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Breast Feeding

Battling to get baby off breast

03/09/2007

Question:

My baby girl is 8 months old, day time is EASIER to keep her away from the breast. At night however she needs the breast as a pacifier every hour or so like a baby with a dummy. She screams non stop, the second the boob is in her mouth she falls back asleep. Problem is i dont know when she really is hungry and when she needs the comfort until she gets her way. ive tried the bottle at night. She takes a bottle occasionaly at pre school not from me. I still give her a feed in the morning and afternoon aswell. She falls asleep on the boob when she has had enough so i cant even take her off the boob until then so i know she has had enough. What do you suggest i do? I Have not had a good nights rest in what feels like forever. Dad works a lot and only comes home to sleep, so his help is not optional. HELP!

Answer:

It sounds to me as though your breast has become an object of comfort and security more than it is a source of nutrition. There is nothing wrong with that to some degree.

I also suspect your milk supply is low and your baby is simply hungry/thirsty all night.

I assume she takes solid food, but do not know what kind or how much.

She needs 3 meals per day of solids which should include meats and vegetables as well as fruits and cereals.

She should also be taking fluids by sippy cup by this age. There is no longer a need for a bottle.

To get her to sleep through the night, she needs a fourth meal of solids (Include some meat for the staying power of protein) late in the evening, accompanied by some of your pumped milk or any beverage of your choice, except, of course, cow’s milk.

If you do not pump or do not have expressed breast milk available, then baby formula can be used in the sippy cup, as well as water and juices.

Once she is well fed, bathed, sung and/or read to, kissed good night and tucked in warmly, she should be able to stay in her crib and sleep well.

If not, then repeated reassurance without picking her up will train her to sooth herself back to sleep.

This will not happen overnight, but will be a gradual process, going from a few feeds at night (maybe) to 2 then 1 then none.

Consistency and a nightly routine, down to the same book, poem or prayer, are of utmost importance.

Best of luck!

For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM
Professor Emeritus, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati