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Thread: Sleep problems.. breast as pacifier

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Default Sleep problems.. breast as pacifier


    I have a 6 month infant who has been a challenge since he was a week old. He cries constantly, is hardly happy.. we have tried everything. Cutting dairy from my diet, taking him for chiropractor appointments, essential oils. He is slowly getting better and happier during the day but sleeping is a HUGE problem.

    Naps are nearly non-existent. He will sometimes nap in his swing but its starting to get harder and harder to get him to sleep.

    At nighttime I try to stick to a routine, and put him down around 7 (almost always nursing down). The problem is that he constantly wakes. He wakes almost always at 8. I usually get my husband to go in at this point (if he is home - he is a shiftworker) and he can get him down by rocking. He wakes again at 10 and this time nurses. I bring him into bed with me usually when he wakes again at 12 because he won't go back in his crib. It is as if he wants to use my breast as a pacifier. I try to take him off and he SCREAMS. He won't even be actively sucking just wants his mouth on the breast... I'm really unsure of how to go about fixing this. I'm sure some of his moodiness and irritability is due to the fact that he isn't sleeping very well.

    Its just getting to the point where I am at a loss and really don't know what to do.

    If anyone has any suggestions it would be wonderful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Default Re: Sleep problems.. breast as pacifier

    Hi! My son likes to use my breast as a pacifier, too. At first, I had a major problem with it, and I even followed the advice of several people to switch sides every 15 minutes because that would supposedly prevent him from doing so. As a result, he only got the foremilk and not the hindmilk.

    In the end, I just accepted being a "human pacifier". I didn't want to give him an artificial pacifier, but he needed comfort. So it's either I just let him cry it out, or change my perspective. I chose the latter.

    My baby also co-sleeps with me, and I find it easier to just let him nurse to his heart's content. Sometimes, I don't even remember how many times I wake up at night to let him nurse. I just offer him my breast and we both fall right back asleep.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Sleep problems.. breast as pacifier

    Your LO sounds like my second DD who is now 3 1/2. She NEVER slept well. She would wake up 5-6 times a night on average sometimes more than that. Alot of the time she would go down ok and then 45 mins later wake up screaming and would scream for 2 hours. This went on for most of her first year and was much worse when she was teething. When she woke up she would take a long time to fall back asleep. She also screamed the whole time we were in the car or cry and scream for hours for no reason. I was constantly sleep deprived and crabby and constantly wanting a break from her. She was like this until she was 2. It started to gradually get better. Although then she would just never go to bed I would put her in bed at 8 or 9 she would still be awake at 11 or 12 and be up at 7am. This just started getting better since April when my DD3 was born(thank god!) I actually swore I didn't want any more children b/c I had such a hard time with her.(that obviously changed) She is still my most difficult child and alot of her baby difficulties were her personality.

    Three things I would have done differently:

    1. Use homeopathics. I didn't use them when she was an infant. I knew about them and didn't believe they worked until a couple of years ago. I use them on my all my kids now but on my 5 mo old I use Hylands teething tablets(meijer or drug stores) when she is teething and wont fall asleep. They work almost always. Chamomilla is a great one for calming a restless child. I also have used Calmes Forte(for sleeping troubles). They are really something to look into. It's also inexpensive and no side effects. You can get these things at any health food store, etc.

    2. Baby wearing. My 3rd baby is my 1st baby I have done this with. I use a ring sling. I don't do it all the time. I had to do it alot when she was teething for 6 weeks. She really wanted to be held then. If I did baby wearing when my DD2 was a baby I probably would have had an easier life and been a much happier mama then!

    3. Co-sleep more. I used to sleep w/her and then I was just wanted my "break" at night from her so I would rock her to sleep everytime she woke up for an hour or more, lay her down, only to be woke up again an hour after that. Sometimes I ended up bringing her back to my bed anyway. She really wore me down, but I would have gotten a little more sleep if I just kept her with me more.

    By the way, my 5 mo old wakes me up less than she does still!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Canadian living in New Zealand

    Default Re: Sleep problems.. breast as pacifier

    We had this same problem too. I had a great midwife that had some insite on it. She told me that letting her use my breast as a paci was the best thing for her. As she gets older she'll know that if something is wrong, or she is not feeling well mums the one to go too. I had a hard time accepting it at first, felt like I was doing everything all the parenting/baby training books told me too. I was also scared I was creating a monster... but things got so much better!
    We are at five months now and althou the first three were really tough and really tiring I think its all paid off now. If she is upset for any reason at all, a quick feed and everything is ok. She very rarely cries now, and I have the best way to calm her when she does. She still doesn't sleep through the night, but not waking every hour like she used too. I think she has just finally found the confidence, that everything is going to be ok, and she knows if its not, I'm there to comfort her.
    Once I let go of all the bad advice, babywhisperer garbage it was a lot easier on me. I knew I was doing the best thing for her, and it felt right to us. Hang in there
    First time mum to Alexa born April 25th 2008 10lb 2
    Exclusively despite a reluctant DH and believing in natural parenting, which isn't easy but well worth all the of and and from my MIL

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Default Re: Sleep problems.. breast as pacifier

    I am in exactly the same boat with my 4 mo. She will not take a pacifier, but my breast will comfort her in 2 minutes.

