Good associations from the start – World Breastfeeding Week – 1-7th August 2018

The theme of this years World Breastfeeding Week is to inform people about the links between good nutrition, food security, poverty reduction and breastfeeding. Following on from this (more relevant in the developed world) having a well-slept workforce may also reduce poverty and increase wellbeing, through improved mental and physical health.

Breastfeeding is a essential skill for a mum and baby to learn for nutrition, comfort and baby’s development- therefore there is plenty of help and support available to new mums and babies. It is recognized by most people as something that needs to be learnt and practiced.  So why is it a surprise that babies need to be helped with another essential skill – learning to sleep?

Perhaps it because it may be emotionally harder for a breastfeeding mummy resettle her baby without the go-to method of comfort which is breastfeeding? But breastfeeding does not automatically mean no sleep for mum.

The study discussed in my previous blog talked about the length of time a baby may cry for before settling themselves ( The babies in this study were all breastfed – showing that a breastfed baby is just as likely to sleep for longer stretches at night as a formula fed baby.

Here are some tips for teaching your young baby to sleep well as they grow bigger.

Show your baby the difference between night and day – walks outside in the afternoon perhaps and darkness and dim lights at night.

Make sure they are calm enough to sleep.

Introduce positive sleep associations – for example a story or familiar words, a comfort toy or an item of clothing with mum’s smell on it.

Temperature – not too warm and not too cold – bare feet help a baby cool themselves and coolness helps melatonin release.

Place your baby down to sleep when they are showing tiredness cues.

Have predictable routines in the day and a short bedtime routine.

Don’t respond too quickly if your baby cries (remember the 1 minute 6 seconds from last week?). Some babies need to generate their own ‘white noise” to settle themselves.

See for more information.