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My 6 month old uses the breast to soothe at night and it is keeping me up all night... any suggestions?

I feed him 50% breast and 50% bottle during the day but all breastfeeding at night. He has also started some solids. He is not needing it due to hunger issues as he started sleeping through the night at 3 months. I will let him feed for a while, he will fall asleep, and when I pull away, he wakes and begins to search for the breast again and will not calm down or go to sleep without it. He has no interest in pacifiers and does not want to take a bottle at night (as I said, not a huner issue). If I put him in his bed, he will scream and get himself worked up to the point that he will not fall asleep. I can't keep doing this as it keeps me up all night... any suggestions?

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Asked by JAllar0121 at 1:07 PM on Oct. 11, 2013 in Babies (0-12 months)

Level 1 (3 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • Try a pacifier at night? Some babies just need that oral fixation. Either way stop feeding at night... he is old enough to sleep at night without being fed.

    Answer by Crafty26 at 1:11 PM on Oct. 11, 2013

  • Changing what your son is used to will be hard now, but eventually you'll have to give up your job as a human pacifier. Make sure he's not hungry, then put him in his bed with a pacifier and some soft music. Let him learn to soothe himself to sleep. This may involve crying at first, which I don't agree with for younger babies, but he needs to learn to fall asleep on his own.

    Answer by Ballad at 1:48 PM on Oct. 11, 2013

  • Pacifier!

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 2:09 PM on Oct. 11, 2013

  • is she coming back?

    Answer by feralxat at 2:34 PM on Oct. 11, 2013

  • I agree that it will be difficult but he needs to get to sleep on his own. Go through your bedtime routine and add some soft music, or a sound machine, or "lovies" and get him used to the addition for a few nights. Once he is used to the new thing soothe him as you used to and then put him to bed. Do not go in during the night unless he gets really upset. If he wakes give him some time (at least 20 minutes) to get back to sleep on his own. He can do it! You can do it! GL

    Answer by silverthreads at 2:35 PM on Oct. 11, 2013

  • There is NOT an age when they're old enough to sleep all night without being fed. Even adults get the midnight munchies, after all!

    If you're giving solids an hour or less before bed, stop. It tends to wake them more often. Especially if you give cereal (which is also a sleep killer).

    Check out for a great method of night weaning. Be warned, he doesn't recommend it till one year. And DAD is in charge of wakeups. You are "dead" to baby once he's put in bed, until morning.

    Answer by gdiamante at 3:29 PM on Oct. 11, 2013

  • Maybe take a look at The Aware Baby (it's a book, but there's also a website, Aware Parenting.)
    The basic idea is that infants respond emotionally to their experiences, including upsetting, distressing or confusing ones. Humans have a beautiful instinct to heal from hurts, traumas & stresses by releasing fear & tension through tears, but they need the support of a caring presence in order for crying to be healing, not distressing & overwhelming. When babies don't get the chance to cry with support (an adult who can listen to their feelings without rushing to "soothe" or distract--feeding, rocking, walking, singing--as if crying must be avoided at all costs), they carry those feelings along with others that accumulate. They begin to develop what developmental psychologist Aletha Solter calls "control patterns" to hold unsettling feelings at bay. The more intrusive

    Answer by girlwithC at 4:33 PM on Oct. 11, 2013

  • the emotional load becomes, the more insistent baby will become about the behavior he uses to manage those feelings. If he relies on comfort nursing, then he will wake with increasing frequency & "need" to nurse back to sleep (eventually "needing" to have the nipple in his mouth in order to STAY asleep.)
    If you explore ways to actively support your baby's emotional release, you can begin to support him in crying to release the emotions that are intruding into his rest. The idea is that once those fears & feelings are cleared, he will be able to relax & sleep more easily, he'll be less "needy" or "demanding" in general, and he'll have more growth energy to focus on his various developmental tasks.

    Keep in mind that they can carry feelings about birth trauma, medical procedures, separation, scary or startling experiences they didn't understand (even mundane things are new to young babies), in addition to normal growth/changes.

    Answer by girlwithC at 4:35 PM on Oct. 11, 2013

  • Sometimes I miss the DV button.

    Answer by feralxat at 5:55 PM on Oct. 11, 2013

  • I gave the link/book title so you could look at the info & see what you think.

    One of the articles ("Crying for Comfort") begins with a discussion of the many problems with "cry it out" or leaving a baby to cry unattended, which is associated with the release of high levels of stress hormones in a baby's brain.

    It also discusses the healthy trend in the opposite direction from "cry it out" of responsive, nurturing parenting known as "attachment parenting," and how important it is NOT to leave babies to cry unattended & without contact or comfort! (This is how I parented my babies, who did a fair amount of comfort nursing & I just hung in there through it.)

    The idea is that there's an alternative other than 1) leaving babies to cry alone & 2) not allowing them to cry at all/focusing on stopping all crying. You can take a look at what's said about the concept of crying as stress-release (crying when you need to IS relieving!)

    Answer by girlwithC at 6:18 PM on Oct. 11, 2013

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