Breastfeeding, whether you were a natural or fought hard to become one, is a journey on its own – yet of course linked with sleep and this link will change with time. Demand-feeding a newborn is normal and natural, so is feeding your newborn to sleep. Their circadian rhythm is not yet developed and they digest breast milk much faster than formula milk, so they really need those frequent nursing sessions, also at night.
But hang in there mama!
Even after the so called “4th trimester” breastfeeding on demand can absolutely be your choice (though for me personally the more scheduled approach was one of the reasons my own – in total 3.5 year long – breastfeeding journey was so successful). The key thing is whether your older baby associates sleeping directly with feeding – or anything else that involves your active help. As long as after 4 months (adjusted age) your baby does not fully depend on feeding to fall asleep, the road to more consolidated, restorative sleep is open for every baby, both breastfed and formula-fed. You guessed right – this is where I can help.
Just to be clear – if anyone breastfeeds to sleep their older baby and it works for them, you all sleep well, then great! But it if doesn’t and you’re considering ending breastfeeding solely because of that – please do know it doesn’t have to end this way. To breastfeed or to sleep? That’s just not the right question.