Haven’t we all experienced the time when our breastfeeding baby fell asleep soon after finishing the meal? And, we all know that this is pretty much a routine thing for them. It is not really unusual for our little ones to forget what they are up to and squeeze in a quick “nap”. Especially in the first few days after their birth. You will notice this even more if you’ve had a tiring delivery.
However, what will you do if the baby is constantly falling asleep even before he/she is full? Have you been wondering what goes on during breastfeeding? So, this is how it goes. It is the letdown or the foremost milk ejection that the baby drinks. At this time, you will observe a good suck-to-swallow ratio. And, this is generally the part of feeding that everyone notices. With time, this naturally slows down instead of completely stopping. Your tiny angel will soon have a normal swallowing pattern he/she will follow. As the baby gradually adds the number of sucking for each swallow, the pace will become slower till he/she falls asleep.
But, not in deep sleep. If you try to move your angel, he/she will immediately spring back into the groove. The eyes will gradually open and the hands will come back to the mouth. To your surprise, the feeding continues. This was your little one taking a power nap while waiting for some more milk. So, if you thought that he/she was ready to abandon this free meal, thanks, but no thanks!
We have all heard of numerous solutions to beat this problem. Be it stripping the baby down, blowing on him/her, or even changing a nappy. But, usually, none of these ideas seem to work. Truth be told, it might be easier to ask this simple question – why is a normal, healthy baby constantly falling asleep even before he/she is full?
More often than not, a baby tends to fall asleep while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding if the milk flow is too slow to be worth the wait. Not if the alternative is as good as sleep. Too much sucking with little swallowing is not really the best idea for a tiny human being with restricted energy supplies. Of course, we live in a problem-solving world. So, the solution is out there even before you know it. Be it the breast milk boost, breast compress, or even a switch feed. This can work short-term for sure, especially in case of a sleepy angel who is too small and is exhausting his/her energy too soon.
One of the primary reasons for this, however, is a less than optimal latching, thus, bringing down the milk supply quite a bit. Mommies obviously struggle a lot to ensure that the baby is properly latched on and is able to feed easily. But, it is pretty important to recognize when the latch is too shallow. Yes, it can be difficult to identify but not knowing won’t really help anyone.
A shallow latch may not be a huge deal for everyone. Since mothers are ready to do anything to ensure their little one’s well-being, they may not even mind a frequent feed. Most moms are ready to feed their angel every half an hour on a daily basis. This can well compensate for a shorter feed. Moreover, an abundance of supply of milk for the relatively lesser demands help.
However, this is not a very sustainable solution. Your breasts may even suffer from slight inflammation because of the frequent but ineffective breast drainage. Therefore, it is really important to embrace proper latching even if you may have heard otherwise all your life. And, what does this proper latching really mean? In a literal sense, you will not be able to see the corners of your little one’s mouth.
Trust us, it is a myth that it may hurt if the latch is too strong. Your little one’s suck can be so disorganized that it doesn’t create enough suction to inflict pain. Generally, it is ineffective and weak. Yes, your baby initially may face a little problem. But, it will get better with practice. And, most importantly, undivided attention.
We, at MomJunction, hope that this article was helpful. If you have suggestions in your mind, please let us know in the comments section below! Happy breastfeeding!