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When Your Co-Sleeping, Breastfed Child Wakes Up 800 Times a Night: What to Do

Katesurfsbabywakes

When my daughter was five months old, she started waking almost every hour looking for boob to put her back to sleep and I was beside myself. She had been sleeping so well up until then, but now her sleeping was fitful and feverish. I knew that all babies woke a little at night, but were they supposed to wake every hour for days and weeks and months in a row?! It wasn’t just developmental stuff or teething, it had to be something else…

This story may sound familiar to many mothers, especially if you are the co-sleeping and breastfeeding on demand type. I was (and still am) totally against using ‘cry it out‘ or sleep training in any way and I wasn’t about to stop co-sleeping or breastfeeding. But, I had to search for some sort of solution because waking up every hour just didn’t seem natural. Years later, after doing lots of research and reading, after doing natural parenting workshops, and after having other babies, and after some very nice nights of sleep, I have a list. Here is how to help get a co-sleeping, breastfed child to sleep better, while still keeping the very important, night-time connection and support that a child needs. I did not come up with this list from thin air, it’s all through my experience through researching and talking to other mothers.

1. Don’t Give Up on Co-sleeping or Breastfeeding!
Night time parenting is just as important as daytime parenting. If people are pressuring you to stop co-sleeping because you’re complaining of lack of sleep… just stop complaining to them, and complain to someone else who will listen with an open mind. Co-sleeping and breastfeeding on demand are topics that not everyone agrees on, so if you bring your problems to the wrong person, they may influence you to do something that you will regret later. Your child is only little once. Children gain a huge amount of security and trust by having a parent on call at night. You can leave your complaints with me if you have to. If co-sleeping is causing you anxiety, that’s different and maybe you should consider room sharing or some other situation.

(Numbers 2-5 are all very linked together!)

2. Feeding with Awareness
I discovered that every time my daughter would wake, I would quickly shove the boob back in her mouth to put her to sleep. I thought it was the only way to get her back to sleep! I felt like I had to change something, so I started doing a few things: 1) I started offering a cuddle for every other time she woke, instead of the boob every single time. Cutting down on feeds was a big relief to me! (note, a very young baby needs to feed frequently at night, so this is not advice for the wee little ones) 2) I shortened the length of the feed. This one was mainly because I was doing elimination communication at night, and I didn’t want to have her drinking too much, otherwise I would have to keep taking her to the potty all night! It seemed natural to do this, as I don’t think the cave people would have wanted to get out of bed three times a night to take their baby to the bushes to pee. 3) I started really paying attention to when she was truly in need of a feed… like, if she just had boobs an hour ago, did she really need them again?

3. Watch for Control Patterns
A control pattern is anything that a child does to repress an emotion. For example, sucking a thumb, using a dummy/pacifier, or constantly on the boob, even if they are not really hungry. Often a child uses a control pattern to help them fall asleep or in a situation when they are upset, nervous, or feel like they want to cry. What happens with night wakings and control patterns, is that every time a child wakes at night, they need their control habit to get them back to sleep without crying. It’s not that thumb sucking, using a dummy/pacifier or breastfeeding to sleep is bad, but if it’s used primarily to get them to sleep, then it is certainly a control pattern. To help with control patterns, here’s the next point.

4. Make Sure Your Child is Allowed to Freely Express Their Negative Emotions Throughout the Day
Almost every baby gets cranky at some point during the day for no apparent reason. Or, if the child is older, they might hurt themselves or get upset. The most automatic reaction we have is to stop them from crying. We either use distractions, words or motion (rocking, bouncing) to make them stop crying. Or, we give them some food, a dummy/pacifier, etc. And, we try sticking the boob in their mouth to stop them from crying. Distracting or stopping a child from expressing his or her emotions is something that works short term, but can back fire later on in the form of restlessness, aggression or relentless whining. Crying is a natural process and helps children to release the stress that occurs from day to day living. Unfortunately, in our society, we portray crying as bad or as something being ‘wrong‘, but this is not the case with emotional crying. Emotional crying is an amazing built-in healing mechanism for relieving stress. Some babies and toddlers need to cry more than others.

Of course, we want to lessen the chances of our babies getting frustrated, but nobody lives in a perfect world and upsets happen. If you have done everything possible to keep your baby or toddler happy and they are still border line tantrum, let them have the tantrum!!! You might find that they cry much harder and longer than necessary (for example, crying because you give them the wrong cup). The tantrum ‘over nothing‘ is an excuse for them to get their emotions out. You know how you feel after a good cry? Your baby or toddler will feel the same. Even young babies benefit from a cry in a pair of loving arms. Be sure to support their crying and never make them feel bad for releasing their emotions in a natural way. Releasing their negative emotions during the day, will help them to have a more peaceful sleep at night.

5. Don’t Think You Always Have to Feed To Sleep
I remember sitting there for AGES while my little one sucked and sucked so that I could get her to sleep and I started feeling quite a bit of resentment because of it. When I stopped associating boobs with falling asleep, she slept tremendously better. Countless other mothers report the same thing. Boobs can be for boobs and boobs don’t always have to be for falling asleep on. It really saved my sanity to do it that way. It’s not to say that you should never feed to sleep as a strict rule! If it happens easily, then great. But, if it’s not happening easily, it could mean that they are in need of a big stress release in the form of a cry in your arms. Be relaxed about it and your child will also feel relaxed about it. It was nice when I stopped worrying if my kids would fall asleep on the boob or not.

If your child is used to having boobs to bed, they are probably going to cry if you don’t offer them for sleep. This crying should be supported and will help them to release their pent up emotions of the day. You might find that they cry a lot and this is a very normal process of releasing stress for them. It’s important not to abandon your child while they are crying. If you feel that you can’t handle the emotional releasing, then maybe it’s not time for you to give up the feed to sleep, maybe try it when they’re older. I always found that on the nights my kids DID NOT fall asleep on the boob, and instead had a big cry in my arms, they always slept considerable better, as in 10x better. I fed them just before bed time instead.

5. Exercise
How much exercise does a child need? A LOT! Never underestimate how much exercise they need. Even babies need a fair amount of exercise, they can get this just by kicking, rolling around on the floor, climbing and crawling, etc. Older toddlers need to really run and climb a fair bit. If you’re stuck inside a lot, see if you can find ways to give your child of plenty of exercise indoors, playing games, dancing, rolling balls, etc. On days when my kids have had an enormous amount of exercise, they almost always sleep like a rock.

7. Keep them Dry
One big reason why babies wake at night is simply because they are wet. Even disposables can’t always mask the coldness that goes along with being wet. I practiced night time elimination communication with my kids and found that they always would stir right before they had to pee. Of course, not everyone is going to jump out of bed to take their kid to the potty in the middle of the night, but it’s something to keep in mind as to why they are waking. Another reason to reduce the frequency and duration of feeds at night is to also reduce the amount of pees that they do!

