baby going through a growth spurt or feeling insecure on a certain day, making them wait more than an hour seems unreasonable to me.

 

I'm convinced that my first son cried so much more than his brother as an infant because I didn't change his diaper as often.  It wasn't until I had my second son and did EC with him long enough to recognize his signs/communications that I realized just how much an infant pees and realized that almost every single time he was fussy at all, it was because he either needed to pee or had just peed.  I always thought my first son was just really fussy and always wanted to nurse for comfort, when in reality he was almost certainly not so much hungry as he was uncomfortable and he would accept the breast for comfort even if it didn't solve his problems.  I went through at least 30-40 diapers per day for months and months with DS2, when we're told to expect 8-12 wet diapers per day, so it's no surprise I had no idea with DS1.  DS2 hardly ever wanted to nurse for comfort, and I'm convinced it was because I was meeting his other needs.  Even so, I completely expected them to want to sleep with someone and to be carried around most of the time and not be able to stay asleep if I laid him down after he fell asleep in my arms or while nursing.  I used a carrier while I was doing things around the house, once I figured out that I really couldn't get much of anything done at all if I didn't, and we practiced bed-sharing.  I also nursed him lying down so that when he fell asleep he was already lying down.  

 

We decided to practice bed-sharing with DS1 because he also would cry every time I put him down when he fell asleep.  We didn't get more than 15-20 minutes of sleep at a time until we let him into our bed.  It's completely normal for them to want to sleep with someone.  It's instinctual.  They don't feel safe alone.  I've seen plenty of parents whose babies happily sleep in their own crib with only a little fussing, but I honestly don't know how they get to that point.  My personal solution has been bed-sharing and baby-carrying and separating them from the breast before they are completely asleep.

post #9 of 31

I don't know.  I feel mixed about this and I do think that it depends on their age.  I came to this thread because I have a 9 month old that has started waking every 2 hours all night to nurse and she barely eats.  When I take her off to put her down she wakes up and cries.  She has forgotten how to fall asleep without nursing.  My DH and I are going to try what we did with our older DD. If she wakes up and it has been more than 3 hours since she ate, I will go in there.  If it has been less, then he will and try to get her back down without nursing. 

 

I know she will cry and I am NOT looking forward to it, being anti CIO but I can't live like this.  I agree, when babies are very new, they need what they need and I have dutifly gotten up and nursed her back to sleep for the past 9 months but I can't function like this anymore. I have an hour commute, a full time job and a 3 year old to take care of, I need sleep too.  At least more than a 2 hours chunk broken up by an hour nursing and rocking her back to sleep, you know?  So, I do think that there is a difference.  You need to do what you need to do--they are being held and taken care of while they are crying and while it is hard to hear, it is a far cry from CIO. 

 

As I mentioned though, I would feel differently about this with a 3 month old some really, any baby younger than 6 months.  I will also plan to go in to help if the crying goes on longer than 3-4 minutes.

 

Looking forward to other thoughts...

post #10 of 31

hmm this is weighing on my thoughts because we are currently trying to transition DD into the idea that falling asleep with daddy is way better than falling asleep with mommy. The difference I have with some of the mamas on this thread is that DD is almost 22 months and she actually doesn't nurse to sleep in the literal sense anymore. I always nurse her right before bedtime but I was finding when I laid in bed with her she would actually pull off and roll over onto her tummy and eventually (after an hour sometimes, sigh) fall asleep without nursing. This happened totally unprompted, I feel like it is a readiness thing. She was ready to fall asleep without nursing so she did just that...


So now that we think she is ready, I do last nighttime nursing downstairs snuggling with her on the couch then DH brings her up to the bed (we all co-sleep) and lays down with her. She cries for mama a little bit but DH reassures her that he is there and loves her and she's safe and within 10 minutes or so she is asleep or nearly asleep, the longest it has been taking him is about a half an hour. Much shorter than when I try the whole process myself. I guess it is sort of crying in arms because she will fuss for a few minutes but eventually drifts off completely on her own.

