As a new mother, you know that your baby needs to eat every few hours and that sleep will be scarce, but breastfeeding your baby through the night is one of the most important things you can do for your baby’s health. Your breast milk is the healthiest food source around, and it’s what your baby needs to get a head start in health and wellness. Breastfeeding at night may also help your baby to sleep for longer intervals due to certain chemical features of milk produced at night. Besides that, some studies show that women who breastfeed get more sleep than those who don’t!
If you’re new to the nursing scene, you might need a few pointers. These tips will get you through the first few months, help you bond with your infant, and allow you to get a better night’s sleep.
Wear The Right Clothes
It all starts with what you’re wearing. Make sure you wear clothing to bed that will make it easier for your baby to access the milk. Look for a nightgown or pajama set that opens in the front rather than one the pulls up or down to make it easier on both you and your baby.
Many women like to wear nursing bras, but these greatly increase the chance of plugged ducts, which can make feeding time worse. The solution is to wear a nursing tank top that has the support, comfort, and function of a nursing bra, but without the added risk.
Find a comfortable position for feeding. Though you might normally sit upright in a rocking chair to feed your baby, you might find that it’s better to learn to nurse lying down so that you can sleep or at least enjoy some rest while your baby eats.
The best way to do this is to lie on your side and use pillows to prop up your head and knees and support your back. Then, you’ll lay the baby next to you on the bed and commence feeding. You could also try lying back by using piled pillows to support your back and neck as you lean back and let the baby eat.
Many moms swear that sleeping in the same bed as their baby allows them to get more sleep and have more success while nightly nursing than those who don’t. While this is largely a personal preference, it can make nursing a little easier if your baby sleeps in the same bed as you.
Either way, it’s good to keep the baby close. If you’re not interested in sharing your bed, keep a bassinet in the room with you so that you can easily get to your baby when he/she cries. Research also shows that sleeping close to your baby reduces the risk of SIDS.
Don’t Look at the Clock
Looking at the clock will only make you more tired. It’s entirely mental, but if you don’t know what time the baby wakes you up every night, you’ll feel like you got a better night’s sleep.
Don’t spend anymore time awake than you absolutely have to. Organize yourself every night before bed so that you have all of your gear and supplies close by. If you like to prop yourself up with pillows, keep them in a neat row beside your bed so that you can access them quickly. You might also want to move the changing station to the bedroom and organize it to avoid fumbling around in the dark for diapers.
Develop a Good Sleeping Pattern
One of the most important parts of being a successful nursing mother is developing a good sleeping pattern. This involves getting to bed early and avoiding late nights. It’s better for you to sleep a little before your baby wakes up than it is to stay up until the first feeding.
Furthermore, you’ll want to create a conducive atmosphere for falling asleep. This means avoiding exercising, unhealthy bedtime snacks, and excessive stimulation before bed. Once you get yourself on a good sleep schedule, it’ll be easier to sleep train your child.
Nighttime nursing doesn’t necessarily become enjoyable, but it certainly becomes easier when you master a few techniques and get organized.