Unswaddle baby for night feedings

The Importance Of Swaddling Your Newborn – WavHello

Written by: Rachel Norman 

When pregnant with my firstborn, my midwives were very clear: it was important to swaddle the baby.

I’ll never forget the moment I walked into my daughter’s room and the blanket was partially over her face. She’d escaped her swaddle!

That took 10 years off my life, I know it.

After that I took great care learning exactly how to snuggly swaddle and eventually purchased a swaddle that zipped up so she couldn’t kick it off in the night. I was tempted to give up the swaddle forever, but I could see the benefits with my daughter.

She slept more soundly and didn’t wake up when she jerked or moved in her sleep.

They showed me painstakingly how to swaddle baby with a receiving blanket, so I practiced and practiced. My baby seemed to escape the blanket with ease, but I persevered. I finally purchased a swaddle with zippers and velcro, and this helped prevent any swaddling escape issues.

Soon I was to learn that swaddling is important for a few reasons:

● Swaddling helps teach babies day/night differences,

● Swaddling helps babies stay asleep during nighttime changes and feeds,

● Swaddling helps to promote sounder sleeping and prevents the startle reflex from waking baby, and

● Swaddling brings comfort and closeness.

Snuggle and Swaddle As A Positive Sleep Association

Swaddling is a positive sleep association. A sleep association is something good your baby will associate with going to bed. Swaddling baby is a great wind-down routine because it helps baby know he’s about to take a nap or go to sleep. When it’s time for baby to go to bed, change his diaper, give him snuggles, and then swaddle.

As you begin swaddling for every nap and bedtime, baby will understand what’s coming next. They’ll begin to naturally calm down and prepare themselves to sleep, and the more they sleep they more they want to sleep.

Unswaddle during “awake” time

Don’t leave the baby swaddled all the time, simply use it as a signal for sleep. Allow some room for free movement when they are awake and you’re playing. By keeping the swaddle for sleepy times you’re creating associations that’ll help your baby sleep better.

When you are going to be playing with baby, feeding him, or showing him off to family, leave the swaddle off. When you want baby to nap, put it back on.

Unswaddle during day feedings

Newborn babies are notorious “snackers.” One way to help them stay awake during day feedings and get a little more awake time is by keeping them unswaddled. By keeping your baby unswaddled during feedings you’ll help him stay awake long enough to get all he needs to rest soundly at his next nap.

Swaddle for night feedings

In contrast, at night, keep babies swaddled at all times if possible. Because I change the diaper pre-feed, the swaddling has signaled “go back to sleep” and then the feed itself helps them get there. This is the #1 way I have babies who are not awake for long periods (or at all) at night, even as newborns. In fact, as soon as my babies have known the difference between day and night, they sleep all through the night only waking to signal they’re hungry.

Keep partially swaddled for night changes

I referenced this above, but by keeping your baby partially swaddled at night time changes – i.e. leaving their arms swaddled – you are preventing baby from waking fully. If you have a baby who is more “alert” at night than you’d like, I highly recommend this. But keeping lights dimmed (or even using the flashlight on your phone) and keeping the baby tucked close, you’re essentially keeping them half asleep all night, even through feeds and changes.

In order for a baby to rest well they need to feel relaxed and secure. Swaddling is one of the most effective ways of helping baby feel safe and tucked in tight. In addition to swaddling as a wind down routine, I recommend using white noise as well. Soothing sounds also help to relax baby and prepare him to sleep. The SoundBub white noise machine is a cute and calming addition to the nursery.

The SoundBub is also compatible with WavHello’s VoiceShare app which allows you to record messages, family members’ voices, and even to play favorite songs and playlists via Bluetooth.

If you want to give your baby an added layer of familiarity and nurture, you can record stories and songs on the app that other caregivers can play while you’re away. Babies are calmed by their parents voices and having an app to bring your voice to your baby while you are away can help baby calm down and get ready for sleep.

This post is part of an 8-post series:

Part 1: What To Focus On During The First Week With A Newborn

Part 2: The Importance Of Swaddling Your Newborn (you are here)

Part 3: How To Create A Wind-Down Routine For Baby

Part 4: The Sleep Window: How To Recognize Baby’s Sleep Cues

Part 5: Classic Signs Of Overtiredness And How To Prevent It

Part 6: A Surefire Way To Help Baby Sleep More Soundly

Part 7: Early Morning and Dream Feeds: How To Do Them And Wean Them

Part 8: The Art Of Teaching Baby To Sleep On Their Own


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How To Get Your Newborn To Sleep Well From Day One

What's in this post...

