This is a situation that frustrates almost every parent at some time. Realize first of all that this is very normal. It is not that you are doing anything wrong, or that something is unusual with your baby. It is very normal for babies to do this.
Here are some tips that may help:
- Wait for the “limp limb” sign – make sure baby is completely asleep. Baby will become very limp and heavy. Try lifting her arm and letting it drop. If it is limp, then baby is in a deep sleep. This usually takes at least 5 minutes or more after baby first appears to be asleep.
- Keep the breast (or bottle) in baby’s mouth while you lay her down – keep baby snuggled warm and tight in your arms while you gently lay her down. Stay in that position for several minutes under baby settles down again.
- Slowly back off – first, slowly unlatch the breast (or bottle) from baby’s mouth, then one arm, then the other, then your chest. Do this over several minutes.
- Wedge in a replacement – have a warm pillow that you have been using during feeding ready to wedge up next to baby as you are moving away. Baby may think that this is still you next to her.WARNING – it is not safe to LEAVE a pillow wedged up next to baby while sleeping. Move the pillow away after several minutes once you know baby is asleep.
- Lie down to nurse – you can also lie down with baby in a bed to breast (or bottle) feed baby to sleep. Follow the above procedures as you detach yourself from baby once she is truly asleep.
- When baby wakes up screaming 15 minutes later, repeat the above over and over again until baby is three years old – a little humor there. But seriously, sometimes none of the above will work, and some babies will wake up after 15 minutes. This phase of nighttime parenting will pass in time as baby grows older. Browse through our sleep section for more information.