nursing down to sleep- do they just outgrow it? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 06-08-2011, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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For those of you who have nursed your babies to sleep for naps and at night, did they just outgrow it with age, or did you have to use some type of technique to wean them off of that method so that they could learn how to put themselves to sleep?

 

I've found that the no-fail way to get my son to sleep in a painless (no tears) way is to nurse him while walking with him and singing/humming. He is able to fall asleep when we're out in public in the stroller or in the Ergo if we give him a pacifier and sing to him as well. At times, my mother and my husband have been able to just walk with him while he fusses a bit until he will pass out. But generally, this is what works, and my son has been known to pitch a little fit if I am nearby and someone else tries to put him to sleep (even if he can't see me). At night, we co-sleep part of the night after he does his first initial stretch or two, since he wakes up wanting to nurse.

 

He is almost 6 months and I'm a little nervous for the future- I dont want to stop this way of putting him to sleep because it works so well for him and I feel at ease knowing that he is typically falling to sleep in a way that is not stressful for him. But, I just worry a bit about how he will ever transition into learning to go to sleep on his own.

 

I did read the No-Cry Sleep Solution about the "Pantley Pull-off" and have tried it here and there, but it doesn't really work all that well for him yet- all he will do is wake up and search for the nipple again. Eventually I can pull it out and he is asleep enough to stay asleep, but it never works if he is still awake and at times I think it even prolongs the putting-him-to-sleep process. I don't think it is really getting him used to not nursing to sleep. Is this something I should revisit at a later point when he is older? All in all I'm just curious what worked for other moms. I've noticed with my son that some things related to sleep he just acquired with age, like sleeping on his own in his crib. I had to hold him for all his naps until about 3 months and I did nothing to really teach him that- one day I just started putting him down more often when he was asleep and he stayed asleep. So I'm just wondering if this is something he will pick up with age? I'd love to not worry so much that I'm creating a bad habit.

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#2 of 17 Old 06-08-2011, 10:26 AM
 
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I've nursed my son to sleep since he was born, but just a week or so ago, at 8 mos, he stopped falling asleep from his bed-time nursing.  I think he just outgrew it or something-- now we still nurse at 7pm but afterward he is still eyes-open alert, so I walk him to his crib and usually he'll calmly just fall asleep there.  (He used to fall asleep on the boob.)

 

Babies change so much as they grow.  Enjoy the nurse-to-sleep now-- such great moments-- and worry about changing that if need be when the time comes. 

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#3 of 17 Old 06-08-2011, 10:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by JulieInChicago View Post

 

Babies change so much as they grow.  Enjoy the nurse-to-sleep now-- such great moments-- and worry about changing that if need be when the time comes. 



I agree with this.  

 

I didn't worry about creating a "habit" of nursing to sleep, because every regular sleep routine becomes a habit - rocking, singing, nursing, cuddling, whatever.  Babies know what they need better than we do.

 

I nursed my daughter to sleep almost every night until she turned 2, except when Daddy put her to bed.  She weaned on her second birthday and since then, we've created a new bedtime routine based on what she enjoys and feels she needs - 2 books, sing some songs, and then snuggles until she's drowsy and ready to lay down in her crib.  She needs more help getting to sleep than my son did, but they are very different individuals, so I get it.  And I have always had trouble falling asleep too.

 

My son nursed before bed until he was almost 2, but went to bed totally awake and loved being in his crib alone, talking and singing to himself for up to 2 hours (!) every night before falling asleep, since he was about a year old.  He would actually ask to go to bed at like 4:30pm because he really enjoyed that alone time.  That was his "habit" at that point in his life, and he doesn't do that now at age 6, because his needs and wants changed along the way.

 

It sounds like what you are doing now is working for you and baby, so I wouldn't advise trying to alter it just to try to create a potentially different future.


