Do Formula Fed Babies Sleep Longer?

sleeping baby fed well

Do Formula Fed Babies Sleep Longer At Night?

The amount of sleep in formula fed and breastfed babies are usually the same.

Formula feeding and breastfeeding are different ways to ensure your baby gets the right nutrients to help them thrive. There are many questions surrounding both methods of feeding, one of which is about sleeping.

Whilst how you choose to feed your baby is a personal choice, it is always good to know the facts so you can make an informed decision.

Here’s some information about what you feed your baby, and how it could affect baby sleep:

It’s All In The Digestion of The Milk

In those first important 3 months when a baby is truly newborn if they are formula fed it is expected they will sleep more. This includes napping more, waking up less through the night and sleeping in general for longer periods of time overall. This is in comparison to breastfed babies.

This is because formula food requires more energy on the baby’s part to be digested and absorbed.

Breast milk is perfectly designed by the mother’s body to be absorbed by baby easily, which is why it takes less energy for them to digest.

Every single baby has a different sleeping pattern, regardless of what they are fed. Even if you do compare, breastfed and bottle fed babies will likely get around the same overall amount of sleep.

Formula fed babies may sleep for longer stretches as they use up energy digesting. Breastfeeding babies may wake up more often as their body digests food quickly.

However, this can be affected by feeding routines such as snacking in the day, and feeding baby when they are tired which can hinder their ability to take a full feed.

Feed, play, sleep is a really good method for parents to follow regardless of breastfeeding or formula feeding as it follows the fact that babies have more energy to take a full feed when they wake up than they do when they are sleepy.

Overall it is thought to encourage full feeds and better quality of sleep in infants.

 

After 9 months, sleeping habit differences will minimise and go away completely anyway.

Most experts agree that breastfeeding is the preferred method for any parent to feed their child.

This is because a mother’s body naturally creates the perfect milk to nourish her child. Ideally every mum will be able to breastfeed the baby for a while at least.

So, most experts are likely to agree bottle feeding a baby just so they sleep better is not a good idea.

However, the best method of feeding a baby is a personal decision for you to make. If a variety of factors mean bottle feeding is the best choice, then sleeping more through the night should be something you expect your baby to do as a result.

If you are concerned at all that your baby is sleeping too much or not enough, or you want advice on formula or breastfeeding, you should speak to your midwife and healthcare provider.

They can help advise you on the best approach to keeping your child happy and healthy as they grow.

 

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Our Experts

Our Expert

Jane Cooke - Baby Sleep Expert