Night time breastfeeding is challenge, especially if you have a job or other kids. But, breastfeeding through the night is important to ensure your milk supply is established. It’s also important to provide that nourishment, safety and care for your newborns.
Our newborns naturally digest whatever enters their cute little tummies very quickly. They need to be fed quite often, they need to be helped all the time.
After giving birth to your adorable little bundle of joy, you’re pretty much working for your baby full-time. They expect you to feed them whenever they ask, whether it’s early in the morning or in the middle of the night while you’re asleep.
Here are our top nighttime breastfeeding tips to help you get through those long and sometimes challenging nights.
Top 13 Life-Saving Tips For Night time Breastfeeding
Set a Bedtime
Night time isn’t playtime, but rather sleep time. Your baby needs to learn to fall asleep at bedtime at a young age if you want to make the feeding process smooth and easy on both of you.
Set A Bedtime
Dream feeding is when you partially wake your baby up to eat one more time before you go to sleep. Babies who go to bed between 6 and 8 p.m can wake up in the middle of the night due to hunger. According to research, slipping in an additional meal between 10 p.m. and midnight reduces nighttime waking.
Throughout this process, you want to keep things as calm as possible to ensure the baby will fall asleep again quickly. By doing this, you help them stay asleep until the morning. In fact, if you do it often enough, it can become a regular part of your baby’s sleep routine!
Sleep when Your Baby Sleeps
The #1 resting rule when you have a baby is “sleep when they sleep.” It’s so much harder to fight off fatigue and sleep deprivation if you only focus on sleeping late at night. If your baby won’t let you sleep at night, you can at least take advantage of the time when they’re asleep and get some shut eye, yourself!
Wear Clothes That Are Breastfeeding Friendly
Less steps means falling asleep faster. Loose fitting clothes are the most practical for nighttime feedings. You can also opt for nursing gowns that are specially made for breastfeeding at night.
Stop Watching The Clock
Sleeping at night is a universal human habit, so don’t make it a chore when you’re a full-time mom. Practice makes perfect; the more you learn how to adapt to night feedings, the less tiring they will become. Just don’t worry about the clock and focus on feeding your baby.
Water And Food are Crucial
If you wake up in the middle of the night while breastfeeding, you may find yourself hungry and thirsty. It’s important not to let yourself dehydrate when you nurse.
Make sure to always leave some water nearby where you breastfeed. Also, boost up your energy with a healthy snack for nighttime breastfeeding so you don’t end up feeling drained.
Both drinking and eating help you stay wakeful during the night, just make sure not to drop crumbs or spill water on your baby.
Try the Side-Lying Position
It’s great to learn how to breastfeed while lying on your side. To do that, lie down on one of your sides and place 2 pillows under your head. It’s OK to place a pillow in between the knees for extra comfort.
As the baby latches on, have them lie on their side with their chin touching the breasts and their head tipped slightly backwards.
Laid-Back Nursing Position Can be Great Too
Sit in a reclined position with pillows or cushions to support your back. Then, with the baby near you and their stomach down on your chest, you’re ready to feed.
Stay Close To Your Baby
While you can nurse while lying down on your bed, you don’t want to accidentally fall asleep while doing that, unless you have followed the safe bedsharing precautions. For easy nighttime breastfeeding, you will want to be as close to your baby while they sleep as possible.
It’s perfectly fine to share a bed with your baby if you are following the safe sleeping guidelines.
If you are:
1. A nonsmoker
2. Sober and unimpaired
3. A breastfeeding mother and your baby is:
4. Healthy and full-term
5. On his back
6. Lightly dressed
and you both are:
7. On a safe surface
Then bedsharing is considered to be as safe as using a crib or bassinet. For more info about safe bedsharing click here. Of course, you don’t have to share a bed with your child, you could also try a side car crib or standalone bassinet.
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Organize Your Environment
Whenever you’re about to feed your child, you should always have everything you need handy. That includes diapers, wipes, water, late-night snacks, a towel (if you have a leaking breast), or anything else you might need during night feeding.
This way, you avoid fumbling around in the middle of the night every time you need a small thing. So, not only are you avoiding keeping yourself up, but you’re also giving your baby a calming and peaceful environment to eat in, so they can sleep right after eating.
Red Light is the Best
Getting a nightlight can help you a lot during your night time nursing sessions. You need to have some form of visibility, but at the same time not so much that it’ll force you and your baby to stay awake.
It can be uncomfortable for you to breastfeed in absolute darkness, so a nightlight, or even just a flashlight, can help you, as opposed to turning the room’s bright light on. Red light gives you the best of both worlds, as it doesn’t affect melatonin much and helps you stay in a sleepy state, while improving visibility, making breastfeeding at night more comfortable.
Avoid Cell Phones And Lights
It’s a known fact that red light allows you to fall asleep faster, and that blue light has the opposite effect. No matter how tempting it is, avoid looking at your phone or checking your messages during late night breastfeeding.
Blue light won’t just mess with your circadian cycle, but it can also irritate your baby and keep them, and thus you, awake. So, no phones, laptops, TVs, or any devices!
Remember to smile
Conventional advice would have you ignoring your baby at night, but I promise you there is no reason to not make eye contact with and smile to your newborn! Although babies can sometimes have their days and nights confused, and some well meaning parenting bloggers will tell you not to smile at your baby in case they think it’s day time. Luckily, babies are smarter than that. They wake because they want to see you, want a feed, and want to be reassured. So do these things, while still keeping the room dark and soothing them back to sleep.
Nothing should ever stop you from feeding your precious baby, even if it means you have to wake up in the middle of the night after a long day. But we really hope that these nighttime breastfeeding tips will help you provide your baby with the love and nurture they deserve.