Feeding baby to sleep at night

Breastfeeding to Sleep and Other Comfort Nursing • KellyMom.com

Many mothers feel guilty for breastfeeding their baby for comfort or as they drift off to sleep. Breastfeeding your child to sleep and for comfort is not a bad thing to do– in fact, it’s normal, healthy, and developmentally appropriate. Most babies nurse to sleep and wake 1-3 times during the night for the first year or so. Some babies don’t do this, but they are the exception, not the rule. Many children, if given the choice, prefer to nurse to sleep through the second year and beyond. I’ve never seen a convincing reason why mothers shouldn’t use this wonderful tool that we’ve been given.

Breastfeeding is obviously designed to comfort and help a child sleep. Breastfeeding calms a child and can even help your child handle stress better when not breastfeeding (Beijers et al, 2013). Sucking releases the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) in both mother and baby, which results in a sleepy feeling (Uvnäs-Moberg et al, 1993). In addition, breastmilk also contains sleep-inducing hormones, amino acids, and  nucleotides, whose concentrations are higher during the night and may actually help babies establish their own circadian rhythms  (Sánchez et al, 2009, Cohen et al, 2012).


If breastfeeding your child to sleep and/or nursing your child for comfort is working for YOU and your family, that’s all that really matters! Breastfeeding is not only nourishing; it’s also nurturing. Your breast is a wonderful place of comfort and security to your child, not just a “feeding trough”. The time spent breastfeeding your child is a very short period in the total life of your child, but the memories of your love and availability will last him a lifetime. Trust that your child will fall asleep on his own in time, and enjoy every sleepy moment while it lasts.f

Following are some Frequently Asked Questions…

  • My child sometimes nurses for comfort, when he’s obviously not hungry. Is this a problem?
  • Am I creating a bad habit by allowing baby to breastfeed to sleep?
  • What about letting baby “cry it out?”
  • I’ve been told that my child will NEVER learn to go to sleep on his own if we don’t teach him…
  • How will my child go to sleep when I’m not there to breastfeed him, or after he weans?
  • How can I gently encourage my child to fall asleep without breastfeeding (and without crying)?
  • My child wants to comfort nurse the entire time he’s napping! How can I slip away without waking him?
  • My toddler wants to comfort nurse forever when he’s trying to fall asleep.
  • Additional resources

My child sometimes nurses for comfort, when he’s obviously not hungry. Is this a problem?

Comfort nursing is normal. If baby were not comfort nursing he would need to be sucking on his hands or on a pacifier. The breast was the first pacifier and the one that all others are modeled after, so don’t be afraid to allow baby to use it in this way. There are studies that show that comfort nursing is healthy for your child, too. All babies need to suck – some more than others. It ensures that they survive. If your baby seems to be comfort nursing all the time and this is more than you can handle, keep in mind that this will probably ease some as time goes by. In the meantime, you may find that carrying baby in a sling or a carrier on your body will lessen his need to comfort nurse so much. He may just need to be close to you at times and seeks out nursing as a way to do that.

Comfort nursing serves a purpose, too. Studies seem to indicate that this type of sucking overall decreases a baby’s heart rate and lets him relax. It seems to have a very positive effect on his whole physical and emotional well-being. Don’t be afraid to allow this type of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is more than just imparting fluids and nourishment. It’s a way to nurture your child as well.

Am I creating a bad habit by allowing baby to breastfeed to sleep?

Your child’s desire to nurse to sleep is very normal and not a bad habit you’ve fostered. Don’t be afraid to nurse your baby to sleep or fear that you are perpetuating a bad habit. Baby often will seek the breast when sleepy or over-stimulated because it’s a comforting and familiar place to him. To associate the breast with wanting to relax enough to go to sleep makes perfect sense. As adults, we also do things to relax ourselves so we can go to sleep: we read, watch TV, get something warm to drink or a snack, deep breathe, get all snug under the covers, etc. Breastfeeding does the same thing for your baby.

For many babies at the height of exploration or distractibility, nighttime or naptime can often be the ONLY time the baby will nurse well. Allowing him to nurse at these times when he is more focused on nursing and less intent on other things helps ensures that he gets enough milk, that your supply is maintained, and that the nursing relationship goes on. Don’t be afraid to nurse at these times or fear that you are perpetuating a bad habit. Instead, take advantage of these times for better nursing.

