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Do you want more sleep?   Yes! I need more sleep.

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  1. Rosie says

    Thanks for responding. She no longer feeds at night, and hasn’t for about 4 months now. She still has a proper breastfeed in the morning when she wakes up, but otherwise that’s it really. She will ask every now and then during the day, but it’s not a routine anymore. I do try to offer her milk or water before bed but she’s just not very interested. she’ll drink when she’s thirsty but not otherwise (even if it’s juice or smoothie or something delicious). I have been worrying about the amount of fluid (or lack of) she takes in but actually her nappies are wet, and she seems fine so I’m trying to relax about it.

  2. Patty says

    My daughter is 6 months old. We have been working to establish a bed routine for what seems like awhile. We eat anywhere from 6-7 depending on her and when she seems hungry- take a tubby, then read (unless too tired) and she falls asleep generally at the breast, but sometimes as I am feeding her her last bottle. I then hold her to make sure she is definitely asleep and try my best to get her in her crib without waking her. There have been chunks of time when she has slept 6-8 hours straight, there are times when it’s only 2 hours- generally I get a 3-3.5 hour stretch, nurse, and then a 3-4 hour stretch. If it’s a week day then its time for her to get up anyway to get ready and go to the sitter and me to work. I “know” you’re not supposed to nurse to sleep and she “should” be sleeping all night without a feeding, but its hard to change what is already established and kinda works. I have never been able to get her to go to be drowsy and just go to sleep on her own. I don’t know if I am starting the process too late or what. My sitter puts her down for her naps drowsy and with music, but I haven’t had success with that, and I made sure I got the same music. I know she is still young but I worry I am making bad habits we will never be out of..

    • Emily DeJeu says

      @ Patty — all of your observations are right; it’s not ideal to nurse to sleep at night, but as you point out, it’s hard to break a habit that your daughter has gotten used to! So first off, give yourself plenty of grace. You’re not doing anything ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ here, by nursing your daughter to sleep. It’s just that it may become an deeply-ingrained habit that makes it hard for her to learn to sleep without you. Not the end of the world, by any means, but could be frustrating down the road.

      As for what to do about this: first, it may be helpful for you to read our article on sleep associations (found here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/sleep-training/sleep-association/). Nursing has likely become a sleep association for your daughter. In terms of how to gently wean away from this habit: you could try the fading method (read more about that here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/sleep-training/5-baby-sleep-training-methods-explained/). Basically, you gradually nurse her while attempting to keep her awake, slowly shifting the ‘work’ of falling asleep to her. For the first night, you might try nursing her until she’s close to sleep, but then stopping before she’s all the way under. Then, gradually work to a place where you wrap up your nursing while she’s relaxed but awake.

      This isn’t necessarily easy to do, but it may be a good step to take if you want to avoid forming bad habits long-term.

      For more help on sleep coaching strategies, and on helping your daughter learn to fall asleep on her own, you can check out our free guide here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-sleep-through-night-free-ebook/

      Thanks for commenting, Patty! Hope these resources help. Don’t hesitate to ask follow-up questions, either via the comments or by e-mailing them to contact (at) babysleepsite (dot) com.

  3. Rosie says

    It’s good to hear what others do. My daughter is 15 months old. We started a bedtime routine really early as she just seemed to like the structure. It’s obviously changed loads over time, not least because we moved the nursing earlier and earlier to avoid the sleep association. I’m now desperately trying to cut the nursing out altogether at bedtime.
    Our routine currently looks like this:
    Bath, nurse (or distract and try not to as we are doing this week!), dress and brush teeth, book and bed.
    She was going to sleep awake after a book since she was about 5 months old so the nursing isn’t a sleep thing, it’s just routine. When did other people stop nursing? I’m so ready to not always be there!

    • Emily DeJeu says

      @ Rosie — Thanks for sharing a bit about what your bedtime routine looks like! Very helpful :). As for the nursing — is your daughter still nursing multiple times during the day? Does she wake to nurse at night? Or is the nursing before bed the only nursing she really does anymore? As for when you can stop the nursing: if she’s still waking to nurse at night, you can definitely wean away from this now. Babies don’t need to nurse during the night after 12 months (and we usually recommend an attempt to night wean around 9 months). If she’s still nursing multiple times during the day, it’s really a matter of your personal preference as to whether you want to continue that or not. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until 2 (and I think the AAP may suggest that now, too), although plenty of organizations still say that nursing for the first year is plenty sufficient :).

      It does sound like you’d like to be done with the nursing before bed, though, so maybe it’s best to slowly wean away from that. Have you thought about offering your daughter a little milk in a cup, instead of nursing? That may be a nice substitute for breastfeeding.

      Thanks for sharing, Rosie! 🙂

  4. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Emuna — it depends on other factors, I think. For example — if her nap is happening too late in the afternoon, that could be causing her to fall asleep later than you’d like. The solution there would simply be to move her nap to an earlier period in the day. Or it could be that she’s gotten into the habit of taking long naps in the afternoon and then sleeping less at night. Remember, a child’s overall sleep amount tends to stay the same from day to day, but kids will transfer sleep from night to day — so a 3 hour nap will mean a little less sleep at night than a 1.5 hour nap. Make sense?

