how do you teach a child to fall asleep WITHOUT nursing? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 01-31-2003, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
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A question: have most of you let your child lead the way in choosing to fall asleep for naps and/or bedtime without nursing? Or have some of you initiated the switch yourselves? I'd love it if dd, 20 months, could at least fall asleep for her naps without nursing or drinking EBM from a bottle (I work). For those who've initiated the switch themselves, how did you teach your child to fall asleep other than by nursing or suckling?
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#2 of 7 Old 01-31-2003, 01:41 PM
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I can answer your first question. I have always let DD take the lead and I do whatever she needs to help her go to sleep. Sometimes she nurses to sleep, but often she'll be rocked/bounced to sleep. DH is excellent at getting her to sleep; he holds her in a certain way (that for some reason she won't do with me) and bounces her in his arms while singing or playing music. At night she almost always nurses to sleep. This works fine for us, so we haven't tried to change it.

I think it is okay to experiment with different ways to put your baby to sleep. We have "stumbled" upon better ways by accident sometimes. But I don't believe in forcibly "training" them to do things a different way. I always want to do what works for DD, and not try to get her to do it "our" way.

That said, at your child's age there is probably alot you can try to help with your situation. The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley comes to mind right away, and I'm sure others here can give you other gentle suggestions.

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#3 of 7 Old 01-31-2003, 02:01 PM
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For us it is a matter of necessity. My daughter started falling asleep without nursing at around 4 months when I went back to school after I had her, and my dad would babysit. They would rock together and nap together, and overall it was a pleasant experience that went a long way to her being able to sleep without nursing later, when we needed to night-wean.

My son stays with my husband for a good portion of the morning and again, he falls asleep without nursing for a nap during this time. His style is different and he prefers to sit quietly on DHs lap or lie on his chest for a while and simply drift into sleep. It is a very peaceful thing and DH really loves it :-). When I get home at about 1pm, usually the three of them (DH, DD, and DS) are asleep in bed. It is beautiful to see.

I think that it is healthy for them to have different ways of falling asleep with different people. I don't think that my son suffers by staying with his daddy, who loves him as much as I do and cares for him just as well; it is just a matter of needing a different kind of comforting when the breast is not available. If your DH or daytime caregiver is willing, I would go this route; try to have them comfort your child and get her to sleep. It may be a totally different matter when you are not available. You may need to find someone that she is comfortable with but isn't used to getting EBM from, just so that she doesn't freak out when EBM isn't offered. You might be surprised, she might just rock off to sleep. From there it is a long way to being able to tuck a child in and go clean house, but my 3 year old is there and we never forced anything on her; it is a matter of feeling out how your child copes with each change and whether it is appropriate now or not.

Good luck :-)

Mama, homeschooler, midwife. DD (13yo), DS (11yo), DD (8yo), DD (3yo), somebody new coming in November 2013.

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#4 of 7 Old 01-31-2003, 02:04 PM
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I love the no cry sleep solution book, I'd at least look at that.

I always nurse DS to sleep, but I can tell you what my DH does when I'm at work, I don't know if it is the right thing but it works for him. He only does these when he knows DS is tired- rubbing eyes, whiney.

One way he does it is turns on this CD we have by a band called Black Heart Procession. It has a really slow, steady down beat. Then he holds him and stands up and kinda sways. Sometimes he gives him a pacifier too.

His other trick is to lay down in bed with him and sometimes give him the pacifier. DH holds him and lets DS cry and sings to him and if DS tries to crawl and play he just grabs him and snuggles him and keeps singing. He is usually asleep in a few minutes.

The third thing he has tried- usually his last resort is that he makes the room pitch black, so DS cant see anything to distract him and then DH lays down and lets DS do whatever. DS has never cried with this method, he ends up crawling up on DH's chest and falls asleep. The only reason he uses this only as a last resort is because the only room that can get pitch black is the bathroom LOL!
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#5 of 7 Old 01-31-2003, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions! I will definitely check out the No-Cry Sleep Solution, too.
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#6 of 7 Old 02-01-2003, 04:16 AM
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Timely question for me personally...

I too have always let DS take the lead with regard to sleep. Until two weeks ago, he had always nursed to sleep. At two, DH and I were starting to make a plan (via our own discussions and having read NCSS) for nightweaning because frankly, I was tired... wearing out. *sigh* Anyway, I had begun singing to him at night and taking him off the breast and rocking him down instead. He was fine with this... however, it had been taking him longer and longer to get to sleep.

Two weeks ago, we'd been at it an hour and he still wasn't asleep. Honestly, I just had this feeling that it would be 'ok' to put him down in his crib. I can't explain it, just one of those amazing cue reading moments and low and behold, I was right. He layed down (didn't pop right up and start crying like in days past) asked for his doggie and blew me a kiss! I walked out of the room in shock and mostly thinking that he would of course starting crying for me any minute. That was two weeks ago, he hasn't called out for me yet. Better yet, since he's been putting himself to sleep, he's only been up once a night (down from three or more). I'm nursing him for now and find this manageable but may eventually night wean entirely... haven't decided.

THe only advice I can give is this: time it right! There were a few things working for us on this one that truly helped: Most important, I waited until he was in a good emotional space... he had recently been through a clingy stage and I waited until he was beyond it and his happy go lucky self. The other things were more him than me... he's been into pretend a lot lately. One of his favorite things is putting his animals down for naps. I think somehow this must have made him start thinking about how others go to sleep (not everyone nurses to sleep, etc). Also, he's becoming attached to his stuffed dog with no urging from me at all. I think it helps that he has a buddy in bed with him. Lastly, for us we are fortunate to have just ended teething...

It's apparent to me that DS is extremely attached to his naptime nursing. I'm not planning to change that. I'm a SAHM so this works for me. My philosophy on this one is that the nap evenutually ends and with it goes the nap time nursing.

Best of luck to you!

Em 43 - Wife to hubby Mom to DS born: Jan. '01
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#7 of 7 Old 02-01-2003, 11:24 PM
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Thanks for posting this! Just tonight, I got on the forum trying to see if I could find a way to ease him from his dependency on nursing to sleep. I don't mind doing it, I enjoy it...but I notice how frantic he gets when I know he is tired and yet it seems like he holds out until he can nurse, and I don't know if that seems balanced to me, especially when I have recently fed him prior to sleep (within the hour). My son is 5 mos old though, so maybe this is normal. huh.
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