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Breast Feeding

Can breastfeeding cause insomnia?

08/20/2004

Question:

My daughter has slept through the night since she was 2 months old. However I have experienced insomnia since her birth, in spite of being a very good sleeper prior to that. I`ve maintained a normal schedule, exercise, eat well, avoid caffeine, etc. I don`t feel anxious or stressed. The insomnia was worst during the first 6-7 months or so. After that, my daughter was on regular solid meals, nursed less, and I began having a menstrual cycle again. Every month I had improved sleep. For the past 3 months or so I have slept very well, averaging 7 hours/night. My daughter has been nursing only 4x/day for about 4 or 5 months, which seems to mirror this improvement. She is now 13 months old. Suddenly one week ago I had the insomnia begin abruptly and strongly again. I have been getting only about 4 hours/night and have trouble BOTH falling asleep and maintaining sleep after 3am (same problem as before). I have had no disruptions or changes in my schedule/household. I`m ready to begin weaning. Will this help? (Until now, my daughter was not yet accepting whole cow`s milk.) What goes on hormonally when a woman breastfeeds, and why would I have such an awfully abrupt setback? Most importantly, will this go away as I gradually wean her?

Answer:

I have not been able to find any information in the literature regarding insomnia and breastfeeding.

If you are having difficulty with insomnia you need to consult your personal health care provider. Be sure to let them know that you are breastfeeding.

For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Tina   Weitkamp, RNC, MSN Tina Weitkamp, RNC, MSN
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati