Is feeding to sleep a problem?

It seems like I have a problem, well that’s what I keep being told anyway. (Though whenever I try to read up on it I find that a lot of breastfeeding mothers do this and do not consider it a problem)

Boo feeds to sleep, both for her two day time naps at to sleep on an evening (and for the majority of her nighttime wakings aswell.

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I don’t mind this really at the minute as I am on maternity leave, and I don’t mind devoting this time to Boo.  Most nights she is only up once of twice.  The issue is I suppose, when I am back at work in November for 2 long days each week. Obviously I am going to be unable to feed her to sleep for her daytime naps, and I don’t just want to carry on as we are until she starts nursery because that’s going to be a big shock for her.

I have been resistant to sleep training since a health visitor told me to just leave a 6 week old Boo in her moses basket to cry after she had been fed/changed etc as ‘a crying baby is a healthy baby’ (something which I disagree with, I couldn’t leave my baby to cry without trying to comfort her. It is a good job I didn’t do that as Boo was suffering from reflux and it would have been awful to leave her suffering alone.

So I am trying to find ways to get Boo to go in to her cot awake and settle herself to sleep. I know she can do this as sometimes when she wakes on a night she cries for about 5 seconds and before I get to her room she is back asleep.  However, I seem to be making little progress and sometimes it feels quite disheartening, short of getting her in the pram and walking her to sleep each nap (which I suppose is slightly better as someone else can do this whereas I am the only one who can feed Boo).

I guess I am reluctant to make major changes because then I will have to admit to myself that returning to work and leaving Boo is drawing ever closer. I am going to have to search a bit more for a method I agree with to help teach Boo how to self settle.

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5 thoughts on “Is feeding to sleep a problem?

  1. I still feed my 11-month old to sleep but I have often found that if I have left her with my mum around the time when she is due a nap, my mum can just cuddle her to sleep which is something that never works for me. Sometimes I think babies will settle better without the feed when you’re not nearby as they won’t then be able to smell your milk. I don’t have any magic tips to offer I’m afraid, although I remember reading that sometimes having a comfort toy nearby will help babies settle – the tip was to pop it in your bra and put it in the cot each time your baby has a nap to try and move the association with the breast to being with the toy instead. Not sure if that might be worth a try. Good luck with going back to work.

    1. Ah this is really good to know, I haven’t left Boo with anyone else yet for nap time, though I think if really comes down to it she will fall asleep if she is being walked about in her pram, so there is always that to fall back on. You are probably right about the smell of milk though.
      I have thought about the toy, or a blanket, but I am paranoid if she loses it then what will we do, as she will need that to fall to sleep. Very tricky!
      And thank you, I am really stressing about going to back to work, I really don’t want to go back. Oh well, needs must =(

  2. I still feed Arthur (21 months) to sleep for the vast majority of naps and night times – and have lost count of the times I’ve been told I shouldn’t! I have been reluctant to change as so far it has worked for us- though I haven’t had to deal with going back to work… Like you I’m really not keen on the idea of sleep training, even now. Instinctively the emotional detachment babies have to go through for cry it out to be successful just doesn’t sit comfortably with me, and there’s a fair bit of research to back this up. We have hit a point now though where I would like to try to night wean him, and to this end I’ve been looking into some gentler options. I think ‘The No-Cry Sleep Solution’ by Elizabeth Pantley looks good – I can’t comment on its effectiveness yet as we’re just starting to think about putting it into practice, but the ideas make sense.

    You may well find that she will go down for naps fine without you being there. I haven’t left Arthur often, but on the occasions I’ve left him with his dad or my mum he has slept without needing to feed – it’s just taken some good cuddles!

    Good luck – none of this is easy, but you should be confident that you’ve given Boo the best start so far and I’m sure you’ll find a way forward xx

  3. I still nurse my son before he goes to sleep-he’s 14 months. But he rarely falls asleep while eating. I feed him, then put him to bed and then he goes to sleep. But he has to eat from mama-not a bottle! I guess that’s the problem I get to deal with. Good luck, mama!

  4. I wonder if this is something you shouldn’t worry about just yet. The change in routine might be what is needed and perhaps if someone else is comforting her she’ll adapt to it. If you have faith in your nursery they will be able to support you with this without a problem. I hope it works out for you both without too much difficulty. My advice would be enjoy every moment as it is until you go back to work. Thanks for sharing with #BFingDiaries

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