Even after our two year old stopped breastfeeding during the day, she continued to wake in the middle of the night to pacify on the breast. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years to prepare for night nursing and minimize sleep interruption.
1. Bedside Water
After producing milk and breastfeeding all day, at night is when I feel the most dehydrated. Having a large bottle of ice water by my bedside gives me relief from overwhelming dryness.
2. Bedside Milk
I encourage our toddler to drink a full bottle of milk before she goes to bed, so that she will fall asleep on a full stomach. However, the breast doesn’t just satisfy hunger, so of course she does not always fall for the breast replacement.
In the middle of the night when I notice she wants to pacify on the breast, I offer the sippy cup. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
3. Loose Shirt
My go-to night wear are loose and thin tops because they give me full coverage and easy access for a breastfeeding toddler.
Even when she was a toothless infant, when she fell asleep on the breast and I had to pry my nipple from her gums, it was painful. I've learned to allow her to use the breast to fall asleep, but once I can no longer hear her heavy breathing, I unlatch so that she doesn't bite me in her sleep.
5. Minimal Bedding
In addition to our body temperatures rising at night, finding a comfortable position for night nursing is hard enough — so I don’t need blankets and extra pillows getting in the way and making us hot. The least amount of bedding is best so everyone is comfortable.
6. Get Comfortable In Awkward Sleeping Positions
Pre-children, I was a happy right-side sleeper. After being a night nurser for several years, I've learned to sleep on my left-side, back, and even on my stomach while allowing a small body to wedge in between the sheets and my breast to nurse. I've also gotten accustomed to having the kids lay across my body and having to curl up in the smallest ball because our girls occupy the entire mattress when they sleep.
7. New Bedtime
Because our girls depended on the breast to sleep, their bedtime essentially became my bedtime. Even when they fell asleep, once I got up and they no longer felt my body heat, they woke up too and refused to go back to bed unless I joined them.
I’m curious — how do you prepare for night nursing? Let us know below.
Until next time…
Peace & Love,
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