20 Things to do Between Feedings

Tips to help you feel energized and more organized.

Mother and baby
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Although every baby is different, if you are nursing on demand or formula feeding, your hungry little one is likely to be eating about 8-12 times per day or every 1-3 hours.

Because your baby's belly is tiny, they need to eat small amounts more often. And while formula fed babies may not eat as often as breastfed babies, (because breast milk is typically easier to digest) you may still feel like you are feeding so often that you can't get anything done.

Don't worry, as they grow so do their bellies and, therefore, the length of time between feedings increases. In addition, once you get into a good routine, you'll discover that there are lots of things that can be done in a short period of time.

Snuggle

There is no better time to snuggle your baby then after a nice full feeding. This is great for you and your baby. Snuggling stimulates the production of the hormone oxytocin, otherwise known as the "cuddle hormone," which helps a baby establish a sense of trust and maternal attachment.  This hormone is even more elevated during breastfeeding sessions.

Take a Rest

Your baby will likely sleep once they've been fed and burped, so why not use that time to get some much needed shut eye? You might be thinking, there is no way I can take a rest. There is too much to do - dishes, laundry, bills, etc. As hard as it might be to put the chores aside, those things will get done and sleep is critical for your health. Lack of sleep puts stress on your body and may temporarily reduce your milk supply. More sleep can mean less cortisol circulating throughout the body which can help to improve milk quantity in some nursing mothers.

Keep in mind that this information is anecdotal, but might be worth a try. And regardless, more sleep is always a good thing. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that, "most people feel refreshed after a nap that lasts approximately 20 minutes." Don't feel guilty, consider this is the first step for adequate self care soon after delivery.

Take a Shower

Showers are a hot commodity after having a baby. Many moms complain about "not feeling human" soon after a birth. If your baby is resting peacefully and safely (and there are no other toddlers in the house), this can be the perfect time to take a shower. And while you may simply be changing into a new pair of sweats and putting your once dirty, now clean hair in a new pony tail, a warm shower can change your perspective and mood.

Showering can help you to wake up, rejuvenate you, and give you the energy you need to tackle your next task. If you're feeling really indulgent and have some extra time, style your hair and put on some lip gloss, you'll feel like a new person.

Eat a Snack or a Meal

Fueling your body is important for milk making as well as sustaining energy, elevating mood, and shedding baby weight. Moms with new infants may find themselves searching for time to eat, finishing their older children's' scraps, and not sitting down to eat a meal alone or even on a plate.

You'd be surprised at how amazing it is to eat a nutritious and delicious meal slowly and happily. Aim to heat up some leftovers or prepare a hearty and healthy meal or snack. Some good ones to consider include:

  • Fresh fruit (like berries) with low-fat Greek yogurt and some chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, ground flaxseed, hemp, chia, cashews)
  • An egg scramble with leftover veggies from the night before and avocado paired with a slice of whole grain toast
  • A whole grain English muffin with peanut butter and banana
  • Whole grain corn quesadilla made with cheese, scallion, and some left over protein from the night before
  • Warm leftovers that someone made you (the best kind of food)

Make Some Tea and Watch a Show

Relax. You deserve it. Engage in a mindless activity to reduce stress and anxiety. The dishes and laundry will be there after the next feeding. While some teas may promote breast milk production, keep in mind that some herbal teas should not be drank during lactation. If you are not sure consult with your doctor. And if you don't like tea, sip on some lemon water, or seltzer.

Prep a Meal

Chop some vegetables, throw a chicken in the crock-pot, throw together a one pan meal, or search for some new recipes. Keep it easy and simple so that you don't have extra work to do later when older children or your spouse get home.

Make a Grocery List

Nothing is worse than going to the grocery store with an infant or sending someone out for you and something was forgotten. Save yourself the aggravation and make yourself a list. If you have access, you can even order your groceries on-line. All of your orders will be saved and it could be as simple as just reordering some items.

Throw in a Load of Laundry

Having a baby means lots of laundry. From blankets, to onesies, to bibs, to socks, mom's t-shirts and nursing bras, you may feel like there is an endless amount of clothing to wash. A good way to prevent laundry overload is to try do at least 1-2 loads daily. You may even have enough time to fold dry clothes and put them away.

Load or Unload the Dishwasher

A full sink or dishwasher can lead you into a disastrous dinner time. Set yourself up for success by having your sink and dishwasher ready for the next meal. Aim to have your dishwasher clean and cleared before dinner time so that once dinner is done you can simply load it and turn it on before bed.

