Nighttime Breastfeeding Essentials
If you are a breastfeeding mama, you know that feeding your newborn doesn’t end at bedtime. Depending on how old your baby is, you could be waking up anywhere from a couple of times each night up to every couple of hours throughout the night to keep your little one fed and happy. Even if you are using a breast pump, you know the importance of sticking to a consistent schedule to maintain your breastmilk supply.
Nighttime feedings are one of the most challenging transitions of new motherhood, especially when they all fall on you – but you can get through it, mama! It’s not always easy, but wearing the right pajamas, keeping yourself dry and comfortable, and setting up your nursing “station” can help make it more bearable.
Opt for easy access
The last thing you want to worry about as your baby’s cries wake you from much-needed sleep is a stubborn nursing clasp. The easier access you have to your breasts, the quicker you can satisfy baby’s hunger and get back to sleep. A breastfeeding nightgown can be just the ticket for optimal sleep comfort with access for nursing.
Consider an option like the Bamboobies easy access nursing nightgown for the super-soft rayon made from bamboo fabric you’ve come to love and convenience. Generous sizing and loose fabric adapt to your changing body, so you get both optimal use and comfort. Best of all for mamas who don’t want to fumble with a clasp at all in the middle of the night, it’s designed without one. Simply pull the fabric over or down to nurse. If you prefer a little more support, you can pair it with the yoga nursing bra and still only have one set of hooks to unclasp. Those precious seconds between baby’s cries and feeding feel like an eternity in the dead of night, so ease of use is everything when it comes to pajamas.
If a nightgown isn’t your cup of tea, you can pair a nursing tank top with pajama pants or leggings. The Bamboobies seamless nursing tank is a new-mama wardrobe essential and can make for quick, convenient feedings while providing support and comfort while you sleep. If you still prefer to wear a nursing bra, you can opt for the easy access nursing tank to avoid double clasps. Much like the easy access nursing nightgown, the easy access nursing tank has a loose fit that allows you to pull the fabric aside or down to gain access for nursing.
Whatever you choose to wear to bed, make sure it’s comfortable enough to get restful sleep while you can, and make sure you can maneuver it quickly and easily in the dark with a screaming baby.
Stay dry and comfortable
If struggling with a clasp was the last thing you wanted, the next in line would be to wake up soaked in breastmilk, requiring a change in clothes before sunrise. While not everyone experiences leaking breastmilk, it’s a common occurrence, especially as your body adjusts to making milk and figuring out your baby’s feeding schedule.
One of the best ways to save your clothes – and keep you comfortable – is to use overnight nursing pads. In general, nursing pads easily and discreetly help collect excess breastmilk and easily inserted into your bra.
Overnight nursing pads, like Bamboobies washable overnight nursing pads, provide extra protection with a larger surface area to protect you from leaks while you sleep. They’re thicker than daytime nursing pads and have a leak-proof backing, making them ideal for the early days of newborn nursing or for heavier leakers. The super-soft velour fabric made from renewable bamboo keeps you comfortable as you get some much-needed sleep.
Another step you can take to stay dry as your milk supply regulates is to place a towel over your bed sheet. If any breastmilk spills out, you can simply switch the towel instead of having to strip your sheets in the middle of the night.
Set yourself up for success
How you set up your breastfeeding station can impact how bearable (or miserable) nighttime breastfeeding is. The key is to stay cozy but alert – no falling asleep with your little one in your arms!
Find a comfortable position. This could be lying down – as long as you trust you’ll stay awake – or positioned in a comfortable chair. Setting up a “station” in the nursery with the rocker or glider is a great option. You can keep pillows handy to support the baby and you, and you might find it handy to keep a stepstool close-by to bring your feet and knees up – whatever helps you find the position that works best for you.
Invest in a lamp with a low-light option so you can see what you’re doing while keeping the environment dim and sleepy for baby. You might also want to keep a book or some magazines handy to keep yourself occupied if you’re worried about staying awake. If you prefer to look at your phone (no judgment here, mama!), you can position the rocker near an outlet and keep a charger handy.
Keep a bottle of water handy, and stash a few snacks if nursing makes you feel hungry or if eating helps keep you alert. One-handed snacks like granola bars are an easy option, or hard candies can give you just enough of a sugar boost to get through until you can go back to bed.
Finally, be sure you’re prepared for spit-up, spills, and diaper changes with burp cloths, diapers, and wipes.
A note for pumping mothers
If you’re exclusively pumping, you might feel relieved to be able to share nighttime feeding duties with a partner, but if your baby is waking up to feed, you should be waking up to pump as well. In general, your pumping schedule should mimic your baby’s feeding schedule, as breastmilk supply is driven by demand.
Luckily, many of these tips are relevant for keeping you comfortable and alert while doing the hard work of providing for your little one. It might feel exhausting in the moment, but you are strong and capable, and you will get through this season.
Nighttime feedings can be one of the most challenging parts of new motherhood, leaving you feeling exhausted on top of the mental drain and hormonal shifts taking over your waking hours. Keep in mind that this is only a moment in your motherhood journey, and do what you can to make these feedings as comfortable as possible. As long as you are prepared and can find some kind of rhythm, you can enjoy the special, quiet time alone with your little one. And then get whatever sleep you can!
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