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5 Secret Perks of Breastfeeding in the Middle of the Night

Photograph by Twenty20

What's that?

Oh, it's just my 1 a.m. wake-up call: Baby wants to nurse... again! So, naturally, once morning arrives I’m completely exhausted. That's just motherhood, right?

For six years now I haven’t slept through the night thanks to my three little ones. Tossing and turning throughout pregnancy and then nursing each of my babies—all who have liked to eat off and on throughout the night—has left me with less and less sleep over the years. Even on the nights my youngest does sleep longer than normal, I wake up with full, leaking breasts ready for him to eat.

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But, nursing at night isn’t all bad. While it's definitely rough, there are some perks of mid-night feeds. So rather than moan and groan while pouring another cup of coffee each morning, I’ve decided to focus on the silver lining. Isn’t that what motherhood is all about anyways? Taking the hard stuff and putting a glittery spin on it?

So, with that dash of glitter, may I present the perks of middle of the night breastfeeding:

Sweet Snuggles

Nothing—absolutely nothing—beats the cozy embrace of a milk drunk baby. When I look at my bright and brilliant 6-year-old daughter I can still close my eyes and see the street light shining on her sleepy little self after a middle of the night nursing session years ago. We’d rock and I’d hum and even though I was beyond tired, I’d sit in the glider just a little longer after she fell asleep, amazed that she was mine. I'll always remember our peaceful snuggles in the wee hours of the night.

You always have the good ol' “My baby doesn’t sleep well” to fall back on.

Boobs Full of Milk

Breastfeeding frequently cues milk supply to stay strong and consistent. This won’t be the story for every mom, but for myself, nursing throughout the night not only establishes a hearty milk supply, it keeps it around for years.

Burning Those Calories

Night nursing means Baby gets more calories and Mom burns more calories. That’s a win-win, if you ask me!

The Delay of Aunt Flo

Some research has shown that night nursing will slow the return of a mom’s menstrual cycle and thus, her fertility. Case in point, when I compare all three of my breastfeeding experiences, my child who nursed more frequently in a 24-hour period resulted in my period returning at 17 months postpartum. My child who slept for longer stretches throughout the night resulted in my period starting at 7 months postpartum. So who knows if there's any truth to that, but I'll definitely take it!

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There's Always an Excuse

Feeling forgetful? Looking tired? You always have the good ol' “My baby doesn’t sleep well” to fall back on. I’ve been using it for years and its saved my me more times than I can count!

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