Nursing Baby to sleep...need Advice.. :)

Updated on May 01, 2009
S.M. asks from Valley Village, CA
31 answers

I have been reading the Baby Whisperer and she is very adamant about her EASY strategy (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You) I just cant seem to get on top of that. I nurse my daughter then we have activity. Then, I always end up having to nurse her to sleep. It seems as though I have created a monster and now my little one can not get to sleep at night unless I nurse her to sleep. I have tried the letting her CIO for a short while then I always end up breaking down and letting her nurse. I have tried pacifiers and she wont take them.. She tries sucking her hands and it just seem to frustrate her. I don't want this to be a habit that I must break later. Does anyone have any helpful tips for me on weening my daughter off nursing to sleep? Thanks to all ..
Steff

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So What Happened?

I am so thankful for all of the fabulous responses. I have decided to keep on nursing her to sleep. Most of you suggested that. I am just a little concerned about my milk supply so I made an appointment with a LC. I think that My little one is doing just fine considering when I do get her to sleep she sleeps from 5-7 hours. which leads me to believe she is getting enough nutrients. ZThanks again to all of you super moms for lending out your advice to a newbie.
Love and happiness to all,
S. M

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D.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Okay, well I understand your frustration...its tough when no one is getting what they want out of a situation. But, if your baby girl is sucking her fingers and getting frustrated then, my thinking is she's hungry. Per my son's Pedi in the NICU and out, as well as all the nurses there, Breastfeeding is the primary source for ALL nutrition. I was instructed to feed on demand, and if my baby fell asleep while feeding it was okay. However, once he was no longer 'feeding' and just suckling it was time to detach and put him to bed. This helped with not associated sleep with feeding, but sometimes you can't help it and thats okay.

Honestly, CIO is not something I endorse but, I will tell you if your child is crying and needs something its best to attend to those needs. CIO will not solve the problem. If she is hungry, then she WILL need to be fed and crying herself to sleep is not going to meet those needs. At this point, I would worry about her intake and getting on a routine. Create a solid bedtime routine, not a schedule, but an routine that cues her that its time for bedtime. Follow it daily and don't worry about being perfect, really there is no such thing.

I've read the books and finally gave them all to a local library because nothing in there helped. I couldn't get my son to conform to the routines and schedules and it wasn't fair to him. I just let him be a baby, and was the best Mommy I could be...that's all you can do.

If you're truly interested in working with set guideline you might want to try something else or ask for advice from a lactation consultant. They have a wealth of info and have dealt with everything!! Call the hospital where you had your baby, they usually give free consults and often make home visits.

Good Luck!

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N.S.

answers from San Diego on

Hi Steff,

I remember those days, and wanting to do everything right.....my kids are now 11 & 8. I nursed both of them to sleep, and never let them cry it out.

Your daughter is only 5 months old, and just needs lots of love, comfort and attachment. Before you know it, she will be walking, talking, eating food, etc. You will look back on this and wonder why you worried about it. Just enjoy her and let her enjoy her wonderful mommy. Don't worry too much!! Best wishes

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C.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have 3 boys, now 19, 12 and 8. I nursed all of them to sleep. The challenge I have with this "eat, ACTIVITY, sleep, you" method that I see is, from my experience, the nursing is the winding DOWN period. The last thing my babies wanted to do after nursing is do some activity. They were all cuddly, had nice, full bellies and then drifted off like a full bear ready for hibernation. I nursed them while sitting on the couch or in the rocking chair in their room. Once they were asleep, I then placed them into their cribs.

That worked great until baby #2, who was colicky and didn't sleep for more than 2 hours at a time for TWO STRAIGHT YEARS wouldn't STAY asleep. OMG, the second I even tried to move to get from chair to crib, he woke up and started his scream-a-thon. Eventually, I just wore him in a pack constantly and he slept in our bed for a long, long time. He nursed for 2-3/4 years...until I got pregnant with #3 and had to wean him over one really difficult week because my breasts were very tender.

