Well, two nights ago, things were great. Thanks to my partner taking a shift with the baby at the start of the night plus Valentina doing a 4+ hour stretch of sleep, I got 6 hours of sleep. I felt amazing!
Then last night, I fed her before I went to bed and then my partner didn’t wake up with her cries (probably because he had had a rough night with her the night before), I was up with her 12:15-2:30 am (she wasn’t crying but just wanted to eat continuously and NOT sleep) before I woke him. Then he took her and I went to sleep… but apparently she was up until 4:30 and also spit up alllllllll over her swaddling and bedding. Then I got up with her at 6:15 this morning to feed her. We all managed to snooze a little bit after that until suddenly it was 7:30 and the older kids needed attention and to be taken to school – oops!
So all this to say… being a child sleep consultant doesn’t always make things better when one has a newborn! Newborns are tough for everyone. I'm tired.
On the other hand, she is naturally stretching out the interval between her feeds to closer to every 4 hours – a week or two ago it had been as often as every 1-2 hours.
Feedings take a REALLY long time now BUT she is taking long naps in between. So that feels like a win… even if those endless night feedings are painfully long.
Lots of experts will say that babies should feed much more frequently during the day, in hopes of filling up so that they sleep longer at night. In my experience, that backfires – babies who feed really frequently during the day want to feed really frequently at night, too. Whereas babies who get really full while feeding tend to sleep longer during the day as well as at night. This requires less frequent feedings.
Caution: this may not be the best advice struggle to create and maintain a solid breastfeeding relationship. I pump to help with that issue. I would rather get better sleep and pump more often than the reverse, but your experience may vary.
Of note, Valentina is just north of 6 pounds and 5 weeks old so I wouldn’t necessarily encourage parents of a baby this age and size to restrict feedings in any way… this is just what Valentina is naturally doing on her own, and I have decided to follow her lead, rather than waking her to eat more frequently as I was doing when she was smaller and younger.
If you’d like help getting your child – of any age – on track for better sleep, set up a free consult and see your whole family sleeping better in two weeks or less, guaranteed.
Abby Wolfson is a pediatric nurse practitioner, certified child sleep consultant and certified life coach for parents. She divides her time between Brooklyn, NY and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.