Here’s how to get your newborn to sleep without all the drama and fluff. If you are in the early phases… check out my Ultimate Newborn Sleep Schedule: Week by Week for all you need to know.

Some newborn babies sleep all day and night.

Some newborn babies sleep all day and are awake all night.

And some newborn babies are awake nearly all day and all night.

I’m prayin’ for those mamas. 

There are a few habits you can start in the newborn phase that will help ensure your baby continues to sleep well long past the time they are super duper sleepy.

I’ve found that the first month or two it is hard to keep the newborn baby awake.

This phase can be deceiving as you sit there, drinking the coffee you may have deprived yourself of during pregnancy, and think you are destined for a quiet life with a child who sleeps well.

Read: Life Changing Advice For New Moms (That Your Dr. Won’t Tell You!)

Then, what happens, but at 3 or 4 moths your baby starts to “wake up” and you find they aren’t sleeping so well anymore. They go through some developmental changes and their sleep starts maturing.

This is because this is the point at which the training you’ve done – or not done – starts bearing fruit.

If you’ve trained the baby to sleep well then by 3 months they generally sleep hours a day, go down without a fight, nap well and are well on their way to (if not already) sleeping through the night.

If the motto has been “live and let sleep” then at this point you’ll begin looking for ways to get your baby to sleep because their extreme drowsiness will begin to be a thing of the past.

Here are some things you can do from birth when you put your baby to sleep that’ll help your newborn sleep well in the beginning and keep doing so as they grow older.

Related Reads:

  • Ultimate Newborn Sleep Schedule: Week By Week
  • Printable Newborn Feeding Chart
  • A Newborn Feeding Schedule You (And Your Baby) Can Follow!

Here’s how to get your newborn to sleep well ASAP

While you’re working on this, use our daily baby logs to help you keep track of what’s happening. It’ll get it out of your head and onto paper so you can look at trends.

Note: I’ve done these habits and strategies with all 5  children and had the same results so, trust me, they work.

1. Swaddle from the beginning

I swaddled from the first day in the hospital until I weaned them months later. I never gave them an option to “like it” or “not like it”

Basically, I just did it.

All five of mine liked being swaddled of which I was happy about.

Swaddling serves a few purposes.

First, it helps guard against their reflex to jerk their arms up towards their face which, inevitably, wakes them. This is called the startle reflex.

They’ll rarely sleep long periods unswaddled and definitely not after the first month or two. Swaddling also helps signal that it’s time to go to sleep. This called a positive sleep association. 

If you unswaddle them during their wake time and swaddle them to sleep they’ll understand what’s happening and it’s a great way to get some routine and consistency in early. The more we can do regularly, the better.

Read: Cocooning a Newborn & 7 Reasons Why it Can Be Good For The Family

Read These While You’re At It

Woombie Swaddle

Zips from the bottom, stretchy yet snug, and has swaddle weaning arm holes built in.

Learn More

The above swaddle allows you to unzip from the bottom so you can keep baby swaddled at night while changing diapers.

The swaddle (a bestselling woombie) helps keep baby drowsy and not wake fully at night.

2. Feed unswaddled during the day and swaddled at night

This helps communicate the difference between night and day.

During the day, I unswaddle the baby to feed and cuddle and play. Then I swaddle and put them back to bed. During the evening, I keep them swaddled to feed them and this works miracles.

First, it keeps them drowsy enough that they barely wake to feed and then are basically comatose by the time the feed is over and you put them back in their crib to sleep.

By leaving them swaddled you are communicating that it is not the time to wake up, but time to keep sleeping. This is particularly helpful for the 5:00 am feeds. If you are not careful your baby may think this feed means wake up.

This swaddle is convertible, zips from the bottom, allows you to let baby’s arms out to swaddle wean, then converts into a sleep sack that can be used until 18 months of age.

Don’t give up, mama, you can do this and you won’t be a tired mom forever.

If you keep the baby swaddled, lights low and feed them put back into the crib they will understand that is still too early (unless you also wake then and like the day to start early).

Nap Times Cheat Sheet

Learn how to space naps, how many a day per age, best times, etc. and get your nap game ON!

