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Thread: Nursing to sleep and the 4 month wakeful

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Nursing to sleep and the 4 month wakeful

    I nurse LO to sleep for naps and every now and then at night if her dad can't put her down. She is 15 weeks and I think going through the 4 month wakeful as she was a fantastic sleeper and is now only sleeping 3 hour stretches at night. I have been casually trying the Pantley Pull Off so that she isn't always associating having to nurse to fall asleep. I know nursing to sleep is normal, but my question is doesn't it hinder their sleep since when they start coming out of a deep sleep into a light sleep/wake-up they will then need to breast to fall back asleep? I know that the nursing to sleep association is normal, but it just seems to me now, especially during this wakeful period, that it is hindering my baby's sleep since she can't put herself back to sleep without the boob. And sometimes, if she got overtired or is just wanting to look around (hence the reason I believe it is the 4 mo. wakeful) she won't even take the breast. She turns her head and then will start to angry cry (which she never did before). So during those times, I do not know what to do except to hold her in my arms and rock her and let her cry. After about 10 minutes of that, she will give up and take the breast and fall asleep.

    And might I add that I am just so tired of reading on other forums about how it is time to start sleep training and to absolutely not let the baby fall asleep at the breast because then I'm just a pacifier. I know better than to believe that, but it is still wearing away at my resolve. My main issue is just getting her through her light wakings. I would like to not have to nurse her. I would like for her to learn to go to sleep without it. Of course, for now so that I do not get frustrated, I am just trying to go with the flow and ride the wave that she is taking me on.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Geneva, Switzerland

    Default Re: Nursing to sleep and the 4 month wakeful

    For us the 4 month period was a difficult one and I remember my LO would wake up more than usual at night and not always hungry. I would sometimes let him stay and see what happened and to my surprise he would fall asleep on his own if he was calm enough, but of course this was not the rule, so I would nurse him back to sleep as well. I guess I don't have a solution but to say, don't help her to sleep right away and see what happens, also, does she wants to nurse every time she wakes up? or is it just your easy way to put her to sleep? How does her dad put her down? with my son it also helped to NOT nurse him to sleep during naps, I think this helped him to fall asleep by himself a little bit, I say a little bit because I believe at that age I don't think you can teach them or force them to do something they are not ready. Good luck and it will get better, babies tend to sleep deeper for longer stretches of time later on, so even if you can't fix this now it will eventually get better.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Nursing to sleep and the 4 month wakeful

    I also wanted to not to have to nurse my kids back to sleep. Really wanted it. Tried the PPO and everything. But the kids just weren't having it! Sometimes what you want and what they need... Just two very different things!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Ontario, Canada

    Default Re: Nursing to sleep and the 4 month wakeful

    Try to think of it differently - breast milk, your warmth, your breathing and yes, your breast, all combine to be a very safe comfort situation, inductive of sleep! 4 months is a busy time for baby, becoming more aware, longer wake times, learning to roll and some are teething or preparing to teethe. So returning to the breast is the place for a tired, hungry baby to wind down.

    I'll never understand why 'others' are so adamant that Mom's take away such an effective sleep tool. If you have something that works (very effectively by the way), why fix it?

    Why do you want to stop nursing her to sleep? Not to be accusatory at all, I'm honestly curious as to why. Do YOU believe it needs to be done? Or have you been TOLD or convinced it needs to be done?

    Personally, I love the fact that I can nurse my babes to sleep. I love that's it's a known factor. Baby is fussing, nurse. Baby is tired, nurse. Baby is uncomfortable due to teething, nurse.

    When I'm falling asleep, I don't like anything to change. If it does, it will wake me up. A light turned on, a noise, someone taking my blankets or moving my pillow.... So it makes complete sense that removal of the breast just as they're falling asleep will do nothing more than wake them up. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty cranky if someone wakes me just as I'm falling asleep. Again, it makes sense for babies too. It makes it tougher to fall back to sleep as well, now that they're irritated and anticipating being woken again.

    As you've found, removal of the breast is waking her, upsetting her and is extending your bedtime routine 10 - 20 minutes (on a good night). There's no harm in letting her fall asleep at the breast. Let your breast slip out or if you take it out, do so slowly, and offer it back of she reaches for it. Once she's out, she'll really be out.

    It's not to say that others haven't done this successfully. I know I haven't been able to and have found that letting them fall asleep at the breast is actually quicker and calmer for everyone involved. Please consider why you want to do it and what you really feel it's going to achieve for you.
    Mommy to our DD1 early bird (34 weeks, 2 days, 7lbs, 14oz)! Oct. 2nd, 2008 Emergency C-Section, Frank Breech, HEALTHY Girl!
    Weaned @ 17 months
    Our DD2 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 12oz) Aug. 10th, 2010 Our Successful VBAC, growing like a bad weed!
    Weaned @ 15 months
    Our DD3 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 6oz) Feb. 16th, 2012 Our 2nd VBAC and lightening speedy birth!

    Loving being a Mom of 3, 40 months apart!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Default Re: Nursing to sleep and the 4 month wakeful

    Ds needed the boob every time he woke up until about a year. I'm glad I didn't listen to all the naysayers and stress about forcing independance on him. He's getting there gradually all by himself. A quarter of the time he just needs to be repositioned or a pat on the back to help him drift back off.
    Babies go through a light sleep every 50 minutes or so. If your lo is sleeping 3 hr stretches, that's two sleep cycles she's putting herself back to sleep wo your assistance. Might be a growth spurt, the beginnings of teething, a milestone right around the corner, etc. Ds was pretty wakeful just before he started crawling. He would practice in his sleep.

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