It is the sleep deprivation that makes motherhood taxing. Let’s face it, feeding your bundle of “JOY”, in the middle of the night, is HARD WORK and not exactly “JOY FULL”.
Desperate – Moms look for options that will give them a little more sleep.
One of the ideas that has been bandied about, is to “switch” to formula. Especially for the night feed.
The thinking behind the “switch”, relates to the fact that formula is more filling than breast milk. And a full baby is likely to sleep longer.
If baby is sleeping – then Mom is also sleeping.
More sleep = more sanity.
Breast might be best, but bring on the formula…………
A group of researchers from the University of California decided it was time to test the idea.
The sleep test
They enlisted the help of “ordinary” about-2-be Moms, to do some SLEEP TESTS. The women were recruited from free childbirth classes in the area.
Testing took place over 3 nights i.e. a 72 hour period, on two different occasions. Once just before junior arrived and at the one month mark, postpartum.
Sleep testing included
- taking the General Sleep Disturbance Scale (GSDS) test, which is a sleep questionnaire, designed to pinpoint sleep troubles
- keeping a sleep diary, and once baby arrived a feeding diary,
- being hooked up to an actigraph, a device that can be attached to your wrist, to keep tabs on your movements
No surprises here – the arrival of junior led to some serious sleep deprivation.
But, how much sleep was lost, was influenced by the Mom’s feeding practice.
Now in the study, there were lots of practices.
- 55 % of the Moms were only breast feeding, however, a small percentage of these Moms were breast feeding using a bottle.
- 24 % of the Moms were breast feeding, but supplementing with formula
- 21 % of the Moms were exclusively feeding with formula.
Counting sheep in the nursery
Contrary to what was expected – Moms using formula, either a little or a lot, slept less.
A lot less.
When the numbers were crunched……… formula feeding Moms, on average lost 62 minutes of sleep each night, once junior arrived on the scene.
Eish ! A whole hour less than “normal” – no wonder new Moms feel frazzled.
Breast was best
But, the Moms exclusively breast feeding, were much better off. On average they lost only 21 minutes of sleep a night.
To be honest, the Moms didn’t actually realize they were better off. Both groups reported that they felt TIRED.
Breast is easier ?
This study doesn’t explain WHY when Mom’s use formula, they sleep less.
It could be biology – reports suggest the hormone prolactin, which keeps the milk machine running, is a powerful “sleeping tablet”. Maybe it just boils down to formula is more work. It takes a few extra minutes to get it good to go. Breast milk is quite literally on tap.
The take home message – breast feed to sleep more !
NB. Lack of sleep puts you at risk of all sorts of health problems – so getting as much sleep as possible, should be a priority.
Does it feel like your baby is keeping you awake deliberately ? You’re right. The NEED for night feeds is programmed into some babies by their Daddy’s genes.
If, during the process of swaddling, the hips are inadvertently shifted forward, baby ends up being aligned incorrectly – causing hip dysplasia and other snags.
Mother Nature packages night time feeds so they are the perfect blend of nutrients, but she sleeps in a little sleeping potion too, helping everyone to sleep
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