EYES WIDE OPEN!
Your Pregnancy|December 2021/January 2022
Breastfeeding and night wakings? Experts shine a light on a possible connection.
VIVIENNE FOUCHÉ

Does this sound familiar? “My babyboy is 10-and-a-half months old andstill wakes up two to four times a night, and only settles down if he has had something to drink. I am still breastfeeding him at night. Do you think he wakes up because of the breastfeeding? I would like to stop breastfeeding, but I’m afraid that I will struggle with my baby at night if I do so. What should I do?”

THE PAED SAYS...

Congratulations for breastfeeding until 10 months. I see two issues arising from your question. The first is about whether breastfeeding is still necessary and if it’s okay to stop. The second is around the sleeping habits of a 10-month-old and what you can expect.

Breastfeeding is definitely the best for infants until 6 months of age, and there is still benefit to the immune system after that. Gradually though, breastfeeding becomes more for the bonding and nurturing than specifically for the nutrition and the immune system support, although those are still important factors to consider.

There are certainly some children who become fixated with breastfeeding and want nothing else and will hang onto the breast as long as they possibly can. Although this is lovely and sweet, these children also frequently become problem sleepers because they are in such a habit of waking for the breast, and they have developed the expectation that only the breast will soothe them.

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