Breastfeeding a baby usually involves an ebb and flow of milk supply as your baby consumes the milk and your body makes more. Milk supply responds to a variety of factors, so there may be times when you notice that you seem to produce less milk during the nighttime hours.
Supply and Demand
Breastfeeding has a natural supply-and-demand design that corresponds directly between the way a baby breastfeeds and the amount of milk a mother’s body makes, states the American Academy of Pediatrics HealthyChildren.org website. The more your baby breastfeeds, the more milk you will have for him to drink. Suckling has a direct impact on milk production because the nerves in the breast send a message to the brain, which stimulates milk production.
Baby’s Sleep Schedule
Your baby’s sleep schedule can have an impact on your milk supply, according the Children’s Physician Network. When a baby begins sleeping six or more hours without waking to breastfeed, you may notice a reduction in your milk supply. During the first few weeks after birth, do not allow your baby to sleep longer than four hours, counsels the Mayo Clinic website. Ask your physician for specific recommendations about waking your baby to breastfeed.
Infants may initiate frequent breastfeeding behavior in the evenings, known as “cluster feeding,” according to international board certified lactation consultant Kelly Bonyata, with the KellyMom website. Cluster feeding involves a baby breastfeeding every hour or more frequently for about four hours in the evenings. A breastfeeding mother may have little milk at the end of a cluster feeding session. Often a baby will have a long sleep stretch after cluster feeding, which will enable the mother’s body to produce more milk for the next feeding.
Increasing Milk Supply
If you do not sufficient milk during night hours, you might try to increase your milk supply. Breastfeed every two hours during the daytime hours, advises the Ask Dr. Sears website. Lengthen breastfeeding sessions to ensure that breasts receive adequate stimulation. Increase your water consumption to help increase milk supply. Avoid giving your baby pacifiers and bottles, instead allowing your little one to suck and breastfeed as often as she desires. Rest as much as possible to enable your body to focus on making more milk.