Baby #3 only nursed for 5 weeks and then looked at me like, hey, lady, gimme some steak and potatoes here. He took a bottle, went down easily for naps and to bed. He was textbook lay 'em down, tell 'em goodnight, love ya, and poof, asleep in 5 minutes. Very sweet.

You know that saying, "You can't see the forest for the trees"? Well, all of these stages with babies seem like they're sooo critical and will last forever, all the while people are telling, implying or inferring that if you screw it up, then you've doomed the kid, yourself and your family to some unmanageable fate. That you're not doing it right.

Here's my advice after raising 3 kids: Do what works for YOU. If the book advice works for YOU, then great. If the pacifier, the thumb, nursing, bottle, circumcision, not circumcising, cloth, disposable, jumpy-toy, walker work for YOU, then stick to it. Try everything and see what works. When people give you annoying, unsolicited advice (in the grocery store...your mother-in-law, your mom, your friends...complete strangers...), just smile and nod. And, remember that each kid is different. Some stuff works amazingly on every one of your kids. Some things that worked great for #1 won't fly at all with #2.

For example, no matter how hard I tried to get the pacifier on board, #1 only liked it -- and only a certain one -- for 5 weeks. #2 wouldn't take it at all and only wanted the boob 24/7. #3 looooooved his pacifier. I didn't make a big deal about taking it away. I did make him leave it in his bed most of the time. One day, when he was about 2-1/2, the kids and I were visiting this cool vintage train park in Sacramento. He excitedly threw his pacifier into the air AND WE COULD NOT FIND IT. OMG. I just about had a coronary. I thought he was going to have a fit and we'd spend the rest of our vacation with a screamer. But, he didn't melt down! After an hour of looking for it, his brothers and I just explained that it was gone and that was that. He just simply accepted it. He didn't want another one, he didn't cry about it. We were all pretty astounded. Its still somewhere in that train park...

My experience has been more like, activity, then eat, then nap, then ME nap...just kidding...I know you're supposed to nap when baby naps, but I always thought, ok but who's going to do the laundry, start dinner, spend time with my other children? Napping for me was rare. More like an occasional, unsanctioned passing out while reading the mail on the couch...whew!

Why do you want to wean her off of nursing to sleep? Is it working for you? Do what works and stop putting pressure on yourself to do what some stupid boob in a book says you're "supposed" to do. THERE IS NO ONE, RIGHT, CORRECT WAY TO DO STUFF WITH KIDS. There are LOTS of combinations of ways to do EVERYTHING. The challenge for you is, putting the right combination together that works for YOU, your baby and your family. There are suggestions, there are accounts of what has worked well for other people. Then, some genius tries to make some money by selling a book and say that they're the EXPERT. After all, you bought the book, right? These books often play on your inexperience and INSECURITY at being a new parent, and make you feel like you're not doing it right and THEY have allll the answers.

If nursing your baby to sleep actually gets her to sleep, then work it.

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K.I.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.,
I used the Sleepeasy Solution when my daughter was about 6 months. From birth until 6 months, she would wake up every 2-3 hours. I work full time and I was going a little crazy ;). I don't think they were so strict on the order of events at night, just that you create a routine. The last thing I did before I put her down was nurse her- it just seemed the most natural thing for me. Our routine was- bath, activity (books), nurse, and bed. Sometimes she would fall asleep nursing, but she would always wake up as I transferred her to bed and I would say "goodnight" as I put her down. She did cry a little the first three nights, but she quickly got used to it and has been an excellent sleeper since (8:30pm-7am. She's now 2). I continued that routine (though not necessarily as strict as the first month of it) until she stopped nursing at 15 months. At that point it was very easy to transfer to a sippy cup with milk that she drinks as we read books before bedtime.
She is my first, so I don't know if she was just easy, or if the Sleepeasy Solution really is a miracle solution. And- I must add that she did take a pacifier- which I'm sure helped a ton.
I know every case is different. If you are trying to wean her completely before she goes to bed, then I guess my advice won't do you much good... I didn't mind nursing her last thing- in fact, I enjoyed those last quiet moments before I put her down. I think a lot is trial and error until you find out what works for you. Good luck and here's to some happy sleeping in the near future!

