So what is a normal pattern for breastfeeding a baby at night? This is the thing i don’t think there is a pattern or a set rule on what should happen. All babies are so different and some babies hardly wake at night whilst others can be up constantly. When i had my daughter i had an emergency c section so i really didn’t recover from that for ages and having to get up in the night to feed her wasn’t only hard work but painful too. So i substituted breastmilk for formula and nursed her myself in the day. I knew this could affect milk production as prolactin the hormone responsible for milk production is released at night and stimulated by night feeding but i was just so drained i needed my husbands help to keep myself sane!
Now i am pregnant with my second baby and i like to think i have learnt a lot from my first experience with breastfeeding , i didn’t even know you could hire the really good electric breast pumps that they have in hospital (i didnt even know there was a pump room in hospital, so they don’t really tell you much!) so i was thinking, this time around i’m going to try and stick with breastfeeding a little longer and try and make sure i give at least one feed per night so my milk production isn’t affected.
I had a look on the baby centre www.babycentre.co.uk it’s a really cool [place to get information and they have a section on night breastfeeding, it highlighted another issue with night feeds and that your child can become dependent on night feeds purely for comfort and in order to get to sleep. Wow we have it tough!! It points out that if you co-sleep with your child they are more likely to wake for feeds – i presume because you are right there and available?
The article goes on to say:
Breastfed babies take longer than formula-fed babies to develop a pattern of sleeping through the night. This is because breastmilk is easier to digest than formula milk, so babies get hungry more quickly and wake more often.
As breastfeeding is comforting as well as nourishing, it doesn’t take long for a baby to make a connection between feeding and sleeping. With a routine of breastfeeding your baby to sleep, he will not know, or want to know, another way of falling asleep
Try a change of routine
Does this mean that you should never breastfeed your baby to sleep? Of course not. Feeding your baby to sleep is a wonderful experience, but do it once in a while, not every night. One way to approach this is to make the breastfeed a part of your bedtime routine, but do it early, so that your baby doesn’t learn to directly associate that part of his bedtime routine with sleep.
After you’ve fed your baby, read him a story, sing him a song or change his nappy one last time. If you separate breastfeeding from the act of falling asleep, even by a few minutes, your baby won’t need to feed to fall asleep.
elp him fall asleep on his own
If he has already formed this sleep association, don’t despair. It’s never too late to start teaching sleep habits. Here are a few ways to get your little one on the road to falling asleep on his own:
- Separate breastfeeding from the bedtime routine, feeding him earlier in the evening.
- Breastfeed at the start of his bedtime routine or decrease the amount of time that you feed him at bedtime.
- Keep in mind that you need to make these changes only at bedtime. Once your baby starts falling asleep on his own at bedtime, he will begin soothing himself back to sleep at night.
How breastfeeding mums can get more sleep
To help you get the rest you need, ask your partner to help during the night-time feeds or awakenings. Breastfeeding doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t, make you the only middle-of-the-night parent.
Instead, consider these alternatives:
- Express some milk before you go to bed and your partner can get up with the baby to give him a bottle of expressed milk or formula.
- Let your partner do the night-time feed while you express in a separate room and then go back to sleep. Expressing some milk may take only 10 minutes, while feeding, changing, and lulling your baby back to sleep can take much longer.
Remember, breastfeeding your baby to sleep can be a wonderful experience, but it may lead to sleep problems in the future. Feel free to feed your baby to sleep in the middle of the night, when both you and he are out of sorts or when it seems like a special moment.
Just try to avoid making a habit of it so that your b