8. Watch the Diet
You don’t need to go crazy with it, but see if there are certain foods that make your child stay awake. My younger daughter is extremely sensitive to raw cacao! When she was a baby and she was heavily breastfed, even if I ate the cacoa, she was up squirming all night because it was being transferred through my breastmilk! Now that she’s older, if she eats it at night, we almost always have a restless night.

9. Ask Your Partner for Help
Sometimes it’s all just too much for us to handle. I sometimes would feed my babies and hand them over to my husband for him to cuddle them to sleep. Man, oh man, would they cry! But, they were in dad’s loving arms, and I knew they were safe. The crying was releasing a huge amount of stress from their system and afterwards, they always slept peacefully for a long time.

10. Consider Age Appropriate Night Weaning
A gradual approach to night weaning is best. I started around 8 months and finished night time feeding around 20-22 months. Night weaning simply means you stop feeding at night. And, night weaning may mean different things for different people. It may happen at different ages too, whenever you feel that it is right (with the exception of young babies who need to feed at night). Often, babies and toddlers start sleeping much better at night when they are partially or fully night weaned. This one can be tricky though if you are a working mother and you don’t get the chance to feed many times during the day. So, be mindful of your situation.

11. Avoid TV and screen time right before bed
Screen time, especially TV is not really recommended for children under the age of two anyway, but sometimes it happens! Make sure that the last thing they are doing before bed is not in front of a screen, it stimulates their nervous system too much and can make it difficult for them to sleep.

12. Self Care
Be sure to take care of yourself. Don’t go to bed too late, eat proper food, get a little exercise each day and get some kid-free time off at least once a week or so, even if it’s only an hour. Night wakings are always worse when you’re not taking care of yourself!

I hope these ideas work for you!

Disclaimer: I am not a lactation consultant. All baby’s needs should be taken into consideration, especially if they are sick or have special needs. Very young babies should never be night weaned and should be fed on demand, with awareness.

About katesurfs

Kate is an American living in Australia with her husband and two young children. She holds a Masters of Educational Practice and is a high school science teacher by profession, but mostly she stays at home with her children. She is a yoga and meditation teacher, trained through the Art of Living Foundation, a surfer, a vegetarian, and healthy conscious. She is an Aware Parenting Instructor, as well as a Know Your Child Teacher.

199 Responses »

  1. Hi and thanks for your info. We have a 9 month old who is nursing all night long and often is just wide awake for no reason at all. It’s killing me as I also have a 2 and almost 4 year old to care for aswell. Leo is the only one I have managed to successfully bf hence my reasons for feeding on demand. He cries hysterically if my hisband tries to rock or cuddle him to sleep. I also have a tendancy to cuddle him the instant he cries lol which would probably explain the need for him to release more tension by crying more often.
    My question is.. how to stop the bf at night and get him to sleep longer than an hour at a time. He’s also a day napper.
    Should i get hubby to rock him more often and offer the boob less?
    Obviously letting him cry more in the day with me holding him.
    I’ve never agreed with CIO or sleep training but do feel at times like this attachment route has given us 3 night wakers and it is quite tiring.
    Thanks 😉

    Reply
    • Same here Catherine. Have you tried this website. http://violetsleepbabysleep.com It’s gentle sleep training. It’s been a life saver for us. We still practice attachment parenting, but now have two amazing sleepers.

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    • Hi! Oh, I so hear how tired you must be of the constant waking! I highly recommend reading the cook ‘Tears and Tantrums’ by Aletha Souter. She talks about crying and about the control patterns. I think if you can ask yourself the question at night is he hungry… or does he just need boob to get back to sleep… and if you can handle some crying in that moment, and he isn’t really hungry, then let him have a release.

      Reply
  2. My daughter is 10 months old and has never in her life slept more than 2 hours at a time and that is on a good night. She had really bad reflux then at 6 months grew out of it but still wakes every hour! It has gotten worse and worse as she’s gotten older. We have seen an actual sleep doctor who didn’t listen to a word I said and kept telling me I was wrong to have chosen to breastfeed and cosleep and I need to do Ferber (I tried Ferber for 3 weeks out of desperation and it didn’t work. She literally stayed up 3 weeks straight and screamed all freaking night non stop) and when I told him over and over I had he just ignored me, the gi doctor said she’s good, the allergist said she’s good. It’s not medical. Her pedi said she is the most high needs strong willed baby she has ever seen. If I don’t give her the boob she will scream bloody murder even with me holding her the whole time kicking and punching me until I give in. Nothing will stop her. She can and will literally scream allllllllllllllll night nonstop!! I mean hysterics scream like I’m torturing her. She’s not hungry she just wants to fall asleep on the boob. How can I wean night feelings and get her away from boob equals sleep. My husband is useless and no help at all. It’s just me alone in this.

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  3. I tried the Ferber method for 3 nights with my daughter when she was 7 months, she became so hysterical that she threw up all over herself and crib and her face became blotchy red and purple and she didn’t want to come near me for two days. I swore to myself “never again”. Her pediatrician told me that she must have a sleeping disorder because I am an insomniac so it must be my fault(stfu buddy), even after I explained to him that my sleeping troubles started after traumas inflicted years later in my life. I decided at 8 months that I would no longer torture myself with conflicting schools of thought regarding babies and sleep, the conflict between the so called “good baby” who sleeps through the night and my supposedly “troubled bad baby” that wants to nurse on demand all night long. Once I removed all the websites and advice of people that don’t agree with what I feel in my heart is right for my child, my babies sleep routine became comfortable for me. Granted I’m exhausted all the time and some nights I want to rip all my hair out and put my sleeping husbands face through a wall but when I look down at her beautiful face I remind myself that she will only be a baby like this for a short period of time and then I will never have this time again All babies are different, and obviously some of us have babies that need our comfort more than others. When I judge myself and lose confidence in my parenting by questioning my cosleeping and breastfeeding on demand all night long I always return to the kellymom website for comfort.
    http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/comfortnursing/

    Reply
    • I think it’s also important for the mother to take her own needs into consideration too. Resentment over constant night wakings and breastfeeding can take its toll on you too. I highly recommend reading that book, “Tears and Tantrums”. You can still co-sleep, breastfeed and all that, while getting much better sleep.

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  4. http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/comfortnursing/

    Read for comfort and to know you are not alone and not losing your mind!!

    Reply
    • It is true that feeding creates comfort, but this article addresses something called a control pattern. In which, the child cannot fall asleep and is suppressing emotions because of that control pattern (in this case, the feeding to sleep).