 

I guess I feel like withholding the breast at bedtime from a baby who isn't even a year old is not the greatest idea? If they are crying and then are soothed by nursing then like a PP said to me that was a NEED being met. Comfort is a huge need with babies and even toddlers. DD is almost 2 and still needs the comfort of nursing often during the day. I don't begrudge her that, I need comfort at times too...I also am lazy and don't see the point of having a baby cry while you are holding them if nursing calms them down. Then again I am a SAHM of an only child so I feel like it is easier for me to get a bad night's sleep and not feel so exhausted the next day. Maybe if my situation were different I would feel differently about it I don't know, but at this point in my life if a baby is crying and nursing could solve that problem, why fight it? The baby clearly wants it and I think it is hard to say that it isn't a need.

 

post #11 of 31
I'd need to know the age of your baby. And I think the crying in arms approach is if you can't do anything to soothe otherwise- so, if your baby would stop crying if you let her nurse, then I don't think it's the same thing. DS went through a few week stage when he refused the breast when he was sleepy and had to scream before he fell asleep. I was very thankful when he got over that!

So, how old is your baby? Is she eating solids? How often does she nurse during the day? DS is almost a year but eats very little solids so I let him nurse as often as he wants. During the day, to sleep, at night, etc.
post #12 of 31

If you read the aware parenting link posted above, the author believes that we may do too much (including nursing sometimes) to keep babies from crying and that crying in arms is a good thing if all the baby's "needs" have been met. I suppose I just see the definition of needs as varying depending on who you ask, so it's a tough area to define.

post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenifera2 View Post

If you read the aware parenting link posted above, the author believes that we may do too much (including nursing sometimes) to keep babies from crying and that crying in arms is a good thing if all the baby's "needs" have been met. I suppose I just see the definition of needs as varying depending on who you ask, so it's a tough area to define.


well one person's random article isn't going to convince a lot of people that letting a baby cry in your arms, when nursing would calm them, is a good thing... Nursing on demand as far as 

I have read and experienced is preferable. Why should we allow our BABIES to cry for no other reason than "it's good for them", I'd love to see some evidence for that because I strongly disagree. I also am not a fan of the self soothe philosophy if that is where this is going....

 

post #14 of 31

It's more than an article (series of books) and she does cite research (which I didn't read) but I still have a problem with it from a gut-level place. Crying in arms is discussed here a lot, though, in various circumstances and I'm curious how people decide that at any point crying in arms is the best choice because they're sure they've met their baby's needs. I pretty much always feel that if my baby is crying she's got a need that's not yet met, and nursing almost always (but not 100%) makes her stop crying, and I'm just really curious about other people's experiences/feelings. Oh, and it's not about self-soothing as far as I can tell.

post #15 of 31

poorlittlefish - is your babe teething?  Would a does of Motrin at night help that a bit so that she would sleep a bit better?  I ask b/c my ds did the exact same thing around that age (but really from about 6mo - 15mo) whenever he was about to get a tooth.   I couldn't always tell either - I think sometimes his teeth could be hurting but not really ready to come through yet so there were no bumps on his gums - but then I would try a does of tylenol or motrin and he would go right to sleep.  Something to try maybe?

post #16 of 31


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenifera2 View Post

It's more than an article (series of books) and she does cite research (which I didn't read) but I still have a problem with it from a gut-level place. Crying in arms is discussed here a lot, though, in various circumstances and I'm curious how people decide that at any point crying in arms is the best choice because they're sure they've met their baby's needs. I pretty much always feel that if my baby is crying she's got a need that's not yet met, and nursing almost always (but not 100%) makes her stop crying, and I'm just really curious about other people's experiences/feelings. Oh, and it's not about self-soothing as far as I can tell.


interesting, thank you for the clarification. I guess my sticking point is that it is a BABY, not a toddler or a small child, a baby....

 

I personally feel like while it might say it is not about self soothing how is it not?? I mean even if you are holding your baby and they are crying you are forcing them to soothe themselves because just holding them is clearly not working if they are still crying. How is that not self soothing? Not in the sense that they are left alone in a crib but I don't think self soothing is exclusive to being alone in a crib in their room.

 

I actually agree with you in that if my baby (well she's a toddler now but when she was a baby) was crying there was a need not being met yet. That need was generally nursing because that literally solved the problem 99% of the time. 

 

 

post #17 of 31

I don't see that we know the age of the op's baby.

