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Expressed milk in a bottle at bedtime - makes baby sleep better/longer - what's the logic and is this true?

(10 Posts)
Creamtea1 Tue 05-Nov-13 09:53:47

Just that really - noticing in real life and on here lots of bf mums are giving their babies a bottle of expressed milk at the bedtime feed instead of bf. and subsequently these babies are then sleeping longer stretches - is there are any logic behind this or is it just coincidence or luck? And would those babies sleep well regardless?
Just curious really, a bottle refuser here so not an option for me anyway!

BanjoPlayingTiger Tue 05-Nov-13 09:59:07

I think it is coincidence. I did this with both my kids. One slept wonderfully, the other not so much.

BonaDea Tue 05-Nov-13 10:00:42

I have only heard of a bottle of formula supposedly making a bf baby sleep better before bed and I think a lot of folks do this. For me I'm not sure the hassle / extra time involved in pumping and sterilising is worth it!

You are right to say there are loads of factors at play - how the baby would sleep anyway, how well they take to a bottle etc. Mine was a bottle refuser too till we started on solids so I sympathise.

What has helped me most is just to try and not obsess about sleeping through the night. It'll happen!

Supergoogler Tue 05-Nov-13 11:25:55

Funnily enough I have just done this experiment with my LO!

With an expressed bottle, he slept for 4 hours before waking up for his next feed. With bf, he goes 2 1/2 max!

I think the reason is that with a bottle, they take the milk a lot quicker and basically overload their digestive system so it takes much longer to digest...whereas, with bf, they have to work a bit harder to get it and take it much slower so the milk is digesting already by the time they're finishing their feed! (Only a guess)

I did it 2 nights on the trot and have since vowed not to do it again as I found my LO suffered a bit more with wind/constipation/tummy pains (he was noticeably not happy in the mornings) might have been a coincidence but I don't think so!

All babies are very different but this is my experience smile

tiktok Tue 05-Nov-13 11:41:24

There is no evidence that it works - in fact the evidence we have is that it doesn't (of course it may seem to work in individual cases, but co-incidence also works in indivdual cases smile

Google this study:

Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing. 21(3):200-206, July/September 2007

Breastfeeding increases the sleep of new parents

The study is the only one I know of which looks at the effect on parents' sleep of a bottle of formula. This is important, because that's what the whole point of a bottle is - to increase the sleep of the parents. If giving a bottle disturbs parents' sleep more than simply breastfeeding, then what is the point???

Parents who did not give an evening/bedtime bottle got on average more sleep than the parents who did.

tiktok Tue 05-Nov-13 11:43:29

Sorry - the OP asked about expressed breastmilk not formula.

I don't think anyone has studied this.

I would always ask though that if the bottle of ebm means the mother wakes up in the night with full and painfully leaking breasts, then again...what is the flippin point? smile

waceystills Tue 05-Nov-13 11:58:25

I do this and for me it seems to have worked a treat. DS gets 4 ozs after his bath, just before bed.

He sleeps 10 - 6, waking for one feed between 2 and 3.

May be coincidence I agree but it has worked for the last 4 nights so far.

My breats are full when I wake for the night feed so that is when I express most of the milk for the next day so full breasts are not an issue for me.

I express again after the morning feed to ensure he gets the hindmilk too.

Creamtea1 Tue 05-Nov-13 12:31:26

Thanks all for the replies! I guess I am doing my own study clarify I'm only talking about expressed breast milk here in a bottle and NOT formula.
So if we take waceys example - she feeds at 10 (bottle) , 2ish and 6 and has to express in the night.
So if I'm feeding at 12ish, 3ish and 6ish (bed is 8ish) then I'm thinking its not much benefit in my case? I definetly do not want to be expressing in the night..

NoComet Tue 05-Nov-13 12:41:03

Seem totally barking mad to me!

BFing to sleep is the best cuddle of the day and expressing is torture and all that junk to wash an sterilise. How on earth is it worth it.

If baby wakes in the night you just snuggle up in bed together and feed and dose.

Night waking is only a problem if you refuse to co-sleep bits of the night.

waceystills Tue 05-Nov-13 14:58:29

It really isn't a hassle to express. I have a small electric pump and it doesn't take long. You can express during the day though, I'm expressing right now for some extra milk as DP is going to spend some time with DS tonight whilst I hey a bit of a break.

I asked on a thread the other day when the best time to express was and the consensus was whenever it suits you.

It really works for us and I'd say worth it but different strokes for different folks.

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