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

In a baby, sucking the fingers is a "hunger" cue. One of several. She must be hungry.
You need to feed on-demand... not on a schedule, if that is what you are trying. Putting a baby on a "schedule" for feeding, is not good for a baby because it does not take into consideration a baby's own nutrition demands or growth spurts and their increasing needs for intake, daily. THus, many babies who are on feeding schedules, sometimes do not develop/grow/thrive as well. Because, a baby's intake needs, can vary EACH day. They are constantly changing. But, a "feeding schedule" does NOT change with the baby ... it is static. A baby is not static.

Your baby may be going through "cluster feeding" as well... and this is normal. It means they feed even every single hour. And they need to. It is a biological intake need.

When I had my first baby, I got the Baby Whisperer book too & know it very well. BUT, I used it as a reference... and I learned from it what a baby's "cues" are, and what their cries mean etc. BUT, each child is different... some will simply NOT handle a "schedule" or strict routine. Other babies will. So use it with discretion. I did not follow it... but used it to understand my own baby and I did my own thing.

MANY babies cannot sleep, per all the developmental things they go through.

Nursing a baby, cannot only be done when it is "activity" time, per the "EASY" method. A baby needs to feed, when they need to feed. On demand. I think, your baby is simply hungry and needs more intake, and more frequently.

OFTEN times, a baby will not/cannot sleep, because they are hungry. Is she latching on properly? Is your milk output adequate? If not, then she is probably NOT getting enough intake, and so she is basically hungry all the time.
Now, when a baby nurses, it naturally makes them relaxed and sleepy... and so, most babies fall asleep at the breast. But we have to feed them, right? And yes, it pacifies them. But, she is only a baby and it's a natural instinct. It will pass.
But it takes time.

There are 2 approaches: (1) going according to your babies needs & cues and time-lines, or, (2) using a method and this may or may not work, thus frustration for both Mom and baby.

I have 2 kids. Both of them are each different from the time they were born. I could NOT have used a "method" with them, because they are each different. I had to cue into my child, and instinctively, adapt to THEIR needs. Yes, it's not easy, its demanding, they wake at all times of the night, each month they change and are different, NOTHING is ever static, a baby constantly changes, and I have had to change with each juncture of age-stage they went through. Despite my NOT having any sleep either. Oh well.

I guess my advice is, don't worry. Use your instincts and your baby's cues to help her. You have NOT 'created a monster'... ALMOST ALL babies are this way. That is what a baby is. Naturally. And if she needs to feed, she needs to feed. Simple.

But, for me, what I did do, is have constancy, regularity, and a stable routine, EVERYDAY, for my children. From about 6 months old, I got to know THEIR patterns very well... and I went according to that. I did not try and put them into "my" schedule, but theirs. My son does very well with routine & is a good self-soother, my daughter was not & was very high-needs and clingy. BUT, they both had regularity as far as feedings, on demand, and comforting, and naps, and sleep times. I went to them and comforted no matter what. They are now both very independent and affectionate children.

I know, each Mom is different... but for me, this is what I did.

I think your baby is just plain hungry and the EASY method is not suiting her. She gets frustrated sucking her fingers because no milk is coming out.

Kids will have all sorts of "habits" that adults feel they have to break later. But that is later. It cannot be avoided completely. If they need to soothe, then they need to soothe, somehow. They will not go to college being at the breast or need your breast to sleep. All in due time... things happen, when it is naturally time.

