Breastfeeding is a very special action. It is a moment for mother and baby to bond with each other. Breastfeeding helps both mother and baby to relax, so much so that babies can often fall asleep. But would you know how to stop comfort nursing at night if you needed to?
It is such a precious thing, knowing your baby is satisfied, secure, and comfortable enough to fall asleep in your arms. Many mothers are often left with a sense of guilt when they comfort nurse their baby to sleep.
After all, a lot of mothers are told to not let this become a habit. However, nursing your child to sleep isn’t a bad thing. If we are being honest, nursing your child to sleep is quite normal and natural. Suckling releases hormones that induce sleep in both mother and baby. So not only is the baby benefiting from this but mommy is as well.
During the early part of your baby’s life, it is healthy for them and shows that they are making the appropriate development they should be at that stage of life. In fact, those who have allowed their children to make the choice of nursing to sleep, generally choose this option into their second year of life.
The most important advice is to follow what is working for you.
Is Comfort Nursing At Night A Bad Habit?
As we said before, if comfort nursing is working for you, then comfort nursing at night is not a bad thing. Nursing is naturally comforting and provides great nourishment for your baby.
So if you and your baby have developed a habit of comfort nursing at night , and it isn’t causing you any stress or inducing negative emotions, then it is not a bad habit.
Breastfeeding is nurturing. Babies often seek out the breast to feel secure and this is a completely natural reaction to have.
If you are someone who is following a natural or gentle approach to parenting and comfort nursing is helping you and the baby, then don’t worry about it being seen as a bad habit. Parenting is all about what is working for you and your family.
So if comfort nursing at night is helping both you and your baby, it is not a bad habit. In fact, just because it has been labeled a ‘bad habit’ by others doesn’t mean you should change what you are doing. This could actually cause you and your baby unnecessary stress.
The only time you should consider whether comfort nursing at night is a bad habit is if it is negatively impacting you. Which leads to the question, how to stop comfort nursing at night?
Will Comfort Nursing At Night Prevent My Baby Falling Asleep On Their Own?
We often hear that if you allow your baby to comfort feed, then this will create problems down the road. Though we struggle to see how something that naturally helps your baby sleep is a problem.
The truth is, having your baby fall asleep at night without nursing is a milestone in terms of their development. It is something that your baby will reach naturally when they are ready to. When it comes to gentle parenting, this is exactly what you want.
Life can have a very fast pace and a lot of it wants you and your baby to reach milestones quickly in order to fit in with the rest of society.
If your baby is reaching milestones in their own time, which might be a little slower compared to others, and it still suits your needs, then you shouldn’t worry.
Also, babies naturally stop needing night feeds between the ages of 3-6 months but it is perfectly fine if your baby takes a little longer to stop.
How Do I Know If Comfort Nursing At Night Is A Problem?
When working out if comfort nursing at night is an issue, you should assess how you and the baby are doing. If you find that comfort nursing at night is interrupting your sleep to the extent that you are feeling overwhelmed and tired, then it might be time to reassess whether it would be right for you to continue.
How To Stop Comfort Nursing At Night?
There are many reasons why you might decide to stop comfort nursing at night and each one of them are completely valid. Nursing your child is about what works for you and the baby.
So, if you have decided that you can no longer comfort feed at night, then here are a few tips to help you learn how to stop comfort nursing at night?
Don’t Stop Completely
When gently easing your child away from comfort nursing at night one of the most stressful things you can do is to completely stop suddenly. This is not only harsh on you but also on your baby. Instead, if you want to stop comfort nursing at night, you should allow time during the day for comfort nursing.
This means you are gently and gradually reducing the time when your baby can comfort feed. Eventually, you could allow comfort nursing only for naps. This process will allow your baby to gently get used to not comfort nursing at night.
Have A Routine
Another tip for helping to stop comfort nursing at night is to create a routine for sleeping. This routine could involve feeding your baby at the start of your nighttime routine and then using other soothing methods to help your baby fall asleep. Over time, this will help your baby separate nursing from falling asleep.
One of the best ways to gently ease your baby from comfort nursing at night is to start by transitioning in slow steps. The first step would be allowing your baby to comfort feed until right before they fall asleep. Then you should remove them from your breast and let them fall asleep.
Once they get used to this, start comfort nursing them until they become comfortable and relaxed. Then remove them from your best and try other soothing techniques to help them fall asleep like gently rocking them.
Then you can gently move to no breastfeeding at all when they get used to this method. It is important to note that this process takes time but taking it slow will help you and your baby in the long run.
Keep Things Positive
Remember to keep all of these interactions positive. Once your child gets used to not falling asleep when breastfeeding, give them the toy they love or lay down next to them and keep things upbeat. Over time, this will help your child feel more secure and help them settle on their own.
Breastfeeding is a magical thing and if it is working well for you and your baby then you shouldn’t feel pressure to stop comfort nursing at night because you’ve been told it is bad. However, if it is no longer working for you, then taking a gentle and slow approach to stop comfort nursing at night will be the least stressful method.