Here is our survival guide to night feeds,
As parents we all have to do this and let’s not shy away from the fact that it’s not always a pleasant experience! The key is to get in to a routine as quick as possible, if baby is feeding regularly i.e. every 4 hours, then work out the time you will be roughly waking up at, accept it and plan for the night.
Remember you can’t force a baby to sleep but you can encourage sleep by providing a relaxing environment and a full tummy.
If you are bottle feeding then take a feed each, don’t try and do it all yourself, and that goes for Dad too. If you are breast feeding then Dad get involved, get up and bring baby to mum, check the nappy and change if needed, take care of all nappy changes through the night.
Dad, mum might be a bit emotional and suffering from a bit of exhaustion the first few weeks after going through birth, so support her, get her a drink, and sit up with her, you are in this together and it will only get easier with both of you there. My number one tip is to go to bed as early as possible, Ralphie usually feeds between 9pm and 10:30pm and once he’s fed and settled we hit the sack, because we know the next feed will be roughly 4 hours later and that’s 4 precious hours of sleep.
Bottle Feeding Essentials
For a successful night feed we recommend the following:
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on your brand of milk, we keep sterilised bottles with cooled, boiled water next to the bed with pots of milk powder ready to make up and heat in the bottle warmer, this isn’t always suitable with all brands of formula.
Infacol worked great for us with Tommy it made winding so much easier, we haven’t needed it with Ralphie yet as he seems to be quite good at bringing up wind. The Slumber Bear is a must have for all bed times, it plays white noise or womb sounds which settles the baby in minutes.
There is nothing worse than having a bright light turned on when you are trying to wake up and look after your little one, a lamp with an energy saving bulb will gradually get brighter as it warms up, allowing your eyes and your body time to adjust .
Breast Feeding Essentials
While breast feeding is the most natural thing in the world it’s not the easiest thing for you and your baby to get used to, but you will learn together how rewarding it can be. Support is key, as is getting the right information from the right people. You might hear stories from other parents that their bottle fed baby is sleeping for 6-8 hours a night and your little one is only doing 2-3, this is because formula milk is harder to digest than breast milk so it lies heavier on the stomach so they stay settled for longer, while some decide to move to formula after a couple of weeks, the majority of women that decide to carry on breast feeding will agree that the positive side of breast feeding makes up for a few extra night feeds.
But as we know from experience breast feeding isn’t for every mum or baby, and it all boils down to what is best for you both. But this article isn’t about weighing up the pros and cons of bottle and breast, it is about helping you get through the night feeds however you decide to feed.
As metioned above Dads should help and support mum while breast feeding, get up and get your child, change and comfort hem until mum is ready to feed.
Some other tips that we have used or have been advised of
You will find out what is best for you and your child once you get in to a routine and your little one will let you know what works for them.
A few last points to remember,
Dont be afraid to ask for help,
Do try and get into a routine,
Don’t let your little one fall asleep in your bed,
and definitely don’t fall asleep with them on you or in the your bed, if you feel like you are nodding put them back in their bed or ask you partner to take over the feed if they can.
I hope this helps you and your family get a better night’s sleep and please remember this is just a guide, any advice given is from personal experience, what works for us may or may not work for you.