Breastfeeding For Comfort (The All-Night Diner)

A discussion I had with Annie from PHD In Parenting a while back (“Attachment Parenting Debate – For Crying Out Loud!”) sparked some interesting commentary. A couple of days ago I received this new comment and question…

I am beyond excited to have found your blog Janet, and this debate has been so revealing for me. My daughter is almost 1 year old and I have been practicing Attachment Parenting because it has made sense to me. This blog is my first more formal introduction to Magda Gerber‘s approach and I am having a huge A-HA moment! Thank you so much, I can’t wait to learn more about this thinking and approach. I have a question I wonder if you would address. From Magda’s approach how does a parent approach changing a pattern that has been set into place?

In our case I have gotten my daughter into being solely dependent on my breast during the nighttime hours. She still wakes several times every night and “needs” to have my breast to calm and return to sleep – sometimes this return to deep sleep happens INSTANTLY, and other times she actually nurses although she is usually in a certain level of sleep the whole time. That is to say, she is rarely truly awake. If I do not give her the breast she wakes fully and is soon screaming until she is returned to the breast. She always quickly returns to deep sleep after being put to the breast. Although most of the hours of our nights are spent in sleep, I am tired of waking so many times in the night, every night, and can clearly see that this is a pattern that I have created. But how to change it? Thankfully, I have not been so indiscriminate in daytime hours, although I have used the breast to comfort when I might have paid attention differently and tried other methods.

I am fascinated by human development and with the parenting process, so I can’t wait to start using Magda’s insights to help me parent better.

Thanks in advance for any help! Megan

          Hi Megan,

First, I just want to mention that the pattern you recognize (so astutely) you’ve created is a version of what most of us do — a perfectly understandable response to our baby’s cries, especially during the night. A baby’s cries are heart-wrenching for us to hear, designed by Nature to arouse us from a deep sleep. We are inclined to believe that every cry is a call to immediate resolution, and breastfeeding (or a pacifier) can appear to be the immediate answer. Our instincts tell us to make the crying stop, rather than to support our baby’s emotional health by hearing, acknowledging and understanding cries before we act.  Crying babies make us feel like bad parents.

When babies cry in my parent/infant classes for whatever reason, I try to reassure parents that crying is allowed here, and that a baby’s cries are not a judgment against them — quite the contrary. It takes a brave and enlightened parent to remain calm, listen to their baby cries and offer an attuned, accurate response. Babies cry to communicate a variety of needs – and sometimes the need is to complain, or otherwise express feelings that the parent cannot necessarily “fix”.

Struggles at bedtime are particularly difficult for parents to endure. We’re tired and weary, and keeping the peace at night — getting everyone back to sleep as quickly and easily as possible — is a priority. We nurse, rock, use a pacifier…whatever it takes.

Some babies will eventually transition on their own to un-aided sleep, but most want to continue (and continue, and continue) going to sleep the way they are used to…who can blame them? And if the arrangement is comfortable for the parents, and the baby seems to be functioning well during the day, there’s little reason to make a change.

But you are an insightful mom (and tired), and you sound ready to help your baby find a new pattern. The great news is that babies are extremely adaptable, and once we commit to changing a habit of any kind and project confidence in our decision (the most important element for success) babies usually only need a few days to make a transition. I only wish that I could tell you it will be seamless and soundless!

Actually, helping our child change habits of any kind is usually much easier than we imagine it will be, once we are sure that the change is best for all concerned.  But if we (our child’s leader) are tentative, uneasy or uncertain, it is much more difficult for the child to transition comfortably. Children sense our ambivalence a mile away.

So, first make a plan and proceed with confidence. Since your baby has become accustomed to many feedings, I suggest reducing them gradually, one at a time. 

Then, give your baby a little preparation in advance. Magda Gerber encouraged parents to talk honestly to babies about changes in their routines (and every other aspect of their lives, for that matter) and to include them in the process. “Tonight, if you wake up, we won’t be having milk each time. I want you to go back to sleep, so you get a really good rest.”

Believe your baby capable of falling asleep independently with your support rather than worrying, or pitying her.

