Night breast feeding


Over the past decades, a certain stereotype of a “convenient” child has developed in families. One of the key points in this image is the continuous night sleep of the baby. That is why the young mother is often asked whether the child eats at night, and if so, the mother receives a list of tips, how to get the baby to sleep all night and not interfere with their parents.

Why is night feeding normal?

In fact, it is worth worrying just to those parents whose children are able to sleep continuously for 8-10 hours and not ask for breast. For a child up to a year, eating 3-4 times per night is more than normal. Being in the mother’s stomach, the baby was continuously fed with blood flow, therefore, having been born, it’s not so easy for him to switch to the “adult” mode. In addition, breast milk is quickly absorbed, so the baby needs to eat several times a night.

In cold weather, the frequency of night applications may increase, since the central heating dries the air very much and the baby begins to feel thirsty.

If the child sleeps continuously for 8-10 hours, parents should pay attention to this. For babies who are breastfed, this is possible only in the case of deep stressful sleep. Usually, the child gets used to sleep like this after several times the mother categorically refused to feed at night, that is, ignored the need for the baby.

Another case where children really do not wake up at night is artificially. They are actually able to sleep longer than babies, because the mixture they get instead of breast milk is hard to digest. After the mixture, the child quickly falls asleep and all the forces of his body are transferred to the work of the gastrointestinal tract. True, nothing useful for the crumbs in this, because the mixture does not reproduce even the half of the composition of mother's milk.

The benefits of night feedings

The advantages of night feeds are palpable for both mother and baby. If the mother is configured to breastfeed and maintain lactation, she definitely needs to know what the value of the night application is.

  • The most important and tangible plus is the maintenance of lactation. The production of milk in the female body is controlled by the hormone prolactin, which is produced 2 times more at night than during the day. The time of increased production of prolactin is from 3 nights to 8 am, therefore, in this time period it is necessary to put the child to the breast. No matter how simple this rule may seem, it is very important to observe it, because you cannot go against physiology. On the night feeds alone, lactation can be maintained even when the baby barely sucks at the daytime. (See more tips on how to increase lactation)
  • Night feeding saves mother from overflowing breasts and lactostasis. For the breasts, especially at first, such long intervals between sucking are not at all helpful. The most harmless consequence is simply a painful feeling of overcrowding. However, lying in an uncomfortable position with an overcrowded chest, you can squeeze the ducts and get lactostasis, and this is already a more serious problem. Sometimes women themselves can not cope with stagnation and to disgrace the chest, you have to go to the doctor or consultant on GW. (read about how to properly express breast with your hands or how to express breast with the help of a breast pump)
  • The baby, having the opportunity to eat at night, fully satisfies his nutritional and drinking needs, as well as sucking and tactile contact with his mother. The latter is especially important if during the day mom is often forced to be distracted by household chores or to leave for work, leaving the baby with her grandmother or nanny.
  • Night feeding helps mother with minimal losses for themselves to cope with childhood malaise or restless sleep. Usually, children sleep poorly during teething or during illness, some react to changes in the weather, the full moon. With breasts, babies calm down more easily and fall asleep again. Without a breast, it may not be easy to calm the baby: moms and dads have to rock the baby for a long time in their arms so that in an hour he will wake up again with crying.

Night Feeding: The Compromise

Some kids are knocked out of general statistics and wake up 10 times a night, arranging real night marathons at the chest. In such a situation, mothers find it difficult to get enough sleep and remain calm, so you need to find a compromise between the needs of the child and the mother's possibilities. A little to reduce the number of night application can be with the help of some tricks.

  1. If the baby quickly falls asleep after receiving the breast - do not wait until he himself releases the nipple, carefully remove the breast yourself. Sometimes the baby just needs to feel that the mother is near.
  2. If you go to bed later than a child, offer him your chest before you fall asleep yourself, as if ahead of his need. This will help delay the awakening and give mom a few hours of uninterrupted sleep.
  3. If the baby is already receiving complementary foods, shift the time of the feeding to the evening. Sleep better on a full stomach, so at night the baby will wake up less often than usual.

These measures are designed to only slightly reduce night feedings, but not to remove them altogether. By the way, when weaning from the breast, night feedings go last, and not always it goes quietly. Only awareness of the importance of night attachments helps the mother to be patient and not deprive the child of such an important link.

And finally, look at the article on how to begin to wean the baby from night feedings -

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Pluses night feedings:

Night breastfeeding helps to establish a successful lactation. At night, from 3 to 8 am, more hormone is produced - prolactin (this is the time when children tend to wake up). Therefore, breastfeeding at night is particularly useful for maintaining milk production. If a woman does not have lactation, it is better not to abandon night feedings, a break from breastfeeding at night leads to a decrease in milk production.
The hormone prolactin is also responsible for ovulation, the longer the mother breastfeeds the baby, the less likely it is to have an unplanned pregnancy (actual in the first 6 months - with full breastfeeding).
It gives an advantage if the mother works during the day or leaves.
Night breastfeeding increases the emotional attachment of the baby and mother.
Night milk is the most complete.
Mom's fatigue. The way out in this situation is quite simple, in order not to run from the bed to the infant’s cradle, you should organize a joint sleep with the child. To do this, you can sleep with him in the same bed or push the crib to your bed with the side panel removed (by choosing the last option, you will not be afraid to pinch the crumbs in your sleep, or that he may fall off the bed).

A child at night can wake up not only because of hunger. If the baby wakes up much more often than usual, it can happen because the room is hot, it is wet, teeth are cut, the tummy hurts or for some other unexplained circumstances. Find out and eliminate the cause of the awakening. If you could not determine the cause, the child should be shown to the pediatrician.
Feed the children at night, but only upon their request, it is not worth waking up for a nightly meal.

Often, nightly feedings up to 6 months of age are spontaneous, the toddler sleeps all night without waking up. But this figure is individual, some kids wake up at night to refresh themselves until the age of two. If the child does not want to give up the night feedings, the mother can gradually wean from this habit.

Pluses night breastfeeding

In the old days, pediatricians forbade moms to feed children at night, advised to give only sweetened water at night. But after the advantages of night breastfeeding were proven by experts, the recommendations of pediatricians changed to the very opposite: you need to feed the children at night, but only when the baby asks for it, you should not wake him up especially for night feeding. Night feeding has a positive effect not only on the health of the child, but also of the mother. Of great importance is the psycho-emotional state of the mother and baby. In addition, it is believed that during night feedings breast milk is the most full.

We will understand in order in the pros of night breastfeeding. When a baby wakes up at night, it cries not only because it wants to eat, but also because it wants maternal warmth, or the baby needs to change the diaper, it is disturbed by gaziki in the tummy or erupting teeth. Holding the baby to her, the woman gives him warmth and confidence in protection. Therefore, often at night the child eats very little and falls asleep quickly. Special substances that are found in breast milk contribute to this. Uridine, adenosine and guanosine eventually decay in the expressed milk, which is why it is so important to feed the baby by applying it to the breast or freshly strained milk. There are in breast milk and substances involved in the gastrointestinal tract of the child. And it also contains substances that protect the child's mouth from stomatitis.

Breast milk is the most ideal night meal for babies.. Mom does not need to get up and prepare the mixture, it is enough to attach the child to the chest. In addition, breast milk is perfectly digested by the body of the child and does not strain his digestive system.

Thanks to night feedings, more milk is produced in the mother’s body than if the baby is denied a breast at night. The hormone prolactin, which is produced mainly from 3 to 8 hours, is responsible for the formation of milk. Just at this time, babies often wake up for night feeding. And this hormone is responsible for ovulation, the longer a woman will breastfeed, the less likely she is to ovulate.

Naturally, every mommy gets very tired during the day with the baby, and there is also night feeding. Short-term awakening of the mother at night for her body does not bring anyone harm. But after feeding the child, she can lie down and sleep further, and if you do not give the breast, it is not known how long it will take to put the baby to sleep. As an option, you can at first place the baby’s bed as close as possible to the parent’s bed so that the baby can be fed and immediately put to sleep. In addition, if as soon as possible the crumbs give the breast, then he will not have time to wake up and play out.

Some mothers leave the child to sleep with them until the morning, but pediatricians differ on this point.: some support joint sleep of children and parents, others give quite weighty arguments against this. If the mother nevertheless decided to take the child to her, she should adhere to certain safety rules so that the child does not fall out of bed and not accidentally crush him during sleep.

Most often, up to 6 months, night feedings take place on their own, children sleep all night and do not wake up.. If, however, even after the child cannot sleep without night feedings, you need to consult with the district pediatrician regarding the condition of the child.

Nuances to be aware of

Many children are not included in the general statistics and can wake up to ten times per night, just to be near the mother’s breast. This situation leads to a lack of sleep in the mother and the inability to maintain a calm mood. For this reason, it is necessary to find a compromise solution between the need of the baby and the capabilities of the mother. You can resort to reducing the number of attachments to the breast of the child at night due to certain tricks.

