Hi I’m Chantal Murphy from Baby Sleep Magic and here’s my advice on how to do a night feed the right way. Whilst it’s completely normal for your newborn to wake every few hours during the night to be fed. To help him differentiate between night and day, it’s a good idea to follow a simple set of rules to help night feeds. You should be as calm as possible for you both.
Here are a few tips from a baby sleep expert you can use during this time to help encourage the feed to be for nutritional purposes rather than a sleep association:
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Help Encourage A Night Feed With These Tips:
Keep your baby awake: Try and keep your baby awake during the feed. This will not only help to ensure that they take as much as they need. They are more efficient at the feed. It will also allow you to place them back in bed at the end of the feed awake to encourage self-soothing skills.
Keep it dark: Dim the lights when feeding. Only use as much light as it is necessary for you to see. This will help you get around without bumping into anything and hurting you or your baby. This helps to keep your melatonin levels high (a sleepy hormone produced in our bodies to allow us to sleep) Which is key for getting back to sleep quickly after offering a feed.
Don’t interact: Try not to talk and play or have too much eye contact with your little one during a night waking or feed. This will not only mean less stimulation and an easier transition back to sleep. Once the feed is finished but will also help them to understand that nighttime is not playtime.
Don’t feed unless necessary: Don’t bounce up and offer a feed soon as you hear your baby stir or make some noise. Babies are very noisy, this is normal, so if your newborn doesn’t ask to be fed. Try and leave him to wake himself up when he’s hungry. This tends to be every three to four hours overnight.
Be organized: If you are bottle feeding, try and have everything you need to be organized before getting your baby up or heading into the bedroom for the feed. This will keep stimulation to a minimum.
Nappy change: Try and see if you can change your bub’s nappy before the feed. It will mean they are less likely to connect waking and crying to feeding.