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Thread: falling asleep on the breast - bad habit?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Default falling asleep on the breast - bad habit?

    Hi All.
    My dd has almost always fallen asleep on my breast. Now she doesn't seem to want to go to sleep any other way. Am I creating a bad habit for later? How do I get her to fall sleep by herself?
    Mummy to sweet little Roselyne, born 20 Dec 2006 and Baby Arthur born 4 Aug 2008

  2. #2
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: falling asleep on the breast - bad habit?

    With my DD she would always fall asleep on the breast but continued to activedly feed. When she came off I would change her nappy which woke her up a little bit. Then I would put her in her 'bed' and she would still be sleepy enough to drift back to sleep by herself. She's 11 months now and everyone comments on how well she sleeps.

    Hope this helps a tiny bit. Remember to do what works for you and your LO.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: falling asleep on the breast - bad habit?

    Well.....some of the experts tell you NOT to do this, but I always did, until DS was weaned at 13-1/2 months. We never had a difficult transition to bedtime, he just gets put in his crib, hardly ever cries.

    So, even though they tell you not to, I did. There was something about watching your baby fall asleep so satisfied, without crying, that I just loved.

    You gotta do what you feel comfortable with. There probably are babies out there where this becomes a habit, and the baby can't go to sleep without nursing. I just wanted to give you my experience with my child, so that you knew that it doesn't always ruin a baby's chances for good sleep habits!

    Lisa

  4. #4
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    Default Re: falling asleep on the breast - bad habit?

    I have wondered about this too. I don't know if it is going to be very difficult for us to wean when the time comes, because I don't want her to be completely dependent on the breast to be able to fall asleep. Unfortunately, my DD hates to sleep, and the only way to get her to fall into a deep sleep is to nurse her. She has never taken pacifiers, she just wouldn't.

    So, in having to choose between her always being strung out from not sleeping, or dealing with a nursing-to-sleep habit in the future, I decided to go with the first. Good luck with whatever you do... I don't think that there is anything wrong with your LO falling asleep on the breast. It's comfort as much as it is food.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: falling asleep on the breast - bad habit?

    It is a bad habit that my son has but we couldn't get rid of it. You cannot sleep train your baby until s/he is 4 months old because they don't have the ability to sooth themselves until then. After 4 months old you have to find a way to teach the baby how to put herself to sleep because if you don't you'll end up like me My son would go to sleep easily at the breast since he was born. Then at 4 months we sleep trained him (with the methods in "no cry sleep solution"). However, since he had a nursing problem (wouldn't nurse during the day because of distraction) I would nurse him every time he woke up so that he would get some nutrition. It messed up everything. He not only forgot how to put himself to sleep but now he doesn't easily fall asleep at the breast. I nurse him, he doesn't fall asleep, I put him to his crib, he cries a bit, then I take him and nurse him a bit more, then put him then take him........ This goes on for at least 1.5 hours before he can fall asleep. Sometimes he falls asleep and then wakes up and starts crying when I'm putting him to his bed. Then we start all over again. Everyday, every nap, every night..................My suggestion: teach your baby how to sleep at 4-5 months of age and don't feed her at night (or wake her up after feeding so that she can sleep on her own again.)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: falling asleep on the breast - bad habit?

    Quote Originally Posted by desperate View Post
    After 4 months old you have to find a way to teach the baby how to put herself to sleep because if you don't you'll end up like me
    I'm sorry you're uncomfortable with your current situation. However, your advice was really kindof harsh (sorry ).

    Babies naturally fall asleep at the breast, partially because there are compounds in milk that make babies sleepy. There is no physical or psychological harm in a baby falling asleep at the breast, and there is nothing wrong with a baby nursing himself to sleep.

    Quote Originally Posted by desperate View Post
    My suggestion: teach your baby how to sleep at 4-5 months of age and don't feed her at night (or wake her up after feeding so that she can sleep on her own again.)

    I'm sorry, but I strongly disagree with this. It is a SUPER bad idea to deny a baby food just because it's nighttime. Breastfed babies often do have a physical need to eat. In addition, breastmilk is SO much more than food, and sometimes babies do just need to be close to mom (not want--need).

    You do not have to wake a baby just so that they will learn to go to sleep on their own. Even the strict sleep guru, Dr. Wiessbluth, is against this.


