Your little one cried and cried, refusing to nap until you gave him what he wanted: Your breast. While nursing a baby to sleep is far from uncommon, the KidsHealth website notes that breastfeeding during nap-time is cause for concern. It may mean your infant isn't getting enough nourishment, and it could lead to sleeping issues later in her life.
Some babies nurse with their eyes closed, but they are awake. The first clue is the sucking motion. If it stops, she's probably drifted into sleep. The other clue is to watch her actions. As infants move into REM -- or active -- sleep, their eyes move under closed eyelids and they may jerk or move their arms and legs. During deep sleep babies move less and become more difficult to rouse
When a baby doesn't latch on to the breast correctly, he may fall asleep instead of eating according to "Breastfeeding FAQs" on the KidsHealth website. The La Leche League notes the baby should make audible swallowing sounds during breastfeeding. If that's not happening, it could be a latch problem. To correct that, tickle the middle of the baby's bottom lip with your nipple, bring his mouth closer to your breast, with your nipple pointing towards the roof of his mouth.
No Doze Zone
Allowing a routine in which the baby drifts off during nursing sets her up for future sleep issues, according to KidsHealth. If nothing else, she may come to need the breast as a way to drift off. Separating feeding and sleeping times is one way to stop this behavior. This will become easier as the baby ages. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes on its HealthyChildren.org website that most babies fall into a predictable feeding routine around the 2-month mark. If you split the two times early, she won't instinctively connect feeding and sleeping.
If a baby already seems to rely on nursing to fall asleep, give him a pacifier to help break the habit. If that doesn't work, he must be well-fed before he's put down for a nap. Another alternative is to get the baby to suck his own hand or fingers after feeding. KidsHealth writes that's one way to help a baby drift off to sleep and break the nursing-napping connection.