How I worked The Full Feedings Method with my Infant!
Working with Ann the past few months I have learned a ton! I wish I had this knowledge when my daughter was an infant! I continue to laugh at myself and the things I was concerned about affecting my daughters sleep. I truly felt like her sleep habits were magic and I couldn't disturb them or I would never get them back. My Mom kept telling me that Phine does things that no other baby can do, everyone was marveling at her sleep habits and her overall happy demeanor. It wasn't magic it was The Full Feedings Method and some effort on my part.
So here's what I did. I started The Full Feedings Method at three weeks of age. I should have started the day we got home from the hospital, whatever you live and you learn. I started our day at 7am everyday. I am sorry, I know. Yes, after waking to feed her twice the night before I woke a sleeping three week old at 7am. We immediately did a diaper change and put on our outfit for the day. I wanted to signal to her that this was daytime, we EAT PLAY SLEEP.
We had our first EAT on my couch. I had a “nursing basket” next to where I was sitting that had all the essentials including a legal pad and a pen. I would write down the exact minute I woke her up and the exact minute I started feeding her. I did this everyday. I made my husband and my mother do this as well. It was a team effort and I am very lucky to have had them backing me up. Of course, I saved this legal pad so I can compare my future children’s sleep to Phine’s. So, I might still be a little superstitious. It is also helping me write this blog so I have that going for me.
I never had an issue keeping her awake for a full 30 minute feed. She was always and has continued to be, ready to eat whenever! We would then relax on the couch and digest for a few minutes before we did PLAY. She was always very good with tummy time and loved laying on her back on her playmat. During this time, I would hopefully have two minutes to swallow some food and go to the bathroom.
Then it was time for SLEEP. She was tricky because she never showed sleepy cues until after I started the nap time routine. She was obviously tired but I had to trigger her to get her to show it. So,I had to follow the OWT suggested in the monthly guides, not her signals. It took me three days of staring at my child to figure this out. Here is where I laugh at myself. I expected to put her down and have her fall asleep on her own instantly. Truthfully, a lot of the time she did, which backed up my magic theory. I should have started the nap time routine a few minutes before her OWT so she would have some time to go to sleep. My nap time routine was walking in two slow circles around my first floor with the white noise on and her with her pacifier. I thought I had to have her taking her naps on the first floor so she would be able to differentiate between naps and overnight sleep. Dummy! The shusher was my nap time trigger. I would lay her down in the pack and play, put on the shusher and swaddle her. The second the shusher turned on her eyes would start to close. Abracadabra!
I want to be clear, my child took a lot of short naps but it never caused night wakings. This is a routine not a schedule so if she woke up early I would pick her up and feed her another full feeding within five minutes. Sometimes she was eating every two hours, sometimes it was every three. Either way it was always a full 30 minute feed and the PLAY. Everything is flexible in this method and can be made to work for you. If you look at the picture I posted some of her naps were shorter than recommended in the guides. Sometimes I got her to extend, most times I didn’t. I think part of the reason her naps were short was because some of her wake windows were too long and some of it was because that is just normal. She still would sleep 11-12 hours a night regardless of her short naps because I kept trying to follow her OWT. As you can also see from the pictures I just scribbled down times and moved on. I wasn’t obsessing, I was just trying to make this work for myself and it did.
For bedtime, I brought her up at varying times as her naps varied everyday. It was sometime between 7-730pm. I breastfed her throughout the day and gave her a big bottle of formula as a part of her bedtime routine. When we would EAT at night, it was all business. We were in the dark with the white noise shut off. We would do a full 30 minute feed then I would change her diaper, put the white noise back on and gently rock her for a minute before putting her back down in the Snoo. The white noise acted as a trigger to let her know its time to go back to sleep. I did not use the Snoo with the motion on. I didn't like it, so I basically used the Snoo as a regular bassinet. That’s a topic for another blog!
The day I started The Full Feedings Method she started to wake up at 1am and 4am almost exactly. During the middle of week four the feeds started to move towards 130am and 430am. At the start of week five, she dropped the 130am feeding on her own. It was incredible, I would have been happy with just that. At the end of week five, she didn’t wake up so I woke her up. Why I did that I don’t know, I should have just enjoyed it and gone back to sleep. So we had a few nights of me waking her between 4am and 5am. I thought to myself okay, starting Monday we are going to start the dreamfeed. I thought it would make me feel more comfortable with her going longer stretches overnight without eating. I explained it to my husband and decided it would be his job. He was going to pick her up and feed her whatever I pumped that day. I usually go to bed by 9pm so I would need some help feeding her between 10pm and 11pm.
At the end of week 5 I woke up at 645am. I went to bed at 845pm. We both slept through the night! It was glorious. I was stunned and disoriented, honestly. So I tried to follow the day before exactly. It didn’t work but I still followed the OWT suggested in the guide. I told my husband he was temporarily fired from the dreamfeed. I was afraid to offer it because of my superstitions surrounding her sleep. That night again she slept until almost 7am. Magic! Then it just kept happening. I was so happy and so well rested.
I kept The Full Feedings website up on my computer everyday. I was always rereading the same guide and preparing for the next one. I had my legal pad with the days times written out. I know it seems like a lot but it was quick, easy and always accessible. It wasn’t really any extra work in my opinion. It kind of just flowed. It was easy to have my mom or husband follow because I had the previous days written down so they just tried to keep following those if I wasn’t there. If you are the type of person to get intimidated by rigidity this is for you. The guides are not a strict schedule it is a routine just keep flowing into the next cycle and if you need anything shoot us an email. We are here to help!