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  5. I agree with you about the control pattern. I understand that by allowing our babies to nurse on demand throughout the night creates comfort nursing but what I was trying to say is personally and for myself only, I have become comfortable with this. I say this because I don’t want anyone to feel that what i am saying is judgemental at all. Everyone must do what works for them. When I say anything I am speaking for what I am comfortable with with regards to my three children, 13, 11 and 11 months that all breastfed. I am a historian/teacher and from extensive research regarding women’s studies and cultural anthropology, the US and developed countries have become accustomed to expecting babies to conform to our adult schedules instead of us attempting to adjust to what might b natural for each individual baby, which is much more prevalent in under developed countries. We have the mental acuity to make adjustments such as these, which a baby does not possess. In my own family particularly, several women believe in formula feeding and that breastfeeding is “disgusting” and creates a needy child, (purely generational because they were raising babies during a time when formula feeding was celebrated and breastfeeding was considered “low class”. I do not agree with this. What I find interesting about the Kelly mom article is that people believe that babies will never learn to fall asleep on their own if they breastfeed on demand and throughout the night. There are particular examples addressed that have been true with my own babies. For example, the babies beginning to pull away when not fully asleep and falling asleep on their own as opposed to with my breast in their mouth.. This has been especilLy true my last child. Little by little she reaches these detachment milestones that a few months ago, I believed would never happen. I read the article to remind me that all babies are different and eventually the baby will begin to detach and not need to breastfeed to fall asleep or stay asleep and before we know it they are teenagers and want to pretend they don’t know us to be cool around their friends lol. I enjoy rereading articles such as yours and things written by Dr Sears and the Kelly mom article because they reassure me for what I am doing with my own child. Avoiding CIO, allowing my daughter to nurse when she wants to and giving her the comfort she desires that builds trust, even when I miss more sleep that a person that does employ such methods.

    Reply
    • Yes, every baby is different. It’s crazy the expectations that society places on a baby to fall asleep independently. I think the tolerance level of every mother is different too… some women can go on no sleep for a few years and be ok with it. Others get resentful to the point of wanting to wean and do cry it out, or they get very sick and burnt out and desperate… so if it gets to that point, there’s no harm in setting some loving limits on the night time boobs. Especially if it’s a toddler. My girls are 3 1/2 and 6 and they sleep so well at night, now I’m the one waking up!!! It does all pass, but when you’re going through the constant night wakings, it can feel like it will never end.

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    • Hi there Makaela, I found your perspective and suggestions to be very intriguing. I’m still breastfeeding my almost 10 month old through the night and it’s been tough, to say the least. I love breastfeeding but sometimes it really takes a lot out of me. Feeling like I’ve reached the end of my patience in this area, I’ve been considering sleep training (we co-sleep) and encouraging her ability to sleep on her own. However, there have been a couple times this month where as you stated above, she’s showed signs of reaching “detachment milestones.” For instance, detaching from my breast and falling asleep on her own. Now, I’m reconsidering the sleep training. I’m just a bit confused now on what to do. Please help :/

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      • Hi Betina,

        HONESTLY! I am still working on it with my daughter. She is 18 months now and I recently went back to school for my Masters in education and teaching credential online. I really need time to study and it is very difficult to focus when I have to come in to nurse again whenever she wakes up. I have been considering Dr. Gordon’s night weaning. I have began transitioning her from our room to her toddler bed to go to sleep. I am so small that I fit on her bed, so I lay down with her for bedtime, nurse her and she goes to sleep. I turn on her soft music and night light and she now sleeps for a good 3-5 hours without needing to nurse again. Little by little she is sleeping longer and longer without me. I think that just being out of our room has helped a lot too. It’s quieter, we aren’t moving the bed and jolting her awake, etc. If u r really ready to move forward. I would check out Dr. Gordon’s night weaning. Many nursing mothers recommended it on my smart mom app and it is a gentle way of night weaning lo. I hope this helps!:-)

        http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html

  6. Yes that is very true. I found myself feeling much more resentful with my last child, probably because I’m much older now, so going with no sleep feels like it’s taking a greater toll. It was weird though, I adjusted my perspective and the way I was thinking about the situation and it has become easier for me. I completely agree that if a mother is struggling to the point of chaos that adjustments must be made in order to maintain balance and sanity;-)

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  7. This was a great, informative read. Thank you! My baby will be 5 months old in a week, and she is now finally falling asleep without nursing (but with pacifier, which she spits out once she falls asleep). I am also able to pit her down when she falls asleep, thanks to what I learned from the book The No Cry Nap Solution. The problem is at naptime, she wakes up after 30 to 45 mins and then will only go back to sleep if I lie with her and let her stay latched on to my breast for her entire nap (which can be up to 2 hours, 2 to 3 times per day). I don’t mind doing this at night, because we cosleep. But I’m at my wit’s end with naps. I can’t take showers, cook, clean, etc during the day.. which also means baby and I are never ready to go anywhere. When she is awake, that’s when I eat, check email, look up stuff on the computer or my phone, etc.. and I’m not giving her the attention she needs when she is awake. She was a social baby, but now is scared of people even looking at her, because we are inside all day isolated and she sees no one. NO one. Her dad is great, but he works during the week and only sees her for an hour in the morning or while we’re all sleeping. I think the “control pattern” issue makes perfect sense for my baby. She doesn’t seem very happy anymore. If you have any advice, please help. She’s a mess if her naps are missed or short, so I do want her to get her naps. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi! I would highly recommend reading that book, “Tears and Tantrums”, it sounds like she has some big emotions to release. The fact that she’s only making it through one sleep cycle is a sign that she has pent up emotions that are a result of the control pattern. You can also come up with new ideas so that you can cook and take showers. Do you have a ring sling, or a baby carrier? She can watch you do all the household chores, you don’t have to entertain her when she’s awake. Babies love watching what you have to do. They’re naturally curious. Also, have you thought about joining a natural parenting mothers group? There’s not need to isolate yourself because of her naps. If you relax about her sleep, it will be easier. She can sleep in the car, or sleep in the baby carrier/stroller so that at least you can get out of the house. I hope that helps 🙂 I can also do a Skype consultation if you need more help.

