Breastfeeding Tips For Sleep Training Parents (Plus Tips For Working Moms!)

Breastfeeding Tips For Sleep Training Parents (Plus Tips For Working Moms!)

We’ve established before that you can indeed breastfeed successfully while you sleep train. Sleep training does not mean the end of breastfeeding! In fact, we here at The Baby Sleep Site® are deeply committed to ensuring that breastfeeding moms sleep train in a way that both preserves their breastfeeding, and that achieves better sleep for their babies.

Miriam115However, in order to sleep train successfully while also keeping breastfeeding a priority, it is necessary to keep some key facts in mind. Read on to learn what Miriam Chickering, certified lactation specialist and former sleep consultant, recommends. She’ll cover before and during sleep training, to ensure your breastfeeding continues to go well. Additionally, learn Miriam’s top breastfeeding tips for working moms!

Breastfeeding Tips for Sleep Training Parents: What To Do BEFORE You Sleep Train

  • Before you embark on sleep training, work to resolve any issues with under or oversupply of your breast milk.
  • Ensure your baby is gaining weight at an appropriate rate and is in general good health. If there are weight gain or health issues, work with your healthcare provider to resolve those before you sleep train. Review any sleep training program or feeding recommendations with your baby’s doctor before getting started.

What To Do DURING Sleep Training

  • If your baby is under 11 months of age, you will most likely need to offer breast milk prior to any solid food feedings. And offer again about 20 minutes prior to each nap. This helps your baby take in enough calories from milk as he begins to go longer stretches without feeding at night.
  • Gradual change is best when it comes to night weaning. You want to avoid breast infections and plugged ducts. So try not to make changes too fast. Slowly push feedings later and later until one feeding is dropped at a time. We use a series of fixed, flexible, and fluid nighttime feeding schedules to accomplish this. Check out our VIP Only article, How Fixed, Fluid, and Flexible Feeding Schedules Can Help You Night Wean.
  • Keep age appropriate nighttime feedings. Many breastfed babies will eat once during the night throughout the first year. Many babies will need 2 feedings up through 8 months. Err on the side of keeping a feeding too long rather than dropping a feeding too soon. It’s crucial that your baby gets great nutrition and the comfort she needs during the night, for as long as she needs it.
  • Even moms with the best milk supplies will notice a decrease if they routinely go 10-12 hours at night without feeding for weeks at a time. If your baby is sleeping for more than 8 hours at a time, either pump before your bedtime or early in the morning to maintain your supply.
  • If you have low capacity breasts (left and right breast together hold no more than 3.5 ounces even at their fullest) you may need to go just one 5 hour stretch at night and make sure your breasts are emptied every 3 hours the rest of the day and night.
  • If you are working with a sleep consultant, make sure she/he is aware of your breastfeeding goals. Share your personal needs with your sleep consultant when it comes to maintaining healthy lactation too. The Baby Sleep Site experts are highly experienced in accommodating your breastfeeding needs. We will tailor your Personalized Sleep Plan™ to fit your breast milk capacity and your baby’s unique feeding needs.

Working Moms Need To Know…

  • If you work full-time outside your home, you may need to continue with the Fill-up Feed (also called the dream feed) for longer than is normally recommended to help maintain a good supply.
  • If you struggle with low supply, you may be worried about how working outside your home will impact your breast milk. You can likely maintain it if you can pump every 3-4 hours at work. Also, nurse twice in the evening, once at night just before bedtime, once in the early morning hours around 3 am, and then another breastfeeding session around 5 am. If you can, squeeze in a quick feeding right before heading out the door. This won’t be necessary for every working mom. But it’s a great way to meet breastfeeding goals if you struggle with low capacity or have supply issues.
  • You may need to (or want to) take advantage of days off. Offer to nurse every 2-3 hours during the day and hourly in the evening to boost supply.
  • If you notice a big drop in supply, and pumping/offering frequent feeds when you’re home isn’t working, talk with your doctor about plants, foods, or medicines that can help boost supply if you run into trouble. Some of the most commonly used are: High-quality Fennel oil rubbed on the breasts after a feeding (keep off the areola to avoid feeding too much to the baby), Fenugreek, Mother’s Milk Tea (follow the directions for brewing carefully), Moderate carbohydrate intake (low carb diets can decrease milk supply), fiber supplements or a high-fiber diet. And, with your doctor’s supervision and prescription, Domperidone.

For even more help, check out these VIP Members Area resources:

We’re here to support you through successful breastfeeding while sleep training!

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