Managing Breastfeeding at Night

September 6, 2012

Breastfeeding At NightAs a breastfeeding mom, it may seem like you’re breastfeeding all the time. Newborns need to eat frequently around the clock, and healthy full-term babies should eat whenever they are hungry. As a new mom, you’ll want to prepare yourself for the first few months (when “around the clock” is taken quite literally) with feedings necessary throughout the night. But don’t worry; we have tips for managing late night feedings and getting you a little more rest.

Look for family breastfeeding support.

As your baby grows, his or her needs will help establish your supply and determine a feeding routine. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, ask for assistance with late night and early morning feedings, such as having your partner get you water or gently lift your baby out of your arms and put him or her back to bed. If you’re pumping, let your partner or other family member feed baby with previously expressed breast milk to help give you a break for the other feedings. This will give that family member some time to bond with baby and let you catch up on sleep.

Keep the crib in your bedroom.

For some families, keeping the crib in your bedroom helps cut down on the amount of time it takes you to fall back asleep between feedings.

Stay comfortable.

Comfort is key for breastfeeding, and it may even make your feeding sessions more efficient. Make sure you have a comfortable chair or rocker, a glass of water, and maybe a nursing stool to help with positioning.

Be prepared.

Make sure you have everything you could need throughout the night set out or easily accessible. Things to lay out include diapers, wipes, towels, your breast pump and kit, a glass of water, and anything else to keep you comfortable. Doing this will help prevent you from making unnecessary trips to other rooms or rousing yourself too much searching for what you need.

Shift your perspective.

At times, it’s hard not to be frustrated when you have to wake up multiple times each night. But it’s important to keep in mind that it’s only temporary and that those late night feedings are truly special moments. So, when you’re frustrated, breathe deeply and just try to enjoy the special bond you’re creating with your little one.

22 thoughts on “Managing Breastfeeding at Night

  1. is there a way to just buy the top of the calma bottle. I have the bottom portion from my pump in style machine. I have a 13 month old who is refusing to take a bottle or a cup. She goes on hunger strikes during the day while I am teaching and nurses when I get home and through the night to make up for it. I would love love love to give her pumped milk, but she is refusing that. I have heard that the calma system is a miracle. We are just so strapped for cash right now I can’t afford to buy a couple of them if they don’t work for her.

  2. I found that breastfeeding released feel-good hormones so that I felt amazing the next day even if I had barely received any sleep the night before from breastfeeding sessions. I also kept my eye on the goal of maintaining the milk supply so that I could keep my promise to myself to breastfeed for one year. I’m now in the middle of the 11-month mark and going strong.

  3. I keep a crib next to my side of the bed and just pull my little guy in bed with me when he wakes and tuck him back in when he finishes. We switched to a twelve hour disposable diaper at night instead of his usual cloth to stop leaks and pretty much eliminate late night diaper changes.

  4. I’ve resigned myself to sleeping in the reclining part of our couch. My son has had horrible reflux since he was 2 months old and needed to sleep at an angle to avoid choking on reflux. Then as soon as he started rolling over we decided to get him back in his own bed but as soon as we did that he got sick! Well now he’s coming down from a weeklong flu and has been sleeping in my arms, kicked back in a recliney chair in the front room! He still eats almost every hour. Sometimes I feel like I’m never going to sleep again! He’s 6 months old today. Night time feedings are the worst and seem to happen all too frequently, but I’m sure I’ll miss it when he gets older.

    • Hi Sandi – That must be tiring but you’re doing a great job and we’re glad you’re able to stay positive. Keep up the great work. We’re proud of you.

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