How To Help the EBF Baby Sleep Better

by Ashley Rizzo


Diaper is changed, jammies are on, baby is nursed, and now it’s time to get some sleep,

right? Wrong! Before you know it, you’re little one is up and ready for another round of

mama’s milk.


While it is common for breastfed babies to wake more (than bottle-fed babies) overnight

in early infancy, as their natural sleep rhythms develop their total sleep time should

begin to stabilize and become comparable to non-breastfed babies. However, that is not

always the case! During those early months little ones can develop an association

between eating and falling asleep. They believe that in order to fall asleep, they must be

nursing!


Tired, nursing mamas are often asking me, “how can I get my breastfed baby to sleep

longer at night?” The answer? To break your child’s associate between eating and

falling asleep.


Adjust your Schedule

We always suggest an “eat-play-sleep” schedule. If you offer the chance to nurse when

your babe first wakes it is less likely they will fall asleep while eating! This will not only

help break their sleep association, but it’s great for digestion, especially for little ones

with reflux.


Mix-up your Sleep-Time Routines

Nursing is a great calming activity to include in your nap and bedtime routines! Often

though, nursing is the last step of a routine and is a child’s means to sleep. To help

break their association between eating and sleeping, offer the chance to nurse at the

beginning of your routine rather than the end and introduce another element to your

routine (a book or a song) before placing your child in their crib for sleep.


Get your Non-Nursing Partner Involved

If your baby wakes overnight (and it’s not time to nurse) it is time for your non-nursing

partner to step in to address your little one’s waking. Not only do they not have the

option to nurse, but even removing that temptation to nurse you can lessen a child’s

interest in waking all together!


Offer a Bottle

If you are able and are comfortable offering a bottle overnight, do! As their mom and

their food source, you are your baby’s number one! If they don’t get to hang out with

you and your boobs, what the heck is the point of waking up at all, right?




Ashley Rizzo is owner and Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant at Well Rested Baby.

After having her first set of twins sleep became a passion. She experienced how

building healthy sleep habits made the everyday possible – and more fun – and knew

immediately that she had to share the gift of sleep with other families. Certified by the

Family Sleep Institute, Ashley strives to help families to experience the positivity, calm,

and predictability that comes from having a well rested family, just as hers has.

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