7 Top Sleep Aids for Breastfeeding Moms
If you are a first-time pregnant woman, no one tells you those first six weeks of nursing a newborn are the hardest. You make the transition from your somewhat once peaceful life (the only things you worried about were pregnancy symptoms) to one where there’s a new boss in town, calling all the shots and doing so with little mercy!
Nursing those first few weeks is hard as you try to get used to the new and erratic sleep pattern of your newborn.
When I was pregnant that first time, I read up everything I could about pregnancy and childcare (or at least I thought I did), however, the reality was a lot different.
No matter how prepared you think you are for your little angel’s arrival, the real thing can be overwhelming and throw you off balance.
One aspect of your life that will be hit the most is your sleep. You will struggle to get any quality sleep and will be lucky if you can get up to five hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep unless you adopt a few tricks.
Babies require a lot of attention and affection and for the next 1,000 days of her life, you would need to place her at the top of your priority list as you try to meet her needs.
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7 Top Sleep Aids for Breastfeeding Moms
Since quality sleep affects not just the quality and quantity of breastmilk you produce as well as your overall productivity as a mom, you must try to catch as much of it as you possibly can.
Here are some top sleep aids for breastfeeding moms and tips that should help
1) Make Use of a Night Nurse
A night nurse stands in as a sort of alternate mom so you can catch up on the badly needed sleep.
You don’t have to get up more than once throughout the night or even at all since your baby’s needs for food and comfort will be taken care of those few hours.
This option works for both bottle-fed and breastfed babies since the breastmilk can be expressed using a breast pump and stored until your baby needs it.
2) Herbal Tea
Herbal teas are great sleep-inducers and most are also safe to take while nursing.
One sleep-inducing herbal tea to use is chamomile tea. This tea is effective in the relief of insomnia as it helps calm the nerves, making it a lot easier to fall asleep.
Chamomile tea also comes with other added benefits like boosting the immune system, relieving indigestion and gastrointestinal spasm, and also improving menstrual cramps.
3) Take a Glass of Warm Milk Just Before Bedtime
Milk contains protein and the amino acid L-tryptophan, which boosts serotonin production, making you more drowsy.
You should take a cup of this just before you hit the bed or soak your feet in a bowl of warm milk.
4) Limit Caffeine
“Caffeine can impact the onset of sleep and reduce sleep time, efficiency, and satisfaction levels…” says sleepfoundation.org
Caffeine taken even six hours before sleep can negatively impact sleep and reduce your sleep hours by as much as an hour.
So if you are already having a hard time catching some snooze time, you want to cut back on caffeine as much as possible.
5) Meditation and Relaxation Exercises
6) Listening to Relaxing Music
Relaxing music works on the same principle as relaxation exercises, so you want to stock up on some of your favourite music.
7) Take Some Pills
If you still find it hard to sleep, then taking some sleeping pills, ones fit for a nursing mother, will help calm your nerves and lure you quicker to sleep.
A good brand you can take is Luna.
Luna is a sleep aid that’s made from naturally sourced, scientifically-backed ingredients that are non-habit forming and will encourage a healthy and balanced sleep, which makes it ideal for nursing mothers.
Other Sleep Aids for Breastfeeding Moms
One thing we quickly learn as new moms is that it is a lot easier to sleep when your baby is sleeping.
Newborns naturally sleep a lot, around 16 – 18 hours daily, however before you go rejoicing you should know these hours don’t go at a stretch. Babies actually sleep for fits of 45 minutes to two hours and then wake, usually for a feed or a change of diaper before you’ve even had the time to stretch your tired bones or have your bath for the day.
Babies wake up quite a lot at night – an average of three times each night and some babies find it a little difficult falling back asleep afterward, keeping you awake with him.
This leaves new parents exhausted and sleep-deprived as shown by studies where 59% of new parents never get up to eight hours of sleep.
Here are a few tips for getting your baby to sleep more and longed:
1) Give a Bottle of Warm Milk
A bottle of warm milk given just before your baby’s bedtime does a lot of magic. Your baby will already have and be used to a sleep schedule. Just as with adults, a bottle of warm milk helps calm and soothe babies to sleep.
2) Gentle Rocking Motion Works
You could also try the rocking motions to lure him back to sleep.
Place him in his rocking chair or cradled in your arms as you gently pace around the room. This gentle rocking motion works pretty fast and your baby should be asleep in no time.
3) Make Use of Pacifiers
Pacifiers help babies self-soothe and also give them something to do when awake. Beyond that, these tiny things will also gently lure your baby to deep sleep in no time.
4) Give Warm Baths
If your baby loves water and bathing, then you should try this method too.
Warm baths as a sleep aid help boost blood circulation as well as release from his system which is what makes him fall asleep faster.
5) Sing to Him
Since your baby is already used to and loves the sound of your voice, you should sing for him. While you can sing just about any song, having a song just for him is believed to do the job faster.
When my son was little, I composed a song for him and while I know this song won’t be winning me any Oscars, he loves it and insists I sing him to sleep most nights even at almost three years old.
6) Give a Gentle Massage
Since a massage improves blood circulation you will find your baby falling asleep before you can even blink!
7) Use a White Noise Machine
More Tips for Getting Adequate Sleep and Rest
- Sleep When Baby Does.
When your baby sleeps is not the time to catch up on all the house chores that need to be done. Instead, you want to use this opportunity to also get some rest.
You’d be amazed at how refreshed you’d feel afterward.
For chores that can’t be overlooked, one simple trick I use is to strap my baby to myself when she is awake using a baby carrier and go about my business.
- Let Baby Sleep Next to You.
You also want to put your baby’s crib or bassinet quite close to your bed, that way you are saved from having to go all the way to the nursery every two hours to check up on her.
- Keep Feeding Items Close By
If you decide to feed your baby yourself at night, then having a flask of hot water close to your bedside saves you a trip to the kitchen when your baby needs to feed at night.
Besides the flask, you also want to put every of your baby’s feeding supplies you’ll be needing close by too.
- Find a Way to Reduce Visits
You also want to put words out (subtlely) that you and your baby need more rest so guests know to keep their visits really short.
Alternatively, you could stay someplace else for a little while, like a week or two to get as much rest as you can before you and baby finally come back home.
- Accept All the Help You Can Get
Enlist help either from your partner or anyone else willing to assist while you catch some uninterrupted hours of sleep.
- You’re Already a Super Mom
Don’t try to be the perfect parent at this time by trying to do it all. Birthing and taking care of a newborn is enough to make you a superhero without you having to fit in house chores, cooking, and other activities. Do the best you can, but make getting quality rest your priority.
Your health and the well-being of your new baby should come first.
Tag: Best sleep aids for breastfeeding moms, best practice for breastfeeding mom, natural seep aids for breastfeeding moms