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  8. Hi! I read your post a few weeks ago, and also ordered the book you recommend above, “Tears and Tantrums”. Unfortunately, it’s been tax season, and I’m an accountant, so I haven’t actually read much of the thing yet! The busy-ness might also be a contributing factor to my daughter’s restless sleeping. She is 9 months old, and slept 6-8 hours straight from about 8 weeks old until about 6 months old. Then she started waking up every 1-2 hours to nurse. We co-sleep and nurse on demand, at least when I am with her, which is usually every evening, night and 3-4 days a week during the day. When I’m working she is either with my husband (if he’s off work) or with my parents and eats PLENTY of solid food and gets a bottle of pumped milk to fall asleep to nap. Since reading your post a dew weeks ago, I have sporadically tried letting her cry herself out while holding and supporting her, and it works sometimes. Other times she just works herself up to the point I’m afraid she is going to make herself sick! How long is normal for her to cry before falling asleep? Again, I am holding her the whole time, singing or making soothing noises, patting her back, etc. Sometimes she calms down, others she will kick and fight and flail around for a good 40 minutes. Someone who posted recently mentioned “detachment benchmarks” or something along those lines, such as pulling away from the boob just before falling asleep, and she has been doing that occasionally for a few weeks now. I’m also not sure what to do when she wakes up and starts to cry if I don’t give her the boob. I try cuddling first, rubbing her belly or stroking her head, holding her, but she usually just gets angry until I let her nurse. Is this something you experienced? If so, how did you deal with it? Not as big a deal on the nights when my husband and I don’t work the next day, but that’s only once or twice a week that we are both off. When we do work, it’s usually longer hours (10-12 hours) so that we can have more days off in between to care for her, so letting her cry for a long time multiple times a night is WAY more frustrating than simply waking up long enough to nurse her back to sleep. I have read in other places that a schedule can help, or a routine for bedtime, what are your thoughts on that? We don’t have much of a schedule, and our routine consists of changing her, bringing her upstairs to the bedroom with the lights very low, and nursing to sleep. So far, we have been operating under the idea of bringing her with us everywhere, getting her used to our lifestyle, and that means we don’t always put her to bed at the same time, she usually goes to bed with me whenever I go. Usually around 8:30-9:30, but sometimes earlier after a sleepless night or later if there’s something we are doing in the evening. Sometimes she will fall asleep while we are away from home if we stay out past 9:00. She can sleep just about anywhere, even with lots of background noise, so it’s strange to me that she has trouble staying asleep at home. We usually have a fan or space heater running in our room for white noise, but maybe I should add something more? She’s usually a very happy baby, except when she’s tired and wants the boob! Any advice would be helpful, I am going to try to be more consistent with applying your advice above now that tax season is over and I’m back to part-time hours. Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Hi! Sorry I’ve taken so long to get back. I don’t think you need to fuss much about routine bedtimes, unless it’s something that you feel you need in order to maintain sanity. For some people, it’s less stress to keep bed time flexible, depending what’s been happening. The thing with the feeding to sleep is something that should be addressed when you’re not exhausted from work. When you have time and when you really feel like you can deal with the crying. If you’re happy feeding to sleep, and want to continue, then just go with it. But, if she’s having a restless sleep, yes, then might want to have a read of that book and see where that takes you. I would avoid using white noise. It’s another control pattern and I wonder if it truly lets the brain get deep rest. When babies and children have a lot of pent up emotions, sometimes they can cry for quite a long time. 45 minutes even sometimes! I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

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  9. Hi!! My LO is about to be 11 months old. We co sleep and room share. Mainly co sleep. She wakes up all night to nurse!! Which I would be fine with if I wasn’t a full time student and a mom of 2 other children. i am getting very tired and at times a little frustrated. I put her down to bed at 8 or 830. Then I try to stay up studying but I find that she is waking up within an hour to nurse and again in another hour. I didn’t nurse my other 2 so this is very different for me. She takes at least 2 naps during the day and I have tried to skip or shorten the afternoon nap, but that is a DISASTER. Lol Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to get her to sleep more through the night?????

    Reply
    • Hi! Oh, you must have a lot of patience! I would highly recommend reading that book, “Tears and Tantrums”. She talks all about the things you can do. Usually when they wake up like that right after you put them to bed, it’s all about the pent up emotions coming out, so it has a lot to do with crying. When you try and get them to skip a nap, thinking that will make them sleep better, they end up being even more restless at night because of all the over tiredness. That happens to us sometimes, ah, it’s annoying. Best of luck, read that book, I really feel it will help.

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  10. Hi my baby is 9 months and he uses my breast as a pacifer the whole night i want to stop sometimes but its hard i dont know if should stop or just be okay with it.

    Reply
    • Try reading the book, “Tears and Tantrums” or “The Aware Baby” Both by Aletha Solter, I think you will find your answers there 🙂

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  11. Hello,
    Please can you help me! I hate the cry it out method and I spent $1000 on sleep training and here I am, cosleeping and breast feeding on demand my 14 month old daughter. My husband is no help as he is into the cry it out and he thinks im insane and crazy for having her in the bed with me. I asked him to sleep in the spare room since she was 8 months because he couldn’t handle her night waking.

    I nap 2 naps a day with her and at night and I breastfeed her to sleep. (Sometimes she fights her second nap)She wakes up almost every hour for boobs. I’m so exhausted, I get no sleep and I’m struggling to keep my husband happy making him dinner and I havent had any intimate relations with my husband in over a year plus. I really don’t know how to fix this situation. Now she’s rolling around a lot on my bed, and my bed is very high so I really need to get her in her crib sleeping for safety issues. I get nothing done because im always laying down with her. Her bed time is usually 7 pmish and im with her from then till the morning in my bed.

    We conceived her through ivf and would like another child but the doctor told me I have to stop breast feeding 2 months before we transfer the embryo we are scheduled for September so that means I have to stop in July and I really don’t know how to go about doing this I am really stressed out and feeling pressure as I am 39 years old. Could you please help me? I have noone to turn to. We decided that I would stay home to raise our daughter, I feel so helpless.

    Reply
    • Hi Debbie,
      I’m happy to help. I’m a certified aware parent consultant. Do you want to do a consultation? Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost $1000 or even close There are many people out there that understand your situation… In the meantime, can you make some changes? Can you put your bed on the floor so you don’t have to worry about her falling out? Can you read a book called, “Tears and Tantrums” I think you’ll find that book really helps you understand the control patterns that your daughter has fallen into. You don’t have to give up the co-sleeping or the breastfeeding, but you need to get some sleep. Also, there is very little evidence to prove that breastfeeding while trying to conceive will prevent a pregnancy… although, if you’re using IVF, perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to gradually wean. But, you can do it gradually and with sensitivity.

      Reply
  12. Sorry I should have mentioned that I actually do enjoy breast feeding our daughter and I love the connection but not every hour.
    I feel like im battling myself trying to figure out what is right and best for her.

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  13. Great article! My youngest is 2 years 4 months, and he is night-weaned, although still has a morning feed any time from 5am (depending on when he wakes). The tricky thing for us is staying asleep as he nurses at bedtime and then wakes 2 or 3 hours later, which is normally earlier than I want to go to bed (there’s too much to do!). He doesn’t want milk, he just wants me to be there and give him a cuddle, and if my husband goes he is barely allowed in the room and my youngest goes crazy. I know it’s all a phase, and we went through this with my eldest and he doesn’t wake much now and just appears in the night when he wants to, but it would be nice if my husband was at least allowed to settle my youngest. I presume he wakes because he’s looking for me and I’m not there. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • I highly advise reading the book called ‘Tears and Tantrums’ that explains a lot the crying, etc. Hope that helps 🙂

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  14. Love this, thank you!!!!

