The role of the Registered Nurse or Newborn Care Provider is to feed, soothe, bathe, change & provide all other gentle care to baby through the night.

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Preventing Falls to Keep Baby Safe

updated June 6, 2022 – According to the CDC, unintentional falls are the number one cause of injury in children under three, and almost every parent can recall a time when baby unexpectedly pulled up, fell down or slipped. In Preventing Falls to Keep Baby Safe there are tips for new parents and anyone looking after newborns, infants, toddlers and kids.

Preventing Falls to Keep Baby Safe
Preventing Falls to Keep Baby Safe

Mom of 3 Micaela Williamson remembers this: “When my son was 7 months old, we took him to the zoo. With all the excitement of getting him in and out to see the animals, we forgot to buckle him back into his stroller. As I pushed the stroller down a hill, he slipped right out and landed on the asphalt.”

“Luckily baby was okay,” she adds, “but I became vigilant about double checking the stroller strap and always speak up when I see babies unstrapped in public.”

Tips for Preventing Falls to Keep Baby Safe

  • When using baby gear; strollers, swings, and high chairs, always strap baby in correctly.
  • Never put infant swings, bouncy chairs, or seats such as the Bumbo chair on a high surface. Always put them on the floor.
  • Always keep one hand on baby and be attentive when baby is on a higher surface such as a bed or changing table. Even babies that cannot fully roll over can roll and fall off beds.
  • Secure and lock all windows, and since mobile young children love to climb, be sure to move chairs and furniture away from windows.
  • Install safety guards on any high stair railings or balconies that baby could fall through.
  • Babies and toddlers love stairs! Teach your child to go down the stairs backwards, and keep staircases free of clutter. Also, always use safety gates around stairs. When installing a safety gate at the top of the stairs, it is recommended to always attach the gate to the wall.
  • Pass on baby walkers and use stable activity centers instead. In fact, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that walkers not be sold in the United States. This is because they put children at risk for injury. There are also no clear benefits.
  • When using a stroller, avoid stairs or escalators. If stairs cannot be avoided, be sure to remove baby from the stroller. Then, have another individual carry the stroller or baby on the stairs.
  • Babywearing is convenient and soothing for babies. Be certain to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a carrier or wrap.  

The world is a new and exciting place for babies to explore, but by taking these precautions, you can make it a whole lot safer. For more info on preventing falls, visit Creating a Safe Nursery

What is a Dreamfeed?

updated September 29, 2023 – When seeking ways to help baby sleep longer stretches at night, parents commonly hear advice that they must offer baby a “dreamfeed.” But what is a Dreamfeed? And how does it work? Here’s how this scheduled feeding technique works:

What is a Dreamfeed? A feed between 10pm-11pm

Popularized by the widely respected Baby Whisperer newborn care books, to dreamfeed means to simply bring breast or bottle to baby’s lips in the later evening hour. This is usually around 10pm-11pm when baby is still asleep. Why 10-11?

  • This timing allows the baby to receive nourishment that sustains them for a few hours and potentially reduce the frequency of nighttime awakenings.
  • If your typical time going to bed is 10pm, you have some assurance that you’ll get a decent block of sleep before the next wake up.
  • If your baby last ate at 7pm, 10-11 would be the next timeframe in which they are typically hungry so you are getting to them before they fully wake up, making getting them “back down” easier.

In other words, because your baby is full and comfortable in the 10pm hour, they’ll sleep longer while you’re sleeping.

Your infant will instinctually take in what their little body needs at that time, usually just a few ounces. Postpartum doula’s know this technique works because there is also no reason to burp or wake since they will be relaxed enough to go back to sleep after the feed.

In other words, feeding baby before you go to sleep means that you might eliminate one of the middle-of-the-night feeds. You know you’re going to get up anyway to feed your newborn so why not take the guesswork out of it and help both of you sleep for a long stretch.

You can do quick diaper change after the feed too just to be sure your infant is comfortable and clean!

Tip from the Night Nurses: Folks like to say that wipe warmers are a waste of money but we disagree!

That cold wipe during a dreamfeed diaper change can startle your newborn or infant! Invest the 15 bucks to make sure those wipes are warm and soothing…keeping your baby in a sleepy state of mind overnight!

What is a Dreamfeed?
What is a Dreamfeed?

Why Does A Dreamfeed Work?

Without a dreamfeed, a baby who typically feeds in the 7 PM hour may awakens naturally from hunger at midnight, 1 AM or 2 AM. Giving a feed in the 10:00 hour allows parents to head off this hunger and may allow baby to sleep longer, usually until 4 AM. By giving a feed at 10 PM, instead of waiting to see when baby naturally wakes to feed, we are shifting baby’s asleep hours to match parents, so parents get a long stretch of sleep themselves.

