Sleep & Breastfeeding: beyond the onesie

breastfeeding sleep

Avoid postpartum sleep and breastfeeding stress by knowing who you want before you need them.

As a postpartum doula I spend time with people who have encountered significant life change. By significant I mean a complete change in day to day routines. Schedules, task management, new skill demands (changing diapers, putting baby down for a nap), and physical recovery for the birthing parent are all parts of newborn care. Material items are usually on hand and ready to go, but what about other ways to prepare for baby? What I have found is that parents are looking to find providers for commonly encountered sleep and breastfeeding issues after stress patterns become established.

Sleep

“When the going gets tough, the tough take a nap.” — Tom Hodgkinson, British Writer

Said no person actually taking care of a newborn. Sleep deprivation is a known and expected part of new parenthood. Yet we don’t necessarily have a tangible plan to offset its effects. One of the first steps can be owning and understanding your sleep needs as a couple. There is no shame in needing hours of unbroken sleep or needing a nap. The people in your life who will watch baby while you sleep are valuable allies. Other resources are sleep consultants will help mold routines and environments to maximize the amount baby sleeps. There are overnight doulas who will take feeding and comforting duties so parents don’t have too. Some agencies like yourvillageconsulting.com will address both.

Breastfeeding

Rich results on Google's SERP when searching for 'breastfeeding'

Depending on your life experience, breastfeeding can be unfamiliar territory. It is often idealized or villianized. People talk about it as if it is natural and effortless or have only horror stories about it. Breastfeeding is neither. It is a learned relationship unique to each child and parent. Two human bodies are invovled that don’t always work as they should. It is an emotional experience invovling physical mechanics you can’t necessarily measure. These are all wonderfully valid reasons for vetting lactation consultants in your area. Having a breastfeeding consultation on the books within the first week can serve as reassurance that things are on track or detect issues in the early stages. Another way to avoid sore nipples is getting baby checked for lip and tongue ties by a pediatric dentist. Here’s a couple of practices I recommend for lactation and ties:

Sleep and breastfeeding research is hard once baby is earthside.

Taking time to explore sleep and breastfeeding providers ensures that you have a trusted resource in your back pocket if it gets hard. One that you don’t have to find while trying to nap, feed, change diapers, and do laundry. It is peace of mind when the world becomes very full and busy with new baby experiences. It will be worth it when help is a phone call instead of a google search.

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