Comfort Nursing – My baby is using me as a dummy!
My baby is using me as a dummy! (comfort nursing)
In my daily conversations with breastfeeding mothers, many express their concern that their baby is using the breast as a dummy/pacifier and coming to the breast just to ‘hang out’, and not actively swallowing at times. Some have even felt judged by other people, even family members, for allowing the baby to do this – as if this is not a good or right thing to do.
As breastfeeding mothers with instinctive feelings toward your babies, you will often feel the need to bring your baby to the breast for many different reasons – for comfort, for warmth, even just to ‘chill out together’, as well as for food.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if your baby is needing to be near you and at the breast often, but this is normal in biology. Babies have an instinct for sucking, and they suck for comfort as well as for food, and it’s lovely to know that your baby will actually be coming to the breast for warmth, security and for assurance, as well as just for nutrition.
Lots of recent studies are pointing to the fact that breastfeeding itself is actually a dynamic situation between you and your baby, building a relationship and setting the foundation to equip your baby to form positive relationships in the future.
So be encouraged that it is a normal activity to bring your baby to the breast for lots of different reasons.
You may just want to sit down and chill out with your baby for a while if he is a little unsettled.
If you are uncomfortably full you may feel the need to have your baby close and sucking in order to relieve the engorgement. It is a two-way relationship, so know that it is normal to bring your baby to the breast for a whole waft of reasons.
You cannot ‘spoil your baby’ by bringing him to the breast as often and as frequently as he wants. All of this is normal in biology, and responding to your babies needs now helps to build assurance and confidence.
So contrary to a lot of very old fashioned ideas, which promoted breastfeeding in a regimented manner, with scheduling and unnecessary timing of feeds etc, bringing your baby and responding to his needs is now beginning to be understood as a very necessary and positive thing.
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Version 1.1 published in March 2019. Next review date: Jan 2022
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