1. My most frequent suggestion to a Milk Mum in most every situation is “listen to your baby!” A baby crying is a baby communicating. Babies who are crying need cuddles, breastfeeds and comforting.
2. Breastmilk has nucleotides which actually help your baby to fall asleep! Your breastmilk is literally made to help your baby fall asleep at the breast.
3. Human babies are born extremely immaturely compared to other mammals. Babies need frequent cuddles and breastfeeds, including to fall asleep at night, throughout the night and to take naps during the day.
4. Studies show that babies who are left to cry have increased levels of cortisone (the stress hormone) in their bodies. These levels stay risen even after they have stopped crying. If you are sitting there next to them or repeatedly picking them up through the “training”, they are still crying throughout this!
5. If you saw a crying adult or child you would stop to comfort them. If you as an adult are crying or upset, you would like to be comforted. A baby is no different.
6. LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTS! If letting your baby cry-it-out does not feel right then don’t do it! Pick up, cuddle and/or breastfeed your baby.
7. Your baby will not breastfeed to sleep forever! I assure you my eldest two boys DO NOT fall asleep at my breast. They read, then fall asleep all on their own.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS, TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS, TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!!
And follow the lead of your baby…
What can I do as an alternative?
- Co-sleep with your baby or toddler. There are ways to safely co-sleep. See my articles on sleep challenges here.
- Breastfeed when your baby asks to be fed.
- Offer the breast first if you are unsure and then go through “the circuit” as described in my article on How to Settle Your Baby.
- Follow the lead of your baby. If your baby is happiest when being held, then hold them! If you baby is asking to be fed then feed them! Trust your baby and trust yourself to read your child’s cues. Follow the lead of your baby, no matter what the clock says or how long it has been since you have fed them. Babies like to breastfeed for many different reasons other than hunger.