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Baby Sleep Training for Breast-Feeding Moms

Breast-feeding not only provides necessary nourishment for your baby, but also gives you a way to bond with her. Although you might want to keep your new little one close, sleep training offers a way to build a routine into both of your schedules and gives you the freedom to rest for more than an hour or two at a time.

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Number of Night-Time Wakes

Breast-fed babies tend to wake more often than bottle-fed infants to feed, wrote Darcia Narvaez, a psychology professor at the University of Notre Dame, in "Baby Sleep Training: Mistakes 'Experts' and Parents Make." Even though your baby waking at night to feed is normal, you can gently ease your baby into a sleep schedule or routine that doesn't interfere with his eating. This is reasonable to expect for both breast- and bottle fed babies somewhere between 4- and 7-months old, depending on the baby. Keep in mind, your breast-feeding baby may still wake once or twice during the night.

Sleep, Eating and Age

Even though you may feel exhausted at your newborn's nightly wakings, don't expect to sleep train her right off the bat. Babies digest breast milk faster than formula, meaning that that a breast-fed newborn will need to eat every two to three hours. Babies on forumula will typically need to eat every three to four hours in comparison, according to HealthyChildren.org. As your baby grows and reaches 3 months old, she may sleep for eight to nine hours at night. This allows you to breast-feed her during the day and keep nightly meals to a minimum.

Sleep and Stimulation

Looking into his eyes and talking to him as he nurses at night may make sleep training difficult at best. Instead of letting your baby cry it out when he wakes for a night-time nursing, respond in a quick and quiet way, suggests KidsHealth in the article "All About Sleep." Avoid stimulating interactions with your baby that will make nursing seem less interesting and dissuade him from feeding at night. You can continue to keep your daylight breast-feeding times interactive and interesting for your infant.

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Your Own Emotions

Sleep training is trying for both you and your baby, especially if you enjoy the close bond that breast-feeding brings It's normal to feel confused or overwhelmed when it comes to deciding how to meet your baby's night-time needs, according to the La Leche League International. Understanding your baby's biological needs — such as a 6-week-old who needs to feed twice a night — can help to ease your anxieties. Knowing what to expect and when can also help you to create a realistic sleep plan.

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