SLEEP & BREASTFEEDING
Breastfeeding is a ‘Mothering’ experience and is also a tool that makes life of a mother far more simpler, natural, sustainable & lowtech. Looking after a newborn baby is an intense experience during the first months of life and is usually 24 hours on duty as a young mother. This can sometimes mean being sleep deprived. Here I share with you how breastfeeding supports better circadian rhythms for mother, baby and father making this intense journey into a smooth and supported journey.
Breastfeeding allows the mother to remain restful in a biological nurturing position on her bed and nurse her baby providing her the much needed rest and sleep. Here are some ways on how you can facilitate this position:
Mother’s milk is a living fluid and its complex dynamic fluid interactions are amazing and stunning. Breast milk undergoes biochemical changes during a feeding as a potential source of certain nutrients to her baby at different times of the day. All this is in synchronicity with mother’s circadian rhythms. Additionally tryptophan is released in the mother’s milk while baby suckles at mother’s breast. This tryptophan helps produce melatonin which makes baby feel drowsy and often “Milk Drunk”.
Therefore babies who are growing well on exclusive direct breastfeeding falling asleep at the breast is normal and desirable. This is often debated as supporting “bad habit” formation by some who believe attachment parenting is harmful and make children clingy and dependant. Infact a breastfeeding mother cosleeping with her baby can easily feed her baby without having to wake fully, and can continue to get her sleep and baby sleeps better too. Cosleeping helps maintain a mother’s milk supply.
However, babies who are sleepy at breast and not gaining well are compromising on ineffective suckling and therefore inadequate intake. This is a flag that needs to be investigated and supported by your Lactation Consultant.