Feeding Your Baby during the Night

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Feeding your baby during the night isn’t quite the same as feeding during the day. Feeding times, in general, can be a wonderfully bonding experience, even if you’re bottle feeding. Our instinct is to make feeding time a snuggling, loving time, full of eye contact and communication. Singing, rocking and just enjoying those intimate moments with your baby are key to bonding and to long-term happiness. Unfortunately, those times when you’re feeding your baby during the night may not be the best time to focus on bonding.

For many parents, it goes against your instincts to turn feeding time into something boring. In the end, however, it’s going to be better for both your baby and for you if those times when you’re feeding your baby during the night aren’t quite as interesting. As much as your baby needs nourishment and love, she also needs her sleep. (And, let’s face it, you could stand to get some shut-eye, as well). If your baby becomes too stimulated when feeding your baby at night, it could make it harder for him to fall back to sleep and keep both of you up.

You should try to make sure that the place where you feed your baby at night is quiet, dark and uninteresting. Use only enough light to let you see, and so that you’re not going to be bumping into things. Don’t open up a picture book, squeak some noisy toys, or try to get your baby to sit up.

Instead, focus on calming activities. Speaking in a soft voice can help soothe your baby and help her go back to sleep once that nighttime feeding is done. Some babies will also be soothed by rocking. The key thing is to watch your baby’s reaction to various activities, and avoid the ones that seem to stimulate rather than to calm.

Ultimately, the key is to get your baby fed and back to sleep as soon as possible, without causing additional stimuli or stress for either one of you.

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This entry was posted in Breastfeeding.


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