You all know about the myth: stop nursing so that your baby can sleep through the night.
I hear all the time, “how your baby falls asleep at night is how they expect to return to sleep.” All I can say about this is that it just simply is not true.
I have worked with over 2,000 families, and I can say with 100% confidence that you do not need to stop nursing your baby to sleep so that they sleep through the night.
The only time that I’ll help families change nursing to sleep is if they no longer want to do it. It’s completely acceptable if you don’t want to do it.
There are Real Benefits to Nursing your Baby to Sleep (if you want to)
As babies get older, they can get very distracted and they will need these really drowsy nursing sessions in order to get their daily milk intake.
These nursing sessions can be really critical for not only keeping up mom’s supply but for getting the extra calories to the baby.
It is important to remember that breastfeeding is designed to help your baby to sleep. Breastmilk contains sleep-inducing hormones and for young babies, it can actually help to establish their own circadian rhythms.
“…the oxytocin we release when she starts to nurse is ‘the triggering hormone for maternal behaviour’. So your baby’s nursing behaviour helps you fall in love with her.
Because you come hardwired to respond to her, the sound of her crying cuts to your core. When you respond by nursing, the hormones in your milk help her digest her food… and they make her sleepy.
The hormones you release when nursing help you relax, and they make you sleepy. It’s another hormonal synchrony between the two of you that encourages rest and relaxation.
Those who advise ‘don’t let the baby fall asleep at your breast’ are fighting nature on both ends – your baby’s and yours – with no research at all to support them.” Sweet Sleep
Being Parented to Sleep is Normal
Pay attention to mommy groups – you will often hear, “I did drowsy but awake or my baby falls asleep on their own but they are still waking every two hours all night long.” I will work with the middle of the night wakes by getting the long stretches at the beginning of the night. I’ll leave nursing before sleep if mom loves it (or needs it).
Please know that it is absolutely normal for babies and toddlers to need to be parented to sleep. They are seeking to contact and closeness they need in order to relax and fall asleep. They’ll always sleep better when they are on or near you, so snuggle and feed your baby to sleep.
Keep the pieces of your nighttime parenting that you love ❤️ and change the pieces that you don’t!