Our 6 Top Infant Feeding Questions, Answered!!!
These are some of our most Frequently Asked Questions about Infant Feeding…
- How do I keep my baby awake to take a full feeding? When babies are first born, they are very sleepy and it can be challenging to keep them awake for a full feeding. This is why we spend the whole first month working solely on feeding fully, because it takes work for both of you! If your baby is falling asleep while eating, there are some things you can try to keep them awake: take their clothes off, change their diaper, use a wet washcloth on their feet, massage their cheeks, gently blow on their face, etc. If your baby is falling asleep while eating, it can cause them to become hungry more often (because they aren’t eating fully) but it can also cause them to get too much daytime sleep, both of which can cause night wakings. The benefit of working to keep your baby awake to take a full feeding will pay off huge because it will ensure when they can consume enough calories during the daytime hours (which typically happens by 8 – 12 weeks old) so there is no need to feed at night…which means the sleep you and your baby NEED.
- What is a full bottle feeding?
Under 6 months old a full bottle feeding is a 30-minute feed to consume an age-appropriate bottle of milk. Every baby is different in terms of what full means for them, but there are guidelines on each monthly guide in The Full Feedings Method® Online Programs.
Over 6 months old, they become more efficient and a full feeding doesn’t take 30-minutes anymore. However, we want to use their overnight sleep as a guide. If they’re still waking overnight and eating fully, that’s a sign that we need to increase their daytime intake.
If you baby is over the age of 16 weeks old, and still drinking milk at night, look at what they are consuming in a 24-hour period, and work to increase daytime intake to meet that need.
- What is a full breast feeding?
Under 6 months old, a full feeding is a 30-minute feeding, including burping, as long as it’s not excessive. As babies get older, they also become more efficient, so from 6-9 months a full feeding is closer to 15-20 minutes and after 9 months, it drops to around 10 minutes.
Remember, if your baby is over the age of 16 weeks old, and still drinking milk at night, that is their baseline of caloric need, and whatever they are eating in a 24-hour period is what we want to work to get them to eat during the daytime hours, to support circadian rhythm, and get you sleeping!
- What is the dreamfeed?
A dreamfeed is an extra feeding that we offer after your baby has gone to sleep for the night and before any MOTN (Middle of the Night) wakings they have. For this feeding, we keep the baby mostly asleep and offer the feeding before they wake for a feed, around 10-11pm.
The goal of the dreamfeed is to extend their MOTN sleep by offering an extra feeding before their long stretch of overnight sleep.
You will be doing this late evening feed from birth because you will be feeding every 3 hours around the clock. We highly recommend keeping the “dreamfeed” in place until your baby is sleeping through the night because it will make that happen a lot quickly.
The first time your baby sleeps through the night (STTN), it will be from an 8pm bedtime, through a dreamfeed between 10-11pm, until at least 6am. The dreamfeed makes this possible because by 8 weeks old, your baby can likely go 7-8 hours without needing to eat. If you work from birth to slowly extend time between feedings at night (by following The Full Feedings Method®), you will see your baby naturally extend to STTN, without you having to “sleep train”.
- How do I know my baby is full?
We measure fullness in each feed using time / amount, as per question #2 and #3 above.
We measure overall fullness by baby’s 24-hour baseline feeding total. If your baby is over 16 weeks old and still taking full feedings overnight, that’s our sign they are probably not fully fed during the day and we need to work to increase daytime intake.
We call this “milk management” where we work to move any milk your baby needs at night, to the daytime. We do this slowly by adding .5oz-1oz to each feeding during the day, if bottle feeding, and adding a few minutes to each feed, if nursing.
We never want to force babies to eat more, but we do work with them to encourage them to eat fully.
- How often should I feed my baby? We want to feed at least every 2-3 hours during the daytime until closer to 9 months old and at least every 3 hours at night until you get the go ahead from the pediatrician that you no longer need to wake them overnight to eat. If your baby has a short nap, you may be feeding more often during some cycles, and that’s okay, we just don’t want to go longer overnight. Going longer than 3 hours between feedings can often compromise your baby’s ability to be fully fed during the daytime, and lead to an prolonged need to feed at night. Feeding fully and frequently during the day will help support circadian rhythms and get you and your baby sleeping, when age-appropriate.
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 “sleep train” or “cry it out”.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org ✨
To eating & sleeping well,
The Full Feedings Family