Breastsleeping is a pretty great set-up. Moms get to sleep, babies get to nurse. What could be better? It turns out that there are lots of benefits of breastsleeping for both you and your baby that give the sleep method major appeal. And learning about a few of the things breastsleeping does to your body might convince you to give it a go in your own home.
Dr. James McKenna, founder of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame and author of the article that coined the term "breastsleeping" calls the method instinctual, saying breastsleeping can increase mother-baby bond, strengthen the breastfeeding relationship, and help you both sleep better at night. And who doesn't want all of that?
Although the benefits of breastsleeping for your baby are pretty well established, the physical and mental benefits for mothers isn't as discussed. Breastsleeping may not physically change your body — unless decreased bags under your eyes from getting more sleep at night counts — but it definitely changes a few things about the way you sleep and interact with your baby.
The most fascinating part is that the majority of these changes are subconscious. When it's done safely, breastsleeping rewires your brain, in a sense, making sure that both you and your baby are properly cared for. Even though you might not notice these changes, knowing that they're happening while you sleep is yet another amazing reason to try out breastsleeping with your little one.
1. You Become More Physiologically Attuned To Your Baby's Needs
One of the amazing benefits of breastsleeping is the way is changes your brain. According to a piece from the University of Notre Dame, home of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory, throughout history, breastsleeping mothers have shown "impressive behavioral sensitivities to their infants’ presence and behavior even while in deeper stages of sleep."
When mothers breastsleep, they're instinctively more "in tune" with their baby's movements and needs — even adjusting their
2. It Changes Your Sleeping Positions
When mothers breastsleep, they're instinctively more "in tune" with their baby's movements and needs. As a result, a mother will adjust her sleeping position subconsciously (and while awake too, of course) to adapt to her sleeping baby. Mothers who usually sleep on their stomach, will automatically turn on their side, with their baby next to them, usually with an arm around them to protect them.
3. It Keeps Your Milk Supply Healthy
Researchers at the University of Notre Dame also suggest that breastsleeping can help mothers better manage their milk supply since they'll be nursing (and sleeping) much more frequently at night than non-breastsleepers. One of the biggest factors in a low milk supply is not nursing enough. Breastfeeding USA noted that once mothers stop nursing at night, their milk supply can take a nose-dive. Breastsleeping can play a huge role in making sure you produce more than enough milk, both during the day and at night.
4. You'll Likely Feel More Rested
Fit Pregnancy argued that breastsleeping moms will get more sleep than non-breastsleeping moms. Since breastsleeping mothers bedshare with their infant, waking up to nurse is essentially effortless. There's no getting out of bed, walking to another room, and going back to bed.
5. All Of The Benefits Of Breastfeeding Multiplied
Breastfeeding has long been known to carry countless benefits for babies and their mothers. When a mom breastsleeps, she is naturally reaping all of the benefits of breastfeeding. Healthy Children noted benefits like decreased cancer risk, healthy hormone production, and delayed menstruation.