It can be quite a shock to find just how many times a new baby wakes in the night. For infants under six months old, sleeping five straight hours is considered sleeping through the night. However, many babies don’t do this until after the six month mark. This can be frustrating if you have to get up in the morning. The following 10 tips will help minimize the time you spend feeding baby in the night.
Breastfeed your baby at night. Breastfeeding means not having to prepare a bottle. You can comfort and feed baby back to sleep quickly, without a lot of fuss.
- Act quickly
The faster you get to baby when he wakes, the faster he is likely to fall back to sleep. If you get to your baby before he is completely awake, you have a head start. A sleepy baby will likely not take a full bottle or nurse for very long.
Sleep with your baby in bed or in your room, so you can get to him quickly when he wakes.
If you are breastfeeding, having your baby at arm’s reach means that you can quickly get him nursing back to sleep, without much disturbance. With practice you’ll find you can snooze while you nurse.
If you are bottle feeding, sit up with your baby to minimize risk of choking. Don’t be tempted to prop a bottle while you snooze. Having a chair in your room, or a bed pillow to help you prop up can help minimize sleep disturbance.
- Sleep association
Help your baby associate several things with sleep. Use the same blanket, a rocking rhythm, and a sound like soft music or nature sounds while your baby is falling asleep. When your baby wakes up in the night, he will associate going back to sleep with more than just eating. This will eventually help him feel comfortable and sleep through the night.
- Day feedings and filling up before bed
New born babies need to eat often throughout the day and night. However, as your baby grows, he will not need to eat as often during the night. Help this along by feeding your baby more during the day. Before you put your baby to bed, make sure to get a good long feeding in, and he won’t need to eat for a longer period of time.
- Keep supplies on hand
Rather than searching around in the dark for supplies, prepare a few bottles before bed, and put them in a cold pack near where your baby is sleeping. When your baby wakes, you can simply grab a bottle, heat it, and feed him.
- Bottle warmers
A bottle warmer is helpful at night. Keep it nearby. When baby begins to wake, pop an already made bottle into the warmer. By the time you have checked for a wet diaper, and have your baby comfortably nestled into your arms, the bottle will be ready to lull him back to sleep.
- Hot water dispenser
If you drink bottled water, a hot and cold dispenser can be very helpful. Prepare a bottle with measured formula powder in it, before bed. When baby wakes, you can add a few ounces of hot water and a few of cold, and have an instant warm bottle.
- Minimize diaper changes
Changing your baby will wake him all the way up. Unless your baby has pooped, wait until the diaper is full. If you are concerned about diaper rash, put a nice layer of zinc based diaper cream on your baby before he goes to bed.
- Sleep when baby sleeps
We’ve all heard it, “sleep when your baby sleeps.” It is tempting to stay up late and “take a break” when baby has gone to bed. However, you will deal with having to wake up with baby much better if you have already gotten several hours of sleep before he wakes.
It is important to develop a healthy attitude about night feedings. Accepting that your baby is going to wake up will help you deal with it when it happens. Your baby is only little once, and though it’s tough, this stage of little sleep will pass.