As you are aware, we at Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby are committed to providing guidance and support to parents everywhere to establish positive sleeping habits from the time baby is brought home, through their toddler years, setting them up for a lifetime of healthy sleep patterns.
We suggest working with a pattern of “eating, play, and sleep”. When you are laying out how your day will go, this pattern should be part of your itinerary. If you are not familiar with this pattern, let us explain.
With a newborn, the pattern is pretty easy because your baby will sleep quite a bit during the day. The pattern to follow with a newborn is as follows: When baby wakes from their nap, change their diaper, bring them into a bright room, and give them a full feeding. If they have not started to fall asleep during the feeding, encourage a little bit of playtime with them until you notice their sleep eyes. If your newborn does fall asleep during this feed, no big deal. Try again next time!
This pattern creates one of feeding your baby after they awake from a sleep cycle, rather than feeding them so they fall asleep. You do not want your child to get used to feeding to fall asleep, or it will become a habit for them that is tough to break and creates a harder sleep pattern as they get older and will eat for comfort at bedtime.
Full-Feeds, the Perfect Balance
If you are a breastfeeding mom, a full feed is the most beneficial to your baby. Foremilk consists of the liquid portion of your milk that fulfills your baby’s thirst. The hindmilk is milk that is richer in fat content and satiates your baby’s hunger.
This is the perfect balance that is vital for growth and development of your little one. Full feeds also help breastfeeding mothers maintain their breast milk supply. If you are not fully emptying your breast, your brain will receive signals that it is making too much milk, and in turn, slow the milk supply down.
Full feedings help the milk supply in breastfeeding mother by fully removing the milk supply from them, and by doing so, it sends signals to refresh the milk supply. Your baby is its own little economic system, creating a supply and demand for your milk.
This also avoids the “snack and snoozer” where they eat a little bit, and sleep a little bit.
If you are using formula, or a combination of formula and breastmilk, focus on providing full feeds every time so your little one is full, content and satisfied. By providing full feeds, you may not hear as many cries for feeding, and because being tired and being hungry can be the same cries, it may indicate that your baby is only tired as they just received a full feeding. Full feeds provide the right number of calories your baby needs, and when they are full, the naps they take are considered full naps, and the two are both equally important in their roles for positive eating and sleeping habits.
Tips to Provide Full Feedings
At first, it may be difficult to determine if your baby is indeed getting the full feed that they need. Asking your pediatrician, or if you are breastfeeding, you can ask your lactation consultant.
We also have some tips our sleep experts have put together to help you determine if your baby is getting full feeds:
- Keeping your baby awake during feedings is important. We do not want the baby to correlate eating with sleep time. This will create tough habits as they grow older and will only lead to empty calories before bedtime as a soothing mechanism to fall asleep.
- To keep baby awake, feed them in a brightly lit room, and play music, or sing to them, play with their feet or toes.
- Try to avoid distractions during their feeds such as a sibling in the room, a tv show playing, or if you have pets, try to keep them out of the room while you’re feeding. These distractions will indicate its playtime and they will not want to finish eating.
- Feed your baby 5-10 minutes after they wake from their nap. We want to create a pattern, so they do not eat before bed. This is the pattern we discussed of eat, play, sleep.
While we suggest this schedule, we do understand that at first it will not be an easy pattern to create and follow, though we encourage you to remain consistent with it, as your baby ages, they will begin to follow this routine and become accustomed to it, which will be beneficial to their sleep patterns, and working with sleep consultants to help create and maintain positive sleeping habits.
Newborns have their own agendas, and their little cries are hard to ignore (please don’t ignore any babies’ cries.) They are so sweet, and adorable, I just want to give in to every demand. So continue practicing the eat, play, sleep pattern. As they grow, they will be awake longer, and it will become easier to follow this pattern.
If you have questions, please feel free to give one of our certified sleep experts at Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby a call, an email, or contact us through our website. We can provide our services from virtually anywhere, and we look forward to work with your family.