overnight newborn care and breastfeeding (6)

Overnight Newborn Care & Breastfeeding

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One of the most common questions we get is, “is overnight care worth it if I plan to breastfeed?” Some parents-to-be wonder if professional overnight care is worth it if they’ll still have to be up in the night to nurse the baby. Other parents wonder if it’s better to wait to start overnight newborn care until they introduce a bottle. These are valid concerns, but time and again we’ve seen that overnight newborn care is highly valuable to breastfeeding parents. Let’s talk about overnight newborn care and breastfeeding, and how we can support you as a breastfeeding parent.

Benefits of Overnight Newborn Care for Breastfeeding Parents

Overnight newborn care can be beneficial for breastfeeding parents in several ways. Here are some benefits of overnight newborn care for breastfeeding parents:

  1. Latching Support: Our Postpartum Doulas and Newborn Care Specialists are trained and experienced in providing breastfeeding support. If you’re nursing at the breast, your Nightingale can help both you and your baby get comfortable and settled in for a feeding. A good latch means an efficient feeding with no pain or discomfort for you or your baby.
  2. A Listening Ear: Your Nightingale can sit with you while you nurse your baby, if desired. This can be helpful for parents who are concerned about staying awake during night feedings, or for those who’d like an experienced person to chat with. In the early days with a new baby, many parents like the added assurance of their Nightingale’s company during night feedings. As you grow more comfortable in your role as a new parent, you may prefer to nurse in private then text your Nightingale when it’s time for her to return and scoop up the baby.
  3. Increased Rest and Recovery: New mothers need rest and recovery after childbirth. With overnight support, breastfeeding parents need only to wake to nurse the baby. Everything else – diaper changes, burping, swaddling, soothing – is in your Nightingale’s hands. Your feet don’t even have to touch the floor! Increased rest means a smoother recovery and often, an increased milk supply.
  4. Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Caring for a newborn can be stressful and overwhelming. Overnight newborn care can help reduce stress and anxiety by providing support and assistance during the night. It’s not on you alone to teach your baby healthy sleep habits, while recovering and learning to breastfeed and care for your new baby.
  5. Improved Breastfeeding Success: Breastfeeding can be challenging, and many mothers struggle with it in the early weeks. Overnight newborn care can provide mothers with the support they need to overcome common breastfeeding challenges and improve their breastfeeding success. Your Nightingale can help you latch your baby in different positions, show you signs that your baby is getting enough milk, and recognize any signs that a visit from a an advanced lactation professional such as an IBCLC would be beneficial.

What does overnight newborn care look like for breastfeeding parents?

Newborns need to eat about every 3 hours at night – sometimes even more frequently. For breastfeeding parents, this means interrupted sleep. There’s no way around that. However, with professional overnight support, night wakings for breastfeeding parents are much simpler and quicker. You can absolutely still wake in the morning feeling well-rested. Let’s explore how overnight newborn care and breastfeeding can go together:

  1. Deeper Rest: You may be room sharing with your baby on your nights “off” from overnight newborn care. But on nights when your Nightingale is with you, she will be room sharing with the baby in another room. This allows you to rest deeply without being woken by every tiny grunt and grumble from your baby.
  2. Feedings Only: When you’re breastfeeding with overnight support, the only reason you’ll need to wake up is to latch the baby. No setting of alarms to wake your newborn to feed, no diaper changes, swaddling and un-swaddling, soothing, or sleep conditioning is needed on your part. Your Nightingale will bring your baby to you with a fresh diaper for feedings, and she’ll return to burp, soothe, and swaddle your baby again afterward. Any waking that isn’t hunger related, you get to sleep right through while your Nightingale gently soothes and teaches your baby to sleep independently.
  3. Nice Little Details: Those seemingly small acts of caring go such a long way for new parents. Your Nightingale can fill your water bottle, make sure your phone charger is within reach, tuck pillows under your arms to prevent neck and shoulder strain, and more. She can bring you a clean nipple shield, Haaka, or breast pads if needed. When you’re comfortable and have everything you need, night feedings feel a lot more doable.
  4. Pumping Support: If and when you feel ready to transition to pumping, your Nightingale is there to support you. She can help you decide on a plan that feels good – such as if you’ll set your own alarm to pump or how long you’ll try to go in between pumping sessions. After a pumping session, you can text her to let her know that the milk is ready on a tray outside your bedroom door. When you wake up in the morning, any pump parts and bottles that were used in the night will be clean and ready to go for next time!
  5. Establishing a Nighttime Routine: Healthy sleep habits start on day one. But teaching your baby to love sleep doesn’t have to fall solely on your shoulders! Your Nightingale will gently sleep condition your newborn, building lifelong positive associations with sleep.

Overnight Support is for Every Family

All parents deserve good rest and compassionate support. For breastfeeding parents, overnight newborn care looks quite similar to those who are bottle feeding. You will need to wake briefly to nurse or pump, but you’ll sleep deeply in between knowing that everything else is being taken care of. Your Nightingale will support you on your breastfeeding journey and will be there to ensure you’re comfortable and have everything you need within reach. She’ll answer breastfeeding and newborn care questions, offer suggestions, and reassure you when you’re uncertain. If she recognizes any signs that you or your baby could use additional support, she can refer you to an advanced lactation professional. If at any point you want or need to supplement or switch to formula, she’ll be by your side every step of the way. Breastfeeding is a huge undertaking, and with Nightingale support you don’t have to do it alone!