Poll on Nursing to Sleep for 0-6m olds - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: How does your 0-6 month old go down for naps and nighttime?
Nurse down. 22 91.67%
Some other method other than nursing; please share below! 2 8.33%
Voters: 24. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 14 Old 04-26-2012, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I have two boys ages 5 and 3, and I nursed them to sleep pretty much every time  until they were at least two.  DS2 was actually 3.  That was a lot of boobing.  :)


DS3 is now 9 days old (!!) and I'm wondering if I really want to nurse him down for naps and nighttime.  He falls asleep easily on the breast, and transfers pretty well.  But he, like my first two, seems sensitive to needing to pee and wakes to do that.  (We EC.)  So then we end up with a vicious cycle: he needs to fill the bladder to sleep, and needs to wake to empty the bladder.  Repeat.  All night.  Both of my first boys' bladders could go about two hours from filling to emptying.  :)  That's not very much time.


But having only nursed babies to sleep, I'm sort of clueless how other AP mamas might approach naps and nighttime if they don't use nursing.  So please share!  

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#2 of 14 Old 04-26-2012, 07:26 PM
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hmmmm, well I don't EC and I do nurse to sleep so I probably am not the one you're looking for :) but...since he's only a few days old, you could probably pretty easily get him in the habit of eating right after waking instead of right before sleeping. when he starts showing signs of tiredness i guess you'd just go for other soothing measure like bouncing on an exercise ball etc. are you open to using a soother? in my experience babies neeeeed to suck when falling asleep and if you don't want him using your boob, you could go for a pacifier.

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#3 of 14 Old 04-26-2012, 07:52 PM
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I fed (and still feed) my LO to sleep for 99% of her sleeps. Occasionally she'd fall asleep in the car or refuse to feed to sleep so on those occasions we'd bounce her on the fitball or walk her in the carrier.

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#4 of 14 Old 04-27-2012, 10:24 PM
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I think that I wouldn't feel comfortable taking away the nurse-to-sleep option for a baby that small.  Is there another way to fix what's not working?  I mean, at that age they have such little stomachs (and bladders, unfortunately) that they need to eat frequently anyway.  I'm not sure what you could change that wouldn't create other problems.  If you're thinking about future potential problems, why not just deal with them when they come?  There are gentle ways to nightwean, and it can happen after your baby is bigger and able to go longer between feedings.  


Just a thought. ;)

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#5 of 14 Old 04-28-2012, 07:43 PM
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My first always nursed to sleep, but my second refused to by the time he was 2 months old. He would finish nursing and I would sit on an exercise ball and bounce him until he fell asleep. We did that from 2 months to 15 months! A loooong time, but he then learned easily to fall asleep on his own. He's in a bad patch now, as you may see in my post, but it worked for us. We did end up giving him a pacifier since he didn't want to nurse to sleep.

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#6 of 14 Old 04-28-2012, 08:09 PM
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I think it depends on the kid.  Nursing to sleep is pretty much the only way my son fell asleep.  My daughter would unlatch and look around for a bit before falling asleep in my arms or in her crib.  I don 't know that I would have been able to switch either of their habits easily.

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#7 of 14 Old 04-29-2012, 01:10 AM
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My baby (5months) won't fall asleep anywhere except in a carrier on my back. I really wish I could nurse and snuggle him to sleep once in a while! He was much more flexible about how he falls asleep when he was younger and then slowly got more picky. He used to nurse, or  snuggle, or just pass out while I'm holding him face out on my lap and I look down surprised to see him out cold (HAHA!) or in my husband's lap, anywhere! I think I have a pretty fast let down, so after just a couple minutes of nursing, if I try to keep him nursing to get him to fall asleep, he either starts playing around (aka, biting!) or will overeat and spit up. He's also a thumbsucker. So if he seems sleepy I put him on my back and he'll suck his thumb to go to sleep. I can transfer him to bed without waking him nearly every time. He'll nurse back to sleep when he wakes in the middle of the night. With babies this young though, I really don't think any habits are being formed. For now, I'd just focus on getting him to sleep whichever way makes life easiest for you *today* which will most likely be whatever accomplishes the task quickest with the happiest baby :) I heard once that around 4 months is when babies start forming more habits/routines around sleep. I've noticed that with my little one. Maybe wait a couple months, then start encouraging baby to fall asleep some non-nursing way. 

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#8 of 14 Old 04-29-2012, 04:27 AM
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No babies in the house right now and we don't ec but he soundsjust right for a 9 day old to me. Mine usually slept a good stretch pretty early on but that was not until about 4 to 6 weeks. 


I am not quite sure what you are saying.. do you mean you want him fully awake throughout each night nursing or you do not want to night nurse at all?