Check your Inventory

Check your inventory for household essentials. Running out of things like diapers, wipes, paper towels, tooth paste, laundry detergent or dish soap can be troublesome. Check your inventory so that you don't get yourself into a situation where you are down to the last diaper. To prevent this from happening, consider buying these items in bulk or schedule monthly deliveries.

Catch Up on Emails

Nowadays it takes only a few hours for our inbox to be full and seeing a full inbox can cause unnecessary anxiety. Take this time to catch up on emails. Now may even be the time to unsubscribe to certain promotional emails. De-cluttering can reduce distraction and anxiety and help to clear your mind.

Pay Bills

Whether you use on-line re-current billing or manage a checkbook, now would be a good time to make sure your bills are up to date.

Play With the Baby's Sibling

If you have a toddler or older children, now is the perfect time to give them some attention. The new baby may have stirred up some jealousy and some one-on-one time with mom is just what they need.

Play a game, color, read a book, watch a show with them, or have them assist you in a chore that needs to be done. Kids love helping in the kitchen or sorting laundry. They can be helpful and learn something at the same time.

Go for a Walk (And Take the Dog, if You Have One)

Put the baby in the stroller and get some fresh air. So long as you have been medically cleared by your doctor exercise is a great way to increase your energy and boost endorphins. It also helps to shed post pregnancy baby weight. And if your furry friend was your first baby, this is a great time to give them some love.

Do an Exercises Video

If your baby was born in a cold weather month and going for a walk isn't an option due to inclement weather, you can use this time to stream a workout video on your phone or television (once you've received medical clearance). Consider yoga, pilates, or another type of activity that keeps you engaged.

Wash Bottles and Nipples

Bottles and nipples should be properly clean with hot soapy water if they are brand new and then after each use. If you are wondering whether or not you should sterilize after each feeding, that decision is really up to you. In the past, sterilizing was recommended after each feeding, however, nowadays sterilizing is just recommended before the first use. Thorough washing or dishwasher washing (for dishwashing safe supplies) is considered a safe way to get rid of all of the germs. Discuss what's best for your baby with a professional.

Pump

Pumping after a feeding is a great way to increase your milk supply and to also begin storing milk. Some moms make so much milk that they may need to pump their breasts after a feeding in order for them to fully empty. The expressed breast milk can be used for a later feeding (if your baby is also using a bottle) or can be stored in a specially made freezer bag made exclusively for milk collection, BPA free glass, or hard plastic container in the freezer.

Frozen breast milk is ideally used within the first six months of expression, however, can be good for up to one year. Ask your obstetrician or lactation consultant for specific recommendations.

Write a Journal Entry

Having a baby can bring up lots of emotions. Some moms enjoy journaling to help express their feelings or even as a platform to relish and reflect on the day. These entries can be used as a personal tool or if they are more like reflections, they can be incorporated into your child's baby book. Journal entries may also be used to log feedings, wet diapers, and other important info about your new baby.

Call Someone

Having a new baby at home can make conversations on the phone difficult. After a feeding is the perfect time to give your best friend, mom, dad, sister or anyone else you've been wanting to talk to a call.

Engaging in adult conversation can help you to find answers to questions you may have had or simply make you feel more in touch with the outside world. Especially if you are having difficulty with something, venting and getting some advice can go a long way.

Prepare Homemade Baby Food

If your baby is starting to eat some solid foods, Lauren Degaetano, Registered Dietitian and mother of two says, "You can use time between feedings to prepare homemade food for them."

There are many benefits to making your own baby food, such as the ability to control ingredients, (no added salt or sugar), increasing your babies' diet variety and exposure to new foods, cost savings, and convenience (you can puree the food you are already making for dinner). For those moms who plan on going back to work, having frozen baby food in stock is a great way to save time and enjoy your baby while they are awake, too.

Here are some easy and quick on the spot foods that you can prepare in a just a few minutes time:

  • Mashed banana
  • Mashed avocado
  • Raw ripe fruit- very ripe mangoes or cantaloupe can be mashed with a fork or quickly thrown in a blender.

Keep in mind that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age, but some babies may show developmental readiness to eat solids sooner (between 4 and 6 months). Have a discussion with your pediatrician if you are not sure when to start solids.

A Word From Verywell

Whether you have a brand new baby or a baby that is a bit older, you still may be trying to figure out your routine and what to do between feedings. Typically after a feeding, babies, especially new babies will sleep. Take this time to take care of yourself and the rest of the family first, then tend to the house, the bills, and whatever else suits you. And remember as your baby grows, so does their belly, which means that over time feedings will get less frequent.

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Article Sources

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  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. How much and how often to breastfeed.

  2. Psychology Today. Oxytocin. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/oxytocin