I originally wrote this post way back in 2007, but here we are, still discussing how to get babies to sleep and here I am with another three year old!
New Study (probably not for profit, because who would? except of course, mamas and babies ;o) (thanks Therese!)
Breast-feeding Increases Sleep Duration of New Parents.
Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing. 21(3):200-206, July/September 2007.
Doan, Therese RN, IBCLC; Gardiner, Annelise; Gay, Caryl L.; Lee, Kathryn A. PhD, RN, FAAN
Objectives: This study describes sleep patterns for mothers and fathers after the birth of
their first child and compares exclusive breast-feeding families with parents who used
supplementation during the evening or night at 3 months postpartum.
Methods: As part of a randomized clinical trial, the study utilized infant feeding and sleep
data at 3 months postpartum from 133 new mothers and fathers. Infant feeding type
(breast milk or formula) was determined from parent diaries. Sleep was measured
objectively using wrist actigraphy and subjectively using diaries. Lee’s General Sleep
Disturbance Scale was used to estimate perceived sleep disturbance.
Results: Parents of infants who were breastfed in the evening and/or at night slept an
average of 40-45 minutes more than parents of infants given formula. Parents of infants
given formula at night also self-reported more sleep disturbance than parents of infants
who were exclusively breast-fed at night.
Conclusions: Parents who supplement their infant feeding with formula under the
impression that they will get more sleep should be encouraged to continue breast-feeding
because sleep loss of more than 30 minutes each night can begin to affect daytime
functioning, particularly in those parents who return to work.
It does go without saying that this is for INFANTS, when your child is 3 years old and still sleeping beside you, you will be getting 4 hours LESS sleep than parents who weaned early. You will be like a rotisserie, first one side then another, all night long, in progressively shorter intervals until the crack of dawn when you will leap out of bed and say “okay! Let’s start our day!” and then make a LOT of something with heaps of caffeine. Which is no problem because your 3 year old won’t really be interested in nursing at all, all day. Saving up for night time, perhaps? But don’t let this frighten you into weaning early, please dear mama, like everything else, there is a season to every purpose. And this is your night-time parenting re-dux. And what keeps me calm at night is knowing deep in my heart that every moment I spend deep in connection with my child NOW is an extra hour of worry-less sleep in the future. When she’s a teen.
So Sweet dreams or Sweet Rotisserie! Either way, hug ‘em close and enjoy the night!