I just found this article while searching for other things. It gives considerable evidence that exclusively breastfeeding moms who are co-sleeping get about 40 more minutes of sleep a day. http://www.infantrisk.com/content/nighttime-breastfeeding-and-depression
Apparently there's been a trend to tell moms at risk of depression (or who are depressed) not to breastfeed at night, but to formula feed to get them more sleep. It seems that's a false assumption. I'm really glad no one suggested that to me when I had postpartum depression!
I guess the bottom line is that parents of young infants are indeed sleep deprived and all you can do is minimize it.
Thanks for the article. I'll pass that on to my mom. She does a lot of speaking on post partum depression.
In my experience, of nearly going insane by the 3 month mark, this was completely NOT the case. I don't think you can really generalize. It depends on the individual woman, her sleeping style, the way the baby sleeps and lots of other factors.
I know for a fact it wasn't helpful to hear about how much more sleep I was getting due to bf, because I heard the line plenty of times. Nope, it just made me want to cry.
Well, if you read the study, the sleep difference is 40 minutes on average. That's not huge, but it is enough to say that stopping breastfeeding and starting night bottle feeding won't decrease your risk for postpartum depression, which has been promoted for moms who have (or who are at risk to have) postpartum depression.
Hannah32: What the research doesn't say is that parents will feel well rested. And with everything, there are outliers. My exclusively breastfed 1st child slept 5 hours straight from birth. (I still got PPD, by the way, so it wasn't sleep.) To understand the research you have to realize that they are averaging over a group of parents. Thus, it's not saying that every single mom will get 40 minutes more of sleep. It's saying that as a group, co-sleeping, breastfeeding moms get more sleep. (And for your outlier child, would it have been better if you'd given up breastfeeding and started night bottle feeding?)
The study is a little silly, because it completely ignores the idea that dad could prepare a bottle and let the mom get some uninterrupted chunks of sleep. Seems like the study pretty much pretends that fathers don't exist.
I still haven't figured out if what happened to me was PPD or not, but I do know that lack of sleep deprivation was well into the danger zone. I would have been better off if I hadn't been convinced that using a little formula was to be avoided at all costs.
This is a summary of a number of studies, not just one. And one did, indeed, include dads. The major point of all the studies was that formula feeding at night doesn't get mom more sleep like researchers thought.
It would be interesting to compare the sleep of mothers who have partners who do the bottle feeding at night.