Sleep and Breastfeeding

in the first few weeks it is completely normal for newborns when breastfeeding and sleeping phases overlap. The sleep phases are much longer than the waking phases, and newborn babies often wake up again after they have stopped for a short while, because they want to be breastfed again (Mohrbacher and Stock 2003, NHS 2013a). Breastfeeding in the first months of life is a nice and peaceful way to accompany your baby to sleep and to let the day end in a relaxed manner.

This is also a good opportunity for you to switch off a bit (NHS 2013a).

When the first months are over, your child gradually learns to distinguish day and night. At the age of three or four, you may wish that your baby falls asleep without breastfeeding. Because then you can hope to not have to take your child to the breast every time she wakes up, so that it falls asleep again during the night. Now is a good time to start with sleep rituals (NHS 2013a, Semple 2011).

How can I make breastfeeding easier during the night?

The tiring night-time nursing breaks are easier to do when you have your baby lying next to you in the crib. You do not have to get up extra and can quench your baby half asleep and then fall asleep more easily (Health TalkOnline 2013).

Another way to make nighttime breastfeeding easier is co-sleeping (Health Talk Online 2013, ISIS 2014, Ward 2015). This means that your child sleeps in the same bed as you. Co-Sleeping can help you breast-feed longer because it is more comfortable (Blair et al 2010, ISIS 2014, Health TalkOnline 2013).

Do not share your bed with your baby if you or your partner:

  • Smokers
  • Have drunk alcohol
  • Have taken medications that will make you sleep lower than normal
  • (NHS 2013b)

There are other precautions you should take if you want your child to sleep safely in your bed. Read more about it in our article on safe sleeping in a family bed.

Does my baby sleep longer if it gets extra portions at bedtime?

It will hardly make a difference. Breastfed babies may wake up more often than bottle-fed (ISIS 2015).

One reason for this could be that breast milk is easier to digest than bottled milk. Stillbabs become hungry faster and therefore wake up more often.

Introducing bottled milk will not necessarily let your baby sleep longer and lower in the first few months.Even if your breastfed baby wakes up more often, you will be able to fall asleep or even doze faster after breastfeeding while breastfeeding (Montgomery Downs et al 2010). If you need to prepare a bottle first, you may become more alert and then have bigger problems getting back to sleep (Montgomery Downs et al 2010). This ultimately results in less sleep when you bottle your baby than when you are breastfeeding (Doan et al 2007, Doan et al 2014). Instead of feeding the bottle, you may want to try the following to prolong your baby's sleep:

  • Additional Servings: Babies are often hungry at bedtime before bedtime (Mohrbacher and Stock 2013). Breastfeed your baby more often than before, whenever it reports.
  • Dream Feeding / Extra Servings: Breastfeed your half-asleep baby between 10pm and midnight.

The so-called dream feeding can help your baby to sleep longer (Semple 2011). If you want to try it, it should have been three to four hours since the last meal. Otherwise it can happen that you unnecessarily wake up a full child.

For more ideas on this topic, see our article ""How Can I Help My Baby Sleep Through the Night?""

How Can I Help My Baby Fall asleep Without Breastfeeding?

Unfortunately, this does not work out today In the first two months, your newborn baby will sleep and wake up during the day and at night without any rhythm, but then at some point in the evening, at some point, he will fall asleep, and it gradually begins to understand that bedtime is also bedtime Also, helping your baby distinguish day and night (ISIS 2015) by removing it during the day and exposing it to the usual sounds, keep your home bright and well lit, or go outside with your baby if you can (NHS 2013a).

In the evening and at night, you can turn off the lights or turn them off while breastfeeding, and you should not try to chat with them and switch d keep diapers to a minimum (NHS 2013a).

At the age of about three months, most babies learn to calm themselves when given the chance (St James Roberts et al 2015). You can now try to help him with sleep rituals (NHS 2013a, Semple 2011).

A warm bath followed by a bedtime story or a song at about the same time each evening - nothing else is needed to bring peace and relaxation.

Watch your baby and put it in his bed when he is sleepy but has not fallen asleep (NHS 2013a).

