Welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding readers!
This month’s theme is ‘the joys of breastfeeding.’ You’ll find links to other bloggers’ contributions at the bottom of this one
Picture this – you are on an airplane with your husband and your 20 month old toddler. It is almost time for you son to nap. You don’t have your son’s favorite book, or his blankie, or a warm bottle of milk. You don’t even have a seat for him to sit on. The last thing you or anyone near you wants is a screaming, overtired toddler in a small enclosed area with nowhere to escape. How in the world are you going to get him to sleep?
This was me, a few months ago. My husband, son and I were travelling back home from an amazing family vacation. Our flight was at 1pm – prime nap time! But within minutes of boarding the plane, my son was fast asleep in my arms. My secret sleeping weapon? Breastfeeding!
All new parents are OBSESSED with sleep. Rightly so – they generally don’t get enough of it, and people around them can’t stop talking about it. How many times as a new parent did someone ask you – is your baby sleeping through the night? Or – is your baby a good sleeper? I know that I was asked these questions probably on a daily basis. Now that my son is 2 people just assume that he sleeps through the night (P.S. he doesn’t and I’m ok with it!).
Right from the start, it was difficult to get my baby to sleep in any way other than by breastfeeding. I fought it in the beginning – I thought that you should feed a baby, put him or her in a crib, leave the room, and the baby would peacefully drift into dreamland. Boy was I ever wrong! This did not work, at all! I was perplexed, and I started to read lots of books, blogs and websites about infant sleep. I read lots of “mainstream” info that stated NEVER nurse your baby to sleep. You will create bad habits and your baby will never be able to fall asleep without you. Luckily, I balanced this with a healthy dose of attachment parenting info that explained that nursing to sleep is completely natural, normal and has been done since the beginning of time! Breastmilk contains sleep inducing properties that helps babies fall asleep. Plus, the act of sucking itself soothes and calms babies, thereby naturally inducing sleep. And as an added bonus – when a mom breastfeeds, chemicals are released in her body calming her, and inducing sleep in the mom too (this came in handy on the airplane!).
So back to our family vacation. My son had a wonderful nap on my lap on our plane ride home. And he also slept great during the whole trip! Wherever we were, as long as mommy and her milk were with him, he’d fall asleep. In the hotel room, in our room on the cruise, on a lounge chair on the deck of the ship, in the Ergo walking back to the ship from a morning at the beach – he’d always fall asleep peacefully, quickly and with no tears! Breastfeeding has been his prime sleep association since birth. He doesn’t need a favorite book, a blankie or a warm bottle of milk to fall asleep. However, these things do come in handy when I can’t be there and it’s time to sleep. Because guess what – he can fall asleep without me, even 99% of the time he is nursed to sleep!
Now, the fact that we co-sleep too also helped on the trip – no need to worry about a crib! But the joys of co-sleeping…that’s a whole other post…
How has breastfeeding helped you deal with baby or toddler sleep issues?
Please check out some of the other Carnival of Breastfeeding posts:
- Dionna at Code Name Mama shares some milk songs.
- Breastfeeding Moms Unite! shares some poems about the joys of breastfeeding.
- Chronicles of a Nursing Mom lists her top five things she loves about breastfeeding.
- Good Enough Mum reminds us that you don’t need to be crunchy to like breastfeeding.
- Hobo Mama explains that there is no need to count calories when breastfeeding.
- Pat at Life of a Babywearing and Breastfeeding Mommy reveals that breastfeeding is how she connects with her little one after work.
- Whozat from Lucy and Ethel Have a Baby opens up about nursing her little person.
- Maman A Droit has written a joyful list about breastfeeding.
- Tanya at The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog describes the things she loved about breastfeeding her son.
- Elita at Blacktating tells us what makes breastfeeding so great.
- Boheime at Living Peacefully with Children writes some nursing haikus.