Then do less, and allow your baby to do more. Instead of nursing in the night, you might stroke your baby and talk softly, allow her feelings to be expressed and acknowledge them. “I hear you. You want milk to help you sleep and you’re upset. It’s time to go back to sleep. You can do it.” And she really and truly can with your support and belief in her.

For more support and information about crying and emotional health, sleep, and changing patterns, I highly recommend these articles:

Allowing Crying Without Crying It Out on Natural Parents Network  by Suchada Eickemeyer, another Attachment Parenting enthusiast who has been recently introduced to and inspired by RIE.

Emotional Health And Development Of Self-Esteem In Infants by Roseann Murphy at Little River School Online

Interview With Aletha Solter On Crying And High-Needs Infants at Aware

      Changing Toddler Sleep Habits and Baby’s “No Cry” Sleep Is Exhausting, guest posts here by sleep specialist Eileen Henry


I love your enthusiasm for Magda’s approach, and I’ll do all I can to help.




Please share your comments and questions. I read them all and respond to as many as time will allow.

  1. Hi Janet, Hi Megan

    Will be watching this post and comments with interest, thank you. My son is almost 8 mths and since he was (around) 3 months has woken once a night for a breastfeed, always sometime between 2.00am and 4.00am. Then always straight back to sleep.

    At this stage we are both happy with the arrangement; as I’ve been doing it for so long (and it’s just the one time each night) we are both well rested. However, as he increases his solids intake and gets older, I am conscious of keeping an eye on it that it doesn’t become just a comfort habit rather than genuine hunger. I suspect we’re just starting to approach that stage (I’ve noticed his ‘feeding’ is less enthusiastic), hence my interest in this topic!

    A couple of times we have tested the waters with my husband going in instead and quietly talking or stroking or allowing our son to hold his hand to quieten down. And this works for 10-30 mins but he soon calls out again. So for now we are keeping the feed.

    Just thought I’d also mention a friend with an older baby (now 12 mths) had a similar issue, though with much more frequent waking. What worked for them was for dad to take a few days off work (so he could sleep during the day!) and for him to replace mum going in at night. It took about 3 days of him going in and just calmly talking, etc to do the trick. I’ve read too that this is sometimes better as babies can get all revved up for milk if it’s mum that comes in (why not, seeing the milk has arrived) and that *sometimes* dads can have more success in this regard.

    Hope that is of help.

    Keep up the great blog, Janet. Have been following it with great interest for a few months now, down here in Australia


    1. Hi Lauren in Australia! Yes, I’ve noticed that it’s often easier for dads to help with a sleep transition. Thanks for mentioning that.

      I’m no sleep expert, but one night feeding at 8 months of age sounds typical to me… Great that you are proceeding with such awareness, though.

      Thanks for your kinds words about the blog! 🙂

    2. My daughter would was exactly as this writer described: woke up multiple times (6-7) a night and almost always went back to sleep easily with some milk. But at a certain point she couldn’t go back to sleep with the breast (usually after 3 in the morning) and would be exhausted and miserable. We used the Ferber method (gentle checks on her every 1,3,5 min and my husband did the checks so she wouldn’t be frustrated by the lack of breast). I would only go in at the five hour mark to feed her and put her down awake at which point my husband would continue to comfort her. It was a miracle. She slept infinitely better and I was a much more patient/rested mom. Eventually we weaned her off the last feed with the same gentle checks by my husband. They also formed a special bond because of this and our relationship is as strong as ever.

  2. just want to say for your consideration that there may be some need (even comfort- especially if you are apart from each other during the day) that breastfeeding is fulfilling for your child. our son, now 27 months, continued waking in the night and only being comforted after nursing until he was a few months shy of two. and then, on his own, without any changes on our part, he slept through the night. i feel good about allowing our child to tell us when he was ready to do without rather than the other way around because it was inconvenient for my sleep. though, i realize not all parents feel this way about taking the longer road.

    1. Amanda, thank you. I really love that you shared this…a success story! It’s morale-boosting when our parenting choices end up working out as we hope they will. I would only add that my point is to be aware of the needs we create. All babies need comfort, but we are the ones who condition our babies to needing a specific comfort response, like breastfeeding. Our goals and “longer road” are not necessarily another parent’s longer road.

