One of the most difficult parts of caring for a newborn is the night-time feedings. You have to sacrifice precious sleep and get out of the comfort of your incredibly warm bed to feed your baby. I was a mess with both of my daughters. I would wake up in the morning in some awkward position with my baby still in my arms and my shirt wide open. I think I have learned my lesson and can share a few tips with you to help you get through those difficult weeks and months.
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Our first daughter was born in July, and, boy, was it a hot one! Even though it was super hot, it was still cool in the middle of the night and difficult to wake up to feed her.
Oh, she was just a joy to feed, though. So wide awake and ready to latch! Um, maybe not so much.
I guess the first few minutes were good, but then she would fall asleep very quickly. Just as soon as she zonked out, I would often doze off, too; sometimes even before she was sleeping!
Many times I’ve woken up and found my baby in very awkward positions (still sleeping, amazingly!), yet I have no idea if I finished or even started feeding my baby. That was with the lights on, too.
Tips for Surviving Night-Time Feedings
You need a strategy to get through night-time feedings. Newborns are hungry every night. For months. That is a lot of sleep deprivation for you, mama!
Surviving night-time feedings can be daunting, but you can succeed in this task if you plan ahead:
- Stop thinking, Poor me. Start thinking, I need to feed my baby. The sooner this nightly feeding becomes more about them and less about you, the more on board you will get with it.
- Turn on a light, for heaven’s sake! I’ve read over and over that you should feed your baby with minimal light during the night hours so that baby can learn the difference between night and day. That advice has never worked for me. I need to see what’s going on, so I turn on a light. Also, I tend to fall asleep real fast if I’m tired and it’s dark.
- Turn on the TV or scroll through pinterest on your phone or tablet. Every once in a while this works for me, but I still nod off the majority of the time.
- Drink some cold water while you are feeding the baby. Nothing like a cold beverage to switch your brain on.
- Play a game on your phone, like Tetris or Pac-Man (both free on Google Play). If your brain is active, you will be too.
- Take naps during the day if at all possible. I did this a few times with Sofía, because I could. It was a lot harder to do the second time around. Since Sofía and Bella are only 18 months apart, I got around to taking a nap maybe three times out of the first three months.
- If your husband wants to help, let him! He can feed your baby in the middle of the night once or twice a week if that’s possible.
- Feed your baby on your bed so that baby can drink as much as he needs and you can continue to rest in your bed.
I personally think that night-time feedings are one of the hardest things to get through after having a baby. With Sofía, my thoughts were always poor me. With Bella, I knew that this particular time would end soon so I focused my thoughts on her needs.
Are you currently struggling with this important task as a first-time mom? Have you found anything that helps you get through it? Please share your ideas and thoughts! Remember, you are not alone and lots of mothers have been in your shoes before. Just keep moving forward!