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Thread: How to get baby to sleep w/o bf

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    112

    Default How to get baby to sleep w/o bf

    My daughter is almost 11 months old. She has been gradually weaning herself from nursing over the last 2-3 months, dropping a feeding every few weeks. I work full time and now only need to pump 1x per day. Sometimes she takes one or two bottles of ebm while I'm gone but it varies. What we've noticed is that she only needs the bottle to fall asleep for her naps (unless she's already in the car on a "road trip"). Those are the only two ways she will fall asleep consistently.

    My issue is this: I want to continue the AM/PM feedings but would like to dispense with during the day feedings and pumping if I can but it seems like she needs those bottles just to sleep. Is there any other solution? Anyone have any ideas?? Also, she is still waking up MULTIPLE times in the night and usually needs to nurse to settle back down. I don't think this is hunger but rather comfort nursing. I know this is somewhat normal in the first year, but I am SO sleep deprived and DH can't help because she usually won't settle back down without mama's breast (and is usually asleep again within 5 minutes).

    Any ideas would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    192

    Default Re: How to get baby to sleep w/o bf

    I was hoping you would get a response to your post as we are experiencing something similar. Jackson is still waking up multiple times(sometimes 4 times between 11pm and 5am) during the night and there seems to be no way to settle him other than breastfeeding.

    My ped suggested yesterday to give him a bottle of water during the night hours instead of nursing. He is 9 months and 20 lbs, 29 3/4 inches. He eats cereal and fruits or veggies twice a day and nurses on demand (7 times from 5am to 9pm and then the 3-4 times during the night). She said he did not need the extra calories at night. Is that right???

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    2

    Default Re: How to get baby to sleep w/o bf

    My baby is a bit older (15 months) but we had a similar issue and I was really dreading the weaning process especially, the night feedings. He didn't nurse much during the day if at all but at night he'd feed up to 5 times and it was obvious he needed it for comfort because he quickly fell back to sleep once he started nursing. I also couldn't understand why he woke up so often. I didn't want to move or cough for fear it would trigger him to nurse -ack!- so frustrating. I was exhausted and worried that he would be traumatized if I just stopped going into his bedroom as I have since day one. I finally decided to give the "crying it out" method a shot. I thought it was going to be cruel but in a couple days he was sleeping through the night. I'm only at week 2 of this and our mornings are earlier now than before but getting a solid nights sleep has been so good for both of us. This is a tough one but buy a good set of ear plugs and know that this time will pass.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    10

    Default Re: How to get baby to sleep w/o bf

    It sounds like the reason you want to get rid of the bottle at this point is so that you can also give up the pumping, but I'm not sure if I've got that right. If you're not concerned that she is having a bottle, then I would suggest giving her something else in the bottle to replace your milk. It will be substandard in terms of nutrition, but she likely needs those calories/food. This way, she can get her sucking needs met, and her nutrition needs met, and you can do away with the pumping. If you want to, you can consider pumping extra for a couple of weeks, stock your freezer, and give her that until she's at least a year and you can switch to cow's milk (or another milk if she's allergic). If you're trying to wean her from the bottle itself, then there are other things you can try.

    Because she can go to sleep w/o the bottle (in the car), you can work on other ways to get her down using motion. Stroller, swing, sling, rocking, letting her roll around on the bed until she's out. But I wouldn't be too concerned about her using a bottle once/day for several months, maybe switching her to a sippy cup as you can.

    Also, hugs to you, mama, for dealing with night wakings. I have dealt with a wakeful baby and know how hard it can be. Kudos for you for responding to your daughter's nighttime needs.

    I'll be up front and say that my bias is that you may want to reconsider nightweaning her. One reason is that weaning will not necessarily lead to the elimination of nighttime wakings. You may be having to respond to a waking, unhappy baby at night and then not have the quick bf solution at hand. In addition to several physical reasons for nighttime nursing (thirst, hunger, teething pain, growth spurts, maturing sleep patterns, etc.), it is very common for kids to reconnect esp if mom is away during the day. Nighttime may be her chance to fill up her cup of contact and connection with you. While it may be "just for comfort", you may want to wait until she's older and can understand the nightweaning process. You can talk to her about it during the day, and since you're thinking about weaning during the day, you can relate that experience to her (remember how we used to nurse in the day, but now we cuddle/snuggle instead? we can do that at night because it is sleep time for you, for dad, for mama's milk, etc.)

    Based on a lot of scientific studies that show the negative effects of the crying it out method (higher levels of stress hormones streaming into baby's system, like cortisol, etc...good references can be found at: http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=179657), we decided against methods that involve crying.

    One resource is The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantly. I'm sure your library has it. It is chock full of ideas that can help your daughter fall asleep with less and less assistance, and potentially stay asleep longer. It also helps explain what is reasonable to expect based on babies' sleep patterns, as do many of the links above. It is super helpful for breastfeeding moms and cosleeping families, as that is Pantley's background and how she got her all-night-nurser to sleep through with out tears.

