Why I Breastsleep to get More Sleep
When I first discovered breastsleeping, my oldest was 6 weeks old and I was exhausted. I had followed all the rules; don’t breastfeed in bed, so I was breastfeeding on the couch, don’t fall asleep while breastfeeding, so I was severely sleep deprived, and, make sure your baby sleeps in her own bed, only my baby didn’t want to sleep in her own bed, she wanted to sleep on me at all times. What was I doing wrong?
When I finally needed a rest and I layed down with her, we were both so comfortable that we went off to sleep. I could hear her breath and she could hear mine, she came off the boob when she was finished, and nuzzled her way on when she wanted more. We slept for three hours and we woke up refreshed and happy…
Why did no-one tell me we could do this?
The answer I got told was: Nurses and midwives can’t say it’s ok for some people to breastsleep and not for others. So they tell everyone not to do it. This is because, as with all things, it carries risk.
I did some research and found some reputable sites that could help me. The first was the Laleche League, they advise a 7 point safe sleep plan for co-sleeping and breastsleeping. They advise if you sleep in the C position you can’t roll on your baby. Link below.
My next question was why do babies have the need to suck? Why were dummies invented? I found out the breastfeeding releases a hormone called cholecysotokonin that passes through to baby and produces sleep of the highest quality in mum and baby (quality not quantity!) and the hormone helps with digestion. Link below.
I then discovered that breastfed babies at 3 months have 20-30% more white brain matter than formula fed babies or a mix of formula and breast milk. White brain matter is responsible for cognitive development, language and motor development. White brain matter can be increased by other ways such as reading, nutrition and movement, but to increase it just by breastfeeding, wow! Now my goal went from getting baby to sleep through the night, to getting as much breast milk into them as possible. Link below.
When I first started breastsleeping with my daughter I was utterly exhausted and I could’ve used this information to do it safely and without heavy guilt that I was doing the wrong thing. Now with my son, I breastsleep without any guilt, I’m positive that feeding to sleep is exactly what he needs.
I want to share with people about this amazing gift called breastsleeping, to inform other new mums that there is another way. Breastsleeping helps Mum and Baby get their much needed rest, lets baby feed on demand, and with you right next to baby listening to every breath, you know that your baby is safe.
I do this knowing all the risks. My baby is smoke free, I’m not overweight, I sleep in the C position so that I can’t roll onto baby, I don’t drink because I won’t have mum instincts, I try to get him into bed for the first bit of the night so that I can get a couple of hours deep rest, but sometimes when he’s in a leap that isn’t the case so I make sure we breastsleep during the day. Some nights he drinks all night and I wake up utterly exhausted and dehydrated so I do my best to eat well and drink plenty of water!
I’m pretty sure my tupuna (ancestors) would be laughing at me for explaining something that human mother’s have done for thousands of years. I’m pretty sure my my mum even told me to lay down with Ailia, but of course I didn’t listen (sorry Mum!) Breastsleeping was something I needed to learn myself. It’s made such a huge impact to my breastfeeding journey and the reason I was able to breastfeed so long with Ailia and will attempt to with Liam. No judgment to other journeys people have taken, this is for a sleep deprived mum on the couch at 4am, googling to see if there’s another way.