Nursing babies to sleep is biologically expected, healthy and developmentally appropriate.
We've all heard it, right?
The torrent of opinions that arrives when we dare to mention that we nurse our babies to sleep...
"You're making a rod for your own back!"
"He'll never learn to self-soothe!"
"You're creating an unhealthy sleep association!"
The thing is, breastfeeding is designed to lull babies to sleep, in a gentle and biologically appropriate way.
The composition of human milk, for instance, is laced with sleep-inducing hormones and amino acids. It's no coincidence that little ones fall asleep at the breast...it's by design.
Not only do our little ones fall asleep more easily while breastfeeding, but night-nursing is also a crucial aspect of establishing a baby's circadian rhythm. A rise in nocturnal levels of nucleotides in human breast milk is responsible for what researchers have referred to as the 'hypnotic' action of breast-milk at night in the infant.
Such perfect terminology.
Breastfeeding - at any time of the night of the day - is no bad thing. It isn't a habit that needs breaking, or a negative sleep association.
Far, far from it.
Because nursing little ones to sleep is biologically expected. It's healthy, both physically and emotionally, and it's developmentally appropriate.
Mamas, trust in your instincts, trust in your babies...and when the noise of damaging cultural expectations becomes too loud, trust in the science.
I'll be doing the same thing from over here, doped up on oxytocin and enjoying these precious sleep-inducing feeds with my baby.
Cited: Sánchez, 2009