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Thread: Nursing baby to sleep/how to get her to settle at night

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Question Nursing baby to sleep/how to get her to settle at night

    My 7 week old is my 3rd baby, and with my other two I would often nurse them to sleep especially at night. I know some people say not to, but when you NEED sleep in a big way, it is a blessing to be able to nurse your newborn to sleep!
    So the thing is, my DD does not fall asleep at the breast no matter how tired she is. Has anyone else experienced this? Is there anything I can do to help it? She is often awake until 1:00 or 2:00 am even though she is soooo tired.
    married to Ben 05/01/2004
    mama to 3 blessings:
    Ezra 03/01/2006
    Olivia 11/07/2008
    Eden 05/02/2012

  2. #2
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Nursing baby to sleep/how to get her to settle at night

    Oh, that must suck! I never understand those people who turn up their noses at nursing to sleep when it's the easiest, surest way to get a baby to sleep. Unless of course you have one of those babies who doesn't nurse to sleep! Since you have one of those rare birds, how about rocking, swaddling, a gentle back rub, keeping the lights, tv, and stereo off, and instituting a nightly routine?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Nursing baby to sleep/how to get her to settle at night

    I know, right? There's a reason babies get sleepy when they have a full tummy!
    I have LO in a bassinet beside my bed, and during the night I nurse her in my bed with very dim light, nice and quiet, etc. but she still will be wide awake and looking around as if her life depends on it! My husband and I will be able to get her to doze off, but then after a few minutes she'll be wide awake again. We feel like we've tried everything! Another thing that is different with her, is that she won't nurse unless she is really hungry. If I try to comfort nurse her, she just gets mad. At least, that is what I think is happening...maybe I'm wrong?
    married to Ben 05/01/2004
    mama to 3 blessings:
    Ezra 03/01/2006
    Olivia 11/07/2008
    Eden 05/02/2012

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Nursing baby to sleep/how to get her to settle at night

    My oldest went through a period of not being able to nurse to sleep- I forget when, but early on-within the first 3 or 4 months.
    What he did, we called "fussing himself to sleep." I would nurse him, and then either I or my husband would walk him around while he complained and fussed and gave these tired cries against our shoulders. It's cute to look back on now, but at the time it was maddening of course. My husband would also walk him down in a sling while humming and that seemed to put him out.

    I know it's hard but there seems to be a consensus that getting baby into a deeper sleep before laying them down often keeps them down longer. Are you at all comfortable with having baby right in bed with you? And familiar with the ways to make bedsharing safer?

    Any chance you have forceful letdown? That can mess up comfort nursing.

    And yes sigh it drives me bananas when people tell moms not to nurse their babies to sleep. What an absurd piece of advice.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Nursing baby to sleep/how to get her to settle at night

    Oh my!! You sound just like me (I actually posted a similar thread about 7 months ago)
    Good news for you, they eventually do nurse to sleep, DD3 is my best sleeper so far. She sometimes nurse to sleep and sometimes just nurse until she is full, then turns around or lets me know she's done with me and falls asleep by herself!! I don't know how's your LO but at that age my DD3 would cry and cry and cry in my arms until she would fall asleep. It broke my heart but other LLLadies reassured me that I was doing everything possible. There was nothing that worked at that age.
    I agree with pp, you might have a forceful letdown and as she gets older the letdown is not as strong or baby can handle it better.
    Hang in there, be as loving as you can be and she'll eventually settle into a pattern.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2012
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    Default Re: Nursing baby to sleep/how to get her to settle at night

    Thanks for the encouragement! It's great to know that this is most likely just another stage that will pass.
    I do indeed have forceful letdown. She often chokes/coughs and swallows air. I guess it makes sense that she doesn't want to comfort nurse when she is constantly trying to protect herself from that flow! We were having a lot trouble because of the forceful letdown and oversupply but that has gotten a lot better now. I suppose she just needs a bit more time to get used to it.
    I have occasionally gotten her to sleep in our bed initially, but I really find it hard to sleep with her there because I can't seem to relax enough.
    married to Ben 05/01/2004
    mama to 3 blessings:
    Ezra 03/01/2006
    Olivia 11/07/2008
    Eden 05/02/2012

  7. #7
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: Nursing baby to sleep/how to get her to settle at night

    My baby will nurse to sleep, but getting her to stay asleep is a different matter entirely! She only wants to sleep at the breast, and when I lay her down she wakes up and cries. It is hard enough to get her to go to sleep laid down in my bed, but I'm also trying to get her used to sleeping in her crib, and she doesn't like sleeping in there.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Nursing baby to sleep/how to get her to settle at night

    Hi Happynewmom -- we went through the same thing from weeks 6-9 -- she would not sleep away from the breast and out of my arms. We have a full size bed and I don't think it's safe enough for co-sleeping. Plus DH is a tosser and turner. So, this is our compromise and it seems to be working:

    After 1-2 hours in my arms and when she's in a heavy sleep DH puts her in the bassinet next to the bed. If lucky, I get 2 hours of the deepest sleep I possibly can before she wakes for a snack. After that, same thing. 1-2 hours in my arms before daddy puts her in the bassinet. She gets the comfort of falling asleep with me but is also getting used to waking up without me. And, more and more, she smiles in the bassinet before she cries. Waking up to coos is a really nice change!
    Mama to Viv since 4/08/12 -- my all natural post-breast cancer miracle baby

    with just one breast. So far so good.

  9. #9
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: Nursing baby to sleep/how to get her to settle at night

    In the early days/weeks, before our LO nursed to sleep at night (or before we knew that we SHOULD be trying to nurse him to sleep at night! ), I did a final feeding until late in the evening, 10 pm-ish, and then DH changed and swaddled him. Then I walked around the house with him in very dim light in circles until his eyes got heavier and heavier and he fell asleep, which is when I would lay him down in the pack-and-play, and hopefully he was out. We also sometimes did the shushing thing per Happiest Baby on the Block. Basically I felt like I was trying to "bore" him to sleep. (We also have a full-size bed and weren't comfortable co-sleeping when he was REALLY tiny - looking back, it's possible that could have made things easier in the feeding-to-sleep dept, though!) Have you tried swaddling? I think some babies are able to relax easier and sleep better when they are swaddled, at least it seemed that way for ours.

    I also think in the beginning he was a lot more active/awake at night because that's how he was before he was born, and it takes a while to adjust the internal day/night timeclock! Maybe that's what your LO is doing? We didn't force the issue, but of course did try to encourage more sleep during the night, even though I got up frequently to feed him as needed.

    Now I feed him to sleep every night in bed and then just pick him up and put him in his pack-and-play when he's fully asleep, so we have a nice routine. So it does get easier. But I guess if this is your third LO, you already know that!!

  10. #10
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    Jun 2012
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    Default Re: Nursing baby to sleep/how to get her to settle at night

    Good news: the last couple of night went a lot better. We got her settled by about 11:30, and she even slept some before that 11:00 feed. I really think it had to do with forceful letdown, and as she gets older she is getting better at dealing with it. Thanks for taking the time to try and help everyone!
    married to Ben 05/01/2004
    mama to 3 blessings:
    Ezra 03/01/2006
    Olivia 11/07/2008
    Eden 05/02/2012

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