A long good night's sleep is a luxury for new parents. But we're here to tell you that all that puyatan has its advantages especially when it comes to breastfeeding. Here are some of the reasons why you will appreciate nighttime parenting when you're breastfeeding.
1. It helps you make more milk. Your newborn's stomach is tiny, so they get hungry every one to two hours or so. Why so fast? Babies easily digest breast milk, so they get hungry again quickly. The more you directly nurse your baby, the more milk you'll produce to nourish your newborn.
2. It can help extend breastfeeding. Most babies ages 0 to 6 months nurse more frequently at night. Frequent feedings mean more milk and prolonged breastfeeding, as mentioned above. Studies have shown that milk-making hormone prolactin levels are higher at night.
3. It can help natural birth control. Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) is a natural form of contraception for new mothers. It only works if—and only if—three conditions are strictly met (Find them here). One those conditions are direct exclusive breastfeeding or nursing your baby every two to three hours.
4. It has been linked to reducing your baby's risk of SIDS Further research needs to be made to show any direct correlation between breastfeeding and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). But studies have shown that not nursing increases a baby's risk for it by more than half. Experts suggest it's because babies wake up to nurse every one to two hours at night.
5. It can help your baby sleep. Babies' circadian rhythm, or the body's sleep-wake cycle, isn't established yet until about two months after being born. Babies also don't produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin yet, which means falling and staying asleep doesn’t come easily to them. Their only source of melatonin is breast milk.
6. It also helps your baby become a good sleeper. Breast milk produced at nighttime also has higher levels of sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan. It's a precursor to serotonin, a vital hormone that helps babies' brain work and development better. Seratonin also helps in developing baby's sleep cycle, and it keeps his mood in check and makes for a happy baby!
7. It helps you get more sleep—no, really, it's not a joke! Nursing moms sleep more during the night than moms who bottle-feed. That's about 40 to 45 minutes of more precious sleep per night in the first three months! Getting more and better sleep may help keep postpartum depression at bay. Breastfeeding moms also have high levels of oxytocin in their body, which helps them feel more relaxed and makes for better sleep. And if you're co-sleeping, not needing to get up to mix a bottle of formula may also be a factor.
Breastfeeding is challenging in itself, but it also offers a lot of perks that is worth all the puyat.