To encourage your baby into a pattern of night-time sleeping, try the following tips when he wakes for a feed:
- When your baby wakes for a feed, pick him up calmly with little interaction. Try to avoid eye contact or talking to him.
- Feed him in low light -or no light at all if you feel confident. Turning on lights will unnecessarily stimulate him.
- Don’t be tempted not to burp him if he needs it. Too often when your baby falls asleep while feeding, it’s tempting to just slip him back into bed only to have him awaken 10 minutes later yelping because of a tummy pain.
- Don’t change his nappy if it doesn’t need it. Try slipping a finger into his nappy while he’s feeding and gauging the need for a change. A nappy that’s wet and warm doesn’t generally need changing in the middle of the night. Wet and cold, though, definitely needs to be changed as it will make him cold too. And a nappy containing anything more solid also needs changing to avoid nappy rash.
- If you do need to change a nappy, do it mid-feed so you still have the opportunity to settle him again with the last of his feed. Don’t start smiling and chatting with him. Remind yourself that this is sleep time and the faster you get him back to bed, the faster you’ll be back in your bed.
- Don’t turn on the TV or the radio for your own entertainment. These will stimulate baby too. Try feeding him in your bed. You may find that without moving him back to his crib, you both quickly fall back to sleep.
- Once your baby is about 6 months old, he may no longer need to feed at night. Check your baby’s overall growth and wellbeing with your GP before embarking on a strategy to remove the nightly feeds permanently from the roster.
- To encourage him back to sleep without feeding, try using an appropriate settling technique.
- Learn how to wrap your baby for sleep
- Discover how to settle your baby to sleep
- Understanding your baby’s signs of tiredness
- Find out if you have enough breast milk
Whilst your baby may be in the habit of waking once (or more times) every night for a snack, it isn’t a necessity. We all know that habits are hard to change, and this isn’t any less true for infants.
- Learn how to take care of yourself when breastfeeding.
- Discover how to settle your baby using patting
- Learn about having a quiet time before bed
- Trade sleep stories and advice with other mums share on this article
This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot.