Despite the fact that breastfeeding is a natural occurrence, it is not without its share of skepticism. To help you and your kid sleep better at night, here’s what you need to know.
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Where Should My Baby Sleep?
Rather than sharing a bed with your infant, consider putting him to bed in your room. The reason for this is that sharing a bed with a baby puts them at risk of suffocation, strangling, and SIDS (SIDS).
For the first six months of a baby’s life, experts advocate room-sharing, especially if the mother is breastfeeding. Here are a few concepts to get you started:
- A crib, play yard, or bassinet can be placed right next to your bed. At night, it’s simpler to nurse if you can maintain close proximity to your baby. It also reduces the chance of SIDS in your baby.
- Purchase a bassinet or play yard with a lower side that can be attached to your bed. This prevents you from accidentally rolling over on your kid when you’re holding them close.
Don’t put your infant in the same room as a smoker if you want to protect him or her.
How Should My Baby Sleep?
To reduce the risk of SIDS, always put your baby to sleep on their back, not on their stomach or side. Babies can sleep in any posture they like as long as they can simply turn from front to back and back to front.
Here are a few pointers to bear in mind when shopping for baby bedding:
- Mattresses should be sturdy enough to support your weight. Cover the mattress with a fitted sheet. The crib, bassinet, or play yard should fulfill the most recent safety requirements.
- The crib or bassinet should not be used for anything else besides the baby’s bedding. Keep stuffed animals, pillows, blankets, unfitted sheets, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, and bumper pads away from your baby’s sleeping space. If there are any cords, ties, or ribbons in the vicinity, remove them immediately to avoid endangering your child.
- Make sure your baby has dressed appropriately for the weather and doesn’t overheat. Severe sweating or a warm feeling to the touch are warning indications of overheating.
My Baby Falls Asleep While Nursing. What Can I Do?
After a feeding, newborns are more likely to fall asleep at the breast. No swallowing sounds or shifting jawbones mean your baby isn’t nursing, so keep an eye out for those cues.
Tips to attempt if you think your baby’s asleep but he or she hasn’t yet completed feeding:
- Rub your baby’s back once they’ve been dressed.
- Tickle your child’s feet.
- Make your child burp.
- Swap to the other breast as you do either of these things.
- After your baby has finished eating, gently compress (squeeze) or massage your breasts to encourage him to drink more.
The breast is a good place for babies to fall asleep if they latch on incorrectly. Reposition your infant onto your breast so that both your nipple and areola are covered. You can dislodge the suction by inserting your finger between the gums of your baby’s mouth and rotating it by a quarter turn.
Burp your infant and then move to the other breast after you’ve broken the suction.
Is it OK to Nurse My Baby to Sleep?
Nurses who feed their babies for the first several months of their lives find it nearly impossible to keep them awake. Encourage your baby to sleep on their own as they grow older. To accomplish this, follow these instructions:
- When you put your baby down for a nap or to sleep, do it with your eyes open. Children learn to sleep on their own as a result of this.
- Create a sleep ritual that is familiar and pleasant. Taking a bath, reading a book, and belting out a song is a relaxing way to conclude the day.
- Consistency is key when it comes to bedtime. As they get older, newborns begin to link these actions with sleep.
- Provide a pacifier if necessary. The risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is reduced when newborns under the age of one year are given a pacifier during nap and bedtime. Give a pacifier only after the baby has been breastfed for three weeks. Don’t force a pacifier on your child if they don’t want it.
When Will My Baby Sleep Through the Night?
Because of their small stomachs, breastfed babies can only sleep for about 2–3 hours between feedings before waking up to be fed again. It is likely that babies will be more hungry throughout the day if they sleep for a long period of time.
Finally, things start to get better just when you fear you’ll never get a good night’s sleep again! At the age of three months, a baby sleeps an average of five hours during naps during the day and ten hours at night, with a few interruptions. A typical night’s sleep for a 5- to 6-year-old is a 5- to 6-hour stretch. But don’t be shocked if your baby sleeps more or less than others, as each baby is unique.
Will it Hurt My Milk Supply to Let My Baby Sleep?