3. Change diaper after a feed during the day

Whether or not you change your baby’s diaper before you feed them, be sure to change them after you feed them. 

This helps wake baby up so they can have some awake time. Then, you will put them in their crib awake but drowsy, and this helps teach them to sleep on their own.

I had a hard time getting all mine to wake up for the first month or two and so changing the diaper helped. Cold air. You get the picture.

  • If you find baby sleeping through feedings and napping all day, then being awake at night, they are likely day night confused.  
  • If you want to get your newborn to sleep at night, then you’ll have to do the hard work of sleep training during the day. 
  • The habits baby learns during the day pay dividends at night

Newborn Settling Guide

Tried-and-true *hands on* newborn settling strategies that even the most fussy (or wide-awake-sleep-refusing) newborns cannot resist!

Learn More

4. Change diaper before a feed at night

I swaddle using the Woombie and absolutely love it. The woombie zips from both the bottom and the top enabling you to change diapers at night without breaking the swaddle of the upper body.

This also communicates that it’s nighttime, and you want your newborn to sleep.

If the baby rouses enough to make some noises and you know they want to feed, change them quickly from the bottom up and leave them swaddled. Then, with the swaddled baby, feed them a full feed.

➡️ All five of mine fed peacefully like this and were back to sleep at the end of the feed.

You can gently put them back to bed and that’s it.

If your little one is having a difficult time settling down, offer him this pacifier (it’s the absolute best!).

The American Academy of Pediatrics goes so far as to say that pacifiers will help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and it’s a good sleep association, to boot.

Anything that lowers the risk of SIDS and helps baby get more hours of sleep at night is a win win.

5. Turn no lights on at night

This can be a bit tricky, but is golden.

Use a flashlight on your phone if you need some light, but keep it dark.

➡️ Humans were created with the innate need to sleep, and babies are tiny humans. They will learn to settle and wind down at night, but turning on the light sends mixed signals.

After their days and nights are straight you don’t want to do anything that will unnecessarily awaken them in the evenings.

If you can help the latch on or find their mouths with the bottle then that’s light enough. This will also help you go back to sleep after the feed.

Related Reads:

  • How To Reverse Day Night Confusion In 3 Days
  • How To Mentally Survive The Newborn Phase

6.  Natural light during wake times, darken the room for naps

When you wake the baby up for a feed (or if they wake up on their own) then open the blinds, turn on the lights, unswaddle and feed.

This signals very clearly “daytime” and will help your newborn wake up.

Then, as you want them to go for a nap, close the blinds and the blackout curtains and dim it enough that you’ve created a distinction between day and night.

Sure, babies will sleep in the daylight, but that’s not the point. The point of dimming the lights is to, again, signal that it’s time for them to nap. You decide the time, then you give the signals, then you let them get at it.

Related Reads:

  • Baby Bedtime Routines: 4 Effective Strategies
  • Helpful And Hurtful Baby Sleep Habits

Sleep Little Lamb

Create sustainable sleep habits for your little lamb so the whole family can sleep peacefully without the stress, drama, and tears.

Learn More

7. Encourage your newborn to take a full feed

If you’ve opted to breastfeed then you will run into the baby wanting to snack.

Snacking should be avoided for a number of reasons, but as we’re talking about sleeping, snacking is a good nap’s worst enemy.

  • When a newborn feeds for less than 15 minutes at a time, this is usually snacking.
  • When baby sleeps through a feed and thus doesn’t get enough milk, they will wake up early to snack again.

First off, snacking means newborns aren’t full enough to stay asleep because when they transition from active to passive sleep (typical baby sleep pattern) they will wake up.

If your baby falls asleep during a feed, then wake them up. A cold rag, rub their feet, strip them naked, do what it takes.

Newborns need to eat a lot to nap well and if they haven’t had enough milk during the day you can bet they’ll wake up a few extra times in the night to make up for it.

➡️ If you want baby to sleep for hours at a time at night, give full feeds during the day. 

Related Reads:

  • What To Do When Baby Is Feeding Every Hour (& Not Sleeping!)
  • The Ultimate Newborn Sleep Schedule: Week By Week
  • A Newborn Feeding Schedule You Can Follow

8. Avoid having an overtired baby 

With all my newborns, from the time I feed them until I put them down for a nap was never longer than 50 minutes. Including feeding time.

