If you’re a parent-to-be, or if you’re already holding your baby in your arms, odds are you are probably feeling apprehensive about lack of sleep. And it makes sense, right? Sleep deprivation is just…awful. But here’s something important you should know: Your newborn baby waking up multiple times at night is developmentally normal, expected, and protective.
Studies show that night waking is thought to be protective against SIDS. Nighttime nursing is also super important for your building and protecting your milk supply.
Here’s something else that most “baby sleep gurus” don’t acknowledge: It’s completely normal and expected for your baby to want to be in close contact with you while sleeping. If your baby cries every time you put them down in their crib or bassinet, they are not broken and you are not a bad parent. As Lex, the Lactation Consultant who leads Mighty Milk’s classes says, if your baby doesn’t want to be apart from your body, your baby is being a smart baby. Human babies are vulnerable and meant to be carried around. Your baby has excellent survival skills if they want to stay close to you at all times.
It is also normal, healthy, and developmentally appropriate for your to breastfeed your child to sleep. In fact, sucking releases a hormone in both mothers and babies that results in a sleepy feeling. Your milk also contains sleep-inducing hormones, amino acids, and nucleotides, which may help babies establish their own circadian rhythms.
That being said, night waking can certainly feel extremely challenging for parents. This is especially true in our culture, where we often live a drive or a plane ride away from helpful family members, and we are isolated in our own homes without much or any community support. It’s also especially true in the US, where most parents (partners included) lack paid leave.
The good news is, there are things you can do to help maximize nighttime sleep with a breastfed baby. In Mighty Milk’s Breastfeeding for Expectant Parents and Breastfeeding Your Baby (0-12 Weeks) classes, Lex walks you through tips that can help reduce nighttime nursing sessions and make sure you are being efficient when you do wake up.
And remember: When a relative or a stranger asks you how your baby’s sleep is going and if they are sleeping independently, feel free to say, “My baby is sleeping in a biologically normal way for a human baby.”
Mighty Milk’s classes teach you what to expect around nighttime feedings, and how to set up your environment for safety and efficiency. You’ll also learn:
- How to maximize your milk supply
- How to position your baby comfortably for a pain-free latch
- How to know when breastfeeding is going well, and when to reach out for help
- Products that are (and aren’t) recommended for breastfed babies
- Avoiding and overcoming common challenges (low milk supply, nipple pain, engorgement/plugged ducts/mastitis) *Newborns class only
- Common questions/anxieties (gassy baby, latch, self-soothing) *Newborns class only
- Getting started with pumping and bottle feeding *Newborns class only
Plus, these classes are an excellent way to support our small woman owned biz while also boosting your breastfeeding confidence in a big way. The class is FSA/HSA eligible and backed by a 30 day guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.