XP: ? about comfort sucking

XP from June 2011 board:

When babies comfort suck at the breast, are they ingesting much milk?  When DD feeds, she starts off with powerful sucks- I can feel the letdown and I know she's eating.  At some point she always either falls asleep or turns to (what I believe is) comfort sucking.  I feel a more superficial tingling in my nipple- like a tickle- rather than the deep pull.  Is she still getting milk?  I don't always notice when it happens (esp. if I'm distracted by reading or bumping, etc) - just all of a sudden I'll realize that it tickles (or she's stopped sucking all together and is sleeping).   

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Re: XP: ? about comfort sucking

  • the light flutters don't really get much milk, but they can trigger another letdown in a minute (or several minutes) that will.

    moms on here are way too quick to think "comfort" sucking doesn't do anything... and yet it seems like every second poster is on pills for supply issues. No coincidence, IMO.

  • amy259amy259 member
    I usually let my LO comfort nurse for a bit or longer (to get her to sleep) and sometimes she triggers a 2nd letdown like pp said. I think comfort sucking also aids digestion for them as well. You can try to see when she actually stops nursing but my LO does a suck, suck suck then swallow.
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  • I don't think they get much milk from comfort nursing, so if you don't feel like she's gotten enough to eat, you might want to wake her up to encourage her to eat more.  My LC gave some really good tips to getting a newborn to wake up to eat.  When she's latched on, press her face into your chest.  For some reason it reminds them to keep eating.  If she's not latched on, hold her out in front of you and swing her (of course holding her securely).  I think there are a few other tricks out there.  But if you think she's eaten enough, I don't think it's bad if she wants to comfort nurse afterwards.  Supposedly it stimulates milk production and it's just nice bonding for a baby.  When my DS was a little guy, I would let him comfort nurse a lot.  I would sometimes let him just nap attached to me. It was kind of sweet and he always seemed so content. 
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  • Think of it this way too...comfort nursing at the breast is no different than popping a pacifier in you LO's mouth so they can comfort suck.  I think that if it is promoting bonding and a 2nd let down then there is no problem with it.  I agree that if you are concerned about her getting enough to eat that you should stimulate her to wake up and continue to eat.  But if she seems satisfied there is definitely no problem in letting her suck for comfort.
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  • I know my daughter always got milk when comfort sucking.

    Maybe not a huge amount but she always had it dripping out of her mouth when she'd come off the breast.  I always let her comfort nurse, even now sometimes. I think it helped establish my supply, which has always been extremely healthy.

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  • Yes, they are usually still getting a little bit of milk (not much) and stimulating your supply which is why I let DD comfort nurse as long as she wants, as often as she wants (unless I'm on lunch break and a little crunched for time, lol).

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  • In your arms or snuggled alongside you, your baby is nurtured by the snuggly warmth of your body and comforted by your familiar scent (pheromones). He hears the beat of your heart and the sound of your voice. His neurons and hormones program him to desire and flourish in this environment Babies often engage in comfort nursing (also known as non-nutritive sucking) well beyond their need for taking in milk for nourishment. Given the opportunity, most babies will comfort nurse ? and for baby?s benefit, it?s a good thing. Comfort nursing satiates your baby?s needs for soothing, familiarity and educational parent-child exchanges. Your baby needs to nurse for security, positive hormonal releases, bonding and company..

    The reality is that babies come with a simple and wonderful program in place for falling asleep: breastfeeding. A mother?s body passes comforting hormones into her own body and into her baby?s milk in response to the suckling. Babies release their own comforting hormones, as well, during parental contact and especially when sucking. Together, the warmth, security, full tummy, tiredness from sucking effort and comforting hormones induce sleep naturally.

    Lest you think this ?nursing? your baby sounds sweet but offers intangible rewards, look again at all the benefits of holding your baby and allowing her to suck at will.? nourishment
    ? comfort
    ? easing of pain and discomfort
    ? protection during illness
    ? building of bonding and attachment with parents
    ? social development
    ? inducing sleep
    ? building of trust in parents
    ? visual development
    ? development of communication skills
    ? building brain organization toward positive stress handling throughout life
    ? reduced heart disease risk factors
    ? lowered risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

    Breastfeeding provides full nutrition and amazing immune protection for baby, but that?s only the beginning. Nursing your baby ? holding her close, letting her suck at will, and offering skin-to-skin contact frequently throughout the day ? provides benefits. 


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