    Reply
  15. I have a 9 month old who is constantly up throughout the night. We are still breastfeeding and I feed on demand. She most usually doesn’t nap at all during the day. When I say this I mean she may sleep a total of an hour from 9 am to 9 pm. I work full time and am exhausted. I don’t know what else to do. My husband blames me for creating the monster that will now not self soothe and keeps both of us up all night. I need any suggestions

    Reply
    • Oh dear… Yes, you can ready the book “tears and tantrums’ by Aletha Solter, straight away. That should help. When babies have restless sleep like that, it’s usually because they have pent up frustrations. You’re not doing anything wrong, you don’t need to do cry it out or anything like that. You can also do a Skype consultation with me if you would like and we can talk about what to do. Lots of love.

      Reply
  16. Hi, I have an 8th month old boy, we have been co-sleeping pretty much since he was born, he has always preferred mum over any other surface. but lately it has just got out of control. He sleeps on me, next to me, crunched all over me and still wakes up screaming several times at night. He has done it on the past, different reasons every time ( went through wanting to eat lots, to teeth, eczema,etc). we have been to doctors, bought every single hippie drop available at the organic shop, went pass that, gave him every single drug ( pamol, bonjela, whatever the wind drop one is called) and honestly lately nothing works. His napping wasn’t too bad ( on the pram that is, cot doesn’t work or mum’s chest) but now he just resist napping, and resist sleeping. We have had a sleeping routine for ever and it all goes well until the sun sets and you try to put him on a flat surface. I just don’t know what to do. To me it doesn’t seem natural to let him cry his heart out. ( he did that last night, it was the first time,i just couldn’t handle it anymore and he just didnt stop crying and even when trying to comfort him he just wouldn’t stop. I got told to take drastic measurements, put his be in another room ( not attached to ours) and leave him there… am so desperate but at the same time I keep finding logic reasons to do it and not to do it…the reality is that it just can not go on any longer. Any ideas?

    Reply
    • Oh, it’s really hard. I would highly recommend reading the book ‘Tears and Tantrums’. It talks about the crying. Generally, when they sleep very restlessly like that, it’s because they have some very big emotions that need to come out (crying). It is ok to let him cry, so long as his needs have been met and someone is either holding or right next to him. Afterwards, he will have a much more peaceful sleep. Sometimes they can cry for a long time if they haven’t been able to release their emotions. Crying in our children unlocks painful memories of our own past, but it’s important to remember that he’s also venting his frustrations. Hope that helps <3

      Reply
  17. My baby is the same! She is almost 11 months and we have to bounce her for 10-20 min then lay her down connected to my boob. she will need me to lay next to her connected for about 45min to a hour and then I can sneak out and she will wake up within an hour or two I go and lay back down with her try and cuddle but she pushes and squirms until I give her my boob so I give in and pretty much sleep with her connected to me and every couple hours have to switch sides how long will this last??

    Reply
    • I highly recommend reading that book, “Tears and tantrums” it talks about control patters (boob in mouth) and how to deal with them.

      Reply
  18. Dickhead!

    Reply
  19. Thank you thank you thank you. This article changed my life.

    Reply
  20. Thank you thank you thank you!! You changed my life. I am sleeping!!! I’m sharing this article all over the place. Really from the bottom of my heart, thank you. <3

    Reply
  21. Great article! Thank you so much!
    I love your natural approach and was wondering if you could lend me a bit more specific advice…
    Our boy is 7 months old and we’ve been cosleeping from the get go ~ and love doing so!
    We’ve recently upgraded to a giant sidecar/cosleeper as he quickly grew out of his Babybay-Maxi and only needed to roll over once and he’d be at my side, whether intentionally or not… I figured he was waking/nursing so much at night due to the close proximity of my breasts 😉 If I were him, I’d do the same if I had big milky breasts in my face all night (the equivalent of me trying to sleep in a bakery)!
    Now despite the changes, I find that (still) as soon as I get in bed he’s all over the boobs ~ latching on every 2-3 hours for a quick fix of mommy milk! In the timeframe before I go to bed (sometimes up to 5 hours), he will sleep soundly ~ awaking only every so often and quickly soothing himself back to sleep no-fuss… That all ends as soon as I join him!
    No I’m thinking we’d both be getting better sleep if I let him sleep alone (and just joined him for the occasional night waking/nurse)…
    I wish we could keep co-sleeping AND find a solution for the constant nursing.
    I’m starting to feel like we’re both being robbed of our sleep.
    I should add that we’re blessed with a very cheerful, easygoing chap ~ also wonderfully independent. We are very much “baby-led” and allow for free expression of all emotions. Most nights (and naps!), I’ll nurse him till snoozy then leave the room for him to settle to sleep all on his own 🙂
    I truly can’t complain! But… I am getting veeeeeeeery tired after 7 months of never sleeping longer than 4 hours at a time (even if to just switch sides with the wee one and drift back to sleep)…
    What would you suggest?
    I’m thinking of staying on the couch tonight and seeing how he does sans mama… But I hate to think it could be the end of our co-sleeping family!
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • I think the common ‘remedy’ is for people to tell you to stop co sleeping… but young children really do benefit from that closeness at night. I highly recommend reading that book, “Tears and Tantrums”. You can easily continue co-sleeping, but you need to set some loving limits. Generally, when babies wake that frequently, they have some emotions to be released (in the form of crying). Always falling asleep on the boob can repress those emotions. Also, something you might want to try is going to bed earlier, before 10 (if you’re not already). Then you won’t feel so tired. hope that helps 🙂

      Reply
      • Yes thank you 🙂 What a speedy reply! I really appreciate it.
        By setting loving limits, I suppose I would try limiting the amount of time he spends on my boob (how often we nurse) at night ~ instead holding, cuddling, letting him express himself…
        I suspect he’ll have something to say about me not getting my boob out at each occasion 😉 And that’s ok!
        Its easy to get into that habit when cosleeping ~ most of the time we’re nursing on auto-pilot!
        It’s gotten hard for me to imagine lying close to him WITHOUT him taking every opportunity to latch on, which is why my bedtime has gotten later and later ~ rather than earlier! Of course this only contributes to my fatigue.
        The logic behind that being the longer I stay out of bed, the more uninterrupted (boobless) sleep he gets (and the more grown-up/me time I get)… That’s how I came to the conclusion we’d both sleep *better* apart 😔
        Do you think maybe my presence simply reminds him of needed comfort (currently in the form of nursing) and that’s why he sleeps so well UNTIL I get in bed?
        As I mentioned, he’s quite the champion napper on his own.
        Thank you for encouraging us to not give up on cosleeping so quickly!
        I’m ordering the book you recommended and very much looking forward to its arrival (will take a few weeks as I’m living abroad).