It won’t damage your nursing efforts if you let your kid sleep longer stretches of time (typically about 3 months of age). Depending on when and how much your baby requires, your body changes your milk production accordingly. There are some babies who sleep through the night early but make up for it by suckling on their breasts throughout the day.
Your baby’s requirement for breast milk will diminish as he or she gets older and starts eating solid meals on his or her own, and your body will adapt to that change as well.
Should I breastfeed my baby to sleep?
In the first few weeks, when your infant spends more time sleeping than awake, breastfeeding and sleep tend to merge. It’s typical for newborns to fall asleep during feeding and wake up a short time later for more milk.
For as long as you like, you can nurse your baby to sleep and nurse him back to sleep at night. Mothers who nurse their babies while they sleep often find it an enjoyable and calming experience that helps them bond with their newborns.
You may opt to cease nursing your baby to sleep when he gets older and feeds less frequently. Some parents have discovered that their baby begins to associate sleep and feeding when he is breastfed until he falls asleep. Attempting to cut back on night feeds or get him into a sleep pattern can be challenging if you’re trying to do so.
Wait until your baby is at least three months old before attempting to get him to sleep through the night without needing to feed him. In that case, you might begin to introduce a bedtime ritual.
How can I make breastfeeding at night easier?
Night feeds provide a significant portion of a baby’s daily caloric and hydration requirements. It’s a good idea to do everything you can to make night feedings safe, easy, and comfortable for you and your baby as they grow up to six months old.
For the first six months of your baby’s life, he or she should sleep in the same room as you at night and during the day. If your baby sleeps directly next to you in a cot, Moses basket, or bedside cot, you may find it simpler to deal with nighttime awakenings. With the open side level with your mattress, this three-sided cot lies just next to your bed.
It’s easier to reach for your kid when he’s right next to you. To feed him, you will not have to get up from your bed, and you may even be able to fall asleep in the process. Do not leave any holes on the side of the mattress where your kid could get trapped if you use a side-by-side crib.
You’ll be more aware of your infant’s early feeding cues if you keep him near to you at night. Because of this, you will be able to provide immediate attention and begin feeding him before he wakes up completely and begins to wail.
Keep the lights low and the noise down when doing a feed. You and your baby will both be able to fall back to sleep more quickly this way. It will also assist your infant to adjust to the ebb and flow of the seasons.
In order to keep your baby secure when you nurse him or her in bed with you, you should lie in the ‘C’ position. When you’re in the ‘C’ position, your body forms a protective C shape around your baby as you lay on your side.
Your lower arm should be above your baby’s head, and you should draw your knees up under his feet while doing so. To make it easier for your baby to feed, you may find yourself lying in this position naturally.
Even if they didn’t want to, many parents find up co-sleeping with their kids. You can use it as an alternative method of dealing with disrupted sleep cycles and the demands of feeding.
Co-sleeping with your kid allows him to eat whenever he wants, without waking you up too much. The more feeds you have, the more milk you’ll produce as a result of this. Breastfeeding releases hormones that promote sleep and relaxation in both mother and child. It’s possible to hear breastfeeding and co-sleeping referred to as “beast sleeping.”
Make sure you know how to safely co-sleep with your child before you begin. Sleeping on a couch or armchair with your kid is never a good idea! If you fall asleep with your infant in either of these positions, he could get stuck in the cushions and become a choking hazard.
Co-sleeping can raise the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), even if it is a rare occurrence.
- Drinking alcohol, or taking medicine that makes you sleepy, may be to blame.
- It doesn’t matter if you don’t smoke in bed if you or your partner smokes or uses e-cigarettes.
- It is possible that your infant was born prematurely (before 37 weeks) or with low birth weight, making him or her under three months old (less than 2.5kg or 5.5lbs).
If you’re really exhausted, several experts advise against co-sleeping.
To learn more, see our post on how to securely co-sleep.
Would my baby sleep better on formula?
Studies reveal there is little difference in total sleep time between newborns fed formula and those fed breast milk. Breast-fed newborns are more likely to fall asleep, however, there are some distinctions between breastfed babies and those who are fed formula milk. To put it another way, breastfeeding babies are more likely to have shorter slumbers that are less restorative and require longer to fall asleep. However, your breast milk contains melatonin, which helps your baby go asleep.