The sleep issue is not merely a matter of good versus bad habits. It is much more an issue of culture and lifestyle and expectations. Here are three approaches to parenting issues:

  • Forcing baby to change to fit the parent’s lifestyle is one approach. Our American culture tends not to be very baby friendly, and rarely makes accommodations for breastfeeding babies. The current trend, seen in many popular books and parenting magazines, is to force baby to do all of the accommodating so that we experience as little change in our pre-baby lifestyle as possible; for example, baby MUST sleep through the night so that we get unbroken sleep and a “good” baby is seen as one who makes as few demands on his parents as possible.
  • Another approach is to try to approximate the mothering style of traditional societies and let the parents do all the accommodating. This approach can be very difficult to pull off without lots of support and changes of expectations in the people around us.
  • A third approach is to do as much accommodating on the parental side as possible, and then to “ask” baby to accommodate the last part of the gap. This is an approach that can work for many families. With this approach, parents do all they can to be sensitive to their baby’s needs, and only ask baby to accommodate when nothing else truly works.

What about letting baby “cry it out?”

There are two schools of thought about getting babies to sleep. One is a rather rigid method of “sleep training” where a baby is put down awake in a crib and left to cry himself to sleep so that he learns to “self-soothe” and doesn’t develop sleep associations that require someone else to put him to sleep. This method has been around since the 1890’s and was dreamed up by male university sleep laboratory researchers. Many of the popular “sleep training” methods of today are modified versions of this (allowing baby to cry for progressively longer periods without comforting him, instead of just leaving him to cry until he gives up and stops).

I can’t, with good conscience, recommend the cry-it-out method for getting baby to sleep. Anyone who advises you to let your baby cry until he gives up and falls asleep is focusing on the baby’s behavior (going to sleep by himself) and not on how the baby feels in the process. In my opinion, this “sleep training” often creates an unhealthy attitude about sleep: after going through this training, baby tends to view sleep as a fearful state to enter into and to remain in. Parents often need to “retrain” baby if there is any break in the usual routine. In addition, it can condition parents to ignore baby’s cries, and break down the relationship of trust between parent and child.

Younger babies, in particular, do not have that sense of “object permanence” and if mom leaves them to cry, they are developmentally unable to realize that she is just in the next room. All baby knows is that he has been abandoned and that mom is not there. A young baby can only express his needs through crying. A baby who is left to cry alone will eventually stop crying because he has abandoned all hope that help will come: as far as he can tell, no one cares enough to listen, or come and provide comfort. In the book Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent, anthropology professor Meredith Small writes, “When signals are missed, babies stop signalling; they withdraw; they suck their thumbs; they turn away; they try to right the system themselves by not sending out any more signals.” The baby protects himself by shutting down, and “accepts” the situation because he has learned that a response is not forthcoming. Crying is also hard, physically, on baby: it can lead to hoarseness that can last for days; the digestive system is upset; stress hormones rise; heart rates can climb to levels over 200 beats per minute; and oxygen levels in the blood are diminished.

Another school of thought, which I subscribe to, discourages viewing sleep as a state you can force a baby into. Instead, it’s best to create a sleep-inducing environment that allows sleep to overtake the baby. The process of breastfeeding itself regulates baby’s temperature and heart rate and lowers his blood pressure, and puts him to sleep. This helps your baby develop a healthy attitude about sleep, where baby views sleep as a safe, comforting, natural state.

I’ve been told that my child will NEVER learn to go to sleep on his own if we don’t teach him…

Never? It is normal, natural and healthy for your child to fall asleep nursing. Breastfeeding children fall asleep so quickly – how can anything so perfectly designed be worrisome? I’ve read a lot about babies’ sleep patterns, and I’ve talked to many moms about this. Both my reading, my personal experience, and the experiences of other moms has convinced me that falling asleep without breastfeeding is a developmental milestone that your child will reach when he is ready. The first step often comes when your baby starts to nurse to sleep then stops nursing, rolls away and goes to sleep on his own. Or perhaps he will fall asleep in Daddy’s arms when he’s walking with him. These incidents may not happen very often at first, but they are the first step and do make you realize that it IS possible for your child to fall asleep by himself.

There are countless numbers of children who have been nursed to sleep and nursed during the night from birth who eventually learn to fall asleep on their own without the breast. You don’t have to teach them to do this. They reach this as a milestone – when they’re physically, developmentally, and emotionally ready. You can try to speed this process along by putting baby to bed before he’s asleep, but always nursing him to sleep will not keep him from learning this on his own.

My daughter started to occasionally fall asleep on her own (or with her Dad) when she was around 11-12 months. Knowing that she could go to sleep without me right there really helped, even though she didn’t do it too often. As time passes, she’s fallen asleep without nursing more and more. We did not “teach” her to do this, or even particularly encourage it. It has simply been a natural developmental progression that came about as she was ready for it.

How will my child go to sleep when I’m not there to breastfeed him, or after he weans?

Many moms are worried about how their child will go to sleep when he enters daycare or weans, and feel that they must teach him to sleep independently before this time. This is really not necessary, and can add lots of stress to something that is already a big transition for your child. Children are very adaptable and will find new ways to go to sleep when mom is not there. Your child and his other caregiver(s) will work things out just fine, and they will find new ways to comfort that work great for both of them. The same will happen when your child weans.

