Feeding + Sleeping with Baby
by Natalie Fitzgerald
Wondering how to get your baby to sleep longer stretches at night?
One thing you can do to help with this is to feed them and keep their tummy full ALL DAY LONG! Babies can be lazy, and most would prefer to have small snacks and short naps all day.
Nothing wrong with that! However, if they snack and catnap all day, there is a good chance they will be doing that all night as well.
If you want to help your baby sleep longer stretches through the night, it’s critical that they are getting enough to eat throughout the day.
So, how do you go about doing that? Feed your baby full meals throughout the day, and focus on getting your baby to take full feedings instead of snacks. Aim to feed your baby every 2-3hrs throughout the day, and nap in the time between. Try feeding them when they wake up rather than before they go down. A rested baby will almost always eat more efficiently than a tired baby.
When bottle-feeding, make sure you are using an appropriate nipple so the flow is not too slow. The slower the flow, the harder it is for babies to get the milk, and the less likely they will be to eat a full meal. There are slow, medium, and fast flow level nipples, and as your baby gets older and becomes a more efficient eater, s/he will need faster flow nipples to get the amount they need.
If you’re a breastfeeding mama and worried about your milk supply, your body should adjust with the amount that your baby needs. However sometimes nature doesn’t work the way we want it to, and in that case it might take a few days to help boost your supply if your baby is sleeping longer stretches through the night. There are different ways to do this: Pump right after each feeding to help stimulate production; pump before going to bed at night; take a lactation aide – there are many pill and powder forms such as well as essential oils that can help with this such as basil and fennel. Stay away from peppermint unless you’re trying to dry up!
*Please note, this is general advice and not tailored to your unique baby.
Please check with your pediatrician before night weaning or taking a lactation aide.
Natalie Fitzgerald is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Postpartum Doula. Natalie’s approach to sleep training is tailored to each family she works with, meeting them exactly where they are and developing a customized plan to help them reach their sleep goals, based on their unique baby’s needs and their parenting style. Natalie walks alongside families during the time they need the most support, encouraging parents and helping them find a rhythm that works best with their baby and lifestyle. Natalie is also a member of the Postpartum Health Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders. She lives in San Diego with her little ones: Connor (7yrs), Kate (4yrs), and Makenna (1.5yrs).