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Is Comfort Feeding Getting in the Way of Your Baby's Sleep?

Do you suspect your baby is comfort feeding? He is not hungry but still wants to feed because he is sleepy? Does he wake up several times to suckle for a few minutes or sometimes several minutes just to help himself go back to sleep?  Is it OK to continue doing this or is it important to stop the habit of comfort feeding?

Newborn babies do not have a set circadian rhythm. This neurological immaturity causes them to not know the difference between day and night which is why many infants feed around the clock and have relatively short bouts of sleep throughout the day and night. Over time, this often leads to many babies being fed to sleep as a practice.

Around the 3rd or 4th month your baby’s circadian rhythm is developed and their body is now able to settle into sleep for longer duration's during the night while enjoying naps during the day.

However if your baby was being fed to sleep until the 3rd or 4th  month, then it is very likely that your baby would have developed a strong association between feeding and sleeping. Which means every time your baby is sleepy he will look for nursing or feeding as a means to fall asleep. Nursing or feeding may not only be associated with hunger but will become a means to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

As your baby switches between sleep cycles your baby may need to rely on this sleep association i.e. comfort feeding, to continue sleeping as well. Your baby may wake up several times in the night looking for a comfort feeds. When this happens too often it starts disrupting your baby’s sleep quality and quantity, and then you may need to consider breaking the feed to sleep association so your baby can get the rest he / she needs.

If you feel ready to break your baby's feed to sleep association connect with me so I can help and guide you through this journey.


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