I didn't mean to imply that a mom should not
seek to influence infant sleep in appropriate ways under certain situations. I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with it. In fact I think if a mom is seeing herself get more and more exhausted, and more and more annoyed with it, it's a good idea to use some gentle methods sooner rather than later when she's so frustrated she won't have the patience and stamina for it. Sometimes moms at the end of their ropes end up seeing CIO as a quick way to get more sleep. I think if you make small changes as you go along, things won't get so frustrating. As you pointed out, I did make changes to our nursing to sleep routine that influenced ds. I did say in a previous post: "you can use methods to influence their sleep pattern that don't go against their natural inclination so much as to cause serious resistance." but even when you have done so, as I did when I guided my ds toward an earlier unlatching, it still remains true that you haven't changed their physiology. The nervous system matures at its own rate whether or not you guide their sleep patterns. It will still signal them to arouse in the night. That hasn't changed. That's one of the reasons it's so hard to change sleep patterns sometimes, and it seems like it's an ingrained "habit" when really nightwaking is a normal part of infant sleep through the second year.
Actually, I did a lot of "bending" while I encouraged ds to unlatch earlier. If he resisted, I allowed him to latch back on. Some nights it took many, many slow and gentle tries before he was ready to let go. (that's the part that really tested me. I sometimes felt like running out of the house screaming, but I knew there would be a super payoff so I gritted my teeth for a few nights.)I let him decide when he was ready. I never pushed it, he never got upset. The method doesn't work if you push it on the child, you end up with a crying baby who isn't going to get to sleep at all. I let him set the level he was comfortable with. What it changed is not the way
he got to sleep so much as the depth
of sleep he was in when I put him down. It shortened the length of time he spent on the breast before being put down, too. Once he was accustomed to unlatching earlier, he began to move on his own towards unlatching even earlier, and earlier, til he finally would go into his crib drowsy but awake.
Originally Posted by Carsonsmama
[COLOR=Navy] we are talking about ways to make them comfortable enough to fall asleep without a breast in their mouth.
And that's what we want ideas and suggestions on!
Well, if all is going fairly well according to mom and she doesn't mind nursing to sleep that's when we say if it ain't broke don't fix it, and I think the OP falls into this category. I think she said that she didn't mind nursing to sleep.
but, you are asking for some concrete ideas about what can help...
so in addition to the pull-off method I described above...
If you have difficulty tolerating nursing to sleep to the point where alternatives are looking attractive, I'd seriously recommend the NCSS as a source of ideas to gently change sleep patterns. It isn't a quick fix, but when you are talking about wanting to change something so fundamental, in a non-traumatic way, patience is going to be required no matter what method you choose.
Sometimes, you think dc is going to be resistant and they aren't as set against it as you thought. I'd occassionally get ds to go back to sleep after a night waking with a "lower" level of help than nursing (like back rubbing) just by asking! Seems silly but the worst they can say is NO WAY!! :LOL I'd tell him, mommy will help you lie down - and sometimes he'd do it, boy was I shocked the first time it worked.
I've heard of some moms offering a sip of water or some other alternative, but my ds would be too awake after that so I would just offer to tuck him back in and rub his back.
Most won't accept such an offer til they are really ready, so I think it's a great way to influence their sleep patterns that still honors their needs and developmental level.
So those are the practical suggestions that improved things for us... is that more like what you were after? I know there are a lot of moms here who have found different ways that worked for them. Hopefully we'll hear more ideas!