How can I gently encourage my child to fall asleep without breastfeeding (and without crying)?

First, remember that if breastfeeding to sleep is not a problem for you, your child will discontinue it on his own without help from you. If you’d like to try to accelerate the process, read on…

Try transitioning from breastfeeding your child totally to sleep, to breastfeeding him almost asleep; then to just really relaxed, and then eventually to no breastfeeding at all to go to sleep. The process may take a long time, or it may not. If you’ll start out taking it as gradually as you possibly can, it will probably work better and you’ll avoid possible problems and frustrations for both you and your baby.

You might start by lying down with him in the bed he will sleep in for naps, or on the floor, etc. – wherever he will be sleeping. Don’t insist that he sleep in the crib if he doesn’t want to. Your goal at this point it to get him comfortable enough and secure enough to go to sleep on his own. You don’t want that made more difficult by any fears of being alone in his crib.

After he is okay with breastfeeding to sleep in this way, you might try nursing him till he’s almost asleep; eyes closed, heavy breathing but not completely out. Then transition to nursing just till he is relaxed and settled from all the activity prior to the nursing session. When he has done well with you leaving after only nursing this long, then you can try to transition him to going to sleep entirely on his own. You might offer him a favorite toy, book, etc. Give him a kiss and a hug and tell him “night night” in a way that is upbeat and positive. Try to have naptime and bedtime at the same time every day with a routine that he can begin to recognize and expect. For example, have naptime every day after lunchtime or have bedtime every night after snack or bathtime. That way he knows what to expect. You might even remind him that naptime or bedtime are coming and talk excitedly about it. For an older baby or toddler, ask him what he would like to take to bed with him; talk about the place he will sleep, how nice it is, etc. Allow him to have the light on if he wishes or the door open or whatever he wants in the bed with him – don’t fight him on the little things.

Again, your goal is to get him to a comfortable enough place that he feels secure enough to go to sleep without nursing and by himself.

My child wants to comfort nurse the entire time he’s napping! How can I slip away without waking him?

It’s really not unusual for children to wish to breastfeed while napping. They do grow out of it eventually. There are a couple of things that you could try to help you to slip away.

Depending upon how big he is, you might let him continue to sleep latched on, but have him in a carrier (sling, wrap, etc.) so you can get up and do things while he sleeps.

You can also work on slipping away after your child goes to sleep. Make sure he is deeply asleep and no longer swallowing before you try this (you may have to wait a while). He’ll then be doing what we sometimes call “flutter sucking” or comfort sucking, a really light suck. When a baby is in a light sleep, you’ll see facial grimaces, partially clenched fists, muscle twitches, fluttering eyelids, and overall tense muscle tone. You can recognize deep sleep by an almost motionless face, regular breathing, still eyelids, and especially the limp-limb sign — arms dangling weightlessly at baby’s sides, hands open and muscles relaxed.

Once your child is in a deep sleep, try and slip away very slowly. One thing that sometimes helps is to slip a finger in his mouth near the nipple, then ease the nipple out so he is just sucking your finger. Then you can ease your finger out of his mouth – it helps to put a little pressure on baby’s bottom lip as you do this. By doing this, you can often keep baby from waking. Putting something right up next to him that has mom’s scent (a t-shirt, pillow, or an animal he sleeps with) also helps.

My children often seem to detect the loss of body contact and warmth when I get up. As I’m getting up, I keep my hand(s) on baby for a few moments, then *gradually* take them away so the transition isn’t so sudden. Baby will usually stir when I get up, but often goes back to sleep if I keep my hands on him till he gets still again. If your baby is older, it can also be helpful to put a hard pillow (preferably a warm one that you’ve been sleeping near) beside him in the spot where you were sleeping so that he doesn’t feel empty space if he reaches out in his sleep. If baby was resting his feet on me (common with mine), then I’ll sometimes even put a pillow under his feet. With an older baby/toddler, I lay him down on top of my pillow if I’m trying to put him down on the bed when he’s already asleep. (Keep in mind that it’s not safe to use pillows with young babies due to SIDS risk.)

It’s often easier to slip away during a nap when you’re both lying down. If you’re nursing sitting up, the position change may be waking him – you might try nursing him on a pillow in your lap so you can just transfer him to a bed or the floor without moving him around as much (again, younger babies should not be sleeping on or near pillows). If baby wakes when you put him in his crib, you might try moving him to a baby-safe bed or pallet on the floor, instead of his crib – he might nap better in a different place.

This article has additional tips for helping baby stay asleep: Let Sleeping Babies Lie – please…

My toddler wants to comfort nurse

forever when he’s trying to fall asleep.

