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Coping with breastfeeding at night

For many mums - breastfeeding or not - lack of sleep can be the hardest thing to deal with.

Young babies need to feed round the clock as their tummy is very small and they need frequent 'filling up' to help them grow. You're probably craving a decent full night's sleep, but try to see night feeds as a quiet time to bond with your baby.

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Top tips for calm and peaceful night feeding

Tip #1: Keep the room fairly dark

Switching on the light wakes everyone up and isn't usually needed for feeding and comforting your baby.

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Tip #2: Keep your baby close

The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a cot by the side of your bed. You’ll hear their early feeding cues and respond before they get upset. You can also reach for your baby easily without having to get up.

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Tip #3: Keep your baby calm

Offer your breast as soon as they begin to wake, that way they won't get upset and become difficult to settle. Talk in a soft, quiet voice and avoid changing their nappy or clothing unless necessary. Skin-to-skin contact and gentle rocking can be very comforting for your baby if they can't seem to settle.

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Getting support

If you've had a particularly difficult night, try to take time out to rest during the day. Visitors can wait – or better yet can help by taking over housework or looking after other children while you and your baby catch up on sleep. For more tips on how to cope with night feeds, take a look at UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative's leaflet "Caring for your baby at night: a guide for parents". 

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Last updated: 16 May, 2019