Breastfeeding during the night
Set every August for the first seven days of the month, World Breastfeeding Week aims to highlight the huge benefits that breastfeeding can bring to both the health and welfare of babies, as well as a wider push for maternal health, focusing on good nutrition, poverty reduction and food security.
But we all know that breastfeeding isn’t always as easy as it sounds; no matter how many books a mum-to-be reads or classes attended, when it comes to the ‘real deal’, it’s not uncommon to find breastfeeding painful, stressful and generally hard work.
Breastfeeding has to be learned by both mum and baby – and support, both practical and emotional are part of the key to success.
And once you’ve got the hang of it during the daytime, there’s the often dreaded nightfeed to contend with!
Here’s some tips for breastfeeding during the night feed – hoping they help:
1. Preparation is everything, so have everything you need to hand:
A large glass of water or two, mum snacks if you’re the hungry-while-feeding type, (crackers are good), muslins, nappies, wipes, nipple cream, nappy rash cream, spare cot sheet and baby clothes in case of little accidents.
2. Keep the room as dark as possible.
You do not want to over stimulate yourself or baby with bright light. Avoid turning the main lights on and don’t get your phone out! Blue light emitted from screens and phones suppresses the production of melatonin, your body’s natural sleep hormone! Instead use a dim night light like Meelight, which gives a very gentle glow and is wearable and dimmable – perfect for hands-free night time duties.
3. Don’t settle for anything less than a good latch
The goal is to have baby’s mouth wide open, chin dropped and touching your breast, tongue down, with her lips flanged—not puckered in—on the areola. If you don’t get it right first time, then gently removed baby from your breast and try again – if you continue in agony then it’s likely the next feed will be even more painful!
Enjoy these night times moments, they won’t last forever – you may be exhausted, sore and a bit fed up now, but you will look back at these special bonding times with fond memories.
4. Try different breastfeeding positions
There isn’t one correct position – it’s what works and is comfy for you and your baby that’s important. Take a look here for some breastfeeding idea positions:
5. Relax, enjoy and get back to sleep
Easier said than done, but babies will feed better from a relaxed mum. Keep the atmosphere quiet and calm, no music or loud talking and don’t talk or play with baby if you want them to know the difference between day and night. At the end of the feed, gently move baby back to their sleep area and turn off or dim down any nightlight. Don’t feel you have to change baby’s nappy if it’s not dirty or particularly wet. Also remember that baby will make some snuffles and little noises while settling down to sleep – don’t go to them for every squeak – wait to see if they self-settle.
Last but not least…enjoy these night times moments, they won’t last forever – you may be exhausted, sore and a bit fed up now, but you will look back at these special bonding times with fond memories – promise!