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The ABC's of Infant Sleep-Breastfeeding!

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As an Infant Sleep Educator, there are quite a few misconceptions when it comes to setting babies up for a solid sleep foundation. One of those common misbeliefs is that you {and your baby} cannot get sleep and breastfeed exclusively.

This is simply not true!

Remember I did share in our previous blog ABC of Infant Sleep-Awake Times! that after our third baby was born she spent the better part of her first year of life attached directly to me for what felt like {and maybe actually was!} 95% of the day.

I believed that this was life after a baby and I was to sacrifice to meet her needs. Which of course we do, but we really do not have to sacrifice as much as we are told we have to or should.

In fact, whether you choose to breastfeed on a timed schedule or at the first sign of baby's interest {on demand breastfeeding}, neither will interfere with laying a strong foundation for sleep.

This is entirely contrary to what we hear from the masses. Just like breastfeeding and scheduled parenting should not go hand in hand, neither should sleep shaping/coaching/training and breastfeeding coexist.

We are here to not only tell you how unsupportive this mindset is of the parents who are more inclined to practice scheduled/attachment parenting, but also show you how teaching solid sleep and breastfeeding can live happily ever after, together!

Complete attachment parenting, scheduled parenting, whatever parenting philosophy you align yourself with, getting good sleep is inclusive of all preferences.

So what does that look like?

Ensuring that baby is getting enough calories throughout the day will help nighttime sleep as you have eliminated the reason for them to be making up for the majority of those calories at night.

  • You can do this by making sure baby is getting a full feed around every 3 hours {regardless if they snack in between}.

  • One way to encourage a full feed is feeing baby when they wake up and they are hungry rather than nursing as they fall asleep. They may fall asleep after a few minutes of nursing because of the oh so coziness and not receive a full feed.

If your baby is kind of lax about nursing or snacking, try breast compressions!

A quick compression to push some more milk into their mouth will remind them why they are there and they will either start sucking vigorously again or pop off because they are done eating.

You want to make sure they are getting 5-6 really good feeds during the day. An example might be 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm and one {or more as needed for weight/age} overnight.

Comfort nursing is totally OK too!

If you do a combination of breast and bottle feeding, formula and breastmilk, it doesn't matter. Healthy infant sleep is not determined or out of the question because of your choice of feeding method.

In our first blog of this series we talked about how awake times is one of the crucial aspects of teaching your baby to sleep well. Having someone to help you navigate these questions and support you can make sleep shaping or training your baby seem less scary or nerve wracking.

We are always happy to simply answer any questions you have regarding your baby's sleep. Please submit them to WCD's email and we will get back to you!

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