      • It’s hard to say exactly why he starts waking up more frequently when you come to bed… some people do prefer sleeping seperate from their babies. But, by seperate, you could maybe just have him in a bed or something near your bed. That way, you’re there, but not right next to him? To me, that never worked because I liked having my babies right next to me! It sounds like you’ve got a good idea on what to do with the loving limits. It takes a little bit of time, especially getting used to the crying he might do when you say no to boob every couple hours. Read the book and I think it will make a big difference! In the meantime, try and space out the feeds, maybe offering a cuddle for every other feed, instead of the boob. But, only when you feel like you can handle the protest 🙂

  22. How did you decide to start night weaning at 8 months? How did you feel it was the right time for you? My baby is 7 months and I’m lucky if I get 3 hours straight sleep at night. Whenever she makes it to 4 I feel like singing halleeffinlujah. Are there signs we should watch for to decide when a baby can already handle night weaning?

    Reply
    • I think when you feel the night waking is excessive, then it probably is time. A gradual approach is best. Like I said in my post, I started very gradually night weaning at 8 months and didn’t night wean completely until about 18-20 months!

      Reply
  23. I like these ideas, i really appreciate this bc even my MIL who Co slept with her 6 kids couldn’t give me any advice (shocking!).

    How is emotional releasing really all that different from letting them cry it out? The only difference i see is that you’re holding them while they cry. But they seem the same in that the reason they’re crying is you’re not doing the thing they want (rather than they’re just crabby).

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Countless studies have been done. Cortisol (stress) hormone is released when a child is left to cry it out. When a child cries with the loving support of a carer, they release those emotions without accumulating any stress of being abandoned, etc. Does that make sense? I highly recommend reading “Tears and Tantrums” by Aletha Solter, the book is amazing, studied backed with all that information.

      Reply
  24. Help!!! My baby boy is 7 1/2 months old and wants to comfort nurse all the time and he just seems to be getting more addicted to the boob ! I don’t know if it’s because he’s been teething for the last month or what ! But it’s giving me anxiety and making me stressed ! Even my working husband tries to help and most the time he can get him to sleep but now he whimpers on and off in this half sleep stuff!

    Reply
  25. Hi!
    Really enjoyed this article. After a bout of colds for us both, I went back to cosleeping and feeding on demand with my 18 week old.

    Feeling a bit nervous about returning to what we were working on before (having dad comfort when I know he’d had enough to eat, not always nursing to sleep – again, when I know he was already well fed, having him back in the crib with me sleeping in a nearby bed for 2nd half of night). All this was done in the interest of me getting more sleep and being better available to him during the day (I’m lucky to be off for a year).

    We struggle with naps no longer than a sleep cycle, unless in the stroller. I don’t feel physically capable of wearing him for long periods and since 4 month changes, haven’t experienced much success with transferring him (from carrier to crib/bed).

    Wondering if the guidelines in this article are applicable to a 4.5 month old. Would I be best to wait or is this an appropriate time to be developing better habits.

    Just to clarify, a typical night involves nursing every 4 hours. He takes 3-4 naps a day, usually around 40min in length. Seems happy and healthy for the most part.

    Reply
  26. This is so insightful! I wish I had thought to look this up sooner. I think I haven’t been letting my baby cry and it could be why he is restless and wants boob to relax every hour!

    Reply
  27. I have a 19 mo we’ve been co-sleeping since he was 6 months. I didn’t want him to fall asleep on my boobs or use them as a pacifier, it just sorta happened. He goes through cycles were he sleeps longer 2-3 hrs non stop (ha!) but now he is back to every hour and wakes up crying, before he would just look for the boob w/out crying. I don’t know if he is too attached to me, but he is a strong willed child, when i try to cuddle him to sleep he is not having it. My husband needs to sleep uninterrupted and I’m desperate for sleep sometimes i don’t even trust myself to drive and is even affecting my memory.

    Reply
  28. My daughter is 1 now, and we’re having the hardest time, we didn’t even want to co sleep with our second baby! 🙁 She forced us to co sleep. I am so exhausted from the night time feedings every hour, so I’m definitely going to try these tips…If they work, you will forever be my hero! Lol

    Reply
  29. Hi, I don’t know if anyone will reply but I think it will help to just get my toddler sleep issues out. My daughter is 22 months and we are about to start the night weaning process. She wakes crying every hour for the breast and immediately falls asleep again. It has been this way since about 3 months old and it’s not working for me anymore. I’ve also just found out I’m pregnant and I can’t grow a little person on such broken sleep. I read somewhere that the gentlest way to night wean is to allow the toddler to nurse to sleep and again in the morning; just offering water and cuddles during the night. My issue is that often she won’t fall asleep anymore while nursing, even if she’s had a quiet evening in. Instead she nurses from one boob to the next, switching frequently and then winds up getting a second wind and massively overtired. I feel awful for having gotten this far without understanding her sleep needs. I’m totally with you that sometimes children just need to express themselves through crying, but I’m confused whether I should give her the option to nurse to sleep, or wean her from nursing to sleep at all. Any encouraging replies are appreciated. Thanks. Niki

    Reply
    • HI! I hear that you’re tired and needing rest! I found out I was pregnant with my second right around the time my first was 19 months. It was then that I night weaned her and it was then that she started sleeping through the night. I highly recommend reading that book, “Tears and Tantrums” It explains a lot about crying and how to allow children to express their emotions. She will cry when you night wean, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t be there to listen to her frustrations. Although it seems hard, night weaning is a short term inconvenience that usually means you’ll get some decent rest soon.

      Reply
    • Oh, to add to that, I would stop associated boob with falling to sleep. That will really help her sleep better as she will probably have some big emotional releases.

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for replying. 🌷Would you say the same for daytime naps too?

      • Yes! Nursing to sleep has become her control pattern. It’s not to say have to wean altogether or to break your special bond, but if she’s that restless, it’s usually a sign of repressed emotions.

  30. Everyone just stick to what you are doing, you are all doing great! I have a 6 year old and a 6 month old. My 6 year old slept in my bed for first 6 months, woke every 1-2hours for a feed and then suddenly at 6 months fell asleep on his own, sleeping in 6-8 hour stretches. I did nothing to encourage this! it was an amazing shock! I then put him in his own cot and found he slept better, It all happened so suddenly.

    HOWEVER, my 6 month old wakes every 45mins-1hour at night and I am exhausted. I have done nothing differently then the first, so now I understand that all the advice and books that tell you to ‘cry-it-out’ etc are rubbish.

    Did nothing differently both times and my conclusion is they all develop differently and you can only encourage them to sleep better, sleep training won’t work.

    Now I just need to wait for my new little one to sleep better, I expect I will be exhausted for the next couple of years!

    And thank you for the tips! I am going to try them with my 6 month old to try and encourage longer stretches of sleep than 45mins!!

    Reply
  31. Thank you very much for this post, I feel like it going to help me a lot to gently wean my daughter of 2 years. The problem is: we all cosleep (my hsuband, and our 2 daughters of 2y and 4years old) so how can I let the youngest one wean and let out her repressed emotions, without waking the other ones in the room?) thank you for your advice!

