Breastfed babies sleep differently from formula-fed babies. While both need night feeds, breastfeeding babies experience cluster feeding periods and clinginess in a different way than bottle-fed babies.
As far as we’re concerned, there are no bad sleep habits, except inadequate sleep.
Find a way to get used to your baby’s night feeding patterns so that you can comfort your baby at night and benefit from a deep sleep.
Here are some of the best tips to help you and your baby have a smooth breastfeeding journey while nursing at night.
(Note. While we earn commission from the links in this article, we only recommend the products we truly believe will improve your sleep the most. These commissions come at no extra expense to you and help us to keep providing you with expert sleep information for free.)
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In this article, we’d like to feature Earth Mama Organics.
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Created by nurse, mother, and grandmother, Melinda Olson. In her own words, she’s a “plant lady/gardener and avid herbalist”.
Melinda began studying medicinal herbs and how to extract their healing powers in 1997. Starting her business from her garage, she has gone on to build an incredible range of beautiful plant-based healing products and an eco-friendly, ethical company.
Earth Mama’s Top Deal
If you buy in bulk, you get 10% off with the code CASE10.
You can buy practically everything on the website in a case of six. By doing this, you not only save money, but you also help to lower your carbon footprint (less packaging, fewer deliveries, etc).
Earth Mama’s Best Breastfeeding Sleep Product
If you’re looking for a gift for a new breastfeeding mom, here it is.
The Bosom Buddies Breastfeeding Bundle includes:
- Booby Tubes. A heating and cooling breast pack to alleviate blockages and aid milk flow
- Nipple Butter. An all-organic, silky-soft balm to relieve itchy, sore, and cracked nipples.
- Milkmaid Tea. 100% organic tea to aid milk production
14 Tools and Tips to Help You Get Better Sleep While Breastfeeding
As a new parent, you’ll need to get used to a different sleep cycle so you can manage night feedings and catch some rest.
Remember, nothing is a bad habit. What’s important is that you have a healthy baby with parents who also get adequate sleep.
Try these night nursing tactics.
1. Get a soothing nipple butter
Breastfeeding mamas often get itchy, cracked, or sore nipples. The constant dampness teamed with the new sucking pressure can cause your nipples to feel irritable and painful.
Try a good nipple balm, like Earth Mama’s Organic Nipple Butter.
Made from olive oil, beeswax, cocoa, shea, and mango butter, this silky-smooth balm soothes and cools the nipple.
2. Try hot and cold compresses on your boobs
If your boobs are sore, it can be tough to sleep.
Sore breasts when breastfeeding often comes from milk blockages or over-production of milk.
Though it can happen at any time during breastfeeding, blockages tend to happen at the beginning before the milk flow has equalized. When there’s too much milk and the baby doesn’t drink it, you can end up with sore lumps in your breasts where the milk is stuck.
If left unattended, this can lead to mastitis — inflammation of the breast tissue that can sometimes cause infection.
The best way to deal with this early is to put hot and cold compresses on your boobs. Try hot for five minutes followed by cold for five more. Repeat this pattern and you’ll find the milk starts to flow, relieving the pressure.
Earth Mama’s Booby Tubes are perfect for this.
This gel-free hot and cold compress is made from organic cotton and organic flaxseeds. Heat it in the microwave for 20-40 seconds or pop it in the freezer between feeds.
3. Drink a relaxing sleepy tea
Sleepy teas that contain ingredients like chamomile, lavender, and valerian, are incredible for helping you drift off.
Giving you an aromatherapy experience before your head hits the pillow, sleepy teas relax both the mind and the body.
Try our two favorites:
4. Learn to feed in the Cuddle Curl sleeping position
Enough tired Mums will tell you, learning to feed lying down makes things easier.
If you’re prone to bringing your little one into bed with you to feed, lying down helps you to relax in a sleeping position so your baby will nod off too.
Lay on your side with your baby close to your body, facing you. Put the nearest breast in the baby’s mouth and they’ll move toward it, getting themselves comfortable.