If I fed at 1 pm then by 1:50 pm at the latest, they were swaddled snuggled and down for a nap.

With my third son, at just shy of 3 months, he still went down around 35 minutes after I started feeding him. As in, 1 pm I feed him and by 1:35 pm or 1:40 pm he is down for a nap.

It seems crazy, but it’s true.

A general rule of thumb is this: put your newborn down to sleep no later than an hour and 20 minutes after you started feeding her. 

Read: The Baby Sleep Myth That Backfires Every Time

9. Establish a pre-nap and bedtime routine

A great wind down routine follows.

Swaddle baby, hold your newborn upright for a few minutes, sing, turn on a night light and your white noise machine. Put your baby down in their crib gently, then leave the room quietly.

At bedtime, it may be different and even include reading (yes, even for a newborn), but the basic baby schedule should remain the same.

Whether it’s bath, a story, diffusing essential oils in the room or singing a song, keep it simple.

Routine before sleep signals the baby what you expect of them. They will quickly, quicker than you realize, understand that sleeping follows the ritual.

Read These While You’re At It

10. Shelter your newborn infant’s sleep

This might be unpopular.

In fact, it might be unnecessary.

Unless your baby is overtired and fighting sleep.

➡️ If the baby is asleep in their crib, swaddled and snoozing away, for heaven’s sake, don’t wake them up just so someone can hold them.

Once in a blue moon, of course. Special occasions, yes. Done regularly, however, this is a very counter-productive baby sleep habit.

If someone comes over without calling first and expects to get to hold the baby smack dab in the middle of a nap… they might just be disappointed.

Sheltering also means having them far enough away (not every nap, but most) from other loud siblings so they are not likely to be disturbed.

If someone is running around their crib screaming, baby may sleep through it for a month or two but not at 4 months or 6 months and definitely not at a year. Defend their sleep as a favor to them.

Read: How To Get Through The 4 Month Sleep Regression Fast

28 Things To Do If Baby Won’t Sleep CHECKLIST

Here’s a handy dandy list of 28 things to try so baby will stop fighting sleep and sleep longer and later.

11. Choose an awake time and regular feed times

From the start, you need to choose a time you’d like your baby to wake up in the morning, and when you’ve done it, always feed him at that time.

With my five kids – based on my own personality and our family culture – I chose 7:30.

From birth each morning, I made sure to feed them within that 7:30-8:00 am period. Their body metabolizes to that time and they begin to awaken naturally at that time. Here’s how to encourage sleeping in.

Sometimes the baby will wake hungry and need to eat early, which is fine. It goes without saying, but always always feed a hungry baby.

However, I highly recommend choosing a window of time each morning and always feeding them then because that will create a “wake time” that their metabolism will remember.

Whether you choose to do a routine or not your baby will likely fall into one on its own.

➡️ It’s good to create a routine and stick to it when possible.


  • Adequate sleep in the first year is critical for optimal infant neurodevelopment
  • Mothers overwhelmed by unpredictability of nursing
  • Swaddling promotes more-sustained sleep and reduces the frequency of spontaneous awakenings


90,000 swaddling of a newborn - whether it is necessary to swaddle a newborn child



205 9000

Calm sleep conditions

0-6 months


Elena Muradova Elena Muradova

Head BabySleep, the first sleep consultant in Russia, author of the BabySleep methodology

Mother of three children

There are so many opinions and myths about swaddling, and it is not surprising that young parents are completely confused about whether to use this ancient (the first data about it dates back to the period around 4000 BC) way of caring for a child. And common sense will help us figure it out.

In this article, I look at swaddling primarily as a time-honored way to improve the sleep of babies from birth to 5-6 months.

0–4 months. Improve sleep in 3 weeks

Swaddle or not?

  • Tight swaddling of a baby from birth to 6 months almost around the clock is a relic of the past. At the very least, this interferes with the proper physical development of the child in general and the development of his chest in particular.
  • Swaddling a baby who sleeps well at night with his parents or sleeps in his own crib at intervals of 3-4 hours (or more) - why? It is often possible to put the baby to bed in normal newborn clothes. In this case, swaddling before going to bed does not make sense.
  • Gentle swaddling, when the baby can tighten his legs, for a night sleep (sometimes daytime dreams) of an anxious, excitable baby - definitely worth a try. Especially if the child does not sleep for more than 20–40 minutes, wakes himself up with his hands, sleeps only in his mother’s arms, “walks” at night, suffers from colic (or what mothers think is so similar to colic).