  3. Janet, thank you for linking to my articles. I’m going to spend some time today re-reading information about sleep, because we’re again struggling with night-waking (after a week of illness), and working to move back to routine that kept all of us happier.

    In response to Amanda, I agree that breastfeeding does fulfill a need for comfort that our children have at night. The difficulty many parents have is their own need to rest (which is also often a need of the child), and finding a solution that honors both needs. In many attachment parenting circles that I’m part of, the only option seems to be to sacrifice our own needs for the need of a child.

    I feel like a bad mother saying that option didn’t work for us, but it simply didn’t. When I sacrificed my own need for sleep to allow my son to have his first choice for comfort, I ended up sacrificing many other parts of our relationship, which wasn’t good for anyone.

    What I appreciate about the RIE approach is it encourages us to recognize and acknowledge our child’s needs, and then support them as they find alternative ways to fulfill them. Ultimately I believe this is healthier for everyone and our life-long relationships.

    1. Suchada, I hate hearing you say you could be a bad mother. I think we underestimate our baby’s ability to feel loved and comforted by our sensitive attention and caring presence. Babies sense all the things adults do, in fact they are even more sensitive. And babies are ready to begin learning that these people they are forming close bonds with — their parents — have self-respect. We are teaching what it means to be human. Our babies develop healthy personal boundaries with others when we model self-respect.

      I so appreciate this passage from Linda Ligane’s article about infants and self-esteem posted on Little River School Online ( )…

      Respecting yourself, the carer is the most difficult, most fundamental task. Respecting the needs of an infant is far easier than respecting one’s own needs. After all, the infant is brand new, and what you are doing with her is establishing new habits that replace no habits. That is not true of respecting one’s own needs. Becoming a parent challenges one’s development with the opportunity for personal growth. Why is it important to grow personally, when your whole life is settling down after birth of your child? Why is taking care of you important? Why take care of yourself before the baby when your job as a parent is defined as taking care of the baby? I can only offer my reasons…you must answer these questions for yourself. The quality of your family life depends on your answers.

      Parenting takes real work, especially if the philosophy and methodology I have described is different from what you would otherwise do. By definition, work is draining. It takes energy from you, and thus also from your child.

      It usually only takes a short time to take care of your immediate needs, and a longer time to take care of your child.

      You are the primary role model for your child, ad by respecting your own needs; you are setting a very important example for your child to later learn to respect his own needs.

      Only after we truly respect ourselves are we able to genuinely respect others.

      When you are able to satisfy your own needs on a regular basis, you are more able to nurture others

  4. Janet. I love you.

    The way you explain this is so so comforting and positive. Your blog should be mandatory reading for any parent!

    1. Awww… You made my day. Thank you, and the feeling is mutual!

  5. Great discussion. I love it.
    I hear Suchada echoing more the difficulty of judging oneself as a bad parent based on comparisons with others, or the culture, or things you pick up in the air, rather than really believing one is a bad mom. The eternal struggle with self-judgment and comparisons with perfection. The belief-system Suchada references where the thing that must be sacrificed is her needs I believe can often lead to resenting the child/baby and their needs. This is not a recipe for anyone’s health.
    In any case, I LOVE the quote about how respecting yourself is harder than respecting the needs of a brand new baby.

  6. Aneela 786 says:

    Dear Janet

    I am so thankful to you. Because it’s been only two days I found this website and I seem to be on this all the time and learning so much. You are doing a wonderful job.
    I have few questions for you and it would be great if you could help me with them. I am facing similar problems as Kathleen mentioned above. My son ( ebraheem) is a lovely baby and has a good routine. He sleeps on time and doesn’t wake up in the night so often. Now the problem I have is he sleeps with me and wouldn’t sleep in his own cot. He is 10 months old, he started sleeping with me since he was 6 months and now I am having trouble shifting him back to his cot. I did try putting him in his bed while he was sleeping but unfortunately he wakes up and starts crying. Soon he wakes up he wants to have milk to fall back to sleep and wouldn’t sleep until I offer him milk again. Once he is asleep I would take the nipple out. He wouldn’t sleep without nipple in his mouth no matter how sleepy he is. It would be very helpful if you could help..

