The physical demands of breastfeeding combined with disrupted sleep and hormonal shifts can take a toll on new moms. Research shows that mothers who breastfeed are more likely to experience “insufficient sleep” than those who bottle-feed their baby. This can lead to heightened stress, fatigue, and an increased risk of depression among mothers. In fact, lack of sleep is the third most common risk factor for postpartum depression among new moms. Without the proper support, breastfeeding and co-sleeping can put a strain on the mom’s body and disrupt her restful slumber. Fortunately, there are several natural ways to help breastfeeding mamas get more sleep at night. Try these tips for better rest when you feed your baby in the first few weeks after delivery.
What Is Co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping refers to the act of sleeping in the same space as your baby. Some parents may choose to co-sleep with their baby on a separate surface, such as a bassinet or a crib. Others may choose to sleep in the same bed with their newborn. There are many benefits to co-sleeping with your baby when breastfeeding. Co-sleeping gives you ample opportunity to respond to your baby’s needs with just a touch or a gentle whisper. It also makes breastfeeding more convenient, especially in the early days of nursing. Co-sleeping with your baby makes it easier to establish a breastfeeding routine, which is essential to helping your baby develop a healthy sleep pattern. It also helps you get more sleep, so you can stay rested and be at your best. Co-sleeping with your baby may come with some risks, however. You must be careful not to accidentally suffocate your infant when co-sleeping. It is important to follow safe co-sleeping guidelines to avoid any serious injuries.
Establish a breastfeeding routine
Breastfeeding is a beautiful, natural way to nourish your baby. It also presents many challenges for new moms. One major difficulty breastfeeding moms often face is establishing a daily routine. This can be especially challenging in the early days of nursing, when you may not yet know how frequently your baby will eat. But getting into a breastfeeding routine can make life easier for both you and your baby. A predictable feeding schedule will allow you to get more sleep at night. If your baby’s feeding times are consistent, you’ll be less stressed about feedings and can rest more easily. If you struggle to establish a breastfeeding routine, try keeping a log to track your baby’s feedings. This will help you identify patterns in your baby’s eating habits and will make it easier to create a schedule.
Find the perfect breastfeeding position
There are times when breastfeeding in the wrong position can impact your sleep. It’s important to find the perfect breastfeeding position for you and your baby so that both of you get the best possible rest. When it comes time to feed your baby, there are many different ways to help ensure that he or she gets the most restful sleep possible. One option is to use a nursing pillow to prop up your baby’s head and neck during feeding. Another option is to try out other breastfeeding positions.
The “football hold” is another great way for mom and baby to get some shut-eye together. A football hold involves holding your baby in the air with one arm across their chest and the other hand behind their back. This makes it easier for the mom to grab milk from the breast while also helping the baby latch on more easily.
Practice relaxation techniques
Breastfeeding moms often have to contend with physical pain, mainly due to engorgement, as well as mental and emotional stress. The hormonal shifts that occur in your body when you breastfeed may leave you feeling more anxious than usual. When you are stressed, it is harder to rest properly and take the time you need to recover from the physical demands of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding moms can benefit from relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and guided imagery to help manage stress, lower cortisol levels, and improve sleep quality. Other helpful relaxation techniques include taking a hot bath, reading a book, listening to music, and spending time outside in nature.
Invest in a quality mattress
Breastfeeding moms can experience a disruption in their sleep patterns for many reasons, such as the physical challenges of breastfeeding, interrupted sleep, and hormonal shifts. To ensure you get the rest you need, it is important to create a breastfeeding-friendly sleep environment. One of the best ways to support yourself while breastfeeding is to invest in a quality mattress. The type of mattress you choose can have a major impact on your sleep. Firmer mattresses are best for breastfeeding moms. This type of mattress offers better support for your back and neck, which can help reduce sleep-disrupting pain. A quality mattress can also improve air circulation, helping you stay cool and comfortable all night. Beyond the mattress, the sleep environment of breastfeeding moms should be dark, quiet, and comfortable. You may also want to invest in blackout curtains or a sleep mask to block out excess light and noise, helping you to reach a deeper level of slumber.
Acupressure is an ancient Chinese therapy that can help alleviate pain and promote restful sleep in breastfeeding moms. There are two acupressure points that are particularly effective for treating pain related to breastfeeding. The first is the nipple. The second is the large intestine point. If you experience engorgement, try applying acupressure to these two points to ease discomfort. You can also apply acupressure to these points when your baby is feeding to reduce pain in your breasts. If you are struggling with pain and discomfort related to breastfeeding, it is important to talk to your doctor about treatment options. There are several ways to treat pain in breastfeeding moms, including the use of analgesic creams and medication.
Other tips for better sleep when breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can have a positive impact on your health and well-being, but it may also make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. To help you rest better while breastfeeding, try these tips:
- Create a sleep-conducive environment
- Establish a sleep routine
- Avoid daytime fatigue
- Eat a healthy diet
- Schedule some “me time”
- Stay hydrated
- Practice good sleep hygiene
You will likely experience some disruption in your sleep while breastfeeding, but by following these tips, you can minimize these disruptions and improve the quality of your slumber. Breastfeeding is a beautiful and precious gift. It can also take a toll on your health and well-being. To help you stay healthy and rested, it is important to create a sleep-conducive environment, avoid daytime fatigue, and eat a healthy diet. You can also benefit from scheduling some “me time” and staying hydrated. By following these tips, you can help promote better sleep when breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful and precious gift. It can also take a toll on your health and well-being. To help you stay healthy and rested, it is important to create a sleep-conducive environment, avoid daytime fatigue, and eat a healthy diet. You can also benefit from scheduling some “me time” and staying hydrated. Following these tips can help you promote better sleep when breastfeeding.