Sometimes we start to question ourselves (again, perhaps) when we have a breastfeeding toddler who wants to hang out at the breast for hours at bedtime, without ever quite falling asleep. Have you ever had one of those nights when you keep trying to slip away, thinking your toddler is asleep, to be interrupted by a sleepy protest every time you try to unlatch? The later at night it is, the more you can start to doubt yourself and wonder if “they” might have been right about that “bad habit.”

Both of my kids have gone through stages of time (often teething or illness related) when they wanted to stay latched forever, but remember that these are usually just stages that come and go. If you are willing to let your toddler continue to nurse to sleep, rest assured that he will learn to fall asleep on his own, in his own time.

What if the comfort nursing is becoming uncomfortable for you, or if you just feel that you’d like to move away from it? If you’re experiencing discomfort, pull your child closer in and check on latch and positioning – remember that even constant comfort nursing should not be uncomfortable if latch and positioning are as they should be (assuming you’re not pregnant). If you feel the need to gently ease away from nursing to sleep, then go ahead and do so (see above for tips) – nursing is a two-way street and there is no reason not to have some basic age-appropriate “nursing rules” for toddlers. But don’t feel that you need to change things just because someone wants to “guilt” you into it — it’s only a problem if it’s adversely affecting your family.

Additional Resources


  • Sleeping Through the Night
  • Cluster Feeding and Fussy Evenings
  • Frequent Nursing
  • Safe Co-sleeping and bed-sharing
  • Night Weaning
  • Read excerpts from Good Nights by Jay Gordon, M. D. and Maria Goodavage (including “Any ideas on how I can have a little time to myself while my baby naps?”)
  • Are you worried that you will spoil your baby?
  • What should I know about giving my breastfed baby a pacifier?

@ other websites

Comfort Nursing and Nursing to Sleep

  • 5 Cool Things No One Ever Told You About Nighttime Breastfeeding from Breastfeeding Chicago
  • When They Need You to Fall Asleep: Self-Soothing and Other Myths by Wendy Wisner
  • The Human Pacifier by Lu Hanessian, from New Beginnings Vol. 19 No. 1, January-February 2002, p. 14
  • Nursing for Comfort by Teresa Pitman
  • Comfort versus nutrition by Kathryn Orlinsky
  • Normal Infant Sleep: Night Nursing’s Importance My child only goes to sleep nursing by Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D.
  • 8 Infant Sleep Facts Every Parent Should Know from AskDrSears.com

Controlled Crying

  •  Position Paper on Controlled Crying (Sleep Training) from the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health
  • Baby Sleep Training: Mistakes “Experts” and Parents Make: Advice to ignore the needs of babies by Darcia Narvaez, Ph. D.
  • Controlled crying… oops sorry controlled comforting by Sue Cox RN, RM, IBCLC, ABA breastfeeding counsellor
  • Stress in Infancy by Linda Folden Palmer, D.C.
  • Letting Baby “Cry-It-Out” Yes, No! from AskDrSears.com
  • The Con of Controlled Crying by Pinky McKay
  • Cry It Out: The Potential Dangers of Leaving Your Baby to Cry by Margaret Chuong-Kim
  • Mistaken Approaches to Night Waking by Paul M. Fleiss, MD, MPH, FAAP, fromSweet Dreams: A Pediatrician’s Secrets for Baby’s Good Night’s Sleep
  • Children Need Touching and Attention, Harvard Researchers Say, from the Harvard Gazette

Feeding Your Baby to Sleep - Is it a Good Idea?


  • Baby
  • Newborn Sleep
  • 3-6 Months Sleep
  • 6-9 Months Sleep
  • breastfeeding
  • self-settling

This is one of those sleep topics that people often have a strong opinion on. ....so we hope that you find our information on this topic helpful.

Our perspective is that if you are reading our sleep information, you are wanting to teach your baby to sleep through the night or at least reduce night-waking....so our tips are designed to achieve this objective!


Feeding to sleep is one of the most common ways to get newborn babies to sleep. Tired babies will often fall asleep when feeding, as the combination of breast milk, cuddling with mum and sucking is very powerful. Plus, newborns can only cope with being awake for about an hour at a time, so if feeding takes a while, it becomes more and more likely baby will nod off while feeding.

With older babies, feeding to sleep can continue to be effective at getting your baby to fall asleep. However feeding to sleep quickly becomes a firm habit, as baby learns to fall asleep by feeding. Over time this means they will want to be fed back to sleep every time they wake in the night, which is on average 4-6 times for babies over 5 months.

Feeding your baby to sleep can be lovely for all ages; baby is snuggled in your arms, having a delicious cuddle, it's warm and comforting. It's great for bonding and lovely for both mum and baby.

'Feeding to sleep' in this article generally refers to breast-feeding to sleep but the information can equally be applied to babies who fall asleep while being bottle fed.

