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The New Mom Guide to Balancing Sleep with Breastfeeding

Why are there so many new mom jokes involving copious amounts of coffee? New moms are exhausted and there is a good reason for it! It is really hard to get sleep when breastfeeding a newborn. Not to worry, mama, we’ve got you covered with these four strategies to get more sleep when breastfeeding a newborn.

Did you know, newborns may nurse up to 8-12 times a day, and each session may last up to 30 or 40 minutes? Let’s do the math – on a good day a new mom is nursing that baby 6-8 hours per day (same rules apply for breast pumping). Around the clock.

This number doesn’t include the time needed for latching, burping or clean up (I know my little angel liked to spit up. A lot!). So, a rough estimate shows that a new mom is feeding that baby (pumping or breastfeeding) for around 10 hours within a 24 hour period. Damn right she needs her coffee!

Want to learn how to get some sleep when breastfeeding a newborn? Read on, mama.

  1. First of all, that old saying “sleep when the baby sleeps” is true! I know there are a million other things that need to get done but tell that little voice in your head to ignore the dishes and go ahead and take a power nap. 30 minutes of rest will work wonders.
  2. Preparation is key for success. Be ready to feed or pump. Keep yourself hydrated, wear easy access and comfortable tops and stay relaxed (or as relaxed as it is possible for a new mom!). Have everything you will need (nipple cream, burp cloth, charged phone, water or snacks, clean pump parts, Hooter Holster hands free pumping bra, etc.) ready and waiting in a specific spot. A little preparation will help the whole feeding or pumping session go as smoothly, quickly and efficiently as possible.
  3. Create “bedtime routines” for your baby early on. There are many opinions on this so I will share what worked for us. At 6 weeks we started with bath (sometimes just a warm washcloth), boob or bottle depending on who was doing the feeding, book and bed. The routine was soothing and predictable. By the time the bedtime story was being read my daughter was often already sleepy. We continue the practice to this day and, without fail, by the time we are done reading the book she asks to be put in her crib.
  4. Accept the help that is offered. Being a new mom can be overwhelming. Friends and family will be offering their help. Take it. Ask for prepared meals to be delivered, let them wash your dishes and baby bottles and let them come over and hold the baby while you take a nap in another room.

So, while I can’t guarantee you won’t still need that cup of coffee, these strategies will help you to get some much needed rest. Now stop reading this blog and go take a nap, mama!


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