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Sleep, Rest, and Breastfeeding

Topic Overview

Rest and sleep are important to breastfeeding women for keeping up their energy and their milk production.

Help yourself sleep well

  • Avoid or limit caffeine, especially in the hours before bedtime. Caffeine can keep you awake.
  • Use the evening hours for settling down. Avoid watching TV and using the computer or phone if they keep you from getting to sleep.
  • Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool. Try using a sleep mask to help you sleep.
  • Take a warm bath before bed.
  • Make your own sleep routine. Try to have the same bedtime and wake-up time each day.
  • Manage stress. The stress and worry that come with having a child who isn't sleeping well may be causing you sleep problems too.
  • Take naps and find time to rest for short periods throughout the day, such as when your baby sleeps.
  • You may be able to collect and store breast milk so that your partner can feed the baby while you sleep. Because both you and the baby have to learn how to breastfeed, you may want to wait a few weeks before you start pumping breast milk. Experts usually recommend waiting about a month until breastfeeding is going well before offering a bottle.

Get plenty of rest

You likely will not have a normal schedule when you first start to breastfeed. But you can take naps and find time to rest for short periods throughout the day, such as when your baby sleeps.

In addition to rest, exercise will also help you feel your best. For the time you are breastfeeding, try to plan a routine that incorporates both rest and exercise.

It is very important to ask for help when you need it. Ideally, plan ahead for certain periods that a friend, relative, or babysitter can come in to help with your chores and child care so you can exercise or rest.

For information about how to help your baby sleep well, see Sleep: Helping Your Children—and Yourself—Sleep Well.

Credits

Current as of: June 16, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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