You have been pregnant for 9 long months and were probably up for many of those nights. Pregnancy can be rather uncomfortable at times with your constantly changing and growing body.
Once you give birth and your precious baby has arrived…you still have quite a few sleepless nights ahead of you. Even if you are one of the very lucky ones with a baby who loves to sleep, you will still have some night feedings ahead of you.
Night feeding your baby can be a challenge for many parents. Many times parents focus on how to get their baby to sleep, but forget to research and plan for the night feedings ahead. Which is easily understood as parenthood is filled with so many new things and unknowns.
We have put together a helpful guide to make night feedings easier so that you can hopefully get more sleep in between!
Every Baby is Different
Keep in mind that every baby is different. Each baby seems to develop their own feeding schedule, but most newborns will follow the typical schedule of feeding every two – three hours. This is especially the case if you are breastfeeding as breast milk digests quickly. Some babies may also want to sleep through feedings, so during the first few weeks it is especially important to wake them up to keep their bellies full and happy.
At some point your baby will begin to stop feeding throughout the night. However, this is not usually the case until they are four – six months old. This depends on their weight and development, so it will differ between babies.
Make the Room Comfortable
This will help to make the entire process easier for both you and baby. You will want to find a comfortable place to sit while you feed them. This could be a couch, recliner, or a soft chair. Most moms love having a place to put their feet up and relax!
Right next to your chair, put together a feeding station. This could be a table or a rolling cart filled with all of the things that you will want or need. This is especially helpful if you are breastfeeding or pumping. The feeding station will look a little different for everyone, depending on if you are nursing, pumping, or formula feeding.
If you are breastfeeding or pumping, you will want nursing pads, nipple cream, water, and some snacks nearby. If you are pumping it will help to have your pump, all of the accessories, and extra milk storage bottles or bags. For formula feeding moms you may want to have a bottle warmer and extra formula nearby. Everyone will want to have burp cloths, your phone or a good book to help pass the time.
Keep the lighting around you very low as this will help to encourage the baby to stay sleepy. You want just enough light to see what you are doing, but so that the baby knows that it is not playtime.
Routine is Key
When it comes to babies, routines are a lifesaver! Once you develop a routine and nighttime feedings will become much easier. It will help you to stay relaxed and less alert by having everything where you expect and by doing the same thing every night. This will help falling back asleep be much easier.
Use this Time to Relax
Try to use this time as a relaxing time with your baby. Do not look at the clock and countdown the minutes until you can go back to sleep. This will not help make the feeding go any quicker and can really get to you after a while.
If you are an over thinker, you may want to play some light music to help keep you awake enough to feed the baby but in a relaxed state.
Easy Nighttime Clothes
While you do not always need to change your baby’s diaper at every feeding, it does help if you dress them in a night outfit that allows you to easily reach their diaper. Sleep sacks, swaddles with leg openings, and pant suits that zip open around the diapers will help to allow you easy access to change the diaper but hopefully not wake the baby up while doing so.
Try to avoid eye contact as this will help tell your baby that it is not time to wake up and play.
Have everything ready and nearby so that you can the change can go quick and easy. It is best to have it all within arms reach.
Patience is key when it comes to newborn life, especially if you are a first time mom. It will take some time to develop a routine that works for your family. Once you figure out what works for you, things will get easier and your household will run a little smoother.