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Erin van Vuuren

I Nurse My Baby To Sleep. Is That Okay?

Everyone says baby needs to fall asleep on her own, but every night, it’s the breastfeeding that ultimately does her in. That’s not that bad, right?

Obviously, women have been nursing their babies to sleep since, well, forever. Babies fall asleep when they’re warm and cozy and full. And somehow, all those millions of humans have learned to later fall asleep without a nipple in their mouths.

In other words, there’s no substantiated reason that you need to stop nursing baby to sleep if it’s working for you right now.

“Why would you want to make your life harder?” asks Denise Altman, IBCLC, spokeswoman for the International Lactation Consultant Association. “Babies are nursing for more than just food — it’s the connection. It’s pretty normal for them to fall asleep while nursing. It comforts them, and it’s nice for mom as well,” she says.

So will you eventually have to enforce a change? Probably. Some moms luck out with babies that break the habit on their own as they grow. Others have to lead the switch to a new bedtime ritual, which could mean giving baby lots of cuddle time while reading a book or singing, or a gentle bath before bed. “Decide when it makes the most sense for you to wean your baby from her bedtime feeding, and once you’ve made the decision, stick with it,” Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, family physician and coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby’s First Year. “Consistency is the key to success.”

Until then, enjoy your magical sleep-inducing powers.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Top 10 Breastfeeding Problems Solved

Craziest Breastfeeding Fiascos

Things Moms Wish They'd Known About Breastfeeding