Research says that breastfeeding helps to increase sleep duration for new mums
Research says that breastfeeding helps to increase sleep duration for new mums.
One of the hardest parts of being a new parent, I think most people who have lived through those first years of parenthood will agree, is the learning to survive on a lot less sleep than you were used to before.
However, now a new study has shown that when it comes to shuteye, you (and your partner!) might fare better in the sleep department if you are breastfeeding than if you are feeding your baby infant formula.
Yup, that's right.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a recent study that looked at sleep patterns for mothers and fathers after the birth of their first child found that families where mum exclusively breastfeeds slept an average of 40-45 minutes more than parents of infants given formula.
To conduct the study, researchers compared exclusive breastfeeding families with parents who used supplementation during the evening or night at three months postpartum. Sleep was measured objectively using wrist actigraphy and subjectively using diaries.
Interestingly, what they found was that parents who supplement their infant feeding with formula (dream feed, anyone?!) under the impression that they will get more sleep, should instead be encouraged to continue just breastfeeding, as they will lose more sleep and experience more sleep disturbance than parents of infants who were exclusively breastfed at night.
However, it is important to note that every baby and every family is different and what works for one person won't necessarily be the right thing for someone else.