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Breastfeeding and Sleep: Tips for Getting the Rest You Need as a Nursing Mom

by Hira Umair

If you’re a new parent or mom who is used to getting your much-needed beauty rest, breastfeeding may seem like it means you’ll get less of it. However, as wonderful as breastfeeding can be for you and your little one, it takes some adjusting. So here are a few tips to help you get the rest that you need as a nursing mom:

Plan Ahead

Before you get pregnant, determine how much time you will need to pump breast milk. There are pros and cons to pumping and bottle-feeding, so you need to be sure that the main advantage of breastfeeding is enough to outweigh the time you’ll need to pump and store. As a nursing mom, you can pump and store your breast milk supply for about 12 hours. If you need to nurse for longer than that, you’ll have to pump again or feed from a bottle. 

So, if you know that you and your baby will be going through a lot during a certain period of time, you can plan ahead. You can also determine how much milk you need to store in advance. Breastfeeding supplies come in different sizes and types. Choose what works best for you and your baby, and plan to keep on top of feeding with proper storage.

Discourage the Use of Pacifiers

If you have a little one who loves to suck, you may be tempted to give him or her a pacifier. However, while sucking on a pacifier may help a baby fall asleep, it doesn’t help her develop the skills of breastfeeding. Sucking on a pacifier is a habit that is almost impossible to break. If you have a child who still uses a pacifier, you can discourage the habit by explaining why it’s important for your baby to drink from your breast. Besides, using a pacifier can cause numerous health issues. 

Make feeding time a positive experience for your baby by encouraging him or her to latch on your breast and drink from the bottle or cup. If your little one cries when you try to take the bottle away, try offering your breast instead.

Make a Nest for Your Sleepy Baby

If your baby seems reluctant to take the bottle from your breast, try creating a nest for him or her. Make a nest by placing a soft blanket on your lap, a pillow or a quilt on the floor, or a comfortable chair. If you can, try to create a nest in your own bedroom so that your baby will feel at ease while nursing in the same room where you sleep. An influx of calming scents, sounds, and sights may encourage your baby to latch on and relax. If your baby is used to nursing in the same room where you sleep, try placing him or her in a different room while you’re busy. This may help your baby fall asleep faster.

Keep Downtime to a Minimum

Breastfeeding is wonderful for both you and your baby, but it takes up a lot of your time. As a nursing mom, it’s important to keep downtime to a minimum. While you should eat and drink when you’re hungry and thirsty, you should also try to keep downtime to a minimum. If you are constantly dieting and trying to pump as much milk as possible, you may end up getting sick. This can definitely throw off your body’s normal rhythm and cause you to get less rest as a nursing mom. Eating and drinking when you’re hungry and thirsty is important, but try to keep downtime to a minimum while breastfeeding.

Try These Tips Out Now

If you’re a nursing mom, you need to get used to getting less sleep. It’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re getting the rest that you need. It may take some time for your body to adjust to the new schedule. Make sure to get plenty of rest. Try to avoid doing activities that require a lot of energy and focus. If you have a baby who is especially clingy or easily upset, try to avoid doing these activities until your baby gets a bit older. If your baby seems to always be hungry or wants to be held all the time, try to space out your nursing sessions for a few hours. If your baby seems distressed, try to calm him or her down before you try to nurse again. If your baby always seems to have strong emotions while you’re nursing, try to find ways to soothe him or her before nursing again.

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