In case you needed another reason to breastfeed, studies show that breastfeeding mothers -- and their partners -- get an average of 40-45 minutes more of sleep per night compared to parents who supplement with formula. If you are a breastfeeding mom who is still feeling sleep-deprived, here are some tips to make breastfeeding at night a breeze.
Good news for breastfeeding moms! Not only do you get more sleep at night, but a study has shown your baby also has less "sleep disturbance" than those babies who are given formula.
If your nighttime feedings have still left you feeling tired, get tips for breastfeeding at night.
Tips for breastfeeding at night
When your baby wakes up ready to eat, follow these tips from mother of two Kristi Valentini of mommycribnotes.com, to help baby feel satisfied and ready for sleep:
- Don't turn the light on in the nursery (if baby is in a separate room). Use a night light, or if you have the light on the dimmer just turn it on low.
- Change the baby's diaper first because usually the baby will fall asleep at the breast, and the last thing you want to do is wake up that peaceful child by changing his or her diaper after nursing.
- Keep a blanket draped over the rocking chair, or wherever you nurse in the middle of the night, to keep you and baby warm and cozy.
- Wear pajama tops with buttons. That way, you can just unbutton enough of your top to breastfeed without exposing your whole upper half and freezing during your nursing session.
- Keep your "essentials" next to your nursing spot on a nightstand. My essentials were a cloth diaper to use wiping up spit-up and milk mustaches, a pacifier and a glass of water.
What if baby keeps falling asleep during feeding?
"If moms are struggling to keep the baby awake in order to get the full feeding, [I suggest you] rub their cheek. If this still isn't keeping the li'l one eating, then sprinkle cold water on their face -- basically, dip your hand in ice-cold water and flick it onto the baby for a light, rain-like feeling," suggests BreezyMama.com Chelsea P. Gladden, who also says to unswaddle them to help them wake up.
When will baby sleep through the night?
It is the question at the top of every new mom's list: When will my baby sleep through the night? Marla Newmark, registered nurse and board-certified lactation consultant, says there is no definite answer and it will happen when your baby is ready.
"Just as one would not 'push' a child to walk before he or she is physically capable, I do not think that it is advisable (for the baby's emotional and psychological well-being) to be 'pushed' to sleep through the night," she says. "Some things that might impact when a baby is ready include gestational age of baby, how often baby is fed throughout the day, physical things that are going on with baby (teething, illness), if mother is away from baby during day and baby's temperament."
Try to remember you baby will not stay a baby forever and you will eventually sleep. "When you hear that baby crying for the third time that night and everything in you screams, 'Just let me sleep!' -- remember that you are in good company because somewhere, maybe on your block, is another nursing mom doing the same thing at the same time," Valentini says. "Try to appreciate the beauty of sharing a silent, peaceful moment with your child knowing that this time will surely pass sooner rather than later."
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