This stage in life doesn’t last long. For some babies, middle-of-the-night feedings may stop after three months, while others may continue to feed during the night until they are nine or even 12 months old.
While you’re in it, though, it may feel like each feeding lasts forever. If you’re having a hard time keeping your eyelids open, here are a few tips that will help to get you through.
Catch up on your reading, so to speak
Download audio books to listen to during late-night feedings. It’s a great time to catch up on all of those books you’ve been meaning to read. Plus, listening to books will help you to stay awake, alert and entertained while the baby eats without adding any noise or light to the environment. This will help to keep the baby in a less-anxious, ready-for-bed, sleepy state.
Learn a foreign language
Some say it only takes a time commitment of 20 minutes a day to learn a foreign language, and if you’re taking on the nighttime feedings, you’ve got that in spades! Set a word goal and begin building up your vocabulary each evening. Listen to radio stations or podcasts in the language you are trying to pick up. Incorporate reading with listening by watching a foreign language film with subtitles (headphones are recommended). There is also an array of language-learning apps out there to help you get started.
Pass the time during midnight feedings by checking in and checking up on all of your social media accounts. As any new parent knows, the time to tweet, make a status update and just check in to see how your friends are doing becomes extremely limited once a newborn occupies your home. Take a few moments to say hello to a few friends, as it’s likely you may not see them for a few weeks at a time during these early stages of parenthood.
Play a game
Whether you are addicted to Angry Birds, a Farmville fanatic or a fan of the classics like solitaire or Tetris, playing a game on your smartphone is a great way to pass the time and keep your mind occupied while you feed your baby. Look for games that are entertaining enough to keep you going, just in case the baby is having a hard time self-soothing and needs a little extra attachment time after eating. But any game you start should be one that is easy to walk away from or save at any time. That way, you can go back to sleep the moment your baby does.
Bond with the baby
The most important way to pass the time during midnight feedings is by focusing on enjoying it while it lasts! Feeding time is one of the most meaningful bonding times that you have with the baby. After a long day, waking up in the middle of the night to share a bottle with your little one may not seem like much of an opportunity, but it will help to build bonds that will last both of you a lifetime. Singing softly and gently rocking the baby is a wonderful way to pass the time during those quiet midnight feedings. The key is to avoid over-stimulating the baby with activity during a time when the family should be sleeping.
Watch: Guys with Kids
The cast of Guys with Kids discusses working with babies on the set.