Even the simplest tasks can feel tricky when you’re running on little sleep. Thankfully, you can make changes to improve your comfort drastically when feeding your baby on the coldest nights of winter. You may not see yourself transform into a night owl with these tips and techniques, but you’ll be more comfortable and may even get your little one back to sleep faster — allowing you to enjoy more rest, too.
Leave the Nursery Alone
The key to having a seamless night feeding is not to disrupt your baby’s sleep patterns too much. Don’t walk around, adjust the nursery or tidy up as you’re feeding your baby. Lull them back to sleep in a comforting environment without doing anything to change it up, like turning on a television or radio.
Try not to bring anything unnecessary into the nursery during feedings. You should already have blankets at the ready to keep you warm, but if you want to repeat some of your baby’s nighttime routine, you should have those items in the nursery already. For example, the winter air might dry out your baby’s skin, so you may want to use a moisturizer on them before putting them back down to sleep. Sticking to your baby’s routine might also help them fall asleep quicker.
Whether it’s a humidifier adding moisture into the dry winter air or a white-noise machine that lulls them to dreamland, you’ll likely deal with some noise other than crying. If the sound is still going when you enter, leave it on — especially if it’ll help your little one back to sleep. Set your noise-making device on a timer, though, since too much of it could lead to hearing loss or keep them awake.
Operate your white noise machine on a timer and follow its lead. If it's off when you walk into the room, leave it off.
Wear Suitable Pajamas
Waking up in the winter is difficult enough without the added challenge of getting up several times throughout the evening. Breastfeeding your baby will become that much easier if you start in accessible pajamas, like sets with a button-up blouse rather than a t-shirt. Changing clothes will be one less thing to worry about when you need to get your little one back to sleep.
Your pajamas should also be fit for the weather, whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding. The middle of the night can be frigid, especially for places that drop below freezing temperatures in the winter. Your pajamas should be thick enough to encourage you to exit the comfort of your warm bed to tend to your little one — flannel is a great option.
Have Blankets Nearby
When it's the middle of the night, you might feel chilly — whether it's from stepping barefoot on hardwood or getting out of your warm bed. Ensure you have plenty of soft, inviting blankets in your baby's nursery to entice you to relish every moment with your child. Plus, a warm blanket might be perfect for relaxing and helping you transition from the nursery to your bed.
Maximize Your Nursery Space
One benefit of living in the country is having more space to spread your things around. However, suburban areas for rent are about $50 more monthly than urban spaces. When living in a small space, you must make the most of your home. Consider having a vertical stack of boxes on the wall. That way, you can easily grab something any time of day.
You can also use these boxes to store seasonal clothes until you need them. As winter goes on, you’ll rely on thicker clothes to keep your baby warm and you can stock boxes with clothes for the upcoming seasons. It might just save you some room in your baby’s dresser while keeping your nursery clean and clutter-free.
Otherwise, you could declutter the nursery, resell or give away some things you don't need. You can probably find someone to take it off your hands. That way, you'll have plenty of room for more important things — and you won't have to worry about tripping over something on your way to pick up your little one.
Wake Them Gently
While you don't always want your baby to wake up fully during feedings so they can get back to sleep easier, you do want them to have their fill so they don't wake up with an empty tummy again. Talking to your baby could be too overstimulating. A great but gentle way to ensure your baby stays awake to nurse is to caress their cheek, encouraging them to eat a little more. This simple, sweet action might help them fall back asleep quickly.
Leave Your Phone in Your Room
It might be tempting to pass the time scrolling on Instagram or checking friends' updates on Facebook. However, taking your attention away from your baby could make you miss some bonding time and be a detriment to your sleep.
About 35% of people sleep poorly when they use their phone before bed. Blue light can mess with your circadian rhythm, which is why you should phase it out around and during bedtime. Here are some other ways to pass the time while nursing:
- Sing a soft song
- Think about your plans for the next week
- Count to yourself
- Read a grown-up book silently
- Make lists in your head
When in doubt, put your phone away. Spending quality time with your baby is worth it — and you may even make a dent in your TBR list!
Regularly Pick Up Toys
If you hang out a lot in your baby's nursery, the room likely has toys all around. Declutter these toys and get rid of any your baby doesn't seem particularly interested in. When someone else is watching or helping with the baby, it's the perfect time to tidy up the nursery. Even a quick sweep before you lay your little one down for bedtime can help you clear the path to baby's crib and your seat, making it much more manageable in the dark.
Purchase Comfortable Furniture
Uncomfortable furniture is a quick way to get you to loathe nighttime feedings. Getting up will be easier if you know how to keep yourself comfortable. Make sure only the best furniture is available to keep you and your child happy and warm at nighttime.
A plush rocking chair with a footrest could be the best way to put your legs up while maintaining a soft, rocking motion that can keep you and your baby tired. Another great choice is modular furniture, including couches that can rearrange to fit any space or need in your home. These couches are great investments, as they can follow you through any period in life. The furniture you opt for can transform your nursery from cookie-cutter to functional and comfortable.
Hang Up Blackout Curtains
If you live in an urban area, you're probably used to lights and sounds leaking through your windows. You might have experienced so much of it that it's easy for you to fall back asleep after a quick interruption. However, your child doesn't have the same experience — light coming in through the windows might mess up their whole evening.
Hanging blackout curtains can keep out any headlights or streetlights that might disrupt your baby's sleep or wake you up further when trying to nurse them. They might even muffle some outside sounds. Some blackout curtains also have thermal properties, which can help keep the nursery warm during those long, cold winter months.
Prioritize Comfort During Winter Feedings
Getting up for feedings every night is a hard transition for new parents, but it's necessary to ensure your baby has a happy and healthy life. However rough it might be to get used to, certain choices can influence how comfortable you feel during nighttime feedings in the nursery.
The most comfortable option might not be the most aesthetic one, but it'll help you spend more time in the moment with your child. Try to make your nursery as comfortable as possible before your little bundle of joy arrives so that once they're here, you can adjust as necessary and soak up every bit of time you have with them when they're still small.
About The Author:
Rose Morrison is a home living writer with over five years experience. She is the managing editor of Renovated.com, a home living site where she loves to cover home renovations and decor to inspire everyone to live their best DIY life. When she isn't writing, you'll find her baking something to satisfy her never-ending sweet tooth.