Newborn BFing questions about night time — The Bump

Newborn BFing questions about night time

FTM and I'm trying to get prepared for what to expect for BFing. I plan to feed my newborn on demand for the first 3 months at night before trying any type of schedule. 

So when I bring my baby home do I wake him up every 2-3 hours to feed or wait for him to wake up? Did you set an alarm or will he just cry and wake me up?

Also do I change his diaper each time we get up before feeding? or just check if it's wet by sticking in a finger? 

Any other tips on the newborn phase and BFing?

Thanks in advance! 

Re: Newborn BFing questions about night time

  • Usually, when you leave the hospital they tell you to wake the baby up at certain intervals (typically 3-4 hours) to nurse.  but once you are back at birth weight, which is generally at your 2 week doctor visit, if not earlier (my visit was at 10 days), they tell you you can let the baby sleep.  It will wake up when it is hungry and let you know.  If you're trying to pump for a freezer stash, once the baby is sleeping longer stretches, you can get up and pump while it is asleep.  I did that until the 4 month mark.


    We used the Pampers Swaddlers for the first several months at night (until LO was regularly sleeping 8+ hours, then we switched to Overnight diapers), and the Swaddlers have a stripe on them that changes colors if they are wet.  For us, LO was wet basically 100% of the times she woke up at night, so we did change her before feeding her.


    Schedules are hard - my kid didn't really accept even a loose schedule until about 6 months.  Basically we know she'll want to eat every 2-3 hours during the day, and she can usually only be awake for about 3 hours between naps, but that's as scheduled as it gets.  It's often better to deal with whatever the kid wants its schedule to be than it is to enforce one on them.  We were lucky that DD has always been a great night sleeper (save for the standard regressions, which for her typically involved only one night waking, she has slept 10-12 hours straight through since about 3.5 months), but her daytime sleep was atrocious until about 6 months, and even still now she naps well at home but terribly at daycare.  Daycare doesn't enforce a schedule until they're in the 1 year old room (the infants just sleep whenever they want), so even if we had one, it wouldn't be enforced 5 days out of the week.  So we're just dealing with whatever she wants to do until she's in a room with a set schedule during the week.

  • As Delujm0 says, once the baby is back to birth weight, you don't really need to worry about waking them up to nurse - just enjoy the precious moments of extra sleep! DS was never much of a sleeper, so I never even thought of setting an alarm - he always woke me up (and continued to do so for months and months) - but this makes sense as an opportunity to build a freezer stash. I didn't start pumping till just before I returned to work and had a constant struggle to build mine up. Something I'd definitely do differently the second time around. 

    DS also had constant diaper rash problems till he was over a year old, so we always erred on the side of caution when it came to diaper changes, but I understand that diaper rash is actually fairly uncommon with very young babies, so this may not always be necessary. 
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  • FTM here too and my LO just turned one month today. While at the hospital, a nurse stressed to not let him go more than 4 hours without eating, and he definitely doesn't let me forget! I do like to set an alarm for four hours after he's done nursing, and he usually wakes up during the night right before my alarm goes off anyway. I second getting diapers with the wetness indicator, many brands offer that feature. My son always needs a diaper change upon waking and doesn't tolerate sitting in a wet or dirty diaper for more than a few minutes and won't eat until he's in a fresh diaper.
  • We woke DD every 2 hours to eat the first month. However she was 37 weeks, jaundiced and 5 lbs 7 oz when we left the hospital. At her 1 mo appointment her pedi let us know we could let her sleep. 
    I also used pampers swaddlers so I could see when her diaper needs changing. Now I change her after naps and after she eats. 
    At 17 weeks tomorrow, she still rarely goes more than 2 hours without eating. I wouldn't force a schedule- we have one that is based on what she normally does. She usually eats, plays for an hour, sometimes eats a little more then takes a nap. We repeat that routine until bedtime- which we set based on when she was going down for a longer stretch. 
  • I never woke my daughter to eat when I was nursing. Even in the hospital. I just followed her lead/cues and fed on demand.I checked her diaper every two hours and/or when she woke up. 
  • Our baby doesn't seem to be bothered about sitting in a wet nappy, we use cloth so I don't know if that makes any difference. We change her when she wakes in the night anyway to reduce risk of nappy rash.

    When she wakes, I feed her one breast, then my husband takes her downstairs to change her nappy, then second breast and back down. I have a chicco next2me side sleeping cot so I don't even get out of bed.

    This works for us as she won't take the second breast without the nappy change as she's too sleepy, and the upright jiggling up and downstairs burps her well without having to sit there and wait. We feel like it shares the responsibility well between us. With one breast she would sleep for barely over an hour. With two she would sleep for 3 hours, then 4, and now at 12 weeks on the dot she's started sleeping 7 hours! 

    Those first weeks are HARD, and you will feel like you're not doing it right as baby will ALWAYS be hungry. That's normal, and it does get better, we promise! 
  • I never woke my little guy I the night, any extra sleep was welcome that's for sure! Unless they go more than 10% under their birth weight then don't. Little one will wake you when hungry. He kind of found his own schedule but we did do from 2 weeks at 6pm bath/feed/sleep. This worked great for us and those stints became 6 hours in week or so. Other than that i fed on demand. I did read somewhere if they fall asleep nursing still offer other breast if they're not 100% asleep to fill them up. We are now just 7 months and sleeping 11/12 hours straight. At 4 months we were at 1 feeding the night. It's hard at first and I just felt like a milking cow and felt I couldn't do anything except feed feed feed! Diaper change I started off doing it before every feed and then it sort of fizzled out and from about 3 months he had one on all night as still does to this day. We switched to cloth nappies at about 5/6 months. 
  • I never woke my son to eat. He woke twice a night until he was 1 month and then only once a night which he still does. He drank every 3hrs during the day  until he was 4 months.
  • 4N6s4N6s member
    I never woke my baby up. I just feed her when she's hungry and she's been "sleeping through the night" since 4 weeks old. 
  • I never had to wake my son. In the beginning I would change his diaper a lot at night and quickly realized if there was no need why go through all the work and wake us both up more. If he had a diaper rash I would change it more often. 
  • Oh trust me, your baby will wake you up. (And the diaper will be wet every time. Most newborn diapers have a color line that changes color when wet. So you won't have to use your finger.) 

    When baby gets older you might be thinking, "Oh my gosh, he's been asleep for six hours! Should I wake him up and feed him!?!" And that's entirely up to you. Those who push for sleep training would say to wake baby up, while those (me included) who focus more on baby's cues say let baby sleep when baby's sleepy, and feed baby on baby's time table.
    BabyFetus Ticker

  • My LO rarely went more than 3 hours at night when we brought her home, so it wasn't really an issue. Before her 2 week appointment, we tried waking her halfway up to feed her before we went to bed (she goes to bed about an hour before us) and she was sleeping so hard that it didn't work. She sleeps through the night and has been for about a month. We also don't change her diaper during the night unless she won't go back down and it seems like that's the issue. Newborn diapers typically can last 12 hours at night and as long as you change them frequently during the day, diaper rash probably won't be an issue 
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