Essential Tips for Newborn Night Feeding

Written by: Alyssa Larsen



Time to read 10 min

Thinking of nighttime feedings with a newborn baby might create a sense of worry or dread for new parents or parents-to-be. Is my baby waking up too much? Or not enough? Is this normal?

When you know what to expect, you can navigate night feedings a little easier during those tiresome newborn days. We’ll share our best tips for managing newborn night feedings from parents who have been there before.

7 Tips for Newborn Nighttime Feedings

For the past nine or so months, your baby lived comfortably in your belly and wanted for nothing. They had a constant, steady supply of nutrients and never felt the pangs of hunger. Now, as they adjust to life outside the womb, they’re experiencing this sensation for the first time. The most important thing to know about nighttime feedings is that they are 100% normal for newborn babies.

Your baby is growing rapidly, and their stomach is small, so frequent feedings—during the day and night—are necessary to keep them satisfied and ensure proper weight gain throughout their first year of life. Both breastfed babies and formula-fed babies need feedings throughout the night. However, breast milk is more easily digested, causing breastfeeding babies to eat more often than babies who drink formula.

Either with breast or bottle, nighttime feedings also grow the bond between babies and their parents. Each time you respond to your little one's cries for food or comfort in the night, you build an understanding of trust and stability for your baby.

Although waking up repeatedly throughout the night can be difficult, we have a list of tips to make it easier on you and your new baby, helping you both get the best rest possible.

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Make Yourself Comfortable

You’ll sit in a feeding position with your newborn baby every couple of hours for 15 to 45 minutes at a time. With so much of your day—and night—spent feeding your baby, a comfortable place to sit is crucial. It may be helpful to set up a  glider chair and ottoman in the room where your baby sleeps or keep extra pillows nearby to support your feeding position in bed.

The collection of gliders from Nurture& provides optimal relaxation with a wide seat and adjustable headrest. You may choose to recline in your glider or kick your feet up on The Classic Ottoman to get cozy while you feed your baby. However you sit, The Feeding Pillow will support your baby’s feeding position and hold the majority of the weight to give your arms a break.

Mom feeding

Maintain the Bedtime Environment

When your baby wakes up in the night, keep the room dark and quiet while you feed them. If you play white noise on a sound machine or have a fan on while you sleep, leave it on during nighttime feedings. Don’t switch on a bright overhead light if you don’t need to. A dim nightlight or lamp next to your glider often provides enough light to see what you’re doing and maintains the dark bedtime atmosphere that helps your baby fall back to sleep faster.

Change the Diaper First

A diaper change isn’t necessary every time your newborn wakes up to eat. If you can tell by touch or taking a peek—baby gowns or zip-up sleepers make it easy to check—that your little one’s diaper is dirty, change it before you start the feeding. Diaper changes are stimulating and may fully wake your sleepy baby. Nursing or giving your baby a bottle after the diaper change gives them plenty of time to settle and drift back to sleep.

Be Sure to Get a Burp Out

Daytime and nighttime feedings should be treated the same when it comes to burping your baby. The discomfort of a gassy tummy will keep your baby from sleeping well and they may end up crying again soon after you lay them back down.

Even if your baby has fallen asleep while breastfeeding or bottle feeding, take a few extra minutes to prop them up and pat their back. It can be helpful to try more than once and burp halfway through a bottle or when switching sides to nurse from the opposite breast.

Share a Room with Your Newborn

In the early months of your baby’s life, it’s safest and most convenient for you to sleep in the same room at night. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends room-sharing, but not bed-sharing , for at least the first six months after your baby is born.

It’s much easier to check on your little one and recognize their sleep and hunger cues when you’re in the room as opposed to through a baby monitor. It will shorten the time you have to be awake if you can hear your baby, care for them, and get back to bed without needing to leave the bedroom.

Prioritize Your Health

Regardless of how you feed your baby, nighttime feedings take a lot out of you. When you have to keep performing your parental duties throughout the night, your physical and mental limits are stretched thin. To combat constant fatigue and burnout even when you can’t sleep, be sure to drink plenty of water and eat a well-rounded diet. Keep snacks and a water bottle in your room or feeding station for a pick-me-up in the middle of the night.

Sleep When the Baby Sleeps

Most parents don’t like this advice because it’s almost always said about daytime naps when new moms and dads feel like they have too much to do to rest. At nighttime, however, this is true. The best time for you to sleep is when your baby is asleep at night. Avoid watching TV or scrolling on your phone during nighttime feedings since the bright light from the screen will make it more difficult for you to get back to sleep.

If you're worried about falling asleep while caring for your newborn, the best thing you can do is pass the duty to your partner or another supportive caregiver while you rest. If you’re alone, lay your baby back down in their bassinet or crib and regroup before trying again. Things like washing your face with cold water or eating a snack can help you stay awake while you feed your baby.

Night Feeding

A Guideline to Your Baby’s Sleep and Nighttime Feeding Schedule by Age

Your baby’s sleep schedule will be unique, but generally, babies will wake frequently in the first few months of life and gradually start sleeping for longer stretches as they get older. How long your infant sleeps between nighttime feedings will depend on their age and development as well as other variables like growth spurts and teething.

You can learn what to expect from these guidelines, but keep in mind that the experience you have with your little one may be slightly different—and that’s okay.

