Monday, March 30, 2015

Keeping a Sleepy Newborn Awake for Feedings

One of the most important things during the first days of a baby's life is making sure they are getting full feedings. A full belly is important for the baby to thrive, for a nursing mother to establish milk supply, to ensure a nursing baby is getting the nutrient rich hind milk, and to begin laying the groundwork for sleep training in the future. {You can read my tips for starting Babywise from birth here!}

A sleepy, snuggly newborn is so sweet and precious. However, that same sleepy newborn can be a source of frustration when he or she simply will not wake up for their feeding time! Here are some tips for how to keep a sleepy baby awake to ensure a full feeding:

1. Skin to Skin: Unswaddle and undress your baby and even expose your skin so you are both skin-to-skin contact. This not only forms a great bond but also gets a baby to start eating!

2. Tickle Feet, Side and Chin: Babies typically find tickling a little bit uncomfortable. By tickling the bottom of the feet it helps to wake them from sleeping. Sometimes you have to tickle a little harder to really get them to wake up! The chin is another great place to tickle to get them going!

3. Look for Active Suck: Often babies will fall asleep and start sucking for comfort, rather than actively sucking. Be on the look out for the "lazy sucking" as it's a signal that your baby is snoozing rather than eating! You should be able to see the jaw actively moving to signal eating vs just sucking.

4. Sleepy Hand Test: This little trick was so helpful for me! While nursing lift the baby's arm in the air and then let go of it. If their little hand just falls down limply, then they are full on asleep. If they stiffen the hand then they are awake! You can also look at a baby's hand while nursing to see if they are awake or asleep: if it's in a fist then they are awake, if it's relaxed then they are asleep.

5. Wash Cloth: When I would nurse I would wet a washcloth prior to starting the feeding and have it beside me in case I needed it. You can wipe the baby's face or head with the wash cloth and it will help wake them up.

6. Burp: Burp breaks always help! Varying the position of the burps also ensures freeing up all that trapped gas as well as getting them to be more alert.

7. Diaper Change: When my babies were little I stopped changing the diaper prior to the start of the feeding and instead I'd change it mid-feeding. By taking the diaper changing break it would help split up the feeding some to keep them stimulated and awake.

8. Quick Switching: The recommendation for a full feeding is typically to nurse on one side for 20 min, burp, then nurse on the other side for another 20 minutes. One way to get a sleep baby to wake up is to divide up the feeding differently. You can do 5 min on one side then burp and switch then another five and burp and switch  over and over again until you have reached the 40 min feeding marker or know your baby is full.

9. Change Positions: There are a variety of positions for nursing a baby. The most commonly used one tends to be the cradle hold. This is a very cuddly position and can cause a sleepy baby! By changing positions, especially using the football hold type position, it helps prevent the baby from sleeping.

10. Dim Lights: Most of the time you think "bright lights = awake baby" but actually the opposite is true. Babies tend to close their eyes in bright lighting so by dimming the lights it's actually easier for a baby to open their eyes and remain awake.

When I talk to new moms my #1 piece of advice is always to focus on full feedings and keep that baby awake while eating! It is often a lot harder of a task than it sounds like it would be! Do you have any tricks to add that help keep a sleepy baby awake and eating?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Family Time With the Bacons

I am so, so thankful I got pregnant with Tess when I did. Being pregnant with Casey was SO fun and having our babies so close together has been great! I also think it's great that Carter is a little older than Tess. I like that both Casey and I go to each other for help and advice and I think if he was younger that I wouldn't have as many opportunities to learn from her as I do! First time moms just have that A game ya know? She always knows the most up-to-date stuff and I appreciate that...with this being my third it's so easy to get trapped in feeling like you "know it all" when really SO much changes in the world of babies!!!

Now that Tess is a little older and both she and Carter are able to go and do more and be more flexible I am SO excited to FINALLY get back to hanging out with Casey and Jordan on a more regular basis! I feel like I don't even know Jordan anymore b/c when I do get to see one of them its, of course, Casey :) 

One nice Saturday afternoon our families went down to our neighborhood park and playground. We got Subway and had a picnic dinner and the kids played. It was beautiful weather and a great time! Tess got to go down a slide for the first time :)

Not too sure if she liked it?

I think this may have been Carter's first time too!

Sweet cousins!

Kye just recently, like he was 5 years old, learned how to swing himself. Britt just turned 3 and she's working hard to master the skill!

Best Big Brother!

Can you tell it was windy? Ha!

We had a great day at the park together and later that week Casey and Carter came for a sleep over at our house :) Jordan and Zach both were gone for the night for work and Casey and I sleep better when we aren't solo! We got brave and took all 4 kids to Chick-Fil-A Family Night! 

First time eating at a restaurant :)

Recently I found a new obsession...Steak and Shake Fry Seasoning. Have you tried it? OMG GAME CHANGER! ha! I have never been a big fan of CFA fries so I brought along my new favorite seasoning ;) I sent Zach a pic as I knew he'd appreciate it!

First time meeting the cow! She did great :)

Bathing 4 kids at once it tricky...getting a pic of 4 kids in a tub while also covering up all "the areas" is almost impossible! We made it happen though :)

I'm so thankful for the amazing in-laws I've been blessed with! It's crazy to think that Casey and I originally did not mesh well. We've come so far, for sure! It's so great that we are able to live in the same town as Zach's whole family and that our babies will grow up being close to so much of their extended family!

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