Are you breastfeeding your baby to sleep? You may want to read this!

Breastfeeding is one of the most precious journeys of motherhood for every woman. Although problems with latching, milk supply, and position, might be a battle in the initial days, it all irons out with time, making the journey a one to cherish. However, there comes a time when many mothers feel guilty breastfeeding their child to sleep. While it is perfectly alright in the first few months, the panic alarm is pressed as the child grows, and still, needs the breast to fall asleep. Well, perfectionists might find this a little off but there is no harm in breastfeeding your baby to sleep.

Here’s decoding the pros and cons.

Why it is a good idea?

Firstly, babies need to feel safe and secure to fall asleep and what better way than the mother’s body! The skin to skin contact that happens during breastfeeding establishes a bond between the mother and the baby, which makes the baby feel secure. And that is exactly what they need during sleep. 

Breast milk is their one and only go-to when they are cranky or unwell. Breastfeeding helps them calm down and relieve stress, all of which directly contribute in putting the baby to sleep.  That is why breastfeeding can calm down a restless baby in minutes. Ask, any mother who has weaned her baby and she is bound to tell you how much she misses the breastfeeding technique to deal with the baby’s tantrums! 

Also, breast milk contains a hormone called cholecystokinin, which can induce sleep in both baby and mother. It also has more tryptophan, a sleep-inducing amino acid. Nighttime breast milk also contains amino acids that promote serotonin synthesis, which helps with sleep-wake cycles. Thus, from the nutritional point of view, it is highly beneficial for your baby.

And lastly, sometimes night time breastfeeding might work better for your baby. As kids grow they tend to get distracted, especially while breastfeeding. This leads to them taking a hit in nutrition, as they tend to consume very little or no breast milk. Night time feeding can help make up for all the distracted feeds that happen during the day, thereby keeping the baby’s nutrition in check.

Why is it not a good idea?

The main reason why breastfeeding your baby to sleep might not be a great idea is because it might disrupt the baby’s sleep cycle. Your baby might tend to associate sleeping with the breasts and thereby learning to fall asleep on his or her own might also get delayed. But, worry not, it will all automatically fall in place when your baby is ready for it. 

However, in case your baby shows no signs of letting go of the habit, then it's time you stop feeding your baby to sleep. This might be a tough battle as most babies tend to throw a fit, giving the mothers a tough time. But, hang in there and your baby will soon be over the habit.

Establishing a healthy bedtime routine will also help your baby stop breastfeeding to fall asleep. A warm water bath, a soothing lullaby, perfect lighting and consistent timing will do the deed for your baby to drift off. 

And lastly, nursing your baby to sleep also means a disturbed sleep cycle for your baby and you. This can leave both of you exhausted and you definitely do not want to wake up to a cranky baby.   However, if you are comfortable in feeding your baby in-between sleeps, continue to do so and don’t let anyone stop you!

Feature Image Source: