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Thread: Breastfeeding and Sleep Training woes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Kempton Park; South Africa

    Default Breastfeeding and Sleep Training woes

    I have recently started sleep training my 13 and a half month old lg with great success as far as her night time sleep is concerned. She generally sleeps right through now from 7pm - around 6am. However, her nap times have been less successful, and I'm struggling to keep to the rule of no nursing to sleep... As a result of my inconsistency she has not settled into putting herself to sleep during the day nearly as successfully as at night. The instruction from the sleep consultant was to follow a short sleep-time routine (in our case nappy change, read a story then to bed), and only once she wakes up does she get milk so as to no longer associate nursing with sleeping. I often fall into the trap of feeding her when cranky in order to settle her down when it's too early for her nap, only for her to fall asleep at the breast instead. We were also advised that at this age she is borderline ready for 1 nap a day instead of 2, but I do struggle with her some days as she starts getting miserable long before her nap-time and only feels better after a nap. Any advice from other sleep training, breastfeeding moms?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and Sleep Training woes

    I think it is much easier to drop the nurse-to-sleep association at night than at nap-time. At night, a toddler is so tired that she will eventually fall asleep even if she doesn't nurse. At nap-time, most toddlers are definitely tired, but they are not ready to drop the way they are in the evenings. If your LO is content to go to sleep without nursing at night, I honestly don't think it's that important that you drop the pre-nap feedings. You can keep using that tool during the day while abandoning it at night.

    If you really want to drop the pre-nap feedings, I suggest that you try having your toddler nap in the car or in a stroller or a swing. My second daughter napped in her stroller from around 12-30 months. She had absolutely no interest in sleeping in her crib!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and Sleep Training woes

    I never tried sleep training as you describe it, but I did learn the hard way with my eldest that naps seemed to go best if I followed baby's lead and helped baby nap when baby was tired. Holding off on naps seemed to cause baby to become “overtired” and cranky and led to LESS sleep overall.

    I have found that by this age there usually was a definite pattern to my kid’s sleepy times (although this would normally shift over time.) I also would question the idea that a 13 month old "should" be close to moving to one nap necessarily. How much a baby sleeps and in what configuration is one of those developmental things like walking and talking that has a wide range of normal in my experience. I personally thought 2 naps a day was great, because I would sleep with baby for one and do stuff during the other. So I encouraged two naps as long as I could! With my kids, once they moved to one nap the day could seem very long for both of us.

    Does nursing your baby to sleep cause any problems other than the fact you were told not to do it? It is perfectly normal for a child to need to be "gentled" into sleep, and for breastfeeding moms, nursing often works great. Personally I found nursing the kids to sleep was a nice easy way to help my kids nap regularly and have a more regular bed time starting in the toddler years.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Default Re: Breastfeeding and Sleep Training woes

    what worked for me was i would nurse before naps but not to sleep. ie. i would unlatch him before he fell asleep. are you up for that or are you weaning him from his nap time feeds all together?
    mom to ds daniel 12/16/09 and ben 2/27/11

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