Author Topic: Sucking Need Before Sleep and Snacking  (Read 301 times)

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Offline Hoofbeat

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Sucking Need Before Sleep and Snacking
« on: March 25, 2017, 18:12:08 pm »
I'm just starting to implement an EASY routine and one thing we're struggling with is getting him down for naps. It's partly my own fault as on numerous times I've ended up giving him the breast as I've thought he was hungry (I know now that it's his need to suck that is confusing me). However, I'm stuck with how to break this habit and how to get him to settle down without using me to suck on. My husband isn't too keen on us trying to give him a dummy and I'm inclined to agree as I'm worried then we'll have the issue of him loosing the dummy in the middle of the night etc (I know it works for many people, but I'm not sure it's the route we want to take just yet).

How can I get him to sleep at naptime without feeding? I've been trying the 4S's the last couple of days (but without swaddling as he hates it) but he just ends up screaming and then won't nap. As soon as I give him my boob he will fall asleep and he'll nap. But then we have the issue that he ends up snacking at his feeds and so he also ends up waking early because he isn't always full! Argh - any advice for ending this cycle?

Offline Hoofbeat

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Re: Sucking Need Before Sleep and Snacking
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2017, 18:41:51 pm »
Just to add my DS is only 12weeks and I'm aiming (but failing!) for a 3hourly schedule.

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Re: Sucking Need Before Sleep and Snacking
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2017, 19:06:08 pm »
Hi there - just letting you know that I have seen your thread.  As you have a current EASY thread which I have been supporting on I thought it might be more useful for you to have some support from someone more experience with BF.  I'll keep an eye on your thread to make sure you do get a reply within a reasonable time frame.


Offline Hoofbeat

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Re: Sucking Need Before Sleep and Snacking
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2017, 19:43:28 pm »
Thank you again creations! Much appreciated!

Offline *Ali*

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Re: Sucking Need Before Sleep and Snacking
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2017, 11:24:49 am »
Sorry for the delay.

Is he taking an actual feed before the naps or just a few seconds of suckling to get to sleep? It's really common for an EBF baby to need feeds more frequently than every 3hrs so he may well be hungry. If that's the case and you don't want to feed to sleep you can try offering a top up earlier in the A time. Do you let him come off the first breast and then offer the second at his main feeds?

At this age I'd start with shush pat over your shoulder to settle him for naps. How long is he awake before you try putting him down? Are you going by the clock or waiting for sleep cues from LO?

You could also try Pantley's gentle removal plan.



Offline Hoofbeat

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Re: Sucking Need Before Sleep and Snacking
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2017, 13:33:43 pm »
Hi Ali

Thanks for the reply. He normally latches on and takes some decent sucks for a few minutes (where he clearly is taking a good amount of milk) before slowing down to a very gentle suck for another few minutes which is clearly him just using me for comfort and then he just falls asleep. In all he's probably latched on for about 8minutes. I'm not sure he does it out of hunger, but rather just wants to suck as if I offer him my little finger instead that is sometimes (but admittedly not always) enough for him to use to fall asleep. The problem I then find is that after his nap when it's E he doesn't take a full feed because he had a snack just before his sleep, and then inevitably we get into a viscous cycle where he does actually end up hungry before sleep!

I used to offer him both breasts, but his poos have been a bit green recently so I was a bit worried he was getting too much foremilk, so I've been sticking to just one breast at each feed, but when he does come off, I change him and then offer him 'dessert' again on the same boob which he usually takes. (I'm now thinking it might be his reflux meds making his poos green so am waiting to see what paedatrician says at his appt on Friday). I have plenty of supply, so I'm not worried he isn't getting enough.

I started doing shush pat this morning, although as he sleeps on his back I patted him on the chest instead of his back when he lay in his cot and that's worked for 2 of his naps today already which is a massive improvement (the other nap was in the car)! I'll read up on Pantley's gentle removal plan as I haven't heard of that.

I try and keep him awake about 1hr15mins before starting to wind down, with the aim being that he should be napping after being awake for 1hr30mins. Sometimes I see the sleep cues (rubbing eyes, looking glazed over, yawning etc) but other times I don't see anything to suggest he is tired, but I have found if I do leave him longer then he starts to get fussy, so I don't think he needs more A at the moment.

What I'm trying to aim for is (loosely):

7:30 - E
8:00 - A
8:45 - wind down for nap
9:00 - S
(09:45 - sometimes he awakes after 45mins at this first nap of the day, so we would then have some A)
10:30 - E
10:50 - A
11:45 - wind down for nap
12:00 - S
13:30 - E
13:50 - A
14:45 - wind down for nap
15:00 - S (usually he only sleeps for short time here and has cat nap later)
15:45 - E
16:00 - A
16:45 - S (Cat Nap when I'm out in the car)
17:15 - A
17:45 - E (he likes to cluster feed in evening and I find he's a bit more awake)
18:15 - Bath/Massage
18:30 - E (he is usually very windy and this feed takes a long time as he tends to feed for ~30minutes but on and off)
19:30 - S

Looking at the above, perhaps I have my timings all wrong in the evening and should be bringing the Bath/Massage later and trying to get him to nap better before he has them?

