How to slumber without sleep training when you’re nursing
Every new mother’s journey with breastfeeding is different. Some babies sleep like a rock through the night. Most wake up several times for feedings. Your kiddo might sleep through the night for the first six weeks and then turn into a nocturnal maniac. Your sanity matters! Here’s how to keep it together through the sleep deprivation of breastfeeding.
The Science of Baby Sleep
Depending on your busy schedule, there may come a time when you have to sleep train your baby to salvage your mental health. Until that time comes, keep in mind that it’s normal for babies to wake up around 10 pm, 12 am, 2 am, and 4 am for feedings.
Their tiny metabolisms use up the nutrients in breastmilk fast. Before long, it’s time for another helping so that they have the fuel to grow. You’re not a bad mom for giving in and nursing at night! It’s normal. Not all babies wake up frequently for feedings, but if this sounds like your kid, it might be what’s best for them.
Nap When the Kiddo Naps
Your child’s sleep patterns will gradually creep closer to your adult sleep cycle. It just takes time. For now, you’ll need to catch those zzz’s when you can. Passing out for two-hour stretches is better than nothing. Get in the rhythm of sleeping while your baby sleeps.
You’re not weak just because you let your baby run the slumber show! You’ll be the new sleep boss in a year or two. It can help to turn the clock away from you at night. Dwelling on the time only makes it harder to fight through the fatigue. The time is irrelevant. The baby’s hungry. Breastfeed. Pass out. Repeat.
Breast pump and take shifts. Let relatives spend the night or hand the bottle over to your hubby. If your baby’s still on a nipple-only diet, this trick obviously won’t work. You need to make the call based on your sleep needs. Don’t stretch your sleep deprivation beyond the breaking point.
Being sleep deprived is one thing, but having chronically elevated stress hormones and not caring for your mental health is bad for you and your baby. Just like there’s no one way to skin a cat, there’s no one way to breastfeed a baby. Ignore everyone else and do you!