For me and when my kids were babies, I had a general routine of: -they wake-up, I nurse them, they are awake, I nurse on demand and before they napped/went to bed, and nursed on demand at night if they woke. Again, I knew when they were tired. A baby naturally gets "tired" about 2-3 hours after waking. An "activity" does not mean constant playing for a baby... it is just being awake and normal natural things you do with them and even a bath is 'awake" time. And its NORMAL to nurse before a nap or bedtime... and a baby is naturally tired/sleepy at this time, so it just so happens that they fall asleep while nursing. It's not necessarily a "bad" thing or a "bad" habit.

Sorry for rambling... I didn't mean to.

take care,
Susan

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M.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

I also read this book, and decided it was not for me. I agree with many of the other responses you got- go with what feels right to you! As far as books go, some are very helpful and others will make you crazy. A book for sleep that I found very helpful was The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. She goes through many different options and does not make you feel like you should be using any one system. At 5 months I wouldn't do CIO myself, as I think they are too young to understand anything other than they are being ignored, but that's my personal feeling. I nursed my baby to sleep every time, and she is now 2 1/2 and goes to sleep for naps and bedtime without anything- no rocking, no pacifier, no sippy cup, or anything. I agree that it is natural for them to fall asleep nursing, and it was fairly easy for us to break the habit when the time came. Trust yourself above all else and don't worry about what other people think. You are the best mommy for your baby, and no one else knows your baby like you! :) Hang in there!

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A.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.,

Please please don't let your baby CIO. I read this book too and also got advice from doulas to let my son CIO. I didn't last a day with this advice, and about 2 weeks with the EASY method. I just started letting my son fall asleep with whatever he needed to fall asleep. And he did nurse until he was three. But guess what, he falls asleep on his own now, and he is a happy kid. They DO wean themselves when they are ready, and if you can wait until they are ready, it will stick. If you force it on them before they are ready, they will act out in different ways.

Good luck!

A. Mitchell
http://amitchell.aupairnews.com

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M.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Baby Whisperer is full of misinformation and bad advice. I strongly reccomend tossing it and picking up a copy of The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp. The tone of Baby Whisperer is so condescending and she spends so much time bragging about how awesome she is without giving any step-by-step practical advice! I got so fed up that I tossed it. Do yourself a favor and get rid of it while you can. Her so-called techniques really are not compatible with breastfeeding.

There is NOTHING wrong with nursing a baby to sleep! Nothing AT ALL! It's what babies were designed to do! The suckling is very comforting to them! You do what works for you! Nursing to sleep is NOT a bad habit. It's a beautiful way to ease your child into sleep. We love nursing to sleep. It's peaceful and comforting to both my daughter and I.

Good Luck!!!

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C.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.,
I nursed my baby to sleep and never could get her to sleep by herself...I created a monster, too! I don't regret the many hours I held her. She is 5 now and in Kindergarden and I Miss how much seh used to need me. Remember that this time will fly by and she will become more independant ans yes, she will eventually stop to nurse.
Right now it may seem like that time is far off but believe me it isn't. Try to relax, bond, nuture, hold your baby. In 10 years you will not say that you are sorry you held her so much!

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L.G.

answers from Honolulu on

I have four kids and three are my biological kids who I have breast-fed. I mix fed my son now 15, breast-fed him for 2 months then just quit because it was too painful and he was doing so well on the bottle plus I was in my early 20's and I did not know any better so I ended up letting him drink his bottle at night to help him sleep up to 3 years of age, took about one week to ween him from his bottle.

My three year old daughter I breast-fed her up to one year and then cut her cold turkey to a sippy cup, it took five days to ween her, this is the best way to do it since you do not have to ween your child again from the bottle but you must be strong they will fuss.

My youngest daughter who is now 13 months I breast fed her until six months then I stopped her cold turkey because of work, this painful ordeal took three days for her to accept the bottle and no more of mommy milk unless it was in a bottle so I pumped until I could not produce any more which was when she was around nine months which was so heartbreaking for me again because I wanted to give her my milk at least up until her first year when she was ready to be off the bottle and on to regular milk not formula. I really wanted to breast feed her for the whole first year and then go to a cup because I had to ween her to a bottle and then ween her again from the bottle.

