Why It Could Spell Disaster To Your Breast Milk Production
Newborns, especially breastfed newborns, typically wake every 3 hours to feed. It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night, newborns wake up frequently. After a few tiring weeks of this moms begin looking for ways to help their babies sleep longer stretches through the night with the goal being to have baby consistently sleep through the night.
Most sleep deprived moms dream of a baby who is a good sleeper. A baby who can be put down for bed and sleep through the night. But as terrific as a good night’s sleep is, there’s a danger looming for breastfeeding mothers: a baby that sleeps through the night can cause big trouble for breast milk production. Here’s how:
Why Does A Baby Sleeping Through The Night Affect Breast Milk Production?
The body has a feedback mechanism that lets it know when it is producing too much milk. There’s a specific type of whey protein called “feedback inhibitor of lactation” or FIL for short. Concentrations of FIL increase the more milk is allowed to build up in the breast and a breast that is painfully engorged contains very high levels of FIL. The body’s response to high levels of FIL is to cut back on production of breast milk.
When baby sleeps through the night (and mom sleeps through the night too) mom’s breasts continue to fill to the point of engorgement and when that happens high levels of FIL begin to signal the body to cut breast milk production. This is the reason some women with a large oversupply of milk can quickly swing to an undersupply of milk.
Will Baby Sleeping Through The Night Affect Your Breast Milk Production?
Some breastfeeding moms have good sleepers and both mom and baby get a full night’s rest and it doesn’t affect mom’s milk supply while other moms can face serious production issues after just one uninterrupted night. What’s the difference?
Generally speaking, if a mom has had good milk production and in the morning is not waking with painfully engorged breasts then it’s likely that she will continue to have good milk production. On the other hand if a mom has struggled with lower milk production and/or is waking with painfully engorged breasts then her milk production may be in danger.
If Your Milk Production Is In Danger Here’s What You Can Do
The simplest solution, though not the most restful one, is to set an alarm in the middle of that long stretch of sleep – about 4 hours have you go to bed – and get up and pump both breasts for 10 to 15 minutes. This prevents the milk from building up too much causing the release of FIL which leads to lower milk production.
If baby is going to bed more than a couple of hours before you, consider waking up baby for a breastfeeding session right before you go to bed. Starting the night with empty breasts will help avoid FIL build up.
Finally if your milk supply has been affected by a baby sleeping through the night (or any other reason) you should consider an herbal supplement such as Lactiful Supply Max. These all-natural herbal tablets were shown in the 2012 study to increase breast milk production in 75% of the women who tried them. See more about Lactiful here.