 

With both of my children by 18 months I felt that they were receptive and okay to me having some boundaries about nursing, etc.  Even earlier than that I set some very basic boundaries -- like I don't breastfeed while I'm eating.  I think the age of the baby has a HUGE impact on the answers to these questions.  If I can't be calm and feel okay about how much my baby is nursing, then no, I don't think comfort nursing is a NEED that I must meet at the expense of my health and well-being.  I would willingly go through great suffering to make sure my baby is fed, warm, and as comfortable as possible, but it also has to be a balance with the needs of the family.

 

I do agree with the point that we don't necessarily need to be running around trying everything we can think of in a frenzy to stop the crying.  Meeting the babe's needs, not stopping the crying, is the goal -- although I agree that the end result might be the same.  I am not one to advocate dropping everything the second the baby cries -- I basically do that with a newborn, but as the baby gets a little older, my needs come into play.  I will not necessarily stop chopping an onion immediately to pick up a 6 month old who has begun to fuss.  I will not get out of the shower before I'm finished just because the baby is crying.  Being present, talking and singing, telling the baby I will help him/her in a minute, and finishing what I need to do is okay with me.

 

I had two babies who screamed every night no matter what I did, dd until 7 months and ds until 4 months.  After all that crying, I guess I feel like a little upset to bring about a change that makes a huge difference for the mama (and therefore everyone in the family) is totally acceptable.  If my baby didn't adjust within a week, I would re-evaluate the choice.

 

 

post #18 of 31

CIA is meant to fullfill a baby's need to cry as a form of stress release, not a way to get them to sleep.

 

Crying in arms is my go to instinctive response to an inconsolable baby. I do not bounce, dance, or sing to a crying baby because it doesn't feel right to me and drives me batty. That being said, I think it is important to try to nurse, change diaper, and check clothing and temperature first. I think that if you do not nurse a baby who wants to be nursed, they are going to be wondering why you wont feed them regardless of whether or not you are holding them.

 

Kudos to the moms whose babies are almost always consoled by nursing, my babies are not like that! If my babies would peacefully nurse to sleep I would certainly prefer that.

post #19 of 31
I was JUST about to post about this!! I didn't know it was called cry- in -arms.

EVERY Night, actually, every time he falls asleep at all, my DS CRIES like crazy. He fights sleep like I have never seen. He is 7 months old.

Either me or DH ALWAYS sleep with him snuggled in one arm/ side, or in both arms spoon like, now that he is old enough to sit up and move around well (we bed shared before, but didn't keep him that close for safety sake). He is between us. After the 3 minutes of crying, he falls asleep and is peaceful all night. We feed him in arms, let him cry while snuggling, then he sleeps. He naps alone, but the routine is the same.

Is this normal? He has always been in bed with us at night, but this short crying prior to sleep has never stopped. It doesn't seem to matter what we do, he cries anyway, I figure why not let him be cuddled too? It doesn't seem to bother him, and I can tell if he is about to conk out- rubs his little face and starts crying, then snuggles up.

(I did not realize this was NOT CIO. I thought CIO was just letting a babe cry, even while holding him, when nothing else worked. I did not know it was a whole philosophy! YIKES!)
post #20 of 31

I think this depends on whether you are talking about a baby or a toddler. I wouldn't let a child under the age of one do it but a toddler yes, i think it is ok to help them find other ways to fall back to sleep if you are still consoling and nearby for comfort.

 

I eventually night weaned both my kids that way. The first was 19 months and the second was 21 months. They were co-sleeping and would wake up as often as a newborn to nurse and I needed more sleep. You need to give yourself about a week or two. I slowly let them nurse for a shorter length of time at night and would tell them it was the last time for "mommy milk" before the sun came up and then "mommy milk" was going night-night. I would ask "ok?" and they would usually nod and cuddle in but then start signing milk again soon and I would remind them the mommy milk was night-night until the sun came back up. That's when they would start crying. I would sing to them, rock them, console them while reminding them that they can have more milk in the morning but it's time for everyone to sleep etc. For a couple weeks you get way less sleep because it's much easier and quicker to nurse a child to sleep than it is to get up and go through walking, singing etc in the night, but now they sleep through the night. Although, I think I need to get room darkening shades in my room because my son wakes up with the sun now for milk. =) 

 

 

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