Getting the Most Sleep While Night Nursing

Updated: May 24, 2019




My newborn still wakes up at night to nurse, but I don't wake up feeling EXHAUSTED like I did with my first newborn. I realize it's partly because I don't have the constant anxiety of PPA this time around, but it's mostly because we learned so much after our first baby! My husband and I now have our night wakeup routines down so that we both get as much sleep as possible:

1- We listen to see if baby is just fussing or really hungry. 2-If hungry, husband turns on dim lamp, picks him up and hands him to me. 3- I feed him on one side and give him back to my husband. 4- Husband burps (best baby-burper I know, *swoons*) and changes baby's diaper quickly. 5- Husband passes baby back to me and I feed him on the other side. 6- Husband burps baby and places him down in crib. 7- We wait to see if he'll fall asleep on his own or if he needs some pats. 8- All three of us go back to sleep.


It works for us. It's so seamless and second nature now... but I realize that what works for us may not necessarily work for each family, so I asked a group of experienced and trustworthy mamas to share what has worked for them. I got varied answers-- which makes sense because every family is different. And every BABY is different! For example our first little guy has always been a very sensitive babe. So we had to go out of our way to slowly undiaper him, warm up a wipe, and then my husband would make a shushing sound the whole diaper change time-- he wouldn't scream quite as much this way, thus not waking the three of us up too much. Our second little man isn't as sensitive. My husband can put him down, change him quickly, and hand him to me for a feeding without as much as a peep! (But he does give us so many smiles.) Read below to learn what different mamas suggest to get the most sleep while night nursing: ✧"Unswaddle, change diaper, re-swaddle, THEN feed... makes putting back in the crib so much easier. Also avoid phone use during night feedings because it makes it easier for the brain to settle down again when the feed is over." Laura ✧"Dream feed before you go to bed. And don't get up to nurse them the second they make noise. Give them a minute because sometimes they are just resettling. Also, if you are having trouble getting them to take a full feeding each time, nurse on one side, change their diaper, and then they'll be awake enough to nurse on the other side and fill up, hopefully giving you a good stretch of sleep!" Libby

✧"As soon as my child makes a peep, I am up, out of bed and listening at the corner to see if they make a second noise. If they do, I nurse them. If they don't wake up all the way, they are muuuuuch more likely to go back to sleep after I'm done. If I let them wake themselves up with crying, they party for hours." Kathleen ✧"Get people on a schedule. If you're used to waking up at the same time every night, your body compensates and you don't get so groggy. Definitely avoid phones, except for resetting feeding alarms that first month or so. For me, repetitive prayer is the fastest way to get myself back to sleep. I try to pray a rosary and am drooling on the pillow before I finish the first mystery. Perspective. Don't freak out about how awake you are or how little sleep you're getting - that's the fastest way to ratchet you and your baby up and it turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Take a deep breath, remind yourself that this is a very short part of your life, and look forward to that first cup of coffee in the morning." Emily ✧ "I love my Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper. I can’t sleep with a baby in the bed with me, but it’s soooo nice to not have to get out of bed to reach the baby when he/she wakes up. And I keep diapers and wipes and a dimmable night light within arms reach so I literally never even get out of bed. Also, if baby will let you, for those times when he is awake and ready to party — lay him down awake and go back to sleep! He’ll either go to sleep on his own eventually (awesome) or cry for you when he’s done partying and then you can put him back to sleep." Angela ✧ "Don’t nurse a sleeping baby- wait to see if he goes back to sleep when he starts fidgeting. I cosleep, and with my first I’d stick my boob in his mouth as soon as he made a peep. That resulted in him thinking he needed to be latched to sleep at all and woke up every time I pulled him off. Following my own advice this time, and baby girl already sleeps 5-7 hours in a row and is only 7 weeks." Allie ✧"Co sleeping/bed sharing is so awesome if you can manage it. I couldn't figure it out for my first three. We had a co-sleeper after my first. My second mostly slept in the swing at night, it seems, that was the only way she'd stay calm. My third never slept and I was a crazy woman-- the only thing that kept me slightly sane was that my sister lived with us and when I got really crazy I'd wake her up and pass the baby off to her. But I bed shared with my last two and learned to nurse them without really waking fully. That was so so nice." Melanie


✧"I so agree with Emily on the perspective thing. Pregnant with my first all I heard was that I'd never sleep again, so I believed it, and it was so, so, so miserable. Eventually I learned that babies often mean less sleep, interrupted sleep, or unpredictable sleep, but you will sleep for several consecutive hours through the night again. It takes time, but it will happen." Courtney ✧"Do NOT turn on the lights unless you’re having trouble latching. If at all possible, use a very dim light if you need help finding diapers, wipes, latching, etc." Karyn ✧"Co-sleep and have husband be in charge of breakfast since he is hopefully the well-rested one." Monica

I love how unique each approach is, and how they all come from loving baby best!

What do you do at night to get the most sleep? Comment Below!

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Andrea De La Torre

Sleep Consultant 

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