It can be so exhausting to exclusively breastfeed, especially overnight. And even more so if your baby sleeps in another room. Because of this, there are moms who have started breastsleeping. For many, it has been a lifesaver, even if there are some weird AF things about breastsleeping that may take some getting use to.
Breastsleeping is just another way to say bed-sharing with a breastfeeding infant. Two doctors from the University of Notre Dame, James McKenna, director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory, and Lee Gettler, director of the Hormones, Health, and Human Behavior Laboratory, coined the term in a peer-reviewed commentary piece in the journal Acta Paediatrica titled, "There is No Such Thing as Infant Sleep, There is No Such Thing as Breastfeeding, There is Only Breastsleeping."
Even though the term is relatively new, this sleeping arrangement has a long history. According to Ask Dr. Sears, mothers and babies who sleep together tend be in the same stage of sleep for longer periods, which helps everyone in the household to get more rest. Additionally, What To Expect noted that babies who share a bed with their parents tend to fall asleep more easily at bed time, and go back to sleep more quickly when they wake up during the night.
So with the many benefits, it's not too hard to get used to the following weird things about breastsleeping.
1. You Sleep With Your Boobs Out
If you aren't typically a topless sleeper, you may feel uncomfortable sleeping with your boobs exposed. But once you realize that you will be spending half the night pulling them in and out of your top, it won't feel so weird just to keep them out all night and save yourself a step.
2. You Wake Up To Your Baby Latched On
As your baby gets older, and especially if your boobs are out and ready to go, your little one will start to find their way to your breast on their own. It's super weird the first time you wake up to your baby nursing without having helped them latch on.
3. You Don't Remember Nursing
This is weird and can be kind of scary. But, sometimes, you become so accustomed to nursing overnight that you do it on autopilot, and have no recollection of it the next morning. It's kind of like those times you pull up to your driveway, but don't remember anything about the drive home.
4. You Wake Up With One Engorged Breast
If you nurse your baby while lying on your side, there is probably one boob that is easier to reach overnight. If you don't make the effort to switch sides, you could wake up with one deflated and one engorged breast.
5. Your Baby Plays With The Other Nipple
According to Kelly Mom, one of the habits many breastfeeding babies develop is known as "twiddling," which is when babies find comfort in twisting, fiddling with, or moving something with their free hand while they nurse. This is not exclusive to breastsleeping, but it happens more often if both of your breasts are exposed.
6. Your Baby Uses You As A Pacifier
Sometimes babies will latch on and promptly fall asleep, but they won't unlatch. It might feel weird at first, but there's nothing wrong with it. According to Kelly Mom, comfort nursing serves a purpose by decreasing a baby’s heart rate and letting them relax.
7. You Wake Up Drenched In Breast Milk
This is another thing that isn't exclusive to breastsleeping, but as your milk regulates, you sometimes wake up drenched in milk. It's super weird to wake up with your clothes, your bed, and even your baby damp from an overnight letdown.