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7 Pro Tips for Surviving Nighttime Nursing Sessions

by Vannessa Rhoades 27 Jul 2022
surviving nighttime nursing sessions

When you’re nursing a newborn, the days and nights tend to pass by in a hazy blur of confusion. Healthy, full-term babies eat frequently – about eight to 12 times per day, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Each nursing session can last anywhere from five to 45 minutes. Since babies don’t care about details like “night” and “day,” these round-the-clock nursing sessions extend all the way into nighttime, leaving new moms exhausted and wondering how they’ll survive. But fear not! We’ve got tips for managing late-night nursing sessions that will hopefully leave you feeling a little more rested.

1. Enlist Help

Ask your partner to handle the diaper change while you sit up to prepare for breastfeeding. Have them put the baby back in the crib when you’re finished nursing. If you’re pumping, let someone else feed the baby with some of your stored breastmilk while you take a break or catch up on rest.

2. Let Your Baby Take the Lead

For the first few months of life, doctors recommend allowing breastfed babies to nurse on-demand (meaning, whenever they are hungry). Breast milk is easily digested, so their tiny tummies need frequent refills. According to the AAP, “Most newborns eat every two to three hours or eight to 12 times every 24 hours. Babies might only take in a half-ounce per feeding for the first day or two of life, but after that will usually drink 1 to 2 ounces at each feeding. This amount increases to 2 to 3 ounces by 2 weeks of age.” 

Let your baby take the lead on how often and for how long they want to nurse at each session. This is especially important in the first few weeks since all those frequent feedings help stimulate mom’s milk production.

3. Pump When You Can

Having a supply of breastmilk in the freezer can be a lifesaver on those especially trying nights. But if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, finding the right time to pump can feel like a challenge. For most women, the first thing in the morning is when the most milk can be expressed. You can also try breastfeeding your baby, then pumping both breasts at the same time for about 10 to 15 minutes. Label and store the milk in the freezer. 

Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump With Backpack is ideal for nursing moms who work full-time or for anyone who wants a quick, easy and effective breast pumping experience. 


4. Sleep Near Your Baby

When it comes to sleeping arrangements, you need to do whatever is going to allow everyone in the house to get the most rest. Often that means having the baby sleep in the same room or same bed as the breastfeeding parent. For many moms, keeping the baby nearby helps cut down on the amount of time it takes to fall back asleep between feedings. 

The Maxi Cosi Lora 2-In-1 Co-Sleeper features five different height positions to give you a customized fit. Perfect for those moments in the middle of the night when your baby wakes up crying, you can easily glide the bassinet closer to the bed to give comfort and care. 


Regardless of whether a baby sleeps in the bed with their parents, on a same-surface co-sleeper, in a crib or bassinet, in the same room as their parents or in a different room, all parents should follow the same safety guidelines: always place babies to sleep on their backs on a clean firm surface, away from secondhand smoke, under lightweight blanketing, with their heads uncovered. 

Swaddle Designs Cotton Sleeping Sack is a soft, safe, and cozy wearable blanket made from breathable 100% USA cotton flannel. 


Parents who co-sleep with their babies in the same bed have even more safety recommendations to follow. Only adults who are aware the baby is sleeping with them should occupy the bed. Bed-sharing is also unsafe if the baby’s parents can’t wake easily, are using drugs, alcohol, sedating medication, or are obese.

5. Get Comfy

Comfort is key when nursing, and it may even help your nighttime breastfeeding sessions be more productive. A cozy rocker or recliner chair can help you find just the right position. A light snack, a glass of water, and a nursing pillow can also make the experience a lot more relaxing. 

The Snuggle Me Organic Feeding Pillow is designed to fit you and your baby’s unique feeding needs. Crafted with narrow ends that easily tuck behind your back and a thick center that brings baby right to you. This modern feeding pillow places your baby in the perfect feeding position, allowing you to lean back and relax while nursing or bottle-feeding your little one. 


6. Shift Positions

For moms who’ve mastered nursing, side-lying nursing is hands down one of the best tips to help sleep-deprived moms get more rest. 

Place baby on their back. Lie down next to your baby, with your stomach lined up near your baby’s head. Then, slide your little one up so their nose is level with your nipple and your arm is above their head. You can also cradle the baby with their back along your forearm. (Take care not to rest the baby’s head on your upper arm.) 

Next, roll your baby onto their side pulling their hips or knees close to your hips. (Place a rolled receiving blanket or pillow behind the baby’s back to support them and prevent them from rolling away.) Gently nudge the baby’s nose with the tip of your nipple so that they open wide and latch on. Make sure your baby’s ear, shoulder, and hip are aligned to help them get milk more easily.

If you’re feeling tired, side-lying breastfeeding is a great option to help you and your baby get a bit more rest. It’s also especially helpful for moms recovering from a C-section who may not want the weight of the baby on their scar.

7. Keep Supplies Handy

Having all your essentials nearby or easily accessible helps reduce unnecessary trips to other rooms. It also minimized the need to fully wake yourself to find what you need. Place wipes, diapers, your nursing pillow, extra nursing pads, a towel, and a bottle of water in one easy-to-reach place near your nighttime nursing spot.

We love the OXO Tot Diaper Caddy with Changing Mat. It’s got a place for all your diaper changing essentials – so you’ll never be caught empty-handed. This supply caddy is easy to grab and go, making you prepared for any late-night diaper emergency. 


The Takeaway

The endless nighttime nursing sessions don’t last forever (although it certainly feels that way when you’re in it).  As your baby grows and your milk supply increases, your baby will eventually start sleeping for longer stretches of time. In those late-night moments when you feel yourself becoming frustrated and overwhelmed from a lack of sleep, try to take a deep breath and focus on the bonding experience. Take sleep when you can get it, and let the dishes and the laundry wait. Your baby will be grown before you know it!

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