You’re tired. We know. We are too. But so is your babe.
So here’s a little secret… breastfeeding is a fantastic way to help your baby fall asleep. Every baby is different of course, but nursing is a surefire way for some to drift off to la la land. And if baby is sleeping… that means you get some down time, too.
At naptime, draw the shades and turn off any lights. Find a comfortable seat for nursing and maybe put on some music. The tricky part… once your baby has fallen asleep, gently remove her from your breast and transfer her to a crib or bassinet to continue the nap.
At night time, you can repeat the same steps, just feed and rock to sleep. You may want a night light so you don’t stumble around the room when you try to leave. And for those babies who might still be awake after a feeding, you can try a mobile with soothing sounds.
Newborn babies eat around the clock, and do best when they feed on demand, rather than on a schedule. That means that you’ll be doing some nighttime feedings as well, which will also help your baby fall back to sleep. As she gets older, she’ll eventually be able to go longer stretches without nursing during the night. And in case no one has told you, “sleeping through the night” usually means five hours for a baby, not the eight hours adults strive for.
One way to manage middle of the night or even middle of the day feedings when you need a break is to nurse your baby in bed, in a side lying position. You can continue to rest while she nurses. (If you’re interested in bedsharing, speak to your pediatrician about the necessary precautions to take. Here’s more information on co-sleeping from Kellymom.com, a site devoted to breastfeeding).
And there’s a bonus for breastfeeding moms! Several studies have shown that breastfeeding moms get more and better quality sleep than their bottle-feeding counterparts.
Without a doubt, sleep is one of those hot button issues with a lot of theories and ideas about what’s best for baby. Bottom line, do your research, talk to your pediatrician, and do what ever works best for you and your child.
Now… bon appetit and sweet dreams!