Should I stop feeding to sleep? And if so, how?

L has just turned six months old, and has always been a nightmare to get to sleep, both for naps and at night. He will happily fall asleep if I feed him, or in the car seat, but although he can fall asleep in other ways (rocking, sling) it takes a good half hour of crying before he gets there, even though he's being held. He won't take a dummy, I'm currently trying several types in desperation and getting nowhere. Feeding him to sleep is quick and easy, plus he feeds well when sleepy instead of trying to look around him, and he has a nice routine that he's created himself when we do this.

However, I'm planning on starting to wean day feeds onto formula in about a months time ready for me going back to work in November and I'm worried that he won't get any sleep then! He does take a bottle and will sometimes fall asleep on it, but surely that's just a temporary fix? Should I try and change the habit now or wait until I go back to work and see what happens? And if I should do something, what do I do? Should just add, I'm not up for leaving him to cry. I know it works for some, and that's great, but its not for me. Thanks!


  • E was bottle fed and isn't the best sleeper so I don't have any useful experience, but I'd really recommend The No Cry Sleep Solution (book).

  • We had this problem, and she would fall asleep feeding, I'd carefully put her in her cot, then five mins later she'd wake up crying.

    My hv said it might be that they wake up in a different place . She suggested feeding then putting down to sleep before she actually fell asleep on me, it if she did fall asleep on me then to gently wake her a little bit before putting her in her cot so she was aware she was going to sleep in her cot if that makes sense.

    Perhaps you could try similar as if he is awake when he goes in his cot he will start to associate that as where he goes to sleep and then you won't have to always give him a feed before he goes down.

    Might not work, its a while since W was at this stage so can't remember much! I'll most likely be asking for help with. These things in a few weeks for number two!

  • We don't feed to sleep as a general rule,  occasionally do if it's nap time and food time cross over because one or the other is late,  however,  E is now nearly 8 Months and we're going through a bit of a milk refusal stage.. her doing obviously. This means she's not going to bed full of milk and sleepy as she normally does but she is still sleeping well and self settling despite this,  so IMO I would say if it's working for you now,  then I'd keep doing it,  at least until weaning when you'll find bottles drop etc. Personally I don't see any issues with feeding to sleep and if it means no fighting or tears I really don't see the harm (We aren't CC'ers either).

  • I found myself feeding my daughter to sleep from around 3 or 4 months (wasn't conscious of doing it!). I was perfectly happy to continue to do this as it soothed her & is a completely natural way for her to go to sleep. I carried on doing this until she was 1 when I stopped giving daytime feeds & at that point I would give her her bed time breast feed downstairs then my hubby took her upstairs & put her to bed. If you're happy to continue to feed her to sleep than carry on. There's nothing wrong or harmful in it & won't 'create a rod' or other crazy sayings! As for going back to work. I went back to work when my daughter was 7 months old & I was worried that she wouldn't sleep without me there but nursery (where she goes 2 days a week) said she goes down fine. On days when I wasn't at home my hubby had mixed sucess with putting her down to sleep after an expressed bottle of milk but on the whole she was fine. It was only with me she wanted to feed to sleep. Good luck with whatever you choose to do. A good website to read is kelly mom:

  • Thanks all!

    Marmite - you're the second person to recommend that book to me this week! Think I will have to have a read

    Jellytot - I'm not sure our problem is quite the same as yours as L will happily stay asleep when I move him. However I think you're right that he needs to see the cot as a safe place to be asleep so that at some point he will fall asleep there. He's going into his own room in a few weeks so maybe I will try putting him down drowsy as part of his revised bedtime routine - if it doesn't work then I can try again when he's a bit older.

    Little Madam - that's a good point, I suppose things will naturally change as he gets older. Should be obvious, but I think I needed someone to point it out to me!

    Blackkat - thanks, its reassuring to know that feeding your daughter to sleep was something you were able to stop when she was ready, and that it didn't cause any problems while you were at work. I really don't want to stop at the moment, I love the sleepy cuddles! It massively helps to be told its not creating a rod, no one has actually said this to me yet, but I think some are starting to think it now we've passed the six month mark. Will have a look at that website too

  • Hiya! I've just come downstairs from feeding my son (almost 8 months) to sleep.

    I'm going back to work in January and am quite concerned about his sleep while he's there, as he either feeds to sleep, or is rocked to sleep in the pram/sling. My plan is to get a taggie and place it between us every time I feed him to sleep. I'm hoping we can get him to transition from feeding to sleep, to holding the taggie and going to sleep himself. He also has started grabbing me and pulling my top as he feeds to sleep so we're hoping to taggie will help with that too.

    Good luck!

  • If its working and you're happy to continue then I would. E fed to sleep until she was about 9 or 10 months. Then I found that she gradually started to feed to drowsy then fall asleep in my arms. Now at 13 months bedtime loosely goes, breastfeed to drowsy, starts to fall asleep in my arms, not fully asleep (bit fidgety still) into cot where she settles for the night. I've found that all this happened in her own time and I have't done anything to encourage it. When she was 6 months old I couldn't imagine how I would get her to sleep without boob, but I am noticing the feed part of bedtime is gradually decreasing. Now I'd just like her to move her bedtime to before 10pm!

  • I fed to sleep until my son was about 6m old and then I decided he really needed to start self-settling as he was starting to sleep through. My hubby was away so I asked my mum over to have a go at CC (contraversial I know). Anyway. By the time he'd had 2 naps that day he cracked it by bedtime! He was obviously ready. I guess it depends on them really. At 6m though they can literally change overnight. Try the drowsy thing for a bit and see how it goes

  • Saisi - thanks, the taggie is a good idea. L has one that he likes to wave around when he's in his cot, so I think if I persevere I might be able to attach him to it. Good to know I'm not the only one still feeding to sleep though!

    Stripey - thanks for the reassurance that things will change as he gets older. I'm happy to keep doing it, I just don't want it to become a problem for him when he gets older iykwim? I feel as though I'm taking the easy option and it worries me that when I do stop it will be a huge trauma for him. Your experience gives me hope! (Although 10pm bedtime doesn't sound fun!)

    IDC -wow, that's great that it worked so well and so quickly! I'm pretty sure L isn't ready for that yet, and I'm definitely sure I couldn't stand to listen to it, but like you say they change so fast so who knows. Thanks for sharing!

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