  • When the baby falls asleep quickly after receiving the food, it is not worth waiting for the moment when the nipple is released; Often the child just wants to feel the intimate presence of the mother.
  • If you have to go to bed after a baby - you should offer him a chest before you go to sleep on your own to get ahead of his need. This is to postpone the awakening of the child, allowing the mother to sleep quietly for several hours.
  • When you receive a baby food, it is best to postpone the feeding time for the evening. The feeling of satiety in the stomach will allow the child to sleep better, and also to wake up less at night.

These methods contribute to the reduction of feedings at night, but not completely abandoning them. During weaning from breastfeeding, feeding at night is the last to be completed, accompanied by a violent reaction from the child. Only a conscious position regarding the benefits of night feeding can help the mother to gain patience and not deprive the baby of such an important link necessary for its full growth and development.

To feed or not to feed?

Of course, each mother will have to decide for herself - will she accustom the child to nightly meals or will she have to restrict her meals from the day ration from the first weeks of her life? After all, as you know, by allowing our child to become addicted to something uncomfortable, harmful, or even dangerous, in the future we risk spending a lot of time and energy on retraining and reeducation. Therefore, it is necessary to decide on the issue of night meals immediately, “ashore”, after weighing all the pros and cons.

In modern pediatrics, it is believed that there is nothing unnatural or harmful in the nighttime awakenings of a baby for eating food. The baby may not have enough food, which he receives during the day or, having run up and playing enough before bedtime, he “fills up” a brutal appetite, which he hastens to quench at night. Or the child has a terrible dream, and he needs to cling to the mother's breast in order to calm down and at the same time eat a little.

Pediatricians offer mothers to compare the frequency of nightly awakenings with the weight of the child and the amount of food eaten per day. If a child is gaining weight well, then you do not need to specifically wake him up at night to feed him. However, if he wakes up by himself, it would be wrong to deprive him of such pleasure. If the weight of the child exceeds the upper bar, then it is better to be patient and begin to wean the baby from nightly meals. If the baby doesn’t gain the pounds necessary for his age and eats very little during the day, then there is no night feeding. Although in this case it will be wrong to bother the child at night so that he can eat, you need to wait until he wakes up on his own.

Night menu - what is it?

The favorite delicacy of babies, including at night, is mother's milk. What could be better - continuing to stay in a sweet half-dream, snuggle up to her mother's chest and, hearing her warm breath and soothing heartbeat, feeling the touch of her gentle hands, sucking on a delicious milk? The children's organism will say “thank you very much” for this, because breast milk is absorbed better than any other food.

For a woman to feed her baby at night with her own milk is also a great happiness. This is not only unity with the beloved child, but also an undoubted convenience, because you don’t need to, interrupting your sleep, run to the kitchen and plant a mixture for the child. In addition, breastfeeding the baby at night, the woman ensures a good lactation. This is due to the fact that at night the hormone prolactin is actively produced in the female body and, accordingly, there is a sufficient amount of milk.

If for some reason a woman does not have her own milk or its quantity is not enough, artificial milk formulas, baby kefirchiki or plain water come to the rescue. Only here it is necessary to fuss - run into the kitchen and dilute the mixture or heat the kefir.

How often to feed at night?

Everything is determined individually - it will be enough for someone to eat once, and someone will wake up "to feed" every two hours. Mothers are calm, adequate, well-weighted children, absolutely not because of what to worry.

To worry about frequent and “nervous” night feedings is necessary in those cases, if the baby is clearly not enough mother's milk, he is suffering from colic, and maybe he even has problems in terms of neurology. In these cases, the child will most likely be restless, cry and nervous, and eating will not be able to console him. Of course, this is an occasion to consult a doctor: a pediatrician or a neurologist. Experts should determine the cause of frequent waking at night and help in its elimination.

How to feed at night?

How quickly the child, having satisfied his hunger, falls asleep again, depends on the situation in the room. Everything in it - from the lighting to the resonance of the sounds, should set up the baby to sleep, remind the baby that it is night, and this is not the time for games and laughter. In the room where the baby sleeps, it should be quiet, and instead of the central lighting, a muffled nightlight should be lit.

If a child eats artificial food, then its preparation should take only a couple of minutes, be quiet and not fussy. It is best to make all the necessary preparations in advance in the evening: put the mixture in a prominent place, put a measuring spoon next to it, a boiled bottle with a nipple, drinking water. Это существенно сократит ночные манипуляции, производимые мамой на кухне.