Can I teach baby to comfort nurse? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 06-11-2014, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Can I teach baby to comfort nurse?

Hi, this is my first post because thankfully I haven't ever really had a problem that I couldn't find an answer to... until now.

My DD is 4 months old and has been using a pacifier since she was 5 weeks. In the last couple weeks she's developed the habit of grabbing it with her hands and pulling it out or pushing it in and out with her tongue which usually causes it to fall out. I never really liked her using it anyway, but now it's become more trouble than it's worth. For the last week or so, I'm been manually holding it in her mouth as she falls asleep, but this is obviously not a solution to the problem.

I breastfeed her and she's always been a very efficient eater and normally nurses for 5-8 minutes only on one side. This has always been fantastic, especially for me because of the convenience. Unfortunately, this also means she doesn't spend much time nursing and I've always felt that this left her feeling unsatisfied in a way. That's one reason that we started using the pacifier and she really seemed to enjoy it. When it falls out, she seems almost panicked and flails around swinging her head side to side to find it again. When I try to put it back in her mouth, she grabs my hand with both her hands and jams it back in quickly Is this normal behavior for her age?

Basically, whatever comfort she's receiving from the pacifier, I would prefer her to receive from me. I've never seen her really comfort nurse at all. When she's done eating she usually unlatches herself and if I don't pull myself away she gets really spastic and flails around latching and unlatching and eventually whining a little. It's obvious that she's full and doesn't want any more milk, but it seems like she would like to continue sucking. At this point when she's tired, I give her the pacifier and she usually drifts off to sleep with me holding it in her mouth. If she's not tired I just pick her up and we go about our day and she always seems fine. I guess the problem is getting her to sleep without the pacifier. I would like to be able to nurse her to sleep but she hasn't fallen asleep nursing since she was probably a week old. Do you think that, given enough practice, she could learn how to comfort suck without getting more milk, or just a tiny amount? I've only read about babies that do this automatically and I don't know why she doesn't.

What can I do to make naptime and bedtime easier for us both?
LaNiebla is offline  
#2 of 2 Old 06-13-2014, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
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No one has chimed in yet but I thought I'd give an update anyway.

I took her pacifier away three days ago and it's really been going ok since then. We still struggle a bit at naptime and bedtime and if I've had to be very careful to make sure she doesn't get overtired. It's obviously taking a bit more time and effort on my part to get her to go to sleep and I'm sure that there are people out there that think I'm nuts for that. I'm sticking to my guns though and so far it seems like I was right. It could just be my imagination but she seems happier than before. I think whenever I tried to use the pacifier to stop her from fussing, it backfired and just made her more frustrated when it kept falling out.

I think she's kind of picking up on the fact that she can use me as a pacifier and nurse herself to sleep. I know I've read that some people think this is a bad idea, but I don't really understand why that is. She's actually fallen asleep a couple times nursing which is great news, but I still need to work on how to unlatch and move her without waking her up. I've had two nights where she just nursed herself into a really relaxed mood and then I unlatched her and she fell asleep within 15 minutes on her own One night thought, she did get really frustrated and cried for about 20 minutes and did not want to nurse anymore (I think she was very very tired). Eventually she did fall asleep, but it was hard to hear her cry because I hadn't realized how long it had been since she really cried. She definitely is a lighter sleeper than with the pacifier, but I'm hoping that will change with time.

I haven't thrown the pacifiers away yet because at the beginning of July I'll be taking her on a cross country flight to visit family and I don't want her to fuss on the plane and bother everyone. Other than that things are good. Please chime in if you have anything to add!
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