When to swaddle?

Sometimes they are swaddled to sleep from birth, also in order to make the transition from the "usually cramped" mother's tummy to our huge world smoother. Often people come to this method "experientially" - after sleepless nights when the child does not sleep well.

Swaddling as a means of improving sleep works well for the first 3-4 months (“4th trimester”), as the baby is provided with similar conditions - tightness, comfort and security that he had in the womb for a long time. You can quickly calm your baby down if you combine swaddling with other ways to put your baby to sleep - read more in our article on Harvey Karp's "5P System".

Indeed, most babies (especially restless ones) sleep better for the first 4–5 months when swaddled. Usually, starting from 1.5 months, they are able to sleep in periods of 3-4 hours.

Swaddling also helps with the transition to the next stage of sleep, for example, when you can notice the Moro reflex or the so-called “startle reflex”. The kid shudders, scatters his arms and legs, twitches and wakes up from this.

It has now been established that startling during falling asleep and during the superficial stages of sleep is a natural phenomenon associated with changes in nervous excitability in transitional functional states (from wakefulness to sleep and between stages of sleep), they are called "hypnic myoclonus". In young children, this phenomenon can manifest itself clearly due to the fact that the inhibitory mechanisms of the nervous system are not sufficiently formed, in the future, the severity of shudders will decrease.

How to swaddle?

There are different methods of swaddling: "with handles" - the entire body of the baby is wrapped in a diaper, "free swaddling", when the child's arms remain "free", "hands only", when the child can freely jerk his legs, with handles "up" (Australian swaddling, when the baby can suck the fist while swaddled), etc. Restless children of the first 4-5 months. it is better to swaddle “with handles” to enable them to get quality sleep, which is so necessary at this stage of development.

You can swaddle your baby with an ordinary diaper. On our website there is an article with photos of this process.

Recently, however, special diapers have become very popular, helping to wrap the baby quickly, comfortably, and most importantly, correctly (without seams, without squeezing, without straightening the baby's legs). We have prepared an overview of all the most famous brands.

If the baby does not like being swaddled?

Many babies seem to resist being swaddled at first, as if the approach doesn't suit them. Maybe it is so. However, often the reason for "resistance" is that the baby is already tired, "overwalked", and the diaper serves as an additional irritant.


The mother of a two-month-old girl was worried that her daughter began to sleep worse during the day: to fall asleep, she needed a lot of help, rocking in the cradle, and after 10-20 minutes she woke up crying and tried to get out of the diaper. Mom thought that the baby did not like swaddling, and refused it, but the quality of sleep did not improve. Mom decided to get away from motion sickness and organize sleep in a crib, but it was not possible to shift her daughter without tears.

According to the mother, the girl used to like swaddling, she did not resist. This means that the reason for crying is different, namely, not getting into the "window into a dream." The girl was going through a second developmental leap, it was important to go to bed a little earlier than usual so that there was no overwork from new experiences. We cut our wake time by 10 minutes and brought back swaddling. The baby began to fall asleep calmly in 5 minutes and sleep a full sleep cycle (40 or more minutes) in a crib without motion sickness.

Valeria Deriy

BabySleep Sleep Consultant

Book a consultation

Some babies calm down when they find a comfortable position, but if the child wants to sleep or eat, it is necessary to satisfy his vital need. In such a situation, there is no way to find out how the baby reacts to swaddling.

Next time swaddle the baby, put it on the breast, calm it down in the usual way.

Try not to miss signs of fatigue and swaddle your baby BEFORE tears appear (a table of approximate waking times by age can be useful. Learn to swaddle when your baby is in a good mood. Integrate swaddling into a bedtime ritual, and then the baby will take it well.

To adapt, you can show the baby that nothing special is happening, everything is fine, it's just time for sleep. Swaddling, you can soothe the baby with your voice (sing, talk, tell what is happening). Swaddled, you can stroke rhythmically (in time with the rhythm of the heart) or lightly pat and at the same time pronounce the soothing sound “shhhh” (or another sound familiar to the baby to calm down).


