In our continuing series on newborn baby sleep myths. We come across number two; Feeding your newborn formula will help them sleep better. Whether this is coming from a friend or family member, as well-intentioned as they may be feeding a newborn formula, when they are usually breastfed can not only be a bad idea, but may cause other damaging repercussions down the road.
Now this entry is not to persuade anyone to breastfeed or make anyone feel less of a mom if they have chosen or don’t have any alternatives, but to formula-feed, but it is entirely used to debunk the myth that formula-fed babies sleep better then breastfed babies. Yes, formula may take longer for our little ones to digest, but there are just as many babies that have issues sleeping that are formula-fed than our breastfed.
Studies (Cubero et al 2007) have shown that at night our breast milk actually has sleep-inducing properties, called tryptophan, an amino acid that is used by the body to produce melatonin (the sleepy hormone) that cannot be recreated in formula, which in turn actually helps our newborns get to sleep quicker and sleep longer.
Also switching a baby from breast milk to formula in the first eight weeks on a whim may cause you to actually lose sleep or get no sleep at all. As in doing this it may cause other issues as well; including but not limited to nipple confusion, supply issues, and/or upset your baby’s sensitive stomachs,
Although if you believe that your baby is still hungry and in turn not sleeping well, first ensure you are swaddling, that the baby is not over-tired, and that the baby’s sleep environment is dark. After this, if you are still worried I would suggest seeing a pediatrician, lactation consultant, or a La Leche League (LLL) supporter about help with breastfeeding. As things like tongue ties, incorrect latch, or low supply could mean your little one is not getting enough milk and is still hungry.
At the end of the day, just hang in there a bit, as at around twelve weeks whether your baby is breastfed or formula fed they should be sleeping for longer stretches. (10pm-5am)