Breastfeeding your baby to sleep- pros and cons

Breastfeeding your baby to sleep - is it a good idea or a bad one? Being a new mother, it is completely natural if you have got no clue. There are opposing opinions about the practice of nursing the baby to sleep. Some Doctors believe it’s completely natural for babies to fall asleep at the mother’s breast and encourage new mothers to practice it. Others believe that nursing baby to sleep and letting it become a habit might lead to sleeping problems for the infant.


Nursing your baby to sleep can help mothers in unexpected ways; some of them might be good while others might be completely uncalled for. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of breastfeeding your baby to sleep.


Pros of nursing your baby to sleep


1. It’s relaxing and comforting for the baby: Nursing babies to sleep is relaxing and comforting for the baby. Besides, if you enjoy the process, by all means, let that happen. However, training babies to fall asleep with and without breasts is recommended. Let them fall asleep sometimes, and other times you can free your nipples before they fall asleep.


2. Helps develop a bond: Almost all new parents feel an overwhelming sense of love, and a strong desire to protect their babies. However, bonding is an individual experience which might not happen immediately after they are born. Breastfeeding is a good way to bond with babies and letting them fall asleep while breastfeeding is a great way for mothers to know their babies better.


3. Your baby falls asleep without tears: Babies fall asleep if they are too tired or too relaxed, usually after a few minutes of crying or while breastfeeding. If they go to sleep while breastfeeding, they do not cry which is kind of comforting for every mother.


4. Makes it easier for you to understand whether they are finished feeding or not: Babies falling asleep while breastfeeding is a sign that they are done feeding. Once they are completely fed, your nipples will automatically slip from their mouth.


Cons of nursing your baby to sleep


1. Encourages the baby to develop a breastfeeding-sleep association: Allowing the baby to sleep while breastfeeding might encourage them to develop a breastfeeding-sleep association. While this might be fine with some, mothers with a full-time job might face problems later when they get back to work once maternity leaves get over. This might make it difficult for other caregivers while you’re away because of their dependency on breastfeeding as the preferred method to go to sleep.


2. They might miss out the creamy hindmilk: If your baby drifts off to sleep after stimulating the first let-down, they might miss out on high-fat, high-calorie hind milk which comes towards the end of the feeding. Hindmilk is important to satisfy your baby's hunger and makes them feel full. To avoid that you can gently rub your baby's back which would wake them up and may keep them sucking.  


Breastfeeding your baby to sleep is completely natural. It is completely upon you to decide whether to or not to let it happen. That said, if you still have some doubts, don’t shy away from seeking consultation from lactation experts.