Summary: While breastfed babies initially awaken more during the night for feedings, their sleep patterns -- falling asleep, staying asleep and total sleep time -- stabilize in later infancy and become comparable to non-breastfed babies, according to new research.
'” Newborn babies are not biologically designed to sleep through the night. They are designed to breastfeed. Breastfed babies need to nurse at night. The ease of digestibility of breast milk ensures optimal growth and immune development when the baby is nursed frequently.
Almost without exception, studies on formula feeding, breastfeeding, and sleep find that breastfed babies wake up more often than formula fed ones at night, and breastfeeding mothers therefore get LESS uninterrupted nighttime sleep.
Many will wake up to three times each night (or more) until they're around six months old, so it's a good idea to do what you can to make night feeds safe, easy and comfortable for both of you .
Even if you are experiencing short naps, the EWS cycle will still be helpful. Feed your baby every time they wake, and focus on making it a full feed. The more they eat during the day, the less likely they are to wake to eat overnight.
It is common for breastfed babies to not sleep through the night for a long period of time. On the other hand, some breastfed babies start sleeping through the night when a few months old. Both of my children nursed once (occasionally more) at night through their second year.
Only 57 percent of babies stay asleep for eight hours straight at the age of one year, Canadian researchers found.
Understanding the Role of Prolactin
Interestingly, prolactin levels have a typical 24-hour cycle — just like the human body's circadian rhythm. Prolactin peaks in the early morning hours around 2-5 a.m., while the lowest prolactin levels happen in the late afternoon to early evening.
Both infants and toddlers can desire comfort nursing when they're going through periods of exceptional growth, are in pain, struggling to fall asleep, or just seeking connection. Comfort nursing is also sometimes called non-nutritive sucking.
The first few days: Your breast milk coming in
The hormones will get you on track with starting to produce milk. Around day three after your baby's birth, your breast milk 'comes in' and your breasts may start to feel noticeably firmer and fuller.
Milk production peaks by about a month after birth, with most of the increase happening in the first two weeks. Many mothers find it becomes more difficult – in some cases impossible – to increase the amount of milk they are making, after the early weeks.
You can increase your milk supply by: Nursing your baby often. Nurse every 2 hours during the day and every 3 to 4 hours at night (at least 8 to 16 times in 24 hours). If your baby will not nurse, use a good quality double electric breast pump to increase milk production.
Some nutrients have been shown to naturally fluctuate in maternal breast milk with circadian rhythm, and nutrients such as tryptophan, nucleotides, essential fatty acids and Omega-3 long-chain fatty acids have been suggested to impact infant sleep.
If he latches on well and takes long, drawn out pulls, then he's likely hungry and actually eating. But if his sucking motion is shorter and shallower, then he's probably sucking for comfort.
So if your baby really is hungry, they usually won't go back to sleep very easily until they've been fed. If they nod off after five or ten minutes of crying, that's a pretty reliable sign that they were just looking for some help getting back to sleep and not actually in need of a feed.
My Baby Is Nursing for Comfort. Is This OK? If your baby seems to be getting enough milk, but continues to suck for an hour or more, your little one might be nursing for comfort rather than for nourishment. This is called non-nutritive sucking or pacifying.
Enfamil's Enspire is the brand's closest formula to breast milk, thanks to the inclusion of proteins found in colostrum, like lactoferrin. (In fact, Enspire is the first and only infant formula in the U.S. to include lactoferrin as an ingredient, according to the brand.)
It's important to remember that your baby is much more effective at getting milk from your breasts than a pump will ever be. A healthy, thriving baby will get more milk than you a capable of pumping.
“The first four to six weeks are the toughest, then it starts to settle down,” says Cathy. “And when you get to three months, breastfeeding gets really easy – way easier than cleaning and making up a bottle.
Breast Storage Capacity
The maximum volume of milk in the breasts each day can vary greatly among mothers. Two studies found a breast storage capacity range among its mothers of 74 to 606 g (2.6 to 20.5 oz.) per breast (Daly, Owens, & Hartmann, 1993; Kent et al., 2006).
Milk supply is lower in the afternoon and evening because prolactin levels naturally decrease throughout the day.
Milk production is a demand and supply process. As milk is removed from your breasts, your body is signalled to make more milk. The more frequently and thoroughly the breasts are emptied (though breasts are never truly 'emptied'), the faster they try to refill.
One of the signs milk is coming in is your breasts become fuller and firmer. This swelling is not just caused by the greater quantity of milk, but also by increased blood flow and extra lymph fluids in your breast tissue.