For newborn babies and infants, nothing can be more nutritious and healthy than their mother's milk. No wonder doctors advice new moms to breastfeed their baby rather than opt for the formula milk. Many mothers also have the habit of nursing their babies to sleep. While this may appear to be a safe and healthy practice, there are also some cons attached to it.
For some mothers, putting the baby off to sleep is nothing short of a Herculean task. Breastfeeding makes the struggle a lot easier and hassle-free. No wonder, many mothers prefer to breastfeed their baby to sleep. Further, staying close to the mother also gives the baby a sense of protection and security. Also, the mother's milk is easily digestible as compared to the formula milk. However, in spite of all the health benefits, it may not be a wise idea to breastfeed the baby to sleep regularly because
Overfeeding the baby:
With regular breastfeeding during the bedtime, it is natural for the baby to develop a sleep-pattern whereby they will want to be breastfed (or suck the breasts) every time they are tired or feel sleepy (irrespective of whether they are hungry or not). More than often, this may result in the baby being overfed which can trigger a host of digestive problems such as gas formation, stomach ache, vomiting, and discomfort.
Over-dependent on the mother:
While breastfeeding may come across as a hassle-free approach to put your little munchkin off to sleep, it surely makes the baby over-dependent on the mother. As a result, in the absence of the mother, the other family members or the nanny will find it impossible to put the baby to sleep. Out of tiredness, the baby will also appear to be cranky and fussy, piling on to everyone's agony.
Tiring for the mother:
Seldom you will find a baby enjoying a sound and uninterrupted sleep at night. In such instances, it may be a bane to breastfeed the baby at bedtime as this would imply that you have to breastfeed the baby every time, he /she wakes up, making things tiresome for you. In certain instances, the baby may get so used to breastfeeding that they demand to be breastfed to sleep even when they are two or three years old (which is not a healthy practice).
There may also arise a situation when the other older siblings may feel neglected because of this.
Thus, one should never make it a daily practice to nurse their baby to sleep. Ideally, as recommended by many pediatricians, you can breastfeed the baby at bedtime for the first three-four months. However, by the time the baby is six months old, a mother should look out for other creative alternatives to make the naptime hassle-free. Remember, getting your baby off this habit may not be easy. Have patience and set a realistic expectation and gradually your baby will get used to the other sleeping techniques. Professional help can also produce fruitful results.