Has there ever been a bigger case of false advertising than ‘sleep like a baby?’ Seriously, is the whole world playing a prank on new parents?
It often happens that new parents bring a lovely, sleepy, squishy little bundle home from the hospital and anxiously stay up all night watching it sleep. After a few days the parents relax, and sweetly sleep, happy that they have a ‘good sleeper.’ Then, after a week or two, something shifts. Baby becomes more alert, more awake, and seems to decide that sleep is no longer required. Mum and Dad are exhausted from waking up all through the night to feed and soothe the baby and it can feel like it will never end.
We asked Midwife Marley why this happens. What is it that makes babies feed throughout the night rather than sleep peacefully?
Midwife Marley says;
“Babies will often cluster feed at night. Whilst tiring for you, this is completely normal. It’s because the more baby feeds the more it stimulates prolactin production. Prolactin is the hormone inside your body which prompts breastmilk production, and it is at its highest levels between roughly midnight and 4am.
So when you’re up in the small hours, try to relax and accept it. Your baby is not a bad sleeper, they are doing exactly what nature wants them to do. Enjoy those peaceful hours spent together in the quiet of the night when it’s just the two of you and try to make up your sleep at other times. Perhaps you could go to bed earlier or have a lie in each morning while your partner looks after the baby, as you are on the night shift for a few months. This pattern won’t last forever, as baby gets older their night feeds will naturally become shorter and less frequent and you will both sleep for longer.”
So don’t despair! Remind yourself that this is all good, all normal, and is all helping your little baby grow. These wakeful nights really will be over before you know it and you can give yourself a pat on the back for being right there for your baby when they needed you the most. You got this mama!