Once he's down for the night, he will tend to sleep through until between 5-6:30am. I'm trying to treat that as night, so he has his feed and then I put him back in his cot (usually very sleepy) and I'd like him to sleep through til 7:30, but other times he only stays asleep until 7/7:15 etc at which point we start the day (I then try and give him some A first if he only had his last E at say 6:30am).

ETS: Sometimes I find that he naps longer than 1.5hours - should I be waking him at this point or leaving him to sleep as he's clearly tired? Even when he's slept lots during the day he seems to be a good sleeper at night. My DS is 12weeks.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 14:16:30 pm by Hoofbeat »

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Re: Sucking Need Before Sleep and Snacking
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2017, 11:14:56 am »
I started doing shush pat this morning, although as he sleeps on his back I patted him on the chest instead of his back when he lay in his cot and that's worked for 2 of his naps today already which is a massive improvement
That's great :) I hope things are continuing to improve for you.

I'll read up on Pantley's gentle removal plan as I haven't heard of that.
Here's some info:
Gentle Removal Plan

perhaps I have my timings all wrong in the evening and should be bringing the Bath/Massage later and trying to get him to nap better before he has them?
Most of what you are aiming for looks okay. That evening part though which you asked about, it looks like he is getting those 2 CNs (that's okay, you do need to get out and about sometimes and you can't always get a full nap in the car) but then staying awake after the second CN all the way to BT.  This is very long, 5.15pm to 7.30pm is 2hr 15 activity time. If he appears okay with this and sleeps well at night then maybe you don't need to change anything but if he is grouchy or starts having NWs then they are signs he is OT at BT. Waking early in the morning can also indicate OT at BT. You could consider another nap at 6.15pm to 6.45pm and he might still go down at 7.30pm for BT. Thos last A times would then be on the short side but they are between CNs so he is not fully rested anyway.  They are short naps to prevent OT.


Sometimes I find that he naps longer than 1.5hours - should I be waking him at this point or leaving him to sleep as he's clearly tired?
I would let him sleep but not beyond 3hrs.  many LO nap 2hrs as their normal routine.  If he wants naps longer than 2 hours it's okay so long as it doesn't effect night sleep or the E routine. He's still really little and they do need lots of sleep so I'd let him :)

Hope that helps.


Offline Hoofbeat

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Re: Sucking Need Before Sleep and Snacking
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2017, 14:06:09 pm »
Ok, so we're not having as much luck as I thought (possibly not helped by a growth spurt!)!

Firstly, I'm finding it very difficult to get him settled before I begin the ssh pat. I've been taking him into our dark room (with white noise on) and trying to sit quietly with him but he just gets really upset and starts crying and kicking his legs around if I sit still holding him. I'm fairly sure he's not UT as whilst crying he rubs his eyes and I was hoping he wasn't OT as I try and take him into the bedroom before I start really seeing the tired cues during the A time. I'm doing this 'getting ready for nap' generally after 1hr15-20mins awake. I end up holding him across my body (so he can kick his legs out without hitting me!) with his face towards me and have to gently shake him in order to get him to calm down (sometimes I also have to give him my little finger to suck). I'm worried I'm creating a bad habit by using the movement to calm him down!

My next dilemna is that I struggle to work out when the right time is to transfer him to his bed to begin ssh pat. I've found when I transfer him when he's still awake and calm, but his eyes are starting to close, that he just wakes crying as soon as I put him in his bed. So instead I've been waiting til he is almost asleep, but then I think he's learning to sleep on me rather than settle himself?

What should I do if I can't get him to nap at all? The other day I tried for over an hour to get him to nap (he was utterly exhausted by this point!) but he was just too upset and OT. I ended up taking him downstairs and giving him so A time (which actually cheered him up). I then did E at his scheduled time and tried to get him to sleep slightly earlier than his next scheduled nap as he was so tired - was that the right approach? I don't really know how to deal with missed naps and how to handle our schedule when it gets out of sync during the day! Another example is this morning. The schedule should have been:

1000 E
1030 A
1130 S
1300 E

However, he ended up napping for longer than usual and instead it went:
1000 S (still)
1030 E
1100 S was supposed to be activity but I had to drive us home (we'd been out while he had his nap) so he fell asleep
1145 A (two quick feeds during this time)
1300 S

So he's now missed his 1300 feed and is still sleeping, although he did have two snack feeds during the activity time. Was I right to try and put him down at 1300 as he'd missed his 1130 nap? He went to sleep quite easily (but again I had to rock him and let him suck my thumb before I did ssh pat in his bed).

