New moms are often given this advice: if you want your baby to sleep through the night, give her formula instead of breast milk. What's the reasoning? Lots of moms think that since formula is thicker than breast milk, it fills tummies up and not only helps babies sleep better, but also helps moms to get more sleep as well.
In the study that discovered this, West Virginia University researchers asked 80 moms of babies two to three months old to keep sleep diaries and wear watch-like devices that measured nighttime sleep. The researchers ulimately didn't see a difference in the amount or quality of sleep of mothers who were exclusively breastfeeding, exclusively formula feeding, or using a combination of the two. In addition, the results showed no differences in daytime sleepiness or fatigue.
So what does this mean for mamas? Researchers hope new moms who want to formula feed their babies will consider breastfeeding too. Hawley E. Montgomery-Downs, the study's lead researcher and assistant professor of psychology at West Virginia University, urges that breast milk is just too good to pass up: "The benefits for mom and baby are unequivocal. Yes, they are exhausted, but getting better sleep can't be used as a reason not to breastfeed."