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5 Tips To Help Your Baby Break Nursing-To-Sleep Habit
Breastfeeding your baby can be one of the most rewarding experiences you have as a mother, but if your baby relies on feeding to fall asleep, it can take a toll on your body and mind as well. Here are 5 tips to help your baby break the feed to sleep cycle and establish independent sleeping habits.
1. Keep Your Baby Awake While Nursing
Try to keep your baby awake when you feed them. While it could be challenging for newborns who are only 1-3 months old (they need lots of sleep and it’s totally normal for them to drift off while feeding), you can try to separate feeding and sleeping with a eat, play, nap routine. Even changing the diapers right after feeding can help! If your baby won’t go to sleep unless they’re clung onto your chest feeding, it’ll become harder for them to learn how to sleep independently down the road.
2. Burp Your Baby After Feeding
Babies usually swallow air during nursing, which leads to trapped wind in the stomach and causes discomfort. Instead of laying them down for a nap immediately after feeding, burping your baby can help them digest better and make them feel more comfortable. Burping can also serve as an additional routine after feeding to help break your baby’s feed to sleep cycle.
3. Keep A Baby’s Feeding Log
You can either use a simple journal or an app to mark down your baby’s feeding history, when you change her diapers and so on. For nursing, keep track of what time you feed and end each nursing session, and the number of ounces of milk your baby eats. Having this record can help you trace back to the timing and cause of certain behaviors of your baby. Your baby could cry out of hunger, or they might look for comfort as they’re falling asleep.
4. Make Sure Your Baby Eats Enough Before Sleeping
You can prepare a bottle of breastmilk ahead of time and feed your baby a bit more to ensure they go to bed with a full stomach. This will increase the chances of babies (especially newborns) staying asleep throughout the night instead of waking up due to hunger.
5. Try Phasing Out Night Feeds
If your baby can sleep through the night several days in a week or can sleep on their own for a rather long period, you can try phasing out night feeding gradually. However, keep in mind that babies that are 4-6 months old still need to be fed 1-2 times during the night. Just make sure they don’t drift off to sleep while feeding!
Our Successful Case
Mrs. M is a full-time mum who breastfeeds her baby. When her baby was around 12 months old, he’d wake up 3-4 times during the night and would fall back to sleep while feeding. She realized that she’s become her baby’s “pacifier” and was desperate for a better sleep solution for both her baby and herself. She turned to Baby Sleep Well (baby sleep consultant) for help and has successfully solved her baby’s sleeping issues within a week. Her baby has now learned how to self-soothe and sleep on his own, and there are times he could sleep from 7pm to 7am without waking up!
Article by Baby Sleep Well
Charlotte Ma is an International Certified Child Sleep Consultant (IACSC, APSC and IAPC) and founder of Baby Sleep Well HK. Charlotte is currently the only local Child Sleep Consultant Trainer in Hong Kong. Since 2019, she has provided her baby sleep consulting service to over 900 families, promoting healthy baby sleep habits one family at a time.
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