While working on the sleep of a 2-month-old baby, a mother complained of a sudden worsening of night sleep: her daughter woke up more often at night for two days in a row. The rhythm of sleep and wakefulness was well matched, so we looked for the cause in sleep conditions. Mom found that the diaper was stretched. Her parents replaced her with a new one, and the girl's sleep improved immediately. It turned out that the old diaper, due to stretching, no longer provided the child with the desired level of comfort.

Alena Rubanovich

Senior Sleep Consultant BabySleep

Swaddling. Safety instructions

  • The diaper should not “squeeze” the baby.
  • Watch out for overheating. Do not cover the child with an extra blanket "just in case". Observe the optimum temperature in the room (not higher than +22).
  • Do not place any objects on the bed. Make sure that nothing covers the child's head.
  • Put your baby to sleep on their back. It is not recommended to swaddle babies who sleep on their stomachs.
  • The baby's legs should NOT be swaddled tightly together.

I will dwell a little more on the last point. In 1965, tight swaddling was widely used in Japan, in which the baby's legs were brought together and pressed tightly against each other. At the same time, doctors noted the high frequency of the diagnosis of "hip dysplasia" and began to recommend mothers "to avoid prolonged straightening of the legs in children during the neonatal period." Shortly thereafter, experts noted a significant decrease in the incidence of dysplasia (Academy of Pediatrics study edited by Van Sleven [1]).

Russian orthopedists actively support this opinion. And they refute the myth that "without tight swaddling, the child will have crooked legs." Doctors recommend “wide swaddling” as a prevention of congenital dislocation of the hip.

Children like to be wrapped tightly, but the straightening of the legs does not match their reflex tendency to bend and spread the legs wide. This baby is swaddled freely, his legs are not straightened by swaddling.

How long can I swaddle?

Usually the need for swaddling fades by 5-6 months, but in practice we often leave (or bring back) swaddling for highly sensitive and excitable babies until 7-8 months or even longer.

There is nothing wrong with swaddling your baby until the baby learns to unwrap himself.


Who, apart from mother, can put your baby to bed?

(you can choose one or more options)

  • Male
  • Grandmother
  • Any member of the family
  • Nanny
  • Nobody, only mother

Voted: 13009

How to avoid swaddling?

The most common method is the "gradual weaning" method . First, you “let go of the free swimming” of the legs. Then one pen, and after a few days - remove the diaper.

Some people prefer to start "with the handles" - release one, after a few days - the second. And when the baby has learned to sleep and not disturb himself with his hands, remove the diaper.

Realistic expectations will help you get in the right mood. Get ready for a week (two) of "perestroika". A child who has been helped to stay awake for several months will need time to learn to control his body at night.

Try to organize your sleep so that you don't have to get up and run somewhere at night. Use the usual methods of calming: "patting - hissing", GV, voice, touch and others.

For parents, these changes are not easy: swaddled babies wake up 1-2 times a night, and without a diaper, a baby will wake up (or signal) 4-8 times the first night. Over time, the baby gets used to new sensations.

What helps : Have a set bedtime, fall asleep skills, bedtime ritual, comforting habits, favorite “protector toy”.

If your baby has not yet outgrown the “hands up” reflex, you will have a particularly difficult time. Perhaps in this case, you should continue swaddling for a few more weeks, and then try to “undress” again. Babies develop so rapidly in their first year of life, and what didn't work recently may be successful in a few weeks.

Parents of restless babies often remember the months of swaddling as a time of "long sleep". Consider this way to improve sleep, it might work for your family too.

I wish you good sleep!

Share in the comments: do you swaddle your baby in order to improve the quality of sleep? For how long? How did you get away from swaddling? (2007) Swaddling: a systematic review. Pediatrics, 120(4), e1097–e1106. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2006–2083



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Is it necessary to wake the baby for feeding

Some mothers are worried that their baby does not ask for food at night. We figure out whether it is necessary to wake the baby for feeding at night or for his growth and development, daytime nutrition is enough, as well as how to properly disturb sleep and feed the baby, if necessary. What to give the child, how often and up to what age and how to solve the problem of night awakenings? We will talk about all this with our permanent expert - pediatrician, consultant of the SMART MAMA project Polina Alexandrovna Kizino.

— Polina Alexandrovna, why do babies eat at night?

