My baby is almost 10 months old and he’s still falling asleep only at the breast. I love this connection we have and it’s a special time for both of us, but the dependence he has on me in order to sleep is overwhelming...
He is sleeping about 10-11 hours at night and wakes up almost every hour wanting to suck in order to go back to sleep. About 8-9 times at least. I tried the gentle removal of the nipple – the Elizabeth Pantley method – but this doesn’t seem to help, he still wakes up and can’t fall back asleep on his own. I also tried introducing a lovey or a shirt with mommy’s smell, he just gets annoyed.
I also tried to put him to sleep on a mattress next to our bed instead of sleeping in our bed, so that he’s not so close to me and the breast is not so tempting. But I inevitably end up on the mattress next to him.

Besides the fact that it’s quite tiring for me, I’m worried that this dependence on me is not good for him! How long can I expect this to last? I was hoping to start working as a doula in the next 6 months, but at this point it seems impossible. He takes no bottles or pacifiers. He just bites on them really hard, which makes me nervous. He breastfeeds on average every 1.5 hours, mostly grazing during the day and having bigger meals here and there. So we spend a lot of time breastfeeding…

I’m just looking for advice and possible feedback from moms who had similar experiences. How can I encourage more independence when it comes to sleeping? When can I expect him to start to need me a little less for food and sleep? So far I haven’t been away from him for more than 2 hours. This is my 3rd child, but with the first 2 I went back to work quickly full-time, so things were very different.

Thank you!!