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How to Stop Nursing to Sleep (Only if You Want To!)

Updated: Mar 24


Do you remember that moment when another mom at the baby group asked, “Haven’t you stopped nursing him to sleep yet?” It's a scenario many of us can relate to—the pressure to have our little ones fall asleep independently. As a new parent, I too felt the weight of expectations, wondering if I was somehow failing by not teaching my child to drift off without nursing. But looking back, I wish I could tell my past self that I was doing a fantastic job. I would reassure myself that one day, my son would indeed learn to sleep on his own.


However, there sometimes comes a time when we feel that change is needed. For me, it was when my son turned three, and I felt physically and emotionally exhausted from our once-treasured nursing routine. I craved a little more me-time and a little more freedom to not be needed for every single nap or bedtime.


If you're in a similar place, wanting to transition away from nursing to sleep, know that you're not alone. In this blog post, I'll share practical tips based on my experience and insights gathered from mothers worldwide who have successfully navigated this transition.


1. Emphasize Safety and Comfort

Ensure your child feels safe and comfortable at bedtime, regardless of how they fall asleep. Focus on creating a soothing environment conducive to restful sleep. Some children are simply more sensitive than others! Whilst some can fall asleep in a noisy cafe in the middle of the day, others will only get more and more frustrated and overtired without a more peaceful environment. Knowing your child's sleep needs alongside breastfeeding is a great place to start when thinking about stopping feeding to sleep.


2. Seek Support:


Don't hesitate to reach out for help. Whether that is from your partner, family, or a professional, having support can make the transition smoother and less overwhelming. We were never meant to mother alone, yet in a world which prioritizes individualism, it can feel like we have to. For us, our village came in the form of paid childcare and cross-country trips to see family. Another great place to get help and advice is at a local breastfeeding support group. Nursing and pumping can be incredibly isolating, but it need not be with support.


3. Nurture Connection:


Maintain a strong bond with your child throughout the transition. Spend quality time together during the day, engage in calming activities before bedtime, and reassure them with lots of love and affection. I am an avid believer that it is comnection, not separation which leads to happy, healthy relationships (and I'm not just taking about parents and our children!). Lean into connecting with your little one in ways other than nursing to help them establish new patterns of behaviour over time.


4. Follow Your Child's Lead:


Pay attention to your child's cues and preferences. If they resist the change, adjust your approach accordingly. Flexibility and patience are key! Again, just like every one of us, every single child is different. We all adjust to changes in at different paces and that's ok! Despite what those sleep training ads might suggest, no child nurses to sleep forever - even if you do nothing!


5. Celebrate Differences:


Remember that every family is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Trust your instincts and do what feels right for you and your child.


As you embark on this journey, remember that change takes time. Be kind to yourself and your child as you navigate this transition. If you're seeking further guidance on gentle weaning practices, explore my 33 page Weaning with Love guide. With 5 pages dedicated on stopping nursing to sleep, it's a resource you won't want to miss.Get 15% off with discount code: WEAN15. Click here to purchase your copy and take the next step towards a new bedtime routine for your family.


With love,

Danielle

❤️



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