There is a common misconception that sleep training can have a negative impact on breastfeeding, so I wanted to dive deeper into this topic looking at some of the myths and facts.
Myth: Sleep training leads to reduced milk supply
Fact: When sleep training is executed properly, this does not directly affect milk production. Breast milk supply is determined by demand (how frequently the baby is feeding and how long they are spending at the breast). A well rested Mum continues to produce enough milk for their baby and the baby generally ends up taking longer, more focused feeds. If a baby ends up sleeping through the night, I will sometimes recommend that Mum add's in a pumping session somewhere around 9-10pm / before they go to bed to help maintain supply. This is dependent on the age of the baby, Mum's supply and her breastfeeding goals.
Myth: Sleep training causes babies to miss out on essential night time feeds
Fact: Sleep training aims to help babies to learn independent and healthy sleep habits, it certainly doesn't mean they go without neccessary feeds and it's realistic to expect they may still need 1-2 feeds a night. Again, this will depend on baby's age and Mum's breastfeeding and sleep goals.
Myth: Sleep training promotes early weaning
Fact: Sleep training and breastfeeding can coexist harmoniously at any age! If a baby is 6 months+ or a toddler isn't eating well, sleep training and establishing a routine that includes times for milk feeds and solids helps promote a balanced approach for feeding. It doesn't lead to early weaning.
Myth: Sleep training affects the attachment relationship with the baby
Fact: Sleep training can actually enhance and strengthen the bond between a Mum and baby, as a well rested mother is more likely to have the energy and emotional availability to engage in quality bonding with their well rested, more regulated baby (as overtired babies can be more grumpy and clingy from overtiredness). Many Mums tell me they enjoy their babies so much more and feel like they have a stronger relationship with them as a result.
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