    Reply
    • I found that once the family is used to crying, the older ones actually sleep through while the younger one cries! But, if that doesn’t happen, you just have to see what you can manage.
      Perhaps take her in the other room? Or maybe allow her to get enough crying throughout the day. Generally a big cry/release before bed can really help with the sleep and for that one, it’s ok if the big one is awake.

      Reply
  32. I found this very useful, thank you.

    Reply
  33. Victoria Autumn Van Ness

    Thank you!!! I would love some tips on putting two cosleeping breastfeeding babies to bed. What does that look like? A toddler and a newborn.

    Reply
  34. Victoria Autumn Van Ness

    I guess I was thinking more like bedtimes, routines like brushing teeth and reading stories (especially since the books for one wouldn’t be the right level books for the other), night waking and keeping one from waking the other…..etc.

    Reply
    • Oh, I see. I think the thing to remember is to be flexible and know that the needs of your children will change rapidly, so if something does or doesn’t work for a while, knownthat you should change it or know that it won’t work forever. If that helps any!

      Reply
  35. You are amazing. Super helpful

    Reply
  36. Mehtap Ak Sisman

    Hi Kate, I would like to consult you in private about my 6 month sleeping problems, who wakes up btw 25-45 minutes all night long. We co-sleep and breastfeed on demand. However, during working days she gets the bottle from her nanny. I have ready “tears and tantrums” although I find it very hard to see my little one in distress, she cried in my arms last night for 3 hours, as I refused to give her the breast. I need your guidance and support to follow this through.

    Reply
    • Hi Kate,

      First of all, thank you for writing this article! It made me feel like I am not alone! 🙂 You mentioned that you started night weaning at around 8 months. My son is that age and I’m getting to the point of needing to make a change. Nursing to sleep is most definitely my son’s control pattern and I like the idea of a gradual process. I do not want to completely wean him during the night yet, but I would like for him to be able to go to bed without waking up an hour later looking for me and some longer stretches of sleep. Can you explain how this gradual process worked for you? Thank you!

      Reply
      • Hi Molly! The book ‘Tears and Tantrums’ by Aletha Souter is an excellent guide to understanding control patterns and she talks a lot about night weaning. I understand not wanting to completely night wean, there are certainly ways to make it so that you can still give a feed at night while helping with the constant waking. I’m also happy to do a Skype consultation with you if you would like 🙂

    • Hi! Can you send me an email at kate@katesurfs.com and we can organize from there. Thanks 🙂

      Reply
  37. Pingback: Help Newborn Not Sleeping At Night | How to Cure Sleep Insomnia

  38. Pingback: Baby Not Sleeping Through The Night Anymore | How to Cure Sleep Problems In Adults

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  40. I was searching for an article that helps me. I have so much anxiety. These are good references. I am so tired and full of anxiety when she does fall asleep I’m holding my breath til I feel sick and remember to breath. We have been co sleeping since 6 months or so because she practically lives on my boob. We moved into a small apartment. There’s not much room left for a toddler bed and it’s 65 when it gets really cold out so if she’s constantly kicking covers off I feel like she will get sick from the cold. The only time she’s slept more than 2 hours at a time is when we put her in the swing strapped in & not rocking because she 13 months and too big to rock anymore. I’m afraid it will hurt her back so I don’t every night. I really want her out of my bed for my own sanity we bought a playpen and playpen mattress but it hasn’t helped she will stand and cry there til she doses on her feet but the second we cough or roll over she cries long and very loudly. From one exhausted and frustrated mother to another please tell me how to get her in her own bed!

    Reply
    • Martha, so sorry to hear your stress! I highly recommend reading ‘The Aware Baby” by Aletha Souter and also “Tears and Tantrums” I think that will help a lot. The constant night waking is generally due to a back log of emotions.

      Reply
  41. This helped me motivate myself so much! Thanks❤

    Reply
  42. My 7 month Leo is the same. Up all night, every 30 mins – 1 hr wanting to feed! It’s exhausting; physically, mentally and emotionally. I co-sleep as well and do not believe in CIO either. Thanks for the tips. I will try and resist the constant feeds and focus more on other ways to get him to sleep.

    Another problem I’m finding is that he’s seriously distracted during daytime feeds? He will feed for a few seconds then roll over and play with his toes. But at night time he is all about the boob? So I worry it’s not just comfort feeding, he’s genuinely hungry. However, every 30 mins is excessive!

    Reply
  43. Natalie James

    I sm SO glad that you wrote this. Yes it’s based on your own experiences but let me tell you. I feel 100x better. My daughter is 5 1/2 months. She is a “high needs” baby in my opinion… I guess lol. She whines and fusses quite a bit but I can almost always get her to smile during one of her fussy cranky periods. She likes to be held a lot. I can put her down but not for huge stretches of time.
    Our bedtime routine consists of a tsp of cereal around 7ish some playtime, a bath almost every night, a book almost every night and some songs. I rock her until she is yawning. Then I offer the boob. She will nurse until she falls asleep in my bed which is about 9:30ish. She will sleep for about an hour and a half to 2 hours on most nights. I offer her a boob and she will feed until she falls back asleep. This will continue all night long every hour to 2 hours until we wake up in the morning. Lately I just leave the boob out next to her mouth and she will feed on her own. I think the past 2 nights it just stays in her mouth because I fell asleep. LOL!
    She is always rocked and/or nursed to sleep includind naps. For the most part I am ok.
    I only wonder if I am messing her up. Or if she is not sleeping well at night because I am messing her up. She and I are definitely not ready to wean. I also offer her a tsp of fruit or vegetable during the day.
    I want to make sure that one day she will not need boobie all night long. I want to make sure that she will be able to one day fall asleep on her own.
    I would love to hear your thoughts.

    Thank youuuu!

    Reply
  44. Siobhan Bilecki

    Hi! Omg I could have wrote the first paragraph! I don’t know where to start with this situation. My little guy is 6 months and for 3 months he’s been waking hourly and wanting to nurse back to sleep . He’s been sleeping in a cosleeper next to our bed and I’ve tried several different approaches (letting him fall asleep by himself happened a couple of nights but he still woke up an hour after, extracting the boob before he’s fully asleep, shortening the feedings at night, trying to rock, Pat his but and sing instead…. Etc…) and I can’t seem to win. He allways wins and gets the boob 🙁 The passed 3 nights I gave into bed sharing to see if maybe that was the answer but it was so much worse, we both slept less, I feel that instead of waking every hour he really just never fell into a deep sleep and just wanted to be attached to me the whole night (it felt like he woke 800 times lol)
    How do I do this? I don’t want to necessarily night wean completely but I need some kind of restoring sleep and he needs to sleep longer than an hour at a time because he is so cranky bc of his lack of sleep. My husband keeps hinting “cry it out” and I just can’t, and I honestly don’t think it would work with his personality (he’s a sweet little thing but very demanding and stubborn).
    Do you think that book you recommend will give me an action plan? Any other suggestions? I’m at a loss… I want to do what’s best for him also and I’m not sure all this boobiing is the best? When you get a chance some insight would be much appreciated! Thank you!

    Reply
    • HI Siobhan, Yes definitely read the book, I think it will help enormously! Big hugs to you, it’s really hard! I have a 9 month old right now, and even though I know all this, he still wakes up a lot on the nights that he doesn’t have a big cry before bed. The boob is the control pattern and he has been repressing his emotions. So, pick a day when you feel like dealing with lots of tears, and lots of tears will come, for sure! We will start sleeping better.

      Reply
  45. Pingback: And Mama, How is YOUR Sleep Going? - Katesurfs.com

  46. Thank you so much Kate. It’s so refreshing and reassuring to read this when there is so much pressure to have a 6 month old who sleeps through the night! We are so far from that. Thank you for your wise words and advice 😍 Becky

    Reply
  47. Wow I see your photo and at least I feel I am
    Not alone. My baby also have that habit (for me a bad habit) to put his fingers and hand (sometimes his foots) in my mouth. Since newborn he did not sleep well, then at 3-5month he wake up every 2-4h but since 6month until now he wakes up every 30min -2h. A few weeks ago he didn’t wanted the boob to sleep and I notice he was trying to fall sleep by himself but after trying and trying he never got to do it, he never find the way. I try to teach him
    How to suck his finger because I was desperate. He never wanted either. He fights a lot to sleep. So eventually he started to get back at the boob, now he only can sleep with the boob. He still fights a lot to sleep and every time he wakes up in the night now he have a tantrum (like if I try to carry him he just get worse, he push me away from him, try to get my glasses, start screaming push himself back and moves his arms and legs). The tantrum is so bad it doesn’t matter if I try to let him in the bed or if I try rocking him. Sometime he heats his head with the wall because he push himself back. We co-sleep and he is also breastfeeding, we have never use formula. He also don’t want dad to sleep, only me! I am cranky all the time because I really don’t sleep, my house is a mess because I don’t have energy or concentration to do anything just dishes or simple stuff. I think is also afectting my relationship because of my bad mood but I really have sleep deprivation. We also do like a routine and I think that help but still he gets mad because he know is time to sleep. I got to a point I though he had baby apnea because he was also snoring at night. Our sleep routine is the afternoon meal, then like 30-60m of break after that, then a bath, pijamas and a massage, relax music of rainforest rain, a little lavanda oils in his foots to help him relax (I have also try presuare points), breastfeed, then I read him a book and finally I give him his sleep toy (also say good night and kisses from me and dad). Of course that light is very gentle because I put a night light and we stay with him in the bed like if we are sleeping. Still he have issues for sleep time. Also watching his sleep sings are Important and bedtime is normally around 7-8pm. Naps during the day are 2 or 3 (maybe like 2-2.5 h of sleeping during the day and he is suppose to gets at least 3h total from 2 naps).
    Any other advice on how to stop the “boob sleep way” and also the tantrum will be so helpful ! Also how to teach him any other control pattern? And how to eliminate his finges, hands and foot in my mouth when he breastfeed. Thanks!

    Reply
  48. I have a 14 month who can’t sleep/ settle unless BF .. I tried ur method and it just ended up with him crying himself hoarse and getting more agitated and angry .. screaming .. he settles immediately after me surrending .. I tried to stretch it longer each time though .. he will sleep in his
    Crib after but wakes up after 5-10 mins crying and frustrated .. a few rounds is needed before
    He falls asleep in my bed … any help ?

    Reply
    • Oh, how annoying for you! I would highly recommend reading the book ‘Tears and Tantrums’ by Aletha Solter. When the feeding to sleep has become a control pattern, children can hang on to a lot of pent up emotions. They seem to cry a lot! The crying is good, as it gets out those emotions, but only if you’re in the mood to deal with it. I hope that helps!

      Reply
      • Ms Greedy Gourmet

        Thank you I see u mention the book a few times and will try to google it (and hopefully have time to read it) .. wonder if others has success like u too with the book … it’s our own fault sometimes as it’s easier to bf them to sleep each time and hope they grow out of it at some point 🙂

      • I never knew that feeding to sleep could cause accumulation of negative emotions, so try not feel bad about it! How can you know? Many mothers I know really love that book. I think you will too. <3

  49. Thank you for sharing your situation. My son is 10 months old & he wakes up every 2 hrs for feeding. I’m so worried that I won’t be able to do this when I go back to work in 3 months. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • A lot can change in 3 months! So, try to not worry. In the meantime, I highly recommend reading ‘Tears and Tantrums’ by Aletha Solter and then slowly cutting down on night feeds.

      Reply
  50. I admittedly was a clueless first time mom and just assumed everything would work out naturally/organically with my baby. Well, it doesn’t. I am two years into creating a needy, clingy, terrible sleeper and eater. She is such a sweet, gentle, and brilliant girl though that it just breaks my heart I didn’t do a better job of getting her in her own room sleeping as a small baby and started eating solids by six months. I pumped and she exclusively drank breast milk til she was 17 months old. She is growing well and has remained close to the 100th percentile for everything since birth. However she still drinks 20 oz of milk in the night (it used to be more but I’ve gradually watered it down and it seems to be working on that front)She has no health or behavioral or physical problems other than food allergies. But i am so overwhelmed about fixing the problems I unintentionally created that I don’t even know what to do first. She has severe peanut, tree nut, and egg allergies so I have to be crazy vigilant over foods that have any sort of processing to them but then again she refuses to do many foods other than milk. I feel like such a failure because I took the easy and least resistance route to get much needed sleep in the beginning (and ashamedly still do). I think I had some minor untreated baby blues too but now I don’t know how to get on the right path since most people fix this before their baby can walk and talk. She has always slept in the bed with me not my DH because he works in a very cognitively demanding surgical field and I want him to be well rested and on top of his mental game. My attempts at CIO were such a huge failure at 6 months that I just caved and reverted. We want to have another baby soon but I cannot in good conscience do so until my toddler is sleeping in her own room and eating better portions of real food. I am a sahm and my awesome husband has to travel ALOT for work as well so I will be having to fix this on my own and I should since I am the reason her habits are so bad. I am college educated yet I have never felt dumber or more inept at anything than I do at parenting/coming up with a functional and successful routine. I don’t know what I’m asking for to be honest, I just need to know I’m not alone and that these problems will work out. Any suggestions for helping an older toddler to sleep?

    Reply
    • Oh huge hugs to you mama! You are NOT a failure!! In fact, there are many people out there and numerous studies to prove that is very normal and necessary for a young baby to sleep close the mother. CIO is a short term solution with long term problems. I would highly recommend reading the book ‘tears and tantrums’ by Aletha Solter. Another thing you should do is connect with attachment parents in your area. You can usually find them on Facebook pages. These mothers will help support you and not make you feel like what you’re doing is weird… There are so many mothers doing exactly what you’re doing, you are not alone!

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