As Snoozerville co-founder, Emmy, explains:
“This wasn’t easy for my son and me at first. I felt a little disheartened that we couldn’t feed in this way. I realized over time that he needed to learn just as I did and it came with practice. Now he can move around a lot more, it’s so much easier. He’d climb on top and feed himself if I let him!”
Try the ‘Cuddle Curl’ position when sleeping in bed with your baby. Not only is it a safe way to cosleep, it’s also easy for your baby to turn and feed.
As Cosleepy founder, Tiffany, explains:
“It’s very protective — it ensures the baby doesn’t inch up or down or away from you, and it facilitates easy breastfeeding throughout the night.”
Check out Tiffany’s Cuddle Curl instructions.
5. Drink plenty of water
You’ll find that breastfeeding makes you feel thirsty. As your baby is drinking down your water supply, it’s important to replenish this.
Keep a bottle of water by your bed at night. Don’t use a glass — you don’t need another thing that you or the baby can spill.
6. Put on deodorant at night
You’re not just sweaty at night in pregnancy.
As many breastfeeding mothers know, you inevitably end up with your little one in your bed at some point. When you’re co-sleeping, you’ll find you get hot and sweaty as your kids love to cling to you while they sleep.
Try putting deodorant on before you go to bed.
Earth Mama’s Calming Lavender Deodorant is a lovely sleepy choice with a nice tranquil fragrance.
7. Keep lip balm by your bed
When you’re dehydrated, your lips get chapped. You may find you get dry lips when you breastfeed as the baby is drinking a lot of the water in your body.
A good quality lip balm with natural ingredients will nourish your lips and help them retain moisture.
Lip Balms with petroleum-based products, like petroleum jelly, don’t actually moisturize the lips. They just provide a seal over the lips to lock water in.
If you’re looking for a balm that will soothe sore lips and heal dry skin, try Earth Mama Organics Lip Balm.
8. Drink a breast milk tea to increase or decrease production
If your baby isn’t getting enough milk in the night, they’ll keep trying to feed and feed to increase milk supply.
Some teas can help this process along so your little one can get fuller feeds to stay satiated (and hopefully asleep!) longer.
Try Milkmaid Tea to boost milk production.
Alternatively, if you’re trying to wean your little one off the breast, you may find your boobs get sore at night. While it’s important to let off a little bit of milk, you don’t want to encourage milk flow.
Instead, decrease milk production with a tea like Milk No More Tea.
7. Invest in a good moisturizer
Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, if your skin is dry, you’ll itch at night.
However, breastfeeding can lead to dryer skin if you’re not hydrating and moisturizing properly.
On top of that, you may still feel some residual itching from your pregnancy. During pregnancy, your skin stretches a lot and it takes a long time to go back. As the skin returns to normal, it may itch.
This is especially true if you’ve had a cesarean section.
As Emmy remembers:
“After my C-section, I still had numbness for the first year. But under that numbness (and sometimes on top) I felt this itching sensation and I’d find myself scratching in the night.”
To soothe your skin and tummy, try Earth Mama’s Belly Oil. Keep it in the fridge so it’s nice and cold when you apply it.
8. Wear an eye mask
In between feeds, it’s important to get your head down quickly and easily.
An eye mask helps you to block out light, by encouraging melatonin production (the sleep hormone).
The Gravity Cooling Weighted Sleep Mask is a great choice. Not only does it block out light, it also uses glass beads to give you a weighted sensation, reducing anxiety. Plus, it can go in the freezer so it cools your core temperature and encourages melatonin.
9. Cover yourself with a weighted blanket
It can get nippy at night when you’re feeding. If you wake up drowsy and want to feed, the cold can bring you to full attention, making it harder to fall back to sleep.
When you’re feeding, cover yourself with a weighted blanket.
Not only does this keep you warm, but the weighted technology helps to reduce anxiety and stress.
Remember, don’t cover your baby with a weighted blanket — there’s a risk of suffocation. Use a cellular blanket so that air can pass through.
10. Feed in a sling
If you find that your little one just won’t settle, try motion.