Should I feed my baby to sleep?

It's a very personal decision and you will know what is best for your baby. However, we encourage you to read the information below, so you understand the longer term impact of feeding your baby to sleep.

While it may seem like a quick and easy settling solution now, the majority of longer term night-waking that we deal with is caused by an entrenched habit of either feeding or rocking to sleep.

It's best to be well informed about feeding to sleep and make a decision about whether this is what you want to do, rather than feeling like you have to do it or it's the only option.

Feeding babies under 5 months to sleep

When babies are newborn, how they fall asleep often doesn't have too much impact on their sleep. You may be feeding to sleep and your baby is sleeping through the night, or having good day sleeps. This is because newborns drift in and out of sleep cycles, and haven't yet learned habits of how they get to sleep.

One impact of feeding a newborn to sleep can be catnapping. This is particularly true if you feed a baby to sleep, then transfer them to their bassinet. They may sense you are not there when they wake or miss the sound of your heart-beat, and will wake up shortly after being put down.

Plus you may also feel that you are feeding all the time or stuck to the sofa, as if you move your baby will wake up!

One option is to change your routine, so you use Feed, Play, Sleep. This means you feed your baby when she wakes, rather than right before she needs to sleep. Your baby will feed better as she is hungry and alert, rather than snacking and falling asleep.

There is no need to do a 'top up' feed before your baby gets into bed. If you observe tired signs, pop your baby into bed and use settling techniques such as white noise and swaddling to get her to sleep.

Be aware that baby sleep changes significantly at about 4-5 months. A baby who is fed to sleep and has been sleeping all night will likely start waking again after 4-5 months. If the feeding to sleep continues, many babies go back to waking 4-6 times or more every night, wanting the powerful breast milk/sucking/cuddle combo to get back to sleep.

The sooner you start to teach your baby to fall asleep without feeding, the easier it is likely to be!

Weaning newborns off being fed to sleep


  1. For babies under 4 months, start by reviewing The Happiest Baby techniques of Swaddling, White Noise and Side/Stomach position etc. Often using these settling techniques will make enough difference that you can change with relative ease.

  2. Use the feed/play/sleep routine during the day, so you are settling baby when she is tired....and feeding baby when she wakes up.

Feeding babies over 5 months to sleep - continued night waking

If you are happy with frequent night waking, then of course it is fine to feed your baby to sleep. But if you are wanting to encourage your baby to sleep through the night and be able to settle without your help, then weaning your baby off being fed to sleep is essential.

This is because all babies over 5 months wake FULLY between sleep cycles (usually 4-6 times a night minimum) and to 'sleep through the night' they need to be able to resettle themselves after each sleep cycle. If they are feeding to sleep at bedtime, they will likely expect to be fed back to sleep at each night-waking too.

For babies over the age of 5 months, feeding to sleep is one of the most common reasons that babies wake in the night. This is true for babies who were sleeping through and start waking again, and is the reason why many babies have never slept through.

Generally, the longer a baby has been fed to sleep, the more often a baby will wake in the night...rather than less.

As we have said, if you are OK with this...no problem at all. But if you are becoming exhausted from repeatedly getting up to your infant and having to feed her back to sleep during the night, changing your bedtime settling technique will have a significant impact on baby's night-time sleep.

Read our information on sleep assosiations for more on this

Only mum will do

Another reason that many mums become frustrated with feeding to sleep is that it means only they can settle baby at bedtime. This can mean you feel tied to home and you can never go out in the evening. It can mean limited options for baby-sitting, especially if further feeding is required if baby wakes an hour or two later.

By teaching your baby another settling technique you may be able to enjoy the odd evening out with your partner or even a night away!

And it is great when Dad can settle baby to sleep at bedtime and during the night. It's great for his confidence with your baby and nice to spread the work-load of baby around a bit!!

Relying on feeding to sleep can put extra pressure on you as a breast-feeding mum...and we know it is the reason why many mums give up breastfeeding altogether. Once your baby is no longer fed to sleep, you may find you actually enjoy breastfeeding more as you may feel you regain a sense of control.

How to decide when to wean your baby off feeding to sleep

Regardless of the age of your baby, you can wean your baby off being fed to sleep relatively quickly and easily - when you are ready to do it!

Feeding to sleep becomes a very strong habit, for both mum and baby, and dad can rely on it pretty heavily too! So absolute commitment from both parents to teaching baby a new settling technique is essential if you are going to be successful.

While you have an end goal of teaching your baby to self settle, it's worth noting that this doesn't mean using 'cry it out'. ....there are lots of options for teaching babies to settle without feeding to sleep. Choose one that you as a family are comfortable with. Different techniques work for different families, depending on the age of the baby, how quickly you need it to work, what you are prepared to try etc.