perhaps I have my timings all wrong in the evening and should be bringing the Bath/Massage later and trying to get him to nap better before he has them?
Most of what you are aiming for looks okay. That evening part though which you asked about, it looks like he is getting those 2 CNs (that's okay, you do need to get out and about sometimes and you can't always get a full nap in the car) but then staying awake after the second CN all the way to BT.  This is very long, 5.15pm to 7.30pm is 2hr 15 activity time. If he appears okay with this and sleeps well at night then maybe you don't need to change anything but if he is grouchy or starts having NWs then they are signs he is OT at BT. Waking early in the morning can also indicate OT at BT. You could consider another nap at 6.15pm to 6.45pm and he might still go down at 7.30pm for BT. Thos last A times would then be on the short side but they are between CNs so he is not fully rested anyway.  They are short naps to prevent OT.
So being OT could be the reason he's waking at 5am rather than going through longer? Interesting. I'd assumed he woke then because he was hungry as he usually takes a very long (40min) feed at this time of the morning. I think I need to tweak the routine. He now seems to want to wake at 5am and 7am (I'd been hoping for 7:30am) but I'm wondering if 7am is just his natural wakeup time and if I should work around him. I do struggle with the evening routine, partly because I find that after his bath/massage he does need a feed to send him to sleep (so we do EAES rather than EAS) and I don't want to bring the bath time forward too early as my husband desperately tries to get home from work to do that. I'm happy to play around with his schedule a bit although I do need a 45min sleep in there somewhere as I have to go and see my horse every evening and DS inevitably falls asleep in the car and whilst I'm at the stables (totalling 45mins) but as soon as I bring him in the house he wakes up, so I can't ever get a longer sleep at that time!

Any suggestions how I could plan my evening if I were to change so he fed at 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm (bed for 7:30) - I just need a 45min cat nap in there somewhere after 4pm!

Thank you so much for your help! It's really invaluable in helping me put into practice what I've read!

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Re: Sucking Need Before Sleep and Snacking
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2017, 14:52:37 pm »
1145 A (two quick feeds during this time)
1300 S

So he's now missed his 1300 feed and is still sleeping, although he did have two snack feeds during the activity time. Was I right to try and put him down at 1300 as he'd missed his 1130 nap?
Oh yes I think so. At this age a certain amount of going with the flow is needed. LOs don't all go onto perfect routines and really it's more about understanding that if he's missed a nap he will need one earlier than any "planned" nap and that if he's had a feed at 11.45 he is not going to need one at 1pm but will likely go through 3 hrs until the next one after the un-planned nap. EASY is a routine rather than a schedule for this very reason, that babies need parents to adapt to their needs. It does also provide a certain amount of predictability though so you all know what will come next...and so that on a day when things go a bit off track you can have a reasonable guess at how to get through the day.

I wonder if you are trying to hold him too long for the WD? My LO hated sitting with me and would also have kicked and fussed if I tried. He liked a very short wind down and it would also disturb him a great deal if he was put into the cot at certain phases of the wind down for sleep. I worked out mine needed to do his seven mile stare from inside the cot, so that he could fix on a set place to focus and any change to that threw him right off from self soothing.  Maybe try putting your LO down in the cot right away, so cuddles then into the cot and shush/pat - you can of course pick him up if he is unhappy though!

What should I do if I can't get him to nap at all? The other day I tried for over an hour to get him to nap (he was utterly exhausted by this point!) but he was just too upset and OT. I ended up taking him downstairs and giving him so A time (which actually cheered him up). I then did E at his scheduled time and tried to get him to sleep slightly earlier than his next scheduled nap as he was so tired - was that the right approach?
Yes absolutely. If LO totally refuses sleep all you can do is check the time, do some A, do a feed if needed and then try again. We usually suggest trying for 45 mins for a nap or a re-settle.

I don't really know how to deal with missed naps and how to handle our schedule when it gets out of sync during the day!
When things are less predictable as they are just now it is helpful to write things down so you don't have to rely on memory or guess work.
S comes after 1hr 30 A so if you keep writing down the S times you can calculate the A and when the next nap is due
E comes at 3hrly intervals, again jot it down so you can see if E and S might be about to clash and know to feed early or if LO will be able to hold out through a nap.
And just do your best - it's all you can do.

7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm (bed for 7:30) - I just need a 45min cat nap in there somewhere after 4pm!
At this age naps come quite frequently so there should be enough opportunity to get a nap in there after 4pm - just whenever one is due after your A time. You might consider letting LO sleep longer by just staying at the stables longer - maybe take yourself a flask of tea and take advantage of the Y time and have a cuppa ;)


Offline *Ali*

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Re: Sucking Need Before Sleep and Snacking
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2017, 21:58:29 pm »
You're getting great advice from Creations already. I agree you need to allow for flexibility regarding missed naps and being out and about. No baby will nap on schedule every day.  It's fine to follow cues.

It's completely normal for a 12wo to need help getting to sleep and night feeds so don't worry about bad habits.  You can slowly move to more independent sleep as time goes on.



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Re: Sucking Need Before Sleep and Snacking
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2017, 18:50:23 pm »
Thanks for stopping by Ali xx