Pregnancy

Breastfeeding Does Not Affect A Mother'’s Sleep Cycle

Breastfeeding Does Not Affect A Mother's Sleep Cycle

Key Takeaways

  • Contrary to belief, mothers who choose to breast feed sleep the same amount as mothers who opt for formula.

According to a new study, mothers who breastfeed sleep the same amount as mothers who feed their babies with infant formula. Women who breastfed their children got as much sleep during the night as women who fed their babies with formula and breastfeeding moms were any more exhausted compared to mothers who fed their child formula.

According to a researcher named Hawley E. Montgomery-Downs, PhD, of West Virginia University, and colleagues, even though the benefits of breastfeeding are undisputed, a mother's concern regarding how the method of feeding might affect the quality of sleep is also reasonable. 

The results were reported in the journal, Pediatrics. Researchers feel that women should be told that choosing formula may not impact their quality of sleep. Some of the earlier studies comparing the impact of formula feeding and breastfeeding presented mixed results. One of the studies reported that breastfeeding moms remained awake for more time during the night, while the amount of sleep remained the same in women opting for different types of feeding methods. Another study showed that breastfeeding moms slept for 40 minutes longer than mothers who fed their babies with infant formula.

In this study, 80 new mothers were asked to maintain daily sleep dairies, and were provided devices that measured their night time sleep for 10 weeks. Total sleep time, total time spent awake during the night, sleep quality, fatigue, and daytime sleepiness were measured for all of the participants a few weeks after delivery. There were no differences in the total sleeping time or quality of sleep between mothers who followed different feeding methods. 

If breastfeeding mothers wake up more often in the night, they return to sleep soon and may not remember waking up, according to researchers. Moreover, researchers believe that one of the possible explanations for this may be that women who are breastfeeding are not exposed to as much physical activity as those who prepare the formula.