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Thread: Soothing Without Breastfeeding?

  1. #1
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    Default Soothing Without Breastfeeding?

    Help! Since my LO was born, I got into the habit of soothing her cries with breastfeeding. In the beginning I didn't think it was a problem, but now she is 3 months old and she can't be soothed without the breast. This is making night time wakings a bit difficult because my husband cannot sooth her or get her to sleep. When I nurse her to sleep, she often wakes a few times after that and I can sometimes pat her chest and shhh her back to sleep, but most of the time I have to nurse her back to sleep. She sleeps in her crib for the beginning of the night and then when I cannot get her back down after her middle-of-the-night feeding I bring her into bed. Co-sleeping isn't the best because she constantly wakes up to "pacify" herself on my breast so I am up all night.
    I would love for my husband to be able to help out at night.
    We also both have difficulty soothing her cries during the day. I feel like such a bad mother that I can't sooth my baby by holding or snuggling her. She only wants the breast. I hope someone hs had similar experiences or advice.

    Angie

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Soothing Without Breastfeeding?

    well, I have done this same thing with my daughter, who is now 7 months. She has been unable to soothe herself to sleep without the breast, or, at the very least, with me holding her. It does make it very difficult to be able to get some rest. I honestly have tried everything else, but I do have a few tips.
    Try cuddling her with her turned away from you-sometimes that works with my girl
    Have you tried a pacifier? Mine won't take one, but it's always worth a shot.
    You could also try having daddy put her down once she's been fed-by walking, rocking, etc, so she becomes used to someone else.

    I know that in the midst of it, everything seems impossible-just have to keep trying things until something actually works.
    Hang in there!!!!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Soothing Without Breastfeeding?

    I am experiencing a similar situation. The two things that really work for me are 1.) a pacifier and 2.) the swing. When my LO is tired she is very wiggly and fussy. She is not soothed at all by being held. She really is not cuddly at all. I think this is just her temperament. She likes to be active and play and when she gets tired she just wants to sleep and not be messed with. So during the day I put her in the swing when she looks tired, and she falls asleep there. At some point I know I need to get her sleeping in her crib for naps, but I figure one step at a time! At night I usually do nurse her back to sleep just because it's quick. I usually have to slip the pacifier in her mouth when I lay her down in her crib. Very rarely she doesn't need it and will fall asleep as soon as I lay her down. More often than not she needs to suck some more to soothe herself back to sleep. I know pacifiers aren't the best things in the world either, and I would like to wean her of it sooner rather than later, but for now it really is the only thing that helps her fall asleep. So I guess it depends on whether you want to trade one "crutch" for another. Also, you might try having her spend some positive awake time in her crib to make her more comfortable there. Good luck!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Soothing Without Breastfeeding?

    Hi! I'm dealing with a similar situation. My daughter is almost 7 months and would be up every 1-3 hours all night long to nurse herself back to sleep if I weren't working on the problem. (Well, I know some people don't have a problem with being the all-night diner, but it was affecting my daytime ability to parent and my daughter's daytime temperment, and that made it a problem for me!)

    We have found "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley very helpful. The whole idea of the book is to build "healthy sleep associations," and not to let the baby cry it out or suffer. I have found the two most helpful suggestions to be, first, to nurse the baby into a drowsy state and then, before she goes completely to sleep, to unlatch her, and put her down to fall asleep solo. If she wakes up and cries, I nurse or cuddle her back to drowsiness, and then put her down again. Sometimes it takes many repetitions to get my daughter to accept that she isn't going to fall asleep on the breast, but slowly I think she is learning that she can fall asleep on her own. The second tip I found really helpful is for co-sleepers to put a rolled-up towel or receiving blanket in between mom and baby. That way there's a little barrier preventing mom and baby from feeling each other's waking-stimulating movements quite as much.

    We've gone from all-night nursing to being able to go back to sleep with a back rub and some quiet shhh-ing. I still nurse two or three times during the night, but that's a lot better than six or seven night nursings!

    Good luck!

  5. #5
    Pazygozo's Avatar
    Pazygozo is offline Shares Widely And Frequently
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    Default Re: Soothing Without Breastfeeding?

    This really has nothing to do with soothing w/o bf, but rather spliting up nighttime duties. Since DH can't nurse DS back to sleep, we have made a deal that anytime after 5:30 am DS belongs to Dad, so I can get an hour or hour and a half of sleep before DH has to leave for work. DH has mostly soothed our little man by letting him suck on his (DH's) pinky finger. He has also figured out different ways of holding DS to sooth him, one especially where he cradled his head in his elbow and DS "lounges" down DH's arm.

    Basically, it's experimentation. As mothers we are told to give ourselves time to figure out breastfeeding, and we need to remember that dads need time to figure soothing out too.

    Have you read Happiest Baby on the Block? Some of the suggestions from there have been useful for us. At 3 months, DS was very soothed by swaddling. We thought he didn't like it because he kicked out so much, but when the ped explained a lot of his muscle movement was still just nerves firing off and not voluntary, we gave swaddling another shot and it made a big difference.

    Now I've gone and blabbered on way more that I thought I would. Best of luck to you and your husband!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Soothing Without Breastfeeding?

    I would also second trying both a pacifier and swaddling. My son is also right at the 3-month mark and, while he does wake up 2-3 times a night to eat, he goes right back into his crib swaddled and with a paci. He generally will spit out his paci after about 5-10 minutes and just sleep.