According to books that I have read, babies are able to use sippy cups starting at 6 months. So I always make it a point to introduce the sippy cup as well as a regular cup as long as they only get a tiny amount from the big kid cup just for practice. The non spill cups you can fill with no worry.

If you do not need to ween her from your breast since she is only five months, I suggest you just breast feed her until the first year and then ween her to a sippy cup. I know that it gets frustrating but I did breast feed on demand at night as well until the first year. You may be trying to put her on a schedule but my 3 year old has been sleeping through the night since I stopped breast feeding her and that bond will last forever and they are only going to be babies for a short time. Trust me you will be ready to have your body back by that time.

Hope this was helpful and good luck.

L. from Guam

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C.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear S.-

I read so many books on sleeping and most of them made me feel inadequate and like a failure. They made me feel like my baby was my adversary and that enjoying our bond while nursing was some sort of weakness on my part. Finally I realized that I'm the mom, not these book authors, and I want to do what feels right for me and my baby. Nursing to sleep is biologically quite natural, so the reason it's hard to stop is because you are essentially fighting your own biochemistry. There are substances in the breastmilk as well as hormones you produce while nursing that actually make both of you feel relaxed and sleepy while nursing (you may have noticed feeling drowsy yourself!) I do nurse my baby (and sometimes myself!) to sleep - we both love it- but she can also go to sleep with our sitter and my husband, without nursing of course. This has worked for us and I'm very happy with her sleeping schedule.

In addition, I think many many babies won't sleep for several hours at a time- I know the books say that they do, but honestly, only one or two of the 20 women in my mom's group had babies sleeping through the night at 5 to 7 months. So I think that is the exception, not the norm.

One of the best pieces of advice I received was to read the books and take what was good but in the end, do what is feels right for you and your sweet baby.

Check out askmoxie.org- I found it to be very affirming and encouraging with good advice on parenting- not just from the writer but the comments from her readers. It was a breath of fresh air after feeling so beat down by all the books from the so-called "experts".

Best wishes.

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C.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter is 8 months and I did the same, nursed her to sleep. I also read the books saying I should not do this but I figured, as a working mom, it was key time to have with her. I also read that it was okay to nurse a baby as part of the bedtime routine, just put the baby down sleepy/awake. We started doing this when she was about 5 1/2 - 6 months and gave her a pacifier when placed in her crib. It worked! She now will take a little milk from the bottle before being placed in her crib, awake, and either talks herself to sleep or lays quietly until she falls asleep. She does the same for naps.

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B.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

You are doing a great job and making your daughter very secure. Do not worry about putting her to sleep on your breast. I did this for the first year of my daughter's life. She's too young to make her CIO. After I stopped nursing her between 12-13 months, I started to rock her to sleep. After about 2 months of that, when she was 14 months old or so, when she was old enough to learn how to put herself to sleep (mine didn't take a pacifier either), then I put her in the crib and let her CIO (which lasted no more than 30 minutes and for two days!). Now she goes right down in her crib. If, for some reason, she has a hard time, I put a toy in there or do something different to make it interesting! Good luck, and not all books/people are right when it comes to you and your baby, you know what's best and what feels right. Follow your heart and instincts. Also, read Happy Baby Healthy Sleep Habits...his approach worked for me!

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J.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

You are so lucky to be able to stay home with your little girl. Your little girl is so lucky to be able to nurse -- and to be able to fall asleep while nursing… She's so lucky to be able to enjoy that luxury! I say just go with your gut. Scrap the book! Nurse her to sleep. I did. Now my 2.5 year old goes to sleep in her toddler bed by herself. Don't feel you have to follow a book or succumb to any mommy pressures. When it is time to transition to another stage, you and your little girl will both know. :)

I think your darling may be entering the stage where she is learning to self soothe. Follow each other’s cues and enjoy. If something doesn’t seem right, try something else. Self soothing tips: Silkie blanket, place baby at one end of crib so head touches bumper, womb bear, swaddle, night time routine. relax and enjoy.