Also remember your consistency and commitment to your sleep plan will be the main thing which determines if your baby learns to settle without feeding to sleep, so only start when YOU are ready.

Recognise that teaching your baby a new settling technique takes days or weeks...do not expect your baby to like the change immediately or instantly sleep through the night after one day!

But you should start to see improvements after 4-5 days if you are being consistent with always using the new technique and not confusing your baby by feeding her back to sleep in the night.

Read our detailed article on teaching your baby to self settle

Should I feed baby to sleep at night?

Babies over 4-5 months generally do not need any feeds in the night if they are having a dreamfeed at about 10pm. Doing a feed with your baby ASLEEP means you fill her tummy without her knowing, and you go to bed knowing she is not hungry in the night. Alternatively you could feed for the first wake after 9pm.

If you are not sure if your baby can last without any additional feeds, you won't know till you try it! It is worth trying to settle your baby without a feed and see if she can go back to sleep with a some additional warm bedding (often babies wake COLD rather than hungry), cuddle, patting, dummy or another settling technique. Generally we offer a feed as the first option, rather than try some other things first and see if she will go back to sleep.

You can also check with your Plunket nurse if she is happy with your baby's weight gain...i.e. if your baby is not putting on enough weight, then you will need to continue with at least one night feed.

However you will find that the quicker you drop all feeds other than a Dreamfeed, the quicker your baby will sleep independently through the night. Babies often do not drop night feeds without some gentle encouragement from mum!

The quicker you drop all feeds other than a dreamfeed, the quicker your baby will sleep independently through the night.

How to gently stop feeding your baby to sleep


  1. Babies over 5 months generally do really well with a structured routine for daytime and bedtime, such as day sleeps at 9am, 1pm, 4.30pm and bedtime at 7pm. This also means you will feed your baby when she wakes during the day, rather than before sleep times.

  2. Introduce some additional positive sleep associations and allow several days for your baby to become attached to them before you start teaching self settling. For example, start putting your baby into a sleeping bag before you feed her, give her a comforter to cuddle (for babies over 6 months of age) while you feed her and play white noise during the feed as she falls asleep...These associations are going to replace YOU as her main sleep association (i. e. what she needs to fall asleep).

  3. Using a Safe T Sleep can give your baby a lovely feeling of pressure around her tummy, the same way your hand can or being cuddled. This is worth looking at as another tool in this weaning process.

  4. Aim for 10 minutes of awake time between finishing your 6.30pm feed and when baby goes into bed. This can be cuddles, stories, a walk round the house, massage etc. You may want to gradually work up to 10 minutes if you currently feed baby until she is asleep. E.g. tonight aim for 30 seconds between feed and baby into bed, tomorrow night aim for a minute etc.

  5. Your first step is to teach your baby she can actually fall asleep in bed, rather than on YOU - this is the most significant aspect of the weaning process.

  6. So if you currently feed baby until she is asleep, change to only feeding baby until she is drowsy. Then put her into bed and then pat/sssh/put firm pressure on her tummy etc until she falls asleep IN BED.

  7. Once your baby can fall asleep in bed OK, change to feeding until calm and use your patting to get baby get drowsy in bed.

  8. Then you can work on increasing the awake time between the end of the feed and when you put your baby into bed awake.

  9. Finally you will need to gradually reduce the amount of patting you do to help your baby get drowsy or fall asleep.

  10. CONSISTENCY - Make sure you do the same for any night-waking! So if you are up to putting baby into bed drowsy but awake at bedtime, then do the same during the night.

  11. If you have a really sucky baby, consider using a dummy for bedtime and during the night settling. Once babies are over about 5 months they can learn to put a dummy back in for themselves, which means you don't need to feed them back to sleep!

  12. The No Cry Sleep Solution is a great resource if you want a very slow and gentle approach to weaning off feeding to sleep. The technique involves the 'Pantley Pull-off' where you un-latch your baby and gently close her mouth, repeatedly. ...as she learns she can get to sleep without sucking. It is a very involved process but will work if you are consistent and patient with it.

It won't be as hard as you expect!!!

At this point you should reassure yourself that you can teach your baby to fall asleep without feeding, and it will not be nearly as hard as you imagine it will be.

This is absolutely the message we get from many mums every week - just decide on a plan and you will soon have a baby who loves to cuddle and feed, but doesn't rely on it to get to sleep at bedtime and through the night.

We Recommend These


Sold out

View Product


Sold out

View Product

Sold out

View Product

If you are suffering post-natal depression or are shattered.


Over 50% of post-natal depression can be resolved in a few days when the baby learns to sleep through the night, i.e. the link between maternal sleep deprivation and depression is very strong.

So if you are depressed or just feeling at the end of your tether, you might want to consider a faster approach to weaning them off being fed to sleep - there are no prizes for being a martyr, particularly if your own health and well-being is at stake!!