    DH gets up for all feedings with me -- our routine is that he changes the diaper while I get the blanket set out in the crib, then he swaddles and brings the baby to me already swaddled. After eating, DH easily scoops DS up and very gently burps him before depositing him into the crib (not as easy for me since I nurse with the Boppy and can't do it quite as smoothly).

    We do all of this with only the light from our very soft nightlight in the hall. If I need to check the latch, DH will briefly turn on the lights on the lowest dimmer setting. The whole process generally takes anywhere from 15-20 minutes and we're back in bed. Maybe if you and your DH can tag-team like this, you can keep stimulation to a minimum and keep your baby in a sleepy state so returning to sleep is easier.

    Good luck!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Soothing Without Breastfeeding?

    Our LO still doesn't fall asleep on his own either for the most part and usually he nurses to sleep at night but we've gotten to the point where DH can ( most nights) soothe him back to sleep. It might take him a little longer or sometimes even faster than I can if I go but he can do it now. DS is 8 months old and we still swaddle him with his arms out but wrapped up to his arm pits. He's out of it by the morning but he falls asleep well with this.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Soothing Without Breastfeeding?

    I don't know if this will work for you since at 3 months a babe's needs and abilities are different from 6 months, but I just discovered a gem! It's worked for about a week, now, and I really hope it's a keeper. I tap my fingers quickly and lightly on DD's temple and/or across her forehead. I thought at first that maybe DD had a headache and just felt awful, but then I did it to myself and realized, duh, that it feels awesome and completely relaxing. That may help you to soothe and calm without or after the breast, maybe?

    I second Pazygozo's suggestion about 5:30 and on belonging to dad. It's been a life saver for me, getting that extra hour to hour and a half is a godsend. On the weekends, I extend that even longer!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Soothing Without Breastfeeding?

    Well you don't have to feel like a bad mother...my son is 9 months old. We co-sleep and he nurses as often as he needs to to get thru the night. On a good night that's only 3x. When he's teething or under the weather it's up to 12x a night. We co-sleep because it makse sense to me that after being w/me
    (in me) 24 hrs a day he would want to sleep w/me. I have seen him open his eyes or reach out and touch me in the middle of the night and go back to sleep on his own because he knows I'm there. And honestly, if I'm willing to stay w/ him to nap it's the difference between a two or three hour nap and 45mins.
    He loves me and want to be w/ me all the time. It can be frusterating at times...I don't always want to lye down and nap or nurse him down for 40 min...but in the grand scheme of his life how long am I really going to be able to pacify him in this way? If it works for two years I'll be lucky. And I've never been out in public and not been glad i could whip out a breast and make it all better. For my son as well as all the people around me who don't want to hear someones' baby crying.
    I'm sometimes jealous of my friends that are able to sleep in seperate rooms from their kids...it'd be nice to get more sleep. But I never feel like a bad mother because I'm meeting my childs' needs. IMO what a 3month old thinks she needs, is what she needs. If she thinks she needs to be with you/connected to you to you to be OK and near you to feel safe to sleep, than she does. You can't train a 3month old.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Soothing Without Breastfeeding?

    From PP-
    "We have found "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley very helpful. The whole idea of the book is to build "healthy sleep associations," and not to let the baby cry it out or suffer. I have found the two most helpful suggestions to be, first, to nurse the baby into a drowsy state and then, before she goes completely to sleep, to unlatch her, and put her down to fall asleep solo. If she wakes up and cries, I nurse or cuddle her back to drowsiness, and then put her down again. Sometimes it takes many repetitions to get my daughter to accept that she isn't going to fall asleep on the breast, but slowly I think she is learning that she can fall asleep on her own. "

    I didn't read this book but stumbled upon this method by experimentation. It works so well for us! When she has switched to comfort sucking, I gently unlatch her and lay her in her bed. She used to stir at this time but I would continue to stroke her head or her cheeks until she fell back asleep. Now I can lay her in her bed and she is asleep within minutes . We don't co-sleep but dd sleeps in the room with us. It was important for me to allow her to learn to fall asleep on her own in her bed so that she does not wake up in a different place and feel scared, making her bed a negative place. I don't know if it is a result of my efforts, or just a good baby (probably the latter ) but she sleeps really well. We also used a pacifier for a little while to help her fall back asleep and it worked really well. Now that she is falling asleep on her own so easily, she doesn't care for the pacifier. She does not like to suck on our fingers but both DH and I are able to place our two forefingers on her mouth sometimes and she seems to be comforted by the skin to mouth contact. It really is trial and error and taking cues from your baby. If you do not want to constantly use nursing alone to comfort her, just remember that she still needs some form of comfort and that falling asleep never needs to be unpleasant or she will resist it that much more. HTH!

    Also, please don't think you are a bad mother! Let your DH work to comfort her too because as long as you are holding her she is going to want the breast. Are you sure that she is fully satisfied when she is fussy? I never cease to be amazed at how much they can eat. My dd is only cooperative when she has a full tummy.

    Misty
    Loving my two sweet girls Audrey (7/18/06) and Annie (6/18/09) Baby #3 due to appear 8/5/10

    Feel free to ask me about my successful HBAC , food allergies, cloth diapers, and the joy of having a high-needs, non-sleeping little dear who has grown into a wonderful preschooler.

    Blogging here.

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