How To Get Baby To Sleep Without Nursing

One of the hardest things about being a parent is the sleepless nights. There’s nothing more difficult than hearing your little one get upset because they are tired and not sleeping properly, especially when you feel like there is nothing that you can do about it.

Feeling helpless as a parent is hard. Knowing how to get your baby to sleep without nursing seems like the million dollar question.

A lot of babies get so used to nursing as part of their bedtime routine that they struggle to sleep without it and this can be a really difficult habit to break. Nursing not only provides nutrition for babies but it also provides comfort.

Finding something just as effective can be difficult but rest assured it is not impossible. We hope that this article will help you in your quest to find ways to get your baby to sleep without nursing. 

How To Get Baby To Sleep Without Nursing

Here we will look at some tried and tested methods on how to get a baby.

White Noise

White noise is proven to promote sleep in people of all ages but especially babies. White noise is a soft and almost earthly sound that helps people to ease into a deep sleep. One natural example of white noise is hearing rainfall.

However, obviously as much as you would do anything for your little one, you can’t make it rain with a click of your fingers. 

So, there are many other ways of getting white noise, many speech recognition devices such as Alexa and Google Home will play white noise if you ask them to. You can also get white noise on youtube which can be set up on a phone, tv or tablet. 

For babies who struggle with sleep, white noise is a great tool to help get your baby to sleep without nursing.

Car Rides

Many parents will tell you that car rides were the only things that helped their baby settle off to sleep when they were younger without nursing them.

Car rides can be helpful for many reasons including the motion, the gentle movement of the car can resemble being in the womb which can help a baby to feel much more settled to fall to sleep without nursing.

Similarly, being in the car allows for natural sounds such as wind, rain and other cars driving by, these sounds can also help them to settle off. If you haven’t already done so then this could definitely be worth a try.


Rocking can help to get a baby to sleep without nursing. Rocking can be achieved in many ways for instance, a baby could be rocked in a parent or guardians arms until they fall asleep. You can also get some moses baskets which rock which could be helpful as you don’t have to move the baby once they are asleep.

Think about when your child currently falls asleep and whether rocking seems to play a factor.

Establish A Good Routine

Babies thrive off of routine and therefore it makes perfect sense that having a good routine can help with sleep. A good routine looks different for every family. Think about what time you want your little one to be settled for. For this example we will say that we want the baby to be asleep by 7pm. If you want to get your baby to sleep without nursing them, the final feed would need to be included in your routine.

In this scenario we may choose to bathe the baby at 6pm, give them a final feed at 6.30pm and have them safe and sound in their moses basket or crib by 6.45. 

Think about anything that you would like to incorporate into your evening routine such as any work that you will need to do, whether you want to read your baby a bedtime story or anything else. 

Why Will My Baby Not Sleep Without Nursing?

One very normal question to ask when looking for how to get your baby to sleep without nursing is why they won’t sleep without it at the moment. Unfortunately, as with many things when it comes to babies, there is not one simple answer and it could be one of many things. Every baby is different but these reasons could include:

  • They are hungry – A simple answer as to why a baby won’t go to sleep without nursing is that they are hungry. It is important to make sure that your baby is getting enough nutrition so if this is the case then it is a good idea to try and fit in extra feeds throughout the day or to try to feed for longer. 

If this seems to be the issue it is a good idea to seek medical advice to find the best next steps for you. However, babies often seek comfort as opposed to nursing because they are hungry. 

  • They struggle with understanding object permanence – Babies do not usually grasp a sense of object permanence until they are older. This means that when mum puts them down for the night and goes and does something else they will not understand that she will come back, they will simply think that she has gone forever. 

This can make babies become very attached to their mothers and therefore they may use nursing as a way of getting their mum to stay with them. 

  • They feel anxiety at night time – Just like everybody else babies experience emotions. Some emotions are positive and some are negative, it might simply be that your baby is prone to feeling more anxiety at nighttime. They might then find nursing to be a good comfort to them as it is familiar and they are not alone. 

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to get your baby to sleep without nursing can be really difficult especially if it is something that you have never done before. The first thing to do is to get to the cause of the issue so, in this case you would first try to figure out why your baby will not sleep without nursing.

If there is a possibility that it is hunger related then it could be a good idea to speak to a medical professional as malnutrition in babies is very real and very serious. If you get the all clear then it is a good idea to try a few of our suggestions as different things work for different babies.

Remember to be patient as your baby has never done this before either.

Joyce Bailey
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