Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Sharing is caring!

The short answer: newborns should be fed every 3-4 hours even during the night for the first few weeks of their life.

Newborn baby
Photo by Hollie Santos on Unsplash

As a new parent, one of the many decisions you may face is whether or not to wake your newborn to feed at night. On the one hand, it is important to ensure that your newborn is getting enough nutrients, especially during the first few months of life. On the other hand, newborns, like all humans, need sleep in order to grow and develop properly. So, how do you know if you should wake your newborn to feed at night?

In this blog post, we will explore the importance of feeding newborns frequently, the factors to consider when deciding whether to wake a newborn to feed at night and tips for successful nighttime feedings.

By the end, you should have a better understanding of the pros and cons of waking a newborn to feed at night and be able to make an informed decision based on the individual needs of your newborn and your own comfort level as a parent.

The importance of feeding newborns frequently

The first few months of a newborn’s life are a critical time for growth and development. During this period, breast milk or formula is the primary source of nutrition for the newborn. Both breast milk and formula provide essential nutrients that are necessary for the newborn’s overall health and development.

In addition to providing the necessary nutrients, establishing a regular feeding routine is important for both the newborn and the parent. Newborns have small stomachs and need to eat frequently in order to get enough nutrients. By establishing a routine, parents can better predict when their newborn will be hungry and be prepared to feed them. This can also help parents to feel more in control and less overwhelmed during the often-chaotic first few months of parenthood.

It is generally recommended that newborns be fed every 3-4 hours or 8-12 times per day. This may vary based on the individual needs of the newborn, so it is important to consult with a healthcare provider for specific guidance.

READ MORE:  Is Extended Breastfeeding Right For You?

Factors to consider when deciding whether to wake a newborn to feed at night

There are several factors to consider when deciding whether to wake a newborn to feed at night. These include the age of the newborn, weight gain and overall health, and personal preference and comfort level of the parent.

Age of the newborn

In the first few weeks of life, it is generally recommended to wake a newborn to feed at night every 3-4 hours. This is because newborns have small stomachs and need to eat frequently in order to get enough nutrients.

As the newborn gets older and their stomach grows, they may be able to go longer stretches between feedings.

Consult with a healthcare provider for specific guidance on how often to feed your newborn based on their age and individual needs.

Weight gain and overall health

It is important to monitor the newborn’s weight gain and overall health to ensure they are getting enough nutrients. If the newborn is not gaining weight or is experiencing other health concerns, it may be necessary to wake them to feed at night. Consult with a healthcare provider for guidance on how to address any concerns.

Personal preference and comfort level of the parent

The decision to wake a newborn to feed at night can also be influenced by the parent’s comfort level and personal preference. Some parents may be more comfortable waking their newborn to feed at night, while others may prefer to let the newborn sleep as much as possible. It is important to consider what works best for you and your family, while also taking into account the needs of the newborn.

Ultimately, the decision to wake a newborn to feed at night should be based on the individual needs of the newborn and the comfort level of the parent. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider for guidance and to consider all factors before making a decision.

Newborn baby
Photo by Hu Chen on Unsplash

Pros and cons of waking a newborn to feed at night

There are both pros and cons to waking a newborn to feed at night. Here are some of the main points to consider:

Pros:

  • Ensuring the newborn gets enough nutrients: One of the main advantages of waking a newborn to feed at night is to ensure that they are getting enough nutrients. Newborns have small stomachs and need to eat frequently in order to get enough nutrients. By waking the newborn to feed at night, you can help to ensure that they are getting the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly.
  • Helping with weight gain: If the newborn is not gaining weight or is not gaining weight as quickly as expected, waking them to feed at night may be necessary in order to help them gain weight. Consult with a healthcare provider for guidance on how to address any weight concerns.
  • Establishing a feeding routine: Waking a newborn to feed at night can also help to establish a regular feeding routine, which can be beneficial for both the newborn and the parent. By establishing a routine, parents can better predict when their newborn will be hungry and be prepared to feed them. This can also help parents to feel more in control and less overwhelmed during the often-chaotic first few months of parenthood.
READ MORE:  How to Tackle the Most Common Breastfeeding Problems

Cons:

  • Disrupting the newborn’s sleep: One of the main drawbacks of waking a newborn to feed at night is that it can disrupt their sleep. Newborns, like all humans, need sleep in order to grow and develop properly. By waking a newborn to feed at night, you may be disrupting their natural sleep patterns, which could have negative effects on their overall health and development.
  • Potentially disturbing the parent’s sleep: Waking a newborn to feed at night can also be disruptive for the parent, especially if it is done frequently. It is important for parents to get enough sleep in order to be able to care for their newborn and function properly. If waking the newborn to feed at night is disrupting your sleep, it may be necessary to consider alternative feeding methods, such as pumping breast milk or using the formula, in order to let the mother sleep while the father can tend to the baby.

Overall, the decision to wake a newborn to feed at night is a personal one and should be based on the individual needs of the newborn and the comfort level of the parent. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider for guidance and to consider all factors before making a decision.

Tips for successful nighttime feedings

Here are some tips for successful nighttime feedings:

  • Preparing for the feeding in advance: To make the nighttime feeding as smooth as possible, it can be helpful to prepare in advance. This might include gathering all the necessary supplies, such as a clean diaper, a fresh bottle or a breast pump, and a burp cloth. Having everything ready and within reach can help to minimize disruptions and make the feeding process more efficient.
  • Creating a calming environment for the newborn: It can also be helpful to create a calming environment for the newborn during nighttime feedings. This might include dimming the lights, using a nightlight, or playing soft music. A calm and quiet environment can help to soothe the newborn and make it easier for them to fall back to sleep after the feeding.
  • Keeping track of feedings and diaper changes: To gauge the newborn’s needs, it can be helpful to keep track of feedings and diaper changes. This might include writing down the time and duration of feedings, as well as the number of wet and dirty diapers. This information can be helpful in determining how often to feed the newborn and whether they are getting enough nutrients.
READ MORE:  How to Get Sleep as a Breastfeeding Mom

By following these tips, you can help to make the nighttime feedings as smooth and successful as possible. It is important to remember that every newborn is different and what works for one may not work for another. It may take some trial and error to find what works best for your newborn and your family.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the decision to wake a newborn to feed at night is a personal one and should be based on the individual needs of the newborn and the comfort level of the parent. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider for guidance and to consider all factors before making a decision.

There are both pros and cons to waking a newborn to feed at night, including ensuring the newborn gets enough nutrients, helping with weight gain, and establishing a feeding routine, as well as disrupting the newborn’s sleep and potentially disturbing the parent’s sleep. By following tips for successful nighttime feedings, such as preparing for the feeding in advance, creating a calming environment for the newborn, and keeping track of feedings and diaper changes, you can help to make the nighttime feedings as smooth and successful as possible.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to ensure that your newborn is getting the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly. With some careful planning and a little bit of patience, you can find a feeding routine that works for you and your newborn.