Sleep deprivation is REAL. But that’s no reason to go on blamin’ and hatin’ night time breastfeeding. So with this post, I aspire to change your perspective on night time breastfeeding with fun facts on night feeds and how your lack of sleep is all worth it, Mamas!
I’ve been there, I’ve felt that, so I know how you feel. How one night feed just seems to roll onto the next and you can’t help but to question the wisdom behind whether breastfeeding is even worth it? Truth is, no matter how you choose to feed your baby, bottom line is, night time feeds are just plain EXHAUSTING 😔
However, here are some fun facts to get you out of your slump and remind yourselves that you are MAGIC! Your body is magic! What you do is incredible. So what’s another rough night compared to knowing you are your own baby’s superhero? 💕 Read on below to learn more about the perks of night time breastfeeding and the importance of it to your baby.
Fun Facts About Night Time Breastfeeding
- Did you know that…between mixed- and formula-feeding mothers, that breastfeeding mothers get more sleep? Yes we do, mommies! This is due to several factors, yet it’s the impact and release of our body’s natural hormones and chemicals that help both mom and baby sleep much better at night.
- Did you know that…the hormone that is supporting your milk production also known as ‘prolactin levels’ are at their highest at night? This naturally means when your baby wakes and cluster feeds at night, it is driving the supply and demand system.
- Did you know that…night feeding gets easier? Yes it does, mommas 💛. As time goes by and your baby gets older and stronger, the night feeds get easier where it’s as simple as putting breast to baby and letting your baby manage the rest. By this time your baby would’ve learnt to self-latch thus making night feeds much more tolerable and quicker too.
Understanding Night Time Feeds
Babies have tiny tummies 👶🏻
At birth, a newborn’s tummy is capable of holding up about 20mL of fluid and will see gradual increase in months to come. This being said, it also empties the stomach within about an hour, causing a demand for more breastmilk.
If you have a pattern of feeding your baby every one or to hours, this is good and this is still within the normal range. This is good news because frequent breastfeeds means more milk removal for moms and more removal means lesser chances of breast engorgements and instead maximizes your milk production.
2. Night time breastmilk intake makes an important addition to babies’ total intake 🍼
The night feeds that we oh-so dread actually contributes so much to our bodies as well as our babies because it not only helps boost our milk production, but it also attributes to babies’ total 24-hour milk intake.
Sustaining this pattern can be tiring but know that it does more good than harm whereby research also indicates that 20% of their total daily intake comes from the night feeds you give.
3: Breastfeeding at night helps babies sleep 🍼
Our bodies have internal body clocks which is know as the circadian rhythm. It is made up of hormones that helps our internal system differentiate between night and day, giving us the right energy during the day while helping us sleep at night.
Because our breastmilk produces higher levels of prolactin, this also means it has higher levels of amino acid tryptophan which helps produce melatonin in your baby’s system. This hormone not only helps establish the babies’ circadium rhythm but it also helps you, mama to relax and fall back asleep much easily while you breastfeed.
Now, doesn’t that explain a lot of those nodding off night time feeds situations? 😅
4: Babies’ circadian rhythms are still developing
Because a baby’s circadian rhythm is still developing, it isn’t until after 2 months of age does the baby’s body accept any physiological hormonal control to help them differentiate between night or day. This also further explains why we are so sleep deprived during the early months of postpartum. Night feeds is the natural cycle our body goes through to establish circadian rhythm and milk production for both baby and you, respectively.
Breastfeeding is protective against SIDS 👶🏻
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a common fear among new parents. Therefore one of the most significant reason for night time breastfeeding is that it reduces the chances of SIDS in babies. All infant’s develop some early survival skills and infant arousals are one of them. It could be that these arousals are more prominent in breastfeeding babies.
Breastfeeding at night could delay your periods
The frequent feeds can delay both your ovulation and menstruation for atleast 6 months (or longer!). During this phase, your body is actually recovering by regulating it’s iron stores that had depleted while you were pregnant. So each time you wake to feed your baby, remember that your body is actually working to heal again by helping you regain your mojo back.
This is also another form of birth control know as Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) whereby even with its 98% efficiency, it is only most effective for mothers with babies that are younger than 6 months and that they’re menstrual cycle hasn’t returned.
The entire phase from baby to toddler can be excruciating exhausting. Especially when not recognizing cues and responding to your baby's intense needs at the same time can be overwhelming (even more so at night), having the right support system and access to reliable information makes a world of a difference.
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