The joys of newborn-hood. Lots of snuggles, but lots of late nights too. The best way to get through late-night feedings is to keep yourself distracted. I know it’s fun to gaze at your adorable little one, but it gets old fast and you’re suddenly dying to just get through the awake time. Here’s some suggestions to make those 3 a.m. wake-up calls a little more bearable.
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Get hooked on a tv show
Find a show on Netflix you’ve been wanting to watch. Make it something light so you’re not freaking yourself out in the middle of the night. And you’re only allowed to watch that show during late-night feedings. It almost makes you look forward to them. Almost.
My biggest problem with this was that it takes longer than I like to turn the tv on, go to the right app, and find the right show. And then I discovered that most of these services have apps available on my phone! My phone is always on my nightstand. It’s 1000 times easier to grab my phone and turn on something I want to watch.
Read a book
Similar to above, this works best if you can read it directly from your phone, but definitely not required. You can absolutely have a hard copy book.
Again, this works well if you only read at night. If you really can’t keep your reading contained to 3 a.m. though, just be ready to pick another book should you prematurely finish the one you’re on.
Find a mindless game
Are you noticing a pattern? While this suggestion isn’t nearly as productive as reading a book, it’s okay to get sucked into candy crush while up late at night. I said a mindless game because you don’t want to be trying to figure out strategy when you can barely open your eyes. It will also be easier to put down once your precious little one falls back to sleep.
In addition to all of these, I keep the following things on my nightstand so I don’t have to get up more than necessary.
Water bottle: Nursing makes you thirsty. I got a cute water bottle and fill it up just before bedtime so I don’t have to worry about it in the middle of the night.
Snacks: If you thought you were hungry while pregnant, wait until you see what feeding will do to you. I keep granola bars, but pretty much anything will work. I don’t eat one every night, but they’re nice to have right there in case I’m suddenly starving.
Extra burp cloth: Babies have a tendency to spit up at the most inopportune times, like when you’re half asleep and your hair is in your face. I like to keep an extra burp cloth (or towel or washcloth) within reach so that a giant spit up becomes a minor inconvenience instead of a huge deal.
A towel: This is something not everyone needs, but I use a towel every time I nurse because I leak and spray. I definitely don’t want to deal with that in my bed and go back to sleep.
Lamp: You’ll probably get to where you can nurse in the dark with your eyes closed, but in case you can’t or would like the extra help, a small lamp is great.
A fan: Again, possibly not necessary, but when your hormones are going crazy shortly after birth, you may get super hot while you feed. I definitely do, and sometimes I freeze. Hormones are weird, y’all.
All of this is great, but the biggest thing you need to do to survive the late-night wake-up calls is get into a routine. Our routine is: my husband gets up and changes the baby’s diaper, re-swaddles him, and hands him off to me. I feed him, burp him, and get him back to sleep. Then, my husband takes him back to his bed.
This routine might work for you, but there are other options. I have friends who switch off. Someone does everything one feeding, then the other person does it the next feeding. You could even switch off nights. That may be easier if you’re formula feeding or pumping though. It’s important to figure out your own system. And don’t be afraid to switch it up if it’s not working.
What would you add? What worked best for you during that sleep-deprived infant stage?