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Do I need to stop breastfeeding my child to sleep?

Updated: Dec 17, 2022

There is a lot of information out there around breastfeeding and baby sleep and from what I've seen, a lot of it seems to be quite negative. I wanted to share my own personal experience on this subject and hopefully help any mummy's out there who are wondering if they should stop breastfeeding their little one to sleep.

But before I tell you my story, let me start by saying that no, you don't have to do anything when it comes to how you get your child to sleep if it's working for you and your little one. Some little ones will happily be fed to sleep and sleep through the night and if that's working for you, you do you Mumma.

However, if its not working for you OR you no longer want to get your child to sleep this way (maybe Daddy wants to do bedtime or perhaps you're just a tired Mumma ready to have a change) then we can work together to get your little one sleeping without being fed to sleep.

I wanted to share my own personal story about breastfeeding and child sleep.

My little boy was breastfed to sleep every. single. night. And I LOVED feeding him to sleep but by 9 months his sleep was terrible. He was waking anywhere between 10-15 times per night and only going back to sleep if he was 'feeding'. I was exhausted, he was exhausted, my husband felt helpless and I was due to go back to work. I knew something had to change. I had put off sleep training because I was scared that I'd be told I needed to let my little prince cry it out. But what do you do when you're already exhausted and you need to function like an actual human being?

I researched (LOTS) and I selected a sleep consultant. I explained that under NO circumstances was my little boy being left to cry and I ideally wanted to break to cycle of feeding to sleep, but I wanted to continue breastfeeding and I was happy to get up and do a number of feeds during the night, but I just needed to get some sleep. Anything longer than 2 hours of sleep was my goal. Can you believe that was my sleep goal? I wanted to sleep anything longer than 2 hours!

The first night, my heart broke a little inside. I felt like I was letting my little boy down, but I also knew the lack of sleep was hurting us both. We took a super slow, gentle approach. I told the consultant I was happy to take their advice but I was doing it at my own speed. I wasn't fussed about how long the steps took, for me, my goal was getting good blocks of sleep at night.

And that's what we did. I worked at a pace which felt safe and comfortable for my little boy and for me, with guidance from my sleep consultant. Within a few nights, we were hitting our goal of getting more than 2-hour blocks of sleep. My little boy started consolidating his feeds and having fewer, longer feeds rather than little bits here and there.

The most amazing things started happening after this. Our days were filled with so much more laughter. I always thought I had a happy baby, but my little boy with sleep was even happier than before. His development took off in leaps and bounds and I felt human again. Using a sleep consultant changed our lives, there is no doubt about that.

But why am I telling you this? Because I want you to know that I've been there mumma. I feel you, I know your worries, I know you're scared. If you want support, I'm here.

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