My 7 month old baby will only go to sleep nursing and never seems to get enough sleep during the day

by louise
(London UK)

Question: Hi, I am so glad to have found this website, I have been told by everyone that I must not breastfeed to sleep and that I will have to let my daughter cry, this is the first time I have found any information that suggests there is another way.

My Daughter is nearly 8 months old, she sleeps really quite well at night, she has been in her own room for about a month but it is right next door to my room and I have both doors open so I can hear her. We have a bedtime routine of a bath which she really enjoys at around 6pm then we go into her bedroom I try to give her a little massage but she is not so keen so I don't push it, then put on her babygrow which she does't really like then I try to read her a little story but by about 630pm she just wants the breast.

She then feeds for anything between 10-40 mins, she is asleep by this time I then give her a cuddle tell her I am going to put her to bed and put her in her sleeping bag, sometimes she stirs a little but goes straight back to sleep. she will then sleep often until around 5.30-6am she sometimes wkes earlier has a feed in her room and I put her down asleep. If she sleeps until 5.30 she will not go back to sleep even though she still appears tired.

During the day she is often ready for a nap at about 830am and sometimes I walk her in the buggy to sleep or feed her to sleep she will sleep for around 40-60mins again she often wakes and still seems tired. She wil then sometimes fall asleep around 1130-12 if we are out in the car. then an afternoon nap between 1330-1430 which again I susually feed her to sleep this nap she will sleep between 40-90mins

She is then more than ready for bed at 630pm.

My question is how can I start to get her to sleep without the breast I have read the ebook which I found very useful I haven't quite found the right sleep schedule for her, but when she is ready for bed she only wants the breast, she will scream, not allow me to cuddle her or hold her she just wants the breast. She doesn't take a bottle but is now on solids three times a day. I have been timing her feeds around her naps and vice versa, but not sure if I should make her actual feeds different to her bed feeds?

I have really loved feeding her and I am happy to continue at least until she is a year old but I am going back to work for two days a week at the end of May,my husband and my mum will be looking after her. I m also concerned that the longer I leave it like this the harder it is going to be to help her to self soothe.

I hope this is the kind of information that you need I feel a bit lost with it all which I am sure doesn't help, I have however felt so much more relaxed about it since I found your website.

Also to add she has always been very nasal congested and often sleeps with her mouth open but seems to cope ok with this.

Many Thanks


Heidi's Answer: Hi Louise, Thank you for your detailed explanation it is definitely very helpful.

For the most part, your story is actually a very positive one. You have set up a really nice routine with the bath, optional massage, story, breast and then sleeping. She's sleeping a very (!) nice 9-10 hours stretch. And she does a few naps during the day ...

I'm not saying this to minimize your concerns, but just a thumbs up for you and your daughter, you're doing so well! I especially like how you talk to her, telling her you are going to put her to bed, that's a really good habit. And a very good sign is that, when you put her down, she might stir a bit but then goes straight on sleeping - that's a good start.

8 months is a good age to wean from nursing to sleep. Just go gently and step by step, at each nap or night time bed time:

- Nurse her until she's dozing off. She probably hasn't released the nipple yet at that point.

- Then do this unlatch technique: gently squeeze your finger in between your nipple and her lips (this releases the vacuum). While gently pulling away, use another finger to tip up her chin to close her mouth. Gently, but firmly. The idea is that if you simply remove (without closing her mouth) she will instinctively grab for it again, and wake up. By tipping up her chin, you avoid that startling and keep her calm.

Do this each time you nurse to sleep. But gradually, remove the nipple earlier, i.e. when less deeply asleep. After a while, she'll finish nursing without being completely asleep. At first, you still hold her until asleep and then put her down. This is the first step where she gets used to going sleep without nursing.

- Then, gradually again, you will put her down earlier and earlier: from well asleep, to half asleep, to drowsy, less and less, and then awake. You will sense how to proceed, sometimes slow down, sometimes you'll be able to take a bigger step. If at times it doesn't work, don't stress, but just pick her up, and put her down a bit later again.

My No-Tears Self Soothing guide is dedicated to this weaning process (from nursing or any other dependent sleep situation), with full details on setting the stage, knowing when to do what and how to apply the best-fitting techniques.

For naps, do work on making them nicely regular and consistent: try to take out the "sometimes if we're out in the car". Keep the naps as you have them, but fix them a bit more in time, and always do the same routine as at night (nursing but weaning gradually, and putting her in the crib). If you do have the noon nap at 11.30-12, then try to stretch the afternoon nap until 2.30-3pm - but only if she's not over-tired by then.

That nap can then become a bit longer, keeping her less tired by 6.30pm which will make your bedtime routine easier and more pleasant - and you might even go to a 7pm bedtime if that feels right.

Finally, for her nose, please do check the baby cold and use one or more of the remedies to help keep her airways free, to avoid any possible disturbances from it.

Good luck, take care,

Comments for My 7 month old baby will only go to sleep nursing and never seems to get enough sleep during the day

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7 months
by: Cat nap queen

Hello in need of some sleep advice. I have a 7 month old who is waking 2-4 times at night sometimes giving us a longer stretch. Recently had been waking around 11,2,5 won’t go back down with signing anymore HAS to have breast . Sometimes she eats for 10 minutes so I really don’t want to let her cry. down by 7pm and wakes between 6-7 (7-7 being the goal) I nurse her to sleep at all her sleep besides stroller or car naps. Always have first nap at home and she does not nap in her crib well so I stopped trying since she goes down so well at bedtime in there. bedtime routine is consistent except every other day Bath . Massage pajamas dad reads book while she nursed and then I sing her a lullaby and she finishes nursing then put her into her crib no problem. We have one "on the go nap" bc i usually will go to the store or run errands during that time. She will not nap past 27-45 minutes without being nursed back down so most days I do nurse her back down so she gets a longer nap. just started showing signs of her first tooth coming in. We don’t give a bottle or pacifier I am sAhm . I do not want to let her cry but would like advice thank you

Self soothing and nap schedule
by: Heidi-BabySleepAdvice

Hi Cat Nap Queen and welcome here!

Have a look at the self-soothing articles and resources I discuss above they should set you on your way to settling independently as well as help bridge the sleep cycle gap for longer naps. For the latter, a nicely fine-tuned (sometimes even 15 minutes earlier or later does it) clock-timed schedule for naps might be the key, have a look at the schedules article if you haven't already:

All my best! Heidi

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