One of our favourite tips to share with families to help with bedtime feeding is to feed their babies before AND after their bedtime routine begins – we call it a ‘split feed’.
This additional feed just before the bedtime routine begins will give the baby more energy to get through the routine, should also increase the amount of overall milk the baby has going into night sleep, and also take the pressure off parents on that final feed, as many worry that if their baby doesn’t have a big feed, their sleep will be poorer.
The reason the split feed can help the baby have more milk is that the breast or bottle, at that time of the day, can easily send them to sleep before they have had enough milk to fill up their tummies.
This strategy was something that was a total game-changer for our first son Teddy. We read the advice somewhere and whilst that specific advice was to limit the amount of milk given before the routine starts, we adapted it by encouraging parents to give as much milk as possible before the routine starts when the baby is usually hungry and more energetic, with it being more of a top-up feed just before they go into their crib for sleep.
So if your baby goes to bed around 7pm, we would do the first feed about 6.15pm and that can be in the main, light area where you’ve already been hanging out with your baby. You would then start their bedtime routine around 6.20/6.30pm, whether that includes a bath/wash or massage, or straight into their sleepsuit.
You would then do the top-up feed in the room where their crib or cot is around 6.45pm. Once that’s finished, you then have time to read them a bedtime story or two and pop them into their cot.
Doing it this way round, where the bigger feed comes first, means that the baby has had more time to digest the bigger part of the feed before they go onto their back for night sleep. This is also very important for any babies who are suffering from reflux or digestion issues.
We still use this split feed approach for our clients with babies up until they are 8/9 months old and it has SUCH a positive impact on the family’s bedtime routine.
We are a husband and wife business, and are leading sleep consultants based in the UK. If you are having issues with your little one’s sleep, have a look at our sleep plans which range from an online plan to one-to-one coaching. If it feels like you’ve tried everything, then come and try the one thing you haven’t which we know works – that’s our proven sleep method Comforting Through Change™.
We also train people to become sleep consultants. So if you fancy a career change, one where you can be at home ALL the time, contact us via our Academy. We would love to hear from you.