As Ella woke for the third time that night, her sleep-deprived, exhausted mom choked back the tears – is it really possible that she needed another feed? Ella was actually a very good baby during the day – she slept for four to five hours at a stretch but at night, she turned into a nightmare! She was waking every two hours at night and simply put, her mom was desperate and had no idea how she could keep it up for much longer!
It is very common for newborns to have their day and night muddled up and wake to feed more frequently during the day than at night. This can all be switched around very easily following 5 easy steps:
- Wake your baby as soon as she has been asleep for 3 ½ hours so that she feeds at least four hourly during the day. A newborn can be expected to demand a feed every 2 ½ to four hours during the day.
- Make the room dark for night sleep – from 6pm to 6am, the room needs to be as dark as possible. Use block out lining or curtains to ensure an absence of light. Melatonin – our sleep hormone is released in the absence of light, which is why we are drowsy at night.
- Do not wake your baby at all at night for a feed, unless advised to do so by your doctor. Let your little one wake up on her own to feed and feed her when she wakes if more than three hours have passed. If she is feeding well during the day and gaining weight, she will start to stretch this longer and longer at night.
- Watch your baby’s awake time – during the day your new baby (0-6 weeks) can be awake for up to 45 minutes to an hour at a stretch – take all care during this time and stimulate him for a short period while awake.
- Do not fuss with or stimulate your baby at night. Try to not even make eye contact or change her nappy unless she has soiled it at night. In this way, you won’t wake her fully. Just feed, burp, feed on the other side and put her down to sleep.