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#9 of 14 Old 05-02-2012, 05:29 PM
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I voted "some other way," because DS would sometimes nurse to sleep and sometimes just fall asleep on his own.  He is now about 8mo and it's still the same.  He almost always has to nurse to nap but at night he almost always falls asleep on his own.  DD, on the other hand, always had to nurse to sleep.

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#10 of 14 Old 05-02-2012, 08:27 PM
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My 4 month old normally falls asleep by nursing, but will also fall asleep on car rides. Sometimes I can get her to sleep with butt pats, and shushing. Every now and again she'll fall asleep in her swing. If I'm putting her back to sleep and she's just a little awake I can sometimes just lay my hand on her chest and shush a little. She also likes me to brush her hair back with my hand, basically pet her until she falls asleep. 


The first month or two I had to nurse her to sleep or right before sleep, because she was so hungry all the time, and she slept better on a full tummy. Often she'd pee halfway through nursing, so I'd change her and put her back on the boob just to fall asleep.

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#11 of 14 Old 05-02-2012, 08:40 PM
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Here's something I was just reading today that's on this topic: http://kellymom.com/parenting/nighttime/comfortnursing/. I liked the philosophy of this as well as some of the suggestions.

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#12 of 14 Old 05-02-2012, 08:54 PM
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DS is now 21 mos (and graduated at 19 mos!) and we did nurse down.  I would pee him before nursing/bed but he usually didn't really wake to pee, just went in his diaper.  He would also go back to sleep really, really quickly if he did wake at night for any reason other than being hungry.  We did try night time EC with DS, but it wasn't working well for any of us.  He didn't like being taken out of bed to pee (even if the potty was just beside our bed, as we co-slept and we did try this), I didn't like the disruption, and then it was hard for us both to get back to sleep.  Have you considered just not doing night time EC?  (Maybe post on the EC board for further suggestions as well).  I don't think DS was confused by this.  We were in trainers by 6.5 mos and in diapers over night with no issues in terms of DS waking to pee (well, I know he probably woke to pee as one doesn't pee in one's sleep, but you know what I mean.  He was happy to use a diaper at night, and we were happy to have him use it as that is what worked for us!)

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#13 of 14 Old 05-04-2012, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies.


I've begun differentiation between "boob coma" in the daytime and actually naps.  It seems he almost always falls into a sort of passed-out state when he has a full tummy, but laid down or kept in the lap, he wakes about 10 minutes later.  That's a boob coma.  When it is time for an honest to goodness nap (and with my first two boys I never made such a distinction because I made no attempt to keep their sleep on a schedule, but with this one I am)-- he is happy to fall asleep on my chest while rocking, in the sling, or just in my arms walking around the house (that's his favorite).  He makes no requests to nurse during those times.  But he also pulls off the breast when he is full and entering boob coma... so it's likely he's a different kid that way.


I have to say-- scheduling a newborn seems like an incredibly unpopular notion (particular when it comes to scheduling feeds, which LLL and the AAP have statements against it).  However, I've tried since he was one week old to get him on a schedule, proceeding very cautiously, and so far, it has been great.  He is nursing well, sleeping well, and seems to be very content.  I feel so lucky.  I'm glad I researched schedules a lot before he came along, but so far the transition to momming three has not been nearly as bad as the transition to momming two was for me!  I chalk it up to having some structure to fall back on to make sure everyone's needs are being met.



Oh, and at night-- we boob freely.  EC or no, I've decided it's easiest, and I mean that for me, too.  I'm not a good sleeper, and I count on that oxytocin release to help *me* fall back asleep easily.  Ain't no way I'm getting out of bed to walk him down at that point!  But at bedtime, that's what we do.  


So far, so good!!

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#14 of 14 Old 05-06-2012, 07:55 PM
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My dd many times will eat and stay up a bit, then I rock/bounce/pat/sway her to sleep. I don't want her to fully associate nursing with sleeping. I don't force this issue, but I'm opportunistic about it, and this has worked out well so far. At first she would nurse and go into a coma, then wake up and I would rock her to sleep while she laid on the boppy, which is the same position I nursed her in. This was a convenient transition to eventually rocker her to sleep upright after feeding.


During the night, however, she wakes often, only sometimes when she is actually hungry. The rest of the time she wakes due to indigestion. She will usually burp or fart then feel better. But there I am, next to her with her best buddies. To avoid nursing every single time she wakes I use a pacifier. I started this only after two months when I knew she was solid with the boob. It works well for us, at nap times too. When she was a newbie, however, I nursed without limitation, or sometimes offered my pinky.


Good luck!

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