    To the OP, here's some helpful info:

    "Your baby's desire to nurse to sleep is very normal and not a bad habit you've fostered. Don't be afraid to nurse your baby to sleep or fear that you are perpetuating a bad habit. Baby often will seek the breast when sleepy or over-stimulated because it's a comforting and familiar place to him. To associate the breast with wanting to relax enough to go to sleep makes perfect sense. As adults, we also do things to relax ourselves so we can go to sleep: we read, watch TV, get something warm to drink or a snack, deep breathe, get all snug under the covers, etc. Nursing does the same thing for your baby. "
    http://www.kellymom.com/parenting/sl...rtnursing.html

    PLEASE read the above link. There is far too much information to quote. It's that good of a resource.

    Here's another helpful link:
    http://www.kellymom.com/parenting/sleep/sleep.html

  7. #7
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    Default Re: falling asleep on the breast - bad habit?

    My 5 mo. old son either nurses to sleep or needs to be rocked (or falls asleep in the car). While I *wish* he could go to sleep on his own, I know I don't want to go through the trials and tribulations of "making" him go to sleep on his own. I don't think he or I could handle it. It depends on what type of parent you want to be. I want to have a strong attachment to my son, even if it means he needs me to fall asleep. I just keep telling myself that eventually (maybe when he's 7!) he'll be able to fall asleep on his own.

    Anne- Mom to two active boys: Henry 10/06 and Jamie 4/09


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  8. #8
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    Default Re: falling asleep on the breast - bad habit?

    I have read all the sleep books out there and tried almost all methods (except cry-it-out which was actually what our pediatrician suggested) to teach my son to fall asleep on his own and sleep at least 4-hour stretches at night. (I gave up the idea of "sleep-through the night" long time ago, I just want him to sleep for 4 hours.) Waking up every 1-2 hours, sometimes every 20-40 minutes for 9 months is about to kill me and not good for my baby either not only because he has an over-exhausted impatient mommy but also because sleep deprivation affects my milk supply and let-down situation. There are days my body just goes into a self-protective mode and wouldn't let down the milk no matter what I do. He is also sleep-deprived all the time since he cannot sleep properly, I am thinking he may also be malnourished since he does most of his feeding at night between his sleep and always falls asleep before being able to nurse enough. So attachment parenting, letting the baby do whatever he wants, get up 10 times a night and nurse sound fine in theory but do not work in practice. Dr. Brazelton's suggestions seem to make the most sense to me when it comes to sleep and the advice I wrote were from his book (though I couldn't apply them myself because of my son's bad eating habits.) He says the baby should not fall asleep suckling since that will make him associate sleep with the boob and he will wake up every time he has a brief awakening which is exactly what happens with my son. He cannot even nap for an hour or two without nursing a couple of times during the nap! Now, this may not happen with all babies. I guess some are just natural sleepers but if you have a baby like mine and you cannot be tough it can be costly for both you and your baby. Of course anybody is free to take any advice but before making your decision you need to hear about the cases like mine along with the "I nurse my baby to sleep and we are just fine" cases.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: falling asleep on the breast - bad habit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusaalka View Post
    I have wondered about this too. I don't know if it is going to be very difficult for us to wean when the time comes, because I don't want her to be completely dependent on the breast to be able to fall asleep. Unfortunately, my DD hates to sleep, and the only way to get her to fall into a deep sleep is to nurse her. She has never taken pacifiers, she just wouldn't.

    So, in having to choose between her always being strung out from not sleeping, or dealing with a nursing-to-sleep habit in the future, I decided to go with the SECOND. Good luck with whatever you do... I don't think that there is anything wrong with your LO falling asleep on the breast. It's comfort as much as it is food.
    *Edited, I caught a big mistake in what I said!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    470

    Default Re: falling asleep on the breast - bad habit?

    Hi Caroline, you are concerned about developing good sleep habits early on. And that's important. Babies are as different as adults come. So, I think there's more ways than one to teach good habits to your sweet Roselyne. As you and baby get to know each other, you will discover what works for you and her.

    I have a fall-asleep routine for my baby: I bring him to the room with his bed, shut the door, give him a short feed at the breast, and then JUST before he falls into a deep sleep, I remove him gently and say "mama's going to rock you for a while now and you're going to fall asleep, ok?" I hold him in my arms and walk about and talk/sing to him softly until he begins to loosen up (arms and fingers going limp). Then gently lay him in his cot, pat his back for a bit.

    Over time, I try to shorten the walking about and to put him down before he is fully asleep. Sometimes, he will settle himself and sleep. Sometimes he stirs and I have to hold him a bit longer. Eventually, I believe he will learn to fall asleep on his own.

    HTH.
    Caylen Koen Chew (25/05/06)
    Lost No.2 in Aug 2008 ... Lost No. 3 in May 2009 Hoping for another ... Enjoying No.1



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