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K.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I got into that same habit and it was very hard to break. The longer you wait to do it, the harder it will be. I ended up nursing my baby girl until she was 18 months old (just to sleep at night.) What I did was gradually reduce the number of minutes I nursed her and then just sort of finished her off by rocking her to sleep. I also gave her a sippy cup (or you cold use a bottle) of water in case she just felt like she needed to suck on something and also for the liquid.

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B.B.

answers from San Diego on

I don't think you have created a monster. Your little one just feels comforted by the nursing and it soothes her to sleep. All babies are different. Mine would never fall asleep while nursing. But I have a friend who still nurses her baby to sleep at 18 months. Whatever works for you and your baby is fine. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just enjoy her while she is little...they grow up so fast!

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J.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

Changing the rules of the game suddenly without explanation can be very hard on them emotionally. Think about if your husband always did a loving gesture and then suddenly pushed you away. How would you feel?

I still nurse my almost 13 month old (who is just starting solids - long story) to sleep every night - I have with all of my kids...but I also started at about 10 months to have Daddy go lie them down with the babies after I nurse them. The baby might cry the first couple of times, but Daddy reassures them that they are ok. The best time to do this when it's later than their usual bedtime, so they basically give up with little fight. Be aware that Daddy has to be on board with this 100%. He has to be comfortable, or the baby will win and he'll get frustrated or sad listening to her cry and bring her back to you.

Good luck. Remember that there are a million baby books out there - because not every one of them works for every child.

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M.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear, dear Steff
I think you have been given some very good advice from other Moms who have been through breastfeeding. I just want to reiterate and give you a little moral support. My son is almost 3 years old and he is just beginning to sleep through the night on his own, in his own bed! I know that probably sounds like a horror to you but I just want to let you know that this time with your little one goes oh so very fast and particularly when you still have such a young baby I really, really want to encourage you to not fret and worry, allow your infant to dictate her needs and within your capability answer those needs. At five months (actually up to a year old and beyond if you become a long term breast feeder) it is absolutely normal and healthy for your little one to not only want to fall asleep to the breast but also feed regularly through the night. We live in such a structured society now that so much of natural mothering has been squeezed out of our society and we new Moms are left feeling inadequate and wrong. Trust, trust your instincts but please don't assume your babies cries which are her only way of exhibiting her wants and needs are wrong and she's becoming a bad habited Monster. I ended up breast feeding my son for 27 months and I was pretty much feeding him through the night til close to when we weened (that for a lot of modern Moms is quite extreme) but let me tell you I have an extremely bright well adjusted and emotionally secure 2 and 11 month year old. Even his paternal grandmother who was quite horrified at the length of time I breast fed is now in awe of her super capable grandson! I am not saying that long term breast feeding is the best way or the only way ( I have girlfriends that didn't get to breast feed at all for one reason or another and their kids are fabulous too) I just want to reassure you you are doing nothing wrong and this too shall pass and no matter what if you are at peace with your method and confidant in yourself and your connection with your! baby they all find their way to sleep eventually, I am living proof! I hope this helps in some way. My greatest wish is to just support every new Mom to support and have confidence in herself. You know exactly how to Mother your unique baby so please be gentle on your little one and yourself,
peace and blessings
M
PS DR. Jay Gordan's Website has some great advice for breast feeding Moms, just google him.

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C.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

I thought the book was helpful too and I liked it better than Babywise, which was raved by my mom friends. I would say this, however, take what you can from the book and just ignore the other parts that don't work for you. Nursing a 5-mon old baby to sleep is fine. And no you haven't created a monster. As she gets older, her schedule will change. As long as you are mindful of the fact that it's better for her in the long run to sleep without having to nurse, you will do fine. So enjoy your angel, and dont worry about weaning her right now. You will have plenty of time later.

