Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Lets be honest here, night time feeds and wakes are one of the worst things about the first few years. Breast, bottle, or somewhere in between, you will have to do night feeds at some point. Here are my 3 tips you can put in place today to make the process a little easier.
Nobody likes fumbling around in the dark, especial with a crying hungry baby in your arms. Find some low lighting that wont wake you or baby up too much but allows a brighter perspective. Some people choose dim-able lights, others use night lights. I chose the TV in the living room cause I like to live on the edge when the room goes black for scene changes. Another option is a red light, it wont destroy your night vision, but still lets you see well. Science for the win! Just but a red light bulb and swap it. Whatever your choice set it up so that you can turn it on first thing, and turn it off last thing. NO TRIPPING WITH BABY!
2. The Routine
So this should be self explanatory, but let me explain anyhow to make sure we are on the same page. Do the same thing every time. Period. It helps for the nights you cant think straight you just go through the routine like a zombie. Less thinking, less stress. If bottle feeding, ensure bottle prep or heating is part of your routine etc.
My routine (0-6 months):
go to living room
turn on tv
put baby in bed
The basic principal is to go through all of babies needs in a repetitive order that makes sense for you. This helps to make sure that baby has all basic needs met so that you don't have to guess as much. Cover all the bases and you are usually good. Occasionally its not enough and there is something more; they need some snuggles, or help sleeping, or they have gas, or something else that you have to puzzle out. Having a standard routine you eliminate the more obvious answers and can move forward that much faster. My baby ... was ... always ... hungry ... yay! So that meant feeding was always part of my routine and in fact the main part. (Never avoid feeding because "its too early"! You yourself sometimes get hungry early and snack, baby does too that is okay and normal! If baby is showing hunger cues feed baby, it wont ever hurt to offer milk) Some babies wake early because of a diaper and will go back to sleep once changed, others wont. Learn about your baby (know their cues) and adapt your own routine. The routine is also good to help baby know that its still night time and that they should go back to sleep. Having a routine is also a good idea (day or night) as a strategy for daily living with a new baby.
3. The Set-Up
One of my husbands most loathed chores in those first few months was setting up "my spot" before bed.( I was quite particular) Without fail every night we set up the space I would feed baby in before we went to bed. Our set up would make sure all of the pillows I needed were in reach. I had a blanket with in reach in case I got cold. The remote was on the shelf next to me. My water was on the shelf as well. We would make sure I had a cloth for burping and anything else I could ever need within reach. If a bottle was needed we would have all the supplies easily accessible and ready to go. The key to the set up was to make sure I could reach everything I needed while feeding baby. This made the process easy and seamless.
* Remember if you take turns getting up with baby to respect your partners preferences or needs by having stuff you each prefer in reach or putting things in a certain arrangement when you are done for when they get up next. *
If you have the right lighting, routine, and set up ready and waiting, it will make night time feeds much easier. Trust me, nights don't always go to plan, and that is okay. But, nine times out of ten, having these things in place will help. Remember, it will take some time to figure out what routine and set up works best for you. So, don't be afraid to experiment and adapt. Good luck and Goodnight!