Does BF always mean sleep deprivation?

(104 Posts)
SqidgeBum Fri 04-Sep-20 15:05:10

I am pregnant on DD2. I ff DD1 for personal reasons. I want to give BF a go this time around, but I have been put off a bit by scary stories from friends and peers. All my friends, my NCT group, my colleagues, and family seem to have had a really hard time with BF and sleep. Basically, they dont sleep for months and months. My neighbour has an 11 week old and hasnt had more than 2-3 hours sleep a night since the day he was born. Half the time she doesnt get one minute of sleep. He can cluster feed for 17 hours a day!

Did anyone have a good experience of sleep and BF? I dont mind being up in the night. Even with FF DD1 I was up a lot, but I have zero family support, a toddler under 2, and a husband who works 12 hour shifts. I cant have basically zero sleep for months and months, not to mention I cant sit on a couch feeding for 8 hours a day with a toddler who still needs attention. Someone please tell me its easier than I have been told? I dont want to start with the mentality that I am destined to give up.

OP’s posts: |
ConfusedPanda Fri 04-Sep-20 15:07:15

I can't comment on BF but I have a FF DD who is a rubbish sleeper so I don't think FF guarantees good sleep 🤷🏻‍♀️

Her older sibling was also FF and was a champion sleeper sad

SqidgeBum Fri 04-Sep-20 15:12:29

I think thats my issue; DD1 was a great sleeper, the first one out of my NCT group who slept through, and was the only one FF from birth. I also have been told formula fills them up more than breast milk so FF babies tend to sleep longer. I have no idea if formula helped my DD to sleep or if she was just a good sleeper naturally, but most of my friends said their babies slept more once they switched them to formula. This is just me going off what I have been told.

I guess I am looking for someone to tell me the opposite to what my friends have said; that their baby slept (even 3 or 4 hours a night is fine) while being BF.

OP’s posts: |
Toomboom Fri 04-Sep-20 15:14:16

My FF baby was a dreadful sleeper until he was about 3, so bottle feeding doesn't guarantee a baby that sleeps well.

My daughter in law is BF her second baby [ my grandchildren ], they both slept well from the start. Youngest is now 8 months and sleeps through.
Even when they were being fed during the night it was very quick, so they still all got enough sleep.

OhTheTrees Fri 04-Sep-20 15:17:14

I'm breastfeeding a 3 month old, who has a feed at 10pm, wakes for a quick feed at 4am then sleeps til 8 or 9am. So it is possible!

I won't tell you about my other breastfed babies - they won't be any encouragement to you ;)

Persipan Fri 04-Sep-20 15:17:15

I'm pretty sure there's actually some research that shows that on average, ff parents actually get less sleep than bf parents (although obviously it will vary with individual babies). Presumably something to do with the extra steps involved in making up formula?

My EBF 5-month-old is currently going through a waking after every 2 hours of sleep thing... but then I just whack a boob in his gob, let him feed for a while (and quite often go back to sleep myself while he's doing it!) and then pop him back in his cot after. I guess it depends how that sounds to you - I actually do find what I've described quite easy in that I'm getting at least 6 hours sleep a night and often more like 8, and don't have to do anything much when he does wake. Getting the trick of feeding while lying on your side is really helpful!

Babyshine2020 Fri 04-Sep-20 15:19:39

Touch wood, my little one is 5 weeks and she feeds around 10, 12, 3, 6 and 8 .. pretty frequent but they're not as long feeds as in the day and she feeds herself back to sleep so it's just a case of putting her back in her next to me ..

Breastfed babies aren't very gassy (mine trumps more than burps) so there isn't much need for winding like FF


ChelseaCat Fri 04-Sep-20 15:20:26

I BF - at six weeks mine was sleeping for 6.5 hour stretches overnight. Every baby is totally different.

Robs20 Fri 04-Sep-20 15:21:24

My bf twin wakes up once a night to feed. She is 18 weeks and has been doing this since 12 weeks. Before this it was every 2-3 hours. My ff twin also wakes once a night to feed, but tends to fall asleep earlier in the evening (so technically goes longer between feeds). I find bf much much easier than the faff of prepping bottles, especially if baby just wants a little bit of milk.

