By: Anna Katrina J. Bolivar
An Instagram post of the new mom Isabelle Daza-Semblat showed a very warm and lovely moment she shared with her newborn. She is seemingly breastfeeding in the photo and part of the caption stated ‘he is worth the sleepless night’.
Moms of newborns rarely get a straight eight-hour sleep. Aside from frequent nappy changes, mothers have to attend to their newborns for nighttime feeding, may it be through bottle-feeding or breastfeeding. Almost all moms with newborns will be sleep deprived for the first weeks or even months of their little beauties. Learn how important nighttime feeding is and what your sacrifice a.k.a. sleep deprivation is worth!
Waking up to breastfeed your baby on demand is a part of responsive parenting. Broadly, responsive parenting means responding appropriately and promptly to your baby’s demand or needs. Responsive parenting is important for your baby’s health, development, and well-being.
Being responsive to your baby’s feeding demands is important in encouraging positive eating behaviors. Further, it also gives your baby a sense of security because their hunger is always satisfied by their mother. Particularly for breastfeeding mothers, feeding on demand is a critical step to establish your milk supply.
Frequency of breastfeeding
Studies revealed that most babies breastfeed for 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. Mothers should not worry, though, if their babies do feed less or more than that range. Each baby is unique so it follows that their feeding frequencies also vary.
By the time babies reach their second or third month, some babies tend to feed with longer intervals. However, more frequent feeding may again be observed by their fourth month. This phenomenon is also called the ‘fourth-month growth spurt.’
Studies have also revealed that mothers who babywear and co-sleep with their babies have babies who feed more frequently. When babies know that they have free access to the breast, they tend to feed more often.
Importance of responsive feeding
For us moms, responsive breastfeeding establishes our milk supply. Our body produces more milk because it is stimulated by the frequent loss or drainage of milk through breastfeeding.
For your babies, responsive feeding can result in getting more mature milk. When babies get hold of mature milk, they can regain their birth weight faster and they have a lower risk for jaundice. Babies who are breastfed particularly at night, have maintained heart rates, temperatures, and have more stable breathing.
So hold on tight there sleep-deprived mommas! You’re doing a great job. Your sacrifice is doing your babies good. You’re also more attuned to your baby’s needs when you respond to their nighttime feeding demands. Give yourself a pat on the back and take comfort that your sleep deprivation is worth it. Every minute of it is worth it!
Anna Katrina Bolivar is a first-time mom to a baby girl. She’s a stay-at-home, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and cosleeping mom. She has her own blog. Despite all the challenges of a stay-at-home mom, she always goes to sleep with a heart that is overflowing with love for the Lord, her husband, and their precious little girl.