How to Stop Baby From Nursing to Sleep

How to Stop Baby From Nursing to Sleep

Nursing is a natural and comforting way for a baby to fall asleep. However, as babies grow older, it is important to establish healthy sleep habits that do not solely rely on nursing. Breaking the habit of nursing to sleep can be a challenge, but with patience and consistency, it is possible to teach your baby to fall asleep independently. Here are some strategies to help you stop your baby from nursing to sleep:

1. Establish a bedtime routine: Create a consistent routine that signals to your baby that it is time to sleep. This can include activities such as a warm bath, reading a book, or singing a lullaby.

2. Offer a pacifier: Introduce a pacifier as an alternative soothing method for your baby. This can help in gradually reducing their dependency on nursing to sleep.

3. Nurse before bedtime routine: Instead of nursing your baby to sleep, try offering a feeding session before starting the bedtime routine. This way, your baby will not associate falling asleep with nursing.

4. Practice drowsy but awake: Place your baby in their crib when they are drowsy but still awake. This helps them learn to fall asleep on their own without needing to nurse.

5. Comfort and reassure: If your baby protests when you put them down drowsy, offer comfort and reassurance without resorting to nursing. Pat their back, gently stroke their head, or sing a soothing song to help them relax.

6. Gradual weaning: If your baby is older and still heavily reliant on nursing to sleep, consider gradually reducing the duration of nursing sessions. Shorten each session until your baby learns to fall asleep without nursing.

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7. Offer a lovey or transitional object: Introduce a soft toy or blanket that your baby can associate with comfort and security. This can help replace the need for nursing to fall asleep.

8. Stay consistent: Consistency is key when breaking the nursing to sleep habit. Stick to the new routine and soothing techniques you have chosen, even if your baby protests initially.

9. Involve your partner: If possible, involve your partner in the bedtime routine. This can help your baby become accustomed to falling asleep without nursing from both parents.

10. Provide extra comfort during the day: Ensure your baby receives plenty of love, attention, and comfort during awake periods. This helps them feel secure and reduces their need for nursing to soothe.

11. Be patient: Breaking the habit of nursing to sleep takes time and patience. Your baby may resist the change initially, but with consistent effort, they will learn to fall asleep independently.

12. Seek support: If you are struggling with breaking the nursing to sleep habit, consider seeking support from a pediatrician or a sleep consultant who can provide personalized guidance.


1. Will stopping nursing to sleep affect my baby’s nutrition?
No, stopping nursing to sleep will not affect your baby’s overall nutrition. They will still receive adequate nourishment during their feeding sessions throughout the day.

2. Is it okay to let my baby cry it out?
Cry it out sleep training methods can be effective for some families, but it is important to choose an approach that aligns with your parenting style and your baby’s temperament.

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3. How long does it take for a baby to adjust to falling asleep without nursing?
The time it takes for a baby to adjust varies. Some babies may adapt quickly, while others may take a few weeks. Consistency and patience are key.

4. Should I eliminate night feedings altogether?
Night feedings may still be necessary for younger babies. Gradually reducing the duration of night feedings can help them learn to fall asleep without nursing.

5. Can I still breastfeed during the day after stopping nursing to sleep?
Yes, you can continue breastfeeding during the day. The goal is to teach your baby to fall asleep without nursing as the sole method.

6. What if my baby refuses to fall asleep without nursing?
If your baby refuses to fall asleep without nursing, try offering alternative soothing methods such as rocking, patting, or singing. Stay consistent and patient.

7. Will my baby be more clingy if I stop nursing to sleep?
Initially, your baby may be more clingy as they adjust to the new routine. However, providing extra comfort and reassurance during awake periods can help alleviate clinginess.

8. Should I stop nursing to sleep cold turkey?
Cold turkey methods can be challenging for both you and your baby. Gradual weaning is often a more gentle and effective approach.

9. Can I still cuddle my baby to sleep?
Cuddling your baby to sleep can still be a part of the bedtime routine. The goal is to gradually reduce their dependency on nursing as the sole method of falling asleep.

10. Will stopping nursing to sleep affect my milk supply?
Stopping nursing to sleep should not significantly affect your milk supply. Your body adjusts to your baby’s feeding patterns.

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11. What if my baby wakes up during the night and wants to nurse?
If your baby wakes up during the night and wants to nurse, try offering alternative soothing methods first. If they continue to protest, a short nursing session may be necessary.

12. Is it normal for my baby to protest when I stop nursing to sleep?
Yes, it is normal for babies to protest when their routine changes. Staying consistent and providing comfort and reassurance can help them adjust.

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