UsernameNotValid Fri 04-Sep-20 15:25:01

In our case it definitely did but I'm not sure if it was worse than my eldest who was FF from birth - it did seem worse but I think that's because it was all on me whereas DH actually enjoyed night feeds first time round!

Neither of mine slept through reliably until 3 years though.

Kodiak83 Fri 04-Sep-20 15:28:44

I’ve BF two. Totally different experiences. Girl very difficult the first month, really windy and up almost every hour or so. Settled after 4-6 weeks and some really long stretches 6-8 from a couple of months. Boy was bigger (around 10lb), he sleep some 6-7 hour stretches the first week he was out of hospital! I was feeling great the first two months of his life as I was getting far more sleep than I had done in pregnancy. But from around 2 months he got more demanding. And although there would always be periods where he would sleep well, it felt like there were more episodes over that first year where I was up feeding him really often, especially as he got older. I guess he just needed more from me. So it really just depends! I do find once you have it dissed though that it’s a very easy thing to do, eg roll over and grab them, no going and making up a feed. But it is tough at the start to get in the swing of things, especially that first baby when you haven’t a clue what is right and wrong and can feel quite out your depth. It was worth persevering for me but appreciate it’s not the same for everyone.

SummerHouse Fri 04-Sep-20 15:29:12

Babies mean sleep deprivation. I have lots of experience and I say never be put off by someone else experience. Babies are very different. I had one sleeper and one non sleeper. Nothing I could have done to change that immovable fact. It's destiny not breastiny.

TiptopJ Fri 04-Sep-20 15:34:45

I feed from bottles during the day of either expressed breast milk or formula but beeastfeed during the evening and during the night when my toddlers in bed. I think by breast feedibg at night I get more sleep as I side feed so latch her on then fall back asleep. Its definitely better than getting up and fetching or making a bottle.

Bluntness100 Fri 04-Sep-20 15:38:32

Mine was the same as yours op. I ff and she went through the night at eleven weeks and prior to that one feed a night.

I read a lot of anecdotal evidence on here about women having massive sleep deprivation because of bf and also because it is usually the mother, then you get the whole nursing to sleep thing and women forced to co sleep because they are so exhausted and no because they want to.

pollysproggle Fri 04-Sep-20 15:39:33

I've breastfed all 3 of my children (currently feeding my 3 month old).
They've all been good sleepers! The baby sleeps from 8-9pm until 5am at the moment, feeds again and goes back to sleep. This can all change of course and we do have some nights with an extra wake but breastfed doesn't mean worse sleep at all.

annlee3817 Fri 04-Sep-20 15:41:03

My DD was breastfed and slept pretty well really from around four weeks to four months, then we hit a shit sleep regression and i was exhausted until she got to 7 1/2 months. Switched to formula at eight months and she remained a fairly shit sleeper until she was two, formula didn't change it.

Hardbackwriter Fri 04-Sep-20 15:46:32

I breastfed (exclusively to 6 months, with some formula to 9), found it a positive thing (on the whole) and have every intention of doing it again (I'm currently pregnant with DC2). But the evidence suggests that yes, FF babies on average sleep better. Obviously you'll get some FF dreadful sleepers and some BF great ones. But it wasn't a weird coincidence that yours was both the only FF baby in your NCT group and the first to sleep through.

sillybean Fri 04-Sep-20 15:59:25

Hello, I have a 7 week old and a 2 year old and am EBF at the moment.

For the last 2 weeks my youngest had been feeding at roughly 7pm, 12am, 4am and 8am - so only 2 feeds in the middle of the night.

My first was also EBF and was sleeping through (7pm-5am) from 12 weeks.

Prior to them reducing feeds/sleeping through we did have some nights of feed every 2 hours (sometimes even less) other times not settling back after a feed - you have to remind yourself it's just a phase that you'll get through but in the dark mists of chronic sleep deprivation it can be tough to continue! But as previous posters have said you can get that even if they're formula fed.

