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Should I Let Baby Nurse To Sleep?

Should I Let Baby Nurse To Sleep? #breastfeeding #adviceSleep. Babies and sleep. Nursing and sleep. We spend so many minutes of so many hours of so many days worrying about sleep. How much we’re getting and how much we’re not getting. We listen to advice and we read books and we worry, worry, worry. Now, three babies in, I don’t worry anymore – and I let my baby nurse to sleep.

Is It Ok to Let Baby Nurse to Sleep?

I know this is a very polarizing subject. Many moms choose not to allow this habit to begin. Many use it as a powerful tool. Many have babies that can’t or won’t fall asleep at the breast! But for me, letting my baby nurse to sleep has been a gift.

When Ronan, my oldest, was a nursling, he happily nursed to sleep. But we wanted to do everything right, so we nipped that in the bud. I would nurse him until drowsy and unlatch. I would nurse him sitting up and wide awake, and then rock him to sleep. I would nurse him upon waking and then let him play until he was sleepy, and then try to have him fall asleep on his own. Eventually, he lost the nurse-sleep connection, and on particularly rough nights, I couldn’t use nursing to get him to settle. I had given up that tool. It was in those moments that I always lamented the loss of nursing to sleep.

Ruby was my next nursling. She was the darling baby that didn’t nurse right. A very long story cut short, I exclusively pumped for Ruby for most of our nursing relationship. She did not nurse happily, and she most certainly did not nurse to sleep. Many, many nights were spent bouncing on a ball, walking in an Ergo, singing, humming, wishing, hoping, crying. Many nights were spent in sorrow over the absence of nursing to sleep.

Should I Let Baby Nurse To Sleep? #breastfeeding #advice

Next came Ryder. Ryder was supposed to be my redemption baby. Ryder was supposed to be the exclusive nurser, who would never be given a bottle and never have any issues. Ryder was supposed to nurse to sleep. Of course, no child is ever what we expect, nor what they are “supposed” to be, and Ryder came with his own challenges. Ryder was always highly agitated while nursing; twisting, kicking, rocking, unlatching – he rarely ever stayed still enough to nurse, even while very small. He had to be highly distracted to nurse well. I would walk around the house, or talk to him and play with his fingers. He could focus if he had a screen to look at, or if the kids were playing rambunctiously. But he would not, could not settle enough to fall asleep. He just didn’t. Again, we had to rock, bounce, sway, swing, walk and work to get him to sleep. Again, I spent my nights in sorrow.

Nursing to Sleep

And then…and then suddenly, a few weeks ago, Ryder nursed to sleep on the couch for a nap while I was futzing around on my phone. I was blown away. I was quietly ecstatic. I immediately took a picture to commemorate the occasion, and transferred him down to my bed.

I didn’t expect a repeat performance, but I hoped for it. That night, at bedtime, I sat on the couch. I played a little music. I avoided eye-contact, and I relaxed. Within minutes, Ryder was asleep. Asleep. He had nursed to sleep. I was elated again! Every nap and sleep since then has begun with a quiet cuddle on the couch, and I couldn’t be happier. It feels so close, so connected, and very rarely fails. Before now, I had tried other methods and been forced to come up with workable techniques. Now? When it comes to putting my baby to sleep, I will happily continue to nurse him down until he no longer wants to.

I nurse my baby to sleep. Ask me how that’s going when we are ready to wean!

Do you let Baby nurse to sleep?

Sharing at My Joy-Filled Life.

Mandy is the mother to four year old Ronan, two year old Ruby and ten month old Ryder in the Carolinas.  She is passionate about birth, breastfeeding and gentle parenting.  She believes strongly in the power of honesty, and supporting all mothers.  She also blogs at Honest Mothering and can be followed on Twitter or Instagram.


  1. Yes!! And I love every minute of it 🙂

  2. I’ve always nursed my babies to sleep! 🙂

  3. Love this post! There is no one “right” answer as every child is different.

  4. My question is after they’ve fallen asleep, how do you put them down? Mine wakes up as soon as I put him down!!!

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