YES! Breastfeeding can have a huge impact on your baby’s sleep. I have seen it over and over again. Moms are frustrated that other babies are sleeping all night and theirs isn’t, the first thing I usually ask is “are you breastfeeding?”. Usually it’s a “yes”. But sometimes it’s a no. Either way,
I have said it before and I will say it again, don’t compare your baby to anyone else’s. Please!
There is no wrong way to feed and nourish your baby. Please read that and know that I do not judge any mother for not breastfeeding. I understand that each mother is different and breastfeeding is not for everyone (although I wish it was ;)). And there are reasons a mother can’t breastfeed even if she wants to.
In my 15 months of being a mother, I have received more advice than I could ever even imagine. And honestly, most of the mothers in my life when I first has Grady were not breastfeeding or had breastfed for only a few weeks. I had one friend who had been exclusively breastfeeding. That’s when I joined a breastfeeding support group. Suddenly the short naps, up multiple times a night, human pacifier thing seemed so common. And then I went to school to learn all I could and help educate breastfeeding women. You are not alone, it’s not just YOUR baby that doesn’t sleep. I promise. Every baby reaches this milestone on their own time.
Why breastfeeding affects your baby’s sleep.
Breast milk digests easier than formula. Breast milk is easier on baby’s tummy. Their little bodies know what to do with it and it is simply easier to digest than formula. Formula is highly processed and manufactured which makes it more difficult for their bodies to digest. In turn, they feel full longer because it is taking longer for their bodies to digest the formula. While breast milk can be in and out of their system in 90 minutes flat. Hungry baby every two hours? That’s why.
Breastfeeding is about touch and comfort. yes it’s food, but it is just as much about bonding and touch. Your body needs the touch/suckling to produce milk, baby needs it for comfort.
The main source of comfort comes from mom. When a baby doesn’t breastfeed, they often find that comfort in pacifiers or even bottles. The difference is that they can be offered by anyone. Some breastfed babies do use pacifiers too but all too often I hear “I am a human pacifier!”. This all goes along with my previous point where your body needs that touch to produce the right amount and the right quality milk (meaning different antibodies if baby is sick, etc.).
I hope this puts into perspective how different the sleeping relationship is when a baby is breastfed versus bottle fed. No, not all bottle fed babies sleep all night and not all breastfed babies don’t. Like I said, each baby and each mother is different.
Don’t compare, don’t doubt. Just be the best you know how to be and that is exactly what your baby needs.