Graphista Fri 04-Sep-20 16:17:48

I bf until Dd was almost 10 months until around 18 months she was a pretty good sleeper, after that she turned into an early rising little bugger!

In my experience - not just Dd - but as someone who has cared for many babies fed in different ways (bf, Ff, combi feeding) it's nothing to do with how they're fed.

How they sleep is more to do with their personal ability to do/not do so.

My dd struggles to stay asleep even now (she's almost 20!) unless her room is totally pitch black! The slightest chink of light wakes her...but noise wise you could blow up a bomb next to her bed and she'd sleep through itgrin

Plus to be honest I agree ff is a pita for night feeds if you're the one doing them.

My milk dried is why I stopped bf and had to switch to ff, and even though as per the advice then (and still ok to do now though more discouraged) I made up 24 hours of bottles in one go each evening, chilled quickly and refrigerated so in the night it was "only" a case of retrieving and heating bottle that still meant trailing downstairs, boiling a kettle (I heated bottles by placing in a jug of boiled water), waiting for the damn thing to heat up, then calming dd down enough to get her to take it!

Bf I didn't have to leave the bed most of the time wink or at most only to retrieve dd from her cot/room past 6 months. And I could easily "doze" while she fed. Quicker and easier

So I too think it's possible ff mums MIGHT be woken fewer times but need to be awake for longer - which, I don't know about you but certainly for me, meant it was harder and took longer to get back to sleep too.

As for "research" saying ff babies sleep better

1 I'd be interested to know who funded that research. If eg it was nestle or similar hardly surprising

2 such research would be VERY dependent on subjects self reporting which is always questionable

FurryGiraffe Fri 04-Sep-20 16:30:53

My EBF DS1 was doing 10-6 by about six weeks, and 7-6 at 12 weeks. He was (bar teething and illness) a fab sleeper until 18 months when it all went to pot.

DS2 also EBF, woke a bit more than DS1 but, after the first week or two, very rarely up more than twice a night with decent stretches of sleep in between.

But as others have said, it all depends on the baby. It's impossible to predict.

linerforlife Fri 04-Sep-20 16:31:03

EBF and 12 weeks. Has slept 5 hours a night since newborn. Feeds and goes back to sleep. Has been sleeping through the night (a 9 hour stretch) for the last two weeks. smile

Cherrybalm Fri 04-Sep-20 16:31:25

my baby was bf from birth and still is now (nearly 10 months). her sleep has changed throughout that time and my friends who FF have had the same. when she was a newborn, it was quite tough because only I could feed and she would wake every 2ish hours hungry. then when she was about 2 months she started doing 5-7 hours regularly at the start of the night, feeding then back to sleep. this lasted until about 4 months and honestly she has never slept so well since. I'm lucky if I get a 4 hour stretch these days and it's a battle every night to put her to bed so honestly, I dont think breastfeeding or formula feeding makes a difference. I think they are completely unique regardless - I know twins who are fed and looked after exactly the same. one is a great sleep, is down at 7 and only wakes up once, the other is a party gal and wont go down any earlier than 9 then is up at least twice a night. luck of the draw I think!

SelmaB Fri 04-Sep-20 16:32:51

I have had 2 bf babies. Dd was a dreadful sleeper. Ds was so much better - 4-6 hour stretches at night from birth and continued to improve as he got older.

INeedNewShoes Fri 04-Sep-20 16:34:43

For the first few weeks, yes as it took longer to get DD latched and well fed than a bottle would have taken. I’d say that by 10 weeks I felt as though it was giving me an easier time BF than it would have FF (I had experience of both as DD was slow to gain weight and was partially FF until 4 weeks when I drop the formula.

Skibideebapbapbap Fri 04-Sep-20 16:34:53

I had loads of sleep BF!

I think I was just lucky but I would feed my DD before I went to sleep, then she would wake at around 1 then around 4 then around 7, she was in a next to me crib so I just reached over fed her and then we both went back to sleep, it literally took ten minutes each time if that. I felt like having to get up and make a bottle would have been way more disruptive to my sleep.

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