The greatest difficulty of parenting a newborn is often night feedings! Do you agree?
Most parents agree that middle-of-the-night feedings can be really rough!
How to Ease the Burden of Night Feedings
Because it is very important for both breastfeeding mom and young baby to feed during the night, you must accept the fact that night feedings will be your reality for the next few months.
Rather than fighting the fact that you will need to feed your baby at night, decide NOW to equip yourself with some overnight survival tools!
Yes! There are definitely some things that you can do to help ease the burden of night feedings.
If you are struggling with those dreaded night feedings, here are 11 great tips to survive middle-of-the-night feedings that you will love!
1. Rooming In
Not only are night feedings easier if you don’t have to trudge down the hall to get to your crying baby, but research shows that room sharing reduces the risk of SIDS.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends room-sharing (source) as a way to reduce SIDS.
They also recommend having the baby in his own separate space such as a crib or bassinet within the mother’s bedroom, rather than bed-sharing.
Read more about the AAP’s Safe Sleep Practices here.
As part of the “rooming in” discussion, I need to discuss the topic of co-sleeping. Although the AAP does not recommend it, many parents do experiment with co-sleeping or bed-sharing.
This tends to be a pretty controversial issue, and there are parents with pretty strong opinions on both sides of this debate.
Because it is believed that most parents co-sleep at some point, (usually out of desperation) I think it warrants a discussion all it’s own.
If you decide to bed-share, it is important that you learn the importance of safe sleep practices for co-sleeping. There are many IMPORTANT do’s and don’ts to keep in mind before you decide to sleep with your baby.
Make sure that you create a safe sleep environment. Read more about that here.
There are many parents (myself included) who believe that safe co-sleeping is the best way to survive night feedings.
As a new mom, I loved the fact that I didn’t even have to get out of bed during the night!
When my baby started stirring, I simply pulled her in close and “plugged her in”! She nursed while I dozed. When she was done, we both fell back to sleep. No crying. No sleep-loss. Easy peasy!
I respect the fact that some moms just don’t feel safe co-sleeping. They fear that they will roll over on top of their baby or that the baby will fall out of bed or get stuck. They or their partner may also be heavy sleepers.
These are valid concerns! I agree that if you don’t feel completelycomfortable with the decision to co-sleep, then you should consider other options instead! No judgement here!
Bottom line, if you decide to co-sleep, make sure that you do the research and do so safely and with confidence in your decision.
2. Get Organized!
Before you head to bed, take a few minutes to gather up everything for your night-time feedings. It’s no fun fumbling about in the dark looking for things when you are super groggy.
The more organized you are, the faster you can go back to bed. Yeah!
Essential Night Time Feeding Supplies:
- Extra water!
- snacks for mom
- diapers and wipes
- nipple cream
- diaper cream
- extra towels or burp cloths
- night light
- Boppy pillow
- Pre-made bottles for bottle feeding. If you are formula feeding, consider these great milk powder dispensers that make mixing bottles a breeze! These containers also double as a snack cup when your baby is older!
3. Buy a Red Light Bulb or Night Light
When your baby wakes to nurse, keep the room as dark and quiet as possible, to encourage him (and you) to go right back to sleep.
If you need to see what you’re doing to get a good latch, a nightlight or flashlight are better options than turning on a bright light. If you do need light, consider replacing your lamp or night light with a red light bulb.
There is new evidence that red light may not affect melatonin and helps relax and keep everyone in a sleepy state.
I really love this little bear night light! Just push his belly for easy, fast light without the harsh glare of regular light bulbs.
Pro-tip: Get the red one!!
4. Avoid Lights or Cell Phones
Just as red light helps with sleep, we have all probably heard by now that blue light has the opposite effect on sleep.
Resist the urge to look at your phone or check your email during middle-of-the-night feedings!
Not only will blue light disrupt your circadian rhythm, but it will distract and keep your baby awake too. No good. Keep it dark, ladies.
No phones or devices at night!
The goal here is to get as much sleep as possible at night.
5. Do Not Talk or Engage with Baby
Some babies have their days and night mixed up! They need help to understand that nighttime is not playtime.
When your baby wakes to eat at night, make things as boring as possible. ?
Keep the room dark and quiet and try not to talk or engage him. Skip diaper changes. if not necessary.
Close your eyes so you are not tempted to talk or smile at your baby. This will help him fall back to sleep faster.
If your baby has long periods of wake time during the night, check out this post for some ways to help change that.