Saturday, October 2, 2010

Breaking the Nurse-Sleep Association

I need help. I am beyond frustrated right now. The only way I can get Samantha to sleep at night is to nurse her while lying down. This is fine most nights, but it presents a problem when we want to leave her with a babysitter, or even just when Mike and I would like to have some time alone in another room.

I read the No Cry Sleep Solution and I've tried to do everything I can think of - when I nurse her, I pull the nipple out of her mouth before she falls asleep. I try to put her down for a nap in the swing when I notice that she is tired rather than nursing her to sleep. She also will fall asleep in the car seat. Those things all work well, but when it comes to night time it's a whole different story. I've tried setting a routine and putting her down in her bed while she is almost asleep but she just cries and cries. Even on nights that I've successfully gotten her to fall asleep on her own she wakes up within an hour and starts screaming, and the only thing that will calm her is to nurse, even if she just ate an hour ago. This happens almost every night. She's not hungry, she's obviously just nursing for comfort because as soon as I give her the boob she's out within seconds.

We want to leave her with a babysitter in about a month so Mike and I can go to dinner for my birthday, so I need to figure out how to break the nurse to sleep association. Right now she won't even take the bottle as a substitute to get her to sleep - all she wants is Mom. She screams if Mike tries to calm her to sleep. We have a month to figure this out, and I need some suggestions! So far the sleep routine thing hasn't worked so well, so we need to come up with a simpler routine and schedule that will be easier for us to stick to. I really want to be able to put her to bed on her own without having to hold her and have her attached to my boob. I would love to hear any suggestions on how to break this nursing to sleep addiction!


stumbull said...

Here is what I would try (granted everyone and every situation is different). The best book I have read so far on sleeping is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. I would get that and read it, it is great because he has different approches for different kinds of babies and for how comfortable the parents are with what they want to do. I saw it at Target the other day. Also have you tried a pacifier for nighttime. My little one only takes a paci at night and it really helps her fall asleep and she now knows as soon as the paci comes out it is bed time. We also had a problem with Daddy trying to put her to bed she would scream and cry and I ended up having to take over. It did eventually get better. Good luck, that book helped save my sanity. Oh also I'm not sure what time you put her to bed but earlier rather than later helps them not get so overtired. That was one of out MAIN problems and I didn't even realize it.

Simple and Posh said...

We read Healthy Sleep Habits (you can borrow it) and Ferber's book to get him to go down at night. Ferber's method worked for us but he would wake up in the middle of the night for a feeding even though I knew he wasn't hungry. I called the pediatrician and he said all we needed to do was cut out the feeding right before we put him down and instead give it to him before his bath which is about 30 minutes before he goes down. This way he is not associating sleep with food and vice versa. We tried it that night and it worked. Totally agree with @stumbull and we did have to move up his bedtime to 6:30 because he was overtired which made it harder for him to fall asleep. Now that he's older he goes down at 8 and the 6:30 bedtime only lasted a couple of months.

mrsdanigirl8 said...

The only thing that worked for us was creating a bed time routine. And that was at about 9-12 months old. We'd nurse together in the living room than go to the nursery and read w/ Daddy, than prayers and night time.

Sometimes he'd want to suckle for comfort (he gave up the paci at 9 months) and I'd give in but if I wasn't there he wasn't tempted. So that's what I did when I left for the night. I'd nurse him and than whoever watched him (only went out twice...) would do story, prayers and lay w/ him.

Before that we only went out once and my dad watched him. I guess my dad has the magic touch because Ethan just went to sleep for him with no problem. Dad just rocked him after his last bottle and he conked out. He also wasn't stressed about what time he went to sleep so that helped. We were home by 10pm (yeah, we're party animals) so it really wasn't too much time away.


kriznizzel said...

Save our sleep by Tizzy hall helped me.

Free Range Chick said...

I've read the same book and it kinda worked but is very stressful on a tired me. I still nurse before bed. Sometimes she sleeps and sometimes I can rock her afterward. I think the only way I will truly stop the nurse to sleep is when I wean her off the juice. Then she just won't have it anymore. PS, my kid still gets the boob at least once during the night.