Getting out of bed to prepare a bottle and turning on the lights to see what you’re doing will help you get out of bed faster. Without the sleep hormone from breast milk to help you and your baby fall off to sleep, it may be more difficult for you to get back to sleep. So if you breastfeed at night, you may find that you get less sleep than if you feed your baby formula at night.
Here are some suggestions to help you and your infant have more restful nights’ sleep.
- During the first few months of a baby’s life, he or she may want to nurse often. This calls for dense distribution of brief feeds. It’s totally normal, and it often occurs at the same time as a child’s physical growth. If you can, feed him whenever he asks, as long as you’re able. Things should return to normal as soon as your milk supply is back to normal.
- Dream feeding, also known as focused feeding, occurs between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. when you partially wake your baby to nurse him before going to bed. If you practice regular dream-feeding, it may help your infant sleep longer. Allow plenty of time after your baby’s last feeding of the day if you decide to try dream feeding. Your kid may wake up crying because there is already milk in his stomach, and you may not realize it until it’s too late.
For additional ideas on how to get your infant to sleep through the night, check out our page on the subject.
How can I help my baby fall asleep without feeds?
The first few months of your baby’s life will see him or her sleeping and waking up frequently. There are times when you may notice that your baby’s sleeping patterns are becoming more predictable as the child gets older. He’s beginning to grasp the concept that the night is a time for sleeping.
Learning the difference between day and night is something you can do with your child. During the day, keep the lights on and the music loud so you can receive some fresh air.
Prevent overexcitement in the evenings and during night feeds by keeping the lighting dim. Keep nighttime diaper changes to a minimum, if possible.
Many kids are able to calm themselves to sleep by the time they are three months old (though not all!). Your baby can begin a nighttime routine around this time. To ensure consistency, make sure you perform the same steps in the same order each night. That way, he or she will know exactly what to expect next. A warm bath and a bedtime tale will soon become rituals for him, and he’ll look forward to them every night.
As soon as he’s tired but not yet asleep, put him down for a nap. It’s okay to feed your baby one last time before he or she goes to sleep with a story or song. In doing so, he’ll be able to distinguish between feeding and falling asleep.
If your baby is awake when you put him down, he may cry at first. In the beginning, you can assist him to develop the ability to self-soothe by providing him with comfort. But the aim is to gradually get him used to go to sleep without you over a period of days and weeks. Gradually decreasing the amount of time you spend with him and modifying the things you do to help him go asleep can help you achieve this goal
Start by snuggling your baby until he falls asleep, then softly pat him on the back while he sleeps in his crib, for example. The goal is for your infant to eventually be able to fall asleep without your presence in the room. Getting your kid to fall asleep on his own at night may help him get back to sleep when he wakes up in the middle of the night.
At six months old, your baby will be able to breastfeed more efficiently and will begin to try out his first foods. As he masters new abilities, such as rolling over and sitting up, he will also become more physically active.
As a result of this, your baby will be able to sleep for longer periods of time at night and eat for longer periods of time without interruption. As your child develops and begins eating solids, he or she may be able to wean herself from nighttime feedings as well.
It is possible that your baby’s sleep schedule will shift from time to time, but this is normal. When you think your baby is sleeping through the night, he’ll start waking up every few hours. However, this does not necessarily signify that he is feeling peckish. Teething, growth spurts, illness, and other life events can all disrupt a child’s previously sound sleep and cause them to wake up frequently. Wait for it to pass, and then try again later. You may expect him to be sleeping soundly again soon.
My baby still wakes for a feed at night. What can I do?
Consider splitting the nighttime care duties with a spouse or family member to help everyone get some rest. A breastfeeding mother does not have to complete the following tasks.
- Expressed milk is given in a bottle. After the first six weeks of breastfeeding, you may want to give this a whirl.
- Winding down after a nighttime feeding.
- At weekends, it’s especially important to get your infant up and dressed so that you can go back to sleep.
If you’re still having trouble getting enough sleep, see our post on how to deal with sleep deprivation or try an alternative approach to sleep training with your child.
How can I get more sleep as a breastfeeding mother?
Keep baby close at night:
Your bed should be ready for the arrival of your new baby’s crib or bassinet. They are less likely to suffer from Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUDI) because of this, and they are also following safe-sleeping rules, which means that you can react quickly when your baby wakes up at night. It is also possible to safely share a bed.