    1. Hello,
      Our situation is identical to what you described. How did you fix it?

      Thanks a lot.

  7. Thank you for covering this topic. We had such a struggle with our first child (now almost 4yo) with breastfeeding at night.

    I pushed through the nightly discomfort til he was about 1.5yo and he started fondling my breasts while nursing- that was a clear cut off point for me.

    Communication really helped- my partner & I made a plan and then talked to our son about the change.

    He had a really hard time and it KILLED me inside to see him struggle. After more communication- particularly with baby sign language, we figured out he was actually still hungry in the middle of the night.

    So we started pushing for more protein at his dinner with a cup of cow milk at night if he really needed it. It didn’t make everything perfect, but definitely helped him eventually adjust.

    The biggest benefit to me, though, was with all the extra communication during this period, we learned a lot more about his personal needs and how to meet them in a sustainable way. Following this period, he started replacing the nursing sign for the food sign a lot more- not just at night, but also throughout the day.

    It also helped us differentiate when he was in emotional discomfort or physical discomfort.

    We are expecting another child this summer and even with the experience of our first son, I am dreading to go through this stage of drevelopment again. Thanks for the post- its a great reminder and I will definitely bookmark it.

  8. Jessica Isles says:

    Sooo interesting and helpful. I just wanted to mention that not breastfeeding at all during the night often leads to a significant drop in milk supply which may hasten the end of the breastfeeding relationship. Many mothers dont know this. With this information we can choose how we change the night time habits to include feeds if we want to ensure a plentiful milk supply for the day as well.
    Also, many mothers are unaware that almost every baby that dies of SIDS dies when they are alone either in a bed or stroller or car seat etc (not co sleeping!). I mention this because our culture expects us to put the baby to sleep away from us even from the moment of birth. It’s almost a badge of honor to have a baby who sleeps through the night in their own bed. However, new babies depend on plentiful human contact. They regulate their temperature and breathing by being held by another human being – this is why skin to skin after birth is so important. And physical human contact is as much a part of the loving care we give our babies as food is, or the conscious respect that RIE so wonderfully advocates. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up about how much physical comfort we give our babies – they need it. Yes, a new baby can be extremely tiring and many days the mothers needs will not necessarily be fully met. But, our needs are often determined by our expectations and our expectations are largely determined by the culture we live in. Finding out what our true needs are and meeting them in balance with the baby’s needs is a true skill!

    1. Thank you, you literally said everything I was planning on writing! Our milk is also very low in fat meaning our babies need to feed frequently both day and night, and seeing as it is recommended feeding until two year of age, stopping night feeds early (and especially for a baby under one as milk is still their main source of nutrition) can be detrimental to the breastfeeding relationship. Not to mention it contains all those lovely sleep inducing hormones so it really does help baby fall back asleep, not just the comfort of it for them (which is just as important as the nutrition side of things). I don’t think that’s a need we as parents have created in our babies, but one that nature has…

  9. Hello, I’ve been reading a few articles of yours the past few days and learning a lot. Some things I’ve already been doing, some seem natural but have to be learned, and others I am wrapping my head around still. I have read a similar approach to night nursing but I am forgetting where I read it. My son is 11 months and we both need better sleep. I have no issue with nursing him to sleep and since he was labeled failure to thrive, every drop of milk is crucial to his continued weight gain and growth. My issue is with his need to pacify at the breast in order to stay soundly asleep. I also still can’t set him down asleep no matter what technique I try. He is pretty high needs and intense. He has a hard time settling down if he gets worked up but has managed to settle (awake) from a fuss. Because he wants to pacify at the breast while he sleeps, he continues to trigger let downs (a glorious thing for me since we battled low supply and tongue and lip ties), which then cause him to rouse a bit from sleep. My ideal sleep situation would be nursing him to sleep, setting him down in his crib that is side-carred to my bed, then sleeping for 3-5 hours before needing to nurse again, setting him back down asleep and getting another 3-5 hours. I don’t know how to make this happen without him completely losing it. We have been working on less pacifying at the breast during the day but that usually means I need to keep the crying from escalating by distracting him or picking him up.

