Night wakes and feeds are all the more common in the breastfed baby - many studies have shown this and it comes down to several factors including breast milk digesting faster, breastfeeding for comfort, feeding and sleep associations and many more.
My first baby, Billy, was never a great sleeper and we went through a tonne of 'stages' - so many I couldn't keep up. As soon as we would be getting used to one norm, it would change the next day.
Taylor - I was hoping would be my 'dream sleeper' - you know, they say you get one bad and one good - well I just got one crap and one crappier! But that's OK with me, I have built my coping mechanisms and thought I would share in case you have shitty sleepers too.
Prepare yourself mentally for a crappy night
I found that when I thought we would have a great night, because all the naps and stars aligned - we would have an awful night - and vice versa. Now, every night I prepare myself for a crappy night and if it is, that's OK - I expected that! If it's a great night - bonus!
Prepare your supplies
There is nothing worse than having to rummage around in the middle of the night trying to find a new nappy and wipes or worse - clothing and spare sheets if there is a leak, spew or water fountain while changing! Before you go to bed set up a little station - a burp cloth, a few nappies, wipes, spare change (onesie and swaddle) and spare sheets. Have it all on hand and you will feel like a supercharged mama when shit turns bad and you are well prepared.
Feeding in the night is thirsty work and there is nothing worse than waking up thirsty and having to trek all the way to the kitchen for some water - have a bottle or glass of water on your bedside table to quickly quench and get back to sleep.
White noise or music
If you use white noise all night ensure the batteries on the device you are using are fully charged or connected to power so it doesn't cut out midway through the night and wake your babe. If you use white noise as a settling technique, be sure to have your playlist or tracks sorted so it's ready to go. If baby starts screaming white noise can be seriously amazingly calming, and fast! But it feels like a lifetime if you can't get the damn thing going or your fave YouTube white noise won't load and then plays an ad first (yep).
We are sooo quick to spend money on several cute, cozy, organic sleepsuits for our wee babes (fair enough too they're so damn cute). But what about ourselves? We need to be warm and comfy to sleep well too. Easy feeding access pyjamas rich in breathable fabrics are going to be your best friend for night feeding - particularly in the cooler months.
Go to bed
I'm a sucker for not doing this and have to remind myself so often...but truly, if you get off to bed at a reasonable hour your body and mind will thank you for it! If you are getting up multiple times in the night, the awake time will be so much easier to cope with if you go to bed earlier.
Expressing some breastmilk during the day to get enough for the first wake up is a fantastic way to get a longer stretch if your partner, hubby or wife are up around the time of the first feed anyway. Get them to feed bubs your expressed milk via bottle and re-settle them, then take the next feed - it's amazing what a bit of un-broken sleep can do!
Know it's not forever
Well, actually it kind of is...as they say you still won't be sleeping when they're a teen and go out to parties because you will worry (#mumlife) but know this phase of multiple feeding wakes is not forever. In fact it goes bloody quick in the grand scheme of things, so, while it can be hard, try to enjoy some of those night time cuddles and feeds - they will be gone before you know it! Soon you will have a weird toddler who kisses you and says "ni-night", then waddles off to bed with his kiwi and monkey, gets tucked in and goes to sleep #wtfisupwiththatanyway #toogoodtobetrue #kindamissthebattleandcuddles #betitwontlastthough
If you want to find some more support and other mums to bounce ideas, advice, laughs and questions around with - come join us in Milkbar Mum Chat on Facebook, together, we've got this!