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Feeding, winding a getting a good nights sleep

Feeding a newborn and getting a good night’s sleep

From birth, babies tend to set their own feeding and sleep routines. With the best will in the world, us parents are powerless when it comes to trying to adjust newborns to our pre-baby schedules. 

When we give birth, the gold top milk (colostrum) that’s produced before your supply ‘comes in’, is biologically designed to give your baby everything they need. The average newborn tummy can only stomach about a pound coin size amount of milk, at any one time. Despite this being the norm, some babies do break the mould and crave more nutrients than others. However, there are always ways to ensure your baby is happily fed and ready for bed. 

In comparison to the later years, newborn’s needs are relatively straightforward. In the first few months, your baby will cry when they’re hungry, tired, needing a cuddle or in pain. And, as you navigate your way through this time, you’ll quickly learn your baby’s individual cues and what they mean. 

This guide to newborn feeding and winding, will give you top tips to smooth your journey through those first few months, and give you a kickstart toward successful sleep routines for the both of you.

Newborn feeding patterns

As soon as your baby is born, they’re biologically programmed to look for milk. Whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed, within the first few days you’ll soon be able to tell when your little one is in need of nourishment. 

When breastfeeding, it’s vital to keep offering your baby the breast when they need feeding. Newborns can feed up to 12 times a day during those first few months and the more you offer the breast, the more your milk supply will adapt to the amount and regularity that your baby requires. 

Cluster feeding is a perfectly natural way for a newborn to prepare to sleep during these early days. By filling up on milk more regularly before bedtime, they are ensuring they’re full up before they snooze, resulting in less feed times during the night. 

New mums may resort to mix feeding during this time, by ‘topping up’ breast feeds with formula. Whilst there’s no issue with doing this, it may mean your body won’t produce as much milk as those who stick to exclusive breastfeeding, and subsequently result in formula being more and more necessary, as your baby grows.

Winding tips and tricks 

After your baby has had a good feed, they’ll often drift off to sleep or be ‘milk drunk’. It’s still a good idea to wind for a little while – even though you may not want to disturb them. There are many different positions in which you can successfully wind your baby. Here are a couple of the most popular positions:

• Over the Shoulder - intrinsically we know to pop newborn babies up over our shoulder and tap them on the back. Ensure you have ample muslin cloths or such to catch any spit up that comes up too and that you’re in a comfortable position for both you and baby. Remember not to tap too roughly on their back, but ensure you have a good rhythm as well, to bring up any excess wind they’ve swallowed during the feed. If your baby has colic, try rubbing baby’s back using upward strokes rather than patting as this can be irritating, and possibly make symptoms worse. 

The Sit Up - by placing your baby on your lap in a sitting up position, resting their chin in the crook of your thumb and forefinger, gently tap their back with your free hand and encourage the excess gas to make its way up. 

Wonky Winding - similarly to the over the shoulder technique, place them upright but try tilting them slightly onto their left. Wind can often get stuck at the top of their stomach, as the opening is slightly over to the right-hand side, and by helping them open up this gap, winding can be a lot easier (for both parent and baby). 

Sleeping on the side - if your baby has fallen asleep during their feed and you choose to carefully place them down to sleep, try positioning them on their left side. Similar to the Wonky Winding technique, this will help them to bring up wind easily whilst they snooze. Once they are settled, position them on their back. 

We are all familiar with the phrase ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ and whilst this is solid advice, don’t beat yourself up if you enjoy a bit of peace and quiet, before hitting the sack. The most important thing new parents can do is to get a good balance of sleep, food, downtime and help during those first few months. If you’d rather drink a cup of tea in peace than try to catch forty winks in the middle of the day, you do what makes you happy. After all, a happy parent means a happy baby. 

I’d love to share all of my personal experience with feeding and winding. I am fully trained and qualified and have 35 years experience of helping families. Read more about me here

Please get in touch for a chat. There are lots of options for us to work together – we’ll start with whatever feels most comfortable for you and your baby. 

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