There is a commonly held idea (with some scant research to back it up) that babies who eat formula sleep longer. But no one has ever looked at how much sleep mom gets with a breastfed baby compared to one who takes formula. And really, isn’t it how well rested mom is that counts?
Researchers in West Virginia decided to do some sleuthing. They took 80 moms and followed them for 12 weeks. Some breast fed exclusively, some bottle fed exclusively, and some did both. They had the moms keep sleep diaries and they wore monitors to measure their sleep. Somewhat surprisingly, they found that there was no real difference in the amount of sleep that mom enjoyed.
At first glance, the results seem a little counterintuitive. If babies sleep longer with formula filled tummies, shouldn’t mom sleep longer too? The authors theorized that breastfeeding moms were able to fall asleep faster. They didn’t have to wake up completely to mix formula, and some of the hormones associated with breastfeeding promote drowsiness in babies, making it easier to get them back to sleep.
However it works, it is one more reason to try and stick with breastfeeding.