If you nurse your baby first and lie down to sleep later, at least a few minutes later, your child realizes that falling asleep is not necessarily related to breastfeeding.Try to breastfeed your baby before the bedtime story or the lullaby. Maybe your baby is crying when you put it in his crib. This is normal and does not hurt him. Caress your child to calm it down and show him that you are there, but do not talk to him anymore.

A few minutes of crying can seem awfully long, but if you look at the clock, you'll be able to control exactly how long your child really needs to calm themselves.

If your baby learns to fall asleep alone in the evening, you can hope that it will be able to fall asleep alone during the night when it wakes up (NHS 2013a, Semple 2011).

The ability to calm oneself is consistent with its growing strength and changes in its evolution. At about six months, your baby will be much more efficient in breastfeeding and eventually try his first foods. It is getting more and more active and many new exciting abilities, such as For example, learn how to turn around and sit.

All these are signs that your baby is ready to take longer periods of sleep between nursing phases (NHS 2013a, St James-Roberts et al 2015). Between six and twelve months, it will probably start sleeping through the night (NHS 2013a).

Every baby is different! It is possible that your child wakes up more often at night, although it used to be a good sleeper.

That does not necessarily mean it's hungry. Often it may have to do with the teething or it wakes up because it is just a new development step, such as. B. sitting, has learned. Eventually, it may just be aware of its environment more consciously and therefore can not sleep anymore. (Mohrbacher and Stock 2003)

I still keep my baby at night. What can I do?

To help you get enough sleep, you can ask your partner or a nice family member (mother, sister, etc.) to assist you with feeding or soothing the baby sometimes during the night. Here are some suggestions on how they can help:

Give your baby a bottle of pumped breast milk. Try this after the first six weeks, when your baby has learned to drink at the breast.

Carry on and have little piebalds to prevent bloating after nursing your child. So you can sleep right back.

  • Wrap and dress your baby after breastfeeding in the morning. Then you can lie down again, especially on the weekends.
  • If you still suffer from sleep deprivation or problems, consult your doctor or midwife for further information.
  • Sources

Blair P, Heron J, Fleming P. 2010. Relationship between bed sharing and breastfeeding: longitudinal, population-based analysis.


.126 (5): e1119-26 Doan T, Gay CL, Kennedy HP, et al. 2014. Nighttime breastfeeding behavior is associated with more nocturnal sleep among first-time mothers at one month postpartum. J Clin Sleep Med

10 (3): 313-9 Doan T, Gardiner A, Gay CL, et al. 2007. Breast-feeding increases the duration of new parents. J Perinat Neonatal Nurs

21 (3): 200-6 Health TalkOnline. 2013. Breastfeeding during the night.

. ISIS. 2014. Bed-sharing and safety.

Infant Sleep Information Source. ISIS. 2015. Normal infant sleep.

Infant Sleep Information. Mohrbacher N, Stock J. 2003. The breastfeeding answer book.

Third edition. Schaumburg, Ill.: La Leche League International. Montgomery-Downs H, Clawges H, et al. 2010. Infant feeding methods and maternal sleep and daytime functioning. Pediatrics

126 (6): e1562-8 NHS. 2013a. Getting your baby to sleep.

NHS, Health A-Z NHS. 2013b. Reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

NHS, Health A-Z. NHS. 2013c. Dealing with a child's difficult behavior.

. NHS, Health A-Z. NHS. 2014. Common sleep problems in children.

. NHS, Health A-Z. Semple A. 2011. Self-regulated sleep and unsettled babies - what we usefully tell parents.

London: NCT. St. James-Roberts I, Roberts M, Hovish K, et al. 2015. Video evidence that London infants can resettle themselves back to sleep after waking in the night, as well as sleep for long periods, by 3 months of age. J Dev Behav Pediatr 36 (5): 324-329.

Tikotzky L, Sadeh A, Glickman-Gavrieli T. 2011. Infant sleep and paternal involvement in infant caregiving during the first 6 months of life. J Pediatr Psychol.

36 (1): 36-46. Ward TC. 2015. Reasons for mother-infant bed-sharing: a systematic narrative synthesis of literature and implications for future research. Matern Child Health J.

19 (3): 675-90. Show sources Hide sources

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