During the day, practice breastfeeding in a side-lying position.
This position will aid you in getting a good night’s sleep while nursing your baby. An example of how this might look is depicted in the image above. Getting set up has never been easier than it is now, thanks to this article. Everyone may need some time to become used to the new environment.
Set up your bed safely so that you can breastfeed your baby side-lying at night.
While it is not recommended that you fall asleep with your baby, it is possible to lessen the danger of this happening by arranging a shared surface ahead of time. You may find out more about safe shared sleep here
Breastfeed baby until they are asleep.
Allow baby to sleep instead of waking him to burp him. Or, if it is safe, continue to safely bedshare with your baby.
Keep lights low.
The circadian rhythm of a newborn might be disrupted if bright overhead lights are left on.
Rock your baby
A darkened room with your naked chest and your baby soothing them back to sleep may be all that is needed. Don’t bring them into a room that has bright, artificial lighting.
Feed baby with every wake-up.
Keep your eyes off the timer.
My child sometimes nurses for comfort, when he’s obviously not hungry. Is this a problem?
It’s quite acceptable to nurse a loved one through a difficult time. Baby would have to be sucking on his hands or a pacifier if he wasn’t comfortable nursing. Remember that the breast is the original pacifier, so don’t be hesitant to let your baby express his or her desire to use it in this manner. The health of your child may benefit from comfort nursing, according to some research. Most, if not all, newborns require a suckling session. It guarantees their survival. Keep in mind that if your infant seems to be always comfort-nursing, you should know that this will usually lessen as time goes on. Baby’s need to be comforted by you may be lessened while you are wearing him in a carrier or sling. To be close to you at times, he may go out of his way to get a job as a nurse.
The purpose of comfort nursing is not to be underestimated. This style of sucking appears to lower a baby’s pulse rate and allow him to relax, according to research. As far as his physical and emotional well-being is concerned, it appears to have a very good impact. Allowing this form of nursing is nothing to be worried about. Breastfeeding involves a lot more than simply providing your baby with food and fluids. It’s also a way to provide for your child.
Am I creating a bad habit by allowing baby to breastfeed to sleep?
In fact, it is quite natural for your child’s craving for breast milk to help them sleep. Make sure you don’t fear that you’re repeating a harmful habit by nursing your infant to sleep. When a baby is tired or overstimulated, he is more likely to reach for his mother’s breast since it is a known and safe spot. It makes obvious sense that the breasts would be associated with a desire to unwind and sleep. Even as adults, we have rituals that help us wind down before bedtime, such as reading, watching TV, grabbing a warm drink or snack, taking a deep breath, and snuggling up beneath the covers. When you breastfeed your infant, you’re doing the same thing.
Night or naptime can be a baby’s only opportunity to nurse when they are at their most curious or distracted. To ensure that he receives adequate milk, you should allow him to nurse at these times when he is more concentrated on breastfeeding and less engaged in other things. In these situations, don’t be frightened to breastfeed or worry about perpetuating a poor habit. Instead, make the most of these downtimes to improve your nursing skills.
It’s not only a question of excellent vs. terrible sleep habits. Culture, way of life, and expectations play a far larger role here. The following are three methods for dealing with parenting problems:
- One strategy is to make the baby adjust to the parents’ way of life. The culture of the United States is not very baby-friendly, and it rarely creates provisions for mothers who wish to breastfeed their children. Baby must sleep through the night so that we may enjoy uninterrupted sleep and a “good” baby is considered as one who makes the fewest demands on his parents. This is the current trend in many popular books and parenting publications, and it’s one that many new parents are following.
- Traditional societies’ mothering method can be emulated, and parents can do the adjusting for their children. In order to successfully implement this strategy, we’ll need the help of others and a shift in expectations from those around us.
- A third approach is to do as much accommodating on the parental side as possible, and then to “ask” the baby to accommodate the last part of the gap. This is an approach that can work for many families. With this approach, parents do all they can to be sensitive to their baby’s needs, and only ask the baby to accommodate when nothing else truly works.
What about letting baby “cry it out?”