    Of course, you could be right in thinking that her temperament and personality just require more wind-down time. I would say that if this isn’t a problem for you or for your daughter (i.e. if she seems calm and content to lie in bed and remain awake for awhile before falling asleep) then don’t worry about it.

    Hope this helps, Emuna! Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  5. Emuna says

    Can I ask a question, actually? You say it should take 10 minutes for a baby to fall asleep at night… Well, my 2 year old can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour till she falls asleep! Am I doing something wrong, or are there just some kids that take longer to wind down? We have been doing a bedtime routine with her since about 7 months old (it has morphed over time to suit her age) and she has gone through great periods and decidedly less-great periods of sleep habits/patterns. She always calls to me from her room and wants “just one more” thing – a song, a drink of water, a cuddle, etc. I try not to indulge in her too much while still making sure that she feels I am there for her. But if our “target” bedtime is around 7:15-7:30, it is usually 7:45 or 8:00 PM (sometimes later!) that she actually falls asleep. Is this normal?

  6. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Mary – sounds like a great routine! Glad you’ve been able to find a bedtime rhythm that works well for you and your son. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing the details of your little one’s bedtime routine, Mary!

    @ Deb – what a great idea! My kids listen to audio books now that they’re older, but I have to admit, I never though of using them as read-alongs when they were younger. Good thinking! And that frees you up to nurse and do whatever else needs doing before bedtime.

    Thanks for commenting, and telling us a bit about how you handle the bedtime routine, Deb! 🙂

    @ Lil – I don’t blame you for wanting to wean your daughter away from needing you to be present at bedtime; two hours is a long time to sit and wait for a toddler to fall asleep! Have you tried gently transitioning away from this method yet? You could slowly shorten the time you spend in her room at bedtime, and see if that helps her gradually get used to not having you around as she falls asleep.

    For other ideas about how to resolve this, check out our free toddler guide (https://www.babysleepsite.com/toddler-sleep-training-secrets-free-ebook/) or our toddler e-book (http://www.toddlersleepswell.com).

    Hope these resources are helpful to you, Lil! And thanks for commenting. 🙂

    @ Nee — sounds like you’d prefer to get your son sleeping better at night, and waking less often. And no wonder; random nighttime wakings are exhausting! Have you looked at our free guide for toddler yet? You can find it here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/toddler-sleep-training-secrets-free-ebook/. We also have a toddler e-book available: http://www.toddlersleepswell.com.

    Hope these resources are helpful to you, Nee, and provide the guidance you need to get your little guy sleeping better throughout the night. Thanks for commenting, and let us know how your progress goes! 🙂

  7. Nee says

    My daughter used to fall asleep on the breast every night but by 14 months she had lost interest completely in feeding and slept awesome (slept great even before she stopped feeding) so there was never any problem. My son is now 14 months and his routine is dinner at 6 followed by bath, jarmies, watch whatever is left of the abc kids programs because he likes to say goodnight to them when it ends, a story and then feed. Once he has had enough he always pushes me away-doesn’t actually like to fall asleep on me. So pop him down and he tosses and turns a few minutes until he falls asleep. He then proceeds to wake and want feeds throughout the night-there’s no routine to when he wakes! Could be 20 mins or anything up to 5 hours.

  8. Lil says

    My daughter is 2.5 years old and we keep to the same nap and sleep routine but unfortunately the time varies widely. Her nap time varies from none at all to over two hours so the actual time of bedtime is always a mystery until we see what she does (or doesn’t do) for nap. She has a snack while I read to her, usually two or three books,then I nurse her, brush her teeth, sing a song, and put her into bed. That’s been our routine for over a year and a half. She won’t sleep unless I am sitting in the chair in her room and some nights she’s in there bouncing around in her crib for over two hours, but most nights it’s only an hour or so before she falls asleep. Most nights she can’t seem to fall asleep until at least 10 p.m., no matter what time we put her into bed. I like having the nightly routine because she doesn’t fight getting into bed anymore, but I do wish I didn’t have to sit in her room for hours every night until she decides to go to sleep.

  9. Deb says

    My 3.5yr old has dinner around 5-5.30pm, bath afterwards, then sits on the couch with some milk & listens to one or two short audio-books while reading along with the matching book. We call it storybook time, it’s great for helping him wind down a bit before bed. Then at 6.45 we go into his bedroom, read a story in bed, have a song & then lights out at 7pm. I breastfeed my 9mth old during storybook time, then put her into bed around 6.30-6.45pm, depending on how tired she is.

  10. Mary says

    Our son is almost 10 months old. He usually is up for about 2.5 to 3 hours at a time before it’s nap time/bedtime. So, it is easy to have a set time to statr our routine since nap times are fairly consistent throughout the day. We start with his solids at ~730pm, then a warm bath after, followed by a quick massage with Aquaphor, change into jammies and zip-up sleep sack, then one last breastfeed and he’s in bed asleep by 815-830. Sometimes he does fall asleep at the breast, but I try to put him in his crib before he falls asleep when he is just drowsy as I don’t want to create a sleep association with falling asleep at the breast. He does love his paci when falling asleep, but it so far hasn’t interfered too much in the middle of the night since he usually finds it himself unless it falls outside of the crib railings. He usually sleeps until ~5am when I breastfeed him again (doesn’t bother me at that time since I have to feed and/or pump then before work anyways) and he falls back asleep until 8am.