Oh my.... A bit of background: My son was a horrible sleeper-would not fall asleep without nursing which resulted in me having to nurse him back to sleep after every transition into light sleep. I'm embarrassed to say, but by the time he was 4 months old,I would lay there with him from 7 pm to 7 am as he would only sleep if latched. This lasted 2 months, then he woke every 1-3 hours until he was nearly three. Now I realize that I caused this problem, and it looks like it is happening again.
My sweet baby is 9 weeks-was an awesome sleeper until about 3-4 weeks of age, and then her gas issues started and she was comforted by nursing. Now she will only fall asleep nursing and wakes after 30 minutes during naps and wants to stay latched! I can't and won't lay around in bed-I have DS to look after, so now I have an overtired, short napping, sleep resisting baby. Which breaks my heart because she was such a great sleeper before-would fall asleep on her own etc.
So, for those of you with great sleepers, what do I do??/ I'm not a CIO'er, but I must do something. I'd like to see my husband !!!
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Have you tried a pacifier? I credit a lot of my luck with having good sleepers on the fact that they both take pacifiers. I would definitely try to introduce one and see if that helped with the comfort suckling.
But, a couple of points I'll throw out...
You didn't cause your baby to need suckling for sleep; you didn't do something "wrong" by responding to her needs.
You also, unfortunately, can't just create a good sleeper. I wish it were that easy! Different children have different temperaments and needs. Eliana is my fourth and they have ALL been different. My first was my highest needs and worst sleeper. My 9 week old "sleeps through the night" and has for weeks, at least most of the time. *I* didn't do anything differently! Just different babies. (And I'm still in shock that the little one sleeps as much as she does. I am of the mind that it's more abnormal for babies to sleep "well" than not.)
HeatherB ~ mama to 3 wonderful boys: 03/02; 09/04; 09/07 - and Eliana, 11/13/10!
Founder of Houston Birth Alternatives: Be Informed, Encouraged, Supported birth support group and aspiring midwife.
I'd recommend either of two books - Happiest Baby on the Block (which recommends swaddling, etc), and The No-Cry Sleep Solution. I found both of those helpful at various times for my first 2. That said, so far DS is sleeping at night with my arm around him and often latched on (although swaddling has reduced how often he wakes) and mostly naps during the day in my lap or in the wrap. ;)
I agree you didn't create your son's sleep issues and you can't create a good sleeper, it's all about temperament and personality.
That said, I have relatively good sleepers and always have. Marah is 9 weeks and lets me know when she's ready to go upstairs and go to bed. She gets cranky and inconsolable until we lay in the bed and she can drift off peacefully... often without staying latched (but my 2 boy nurslings were not that way). I expect this to change around the 4 month mark, because that's when it did for my other daughter. I think paying attention to their cues is an integral part of good sleep... if you have an overtired baby they are less apt to sleep. It's a vicious cycle.
A pacifier can definitely be helpful... my first was a bottle fed baby but took a pacifier for sleep. My nurslings didn't... the two girls took them for a very short period in the early days when they had a need to suck for comfort and I had too much milk.
Also a routine... doing the same things in prep for bed. A bath, jammies, snuggles, nursing, and off to sleep... I'm not a huge schedule person but I know this works for a lot of families. Bed sharing is what I credit my sleep successes with... I would not be anywhere near as well rested even if we were co-sleeping(room sharing) because I'd still have to get up. Baby in bed works wonders for us because I hardly need to wake (nor does baby) to nurse. That is a personal decision though. :)
Nic, loving mama to 5 with a SURPRISE 6th on the way.
At 9 weeks, sleep is still highly unregulated. Plus, that's about time for a "sleep regression". I recommend "No Cry Sleep Solution" for ideas to help your DD be the best sleeper she can be. But remember that she might not be the sleeper you WANT her to be.
I am re-reading this book now in the hopes of avoiding some of the issues we had later on with DS. It isn't helping much NOW, because our babes are just too young. But you can help build associations that will help her sleep well in the future.
One good suggestion for this age, esp. if she pops awake when you lay her down sleepy or asleep, is to warm the bed/crib/bassinet before you lay her down. A rice sock, heating pad or hot water bottle can help (this is something I am going to set up this weekend, as popping awake is our current biggest issue).
And please never ever leave your baby to cry alone longer than it takes you to go to the bathroom or calm a foul mood! It isn't good for them, and does NOT create a good sleeper.