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. Lynda Sherman says:

    I always take a Large glass of water to bed with me that’ll last all night . Most importantly I have my smartphone and ipad bedside. While she is nursing I can occupy my time on the internet, reading a book,or checking Facebook.

  2. I am fortunate enough that my daughter started sleeping through the night pretty much from birth. On the occasions she does wake up during the night or super early I just take her in the living room get comfy on the couch and feed her! It’s amazing how quickly you get used so little sleep. I wouldn’t trade those feedings or anything else for all the sleep in the world.

    • Hi Tracy – What a great way to think about it. We’re happy you’re able to enjoy all the special moments breastfeeding.

  3. We bed share (safely following all recommendations and guidelines) so I am able to nap through most feedings. It’s worked since day one and we’re going strong at over two years. I feel very rested considering he’s still nursing 4 times a night and I am happy and confident that he’s getting the best.

  4. iPod Touch, charger, neck pillow & 64 ounces of water in the nursery for middle of the night feedings. I gave up wishing for her to sleep through the night. Knowing she’ll wake doesn’t frustrate me anymore since all she wants is milk!

    • That’s a great way of looking at things, Judy. Plus, it’s such a short period of time in the grand scheme of things. Thanks for sharing your set-up and experience! – Kathy

  5. Heather James says:

    My husband would get up and change diapers, then bring her to me on the couch. This would allow me enough time to semi wake up.

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