  10. Hi. I debated about chiming in, but I wanted to heartedly agree with Jessica Isles. For those women who want to keep up their milk supply, nursing at night is very important. I struggled with my milk supply for my first child and at 3 months began to co-sleep. And now co-sleep with our 2nd child. Yes, some nights he wakes more often and wants to nurse alot and then I don’t get much sleep that night. But it usually is associated with a growth spurt. With both children, I found that I received more sleep than my other friends (unless they adopted cry it out which I didn’t and don’t). When darling son wakes, I put him on the breast and we both fall gently back to sleep.

  11. We are in the same pattern. This is my second child and we night weaned gently and it worked great. My second is 12 months but we all share a bedroom which makes it very tricky to let the baby cry in bed. We can’t let our 3 year old wake up from the crying- any suggestions as to how we can help the baby not need to comfort nurse to get back to sleep in a 1 bedroom with 4 of us trying to sleep?

    1. Randi did you ever find a solution to this problem ? This is my current situation ..

  12. I am presently still nursing my 22month old son to sleep but when he was about 18 months old I started to gently take the nipple out after he was in a deep sleep, but I would stay beside him and rub his back for a little while, or just talk to him gently. Now most of the time he can do this but there are still times when he needs to nurse to sleep.

    Both my kids settled in to a 5 – 3 pattern, is what I call it. Five hours of good solid sleep, then up to nurse and then back down for three hours. This kept on for my daughter(now 4) until she was about 2 and half.

    hope you find a pattern that works for you. I also started to give a snack before bed at about 20 months just to help them stay fuller when they went to sleep – something healthy but filling.

  13. Hello Janet
    Your posts and links have been a godsend for me and I regularly share them on my business face book page.
    I am wondering whether you would treat babies and children who are in pain differently than those without sleeping and behavioural issues caused by physical stress.
    My second daughter has suffered from pain (mostly at night) pretty much since she was born (not life threatening, thank goodness). I am trying to practice the RIE method but it seems so futile and cruel to tell her over and over that i know she is in pain (especially as I can’t relieve it). Any advice would be gratefully received.

    1. Hi Heidi,
      How are you handling this now? And how old is your baby?

  14. Hello. Im not sure how old this discussion is but I just found this site. I have a few questions I’m hoping someone might be able to answer. My baby is only 8 weeks (it’s my first). I pump on occasion and give her a bottle she has never had trouble taking it but doesn’t seem to like the pacifier. She sleeps in a bassinet beside our bed. And had been on a pretty regular 3 hour schedule but was very restless when she did sleep. However lately she cluster feeds every hour in the evenings and feeds every couple hour during the night. She has also become dependent on the breast it seems to be the only thing that calms her and now refuses to take a bottle. I return back to work in four weeks and I’m worried if I don’t fix these problems soon life will be very difficult for us. I am aware that babies at this age dont sleep through the night but I don’t know what to realistically expect. I have had a very difficult time breastfeeding and everyone tells me just to stick it out but I’m not sure if this is normal behavior or not. Thanks for any advice offered!!

  15. Chantelle says:

    Hi Janet,

    I’m in exact same situation as this article. My girl is almost 15 months and I have been co sleeping with her for 10 months now (her choice) she won’t have a bar of sleeping alone I can only get up usually for 10 mins after I’ve put her to sleep and then she’s crying again.
    I’m so stuck in what to do I’ve tried loads of things.y partner loses his temper with her at nights do im stick doing it alone. Iv got her own single mattress ordered do I can start properly but just wondering the best way.? When u say drop one feed at a time does that include one of like 10-15 wakes a night which are generally comfort boob back to sleep? Which to chose there are so many? Should I put a time frame on boob eg. None between 11-4 or something? And how can I get her to sleep without me? Do I just keep getting up and down in the hope she will extend her sleep time? So far that hasn’t worked!
    From one tired mama

    1. This sounds like my son. I’m sorry, I don’t know how old your post is, but did you find a solution that worked?


      Hello, i am in the same position with my 15 month old. Did anything work for you? Please help

  16. As much as I respect RIE. I think we also need to respect that sometimes our babies know what they need. Research shows that it is normal for most breastfed babies to wake to feed multiple times a night, one of the mixed blessings of breast milk being so efficiently digested. Sometimes it’s once and sometimes it’s multiple especially if they’re going through a growth spurt or in pain from teething.
    If we refuse this we risk prematurely ending breastfeeding. They eventually slow down and bf less at night. Usually around 2.

