DD usually nurses to sleep. Whenever it seems overwhelming, I tell myself she won't be a baby forever, and then I will miss this time with her. I love nursing her to sleep, and actually it's a great tool for me. When she's sleepy, frequently 10 minutes of nursing will knock her out. She will occasionally nurse till she's drowsy and then we'll just cuddle until she falls asleep. I let her decide how she wants to fall asleep. I have a rule though and that is when we lie down for bed (we co-sleep), we get in the bed and we don't get up. I will nurse her, cuddle her, sing to her, whatever, but no getting up, lying down, getting up ... She might fuss a little, but I figure I'm lying right there with her, so it's not like leaving her alone to cry. So now if DH is watching DD, he can cuddle up to her and she will go to sleep. Also, it works great in the middle of the night when she wakes up because if I know she is not hungry, I can just put my hand on her and she usually goes back to sleep.
Thank you for the info. It is nice to know that I am not the only one doing this (and wanting to) I won't be afrid to continue now.What kind of 'gentle training' did you use?
To all of those moms that nurse their babies to sleep all I can say is :love LOVE IT!!!! my lo dont nurse to sleep anymore.... she plays a while then I get her ready for bed (bath, PJ, nurse etc) she finishes nursing, then I'll put her in her crib, she will be there for a bit then find a confortable position and fall slep :cry.... I miss dearly when she used to fall sleeo in my arm :cry... she is only 10 mo.... we start her on gentle training to sleep cause at 7 mo she could only fall sleep on my breast and for the day care that was a nght mare... I started nursing her and whenever she was finshed I would change her diaper so that she wont associate nursing/sleeping.... she would wake up for a couple of times during the night (still do once) and I would have to confort her.... it took us about 3 wks to get her where she is right now... So enjoy it while you can... It wont last forever!!!!
By changing the diaper after nursing, how did she then go to sleep? Did you just put her in her crib and let her fall asleep herself, or how did you do it?
my dh was really concerned about dd nursing to sleep but I knew she would stop in her own time. DD is almost 14 months and she stopped nursing to sleep for naps at around 11-12 months and stopped nursing to bed at 13 months :happytears I was so proud of her but sad at the same time. We really didn't do or change anything. We just followed her cues and one day she just laid in bed and cuddled against daddy and went to bed. She usually signs milk when she wants it. She's cutting molars now and if she needs a bedtime nursing, I'm more than happy to oblige. :love
My dd routinely nursed to sleep way beyond her first birthday. However, if someone was babysitting her, she fell asleep just fine other ways. If I was in the house and she was sleepy, she wanted to nurse. That was simply her favorite way for me to comfort her. But she didn't NEED to do that to fall asleep. The problem was that she and I had our thing and if I tried to change it, it upset her. And being upset by the change was enough to completely wake her up. What I'm trying to say is that it's not that she couldn't fall asleep without the breast, its that refusing to nurse her distracted her enough to keep her from falling asleep. She stopped being drowsy and started being ticked. Does that make sense? As I began to see it this way, it was easier to find ways to avoid nursing if I wanted to for whatever reason.
When she no longer used nursing to get to sleep, it didn't work when I wanted it to.. I mean, if I REALLY wanted her to go to sleep (like if she and I were both tired and I wanted to do it the easy way), I'd try to get her to nurse to sleep but she wouldn't fall asleep; just nurse and nurse and fidget and play and nurse and nurse. So while it was nice when she stopped being so dependent on that, I now appreciate that peacefully drifting off to sleep at the breast is something to enjoy while it lasts.
Ok, having said that, to gently bring an end to it, I recommend small changes. If nursing is the last thing you do, move it to the beginning of the bedtime routine (this is nice if you want to start brushing teeth at bedtime -then the mouth is clean at least until the first night waking :lol).
Apparently, one should end the bedtime routine with the child laying down awake in bed. How to do this with an infant (especially certain infants), I honestly don't know. But once they understand even a little language, you can read to them, and this certainly works to put them to sleep. Takes as long as, if not longer than nursing.
My dd was older when I stopped allowing her to fall asleep at the breast, but here's what I did. Maybe you can get some ideas. I gave foot rubs.. this was interesting enough to her to keep her still because I'd use oil or lotion, but quiet and relaxing enough that she would fall asleep. She was still getting the skin to skin contact she was used to and really craved, but my breasts were as far away from her head as possible. Her dad would sometimes read her Chinese poetry. The language was over her head, but the sound of a parent's voice is also soothing. Once she got used to other ways of being parented to sleep, I slowly reduced the amount of contact I had with her as she drifted off. Over the course of a year (2ish to 3ish) I gradually reduced the amount of interaction dd and I had as she fell asleep. Before she was three and a a half it was 3 short bedtime stories, goodnight kiss, close the door and she goes to sleep by herself. Every night without any battles.