While you never thought you’d be able to wake up for those night feeds, you now realise the skill lies in getting BACK to sleep. Your body is shattered but your mind won’t stop and tomorrow’s already going to be a very long day. Getting baby back to sleep is mission number one, then, it’s mum’s turn. Enjoy!
This can be tricky, but if you’re in tune with your little one’s grunts and huffs, you’ll know when they’re about to wake for a feed. Gently manoeuvring them to either bottle or breast when they’re in this semi-sleep state can result in a relaxing feed, free from crying spells. Of course, we won’t be lucky enough to catch them at this perfect moment every night but when it does happen, it’s glorious! (and oh so quiet)
Feed until they’re drowsy
This one is for parents playing the long game. If you change when you feed during the night, firstly, change before you feed. When you feel your baby is full from their feed and edging closer to sleep, gently unlatch them from the breast (if you choose breastfeeding) and place them gently in the crib. Sit with them until they fall asleep. This has the added advantage of teaching them how to self soothe and go to sleep themselves, setting them up for better nights in the future.
Add a touch of you
When it comes down to it, your baby just wants to know you’re close by. While some parents find a solution to this in attachment parenting, many go down other routes. One effective way of comforting your child, even when you’re absent from the room, is by placing an item of your clothing (that holds your scent) in their cot. If they wake intermittently throughout the night your scent will allow them to feel comforted as though you are close by and they will be less likely to cry out from fear or abandonment.
While bumping into objects cloaked in darkness seems counter productive to getting a good night’s sleep, reaching for the light switch may be the thing that’s keeping you awake after the 3am feed. Any stimulant, be it that bedside lamp, TV or mobile phone, can begin to activate your brain and prevent calming sleep from settling in. If your room is too dark, try a very dim light throughout the feed, so neither you nor baby completely wakes up.
Play music while you feed or listen to a book while you feed
Sometimes, after the baby is long dreaming with a fully tummy, our brains are firing on all cylinders. Before we know it we’re thinking about that argument we had with our SO (approximately six months ago) and how we should have handled it. If your brain races in the quiet, some soothing music or an audio book can be useful tools so fill the gap. You can even begin playing them when you’re feeding so that both mum and baby can begin to associate the sound with sleep time.
For all the joy that a newborn brings, there is a certain degree of worry attached. No matter how many times family members tell you not to stress about them, it’s futile, you’re going to do it. After all, you’re a proud mama bear and this is your precious cub! So you’ll check on them repeatedly, listen to their breathing, worry about the noises they’re making (or worse, the noises they aren’t making). This kind of behaviour in the initial days is totally normal but be mindful of reducing it as time progresses and you learn your child’s sleep routine. In order to be the best parent you can be, you’ll need as much rest as possible.