Another option is to “ask” the baby to fill in the remaining gap after parents have done everything they can to accommodate it. It’s a strategy that can work well with many families. Using this technique, parents do their best to be aware of their baby’s needs and only ask their child to compromise when all else fails.
I am unable to suggest the cry-it-out approach of lulling a baby to sleep on my conscience. It’s a mistake to focus on the baby’s behavior (going to sleep on his own) rather than the baby’s emotional state during the procedure. This “sleep training,” in my opinion, might lead to an undesirable attitude toward sleep: following this training, the newborn tends to perceive sleep as a frightening state to enter and to remain in. It is common for parents to have to “retrain” a newborn if their typical schedule is disrupted. It can also teach parents to ignore their baby’s screams, which harms the parent-child bond.
Younger babies, in particular, do not have this concept of “object permanence,” thus if mom leaves them to cry, they will not understand that she is only a few rooms away. Abandoned, the only thing the baby knows is that his mother isn’t there. A crying baby is a sole way a newborn may communicate his or her feelings. Crying babies ultimately stop because they have given up on the idea that someone will come and comfort them because no one cares enough to listen or come and comfort them when they are left alone to cry. Anthropology professor Meredith Small states in her book Our Newborns, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent that “When signals are missed, babies stop signaling; they withdraw, suck their thumb, they turn away and try to right the system by not putting out any more signals.” By shutting down, the infant shields himself and “accepts” the circumstance, because he’s learned that a response isn’t going to come. Hoarseness can linger for days; the digestive system is disturbed; stress hormones are released; heart rates can soar to more than 200 beats per minute, and oxygen levels in the blood are reduced as a result of the baby’s constant crying.
There is a school of thought that discourages thinking of sleep as a state that may be induced. You should instead establish a sleep-inducing environment so that the infant can fall asleep on its own. The Baby’s temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure are regulated by breastfeeding, which also helps him fall asleep. This promotes a positive attitude toward sleep in your kid, allowing him or her to see it as a normal, healthy part of his or her day.
I’ve been told that my child will NEVER learn to go to sleep on his own if we don’t teach him…
Never? If your infant prefers to be nursed to sleep, it is perfectly normal and healthy. Is it possible to be concerned about something that is so wonderfully designed? I’ve done a lot of research and talked to a lot of moms regarding babies’ sleep patterns. My research, my own experience, and that of other moms have all led me to believe that your kid will reach the developmental milestone of falling asleep without breastfeeding when he is ready. When your baby begins to nurse to sleep and suddenly stops, rolls away and falls asleep on his own, this is a common first step. Perhaps he’ll fall asleep in his father’s arms when they’re out for a walk. Despite the fact that these occurrences are rare at first, they serve as a reminder to you that your child is capable of falling asleep on his or her own.
Countless infants who were breastfed to sleep and were breastfed at night from birth on have learned to fall asleep on their own, without the breast, in the process of breastfeeding. You’re not required to instruct them on this. At this point in their evolution, they’ve reached a significant milestone. Putting a baby to bed before he’s asleep may help speed up this process, but nursing him to sleep will not prevent him from figuring this out on his own.
Around the age of 11 or 12 months, my daughter began to occasionally fall asleep by herself (or with her father). The fact that she could sleep without my presence was reassuring, even if she didn’t do it very frequently. The number of times she’s fallen asleep without being nursed has steadily increased over time. In fact, we didn’t even “teach” her to do this or even particularly encourage it. It has been a natural process in her development that occurred when she was ready.
How will my child go to sleep when I’m not there to breastfeed him, or after he weans?
For many mothers, going to daycare or weaning will be a stressful moment, so they feel compelled to prepare their child by teaching him to go asleep on his own before then. This isn’t essential and can cause a lot of anxiety for your child at a time when they’re already dealing with a lot of change. When mom isn’t around, children are quite flexible and will find new ways to go asleep. There will be no problem with your child and his other caregivers working things out and finding new ways to soothe each other. Your child’s weaning will have the same effect.
How can I gently encourage my child to fall asleep without breastfeeding (and without crying)?
