Nursing your infant during the night can appear to be demanding, especially if you are a new mother. You are likely to feel extremely fatigued as your sleep pattern is disrupted when you assume this new role in life. Nevertheless, night-time feedings can be crucial for your infant. If you aim to simplify this journey, heed these suggestions for nursing at night.
Obstacles encountered by mothers while breastfeeding at night
Mothers who breastfeed at night encounter challenges such as sleep disruption, fatigue impacting milk production and general well-being, and difficulty latching in low light conditions, as mentioned by Dr Esha Gupta, Consultant Paediatrician and Paediatric Intensivist, Motherhood Hospitals. It can be emotionally exhausting and isolating, necessitating extra effort to maintain cleanliness and attentiveness.
Why is breastfeeding at night significant?
It is vital to nurse at night as it offers several benefits:
• Nursing during the night aids in the healthy growth and development of the infant by providing essential nutrients and stimulating brain development.
• It fosters the formation of a secure and strong mother-child bond.
• Night-time feedings assist in establishing the infant’s circadian rhythm by teaching them the difference between day and night.
• Specific hormones that promote sleep are more abundant in breast milk during the night.
• Nursing at night can lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Are nocturnal bottles detrimental for infants?
Some women opt for nocturnal bottles, but they can be harmful for infants.
• They present a choking hazard, particularly when infants are left unattended.
• Tooth decay is heightened if infants fall asleep with sweet fluids in their mouths.
• Bottle-feeding in bed increases the likelihood of ear infections due to fluid seeping into the middle ear.
• Incorporating a bottle into a bedtime routine fosters an association between feeding and sleeping, potentially complicating night weaning and sleep training.
How to simplify nighttime breastfeeding?
Nursing at night doesn’t have to be arduous. Here’s what you can do:
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Position your infant in a bedside bassinet or co-sleeper to minimize disruptions during night-time breastfeeding, advises Dr Gupta.
2. Side-lying posture
There are numerous breastfeeding poses, but you must select the one that is comfortable for both you and your infant. Master the side-lying nursing pose for comfortable night-time feeds for both you and your infant.
3. Subdued illumination
Utilize gentle, subdued lighting to maintain your infant’s circadian rhythm and facilitate returning to sleep after night-time feedings. It will also aid in enhancing your sleep quality.
4. Serene atmosphere
Maintain a tranquil, distraction-free environment to help your infant focus on nursing and reduce nocturnal fussiness, which can complicate breastfeeding.
5. Comfortable nightwear
You can don a nightgown or shorts with a loose shirt or pajamas. Whatever you opt for, ensure it is convenient sleepwear with easy access to streamline night-time feeds discreetly.
6. Remain calm
If you are feeling tense, practice deep breathing and mindfulness. They can assist in relaxing you during feedings and promote the let-down reflex, according to the expert.
7. Rest during the day
You need rest too, so take a nap when your infant does during the day. This will help to make up for shorter and frequent night-time sleep cycles.
8. Bedside cooler
To minimize disruptions during night-time feedings, keep a cooler with essentials, snacks, and water next to your bed.
Additionally, remember that you don’t have to manage everything on your own. Involve your partner or a lactation consultant for smoother night-time breastfeeding and improved sleep patterns for both you and your infant!