6 Infant Eating & Sleep Questions, Answered!

Here are 6 common infant eating & sleep questions answered:

1 – What do I do when my baby wakes early from a nap? 

When your baby wakes early from a nap we want to try to rock back to sleep to extend the nap and then try to put them down or hold for the remainder of the nap. If that’s not possible, or they won’t go back to sleep, just start a new cycle of Optimal Wake Time (OWT) and know you may need an ultra-short catnap at the end of the day and a  slightly later bedtime.

To solve for short naps, make sure you are using an age-appropriate OWT, as we believe that a lot of the recommendations for wake windows are too long and actually cause sleep disruptions. In our opinion, biologically, a shorter awake window helps to prevent over tiredness and that's one of the main sleep disruptors in infants and toddlers.

As a general guide, for a nap…

30 min or less. Try rocking them back to sleep for up to 30 minutes before starting a new wake window. If they go back to sleep, great! You can try to put them back down or hold them and enjoy the snuggles. If they don’t go back to sleep, then start a new cycle of EAT PLAY SLEEP.

30 – 45 min. Try rocking them back to sleep for up to 15 minutes before starting a new wake window. If they go back to sleep, great! You can try to put them back down or hold them and enjoy the snuggles. If they don’t go back to sleep, then start a new cycle of EAT PLAY SLEEP.

45- 60 min. Your choice to rock back to sleep or start a new cycle!

60 – 90 min. Success!

2 – Which do I prioritize, feedings or sleep? 


We are working to follow an age-appropriate routine where we prioritize both feedings and sleep, but we recommend flexibility with both feed times and nap lengths, as this makes it easier to manage all the infant sleep ingredients.

If your baby really struggles to go down for their nap and getting them to sleep is going to be close to their next feeding time, we typically recommend feeding again before putting them down. Otherwise, they may have trouble staying asleep because their bellies will be getting hungry again or you may be tempted to let them sleep, pushing feeds further than 3 hours apart and this can compromise nighttime sleep.

Remember, we can always cut a nap short (to make a 30 min catnap) so we don’t push the feedings too far apart!

The goal is to maintain the same number of full feedings each and every day while preventing your little one from becoming overtired. Knowing this, it’s easier to make decisions about what to do in each moment to ensure you are following an age-appropriate sleep routine, and thus supporting consistent nighttime sleep, without “sleep training”.

3 – How do I deal with a 5am waking? 

Often, when babies are getting close to sleeping through the night, they will wake at 5am. If they wake at this time and you don’t think they’re hungry (and they’re older than 10 weeks) you can try rocking them back to sleep instead. Your goal would be to gently extend them to 6am, to feed fully and temporarily start their day. After a few days, they should start waking at the 6am time. If they don’t, you want to re-evaluate their daytime to ensure needs are met before working to extend their 5am wake again.

If you think they’re hungry at 5am, we handle this in different ways, depending on their age. For babies 4 months of age and younger, we would recommend treating this as the middle of the night with a full feed and then waking them to start their day no later than 7:30am. If your baby is hungry in the 5am hour and over the age of 4 months old, we want to feed them fully and use that as your temporary start of day, while we work to move the milk they’re drinking at this time to the daytime.

If they have other nighttime wakings and feeds between the dreamfeed and 5am, we want to feed fully at the earlier feeds to help extend their later nighttime sleep and start of day time.

4 – How do I begin from birth to work on sleep for my baby?

Feed your baby FULLY from the beginning! This is going to take deliberate work to keep them awake and focused to take a full feeding, but it’s the best “work” you can do.

We also work to limit daytime sleep naturally by feeding every 2-3 hours during the day. This ensures baby never gets their “days and nights confused” which is really just a sign of too much daytime sleep.

We also use the dreamfeed to help them get in an extra feeding before you go to bed, to help extend their nighttime sleep as they get older. 

We also want to make sure to burp well (this helps with full feeds), have them asleep by Optimal Wake Time (OWT) and rock them to sleep (to prevent over tiredness).

5 – Do I skip the dreamfeed if my baby isn't eating enough?

No!!! Don’t sleep on the dreamfeed fam! We know it’s soooooo hard to stay awake for this late evening feed but it’s a great time to get your partner involved, if they are willing.

Since we are working to extend time between feeds at night, we highly recommend keeping the dreamfeed in place from birth until baby is sleeping through the night (STTN), as it will ensure sleep happens sooner than if you aren't offering the dreamfeed.
We don't want to remove the dreamfeed until your baby is sleeping from the dreamfeed to start of day for a few weeks. When we do remove it, we work on it very slowly so we don’t develop any new sleep disruptions. 

6 – How do I get rid of middle of the night feedings?

Follow The Full Feedings Method, by ensuring all feeds are full, baby is asleep by their Optimal Wake Time (and therefore not overtired) and limit daytime sleep to what’s called for on your age-appropriate MONTHLY GUIDE.

As we work on the daytime consistently from birth or wherever you are starting, the nighttime naturally comes together without you having to “do” anything.

We want to keep all nighttime feeds full, and then work to “move” any nighttime feeds to become morning, if they don’t naturally extend on their own.

I created The Full Feedings Method® to show parents exactly how to achieve consistent nighttime sleep WITHOUT having to “sleep train” and WITHOUT having to cry it out. The beauty of this method is you can begin from BIRTH or at any age, as long as your infant or toddler is still napping.

The Full Feedings Method® focuses on a few main things – full feedings, limiting daytime sleep and getting baby to sleep by their optimal wake time so they don't become overtired in any period. We use flexible monthly guides to age-appropriately manage these three ingredients daily, so 12-hours of nighttime sleep is consistently possible, without having to “do” anything.

If you're looking for PRACTICAL and REALISTIC sleep and feeding advice that supports your life, your values, and doesn’t compromise your baby in ANY way, check out our amazing programs:



Let us help you learn everything you need to know to establish & maintain those full feedings & sleep and troubleshoot ANY problem BEFORE they arise.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to HELLOSLEEP@FULLFEEDINGS.COM

We’ll get you eating & sleeping well and keep you eating & sleeping well, fam!