Breast or Bottle Feeding? No Difference: Moms Are Equally Tired

Filed under: Babies, Breast-Feeding

bottle feeding picture

Bottle feeding or breast-feeding, you're wiped out. Credit: Getty Images

It's either good news or bad news, depending on your perspective: A new study shows that breast-feeding and bottle feeding mothers are equally exhausted.

Breast-fed babies are reported to wake up more frequently than formula-fed babies, an article in the journal Pediatrics asserts. But what does that mean for nursing mothers -- are they more sleep deprived than their formula-feeding counterparts?

To find out, the researchers interviewed 80 new mothers, and divided them into three groups: Those who fed breast milk exclusively, those who fed formula exclusively and those who used a combination of the two, the article says. They then monitored the mothers' sleep and had them keep sleep diaries, which recorded their nighttime sleeping as well as how sleepy or fatigued they felt during the day.

For the most part, the sleep monitors showed that mothers got roughly the same amount of sleep regardless of their feeding habits, although their sleep diaries indicated that the nursing mothers thought they woke up more at night, the article says. The mothers reported feeling equally tired during the day.

How much a new mother sleeps matters, not only for her well-being, but for that of her baby as well. Studies have shown that improvements in an infant's sleep can help lessen a mother's depression, the article says. Maternal depression can have a negative impact on parent-child interaction, emotional and cognitive outcomes, the ability to thrive and behavior, the article states.

The authors conclude that, since "the cumulative evidence supporting the benefits of breast-feeding is so significant," new mothers should be told that choosing formula doesn't mean they will get more sleep.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.