  17. Very interesting article and comments. Just to add that if you are saying no to the breast when it is requested it helps to be a bit more firmly dressed than if you are trying to facilitate night feedings. I find wearing a crop top or sleep bra leads to less frustration for my son and less pain for me when I am helping him back to sleep with a cuddle or words instead of the breast.

  18. I wonder if the author has actually gone through this. I allow my baby to cry and maybe fall asleep after 15 minutes but she wakes within 15 minutes! I also have a toddler in bed with us, who was injured during the wonderful crib cio process. When I refuse the breast at night to my screaming girl, she wretches her whole body and pushes my hands away that try to rub her. Once she calms down, she lets me rub her to sleep. Great, but now shortly after that she wakes again screaming bloody murder.
    I hear the argument that your baby needs you but at what point do we evaluate the health of the baby during this? How is it good for her to constantly wake at night and not get a full night’s rest? What are the implications later in life? That’s what I’m afraid of. Yes, I’m exhausted but what about her? They need to complete so many sleep cycles at night to get their full rest and sleep is needed for brain development. That has me very worried. Moms who are considering bed sharing, please know this could be your road. I think everyone has the right to know.

  19. Hi Janet,

    First, thank you so much for your blog. As a parent and teacher, I have found so much that is supportive and nurturing to my practice as a parent and a person!

    Sleep is our #1 struggle as well. We too started with attachment parenting, and my now 10-month-old is fully accustomed to the all night diner. Problem: we have literally tried everything to undo this, and it doesn’t work. We spent a large amount of money on an RIe sleep consultant and formulated a plan to let him cry with our checks and reassurance (this was when he was 7.5 months). We talked about the upcoming change with him, about how we have loved cuddling with him at night but this was our last night sleeping together, then the next day we took the plunge. It was an unmitigated disaster. Ash screamed for 2.5 hours the first night (and that was just at the beginning), 1.5 the next night, and never less than 45 min for two weeks. Our pediatrician just laughed, said he wouldn’t have let him cry that long, but he is perfectly healthy and that he has a strong will.

    I am now out $350, still beyond exhausted, and seeing no end in sight here. Ash still goes berserk if I set him down alone for sleep. I want to believe he is capable as I do in all other things, but is it possible he can’t sleep on his own?

  20. Hi Janet, hi everyone,

    Thanks so much for posting on this topic, so profoundly similar to our situation with our 12 month old. He wakes 3-7 times at night to nurse, usually briefly, but this is still very hard for me as my own sleep is so consistently interrupted.

    My husband and I have enthusiastically embraced RIE principles and Janet’s many articles and podcasts for several months now, and we have found much joy and ease with our boy in our family as a result. Thank you so much Janet, Magda, and RIE community!!!

    We were stalling on addressing the sleep issue, as we weren’t sure exactly how to approach, and we knew it would be the most difficult behavior to address. This post made it impossible for us to draw it out any longer!!

    Our home is very small, so co-sleeping is more than just our intention, it is a necessity.

    Last night was our first attempt at limiting night nursing. I began by telling him that tonight would be different, and we would only nurse twice and then if he woke up again, we would relax together and rest without having milk. When he woke up, we talked to him about the new way, acknowledged his feelings/experience for 30 minutes or so with more and less crying, then he fell asleep for 5 minutes or so. Upon waking, he was inconsolably upset and shrieking like I have never heard before. After 10 minutes of acknowledging his feelings and experience, I nursed him and he went right back to sleep.

