As a new mom, sleep is a coveted commodity. It's also usually in pretty short supply. Newborns need to eat every few hours around the clock and, regardless of whether you're breastfeeding or bottle feeding, nights can be rough. However, there are a few things you can do during the day to make night feedings easier on you and your baby. While it will probably never be easy to wake up in the middle of the night, with a little bit of prep, those feedings can be some of the sweetest times between the two of you.
The first few months after I gave birth to my first daughter are a blur. I remember being surprised by how exhausted I was, but simultaneously so in love with this new tiny person who needed me every few hours day and night. Although it was never easy to exist in a sleep-deprived blur, I learned that a little bit of preparation can save the day (or night, in this case), ensuring that both of us got as much sleep as we could during the first few months.
Remember, eventually your baby will sleep through the night. Eventually they won't need you every few hours. And, as crazy as it sounds, you'll miss the night time feedings. So do yourself a favor and put these tips to use, remembering that the time doesn't last forever.
1. Pump Pump Pump
Whether you're pumping exclusively or not, having a stockpile of pumped milk ready to go can be a huge timesaver. Have a set time each day where you pump a bottle of milk for the night or one to add to your freezer for later.
2. Unthaw Your Bottles In Advance
Similarly, once you have a stock pile built up, you'll freeze it to keep it fresh. But it is a huge pain to unthaw bottles in the middle of the night when your baby is hungry and you're half asleep. Remember to set the bottles in the fridge during the day to ensure that they've thawed out before you need them. If you use formula, pre-measure your bottles for the night to give yourself one less thing to do.
3. Take A Nap
Waking up during the night can take a serious toll on your body. Resist the temptation to be productive while your baby sleeps and give yourself a boost of extra sleep by napping during one of your baby's daytime naps.
4. Ask For Help
Asking your partner for help at night can be a lifesaver. If you're nursing, have a bottle pumped and ready to go and if you're using formula, have it pre-measured to make it a quick transition from you to your partner. Furthermore, nighttime feedings can be a great time of bonding for your partner and baby that they might not otherwise get to experience.
5. Make Snacks
When you're breastfeeding (especially at first) you'll probably be hungry all the time. Keep a box of your favorite snack close by your chair that way you'll have something to reach for and be able to go back to sleep that much sooner.
6. Mentally Prepare
It sounds strange, but remembering that you'll have to wake up at night will actually make it easier to wake up. There's nothing worse than thinking you'll get a full night's sleep and being woken several times. Having a positive mindset about night time feedings will help make it easier to get out of bed.
7. Remember The Why
As hard as it is, remembering that night time feedings are crucial to your baby's growth and health will help make it easier.