- Active growth and weight gain in the first months of life, the growing needs of the body for building material and energy costs require a large amount of nutrients. But the baby cannot eat a lot of food at once in order to accumulate it and use the reserves all night. Therefore, the younger the child, the more often he will eat at night. A newborn baby suckles a breast or a bottle day and night at almost the same intervals, but the older he gets, the less often he feeds at night.

— How to organize the nutrition of a breastfed and formula-fed baby?

— In this matter, it is extremely important for parents to separate the concepts of food and sleep. A small child does not need to eat during the falling asleep period, he is able to eat between feedings during wakefulness and at night during sleep. These two processes go hand in hand, but they should not be strictly tied to each other. Therefore, it is important to understand how much the baby needs to sleep and what should be the intervals between feedings.

Sleep and feeding of a child up to a year

Milk 9039 CORMEN time between attachments, because the child may be worried not because of hunger, but for another reason.
  • In the days of a lactation crisis, when there is less milk than the baby needs, it is applied to the breast as often as possible, based on the needs of the child.
  • Milk formula

    • Feeding according to the regime with an interval of at least 3 hours.
    feed the child at the request or under the regime Wake up the baby for feeding at night
    Night feedings during the newborn period and up to three months
    • Babies need to eat at night, so if they sleep all night without feeding, they wake them up and feed them.

    Night feedings for older children

    • If the child is gaining weight well and rarely asks for food at night - this is the norm, it is not necessary to wake him up.
    • If the weight gain is below the norm and the child does not eat well at night, this is a reason for more active daytime and nighttime feeding.

    How much sleep should a child sleep at night? Age norms change every month, but sleep and nutrition are extremely important. For example, a three-month-old baby sleeps normally 10-12 hours a night. But this does not mean that during this time he does not need to eat. As soon as a hungry baby begins to fiddle and worry, mom should offer him breasts or formula. The child eats and continues to sleep, and the sleep process is not interrupted.

    — How many months should I feed my baby at night and how often?

    — There are different situations. From birth, the intervals between feedings at night are the same as during the day, then the child gradually begins to skip night feedings, the intervals increase, and on average, by the age of one, the baby stops eating at night.

    It is necessary to wake the baby for feedings in the first month, but initially it is worth looking at how long the baby will wake up on its own. For example, if the interval is 2.5-3 hours, and the child wakes up on his own after 3.5 hours, this is acceptable. But the situation when the newborn is sleeping is completely incorrect 9-10 hours and does not receive food all this time.

    - Advise parents who want to adjust their feeding schedule.

    - You can increase the intervals between feedings over time and gradually, and in the first months you need to see how much the baby is gaining weight. If the increase is adequate, then the child needs so much food, perhaps an indulgence. If the increase does not correspond to the desired, then, on the contrary, it will be necessary to supplement the baby more actively. With older children, they are guided by the behavior of the child during the day, his weight and height gains.

    Read also: How to create a feeding regimen and daily ration for a newborn who is breastfed, mixed fed or artificially fed

    — When can a child sleep through the night without feeding?

    — Children are all different. Rare babies begin to sleep at night from the third month. If a child eats his daily allowance during the day and at the same time gains weight normally, there is no need to force-feed him. But there are children who wake up for feeding and a year. The norm at this age is one nightly feeding. By about fourteen or fifteen months, babies stop eating at night, in terms of nutritional needs. After pediatricians do not recommend feeding at night.

    It's not just a matter of refusing a child to eat at night - you should pay attention to his food during the day and assess its sufficiency. At the same time, it is recommended to deal with the sleep regime: when the regime is violated, overwork occurs. Perhaps the child does not know how to prolong sleep on his own, and he needs a breast or a bottle to fall asleep. Then night feedings appear, without which he cannot sleep.

    — Is it better to feed at night: breast milk, infant formula or complementary foods?

    Breastfeeding: give breast or bottle expressed breast milk. Mixed feeding: breast milk if the mother is trying to keep lactating, or bottle formula if the mother is weaning. Formula Feeding: dilute a portion of formula according to age and doctor's recommendations.

    Complementary foods are not suitable for night feeding, because they require spoon feeding. Do not bottle feed your baby anything other than breast milk, adapted formula, or water.

    — How many times should a baby be fed at night?

    — When a child wakes up and asks for food, then they feed him, or on the advice of a doctor. If the child needs additional food, but he does not ask, the mother should still feed him in the amount in which the doctor prescribed it.

