It is completely normal and essential for your baby to feed during the night.

Every baby is different, and some wake more frequently than others throughout the night for many months.

Evidence shows that for around the first six months of a baby’s life, parents who breastfeed tend to get more sleep per night.

Even though breastfed babies wake more frequently on average, it’s quicker to get them back off to sleep.

That’s largely thanks to the hormones (melatonin) found in breastmilk which encourage both you and your baby to get back to sleep quickly.

Babies wake during the night for lots of different reasons.

Some of these reasons can be:

  • because your baby is hungry
  • they may be too hot or too cold
  • their nappy needs changing
  • your baby wants comfort and to be close to you.
Some helpful tips to cope with a lack of sleep:
  • Remind yourself that you are supporting your baby and meeting their needs. Your baby isn’t ‘manipulating’ you and isn’t waking you up to annoy you
  • Caffeine may seem a like good idea but too much may have an impact on your baby’s sleep as well as yours. A small amount of caffeine can cross into breastmilk, so keep an eye on your intake to see whether it causes your baby to be more restless
  • Try feeding lying down either on your side or in a laid-back position. These positions can help you relax and get some rest both at night and during the day
  • Trying to sleep when your baby sleeps can be tricky. Instead try to have some quiet time and rest while your baby sleeps
  • If you have older children and your baby is asleep, this might be a good time to read some stories, watch a favourite TV show or just have a cuddle on the sofa
  • Hide the clock. Constantly looking at what time and how often you woke up won’t help you get more sleep
  • You could start introducing a bedtime routine. A routine of certain songs or smells at bedtime, for example, can help them fall asleep
  • Accept help from others. If someone offers to cook, clean or help out with older children, let them
  • Talk to someone who understands how tired you are.

Breastfeeding lowers the risk of sudden infant death (SIDS).

Breastfeeding for at least two months halves the risk of SIDS. The longer you can continue to breastfeed your baby, the more protection it will give your baby. Take a look at The Lullaby Trust’s safer sleep advice for more information.

If you’re worried about falling asleep with your baby while feeding at night or have decided to share a bed with your baby, The Lullaby Trust also has information on safe co-sleeping section.