Our 9 Top Newborn Questions, Answered!!!
These are some of our most Frequently Asked Questions we get about newborns feeding and sleeping.
- How do I get my newborn to sleep in their crib or bassinet?
The key to getting your baby to sleep independently is to make sure they are not overtired. We work to prevent overtiredness in babies by consistently making sure they are asleep by their age-appropriate Optimal Wake Time (OWT).
Now for newborns, this can be tough because their Optimal Wake Time is likely only 40 minutes (from birth – 4.5 weeks old) and 50-60 minutes from 4.5 – 8.5 weeks old so there isn’t a lot of time when you are working towards a full 30-minute feeding.
And since you are new to the baby game, it can feel like there is so much to do in such a short amount of time and often we miss baby’s age-appropriate OWT and this is the cause of them not sleeping in their crib or bassinet. They are just overtired and dis-regulated and this is why they aren’t able to sleep independently.
So we recommend helping them to sleep (rocking) by their age-appropriate wake time, holding them for a little, and then trying to put them down in their crib or bassinet for sleep. This will take practice, but if you consistently work towards this, the independent sleep will come!
Having said that, the sleep is more important than how baby get it so we love a good contact nap too. If your baby is struggling to go to sleep, helping / holding / walking / carrying them for a nap will help to keep them regulated and prevent the overtiredness and that will help everything overall.
But remember, we always suggest that some sleep should happen in the crib/bassinet from the beginning, so police yourself with contact napping and make sure you are also working on independent sleep too.
Also, if babies are hungry, independent sleep can be more challenging so making sure they’re fully fed this should really help them to be able to sleep independently as well.
- How much/long should I feed my newborn?
Feeding amounts really vary baby to baby. You want to make sure your newborn is fully fed at each feeding, which is why we spend the first month working only on this. It’s normal that it will take you the first month to establish full feedings. Each feeding is a new chance to try again to work on this.
As a loose rule of thumb, here is what a full feeding will be for your newborn:
BREASTFEEDING – 30 minutes, including burp time as long as it’s not excessive
BOTTLE FEEDING – 30 minutes to finish an age-appropriate amount of milk, includes burp time as long as it’s not excessive.
General Bottle Feeding Guidelines are:
Birth to 2.5 weeks = 1 – 3oz every 2-3 hours during the day and every 3 hours at night
2.5 to 4.5 weeks = 2 – 4oz every 2-3 hours during the day and every 3 hours at night
4.5 – 8.5 weeks = 5 – 6oz every 2-3 hours during the day
Please note every baby is different with their bottle intake. We want to make sure we are working towards a full 30-minute feed. Burping and paced feeding will be essential ingredients to establish full feedings. Don’t force anything and just comfortably offer your baby what they will take during this time and build from there.
As they get older (8 – 12+ weeks), you can use their overnight feeds as a guide for what amount of milk they need to consume during the daytime hours to be “full”. This means if they are still drinking 8oz of milk at night, that is what you’d want to work to add to their daytime feedings, to meet their needs fully during the day & support the establishment of a strong circadian rhythm. We don’t force anything but this is a good rule of thumb.
Breastfeeding mamas, just keep the full feed time at 30-minutes and consistent from cycle to cycle and baby + your milk will
- How often should I feed my newborn?
We want to feed them at least every 3 hours during the day and night. Ideally during the day it’s closer to every 2-3 hours and overnight is closer to every 3 hours. However, we never withhold food from a baby so if they wake early from a nap and they’re hungry, we always want to feed them.
Feeding closer together ensures they’re able to take in enough food during the day to begin sleeping longer overnight. If they’re fully fed during the day, this should happen naturally!
- When will my newborn start to sleep longer stretches at night?
Babies who are fully fed during the day and are consistently asleep within their age-appropriate Optimal Wake Time (OWT) should have their overnight sleep extend naturally. It’s possible for babies to sleep from the dreamfeed (10/11pm) to a 6am start of day starting around 8 weeks but for many babies it happens closer to 12 weeks.
If we remain consistent with feeding and sleep during the day, you can begin seeing your baby sleep longer stretches overnight starting around 4 weeks old. Remember, this will be a gradual process of extending time between nighttime feedings to sleep through the night. You baby is not going to jump from sleep 4-hour stretches to 8-hour stretches, so remember it will take time to progress.
- How often should I burp my baby?
We recommend stopping to burp every 5 minutes for up to 5 minutes during a feed. Once they have burped, you can go back to feeding. We want to burp often during feeds and work to get the burps out because trapped gas can be uncomfortable and can cause them to feel full before they are.
- My baby has their days and nights confused.
This is often caused by too much daytime sleep. Babies can only biologically sleep so many hours in a 24 hour period so if they get too much of that sleep during the day, it can cause them to be awake more at night, leading people to think they have their days and nights confused.
So if you notice your baby is wanting to stay awake at night, age-appropriately limiting their daytime sleep is key to stopping the MOTN party.
It’s also worth mentioning, when they sleep too much during the day, they’re also more likely to miss feeds or have fewer feeds, which can cause them to be hungrier overnight and therefore waking more often.
- How do I deal with cluster feeds?
It is very normal for your baby to want to cluster feed. The best approach to this is to encourage them to be full! We want all feeds to be full, including cluster feeds.
When you work towards cluster feeds being full, it will cut down on “snacking” and help support your baby’s needs fully, while also ensuring feeds are spaced out well enough that you continue with a manageable feeding routine once they are done cluster feeding.
- Should I use a dreamfeed?
Yes. A dreamfeed is our secret weapon in infant sleep. Since the basis of The Full Feedings Method® is working towards full daytime feeds (to alleviate the need to feed at night), keeping a dreamfeed in place gives us an extra “daytime” feed that will help baby to sleep through the night faster.
Using a dreamfeed, most babies STTN by 8 – 12 weeks old. Without a dreamfeed, it can take longer (12 – 16 weeks old) to get them to go 12-hours without needing to eat. Without a dreamfeed you often end up with 2 longer stretches of sleep at night (bedtime to 1am + 1am – 7am) and this can make it hard to get to 12-hours of sleep, since we work to “move” feeds, not drop them.
If your baby is older and still waking overnight for a feeding, we recommend using a dreamfeed to “move” the milk from nighttime to daytime. This helps to support biology by consolidating the food to “daytime” hours which helps align with light/dark cycles, and this is how we naturally establish sleep.
Just like with all other feeds, we want to encourage the dreamfeed to be full.
- When can I begin working on sleep for my baby?
Is the moment they’re born too early? Since the Full Feedings Method is based on feeding fully and helping your baby to sleep before they become overtired, you can work on sleep right away! Feed that baby fully and help them to sleep!! If you want to learn more about how to work on sleep from birth, download our FREE WELCOME HOME GUIDE for 13-pages of helpful information to get your precious baby to sleep through the night WITHOUT sleep training!
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. I 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