Surviving those late night feedings with a newborn can be hard, really hard at first. I want to share some tips with you to help make those late night feedings a little bit easier for you. If you are in the newborn stage, you know how exhausting it can be. Everyone would warn saying how tired you will be, but until you experience it first hand I am not sure you understand that level of exhaustion!
Let me just say if you are currently in the newborn stage and absolutely exhausted, tears rolling down your face, I want you to know it gets easier. You eventually adapt, your baby will begin to sleep longer stretches, and you find more relief. Hang in there, I promise it gets easier. These tips below will help you get through the newborn late night feedings!
Newborn Late Night Feeding Survival Tips
Prep Before Bed
Make sure that each day or night before you all go to sleep, you prep as much as possible! Make sure that if you are using formula, pre-measured water, so all you have to do is add formula and mix. Don’t overfeed your baby as newborn’s stomach is only 5mL (the size of a cherry). If breastfeeding, have all your essentials handy. Have your diapers and an extra set of clothes (in-case of accident) handy for changing. Have a glass of water for you and even a snack handy for those late night feedings.
Wear clothes that are breastfeeding friendly. Have an oversized shirt that you can easily pull up or a dress or even a robe, whatever you prefer. If you feed in a recliner, make sure you are comfy. Have a breastfeeding pillow, drink, snack and essentials handy, like I posted above. Make sure you are comfy as well. Whether you feed your baby in your bed, living room, a rocker, the choice is yours!
Naps During Day
If possible try to take a nap or two during the day. Yes, your home might need a little cleaning, but make sure you have the energy to keep getting up around the clock to feed your little one, requires you to get your zzz’s. Try and nap when your baby naps, and then on another nap tackle some of your to-do list. No one is truly going to care if your dishes aren’t washed and the laundry isn’t folded. They know the newborn stage is hard, and they probably come to hold your sweetie not judge your house.
If you are not sure what a cluster feeding is, it is referring to a bunch of feedings, closer together, to try and let your baby go longer in between feedings later in the night. So say you lay your baby down at 9 o’clock. Then at 7,8, and 9 o’clock you would feed your baby. This can help your baby sleep longer through the night, and give you a longer first stretch of sleep. Moms generally switch breast, to ensure each feeding they are getting more than the foremilk. If the baby only gets foremilk, it will leave them hungrier, and the cluster feedings won’t work, and you could be up all night long.
Burp Your Baby
Make sure even at night you are burping your baby after each feeding. Air can get trapped in their stomach and lead them to feel uncomfortable, and leads to tears and be waking up sooner. Try to limit the burping time, not to wake the baby, but to try and relieve any gas that might be building up.
If your significant other offers to help in the night, let them. If you breastfeed pump and let them bottle feed. Or let them handle changing the diaper, and soothing baby back to sleep after the feeding. Do whatever works for you, but don’t say no to help. This can really be a lifesaver for moms and dads. It is hard if you are doing it all by yourself.
It Won’t Last Forever
Final note, just know when you are feeling frazzled, exhausted beyond words, know that it won’t last forever. It may feel like it in the moment, but the newborn stage will come and go, and soon your little one won’t require around the clock feedings.
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Wife and mother of twins. Founder of Pride & Joy Baby Planners and The Expecting Mamas Network.