Whether you are breast feeding, feeding formula food or doing a combination of both, the impact of night feeding is same on your sleep pattern, a recent research by West Virginia University shows.

The study authored by Hawley Montgomery-Downs, an assistant professor of psychology and coordinator of the behavioral neuroscience program at the University found that most new mothers had same amount of sleep time at night whether they were breast-feeding or formula-feeding.

The study published online in the journal Pediatrics breaks the myth that breast feeding disturbs a mother’s sleep at night, and that there is no real correlation between how a baby is fed at night and a mother’s sleep. The research also shows that mothers who breast feed are able to go back to sleep faster than mothers who formula fed, and actually have better quality of sleep at night.

The study used 80 women out of which 27 women breast-fed exclusively for at least 12 weeks, 18 who exclusively formula-fed for at least 12 weeks and 35 who used both methods of feeding. These women were asked to keep a sleep diary and report their quality of sleep during the night and had devices to measure their nighttime sleep. According to Montgomery-Downs the results showed that there were no significant differences in sleep between the three groups of women.

Most often new moms use the rationale that since breast milk is easily digested and the baby wakes up more often, formula feeding will keep a baby sated for longer at night so they wean their babies off faster. However the study shows that that is not the case. Montgomery-Downs states that this study will help new mothers adopt the healthier route since breastfeeding is good for both mother and child.

She agrees that lack of sleep for new mothers can be detrimental to physical and mental health in the initial months post-delivery that is why many women try to wean off their babies faster.

Further sleep expert at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City says that it is not a good idea to go with the old thinking that you'll sleep better if you formula-feed. The first few months are tough no matter what feeding method a mother uses. However the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast-feeding since it is good for both mother and child. So Montgomery-Downs suggests that a new mom can schedule the feeding, and expressing breast milk in a bottle which can be given by the other parent so that a new mom can get a more consolidated sleep.