Q&A with Ann from Full Feedings
Sleep is NOT overrated!
I have always been a 8-9 hour sleeper, as sleep is SO important to me. I never thought I got enough sleep until I had Ella. Then BOOM - sleep was no longer a long, luxurious getaway. It became short and disrupted. On the search for better sleep I found Full Feedings and I am SO excited to share with you all! I found this amazing mama (Ann) on Instagram one day (you know when you get yourself in a rabbit hole of endless scrolling + searching) and I fell in love and resonated with everything she was speaking to. At this time Ella was around 8 weeks old and I began implementing her tips + tricks for getting baby to sleep through the night. She began to sleep longer periods of time and I was able to get her to go back down within 10 minutes after should would wake up. Although I haven’t yet scheduled a consultation, (she works with mamas over the phone!) I definitely plan to if Ella doesn’t begin to fully sleep through the night soon! I am honored to share her work with you all. I’ve included how you can contact her at the bottom of the post!
Q: Share a little bit about yourself as a mama!
I am a mom of 3 amazing babes. My daughter Frankie is 3.5 years old, and my sons Tommy & Teddy are about to turn 1! Motherhood has changed me (for the better) in so many ways. One of my favorite things about being a mom is getting to re-live childhood through the eyes of my babies. I love watching them explore the world and relish in their never ending joy and happiness.
Q: What inspired you to start Full Feedings?
I was inspired to change the misconception that sleep is something you have to give up when you become a parent. From my research and experience, I knew it was entirely possible to get a baby to sleep through the night, quickly, safely, and without any need to let baby cry. My hope is to continue to show other parents my gentle method that provides rest and happiness for the entire family.
Q: What does Full Feedings mean? How does it correlate to better nighttime sleep?
Full Feedings means at each feed you offer baby an amount of food/time on the breast that corresponds to their age-based need.
I always say that you can feed on-demand, just feed baby fully each time you sit down to feed.
How does this get better nighttime sleep? For starters, you will know your baby’s nutritional needs are met at any given time. By 8 weeks old, a full-term baby can consume enough during the daytime hours to not have to feed at night. This will give you peace of mind that when you have established (and maintained) full daytime feeds, you know your baby is waking at night out of habit and not a need to eat. This will help you cut the night feeds and get your sleep back. Full feedings will also naturally enable baby to do longer stretches at night.
Establishing and maintaining full feedings is the first step of my method.
Q: What is the number one question mamas ask you that you can answer here?
I am always asked how to get a baby to stop waking at night. The answer is simple…STOP FEEDING THEM!
This, of course, comes with a disclaimer… You cannot stop feeding them at night until you have them eating fully during the daytime hours.
Q: Why do you believe sleep training isn’t totally necessary?
Sleep training isn’t necessary at all! What I advocate is fully meeting baby’s food and sleep needs during the day and the nighttime sleep will easily follow. One of the most important things parents must pay attention to, is not allowing baby to become overly tired (i.e. letting baby stay awake longer than their age-appropriate Optimal Wake Time). Past the age of 8 weeks, most baby’s can stay awake longer than the suggested OWT but that doesn’t mean that they should. Getting the exact amount of age-appropriate naps per day is vital to consistent nighttime sleep. No need to sleep train with The Full Feedings Method.
Q: What is your philosophy about sleep regressions?
I don’t believe in long regressions. Of course the first year brings many mild sleep disruptions: teeth, rolling over, sleep sack transitions, etc. But if you have well-established, consistent nighttime sleep, these disruptions should be very short as long as your maintain full feedings and follow an age-appropriate daily routine.
Q: For the traveling mama + families, how do you maintain the nighttime sleep?
The day of travel is always a “do your best” kind of thing. What I suggest is getting on your routine at your destination as soon as possible. You will be surprised at how easy it can be to maintain your routine and nighttime sleep while away. Just be open minded to the fact that naps may happen on the go or be shorter than normal. If traveling time zones, you want to get on your start of day time in the new time zone as soon as possible. This may mean having to start your day at 4am, and adding an extra nap in the afternoon to get on bedtime in the new time zone. Or it may mean having to wake your baby at 7am in the new time zone to stay on the routine. Bring along anything that will help your baby feel like they are at home (i.e. use a noise machine app on your phone or iPad, binkys, sleep sacks, nightlights, etc).
Q: In your experience with working with mamas and their littles, about how long does it take to establish full nighttime sleep?
If starting from birth, it usually takes about 8 weeks for a full-term baby. This would be going to bed around 7/8pm, doing a dreamfeed between 10-11pm, and sleeping until about 6am. Once that is established, the dreamfeed can be dropped around 12-16 weeks old.
If you start after baby is born, changes can happen rather quickly depending on what types of habits have been formed. Sometimes my clients see overnight changes with a few small tweaks. It all depends.
Q: How does a mama begin to work with you and what does that look like?
I do one-on-one (or one-on-two, if your partner wants to join) consultations by phone or in-person in the NY/PA/NJ area. I send several questions to answer ahead of our call, we chat for 60 minutes, I provide email support for 4 weeks, and a 30-minute follow up call within 4 weeks. I try to make myself available to my clients, to the extent I can, in real time to answer questions that inevitably come up during this transition to nighttime sleep. I love what I do and helping mamas get their nighttime sleep back.
I am in the process of developing an online version of my consultation with supplemental monthly routines. Stay tuned for more! Hope to have this launched in the coming months… Hoping to keep the cost low so this information is accessible to all!
Q: What advice do you have for all mamas regardless of age or sleep patterns?
Follow your instincts. I believe as moms, we all have great natural instincts, that if we are tuned in to, help us in our moment-to-moment decision making of what to do next with our babes.
Q: If a mama could begin to implement one thing to start establishing full nighttime sleep, what would it be?
Start paying attention to your baby’s Optimal Wake Time and make sure they are not staying awake too long at any given time during the day. There is a chart on my website with Optimal Wake Time ranges by age… http://www.fullfeedings.com/play or see chart below. This is just a range and honing in on exact OWT for your baby is something we would do during a consultation.
I hope you enjoyed this and truly hope you mamas get more sleep!!
All Photography by: https://www.quartermoon.co