Sleep, Rest, and Breast-Feeding

Topic Overview

Rest and sleep are important to breast-feeding 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.
  • Make exercise a regular part of your life, but don't do it within 3 to 4 hours of bedtime.
  • 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 breast-feed, you may want to wait a few weeks before you start pumping breast milk.

Get plenty of rest

You likely will not have a normal schedule when you first start to breast-feed. 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 breast-feeding, 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 Click here to view an Actionset. Sleep: Helping Your Children—and Yourself—Sleep Well.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as of April 12, 2013

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