Best of luck

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E.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter is 16 months now and she is still being nursed exclusively. As she has gotten older, I've been able to put her to sleep drowsy, but still awake after nursing. It wasn't like this in the beginning. I would nurse her to sleep. I think as they get older the transition is a little easier. At least for me. And let me tell you, my daughter is very stubborn! Good luck I'm sure you will find a solution that works. Remember she is still so very young! Best wishes.

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J.F.

answers from San Diego on

I read your post and was reminded of myself when my first was born (she is now 5). I read book after book after book. I became so stressed out about what was the best method for this and the best method for that. I finally had to STOP reading those books! I even threw one away (if you knew me... I am an avid book collector and throwing a book away is close to a sin for me). I realized that I needed to rely on my mommy instincts and do what I thought was best for my daughter and myself. I nursed both of my babies to sleep. And guess what? They don't have sleep disorders like some books claim. Also, nursing a baby to sleep is NATURAL. It is not something you created!!!!!! My girls outgrew it as soon as we stopped nursing. Believe in your mommy instincts! You know what is best... no one else does!

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A.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have the Baby Whisperer book and it was the LEAST useful of all the sleep books I have. I found Weisberg's book and Ferber's book the most useful.

I know others may be against it, but Ferber really worked for us. It was a few days of hearing our baby cry and feeling horrible about it, but it works, and it works long term. It's not as bad as complete CIO because you do go in at intervals to soothe and reassure your baby. My 12 month-old has been putting himself to sleep for 4 or 5 months now. All we do is tell him it's night-night time, give him his blankie, turn on his white-noise machine, and give him his pacifier (he also rejected it when he was younger, but started taking it for some reason). He does not dread bedtime and in fact, asks for it in his own way when he's tired.

I think that as long as you're sure your baby is well-fed, her sucking on her hands is NOT a sign of hunger. It's a sign of self-soothing and it's great that she knows how to do it. FOr awhile my son used to suck on his blanket - he stopped doing that on his own.

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F.H.

answers from Honolulu on

Hi Stephanie,

You need not worry about over feeding your baby and not making enough milk. You may have noticed that as you feed you also will feel the need to drink. Drink plenty of liguid preferably milk and whatever baby takes out you will continue to make more. It has been my experience that the more I feed and drink, the more I make.
Good luck.

F.

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R.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

I also read the Baby Whisperer and I also worried about this! Finally, I decided it was not worth it to worry and we ended up with our own pattern as I nursed him to sleep for naps and bedtime. One class leader I had said one of the greatest joys of life is being able to nurse/rock your child to sleep and that should be okay if you want to do it. That helped me feel less stress. The only thing I can suggest if you'd still like to separate the two would be to try rocking her instead of nursing. Eventually she'll take that instead at bedtime. Of course, you'd think that's another thing you'll have to get over in the end, but my son just eventually started pointing to the crib when he wanted to go to sleep and we don't have to rock him anymore. The best thing I did as far as nighttime went was to have my husband put my baby to bed. Then we started not associating nursing with bedtime and eventually weaned him off of that feeding when he was 10 months or so. Don't worry too much, your baby is still young!! Good luck. Try not to worry:)

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A.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I was really worried about this too, because of the Baby Whisperer book, but I could never make it work either. Then I realized, who cares? I enjoy the closeness/calmness with my baby, and it helps him sleep, so it works for us! Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, written by a doctor, has no issue with nursing before sleep. Good luck!

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S.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi Steff my experience was I nursed both of my children until they were 10 months old and then they weened themselves totally. It is not wrong at all for you to nurse your daughter to sleep it is comforting her and reassuring her that mommy loves me and is supplying me with what I need. My advice is keep doing it unless there is a medical reason not too. Her body knows when she needs milk to help her grow when she nurses all day and night she is growing and needs you more than ever for her growth. If you are bottle feeding her with formula then it is a bit different. Your nursing her is something special between mom and baby enjoy it because they grow so fast. The La leche league is a good place to go for breast feeding moms for support. There are women out there that breast feed there children for 3 years. It is up to both of you when you want/need to ween her and she does not seem to be ready.
Patti

