Nipping and napping: How can you get anything done?

I have a two month old baby and I love breastfeeding but my little one constantly falls asleep at my breast while nursing. I know it's comforting to her, but I need to do other things beside nurse. How can I get things done and continue our breastfeeding relationship?

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

Little babies just love to be with their moms. Your baby enjoys your smell, your warmth and she feels your love. It is not at all uncommon for a baby to fall asleep at the breast. It is sometimes tricky though to lie your baby down once she has fallen asleep in your arms.

You might find using a baby sling helpful. With your little one in a sling, you can carry her about, as you do your chores, run errands and carry on with daily life. She can nurse or sleep peacefully right there in your arms. You can gently lie her down, once she is in a deep sleep, using the sling to help cover her.

It may be helpful for you at this time to reprioritize your life. It is okay to cut back on outside activities. Your baby is only two months old -- everyone should understand. Decide what is most important for you and your family at this time and concentrate on these things. Don't be afraid to ask your partner, friends and/or family for support. Most of the time they are glad to help out.

It sounds as if your baby loves to nurse. You are sensing that she is more content if she receives formula because she sleeps more. A formula-fed baby may sleep longer and deeper than a breastfed baby. Altering a baby's natural sleep cycles may not be prudent. The light sleep of many infants may be an important survival mechanism. Research shows that breastfed babies do in fact have a lower risk of SIDS (Mitchell, 1992).

Breastmilk is much more easily digested, so physiologically speaking, your baby will need to be fed more often. More frequent feeds don't need to be a drain. Use these nursing times as a special time to sit down, put your feet up and relax. Set up a nursing area. Have everything you need to be comfortable nearby - a drink, snack, remote control, books... Allow yourself to enjoy this time with your baby. Prolactin, the "mothering hormone," is released each time you nurse. Enjoy the effects.

Being a new mom can be quite overwhelming. Never before have we had another person rely on us so totally for all their needs. Establishing a good support system to help you through this transition can be so important. Mothers need to be "mothered" too. Much happiness!

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