Nighttime Feedings: Newborns
The first weeks are crazy, especially the feedings. Your baby will probably need to be fed every 2 to 3 hours. His voracious appetite precludes any schedule. You'll be up for feedings at least twice each night. But by 1 month of age, you can start to shape his feeding behaviors. Here are some tips:
- First: Keep daytime feeding intervals to at least 2 hours for newborns. More frequent daytime feedings (such as hourly) lead to frequent awakenings at night. For every time you nurse your baby, there should be 4 or 5 times that you snuggle your baby without nursing. Don't let him get in the bad habit of eating every time you hold him. That's called grazing.
- Second: Place your baby in the crib drowsy but awake. His last waking memory needs to be of the crib, not of the breast or bottle. If he learns how to put himself to sleep, then the only reason he will awaken and cry at night is if he's hungry.
- Third: Make middle-of-the-night feedings brief and boring, compared to daytime feedings. Don't turn on the lights or talk to him. Feed your child quickly and quietly. Provide that extra rocking and playtime during the day.
- Finally: With this approach and a little luck, your baby will give up middle-of-the-night feedings between 2 and 4 months of age.
If you have other questions about eliminating nighttime feedings, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 9/1/2004
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.