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V.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

S.,
Hi. My name is V. Albin and I am the West Coast Trainer/Coach/Mentor of Baby's First Massage. I teach families how to massage their babies so they can get their systems organized, sleep deeper and longer (so you can too! :-) ), etc. Many huge benefits to the 5-7 minute routein. I am also in Thousand Oaks and can come to your home so your baby is in familiar surroundings. You can read more at www.babysfirstmassage.com. Please contact me and we can get together asap to help your entire family. email [email protected]____.com

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C.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

I think that one thing that is extremely helpful in that book is paying attention to your child's sleep signs and the emphasis put on that. Does the rest of the EASY schedule work for you? Sleep times, etc.?

I tried to do the EASY plan with my first child, and it helped but did not work 100% for me.

Anyways, I think nursing before a baby goes to bed is just fine. As my babies transitioned to a morning nap and an actual schedule between 4 and 6 months. I changed their feedings to when they woke up, before morning nap, before afternoon nap, later in the afternoon around 4 (until they naturally dropped this feeding, and at 6:30/7 when they went to bed. The focus should not be nursing to sleep though. Your baby already can and needs to be able to soothe herself to sleep- this is key in naps and nighttime sleep. If she does fall asleep don't worry about it, but this should not be your goal- just give her a full feeding and put her to bed. Crying will occur as she complains about the change, but it is necessary that she learns to soothe herself to sleep. I have run across numerous clients with older children that can still not soothe themselves to sleep or soothe themselves back to sleep when they wake during the night (naturally happens). You are at the perfect age for this.

Check out this post for more tips on sleep environment, sleep needs, etc.
http://www.lullabyluna.com/2008/12/happy-new-year.html

C., mother of 3, sleep consultant, sleep blog writer www.lullabyluna.com

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M.V.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S., I am a birth and postpartum doula and the Baby Whisperer strategy about eat, activity, sleep, you - should skip the activity for the last feed. You are nursing your child and then having activity at night and the baby is getting a second wind. I highly recommend nursing soothing sleep and skipping the activity.

My son is now 9 years old and we did sleep training, the toughest thing my husband and I ever did but I have the say it was the smartest. My son is a wonderful sleeper and when it is time for bed he sleeps.

I would nurse him for his last feed and put him in his crib awake. I would not let him fall asleep on my breast. My husband went in to soothe him every 5 minutes the first night, every 10 minutes the second (we never took him out of his crib) and by the third night it took 5 minutes and he was sleeping. He definitely cried and I pumped lots of milk while this was going on. But it worked.

I hope this helps. Sleep Tight!
Lauren

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R.P.

answers from Phoenix on

Do what feels right to you and forget the book.

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T.B.

answers from Visalia on

OMG I hear so many things like this on here it just makes me wonder what people have come to without realizing...
Bless you it's not you in particular, nor do I think there is anything wrong about you or your baby....
It's just that, well, all these NORMAL things about babies are there because it's the way it SHOULD be. This is nature. Babies nurse. Babies find food in nursing, babies find comfort in nursing, babies find security in nursing, babies bond and "confide" in their MAMAS in nursing, and THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BABY NURSING TO SLEEP. Why in the world would you want to change nature and all these beautiful things that baby gets out of nursing? Is it for your convenience? Is it because you read something about changing this because of some technology now? Is is because some Dr or Drs now believe it's the WAY it should be now? Changing human's being a comfortable mammal?
What could be bad about baby nursing to sleep? OK. Maybe you have a couple of reasons somebody has made pertainant. But ever since ever since, baby has been lovingly doing so.

ENJOY BABY AND ALL SHE DOES LIKE THERE'S NO TOMORROW. Tomorrow will come too fast as it is, just you see. Love baby right now; love baby the next minute, and the next, and the next, because seemingly suddenly, baby isnt "baby" anymore, forever.

Enjoy your rocking chair while baby nurses today,

Wendy

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