Fitness blogger and mum of three Anna Strode has taken to Instagram to share a very personal baby sleep message – and it’s sparked a big conversation on the socials about kids’ bedtimes.
Just do it!
Anna’s mum to three-year-old twins Lachie and Sammy, as well as 14-month-old Madi. She says she avoided feeding the twins to sleep, for fear of sabotaging their self-settling. With Madi, however, she relaxed her approach – and her youngest is the best sleeper of the bunch.
While it’s true that other factors might be at play here, Anna’s intuition tells her this feeding-to-sleep strategy is partly responsible for baby Madi’s excellent sleep habits.
She’s urging other parents to develop their own approach to putting their babies to bed, and if feeding their baby to sleep is the one that works, she says … just do it!
Perfect parent syndrome
“Sleep consultants might call me crazy … but here goes,” Anna wrote on Instagram. “IT IS 100 percent OK to feed your baby to sleep.”
“This is NOT going to mean your baby will never sleep independently. This is NOT going to mean your baby will never sleep all through the night. This is NOT going to mean your baby will never learn to self settle. All this means is right now it feels right and right now, if that’s what you want to do, DO IT!!!”
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Breastfeeding. It really is such a gift. And every time I feed Madi now I truly try and cherish every minute. She's growing up so fast and far too busy for me these days 😭 She'd much rather be chasing after her bothers than slowing down and cuddling into me. I have been trying to continue her day feeds but I know I need to let them go… She is so distracted and when I put her to the breast she pushes me away 😭😭😭 Does anyone else find this transition extremely difficult?! I feel like my emotions are all over the place. I'm so proud of her for wanting to explore all her surroundings but a little bit sad that now there is much more to her world than me ❤️️ I know she's doing everything she's meant to be doing though and I'm so proud of her. This is part of growing from a baby into a little girl. So right now, I'm just going to really take in the night feeds 💕 hold her tight, kiss her forehead and not worry about when she wakes multiple times a night just for comfort because one day soon I'll miss that too ✨ Wearing @kissactive #postpartum #normalisebreastfeeding
Trust your instincts
Anna recognises that for many mums and dads, doing parenting perfectly and ‘by the book’ brings a whole lot of pressure – and sets parents up for second-guessing, exhaustion, frustration and feelings of failure. She says that these perfect parent intentions meant she was overriding her own instincts – and her mum’s.
“With my first borns Lachie and Sammy (twins) I had this crazy idea (thanks to too much googling and ‘research’) that if I fed the boys to sleep I was basically setting myself up for sleep failure. ‘Must finish last feed of the day 30 minutes before bed’ was usually all the advice I read. My mum would tell me, just give them a feed to sleep but no, I thought the books knew better than my mother. Turns out, mum was right – aren’t they always?!”
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I'm baaaaack..! Sorry for the radio silence. I took a little Insta-annual-leave in an attempt to BREATHE. I feel like I'm at a very "mentally exhausting" stage with these 3 little beauties. The boys are now 3 and just DON'T stop from 6am to 7pm. The questions are ENDLESS, the 'why, why WHY's' and their energy levels are out of this world! Nights are long with lots of bed hopping and everyone wanting mummy and mummy only. (Should point out I'm not complaining, I will cherish these moments forever but it's ok to admit I'm exhausted isn't it?!) By the time I get through my days my tank feels empty and I've been struggling to sit down at night and focus on my work. My head feels like scrambled eggs and I don't know if I'm coming or going 😂 I have tried and tried to write posts only to realise they make absolutely no sense (probably this one too) But, a break from posting and I feel reenergised and fresh. Ready to share new workouts with you and hopefully shine some positivity on your days ✨ Thankyou to all those who messaged asking if everything is ok 💕 my little Insta-holiday has done a world of good. New workout coming for you later today. Monday, let's DO THIS 💃🎉🙌 #mumlife #motherhood
“Believe in your choices”
After caring for three babies, Anna says doing what works for her and her kiddo is the approach that makes the most sense. That means giving Madi the attention she needs, when she most needs it, to ensure a happier baby and a better night’s sleep for everyone.
“You can never EVER spoil a baby with love. If you want to feed to sleep – DO IT! I have absolutely NO regrets feeding Madi to sleep every night. These cuddles, the way she nuzzles into me, the moments where I just felt lost in time … I wouldn’t change them for the world! And if feels right because I’m doing what felt right for me this time.”
“I wasn’t guided by books, I was guided by my heart and maternal intuition,” Anna says. “Ditch the books, believe in your choices.”
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I want to tell you something. It's important. The authors of many books are going to hate me for it, sleep consultants might call me crazy… but here goes…… IT IS 100% OK to feed your baby to sleep 💕💕 This is NOT going to mean your baby will never sleep independently. This is NOT going to mean your baby will never sleep all through the night. This is NOT going to mean your baby will never learn to self settle. All this means is right now it feels right and right now, if that's what you want to do, DO IT!!! With my first borns Lachie and Sammy (twins) I had this crazy idea (thanks to too much googling and "research") that if I fed the boys to sleep I was basically setting myself up for sleep failure. "Must finish last feed of the day 30 minutes before bed" was usually all the advice I read. My mum would tell me, just give them a feed to sleep but no, I thought the books knew better than my mother. Turns out, mum was right – aren't they always?! Because here's the truth… You can never EVER spoil a baby with love. If you want to feed to sleep – DO IT! I have absolutely NO regrets of feeding Madi to sleep every night. These cuddles, the way she nuzzles into me, the moments where I just felt lost in time… I wouldn't change them for the world! And if feels right because I'm doing what felt right for me this time. I wasn't guided by books, I was guided by my heart and maternal intuition 💕 And just to add, Madi has been a much better sleeper than our boys ever were as babies so there's the evidence… feeding your baby will NOT set you up for sleep failure. Ditch the books, believe in your choices, follow your ❤️ Nursing Bra @kissactive #breastfeeding #motherhood #mumlife #postpartum #normalizebreastfeeding
“Get the F to sleep”
So what did Anna’s followers have to say about her ‘just do it’ sleep philosophy? It was a mixed bag, but lots of mums were delighted to see someone advocating what they were already doing with their own child.
“I do/did with my kids. Both horrible sleepers but I love/loved it anyway,” one mum posted.
“I fed my bubba to sleep … eventually she stopped falling asleep on my boob and that was that! Never any transitional issues at all. She’s a fab sleeper,” a follower commented.
“Fed to sleep and co slept and my two year old sleeps all night by himself now, and I read his bed time story, kiss him goodnight and leave,” commented another mum.
“I’ve fed my babies to sleep because well, I want to get the F to sleep too and it works!” someone else posted. #Amen.
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