Baby Hints & Tips

How to stop breastfeeding to sleep

Is it a bad habit to breastfeed a baby to sleep and how do I stop breastfeeding my baby to sleep?  These are common questions received on Baby Hints and Tips.  We need you to know that breastfeeding to sleep is completely normal and does not need to stop if your family are happy with this.  In some families breastfeeding to sleep can become a sleep association that baby wakes to look for.

If you are looking for alternatives to feeding your baby to sleep we have some suggestions from out community of parents that may help.

Community question:

I am currently breastfeeding my 11 month old to sleep and looking to stop. What methods have worked for you, looking to see how to stop breastfeeding to sleep.

how to stop breastfeeding to sleep

Pat and or shhh baby to sleep

  • I just went to sleep school for the same reason…. They got me to pat and shhh my little one until settled then shh him and or pat mattress. It’s hard and your little one may cry or scream for a bit. But it does get easier my little man screamed 2 hours for the first 2 nights.  Now he is upset no longer than 15mins Angie
  • I stopped breastfeeding my 8mo to sleep at night 2 weeks ago. He was already self settling during the day. I changed routine to be, solids, bf, shower, book, bed. I also get hubby to put him to bed. We put him down awake, he usually whinges for 5min. Hubby goes in & gives him bum pats till he is calm & sleepy then leaves. He sleeps much better now too. Elizabeth

Books or sleep programs that worked

  • See Elizabeth Pantley no cry sleep solution Kimmy
  • We had a lot of success with the No Cry Sleep Solution.  It is a slow method, but fits with our parenting style. Simone
  • No Tears Self Soothing by Heidi Holvoet and also Save our Sleep by Tizzie Hall have been life savers for us! We have a bedtime/nap time routine that we follow every time so that he knows it’s sleep time and he generally goes down without any fuss (sometimes he might just play and babble in his cot for a bit before nodding off). He also has his comforter which he snuggles up to. We used to rock, sing and pat him to sleep and it was just killing us as he was dependent on us for him to go to sleep so as soon as we were able to replace us for a comforter it just made things a lot easier! Lauren
  • If your not adverse to a few tears I recommend the Sleep Sense program. Shannon
  • I breastfed my boy to sleep until 11months then tried the sleep sense method where I could stay in room with him whilst he learnt to fall asleep! I personally couldn’t just leave him cry it out…Within 2 nights sleeping through with no night feeds! Hard at first but great results !  Ulrika

Stories and music

  • We implemented a new routine whereby I read stories & played sleepy music whilst feeding, then gradually dropped the feed times & eventually was able to put my girl down awake, took about 2 weeks Mel

Nothing working

  • My little guy is 21 months and I can’t break the habit. We are off to sleep school next month. I’m desperate for some sleep.  He is awake anywhere up to 6 times a night! Jody

Rock to sleep

  • I have done all my 3 kids , at the moment my girl is 1 and I rock her to sleep and did it also to my boys. I love it , having that time and watching them fall asleep in my arms. The boys never hurt them, my 4 year old I lay with him, my 7 year old goes to sleep on his own. Amanda

Substitute with a bottle

  • I feed bub a bottle in my bed. She lays on my pillow and falls asleep there. This still gives her the attachment without bf. She’s taken to it very easily. Stephanie

Car or pram

  • Car and pram only method I have found without distress and tears. Started to just go down on his own when put in cot (for 3 days straight) and I thought he had done it but got sick and 2 months on we are back in the habit. Unless it is a problem or you can’t do it anymore then just keep doing it I say. It doesn’t hurt anyone and is so soothing and reassuring for your baby so don’t think of it as a bad habit. Eve

More sleep tips:

Helping baby go to sleep

Night sleeps

Sleep aides

Routines and sleep associations

Breastfeeding tips

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