First and foremost, keep in mind that if you are comfortable breastfeeding your child to sleep, he or she will stop on his or her own if you are not. If you’d like to speed things up, keep reading…
It’s possible to transition from breastfeeding your child all night long, to breastfeeding him only when he’s close to falling asleep, and finally to no breastfeeding at all when he’s ready to go to sleep. We’ll have to wait and see what happens. You and your kid are more likely to have a positive experience if you begin taking it in small, manageable doses from the beginning.
It’s possible to begin by lying down with him on the floor or in the bed he’ll be using for naps. If he doesn’t want to sleep in the crib, don’t force him. At this time, your goal is to make him feel safe and secure enough so that he can go asleep on his own. Any anxieties of being alone in his crib will only make things harder for you.
At this point, you can try breastfeeding him till almost sleepy (eyes closed and he is breathing heavily but not entirely out) if that works for him. It is best to wait until he has calmed down and cooled off before starting to breastfeed him. When he is comfortable with you leaving after only a short time of nursing, you can attempt to have him sleep through the night without your assistance. Make him happy by giving him his favorite toy or book. In an enthusiastic and encouraging tone, tell him “night night” and kiss him goodnight. Have nighttime and naptime be the same every day so that he can get used to it and become accustomed to it. Take asleep after lunch, for example, or go to bed after a snack or a bath every night. That way, he’s prepared. You may even make a big deal out of his upcoming nap or bedtime by talking about it in a happy tone. Talk about where he’ll be sleeping, how wonderful it is, and what he can bring to bed with him if he’s an older baby or toddler. The minor things aren’t worth fighting over — let him have the light on, the door open, or whatever else he prefers to have in his bed with him.
Once more, your goal is to get him to the point of security where he can fall asleep on his own, unassisted by your breastfeeding.
My child wants to comfort nurse the entire time he’s napping! How can I slip away without waking him?
Breastfeeding while a child is napping is not uncommon. They ultimately grow out of it. There are a few things you may do to help you get away from this situation.
In order to get up and do things while he naps, you may want to let him stay latched on but put him in a carrier (sling, wrap, etc.). This will depend on his size.
After your youngster has gone to bed, you can practice your disappearance. Make sure he’s in a deep sleep and hasn’t been choking on his food before attempting this (you may have to wait a while). This is what we refer to as “flutter sucking,” which is just a very light suck. Observe facial grimaces, hands partially clenched, twitches in the muscles, fluttering eyelids, and tightness in the muscles of the baby during a light slumber. You may tell if a baby is in deep sleep by the limp-limb sign: arms dangling weightlessly at the baby’s sides, hands open and muscles relaxed, and an almost immobile face.
When your child is fast asleep, attempt to get away as quietly as possible. To get him to stop sucking your finger, try slipping a finger near his nipple inside his mouth and easing it out slowly. After that, gently remove your finger from the baby’s mouth while applying pressure to the baby’s lower lip. You may be able to prevent your kid from waking up if you do this. A t-shirt, pillow, or even an animal he sleeps with mom’s aroma can also help him sleep better.
As soon as I get out of bed, my children are typically able to tell that I’m gone. I keep my hands on baby for a few seconds when I get out of bed, then gently remove them so that the transition isn’t as abrupt. When I wake up the baby, he generally stirs, but if I keep my hands on him until he is motionless again, he usually falls back to sleep. If your baby is older, it can also be helpful to put a hard pillow (preferably a warm one that you’ve been sleeping near) beside him in the spot where you were sleeping so that he doesn’t feel empty space if he reaches out in his sleep. If baby’s feet were lying on me, which as usual, I’d place a pillow beneath his feet. If I’m trying to put an older baby/toddler down on the bed while he’s already asleep, I put him on top of my pillow. (Remember that the risk of SIDS makes it unsafe to use pillows with young babies.)
When I get up, my children often notice a lack of physical contact and warmth. It’s best to gently remove my hands from the baby’s body when I get out of bed, rather than abruptly removing them. Even if he wakes up when I try to fetch him, he usually falls back asleep if I hold him until he stops moving. Putting a hard pillow (ideally one that you’ve been sleeping close to) next to your kid as you sleep will help prevent him from reaching out in his sleep if he’s older and able to do so. There are instances when I will place a pillow under the baby’s feet if I notice him placing his feet on my hip (this happens a lot). It’s easier to put an older baby/toddler to bed when he is already sleeping if he’s placed in my pillow on top of it. (Remember that using pillows with young newborns puts them at risk of SIDS.)
