7 Ways to Stay Awake During Middle of the Night Nursing Sessions

Happy mother breast feeding her baby infant. Sleeping together
Image via dollarphotoclub.com

Nursing mamas, let's get real for a second: the ability to feed your baby by pulling out a boob is pretty convenient, but there's one part that always throws me for a loop: the middle-of-the-night feed. Simply put: getting up to breastfeed in the middle of the night is kind of a drag. Sleeping when you have little ones is highly coveted, so waking up to a crying and hungry baby puts a slight damper on that glorious sleep.

I'm no stranger to the MOTN nursing session; I breastfed my first daughter for 16 months, and I'm currently exclusively breastfeeding my six-month-old baby. I'm not a whiz at math, but I know that combined, that's almost two years of being awake a whole heck of a lot in the middle of the night.

During those early newborn days, especially if you have a baby who likes to nurse forever, staying awake when the rest of the house is fast asleep can be extremely difficult. Sometimes I even have to turn on a light just to keep myself awake, while my precious little one sleeps on the boob, gulping down her midnight (and 2 am, and 4 am) snack in her “dream feed.” (And don't worry, there are plenty of times when she comes into bed with us and I catch some zzz's while nursing her–gotta love the side-laying position!)

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I have some tricks up my sleeve that may help you keep your eyes wide open when all they'd rather do is close and go back to sleep.

Here are 7 Ways to Stay Awake During Middle of the Night Nursing Sessions:


Read a Book. It's no secret that moms have very little time to themselves once little ones come around, but one of the things I've missed from my kid-less days is reading. I have a Kindle app on my phone, and during each MOTN feed I pick up right where I've left off. Since the beginning of this year I've already read a dozen books with this method! The books I'm reading aren't super complicated, but they're fun, easy reads that help keep me awake long enough to nurse the baby. The bonus part to this is that I recently joined a book club; so nursing in the middle of the night is essentially helping me make friends! Win/win.

Clean Out Your Phone Book. In this day and age, it's probably safe to say that your Rolodex is now stored on your phone, and if you're anything like me, you have dozens of numbers stored on there you probably don't need in there anymore. It's also extremely safe to say that you really don't have time in your day-to-day life to do something as mundane as looking through your list of contacts for people to delete. Well, now that you're up at oh-dark-thirty, you have plenty of time on your hands to take care of business.

Play a Game. Nothing can make you doze-off faster than being bored and sleepy. Put that brain to work by playing a game on your phone. Words with Friends, Scrabble, or even that matching game you have on there for your toddler … anything that will make you think. I play games against friends, and you'd be surprised how many other moms are up right around the same time you are. Just don't be surprised if your baby finishes eating and you're still awake trying to get through just one more round.

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Edit Those Pictures. I typically don't have time to post pictures during the day since I snap around a million photos on my phone just to get that one decent picture of my girls. When I'm breastfeeding I have some extra downtime to scroll through all my pictures, find the ones I like, and get them up on social media or into an email for the grandparents.

remote control in the dark
Image via iStock

Binge Watch TV. My first daughter was a marathon nurser, meaning she paced herself and was in it for the long haul for each feed. Thankfully, we had a subscription to Netflix, so I binge watched shows in the middle of the night. Consider this an opportunity to catch up on all those shows you've been meaning to watch someday.

Get Some Food and Pour a Drink. Drinking water is essential to keeping up a good milk supply, so pour a tall glass of water (or keep a water bottle handy on your nightstand), to drink while nursing. During the early days when I was still establishing my supply (and ravenous any time I nursed), I even made some “booby bites” and kept several on my nightstand so I could tame my rumbling tummy during a MOTN feed.

Get Out of Bed. If you're not keen on cosleeping, and don't want to risk falling asleep with the baby in your bed, get out of your bed and feed her in another room. The act of getting out of bed and walking somewhere else will help wake you up–then use one of the tips above to stay awake.

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I'd love to hear how you stay awake during middle-of-the-night nursing sessions!

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7 Ways to Stay Awake During Middle of the Night Nursing Sessions

Jessica Lynn is days away from popping out her second child—another girl—and is counting down the minutes until she can bend enough to tie her own shoes again. When she’s not dreaming of drinking wine again, she’s trying to keep up with her active almost-two-year-old daughter. She’s an accidental southern girl living in Georgia, thanks to the military; her husband just returned from his sixth deployment, and she’s extremely happy to have him back home in time for the birth. Jessica's ... More

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