Breastfeeding a new baby certainly comes with it’s fair share of challenges. From frequent feedings to sleepless nights, new moms can often feel overwhelmed with the process. Today, Parents Ask expert Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution answers this question:
Q: My 7 month old was sleeping up to 4 hours at a time. Now, the only way he can sleep more than 1 hour is if I hold him while breastfeeding. I know I shouldn’t do this but it’s the only way I get any sleep. Thoughts?
A: Welcome to the club! The breastfeeding-to-sleep association is one of the most common yet complicated sleep situations to change. Breastfeeding is nature’s most perfect sleep aid, so it’s perfectly natural for a baby to fall asleep nursing, and it’s perfectly normal for parents of babies to do whatever they can for everyone to get a good night’s sleep!
All babies are different and all mommies are different, too. There is no one perfect answer that works for every mother-baby pair. Here are two of the most popular solutions that might work for you:
~ Instead of letting your baby fall asleep at the breast, let him nurse until his sucking slows and he is relaxed and sleepy. Make sure your child is done “eating.” (When he is not actively sucking and swallowing, just pacifying.) Then you’ll want to take your nursling off the breast and pat, rub, rock or shush him back to sleep. This will help him learn how to fall asleep without the nipple in his mouth. (I call this the Pantley Gentle Removal Method.)