    All in all, this is a short term need for your daughter in the big scheme of things. Even tho it is hard to go with less sleep, you may want to seek out information on the methods you are considering on both sides of the issue. For example, even Dr. Ferber, the grandfather of the "crying it out" method, has recently retracted much of what he says about it. I'd highly recommend checking out Pantley.

    Good luck!
    Teresa

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    10

    Default Re: How to get baby to sleep w/o bf

    Momto2boys,

    I would disagree with your Ped, not necesarily because your child needs nighttime nutrition/food (although when I wake at 3 am to tend to my baby, I am often hungry, so why shouldn't he be?), but because he is suggesting replacing an easy, convenient, nurturing and nourishing nighttime solution with a bottle of water, which is not good for your baby's oral development nor does it prevent you from having to tend to the baby (esp if baby is in bed w/ you).

    I would suggest Pantley's book as well, as it has lots of techniques that can help.

    Good luck,
    Teresa

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    112

    Default Re: How to get baby to sleep w/o bf

    Thanks for some of the replies. I guess some clarification is in order after I read some of the posts. I don't want to wean entirely and I'm perfectly happy with AM/PM feedings of breastmilk at this point. I just don't see her needing the bottle during the day every day since she is getting calories/nutrition through other sources at this point (snacks and meals throughout the day). If I didn't have to pump at work, that would be a plus! So far this week, she has had 3 bottles (on 5 days) while I was gone at work. We are finding other places for her to nap (i.e., car, on walks) but it is still inconsistent and putting her in the car everyday for a nap is not a realistic option due to childcare, etc.

    As for the night stuff, I understand that she might wake up at least once during the night, but it's been almost every hour on the hour after midnight. The way she eats during the day, that can't be hunger!! I have read Pantley's book and find some of the suggestions are good. I just have to buckle down and try it. She woke up at 2 AM last night (after waking at 1 AM to nurse) and we tried to just rub her back and rock her instead of nursing. She eventually fell asleep (some tears but not a lot) and then slept through till 6 AM) I guess we'll just keep plugging away at that. I realize what Pantley is saying about the fact that if they don't fall asleep on their own in their crib, they will awake in that groggy state and realize they are all alone...hence the crying. So we will keep trying to get her to fall asleep in the crib.

    Thanks for the ideas. If anyone has any other thoughts (especially with these clarifications) let me know.

    Rachel (CJ's mama)

  7. #7
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    Jan 2006
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    307

    Default Re: How to get baby to sleep w/o bf

    I just love this article by Dr. Sears (non-LLL approved link) about nighttime parenting and getting baby to sleep in various ways:
    http://www.askdrsears.com/html/7/T070300.asp

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    1,048

    Default Re: How to get baby to sleep w/o bf

    Yes I don't blame you on wanting to ease her off the bottle - plus falling asleep on a bottle isn't too good for the teeth/mouth. My dd never took a bottle, but I babysat another baby who was used to falling asleep with a bottle and that Pantly Pull Off worked better on him than it ever did to ease dd off of nursing to sleep. Finally I could just rub his back to get him to go to sleep for naps. He would cry for maybe 30 seconds when he saw the bed and then fall asleep quickly after the three of us laid down (me, my baby and the "bottle boy") Once he lost the bottle sleep association, he was so much happier with solids than the bottle. Soon everyone was drinking out of a cup.

    As for nursing to sleep, I had little luck until my daughter was verbal (she just turned 2). Now that we can discuss it, things are SO much easier. I just say, "I don't want to nurse anymore tonight. How about a foot rub?" and she nods... and drifts off to sleep... It sounds like your dd will get used to those back rubs quickly so if that's working for you, keep it up! 6 hours at 11 months is really good, in my book.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    6

    Default Re: How to get baby to sleep w/o bf

    My 27 month old is still in this way....I am beyond tired most times. Granted we co sleep so it isn't so tough...but weaning is the plan now slowly...I am quite done with it all. And I never thought I'd be the one to say that.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    3

    Default Re: How to get baby to sleep w/o bf

    My little one is 11 months and I'm going to try and stop the afternoon feed soon to go back to work. Right now I'm trying to drop the night feedings because I know it is because she is waking up and can't get back to sleep on her own. I trying the pick up/put down method that the "Baby Whisper" recommends on puting babies at this age to sleep on their own.
    What it involves you laying your child down in the crib and when they stand up gently lay them down, tell them it is time to go to sleep and reasure them they will be ok with your voice. You do not leave the room so it not so hard on the child. Keep doing this untill they go to sleep. Last night I tried it and it toke me 2 hrs for her to settle down. After a good cry she stayed down and went to sleep on her own. She woke up at 3:00am and I did the same thing and it toke her only 15/20 mins to settle and she did not get up again till around 6:00am.
    She was getting up 3 to 4 times a night to feed. They were around the same times so this is usually for confort to go back to sleep.
    I haven't yet tried this for naps as of yet but I let you know how it goes the rest of the week.

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