My baby only sleeps and naps when breastfeeding and I don’t’ know what to do!
My 6-month-old slept only in a car seat until a week and a half ago. He accepted the transition of sleeping in his crib relatively easily (had to use some transitioning props), however now he only sleeps for an hour and a half to 2 hours at the most and wakes up.
I can not put him to bed “drowsy but awake”. He can be drowsy, eyes half-closed, I put him in the crib and he is wide awake, crying, which turns to wail, which leads to flailing his arms and legs, which leads to me picking him up AGAIN to try and soothe him to start all over. He prefers to nurse to sleep.
Are there just babies out there who cannot self-soothe and put themselves to sleep?
I will NOT do the cry-it-out method. I am so desperate for someone who knows what to do to come over to my house at night and show me what to do! Or at least to tell me how much protesting is normal. When he screams and cries, he can NOT be soothed by singing, patting, shhing, music, NOTHING, but picking him up. What in God’s name can I try??? In case the advice is to get him to nap more (I know good naps lead to good night sleep), please tell me how to do that, too!!!
I was at home with him for the first 6 months and he nursed to sleep 2 – 3 times a day. As long as I held him he took half an hour to 2-hour naps. Now I am back at work. How can the dad and baby sitter get the poor thing to take naps???
Tips To Help Baby Sleep And Nap Without Nursing
I can sure hear and understand your desperation. Your baby is not able to self-soothe, he wakes up frequently at night, he wants to nurse to sleep and he absolutely hates being left awake in his crib…
You know what; I’d say you have a perfectly normal baby. 😉
On top of just simply being a baby and rapidly becoming more and more aware of his surroundings and particularly who’s around him, he has “lost” his mom one week and a half ago. No wonder he prefers to sleep in your arms!
But even if his behavior really is normal, that doesn’t mean that it is endurable. I’m like you, I don’t like the cry-it-out method, but there do exist other ways to help a baby sleep better without crying. It might take a little longer, but in my opinion, that’s worth it.
Here are some ideas to try out to help your poor sleeper:
1. Co-sleeping – Have you considered co-sleeping at all? In my experience, during shaky periods, when the baby is scared to be left alone, sick or simply just doesn’t sleep well, co-sleeping is by far the quickest way to get some sleep as a mom. Your son is soon 7 months old and you can look forward to even more separation and stranger anxiety. He needs you!
Research shows that if the parent responds to their baby’s needs to be close to feel secure, it will actually speed up the child’s independence, so don’t feel bad about taking him up for example when he is crying in his crib.
2. Settle with dad – Some babies also settle easier if dad handles the night-waking; holding them, giving the pacifier, or let them sleep with dad. You can always try it!
3. Stroller walks – To help your baby take naps without nursing, I’d definitely recommend stroller walks. If you can figure out your baby’s normal eat and sleep pattern, write it down and have his dad or the baby sitter feed him and then take him out for a walk before the baby gets too tired, chances are great that he will fall asleep while in the stroller.
Not many babies can resist a nice stroller walk for long. This way your son will also learn how to fall asleep without nursing.
4. Inside stroller “walks” – If for some reason, stroller walks outside are not working for you, a stroller is still a great tool to help you son nap without nursing and also to nap for longer hours. Read my answer in this thread with a 7-month-old who also won’t sleep alone.
5. End the nighttime breastfeeding – To stop nursing baby to sleep at night, you can read about three different methods here.
While it certainly varies, you can check out how many naps and hours of sleep a 6-month-old baby usually need here.
If you go to our baby sleep tips, you’ll find some additional tips to help improve your baby’s sleep patterns.
In addition, I can really recommend the book “The No-Cry Sleep Solution”. You can read my review of it here.
I hope this helps a bit.
Above all; don’t worry about being alone with a child who doesn’t sleep alone or through the night – they usually don’t at this age!
Anyone else who has a baby that only sleeps and naps when breastfeeding? What can you say about the situation?
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