Breastfeeding at night – should you or shouldn’t you?

Are you breastfeeding your child to sleep? Then read this.

There is a huge debate if you should breastfeed your baby to sleep or not. If you go by the ideal situation, most experts and paediatricians will tell you that it isn t a good practice. However, we mothers know the ordeal of having a baby wide awake at 3 am and the helplessness of sleepless nights. So there are times when we resort to an easier solution, more often it is breastfeeding your baby to sleep (or giving the bottle if she is formula fed). But the trouble is milk pooling, accumulation of milk in the mouth cavity when the baby sleeps at the breast or with the bottle. This pooling, according to some experts could give rise to night carries or cavities in kids. Remember, teeth erupt between six to eight months of age, a time when a baby might still be nursing and depend on night time feeds to soothe and sleep. Here are 10 safe-sleep rules for the baby.

This is what got us thinking if night time feeding is right for babies. According to Ms Avani Oke Principal K. J. Somaiya College, School of Nursing, Breastfeeding isn t the only reason for night time carries, there could be a host of other issues that lead to dental carries in kids. In fact, a night a mother produces more breast milk due to excess production of oxytocin, a reason why we encourage mothers to breastfeed at night. Here are five benefits of comfort suckling you should know.

However, if the baby falls asleep at the breast (or with the bottle), most mothers put the baby to bed without burping the baby. This could make the baby wary and disrupt sleep. Remember many babies wake up in the middle of the sleep to take a burp. Even if your baby falls asleep at the breast (or with the bottle) hold her upright with the chin resting on your shoulder before you tug her to sleep. If that is not possible, make her lie down sideways for a while for the excess milk to come out along with trapped air. You can also wipe the mouth with a clean cloth that can absorb the milk remaining in the mouth cavity. Here is why it is important to burp your baby after a feed.

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Oke suggests that breastfeeding even at night is essential (though it isn t the same for bottle feeding), As the effort taken to suckle helps in better teeth development and strong jaws. So, if you are worried that night time feeding can lead to dental carries, take the right precautions to prevent it.

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