Many parents think that if they’re exclusively breastfeeding their baby that they can’t sleep train. That’s simply not true.
If your child is waking up every 45 minutes-1 hour and needs to be nursed back to sleep, chances are, your child has a nurse-to-sleep association and s/he can’t fall asleep without it. This does not mean that your child is hungry that often and doesn’t mean that your child needs to eat every time s/he wakes up.
There are a few different ways to cut unnecessary night feedings- gradually or cold turkey.
If your child is slow-to-warm-up and takes a while to adjust to change, you may want to take a gradual approach and slowly cut down on the amount of time you’re spending nursing your baby for each wake-up. Replace the need to feed-to-sleep with simply rocking to sleep. Once the feed-to-sleep association has been completely eliminated, then slowly wean away from the rock-to-sleep association.
If your child adapts more easily to change, you can cut the night feedings cold-turkey. Instead of going in and feeding your child back to sleep, you may go in and give your child love and comfort to help ease him/her back to sleep without the feeding.
Since breastmilk is produced on supply and demand, a mother’s body will make as much milk as the baby needs.
Sleep training and/or night weaning will cause a dip in milk supply.
Once the baby cuts feedings throughout the night, the mother’s body will adjust to producing milk when the baby needs it.
Sleep training while breastfeeding IS possible.
If you are concerned about your milk supply, PLEASE don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s pediatrician and/or a lactation consultant.
DISCLAIMER: Do not cut night feedings without consulting your child’s pediatrician first. You definitely need to make sure your child is growing appropriately and in general good health before cutting night feedings.
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If you’re ready to start sleep training, let’s set up a time to chat! Some things to think about when deciding when you want to start sleep training your baby:
- Ensure it’s the proper timing- make sure your baby isn’t sick, you aren’t traveling, or you don’t have any big life changes coming (new baby, moving, switching jobs/childcare, etc.).
- Be prepared to put in the work. Consistency will pay off in the long run. Sleep training isn’t an overnight success; it takes many nights and dedication to help your baby learn to sleep.
- Create a plan or hire me as your sleep consultant for one-on-one help.