We all know the old trick of taking the baby out in the pram or for a ride in the car. This isn’t always possible in the middle of the night.
Instead, try wearing your baby in a sling or baby carrier.
Have the baby facing your front so that they can hear and feel your heartbeat. Slowly pace up and down to create a rocking motion.
You can turn your baby’s head to feed in the sling so they can drop off while on the boob.
Co-founder, Emmy’s, verdict on Moby carriers:
“When my son was little (perhaps up to four months), I used the Moby sling a lot. I’d pop him in it when I was doing chores, when I went to the shops, for walks at the park, and so on.
I loved that it felt secure and he would nod off and wake up and nod back off without getting uncomfortable.
If he was grouchy — in the sling he’d go. He’d calm right down in minutes.
Oh, and it’s easy to do once you’ve done it a couple of times.”
11. Dream feed your newborn baby
As a new mom, you’ll find yourself waking up in the night when you expect the baby to feed — even if the baby doesn’t wake up.
Don’t be scared to give them their night-time milk then. If you feed the baby while they’re still asleep, this is known as ‘dream feeding’.
The baby will automatically latch on and feed without waking up. This gets a little harder as they get older, but they get used to falling back to sleep quickly.
Sometimes, people use the term ‘dream feeding’ to refer to the baby’s last feed before you head to bed.
Use the same tactic. Lift the baby out carefully, about 2-3 hours after they went to bed, and feed them without waking them.
12. Get yourself in a bedtime routine
Just like your baby, you benefit from a bedtime routine.
Giving yourself a wind-down period when it’s time for bed signals to your brain and body that it’s time to calm down.
Try having a bath to encourage melatonin production, dim the lights, read a book, and drink a sleepy tea.
Hit the pillow at roughly the same time every night. Your body gets used to falling asleep on a schedule and will readjust your sleep patterns. so try getting to bed early so you have sleep before you’re awake with your baby for feedings.
13. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Lol.
You’ll hear it all the time: “sleep when the baby sleeps.”
Yeah right. Who’s going to do that pile of laundry or clean the kitchen or vacuum?
As Emmy puts it:
“In hindsight, I wish I’d listened. Nobody is coming around to judge how clean your house is. I wish I’d napped more at the beginning. I was so tired and I just wouldn’t give up and that created so much stress and tension.”
You can’t expect a full night of sleep with a young baby, breastfeeding or not. You can top up your hours of sleep with daytime sleep.
When the baby is just a couple of weeks or months of age, you’ll find they sleep a lot. Don’t be ashamed to nod off while they’re having a sleep.
14. Meditate during night feeds
Meditation can help to calm your mind and body, relaxing muscles and releasing tension.
When you’re stressed, your baby will feel it. If you’re calm, they’ll calm down too.
Meditating can help to slow your heart rate, which will create a tranquil setting for your baby to sleep more easily.
Try meditating while breastfeeding. Since your baby’s head is next to your chest, they’ll feel your heartbeat, helping them to fall asleep more easily.
If you need help focusing, listen to a guided meditation podcast.
Breastfeeding is hard. It’s a commitment that, while rewarding, is also exhausting. Forgive yourself for finding it tough.
Try a few of these tricks so nighttime feedings feel less stressful. A bottle of water and a nice lip balm by the bed can go a long way.
Definitely, try a sling. If anything, it gives your arms a break from rocking.
Welcome to Snoozerville! I’m Dr. Alex Hartley, your guide to the world of restful sleep. With a Ph.D. in Sleep Science and years of experience as a sleep therapist, I’ve dedicated my life to understanding and improving sleep quality. My passion lies in uncovering the mysteries of sleep and sharing practical, science-backed advice to help you achieve the best rest possible. Beyond my academic pursuits, I’m an advocate for mindfulness and relaxation techniques, which I incorporate into my daily routine. At Snoozerville, I aim to transform your nights, combining the latest research with easy-to-implement tips. Whether you’re a chronic insomniac or just looking to improve your sleep hygiene, join me on this journey towards peaceful, rejuvenating sleep.