Around 95% of the calls I receive are from new mums of 3-4 week old babies. After running on adrenaline for a few weeks exhaustion is starting to kick in. Often with a partner at work and doing all of the night feeds alone, the days can feel lonely and the nights long and tiring so and tips can be gratefully received.
Here a few helpful tips to try and keep night feeds to a minimum
Regular feeds during the day
Feeding your baby regularly during the day rather than leaving to sleep for long periods will help. I suggest 3-4 hourly. This way most of your baby’s recommended milk consumption will be taken between the hours of 7am-11pm, hopefully leaving you only 1-2 night feeds between 11pm – 7am. A good daytime feeding routine should set you in good stead for the night.
Regular Feeding v’s demand feeding
I am a strong believer in routine, whatever may suit your lifestyle. I believe that feeding at regular intervals gives your baby opportunity to digest the feed rather than demand feeding which can create lots of wind resulting in a very colicky, irritable baby. Feeding on demand can contribute to the very unsettled period that lots of babies have between 1-4am when very young moving to between 6-11pm a few weeks down the line.
Wind wind wind!
I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to wind well. Everything seems to be going to plan, Baby arrives home from hospital and is the world’s greatest burper, then between week 3-4 it all seems to grind to a holt.
The mistake I feel most parents make is that they move baby around in too many positions far too quickly. Often just as the wind is about to come up baby is moved and the wind goes back in to the tummy. The easiest way to explain this is to imagine the bubble in a spirit level. The wind would go back and forth. Hold your baby in one position for more than a few seconds. When baby seems to be struggling and fighting against you is often when the wind is coming up so try to give him a minute or two before changing position. Colic drops can also be useful. Your health visitor or G.P can advise if needed and they can be bought over the counter.
Play mats or kicking time is very important not only for exercise and to tire baby out but also to dislodge trapped wind. If you find during a feed that you baby cannot get the wind out, rather than letting baby fall asleep on your knee you should try and lay him on the play mat. After a short kick around he will start to complain. If you leave him until right before he is about to cry then pick up and wind you will often find baby will bring up a very satisfying burp!!
Teats if bottle feeding
If you are bottle feeding it is important to use the correct size teats. If he is falling asleep before the end of the feed and waking before the 3-4 hour mark unable to wait for the next feed, then the chances are he may need to move up to the next size teat. Babies tire themselves out on teats that are too small. This also creates wind.
A night time routine is very important from an early age. The bath and bed routine really helps babies to differentiate day from night. A nice warm bath followed by a massage is bound to help your baby feel more relaxed?
Stimulating your baby at night should be a no. Night time feeds should be as calm and dark as possible to encourage baby to go straight back to sleep. A good night’s sleep means more alert time during the day, therefore better feeds and active time promoting a better night’s sleep the following night.
I hope these tips help you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you need other questions answered.