Why do Babies get Milk Drunk?
Why do babies get milk drunk?
If you are a new mother nursing, watching your new-born is an activity that you can carry on with tirelessly! And is there any better sight than a “milk drunk” baby when she passes out after a good feed!
We totally agree with you when you say that it is the cutest sight ever. If you have taken numerous pictures and videos of your baby’s drunken stupor, you are not the only one!
A random internet search will throw up countless such images that are bound to make you grin from eye to eye!
But with the plethora of advice for new mothers on the internet, are you worried if your baby gets “drunk” much too often after the feed?
Are questions about whether or not you are doing things right clouding your mind? Don’t worry! We have all the answers for you right here!
Read but be Discerning in your Choice of Advice
In your endless quest to do the best for your baby, it is natural for you as a new mother to read up every piece of literature you can find. Some of these articles were with regards to breastfeeding. You have read articles that suggest that letting your little imp falling asleep as while you are nursing, is a “bad habit” you are giving your little one.
A baby falling asleep while nursing is not a good idea, some say, because it poses a hindrance to self-soothing. Such a practice is especially true after a night feed when you wish your baby to have a full night of rest. In case you have yourself worked up in knots over advice like this, it is time to calm your nerves right now!
You can rest assured that a baby getting “milk drunk” or even falling asleep while you are nursing is perfectly natural and healthy! It just means that your baby has a belly full of milk and is looking drowsy because he or she is tired! Drinking milk is hard work, you see!
Mother’s Milk has a Sedating Impact at Night
Jokes apart though, let us get into the science of it all. When you are nursing your baby, it has a soothing and sedating impact on both the mother and child. A lactating mother produces a lot of hormones. Chief among these hormones are prolactin, oxytocin, and cholecystokinin (CCK). At night, when you nurse your baby, there is a spike of melatonin in your body.
Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone that has a calming effect on your child when you are trying to put her to bed. In addition to these above mentioned “soothing hormones,” your milk also has a supply of endocannabinoid.
Endocannabinoid has a similar impact that a natural neurotransmitter such as marijuana may emanate! So when your baby is falling asleep at your breast, it may be akin to being “stoned” rather than drunk!
Scientific research has evidence of how wondrous nature is, and why a mother’s milk is like an elixir to the child. Like we told you about soothing hormones and calming neurotransmitters that a mother’s milk produces at night, there is enough evidence that suggests that during the day, there is a higher amount of protein in the mother’s milk.
As a result, the nervous system of the child is invigorated and helps her remain active and happy. Pediatricians across the world, however, suggest that if you are expressing milk or using a pump, do it as close to the feeding time as possible.
The reason is simple. You would not drink coffee just before you go to sleep, would you?
The Genesis of Misconceptions
Some articles and books will have you believe that co-sleeping and breastfeeding is a bad idea, and a baby should have her bed and learn to self-soothe at the earliest possible. But the truth is that this modern concept is the brainchild of Ms. Marianna Wheeler. In a book titled “The Baby.” In this book, she suggests that a baby should spend as much time as possible on the bed.
Constant coddling by the mother and the father or any other caregivers can make him or her excessively dependent. In later years this concept trickled down to breastfeeding. Increasingly, people began to say that letting a child fall asleep on the breast is an absolute no-no, and can prove to be fatal for the child!
There have been endless debates and opinions about co-sleeping too. As recently as 2008, the message was loud and clear. If you take your baby to bed with you, you are enhancing the chances of fatality as there is a fear of a parent rolling over the child! It is only of late that statements are established as “damaging.”
A Mother knows Best!
Experts around the world now say that letting your baby sleep all alone can be just as harmful, for you may not be aware of what may be troubling your child while you sleep. A baby monitor may be helpful, but that is assuming you can distinguish between different kinds of crying, especially when you are tired and sleepy yourself!
Modern pediatricians, therefore, say that co-sleeping is perfectly ok as long as there are no other children on the bed, the mother is a non-smoker, feeds the baby exclusively, and does not co-sleep on a waterbed, armchair, or a couch.
What we are getting at with all of this is pretty simple. Whether it is breastfeeding, co-sleeping, or any other baby-related issue, you can read up every baby manual in the world, but the best thing to do is to trust your instinct.
A mother’s legendary intuition is not just stuff that we find in movies and books only. As a mother, you will intuitively know what is best for your baby. As far as being “milk drunk” is concerned, don’t you worry, mama! Enjoy the cuteness overload, and take some pictures for posterity! These days will be gone sooner than you think!