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#4 of 17 Old 06-08-2011, 10:54 AM
 
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I think this is something that will grow with age, but also depends on mood and health. But my 21 mo DS, still nurse to sleep until today, though on several occasion when I was not home or not around, He will sleep without nursing, his nanny just need to rub his back or hold him. But if I'm around he always nurse to sleep, and maybe that's because I have never deny it. Somehow I have a feeling that probably he will not nurse to sleep If i teach him to. On days when He is not in a good mood, such as when teething or sick, he will squeal for me and nurse before, during and after sleeping. It felt like forever! But I usually manage it by eating snack, browsing on my cellphone or reading a book while nursing. This helps me to unnerved. 

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#5 of 17 Old 06-08-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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I'm sure some babes do just outgrow it but for ds we had to work on it. But I didn't do it until he was a little over 2 years old (& it was just taking so long). Why mess with something that works & works easily?! Yes, it meant the occasional time I was not around made things a little rougher for everyone but it was so rare I wasn't there it didn't seem worth messing with the tried & true.


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#6 of 17 Old 06-08-2011, 11:50 AM
 
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My LO is 9.5 months now and we have always nursed or walked in a mei tai to sleep. She will go to sleep for Dad by being on his shoulder and bouncing/shushing under our bathroom fan for white noise.

However, recently she won't fall asleep easily while nursing... especially at night. She will nurse for a minute and then her legs seem to disagree with her head and she'll stand up and either fuss or be wide awake (even if I know she's tired). This happens during the day sometimes too all of the sudden.

Is this her way of telling me she's ready to fall asleep another way? I've actually tried putting her to sleep the way my husband does, but she won't even lay her head down on my shoulder!

Suggestions? Should I just put Dad in charge of putting her to sleep at night? I can't imagine just putting her down and expecting her to fall asleep on her own. She's just so active!
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#7 of 17 Old 06-08-2011, 12:01 PM
 
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My daughter is turning one on Sunday, and within the last week, she no longer nurses to sleep. For the past week, I have tried nursing her to sleep, and she has flat out refused! Now, I nurse her before naps and bed, and then we rock her. It's working so far. She decided she no longer needed it. Kinda makes me sad!! I know we will rock her for now, and one day it will change again. Then, we will find something else that works.

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#8 of 17 Old 06-08-2011, 12:37 PM
 
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This is exactly what my son has been doing for a few weeks now-- he's 8.5 mos.  He nurses a little, then sits up, then wants to stand.  I've adapted by nursing him till he's done, then rocking/singing him to drowsy and then putting him down and singing/patting his tummy till he falls asleep.

 

I have a suspicion that this has to do with how much solid food he's eating in the evening... he's an eating machine and eats ~3/4 cup of whatever we're offering.  So I think there's just not much room in that tummy left for milk.

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Originally Posted by Churrl View Post

My LO is 9.5 months now and we have always nursed or walked in a mei tai to sleep. She will go to sleep for Dad by being on his shoulder and bouncing/shushing under our bathroom fan for white noise.

However, recently she won't fall asleep easily while nursing... especially at night. She will nurse for a minute and then her legs seem to disagree with her head and she'll stand up and either fuss or be wide awake (even if I know she's tired). This happens during the day sometimes too all of the sudden.

Is this her way of telling me she's ready to fall asleep another way? I've actually tried putting her to sleep the way my husband does, but she won't even lay her head down on my shoulder!

Suggestions? Should I just put Dad in charge of putting her to sleep at night? I can't imagine just putting her down and expecting her to fall asleep on her own. She's just so active!


 

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#9 of 17 Old 06-08-2011, 12:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieInChicago View Post

This is exactly what my son has been doing for a few weeks now-- he's 8.5 mos.  He nurses a little, then sits up, then wants to stand.  I've adapted by nursing him till he's done, then rocking/singing him to drowsy and then putting him down and singing/patting his tummy till he falls asleep.

 

I have a suspicion that this has to do with how much solid food he's eating in the evening... he's an eating machine and eats ~3/4 cup of whatever we're offering.  So I think there's just not much room in that tummy left for milk.



 


Well, it definitely makes me sad that she seems to be transitioning. greensad.gif I'll have to figure something else out. My difficulty is that I run a home day care, so I'm really not able to take a whole lot of time with her in a quiet place to put her down sometimes. Maybe we'll start with rocking and singing first.