The verbal reassurance method will generally teach a baby to sleep independently in 3-4 nights - see our facebook discussion page for feedback from other mums on this technique or see the Sleepeasy Solution DVD.

Recommended Articles

Teaching your baby to self settle

Everyone talks about self settling...but why is it important? Why should you bother to teach your baby to settle himself at bedtime? Why not just continue feeding or rocking your baby to sleep?

Read More

Sleep Associations and Self Settling

Teaching your baby to self settle at bedtime can be one of the biggest challenges you will face with your baby's sleep. It is an essential step in your baby learning to sleep through the night.

Read More

Introducing and using a comforter

A small blanket or soft toy specifically designed to be used for settling babies and providing comfort.

Read More

Feeding Baby to Sleep | Baby Sleep Advice | The Sleep Store

Mother breastfeeding baby to sleep in a baby carrier


  • Baby
  • Newborn Sleep
  • 3-6 Months Sleep
  • 6-9 Months Sleep
  • breastfeeding
  • self-settling


How to sleep with a baby

establish a general routine

What do most women do when their baby falls asleep? Someone rushes to cook, someone begins to hastily clean the apartment, iron, wash - there are always plenty of things to do in the family. But in vain. You can do household chores even when the baby is awake, but he definitely won’t let you sleep. Therefore, if a son or daughter falls asleep, drop everything and go to bed with the child. There is no perfect order or dinner is not prepared? You can do all this later, when you rest, and, by the way, you will most likely spend much less time and effort. Therefore, the first rule of mom's regimen: sleep when the baby sleeps. To feel normal, a woman (especially a nursing mother) must sleep both at night and during the day. So adjust the general regimen of the day: you can adapt to the child’s sleep, or, on the contrary, you can adjust the child’s sleep to your routine (although this will be more difficult to do). nine0005

accept help

Use volunteers as often as possible to babysit, walk, or simply feed. And here the help of the husband, grandparents will be invaluable. Do not trust the baby mother-in-law? Do you think that dad will not be able to entertain the baby for a couple of hours? Worried that grandpa will get lost with the baby while strolling around the house? In vain. Your loved ones are adults, they wish both you and the baby only the best and are unlikely to harm him in any way. At most, a diaper is buttoned crookedly, an extra blouse is put on the baby, or they give him the wrong nipple. nine0005

If possible, make arrangements with your family so that they can babysit at least two or three times a week, giving you a couple of hours to sleep and rest. By the way, for this you can invite a nanny. And again - no household chores at this time, only - sleep!

sleeping with the baby

Co-sleeping has many advantages: the mother doesn't have to get up, wake up, go to the crib, get the baby out of it. She can feed the baby and at the same time almost never wake up: after all, the baby will find the breast on its own. Yes, and many children sleep only with their parents - in order to fall asleep, some babies need to feel the familiar smell and warmth of a loved one. This method has both its supporters and opponents, but in any case, if you choose to sleep together, you need to ensure the safety of the child. You can not put the child on the edge of the bed - he can turn around and fall to the floor; you can not put it next to the parent pillow - the baby may turn unsuccessfully and his breathing will be disturbed. nine0005

And it's best not to put the baby in the same bed with adults, but simply move the crib to the parent's bed, after removing the side rail from it (today there are even special cribs for sleeping together). So the child will feel the closeness of mom and dad, and parents will sleep peacefully, without worrying about his safety.

“Stock up” with sleep

Scientists have found that lack of sleep or insomnia is fully compensated by a full rash preceding it (or following it). And if so, then you can “stock up” on sleep. A couple of times a week (well, or one for sure) you need to arrange a day for yourself when the dream lasts 8-9hours per day. Here again, relatives or a nanny will come to the rescue. You can select once a week when you sleep all night, and dad gets up at night for the baby. True, this is convenient when the child is bottle-fed or at least agrees to drink expressed mother's milk from a bottle at night. If this is not possible, then you need to agree with your husband that, for example, on the weekend he takes the child and works with him for a couple of morning hours, and you fill up the missing time. Or let your grandmother (nanny) come in the morning, who will also let you make up for a night's sleep. nine0005

go to bed together at night

Usually, after putting her baby to bed, a mother either rushes to finish the day's chores, or tries to find time for herself (surf the Internet, read a book, watch TV, get a manicure). But it is the first three to four hours of sleep at night that children sleep best. Take note of this and go to bed at night at the same time as your baby. Otherwise, you have not yet had time to fall asleep (or just fell asleep), as the baby woke up for night feeding or just like that. As a result, you will get not only a shortened night's sleep, but for sure at night the baby will wake up a couple more times and interrupt it. nine0005

put the child to bed early

As a rule, an adult who goes to bed early wakes up earlier. But in children there is no such pattern. Therefore, do not be afraid that today, having fallen asleep before 9 pm, tomorrow the baby will wake you up at dawn. On the contrary, the later the child falls asleep, the worse and more restless he sleeps. And just early laying gives a more complete and prolonged night's sleep. And this is exactly what a tired mom needs! But in order to establish such a daily routine, all family members will have to try. But then it becomes much easier for them. nine0005

Try to improve your routine and sleep more, and the whole family will feel much better. Even with a small child, it is possible not to feel sleep deprivation. Try it and see for yourself.

