LOS ANGELES (CBS) — New evidence suggests breastfeeding is best even for exhausted mothers. According to new research, breastfeeding moms get just as much sleep as those who use formula and breastfeeding has other benefits as well.
Doctors hope the results will encourage more women to breast feed, which has been shown to offer health advantages for mothers and babies.
New mom Julia O’Brien isn’t sleeping much these days. She is nursing her one-month-old son, Liam, around the clock.
“I usually try to go to bed around 10 and then he usually needs to be fed around 11:30 or 12 and then he eats again around 2 or 3 and then again around 5 or 6,” O’Brien said laughingly.
Because of that demanding schedule many new moms choose formula instead. With bottle feeding, dad can help out overnight, plus some people believe formula-fed babies sleep better.
But a new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics says mom won’t get more sleep using formula. Researchers had 80 news moms wear sleep monitors. They found all new mothers got the same amount of sleep and were equally exhausted.
“The point that we can now tell mothers is if you want to give up on breastfeeding because you think your baby is going to sleep longer or you’ll be less tired, that’s not true,” said Doctor Stephen Turner, the Chairman of Pediatrics at Long Island College Hospital.
Doctor Stephen Turner says breast fed babies have a lower risk of obesity and allergies. They also do better on IQ tests and are generally healthier.
“Breast-fed babies are less sick, they’re getting antibodies in the breast milk; it helps protect them from illness,” Turner said.
For Julia the study reinforces her choice.
“It’s wonderful to be able to bond with him and I think it has made the transition into motherhood a lot easier,” O’Brien said.
There is also an added benefit for breastfeeding moms — they tend to lose their baby weight faster.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that newborns get breast milk only for the first six months and they should receive at least some breast milk through the first year.