The addition of these few extra ounces will eliminate the physical need for baby to awaken for the first overnight feed. This is because we’re taking waking from true hunger out of the equation.  As your infant gets older and able to physically sleep 10-12 hours without needing to eat (which is only decided on by families and their pediatrician) the dreamfeed provides that final feed of the night to take babies through to their natural wake up time in the morning.

How a typical dreamfeed schedule works:

6:30 or 7:00 PM:  Baby’s last feed before baby’s bedtime
10:00 PM:  bring bottle/breast to baby while baby is still asleep (dreamfeed)…this is before your bedtime
10:20 PM: quick diaper change and back to sleep 

While certainly not a necessity, the dreamfeed is a simple extension of baby’s natural 3 hour feeding cycle. It works whether parents are breastfeeding or formula feeding.  

What is a Dreamfeed? – Sleeping through the Night

If you want to pave the way for long, independent stretches of sleep overnight, Let Mommy Sleep night nannnies and doulas recommend a dreamfeed. In addition to helping parents sleep well, another benefit of dreamfeeding is gently weaning the amount of milk or formula that is taken in during the overnight hours. Because your infant is consuming exactly the amount their body wants in such a relaxed state, you’ll see that they naturally take in less and less.

If you would like more information on sleeping through the night, these step-by-step instructions may help.

What is a Dreamfeed? – Are there any Downsides?

A dreamfeed is a safe and useful tool to keep in your baby sleep toolbelt but be aware that there are few potential downsides.

  1. Dreamfeeding could potentially be challenging if you’re breastfeeding because your nursing relationship is built on supply and demand. Skipping or adjusting nighttime feedings might mean that your supply needs a few days to catch up to the new dreamfeed time of 10pm, if you’ve never done feeds at that time before.
  2. We Woke a Sleeping Baby!: If your baby was in a spot where they are waking up anyway at 10pm, they might actually fully wake up during the feeding. So while you might have been prepared for a 10-15 minute dreamfeed session, you’re baby might now be wide awake. You would have been doing this 45 minutes of feeding anyway but it’s good to know that the dreamfeed might not be perfect every time. 🙂

How big is a newborn’s stomach?

Updated May 6, 2023 – One of the challenges of being a new parent is that newborns and infants seem to be eating constantly, and yet we worry they’re not getting enough! Newborn breastfeeding and bottlefeeding is frequent because our babies can only take in small amounts at a time. This blog answers the question… How big is a newborn’s stomach?

Small, frequent feeds, sometimes up to 12 feeds per 24 hour period, are the norm in baby’s first weeks. If it feels like, All I’m doing is nursing/feeding! then you’re doing everything right. For breastfeeding moms, milk typically “comes in” on about day four or five after baby’s birth but the fact is that colostrum and milk are already being received before then.

Remember, baby only drinks a cherry-sized amount at each feed. Also skin to skin contact with baby not only stimulates interest in feeding but helps both baby and parents in so many other healthy ways!

While there are teams of experts in newborn care, your baby is the real expert in how much to eat! Here’s the volume of an average newborn’s stomach so you can feel prepared for just how little and how frequently babies eat.

As our postpartum doula and night nannies like to say: if it seems like the newborn feeding schedule is that you’re always feeding you newborn, you’re doing it right.

How big is a newborn’s stomach? – a Visual

How big is a newborn's stomach?
How big is a newborn’s stomach?

Things to Remember

  • Breastfeeding: One particular piece of advice to remember if you’re nursing is that milk doesn’t “come in” right away. It may seem like baby is not getting enough to eat but skin to skin contact and sucking are what helps milk to come in. Remember, breastmilk works on a supply and demand so it makes sense that your milk supply might seem to not be where your newborn needs it to be yet. Of course ask your pediatrician or lactation counselor if you’re worried. If you have other questions about early breast or bottle feeding, Your First Night Home may help.
  • Bottle feeding: For bottle feeding families, remember that the speed of the bottle’s nipple and amount of formula will effect how much your newborn takes in. Don’t be tempted to have baby drain the pre-made hospital bottles from the hospital. They contain WAY TOO MUCH formula for a newborn. It’s easy to overfeed from a bottle because baby can’t naturally start and stop the flow. So even though our urge might be to feed, feed, feed and not waste any formula, refer to the chart above to give baby the correct amount of food.
  • Sleep: Conventional wisdom still tells us to tank baby up to sleep. This can be true for older babies (and adults!) but as our postpartum doula and night nanny team tell parents, overfeeding does not help newborns sleep soundly. In fact, feeding too much usually causes unnecessary spit up and gastric discomfort. It’s perfectly normal for newborns to eat every 2 and then stretch to every 3 hours in their first weeks.
  • The Pediatrician: Take comfort in knowing that in addition to the doctors and nurses, your pediatrician will visit while baby is in the hospital or birthing center. You’ll also visit the ped’s office again when baby is between 3 and 5 days old. The hospital won’t allow discharge unless they’re completely confident that your family is healthy and well. You have a whole team looking out for baby.