Thanks for sharing Julie! That might just be part of the issue we've been struggling with lately and I hadn't let myself believe that she might be ready to move on.
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#10 of 17 Old 06-08-2011, 12:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post

I'm sure some babes do just outgrow it but for ds we had to work on it. But I didn't do it until he was a little over 2 years old (& it was just taking so long). Why mess with something that works & works easily?! Yes, it meant the occasional time I was not around made things a little rougher for everyone but it was so rare I wasn't there it didn't seem worth messing with the tried & true.


I agree with everything in this post.

My DS is one and I still nurse him down for all naps and bedtime.

There was a period where I was really worried, just like you are OP. I worried "Will I still be doing this for the next two years?!".

But somehow I just realized it will take care of itself and if and when I start really resenting it we will think of solutions. I agree it sucks when I want/need to do something away from DS and someone else has to put him down. He just started daycare and it was/is not easy for the daycare woman to get him to sleep, but she is good with him and is finding her way (for now she puts him in the stroller and sings and he falls asleep pretty quick and then she leaves him in the garden in the stroller where she can see and hear him). It is the major disadvantage of nursing to sleep...only you can do it! But IME that disadvantage, while a PIA, is so wroth the easy convenience of nursing him down. So far, DS has been nursed down for like 98% of all sleeps and the occasional Papa / Grandma having a harder time with it  and the daycare provider needing to be creative is well worth it IMO.

 


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#11 of 17 Old 06-08-2011, 12:59 PM
 
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my dd outgrew it when i had ds, she started falling asleep waiting for her turn to nurse, or would just snuggle into my back and snooze. she will still nurse to sleep if given a chance but doesn't have to obviously.


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#12 of 17 Old 06-09-2011, 09:13 AM
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I nursed dd to sleep for a long time. When she was two I sometimes put limits on it but would sing until she was asleep (she was getting older so I got the creepy crawly get off my body feeling of you know it mamas) plus then I was pregnant. Now we sing her down. She can fall asleep but it's nice smile.gif
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#13 of 17 Old 06-09-2011, 10:40 AM
 
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I'm about to lose it! My little one will not fall asleep on her own (10 months) and because I'm watching other kids I can't just take 15 minutes or more to put her to sleep in another room. Of course the other kids' naps are alternating today, which literally means NO alone time with my LO to put her down. I know she needs to sleep, but I'm totally out of ideas

Right now she's strapped on my back in our mei tai and struggling to get out b/c she's so over-tired. But even after she falls asleep on me, the sound of the other kids playing wakes her up. She needs to sleep in a separate room to get a proper nap.

Does anyone else out there have a home day care and have some advice for me?

I'm totally at the end of my rope here.
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#14 of 17 Old 06-09-2011, 10:44 AM
 
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Mine is 10 and she most certainly outgrew it. winky.gif Ok, seriously, I don't remember when she finally did go to sleep without being nursed down first. I just always offered to nurse her down and then she had to wait until the sun came up to nurse again (we nursed 3.5 yrs).


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#15 of 17 Old 06-09-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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DD now actively chooses not to nurse to sleep. We still nurse before naps and bed but then she gestures that she wants to lay down and she rolls over and goes to sleep or waves at me or something lol She's 17 months old now and it started a couple of months ago I think. However, the time to get her to sleep hasn't decreased or anything (usually about 15 minutes from starting to nurse). I can't just lay her down with no nursing and she falls asleep within minutes. For us, I think that's very unrealistic.


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#16 of 17 Old 06-09-2011, 05:22 PM
 
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OP - it could be a temporary thing. Ds was REALLY distractable around 9-10 months & then got better again. I think they reach a sudden level of awareness of their environment that is new & exciting. Once they get used to the new awareness it's less distracting.


Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#17 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 04:41 AM
 
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DS outgrew nursing to sleep.  He's four now, and I honestly can't remember when he gave up nursing to sleep, but it's actually very bittersweet.  It was a very natural transition and I remember saying to DW one day that he was actually not really nursing to sleep anymore, so it slipped by without me really noticing.  That's the sad part, how they grow up.  He's still nursing, and on demand, so every once in a very long while he'll fall asleep while nursing and it's very very sweet.  


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