We’ve all had those sleepless nights. Baby is hungry. Baby is hungry again. And again. Oh look, a diaper change! And she’s hungry again.
For a breastfeeding mom, you don’t even have the option to trade off feedings with your partner, unless of course you have a stash of pumped milk and your breasts aren’t about to burst.
Well, I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is, breastfeeding is awesome for your baby. The bad news is, it sucks for momma.
Yes, I just said breastfeeding sucks. It makes you a slave to your baby’s empty belly, which seems to be empty about 95% of the time, regardless of how often you feed her.
What can you do about it? Lots! Let me tell you all the breastfeeding tips that got me through the night. My hope is that they will give you your sanity back, too!
- Dream Feeding
Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Dream feeding usually happens when mom and dad go to bed, around 10 or 11 pm. You essentially wake up your baby just enough to feed her, fill her up, and she’ll drift right back to sleep, giving you more time to sleep until baby has an empty tummy again.
I was lucky enough to learn about this God send with my first and I used it for all three. Amazing!
- Keep the lights off
Turning the lights on, even if its just one of the brighter night lights, signals your baby to wake up. After she is up, good luck getting her back to bed.
What I recommend is having a night-light with a very dim light, portable or stationary, near the area where you will be feeding the baby. Make sure to keep the area near her crib very dark. Babies that little aren’t scared of the dark. They are too little to care. So any lights in her room at night will just disturb her body’s ability to produce melatonin, the sleeping hormone.
Look at me sounding all scientific!
- Easy access pajamas
No, not for your husband! You don’t want to be up at 2am trying to unbutton your pajamas just to be able to get your milk jugs out to feed the baby.
The longer you take, the more the baby will cry. The more the baby cries, the more awake she becomes. And when that happens, each passing second is burning down another piece of that bridge that is going to lead your little one back to dream land.
That low V-neck t-shirt you own? Yeah, that one. Get at least 5 more of those and wear them every night.
- Feed while laying down
This is one more for your sake than for baby’s. While you won’t be able to completely fall back asleep during the feed, you can at least relax and rest your eyes.
Your baby will even sense your slowed heart rate and calm breathing. That will translate into her keeping calm and relaxed, too. Once she’s satisfied, she will already be so relaxed that she dozes off with no effort on your part.
All you’ll have to do is gently place her back in her crib. That part may take some practice.
- Keep your baby close
Don’t underestimate the value of a bassinet in those first few months. That magical invention was the only thing that saved me with all of my kids. I was so gung-ho about keeping my first-born in the crib from day one that I got in the way of my own sleep. I drove myself crazy.
Then, my mother-in-law brought over the bassinet she used for my husband back in the day. Rather than hearing about how I don’t appreciate her gifts later on, I figured I’d at least try it once so I wouldn’t be lying when I told her I had used it.
The first night I saw a difference! Having the bassinet right near my bed meant I didn’t have to give up some prime real estate on the slowly shrinking King-sized mattress set my husband and I slept on. Yet, my daughter was close enough that I wasn’t scrambling across the room multiple times every night of her needy newborn stage.
Do yourself a favor, get a bassinet and keep it close at night.
This one has to be my favorite of the breastfeeding tips that got me through the night.
Diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, burp cloths, hand sanitizer, snacks, water, and extra set of cloths for you and the baby. These are just some of the “extras” you’ll need throughout the night with a newborn. Yes, I used all of these things many many nights with my kiddos. Trust me when I say, the last thing you want to be doing is fumbling around your dark bedroom or nursery trying to find them.
As a side note, breastfeeding can get messy, especially when you can’t see what you’re doing. So you may even consider keeping a towel on hand to lay on while you breastfeed laying down. That way you don’t have to keep an extras set of bed sheets handy. What a nightmare!
Been there. Not fun. So stay organized!
You and sleep don’t have to part ways just because you have a hungry newborn. Your night time routine will be different, but as far as I’m concerned, breastfeeding mommas have it easier than formula-feeding mommas, as long as they do things the right way.
Follow these breastfeeding tips that got me through the night and you’ll be just fine.