    We have been co-sleeping from when she was 1 month, because I thought it was so cozy. But now I am concerned about it: is it time for her to learn to sleep on her own, without boob? Or will she eventually lose interest when shé ready?

    Today, a midwife told me to put her to sleep in her own bed. Yesterday, my doctor told me co-sleeping/comfort feeding was completely ok. What to do!?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Rhode Island

    Default Re: Sleep problems.. breast as pacifier

    My daughter use to have to sleep all night long with a boob in her mouth...until just recently. She is 11 months old and still nurses to sleep but then unlatches and rolls over and goes to sleep in her new position. So now I can finally roll over and sleepon my back again. So I think it dependson the baby but they do grow out of that constant need to be latched on every second....thank god. Good luck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default Re: Sleep problems.. breast as pacifier

    My boy was like that too and eventually he grows out of it. He was a difficult baby to take care of, cried all the time, short naps, woke up every 2 hours in the night, needed to be held all the time. And of course he wanted my breast all the time. Everything started to get better when he could crawl and then started walking because he got to do something else by himself. Now everything is really good. He wants breast only when he's hungry or need some comfort. He already sleeps though the night. You just hand in there. It will get better for sure.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Sleep problems.. breast as pacifier

    My LO was the EXACT same way. He napped in his swing for 13 months. He took several short naps a day. He was always tired. He screamed non-stop for the first 3 months. We tried routines too. He went down at 7:00, and would wake around 8:00, and every 1.5-2 hours all night long. I was always on edge. I was his pacifier. It is so hard to have a "high need" baby, I completely understand. Here are a couple things to think about, that hopefully will give you some hope.
    WHen your LO is older and can understand more, you can nightwean, and gently teach him to fall asleep in his own. I never in a million years thought I would be able to put Joshua down awake. But I can! I nurse him and tell him milkies is going to be sleeping too. I put him in his crib awake, and he hugs his horsey and bunny and fall asleep. There are many gentle ways to do this, once your LO gets older and can understand more. We are all here to offer suggestions and help. YOu can get through this. In the meantime, can you have DH rock him at night? My LO would cry for me the first few times, however, I knew he was crying in the arms of a loving parent. He eventually got used to being rocked back to sleep, and we could take turns with night-time parenting.

    Also, this period seems so long and hard, but trust me when I say time will fly by in the blink of an eye. High need babies are difficult, but they are also very loving, sensitive, smart, and nurturing. Joshua carries around a baby doll that he calls his "bebe" and he tries to nurse it on me. Milkies instantly stops all temper tantrums, heals all boo boo's, and brings a big smile and laugh to him every time. He is so bright...he sings the alphabet song, knows all his colors...and he is not even 2. I believe part of his high need personality as a baby was because he was frustrated. He wanted to learn so much and didn't have a way to express it. Now, as a toddler, he is such a joy, and so sweet.
    It will get easier for you, I promise. Just keep doing what you are doing, and meeting his needs. It will pay off. We are all here to help support you

    Mama to my sweet blueberry eyed boy Joshua
    born on 11/2/2006

    and my blueberry eyed baby Jonah Henry...my water birth baby!
    born on 6/15/09


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Default Re: Sleep problems.. breast as pacifier

    i have this problem too with my son who is near 15 weeks now. i can hardly leave him alone because he needs constant attention (either carrying or suckling). due to his excessive need to be at the breast (and also due to his reflux), he is now close to 19 lbs! he has gained 12 lbs in 14 weeks! is your baby huge too?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Sleep problems.. breast as pacifier

    I don't have any solutions, just more questions. I have the same type of baby ("high needs", "fussy") who has been very difficult to soothe since birth.

    He is now 4 and 1/2 months and things have gotten a lot better (no more screaming nights, no longer needs to use breast as pacifier ALL night).

    But when I put him down for naps, he "needs" to suck to sleep. He absolutely refuses to use a pacifier. I would love to lie with him for as long as necessary (like I did with my DD) but since I also have a mischievous toddler, I can't leave her alone for longer than a few minutes at a time.

    What I've been doing up until now is feeding him in the living room, rocking him for a bit, taking him to bed and nursing him a bit more until asleep (while DD is in high chair). Then I pull the breast out and he usually wakes up (I've tried the Pantley Pull Out a million times and it hasn't worked once). I can sometimes substitute the finger at that point, which he will relinquish a few minutes later without waking too much but sometimes (this morning!), he wakes up every time I try to get away and cries cries cries.

    Family advice is that we're spoiling him rotten. I've let him cry for a bit (>5 min) but that approach feels wrong to me (makes me sick).

    Seems like I have to choose between leaving him to cry or risk toddler unsupervised (e.g. choking on breakfast).

    ANY advice from other moms of two or more??

    p.s. Interesting point about size of baby - mine was 10 lb at birth. Not sure if that makes a difference?

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