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Where should my breastfed baby sleep?

Although some mothers may want to keep their babies in bed with them to make breastfeeding more convenient at night, cosleeping with babies can be hazardous.

But you can still choose to keep your baby close and make nighttime feedings easier by letting your baby sleep in a crib, bassinet, or play yard in your room — right next to your bed, even — for the first few months.

You also can invest in a device that looks like a bassinet or play yard missing one side that attaches to your bed, allowing you to be next to each other while eliminating the possibility of rolling over onto your infant.

To make nursing in bed more comfortable, it may help to keep a donut-type nursing pillow on or near your bed or to use a "husband" back pillow with arms on each side.

Keep the room dimly lit for nighttime feedings and also keep stimulation (talking, singing, etc.) to a minimum. This will help your baby to realize that nighttime is for sleeping — not playing — and will encourage your little one to return to sleep sooner.

A word of caution, though: You should never let your baby sleep on a soft surface or in the same room with people who are smoking. Babies should always be put on their backs to sleep to help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

My baby falls asleep while nursing. What Can I Do?

Your baby may seem to be snoozing away, but might actually just be peacefully nursing. However, if you don't feel any sucking, your baby may, indeed, be sleeping at the breast, especially if feeling satisfied after a good feeding.

Babies who tend to latch on incorrectly, though, may fall asleep at the breast. If this happens, break the suction and reposition your baby onto your breast to include both your nipple and areola.

You can break the suction by slipping your finger in the side of your baby's mouth (between the gums) and then turning your finger a quarter turn to break the suction. (If you just pull your baby off your breast, it will likely startle your little one and hurt your breasts as well.) After you've broken the suction, try to burp your baby and switch your little one to the other breast.

Often, the baby's latch is not correct. A lactation consultant can show you the right latch method and help you with any questions or concerns you might have.

If your baby is still falling asleep while feeding, undress the baby, tickle your child’s feet, burp your baby frequently, or try changing the diaper in between switching breasts.

Is it OK to nurse my baby to sleep?

Nursing your baby to sleep can become problematic as your little one gets older because he or she may need to nurse to take a nap or go to bed at night. It helps to wean your baby off of sucking for comfort and make breastfeeding sessions about nourishment not pacifying.

Also try to put your baby down for naps and bedtime slightly awake so your little one will get used to falling asleep without having to nurse.

Instead of nursing, you may want to offer your baby his or her thumb or hand to suck on. You also could consider giving your little one a pacifier. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends giving babies under 1 year old pacifiers at naptime and bedtime to reduce the risk of SIDS — but only after breastfeeding has become established, so no sooner than 4 weeks of age.

However, babies who are not interested in pacifiers should not be forced to take them, and pacifiers should not be put back in if they fall out after the baby falls asleep.

If your baby has had a good feeding recently and you know that he or she isn't hungry, then it's OK to use the pacifier, although it's best to try to use it just for naps and bedtime.

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