Comfort Nursing – My baby is using me as a dummy!

It’s not uncommon for breastfeeding mothers to express their concern that their baby is using the breast as a pacifier and coming to the breast just for comfort nursing or 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 – breastfeeding for comfort, for warmth, even just to ‘chill out together,’ as well as for food.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if your baby needs to be near you and at the breast often, but this is normal in biology. 

Babies have an instinct for sucking. They suck for comfort as well as for food. It’s lovely to know that your baby comes to the breast for warmth, security, and assurance, not just for nutrition.

Comfort nursing. Mum and baby on a bed breastfeeding

Lots of recent studies point 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’s an entirely healthy activity to bring your baby to the breast for lots of different reasons, including sitting down and chilling 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 to suck to relieve the engorgement. It is a two-way relationship, so know that it is perfectly reasonable to bring your baby to the breast for a whole number 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 baby’s needs now helps to build assurance and confidence.

So contrary to a lot of old fashioned ideas, which promoted breastfeeding in a disciplined 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 vital and positive thing.

Review dates, references & further resources

Review Dates

Version 1.1 published in March 2019. Next review date: Jan 2022


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