Newborn - 2 Months Old

The early weeks of your newborn baby’s life are all about adjusting. Don’t worry about implementing a feeding schedule just yet. Cuddle up with your new baby and spend time learning their sleep and hunger cues .

  • Feed your baby on demand and at least every 3 to 4 hours. Wake your baby to eat if they’ve been asleep for 4 hours.

  • Swaddle and cuddle your baby to bond with and soothe them during feedings.

  • Breastfed babies may eat 4-5 times per night.

  • Formula-fed babies may eat 3-4 times per night.

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2 - 4 Months Old

In the first few months, your baby’s needs will continue to change. At this point, your little one may sleep for longer stretches during the night, but it’s still normal for them to wake up multiple times to eat. You can begin to establish a bedtime routine to help your baby fall asleep.

  • Breastfeeding moms will likely have a more regulated milk supply in tune with their baby’s needs.

  • Stop swaddling at night if your baby shows signs of rolling over.

  • Breastfed babies may eat 3-4 times per night.

  • Formula-fed babies may eat 2-4 times per night.

4 - 6 Months Old

Around four months of age, a sleep regression might throw a wrench in the sleep progress you’ve made. The four-month sleep regression is a natural part of your baby’s growth and brain development, although it can be a difficult time for tired parents. Your baby may have an initial longer stretch of sleep at bedtime followed by more frequent wake-ups in the early hours of the next morning.

  • Your baby may not be hungry every time they wake up, but nursing or sucking on a pacifier can soothe them back to sleep.

  • Breastfed babies may eat 1-3 times per night.

  • Formula-fed babies may eat 1-2 times per night.

6 - 9 Months Old

This age range may be the first time your baby sleeps through the night, bur not every night. It’s likely your baby’s daytime feeding patterns are consistently on schedule, and you may have been given the okay to start solid foods. This can help your baby begin to rely less on nighttime feedings for nourishment.

  • Offering a feeding directly before starting your bedtime routine may increase your chances of your baby sleeping through the night.

  • Breastfed babies may eat 0-3 times per night.

  • Formula-fed babies may eat 0-1 time per night.

9 - 12 Months Old

The closer your little one gets to their first birthday the more sleep you’ll both be getting. Developmentally your baby is becoming capable of regularly sleeping a solid 12 hours. Night weaning may begin to happen naturally or you might start to feel comfortable soothing your baby without feeding them if they wake in the night. Breastfeeding babies tend to be more resistant to night weaning since nursing also provides comfort.

  • Breastfed babies may eat 0-2 times per night.

  • Formula-fed babies may eat 0-1 time per night.

It’s okay if your baby’s feeding and sleep patterns look different than those outlined here. The AAP recommends 12-16 hours of sleep during an infant's first year, including their daytime naps. This broad recommendation shows that not every day will look exactly the same, but you can create a healthy feeding schedule and sleep routine that works for you and your baby.

Baby feeding


How often should you feed a newborn baby at night?

It’s normal for newborn babies to wake up throughout the night to eat. Every baby is different, but you can typically expect to feed a breastfed baby every 2-3 hours while a formula-fed baby may be hungry every 3-4 hours.

Is it okay if my newborn doesn’t wake up for nighttime feedings ?

In the first few weeks after birth, you must wake your baby at least every 4 hours for a feeding. Nighttime feedings are essential to stimulate a newborn baby’s growth and proper weight gain. You can unswaddle your baby or change their diaper to help them wake up to eat.

When can babies skip night feedings?

A healthy baby may begin to wake up for feedings less often between 3-6 months old and may skip nighttime feedings and sleep through the night between 6-9 months old. Some babies will hit this milestone sooner or later than average, but it’s likely to be inconsistent during the first year. The older your baby gets, the more regular it becomes for them to sleep straight through the night.

When and how should I start night weaning ?

Night weaning looks different for breastfeeding moms and formula-feeding parents. Baby formula digests slower than breastmilk, so formula-fed babies may be able to wean earlier. After your baby turns six months old you may begin to gradually offer smaller amounts of formula less frequently during the night.

Breastfed babies often continue nighttime feedings through 12 months of age. After the first year, your baby can continue to receive the benefits of breastfeeding and eat enough solid foods during the day to keep them full all night. You may consider a dream feed —offering a final bedtime feeding before you go to sleep for the night to top them off—to encourage your baby to sleep longer. Whenever you decide to night wean, understand that this is a new adjustment for your baby and will take time.

Remember that not every piece of advice will be the right fit for your family. These guidelines can help you make healthy choices when scheduling your baby’s sleep and feeding times, but if you have concerns with your child’s feeding patterns don’t hesitate to contact your pediatrician.

 Nurture& has the go-to guides to all things baby-related. We offer high-quality nursery furniture thoughtfully designed for new parents, plus tips in Our Journal to help you through every stage of pregnancy and parenting.

Alyssa Larsen

Alyssa Larsen

Alyssa Larsen is a stay-at-home mom with a passion for writing. Before starting her career as a freelance writer, Alyssa devoted all of her time to her family and raising her young children. The evolution of her motherhood journey and parenting experience inspires her work. She strives to always tell a story that is helpful and relatable to the person reading it. Alyssa lives in Ohio with her husband and four hilarious kids.