Mental health for mamas

There is loads to say about this – having a baby is a huge life stress as well as a welcome joy. Breastfeeding often gets blamed for lots of problems with lack of sleep being on of the biggies. According to an article by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett (one of my very favorite authors on the topic of stressed out mamas) we shouldn’t be blaming breastfeeding for our exhaustion after baby is born. The reality is that breastfeeding mothers get more sleep than bottle feeding mothers:

In a study of mothers and fathers at three months postpartum, data were collected via wrist actigraphy and using sleep diaries (Doan et al., 2007). The study compared sleep of exclusively breastfed infants vs. those supplemented with formula. In this sample, 67% were fed exclusively with breast milk, 23% were fed a combination of breast milk and formula, and 10% were exclusively formula fed. Mothers who exclusively breastfed slept an average of 40 minutes longer than mothers who supplemented. Parents of infants who were breastfed during the night slept an average of 40 to 45 minutes more than parents of infants given formula. Parents of formula-fed infants had more sleep disturbances. They concluded that parents who are supplementing with formula under the assumption that they are going to get more sleep should be encouraged to breastfeed so they will get an extra 30-45 minutes of sleep per night.

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