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Natural Ways To Support Breastfeeding: Sleep Deprivation

In the first part of our Natural Ways to Support Breastfeeding series, we began exploring some of the issues that moms commonly encounter while breastfeeding. Supply issues, stress, and anxiety are just the beginning of the struggles that nursing moms face.  We’re juggling hungry baby, clingy kids, sometimes messy house and moms are expected to keep it all together. It is no wonder that this can all be very overwhelming. 

Mama’s Tired!

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Ask any mom what she needs, she’s probably going to tell you that she could use more energy. Unfortunately, energy is often in short supply because babies don’t sleep. That phrase, “slept like a baby”? Lies. Blatant lies.  

Everyone knows that moms generally stop sleeping before the baby even arrives. Over the next few years, it can be difficult to get a decent night of sleep. Have you ever seen those #Momlife shirts and wondered what they meant? This. They mean this. Little to no sleep and wondering when you showered last. The struggle is real, especially when you’re breastfeeding and baby wants to nurse ALL. NIGHT. LONG.  Raise your hand if you’ve been there. 

Breastfeeding Through the Night

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It is common for breastfeeding babies to not sleep through the night. If you’re one of those moms that had a perfect breastfed baby that slept through the night at two months, count yourself very lucky. Like adults, babies are individuals and they will reach developmental milestones, such as sleeping through the night, at different ages. In fact, in one study parents were polled about the sleeping habits of their babies. The results showed that nearly 50% of babies participating in the study still woke at night and needed parental intervention to return to sleep, even at 12 months of age. Additionally, another study indicated that 84% of babies were not sleeping through the night at 6 months of age. [1]

This interruption of sleep is developmentally normal for baby but could disrupt sleep patterns for the entire household. This leads to cranky mom, cranky baby, and sometimes, cranky siblings.

Rather than diffusing for baby, who is developmentally on track with their sleep, moms can benefit from using a personal inhaler with energizing oils through the day to give themselves a much-needed boost.  Mom could also use relaxing oils that would help her get back to sleep quickly once her sleep has been interrupted. 

Boost of Energy

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Energy-boosting essential oils that are safe for use during breastfeeding include Spearmint, Grapefruit, Orange Sweet, and Lemon, to name just a few. 

Oils such as Cedarwood Virginian, Blue Tansy, Lavender, and Vetiver can help relax and encourage a peaceful night of sleep. The next time you’re needing to wake up (or go back to sleep!) why not give a personal inhaler a try? Here are two favorite blends to put some pep in my step or help me get the zzz’s I need!.  

Banish the Mombie Inhaler Blend

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What you’ll need:

What you’ll do:

Add essential oils to a personal inhaler and use whenever an energy boost is needed.

Catching Zzzs Inhaler Blend

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What you’ll need:

What you’ll do:

Add essential oils to a personal aromatherapy inhaler and use before sleep to help the body and mind relax.

Even Supermom Needs a Break!


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Breastfeeding moms often struggle with feeling “touched out.” It’s a term used to describe how moms feel when they can’t stand the thought of a hug, touch, or cuddle. Forget intimacy as well. Sometimes, all mom wants is to feel like her own person. This feeling usually is followed by feelings of guilt. Rest assured, you have nothing to feel guilty about and feeling touched out is completely normal! [2]

It is really important that moms find time for themselves. I know, preaching to the choir. It can be incredibly difficult to find time for ourselves but it is very important. Essential oils are a great go-to for self-care because they can naturally encourage a person to slow down and breathe to enjoy the benefits. 

Breathe, Just Breathe

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Deep breathing exercises are beneficial for overall health and wellness. These types of exercises can help reduce stress, support the immune system and improve other natural functions of the body.  Practices such as Meditation, Yoga, and Tai Chi are among some of the few that teach focused breathing. And if you have time for it, they would be a great exercise to couple with aromatherapy.  [3, 4]

The use of a personal essential oil inhaler is a wonderful way to refocus and revitalize. They’re also super easy to use! When feeling stressed or touched out, take a few moments to breathe deeply. Using a  calming, relaxing oil can help bring mom back to the present and feel less agitated and bothered. Make sure to check out this blog post for more tips for using personal inhalers! 

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Some of the essential oils that can help calm those feelings of irritability or provide an uplifting atmosphere are Lavender, Cypress, Chamomile Roman, Lemon, Bergamot, Orange Sweet, or Neroli.

Because this issue can also cause intimacy problems, the above oils and techniques may also be helpful in that area as well. A 1% dilution for topical application or diffusion of essential oils such as Bergamot, Clary Sage, or Vetiver could help moms feel more relaxed so they can enjoy intimacy with their partner. 

The most important thing is to remember to take time for yourself. Even if the only time you can find is a quick second to close your eyes and breathe deeply from your personal aromatherapy inhaler. 

Don’t Forget to Breathe Inhaler Blend

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What you’ll need:

What you’ll do:

Add the essential oils to a personal aromatherapy inhaler and use whenever you need a moment to yourself.

Need more help and suggestions? Feel free to email our aromatherapists at [email protected] or check out our Safe Essential Oil Recipes group on Facebook for DIY recipes and support! 

SOURCES

  1. Studies on normal infant sleep • KellyMom.com. (2018, January 03). Retrieved from https://kellymom.com/parenting/nighttime/sleepstudies/
  2. “What It Means for a Mom to Feel ‘Touched Out’ & How to Cope.” Parents, www.parents.com/parenting/moms/what-it-means-for-a-mom-to-feel-touched-out-how-to-cope/.
  3. André, Christophe. “Proper Breathing Brings Better Health.” Scientific American, 15 Jan. 2019, www.scientificamerican.com/article/proper-breathing-brings-better-health/.
  4. Harvard Health Publishing. “Relaxation Techniques: Breath Control Helps Quell Errant Stress Response.” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response.