    I suppose we will try again, but I was very ‘ruffled’ by the experience. I realize I have to acknowledge my own difficulties with not giving him milk when he wants it. Somehow it is much harder to deny nursing and snuggling (in the night he does not want snuggling without milk!) when the need seems so primal, and so intrinsic to me as the mama. All the ways in which nursing is mixed with acceptance, care, safety, closeness, etc., this feels unlike any of the daytime challenges that I can handle calmly, lovingly, and with confidence.

    Even though both of us were with him as he struggled, the refusing of nursing was crushing to *me*. This morning, the baby is his chipper self, my husband feels our first attempt was successful and as complete as it could have been, and I feel tired and sad. Its so important that we look at our own difficulties and emotions that arise during difficult times, and the ways in which our unresolved issues affect, create, and prolong trying times.

    Thanks again, Janet, and all the best to parents everywhere.

  21. Hi,

    I just came across this post after reading another post Janet had written for the first time.
    I’m just wanted to add for those of you that are lost with regards to sleep you are not alone! There is no one size fits all solution. That’s why there are sooo many books , article ect on sleep. If it were solvable there wouldn’t be a market for it.

    Sleep cycles in babies and toddlers are much shorter than adults. Waking several times is normal, even adults roll, go to the bathroom or have periods of restfullness.
    Infact no one sleeps solidly right through the night!
    This in addition to night feedings being crucial to establishing breastfeeding (as others have mentioned) & meeting your baby’s individual age & stage metabolic requirements. Breastfeeding at night also releases hormones to help re established sleep for you both.
    This all shows us that we were designed to feed our baby’s when they wake at night.

    I breastfeeding for 3 years each night waking and never let my son cry it out. And he’s got there on his own! this was my choice and journey based on what I ft was right for “us”.
    Please be kind to yourself whatever path you choose to take to deal with night wakings.

  22. Megan Ward says:

    My daughter did very much the same thing well past 12 months. She would wake throughout the night and want the breast to stay asleep.
    Many of my crunchier friends suggested to let her cry it out in dads arms for 3 nights. At 13-14 months we gave this a try. The first night she cried for an hour with dad, the second night she cried for over an hour and she was literally horse from this for most of a week and I stopped at that point. It seemed clear to me that she was not ready at all to stop nursing at night.
    When she was around 21 months old, I started talking to her about not nursing at night, and that was our ticket to an eventual night without nursing. I was still waking with her and letting her hold on to my hair and hugging her. I would say I am here for you but milk is not available during the night time. You can have milk in the morning when we wake up. At night before bed I would say we are going to have milk now before bed but during the night I want to keep sleeping, so we won’t have milk during the night….

    This method of talking to her and agreeing on a boundary has been how we have instituted many changes. We stopped nursing at 3 and we talked about this for months before the time arrived. When we were beginning this change we used a timer to set a boundary of how long she would have milk at each ‘session’. Surprisingly she loved this.
    Even now we ask that she fall asleep in her own in her bed and I will tell her how many minutes I will cuddle with her before I go to get in my own bed.

    I have gathered this from my Janet Lansbury poscaste listening and blog reading. I love be a parent and feeling like there is an entire world of people who are trying to be more intentional with parenting. It’s so worth it

  23. Hi Janet,
    I read you all the way from France and I just love everything you write. Thank you so much for everything you do!
    My daughter is in the same situation as Megan’s except that she is 15 months old.
    We recently tried to make her sleep in her bed on her room (she was nursed to sleep and we cosleep) and although the first nights were not so bad, she then started to panic when we entered her room at night before the “routine” and she also cried in terror whe she was put to bed. I had to take her back with me so she could calm down. She was every time absolutely uncalmable and even when we took her with us or to the beast she sobbed for a very long time afterwards (up to an hour).
    Do you have any advice for our specific situation? She seems very scared of being alone or far from the beast to fall asleep…
    Thank you so much again for all your articles!

  24. Hi Janet,

    I have a newborn baby (5 days) that will literally only sleep attached to the breast. I have not slept more than an hour or two a day since his birth because he just loses it if I take him off the breast and will not let me put him down. I have to just let him cry with someone else to get a 30 minute nap here and there, to eat, or go to the bathroom. This is obviously not sustainable for me, do you have any suggestions for getting him to sleep in his bassinet/crib without nursing?

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