Breastfeeding to sleep with a large milk supply

Why won’t my baby breastfeed to sleep?

Babies whose mothers have a large milk supply may have trouble breastfeeding to sleep. The baby may get too much milk and become frustrated. One option is for the mother to offer one breast, take a little break, and then offer the same breast again when the baby asks to breastfeed to sleep. It will have less milk since the baby just fed on it and may be more acceptable. Other options are rocking the baby or using a pacifier until the baby is asleep. Returning a baby to the just breastfed breast is not advisable under other circumstances.

 

A) Describing breastfeeding the baby to sleep

Babies often need to breastfeed to sleep. With a large milk supply, this may be a challenge. Instead of having a little bit of warm milk and a cuddle before falling asleep, babies may get large amounts of milk they do not need or want. This can leave them frustrated.

B) Breastfeeding the baby to sleep with an average milk supply

To breastfeed to sleep, babies whose mothers have an average milk supply may, for example:

  1. Breastfeed on the right and then on the left breast.
  2. Have a little playtime.
  3. Ask to breastfeed to sleep.
  4. Be offered the right breast.
  5. Fall asleep after a few minutes of sucking.

Or they may breastfeed only on the right breast and use the left to help them get to sleep.

Both are normal patterns.

C) Breastfeeding the baby to sleep with a large milk supply

When there is a large milk supply, the baby may:

  1. Breastfeed on the right breast.
  2. Have a little playtime.
  3. Ask to breastfeed to sleep.
  4. Be offered the left breast. 
  5. Not settle on the left (second) breast because there’s too much milk and the baby just wants to breastfeed to sleep.
  6. Become frustrated and upset.

The options are then to:

  1. Offer the right breast as it will have less milk than the left and be more acceptable to the baby.
  2. Use other ways to settle the baby such as holding, rocking, and humming.
  3. Use a pacifier until the baby is asleep.

Returning a baby to the just breastfed breast is not advisable under other circumstances.