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Breastfeeding and Sleep Training: Can They Coexist?

Today I’d like to address one of the most common misconceptions I hear about sleep training. Many parents believe that you can’t breastfeed and sleep train your baby at the same time. They often feel the need to wait until the baby is fully weaned off breastfeeding before venturing into sleep training. I’m here to debunk that myth.

It’s not about whether your baby is breastfed, bottle-fed, or not feeding at all; sleep training revolves around teaching your little one the right skills for sleep. Often, babies use breastfeeding as a comforting mechanism to drift into sleep. This can be confusing for many moms, especially when they’re trying to decipher the real reason behind their baby’s frequent nighttime wake-ups, especially around the 8-12 month age range. While it might seem like hunger, it’s usually more about the familiarity and comfort of nursing that helps them fall asleep.

The Sleep Sense Program emphasizes the importance of independent sleep skills. The goal is to help babies sleep without the crutch of always associating it with food. That said, breastfeeding continues to play a significant role. It can happen throughout the day, at bedtime, and even during the night. The key is to ensure that feeding isn’t the only way a baby knows how to fall asleep.

Furthermore, if your baby still needs nighttime feeding, it’s entirely possible to combine that with sleep training. They don’t cancel each other out. With some careful planning, these two can work in harmony. If, as a parent, you want to take things slower, that’s perfectly fine. There’s no harm in retaining a nighttime feed while sleep training and seeing how your baby adjusts.

In a nutshell, you don’t have to wait for breastfeeding to end to embark on your sleep training journey. The two can and often do go hand in hand. Thank you for joining me, and always remember that every baby’s journey to a good night’s sleep can start tonight. 



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The Sleep Sense Philosophy

Cry-it-out? Coddle? Co-sleep? Attachment parenting? Ferberizing?
If you’re going to let me help you with something as precious as your child’s sleep, you probably want to know a little bit about who I am and exactly how I think...

Dana’s Sleep Blog

Straight talk about sleep, parenting,
babies, toddlers, relationships… and
just about anything else!
My blog is a great place to find opinions, advice, the occasional rant, and some great videos about sleep.

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