How big is a newborn’s stomach? – Wet and Soiled Diapers

It might be hard to know how much baby is consuming during each feeding session. That’s okay though because you’ll always be able to monitor how much is coming out. All babies are different, but tracking the amount of wet and soiled diapers each day for the first week is another way to monitor that baby is feeding well. You can always drop in to your pediatrician for a weight check as well.

how many Newborn Diapers to expect

Birth weight, prematurity, congestion or growth spurts can all contribute to normal feeding behavior for baby at any given time. On the whole, weight gain, diaper output and baby appearing satisfied and content after feeding are all the infants way of telling you they’re happy no matter how big their stomach is. By following your newborns lead and contacting the pediatrician with any concerns you can ensure your baby is eating enough.

Let Mommy Sleep Attends The White House Summit on Working Families

CEO Denise Iacona Stern was selected to attend the elite White House Summit on Working Families on June 23, 2014.  Key issues discussed at the summit were workplace flexibility, equal pay, childcare, leave and early childhood education. In a nutshell solutions to help families meet their work and home obligations. This blog, Let Mommy Sleep Attends The White House Summit on Working Families explains.

Let Mommy Sleep Attends The White House Summit on Working Families

Here at Let Mommy Sleep, we were honored to represent the challenges of new working families and working mothers.

“It is important for new parents’ voices to be heard,” says Denise Iacona Stern, “Since beginning Let Mommy Sleep, I have worked with nearly a thousand postpartum families and common concerns continue to be that parents in this generation do not have family support because Grandma and Grandpa are still in the workforce themselves, and these same parents are often up against the clock of little or no maternity/paternity leave. Adding to these worries, we currently have the shortest postpartum hospital stays in history.”

Let Mommy Sleep Attends The White House Summit on Working Families – Key Points

The summit featured a keynote from President Barack Obama, who cited that some women in this country can’t even get a paid day off to give birth, calling it “a pretty low bar.”  He mentioned that these issues, affecting the amount of time parents can spend with their children, shouldn’t be characterized primarily as women’s issues but rather family issues.  In fact, 60 percent of working families in the U.S. today have both parents in the household working, and the United States is among only three countries in the world reporting that they don’t offer paid maternity leave.

One of our favorite quotes from the summit was by Labor Secretary, Tom Perez who said, “The most important family value is time with your family.”

We continue to be committed to following best postpartum care practices for newborns and their parents. Our team of certified newborn care providers, nurses and postpartum doulas also provide evidence-based education for families.  A healthy, rested family is never a partisan issue. It was a privilege for Let Mommy Sleep to be in the company many distinguished national business leaders.  We enjoyed engaging in dialogues about policies affecting working families in our nation and feel truly blessed to have been selected to attend this event.

Your First Night Home with Baby: Questions About Feeding

updated October 8, 2023 – As part of our “Your First Night Home” series, we answer some of the most common questions our night nanny and postpartum doula team get from new parents about newborn feeding. Your First Night Home Baby Questions About Feeding answers parents frequently asked questions about how much, how often and how to feed their newborns.

Your First Night Home with Baby: Questions About Feeding

How often should my newborn breastfeed or bottle feed?

Newborns and infants need to eat every 2 to 3 hours. But there’s no need to get a newborn baby on a schedule; by following your baby’s lead of on-demand feeding your baby’s routine will naturally emerge.  For breastfed newborns, this could mean putting baby to breast ten to twelve times per day. sometimes even more. The more you nurse in the first two weeks, the more plentiful milk supply will become. This will eventually reduce the frequency of newborn feeding.

My milk hasn’t come in, what do I do?  

Milk will “come in” usually on day 4 postpartum, typically in the evening hours.  Until then, skin to skin contact and bringing baby to breast even if it seems like they’re not getting anything is the best way to promote milk production. On demand, small feeding sessions, or every 2 hours, is the norm. There are many ways to promote milk production if needed. Remember that your baby’s stomach is still tiny...don’t let even the smallest hospital bottle of formula fool you!

Your First Night Home Baby Questions About Feeding

Is my baby eating enough?

As long as your infant has a wet or soiled diaper after each feed, your baby is eating enough. During the first few days, your newborn will likely have about 3-4 wet diapers.  After that, around 8-10 wet or soiled diapers a day, but 12-15 is normal too, especially for a breastfed baby.  If your newborn or infant does not regularly produce wet or dirty diapers and shows signs of dehydration, such as a dark yellow colored urine, please call a doctor.