If this arrangement suits all members of your family, practice co-sleeping. This is a real salvation for mothers whose children often wake up at night. Sleep deficiency disrupts the formation of serotonin in the body - a biologically active substance, which is also called the hormone of happiness, calmness and good mood. As a result, a person deprived of normal rest constantly experiences irritability and a feeling of depression

Try to instill a regular sleep-wake schedule in your child. This will make your day more organized and make you less tired.

Attention! Prices for services in different clinics may vary. To clarify the current cost, select the clinic

The administration of the clinic takes all measures to update the prices for programs in a timely manner, however, in order to avoid possible misunderstandings, we recommend that you check the cost of services by phone / with the managers of the clinic

nine0050 Clinical Hospital MD GROUPClinical Hospital Lapino-1 "Mother and Child"Children's Clinic KG "Lapino" in New Riga (branch)Clinic "Mother and Child" KuntsevoClinic "Mother and Child" SavelovskayaClinic "Mother and Child" South-WestClinic "Mother and child" Novogireevo

All directionsKinesiotherapy for childrenSpecialist consultations (adults)Specialist consultations (children)Massage / manual therapy for childrenTherapeutic research

nine0050 01.

Kinesiotherapy for children


Specialists consultations (adults)


Specialists consultations (children's)

Massage Massage/ Manual therapy for children

05. 9000

Therapeutic studies

Nothing found

The administration of the clinic takes all measures to timely update the price list posted on the website, however, in order to avoid possible misunderstandings, we advise you to clarify the cost of services and the timing of the tests by calling

Is it possible to feed a child up to a year at night

To feed or not to feed a child at night is a question that still does not have a clear answer. On the one hand, it is completely normal for a baby to wake up at night to be fed. On the other hand, mom wants to sleep. Yes, and the baby after a night of good sleep feels vigorous and rested. In addition, sooner or later to enter the normal mode - we are awake during the day, we sleep at night - we still have to. Let's figure out when you can start weaning your baby from feeding at night, and how to do it as painlessly as possible. nine0005

Let's start with the fact that if the baby is underweight, long breaks in eating can adversely affect its development. If the baby develops normally, and even more so if his weight exceeds the norm, then in no case do you need to wake him up so that he refreshes himself in the middle of the night. From the point of view of physiology, a six-month-old baby may well oversleep for four to five hours in a row. Of course, if he is not hungry and such a break does not cause him discomfort. Even if the child sleeps for six hours in a row, it's okay. nine0005

The main condition in weaning from night feedings is gradualness. The child should not be allowed to feel uncomfortable. Just let him know that there will be no food at night, so there is no need to wake up - it will not work. It is necessary to organize everything so that the child does not even notice the changes. First you need to gradually increase the amount of food that the baby receives during the day. If the child is already on complementary foods, you can give him porridge at night. This is a nutritious product that relieves hunger for a long time. Then you can also gradually increase the intervals between feedings. First day. This will allow the child's digestive system to begin to readjust to a more adult mode. nine0005

For a baby, night feeding is not only a meal, but also an extra reason to stay close to mom. Such close communication calms and inspires confidence. This is especially true for children who are breastfed. Therefore, when weaning from night feedings, it is necessary to spend as much time as possible with the baby during the day. At the same time, special attention should be paid to tactile contacts so that the baby constantly feels mother's warmth and support. If the baby is comfortable during the day, the chances that he will sleep peacefully through the night are much greater. nine0005

Another tip - when the baby takes food during the day, try to create an atmosphere far from the bedroom. Try to feed your baby in bed less often, even if it is more convenient for you. Let him get used to the fact that you need to eat at the table, sitting in a child seat. Thus, the baby will gradually cease to associate the bed with food.

In addition, the mother in the mind of the baby is associated not only with love and care, but also with food. Especially when breastfeeding the baby, because in this case it also smells like breast milk. Therefore, it’s a good idea to connect dad to changing the night feeding regime. It has been noticed that if in the middle of the night the father takes the child in his arms, and not the mother, the baby returns to sleep much faster and does not require reinforcement so actively. Try to delegate the duties of laying the baby to dad. Let the baby listen to a lullaby at night instead of eating, and once again communicate with his father.

Learn more