Encouraging a mother that breastfeeding at night is good is a difficult thing to do. While pregnancy is difficult, caring for a newborn child is a 24 hour, around the clock kind of job. You’re extremely exhausted all day from the care and attentiveness you need to give your child. But what if we told you thinking about a schedule change might benefit you in the long run, maybe even make you less tired overall?
We’ve done some research and have discovered that nighttime breastfeeding may not be as bad as you thought. Keep reading below for the four reasons you should try incorporating breastfeeding at night into your life!
Breastfeeding during the evening actually keeps milk production at a steady flow and means that you pump less during the day. According to PumpSpotting.com, “the lactating breast knows how much milk to make based primarily on how frequently it is emptied; these are the laws of supply and demand, which are based on the natural world’s 24-hour clock… and not just during a mom’s waking hours.”
It even means your body might produce less milk. PumpSpotting.com also says “if a mom is not nursing enough times in a 24-hour period to meet her Magic Number, her body will eventually down-regulate milk production and her supply will be reduced. For working, nursing mothers, more breastfeeding at night means more nursing sessions in a 24-hour period, which in turn could mean less pumping sessions needed while mom is at work while still achieving her daily Magic Number.”
No melatonin patch needed! Your body’s natural clock is regulated by your Circadian rhythm. The breast milk that your body products at night, according to BabyBelly.com, “contains tryptophan, an amino acid used by the body to make melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps induce and regulate sleep. Tryptophan levels in breastmilk rise and fall according to maternal circadian rhythms. Breastfeeding can help develop babies’ circadian rhythms, and help them to settle to sleep better at night.”
According to this study, 64% of all babies that are breastfed between 1 – 6 months of age feed between one and three times at night. Of those babies, around 20% of their intake is from being breastfed at night.
This University of San Francisco study shows that moms that breastfeed on average more sleep than those who use formula? While tiredness is consuming you at the moment of breastfeeding, those that use breastfeeding over formula sleep a total of 40 to 45 minutes more, according to BreastfeedChicago.org. Sleep is an important component in decreasing risk for postpartum disease as well.
While you’re here, check out Chantal Murphy, our baby sleep expert’s guide to stopping colic and reflux in babies.