Baby falls asleep at the breast: what to do?

Many of you discussed thee forum parents of CPMHK around the theme “Baby falls asleep at the breast”.

The baby’s ability to fall asleep on his own, his need to suck, the worry or serenity of the mother at this special time of breastfeeding, the fear that the baby will become dependent on breastfeeding for falling asleep, daddy’s need to find his place, what we consider normal or not… So many understandable questions that have fueled the debates in this discussion thread. Because a baby who falls asleep at the breast, what could be more normal? However, it can also have some drawbacks if suddenly they cannot get enough food, or if this is the only way to put them to sleep. My friend Caroline, mother of two children aged 10 and 7, offers us some tips and thoughts on breastfeeding and baby sleep …

My son only falls asleep at the breast, is that normal Doctor?

Personally, I loved breastfeeding my two children. It lasted about 6 months for each. For Noah, the eldest, I admit that I never managed to find the way to put him to sleep other than to the breast. For us, the program was co-sleeping, arms and baby carrier. I was breastfeeding him when he woke up in the night and leaned back on the nursing pillow, because I was so tired that I would fall asleep again so dry, baby at the breast …

Suffice to say that when our Loulou joined the nursery, it was very complicated for the childminders! With gentleness and patience, they taught our son to fall asleep alone in a bed …

As long as it suits us and we feel fulfilled in this report and in this relationship, there is not necessarily a question to ask. The problem sometimes comes from those around him who want to give us advice to “free” us, or from the spouse and dad who does not necessarily find his place in this relationship, who would like to find his partner. Or the systematic falling asleep of the baby at the breast can also become a burden for the parents, whose development is as important as that of the child, especially as the first impacts the second.

Find a balance that respects everyone

If the systematic falling asleep of the baby at the breast becomes a burden for the family, if Loulou has to leave the maternal bosom to be looked after by a third party, a childminder or a nursery, systematically putting the baby to sleep and only at the breast can become more problematic. At first, we can change this proximity to carrying in the arms or in a baby carrier. But the best is to give baby the keys to fall asleep without breastfeeding.

Baby falls asleep at the breast: some tips to keep him awake

The first thing to do when a baby starts to doze off while breastfeeding is to try to stimulate to prevent him from slipping slowly into sleep, warm in the hollow of his mother’s arms. So we can try to pour a few drops of milk into her mouth, gently squeezing the breast.

We can also try to wake him up by talking to him softly, or possibly by tickling or gently stroking the soles of the feet, chin or cheek …

Sometimes it can also happen that the milk flows more slowly during a feed, especially in the first few months, it can help to gently squeeze the breast to stimulate milk flow.

How to fall asleep without breastfeeding?

When baby dozes off instead of breastfeeding, when baby does not calm down or fall asleep except by breastfeeding, it can be a kind of addiction that can put mother and family in difficulty. It is therefore important to succeed in distinguishing the calm and awake phases conducive to the meal, and the signs that the baby is starting to tire. Because a tired baby is a baby who groans, cries, rubs his nose or ears, gets angry more easily and the proximity of the maternal arms is also a good remedy to calm himself down… Except that he does not It is not necessarily cries of hunger, but cries of fatigue! By learning to spot sleep cycles and baby rhythm, we can better understand the messages and try other approaches than breastfeeding. (OK, it is not that simple, because it is without counting the peaks of growth, the summer heat which makes you thirsty and many exceptions still 😉).

In another register, to go further and manage the first years with baby with more serenity, we have concocted the “Special baby PACK” with all our advice to manage the first separations, anger, prohibitions, etc. ! To receive it (free of charge of course), leave us your email below and we will send it to you immediately. A few less crying and stress, it feels good. 🙂

Create a bedtime ritual that doesn’t necessarily mean breastfeeding

And yes, we know, when baby has trouble sleeping, we come back often to bedtime ritual. Often put forward to create a moment of calm and serenity with our child, this privileged routine can allow him to let go and slide smoothly into sleep. Subdued light, song, nightlight, hug or story, etc., each family and each child has its own ritual. The idea is that little by little, baby transfers the trust he has in the arms of his mother or his parents, to find it again in his resting space. In this, the transitional object such as the blanket or ninin, is also recommended, in particular if some sunsets are outside the home, at the nursery or nanny’s for example.

Occasionally, when you have read everything and you feel like you have tried everything and the baby still only falls asleep at the breast, a little help from the outside may be welcome! It is because Charlotte also encountered difficulties with her son that she created coaching. “He’s finally sleeping… (and so are we!)”. A last-ditch solution for many parents where you are accompanied step by step by a super psychologist & specialized coach. (But you don’t have to be at the end of the line to take a look and consider full nights! We are so much more patient when we have had a good sleep! 😉

Baby has a strong need for sucking, how to meet it?

For my son, one thing is certain, it is that he had a strong need for suction and that he did not want a pacifier or even a bottle!

Of course, some children need to breastfeed more than others. Certainly, mom’s arms build emotional security and a strong bond of attachment that is paramount for the future, however, mom’s nipple does not necessarily have to become an object of reassurance. If the medical authorities recommend not to introduce too early (before the first three months) the pacifier when a child is breastfed to avoid confusion of the breast-bottle-pacifier, many parents testify, however, that the nipple perhaps a practical solution. And sometimes, children find the thumb as early as 4 to 5 weeks!

So, you will have understood it, falling asleep on the breast is far from rare and it is not necessarily a problem, if it is not for parents. And if it gets heavy or less fluid, trust your toddler to find the route and don’t hesitate to put in place rituals to change the routine. Of course, to take this step, it is sometimes more complicated for the mother to put it in place, because we always have this “spare wheel” which means that we risk cracking and giving a breastfeed, just for this. times (I know what I’m talking about 😉). So now is the perfect time to take out the TEAM card and let daddy do it … And above all, do not hesitate to request a help before it becomes too significant!