Breastfeeding FAQ: Why does my baby wake and feed so much at night?

Breastfeeding FAQ's:
Why does my baby wake & feed so much during the night?

Oh the sleepless nights, I both wish I could make them stop and also wish they never ended. Bare with me, I’m not entirely bonkers, or maybe the sleep deprivation has made me so 🤔

There are a few reasons for baby waking during the night,

  • Firstly, do you sleep through the night? Never wake for a drink, needing the loo, too hot, too cold? We can solve all of those things ourselves, baby can’t, they need us to help them!
  • Breastfeeding during the night is very important both to establish and then maintain your milk supply. Prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk production is highest at night. Have a look back at our post from 2nd February to read more about it.
  • Babies are unlikely to be able to link their sleep cycles together nor is their circadian rhythm in sync yet, initially they don’t know day from night so sleep isn’t always easy for them!
  • Lighter sleep and frequent waking is also thought to be a protective factor against SIDS

Sleep does get better, then worse, then better again…..then worse

Sleep isn’t linear, unfortunately for us adults, there are so many developmental stages baby goes through, disrupted sleep is just something we adults have to learn to accept. Sorry!

They way I got through was by, eventually, accepting infant sleep for what it is and relaxing into it rather than trying to “fix” it. I wasn’t getting any more sleep but I felt more rested as I wasn’t fighting it any more. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Breastfeeding is also a brilliant tool for aiding sleep for both baby and mum. At night there is more of the sleep-inducing  melatonin, the hormone of drowsiness, and higher levels of nucleotides which are thought to promote sleep in your breastmilk. The oxytocin released in our own bodies relaxes us too.

If you express milk it is worth noting the time of your pumped milk on your storage bottles/pouches and try to feed that milk to baby at a similar time of day/night as it was expressed. It’s not imperative but if you can do this it may help, a little, with babies’ daily wake and sleep rhythms.

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