Yes, you can hold your newborn to sleep, Mama!

In fact, we encourage you to help your baby to sleep

Dear Mama,

When I opened up Instagram and saw “hold your baby, mama”  on the Full Feedings grid, it was exactly what this mama needed to hear. I was a new mom who was struggling to know exactly how to best take care of my newborn.

For too long I’d heard:

“Don’t hold your baby they’ll get too used to it”

”They have to sleep in the crib from day one”

“If they take naps on you they’ll only take naps on you.”

Why anyone is telling a new parent that they can’t hold their baby I will never understand. Of course we want to work on crib and independent sleeping. But, come on, you’ve just welcomed this new baby into your life whether via pregnancy and childbirth, surrogacy or adoption, it doesn’t matter. You are going to want to hold this new baby and show them the love and comfort you both need.

Entering the world is hard for a little baby. They went from being in this dark, warm place where you’re basically hugging them 24/7 to entering this world with lights, sounds and changing temperatures. They’re going to need comfort and you both need to bond. 

We encourage holding your baby. The Full Feedings Method focuses on maintaining full feeds and getting your baby into an age-appropriate routine. If your baby is overtired or hungry, they’re going to struggle sleeping anywhere, even in your arms. Instead of spending so much mental energy stressing about where your baby sleeps, let’s focus on setting them up for success once they fall asleep.

We do this by:

  1. Sticking to a consistent OWT during the day
  2. Making sure your baby has full feeds 
  3. Starting their naptime routine 15 minutes before the end of their OWT, so they can be asleep in time without becoming overly tired. 

The best way to assist your baby to  get into this routine is by helping them into it and helping them to sleep. 

We’re so focused on the things we need to teach our babies, like rolling over, that we forget we also have to teach them how and when to sleep. In the womb, they don’t need help sleeping because it’s dark, cozy and they’re being rocked all the time while you move around. Just like we teach them to drink from a straw, we have to teach them to go to sleep when they’re tired. It would be nice if babies just ‘knew’ to fall asleep when they’re tired, but this isn’t always the case, especially if they’re overly tired!

Of course we want you to put your baby to sleep in the crib but, personally, I think there’s a happy medium where some naps are contact naps, some are stroller/carrier and others are in the crib. Find your balance and keep doing what you need to for your family. The thing about having kids is, everyone has an opinion. Everyone will tell you exactly what you should and shouldn’t do based on what they did or didn’t do.  Trust yourself and your instincts and let the rest of it go. At the end of the day, you’re the parent and you have to do what you’re comfortable with. And that’s really all there is to it. 

Hold your baby when you want to, mama! The newborn phase is too quick to overthink it!

To sleeping well,
Sara