12-Hours of Sleep
while Breastfeeding

There is so much misinformation in the parenting world, and one topic we hate to see confusion around is breastfeeding and sleep. We know it’s possible for nursing parents to get sleep on the same timeline as bottle fed babies, but so many parents are falsely led to believe that waking to nurse at night is something they MUST do in order to maintain their supply. This simply isn't true and we hope to give you some valuable tips to support your breastfeeding relationship, your milk supply, AND your sleep!

Any lactation consultant will tell you that adequate sleep is essential for a good supply, but we often find that the recommendations being given to nursing parents don't support adequate nighttime sleep and often lead to prolonged sleep deprivation in parenthood.

We know this is a controversial topic, so it's important to note that we NEVER recommend doing the following:

  • We NEVER withhold food to force sleep, day or night.
  • We NEVER withhold food from a hungry baby.

The Full Feedings Method® and the recommendations that follow are what we see naturally lead to consistent nighttime sleep and we look forward to sharing the ways we support breastfeeding, milk supply, AND sleep!!!

please know it is possible to get 12-hours of overnight sleep while breastfeeding, while still:

🍼 Meeting your baby's biological needs
👶🏻 Feeding your baby enough for them to grow and gain weight appropriately
🥛 Keeping your milk supply up

My daughter exclusively received breast milk for 18 months (with solids after 6 months of course) and slept through the night at 8.5 weeks old, while I also worked full time out of the house.

How was this possible?

Following The Full Feedings Method®.

I found The Full Feedings Method® around 3 weeks old. It encouraged me to feed fully & frequently, on-demand, within an age-appropriate routine. By following flexible monthly guides, I watched my exclusively breastfed daughter naturally sleep through the night by 8.5 weeks old (with a dreamfeed) and by staying on top of her age-appropriate changes, we never saw a “regression” in her sleep and have enjoyed consistent sleep since.

Offering a dreamfeed every night until she was able to go from bedtime-start of day without needing to eat.

This allowed her to get in an extra feeding before having a long stretch of sleep, while we also slept. By offering the dreamfeed, she was able to sleep longer overnight at a younger age because she wasn’t getting hungry as early in the night. We chose to offer a bottle at this time (I pumped and went to bed slightly before my husband got her to do the feeding) so they could have time alone to bond and I could get more sleep. This also meant my husband was able to sleep in slightly later, so we both got a longer stretch of sleep. 

Pumping at every feeding I didn't nurse.

It’s really important to pump at every feeding where you don’t directly nurse. Nursing is supply and demand so if your baby is eating, your milk needs to be stimulated around the same time so that your body knows your baby is eating then. 

Pumping before bed even when she stopped having the dreamfeed (for my freezer stash and to keep supply up).

I chose to continue pumping before bed even when my daughter stopped eating at that time. As a mom who worked full time out of the house, I found it helpful to use this milk for her bottles the next day or to add to my freezer stash. Also, since breastmilk production is supply and demand based, it shortened the time that my body thought she was eating from 12 hours to 9-10 hours overnight. This allowed me to keep my supply up and it was milk that I was guaranteed to save. 

Working with her to ensure every feed was a full feed.

Feeding is not passive. This doesn’t mean we force a baby to eat (I’m not even sure how that would be possible) but we work with them to ensure they’re fully fed at every feeding. This means stopping to burp often, taking short breaks as needed, adjusting positions, etc. Babies often need just a short break to digest some milk before they come back and realize they’re still hungry. By feeding fully at each feeding, you’re also telling your body how much your baby needs to remain full, and your supply will adjust accordingly. 

Never did I (nor would I) force my daughter to eat or deny her food to make this happen. In fact, I did the exact opposite. I always offered her food when she was hungry, day or night, but, by focusing on feeding her fully during the daytime, she didn’t get hungry again as often as she would have with smaller (non-full) feeds, and this is how we achieved sleep.

What I did do was work with my daughter to ensure she was fully fed, growing/gaining weight, rested and HAPPY!

Feeding her fully and helping her to sleep before she was overtired, following the Full Feedings Method®, was the best decision I made as a mom. It helped us breastfeed, bond, get rest and it helped me overcome my PPD.

You got this and your baby does too!

If you need help with feeding and sleep, we have super affordable online programs that will teach you the basics of Breastfeeding, Bottle Feeding, and NO CRY IT OUT Infant & Toddler Sleep via an easy 3-step method.

Questions? Don't hesitate to reach out to hellosleep@fullfeedings.com. We'd love to hear from you!