Are you sure my baby is eating enough?

A newborn belly is the size of a pea! As they grow the stomach becomes the size of a marble and then a ping pong ball the first 7-10 days after birth.  Small, frequent feeds are the norm during this phase. For a bottle fed baby, try giving approximately 25-45 mLs per feeding. Upon finishing, if your baby cries or smacks her lips, she may want more.  If she spits out the bottle, turns her head, or closes her mouth tightly, she’s most likely full.  

For bottlefed babies, a challenge can be that baby has eaten too much, rather than not enough because even with the slowest flow bottle, it is tough for baby to regulate what they’re receiving.  Be sure to give newborns and infants plenty of breaks and time burping when giving milk or formula from a bottle. 

Your First Night Home with Baby: Questions About Feeding

Should I wake baby to feed?  

Most healthy newborns do not need to be woken up to feed but your pediatrician will let you know. Cases where baby is usually woken up to feed:

  • newborns born with jaundice: continual hydration and excretion through urine or stool helps bring down the bilirubin levels that cause jaundice.
  • baby is underweight or premature. In this case they may also need to eat more often.
  • twins as they are often born early and/or at a lower birth weight than their singleton counterparts

How do I wake baby to feed?

To wake baby, first loosen swaddle and clothes. If this does not work then undress baby down to a onesie. Changing babies diaper can also help waken them to feed.  As our postpartum doula and night nurse team point out, turning on the light does not work. In fact, it often encourages a newborn baby to close his or her eyes!

What should we know about bringing our baby home from the NICU?

Before leaving the NICU, make sure you fully understand the baby feeding plan. This may include details about breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or a combination of both. Talk to the NICU staff and ask any questions you may have regarding feeding techniques, schedules, or any specific instructions.

The NICU staff may have established a feeding schedule for your baby based on their needs and development. It’s important to follow this schedule as closely as possible to ensure your baby gets the necessary nutrition.

What is Pace Feeding?

If you’re bottle-feeding your baby, consider using a technique called “pace feeding.” This involves holding the baby in an upright position, using a slow-flow nipple, and allowing the baby to control the flow of milk. It helps prevent overfeeding and supports the development of healthy eating habits.

Pace feeding also aids in digestion. By allowing the baby to take breaks and control the flow of milk, it reduces the likelihood of the baby gulping air, which can lead to gas and discomfort. It also gives the digestive system time to process the milk properly.

Your First Night Home with Baby: Questions About Feeding – How can I safely handle milk or formula?

How long can breast milk sit out? How do I store breastmilk?

A covered container of human breast milk can sit out at room temperature for six to eight hours. It is best to store breast-milk in the fridge, and to not re-heat once it has been warmed. Preferably, human milk should be refrigerated or chilled right after it is expressed adn Las Leche League offers these guidelines for breastmilk storage.

breastmilk storage guide for feeding inewborns and nfants

How long can formula sit out?  

After formula has been prepared, it can sit at room temperature for an hour. Once baby has fed from a bottle do not save, but discard after use. Remember, when in doubt throw it out.

How do I warm a bottle?

  • If you are warming a bottle that has breast milk use a bottle warmer, or boil water, then pour water in a bowl or cup and place bottle in hot water.
  • If you are warming a formula bottle, use a bottle warmer or fill a small pot with warm water and place the bottle in that water. This is wonderful at night because to keeps water at the correct temperature making it super easy to make the perfect bottle.

Can I microwave the bottle?

No. Microwaving does not evenly warm a bottle leaving hotspots in the milk that can burn baby.

When should I burp baby?

Newborns have an immature digestive system and need help when eating. Part of this is helping baby burp and working out any air/gas bubbles that snuck in while feeding. Make sure to burp throughout feedings and afterwards. Try to hold baby upright and pat on their back. It also helps to hold over shoulder and pat on their back, always supporting their head and neck.

Can I put baby to bed after feeding?

Newborns sleep a lot and will probably fall asleep after or during their feeding. Try to keep the newborn baby upright for at least 10-15 minutes after their feeding to help eliminate any spit up or reflux. Then, you may lay them flat on their backs in their crib or bassinet.

How should I put my Baby to Sleep After Feeding?

Establish a safe sleep environment by remembering the ABC’s of Safe Sleep: your newborn should be Alone on their Back and in a Crib with a firm, flat mattress with a fitted sheet. Keep soft bedding, pillows, stuffed animals, and other items out of the crib to reduce the risk of suffocation or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

For information about newborn sleep, see our Your First Home with Baby: Questions About Newborn Sleep blog. You can also book a Baby Basics class where an RN comes to your home to help get ready for baby.

newborn baby getting ready to breastfeed