    Night feeding rules

    • Night feedings usually accompany sleep and do not require waking up.
    • The more calm conditions (dimmed light, silence) created during feeding, the better.
    • Frequent awakenings at intervals of 40-60 minutes or 1 hour 30 minutes, especially in a child older than four months, usually do not indicate hunger, but an association with falling asleep or prolonging sleep only with breast / bottle sucking.
    • With the exception of periods of lactation crisis, when the child often asks for a breast, nightly intervals between feedings should be the same as during the day, or more. Gradually, the intervals between feedings should be increased.

    — Does the quality of food at dinner affect your night's sleep?

    — Nocturnal awakenings are influenced not so much by the last feeding as by the food of the day as a whole. It is a mistake to believe that if you give your child a huge portion at night, he will sleep better. On the contrary, it is more difficult to fall asleep on a full stomach. And, with the exception of very young children, it would be rational, as the child grows, to increase the interval between the last feeding and going to sleep.

    • A 1-month-old baby will fall asleep on the breast or at the bottle: at this age, the wake time is short and feeding usually causes the baby to fall asleep. The process of eating for him is a big burden, but at the same time, sucking relaxes and calms.
    • After three to four months, you can gradually separate feeding from falling asleep and make longer intervals - starting from 10 minutes, reaching 1.5-2 hours by the year.

    Being full before bed does not reduce awakenings, so the baby should be fed as usual. At an older age, one of the complementary foods can be given at night: porridge with milk or meat puree with vegetables, but one should not think that they will somehow affect nighttime awakenings if the child ate little during the day.

    - How to wake up a newborn for feeding at night?

    - To feed a baby, it is enough to offer a breast or a bottle and not wake him up - with a maximum probability he will start sucking. There are situations when the child is very lethargic and you need to fill his nutritional needs. In this case, you can “wake up” and use tactile or sound stimuli - take the baby in your arms and change the position of his body, undress him, stroke him, start talking to him quietly so as not to injure or scare him. Any impact should be smooth and progressive until the baby wakes up. But he can suck in a dream.

    If the child gains weight adequately, eats enough during the day, feels well, then the absence of awakenings should not be frightening. The priority is how the child develops: with adequate development, night feedings are not insisted.

    — Let's discuss the problems that parents face during night feedings.

    • The child often wakes up at night and cries

    - Often the child wakes up at night not from hunger, but to calm himself and prolong his sleep, but he does not know how to do this except with a breast or a bottle.

    Parents often underestimate the regime, but it is extremely important, because the violation of the regime significantly affects the functioning of the nervous system. If sleep is not organized, then any irritants are quickly unsettled, the baby can react violently to everything. It is worth paying attention to the rituals that precede going to sleep, associations that accompany falling asleep, living conditions - separate and / or joint sleep. Some babies sleep very restlessly after feeding. There may also be reasons for sleep disturbances.

    • Refusal of night feedings

    — Parents face a problem when they decide to stop night feedings prematurely. Within reason, you need to follow the child, give him the opportunity to regulate his desires. Ideally, you do not need to feed specially or, on the contrary, stop force-feeding the baby, although there are exceptions in case of violations of his health.

    • Baby does not want to eat or eats little and falls asleep

    - The baby sucks sluggishly if he does not like the shape of the nipple, bottle or if it is uncomfortable at the breast and it is difficult to get milk. If the baby falls asleep after a short suck, but he needs to be given a certain portion of milk or formula, then he needs to be woken up and fed. During sleep, it is sometimes easier to feed than during the day.

    If the child wakes up and does not want to eat, but at the same time he adds normally, then you need to deal with other reasons for awakening. In a healthy child look at the organization of sleep, wakefulness and nutrition during the day. Neurological symptoms against the background of sleep disturbance require examination of the baby by a doctor.

    — How to normalize sleep and nutrition in infants?

    — The norms of sleep and feeding are conditional, therefore, first of all, it is necessary to observe the behavior and physiological needs of the child. If he gains weight well, develops adequately without striking deviations from the norm and negative conditions, then there is no point in adhering to strict rules.

    Norms are a guide that allows you to quickly react in a situation where something is wrong with your child. If the baby is very worried, often wakes up at night, gains weight poorly, is naughty during the day, then the norms will help correct his condition. If the child develops well, he is active, stable, there is no reason to adapt to the pattern.

    Every age has its own dietary and sleep norms.

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