Here are some more suggestions for keeping your baby asleep: Please, don’t wake up sleeping babies.
My toddler wants to comfort nurse forever when he’s trying to fall asleep.
When we have a breastfeeding toddler who refuses to fall asleep for hours at a time at bedtime, we may wonder if we’re doing the right thing. You know those evenings when you want to get away from your child only to be disturbed by a sleepy protest every time you try to unlatch the harness? The later it gets, the more likely you are to question if “they” were right about that “bad habit” after all.
It’s true that both of my children have gone through phases when they wanted to be latch-free for as long as possible (typically due to teething or an illness), but these are just temporary states. To put your mind at ease, if you’re willing to let your child continue nursing to sleep, you may be assured that he will eventually learn to fall asleep on his own.
How would you feel if you were no longer able to enjoy the benefits of comfort nursing, or if you simply wished to step away from it? If you’re having trouble latching or situating your child, pull them closer to you and see if that helps. Even if you have to comfort the nurse all the time, you shouldn’t have to worry about it if the latch and positioning are correct. Although breastfeeding is a two-way street, you should feel free to establish age-appropriate “nursing rules” for your toddler if you feel the need to do so (see the guidelines listed above). Just because someone wants to “guilt” you into something doesn’t mean you have to do it. A problem is only a problem when it negatively impacts your family.
Why does my breastfeeding baby wake so regularly during the night?
Even in the middle of the night, a breastfed infant is likely to wake up frequently during the day as well. If your infant is exclusively breastfed, he or she may only fall asleep after a feeding. This could occur every 45 minutes or less! Breast milk is easily metabolized. Biologically, it is meant to be eaten continually rather than at regular intervals during the day and night because it is low in protein and fat. After a breastfeeding, your baby’s stomach should be empty in around 45 minutes, so they don’t feel full for very long.
Breastfeeding is also strongly linked to a reduced risk of SIDS/SUDI, and this may be due to the fact that breastfed newborns are more likely to wake up during the night.
With my baby waking so often, what is the best way for me to get the most sleep?
You may benefit from learning how to nurse while lying down if your baby requires frequent feedings and if you want to get the most sleep possible. Breastfeeding in a side-lying position may allow you and your baby to get more rest and sleep if you do it safely with someone else in bed with you at the same time. A safe bedsharing arrangement can enable you to reach your long-term nursing goals, as mothers who do so are more likely to nurse for a longer time.
Will my baby sleep for longer if I feed them formula before bedtime?
For most breastfed infants the reality is that they are fed a lot more frequently than their formula-fed counterparts. Faster stomach emptying, as previously stated, is likely to blame for this phenomenon. If you’re concerned about your baby’s sleep, bear in mind that feeding them formula isn’t a guarantee that they’ll stay in bed for longer. Your baby may also wake up in the middle of the night to feel your warmth and know that they have a mother nearby. It’s not unusual for young mammals to seek out their mothers for protection at night, and humans are no exception.
Mothers who breastfeed get more sleep and better quality sleep than those who use formula, according to research. For one thing, prolactin, a hormone that increases the frequency with which women experience deep sleep, may have something to do with it, or it could simply be the result of breastfeeding moms feeding their kids while still asleep.
How can my partner help during the night if they can’t feed the baby?
Your partner can assist you in a variety of ways that go beyond simply feeding the baby. They may be able to change your baby’s nappies or comfort them if they don’t settle right away after a feed. Sometimes the best thing your partner can do at night is to get enough sleep so they have the stamina to support and help you throughout the day. In order to give you some much-needed rest, they can get up early in the morning and take your child for a stroll or playdate in the baby carrier.
I’m worried that my breastfed baby will never sleep well during the night!
Breastfeeding helps your baby’s circadian rhythm develop, so you can rest assured that your baby will sleep longer stretches at night when he or she is breastfed.
As a result, your baby’s sleep cycle will be better supported if you exclusively breastfeed.
In order to get as much rest as possible during the day while breastfeeding, it’s vital to accept help and support from those around you throughout the night.
An IBCLC or the Australian Nursing Association can provide assistance if you have questions or concerns about your baby’s breastfeeding habits.
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