How to Wake Up a Sleeping Baby for Feeding

10 Best Ways to Wake Up a Sleeping Baby for Feeding

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Dr. Arti Sharma (Paediatrician)
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Parenting a newborn baby is challenging and difficult. There are times when new parents aren’t really sure what they must do, for example, waking up a sleeping baby for breastfeeding. Should you do it? Should you not? Well, if you are a first-time parent and have found yourself in a similar situation, you might find this article useful. Here, we have tried to provide answers to most questions, making rounds about awaking newborns to feed them. In addition, we’ve explored some excellent strategies to gently awaken a sleeping baby for feeding, ensuring their nourishment and well-being. These techniques prioritize the baby’s health and promote a balanced feeding routine. Let’s read!

Video: How to Wake Up a Sleeping Baby for Feeding (10 Best Ways)

Why Is It Essential to Wake Your Baby for Feeding?

Feeding the baby on time is crucial to ensure his growth and development is as expected. Some might think they can push the feeding schedule ahead if the baby is sleeping, but that could lead to other issues. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t do that.

1. Empty Stomach Is Not Good

Your doctor might have told you that you need to feed your baby once every two-three hours. This is because infants can digest breast milk quite fast, and within two-three hours, they need more. By not giving your baby more milk, her stomach is going to remain empty.

2. Gaining Weight Is Important

It is said that newborn babies can lose weight in the first few days after birth, based on the delivery method. Feeding your baby quite often is the best way to help your child grow and gain weight as required.

Gaining Weight Is Important

3. Boosts the Production of Breast Milk

Your body is producing milk based on how much is required. If you do not feed your baby frequently enough, your body will produce progressively less milk. Hence, it is important to feed your baby at regular intervals to make sure your body is producing enough milk.

4. Your Baby Will Not Wake Up Cranky

When your baby sleeps, her body can ignore the fact that it needs food. However, once she wakes up, she will wake up really upset because she is too hungry and even weak.

So, what can parents do to ensure they stick to the feeding schedule, and the baby never remains empty stomach? Well, you wake your baby up. And, three are ways to do so. Read on to know more.

Ways to Wake a Sleeping Infant to Feed

Confused “Should I wake up my 2-month-old to feed at night”? Well, you should!

But how to wake a newborn to feed? Here are some easy ways that can help you do so:

1. Undress Your Baby

One way to wake your little one is by slowly removing her clothes. Gentle movements while removing clothes can awaken the baby, after which you can feed her.

2. Reduce the Light

Babies are sensitive to bright lights; keeping the lights dim makes it a lot easier for your little one to wake up.

3. A Mild Massage

You can slowly wake your baby up by gently massaging her feet and arms.

4. Lift Your Baby

Try lifting your baby in an upright position as it can wake her up, too.

5. Sing a Song

Singing a song to your little one can wake her up slowly, and you might even save yourself from a lot of crying.

Sing a Song to your baby

6. Talk to Your Little One

Start talking to your baby when she is asleep, and you will see her slowly waking up to you.

7. Use a Cool Cloth

Placing a cool washcloth on your baby’s forehead can also wake her up. Make sure that it is not too cold.

8. Keep the Baby’s Body Straight

When you keep your baby’s body straight and extend her arms, you are sending signals to the brain to wake up.

9. Change the Diaper

Slowly changing your baby’s diaper can awake your baby up because of the movement.

10. Increase Stimulation

You can rub his back, move her arms and legs in a circular motion or rub her lips gently with your fingertips.

Increase Stimulation

Normally, people would think sleeping to be an impossible task when they are hungry. Then, how can babies sleep during their feeding time, when ideally, they should feel hungry and wake up? We’ve addressed this point below.

Why Are Babies Too Sleepy to Feed?

You may be wondering why your baby does not just naturally wake up when she is hungry. Here are a few reasons why waking up a baby for feeding is difficult and  they sleep through their hunger at times!

  • They are not aware of timings and patterns like we are. You might find that your child sleeps more during the day than night. It will take a while for infants to get used to such a pattern.
  • Your baby might fall asleep while you are breastfeeding her because she is really close to you and feels comfortable in your arms.
  • Newborn babies sleep a lot also because they are used to sleeping most of the time when they were in your womb. It takes time for them to get used to a pattern.
  • Suckling can put your baby to sleep, too. So it is important to make sure that she doesn’t fall asleep halfway through while you feed her.
  • Sleep is crucial to a newborn’s growth and development. Research has proven that when babies sleep more, they grow better. This is a natural process, and hence you must not be worried if your little one is sleeping too much, even when she is being fed.

What Happens If My Infant Does Not Wake Up for Feeding and What to Do?

If your newborn does not wake up to eat, it can lead to inadequate nutrition and potential complications. It’s essential to gently wake them by touching their cheek, feet, or changing their diaper. If these attempts fail, consult a paediatrician. They may recommend techniques like skin-to-skin contact or adjusting feeding schedules. In rare cases, medical intervention might be necessary. Regular check-ups and open communication with your doctor are crucial to ensure your baby’s well-being and proper development. Remember, seeking professional advice is always recommended if you’re concerned about your baby’s feeding habits.

FAQs

1. How Frequently Do Babies Eat?

Generally, Breastfed newborns feed every one to three hours, while formula-fed infants require feeding sessions spaced out every two to four hours.

2. How Long Should I Feed My Baby at Night?

Ensure your baby nurses until one breast is emptied for essential fat-rich milk. Some babies take 20 minutes, others 10. Bottle feeders should provide one full feed based on age.

Newborn babies do not follow a pattern as we do. It takes time for them to get used to it. Nonetheless, when it comes to feeding, it is important for you to follow a proper schedule. The steps given above can help you make sure that you are feeding your baby in the right way. Having said that, once your baby is 3-4 months old, and a successful feeding pattern has been established, do not wake her up for feeds, instead, give demand feeds.

References/Resources:

1. Newborn sleep: Should I wake my baby for feedings?; beaconhealthsystem.org; https://www.beaconhealthsystem.org/library/faqs/newborn-sleep-should-i-wake-my-baby-for-feedings/

2. Should I wake my newborn for feedings?; mayoclinic.org; https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/expert-answers/newborn/faq-20057752

3. Should I Wake My Baby to Feed Them?; parentdata.org; https://parentdata.org/qa-when-to-wake-a-sleeping-baby/

4. BREASTFEEDING YOUR NEWBORN: HOWTO WAKE YOUR SLEEPY BABY; mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org; https://mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org/ncal/Images/Modified-2%20KP-HN-Breastfeeding-WakeSleepyBaby-FINAL%2012.28.20_ADAv1_01222021_tcm75-1796891.pdf

5. How Much and How Often to Breastfeed; CDC; https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/breastfeeding/how-much-and-how-often.html

6. Sleepy Baby – Why And What To Do; laleche.org.uk; https://www.laleche.org.uk/sleepy-baby-why-and-what-to-do/

7. Should I Wake My Newborn to Feed?; milkbanktn.org; https://www.milkbanktn.org/post/should-i-wake-my-newborn-to-feed

8. Feeding Your Baby; dignityhealth.org; https://www.dignityhealth.org/arizona/locations/chandlerregional/services/family-birth-center/feeding-your-baby

Also Read:

Your Newborn Baby’s Sleeping Needs
How to Make Your Baby Sleep at Night?
Baby Sleeping While Breastfeeding
Important Guidelines for Breastfeeding a Sleepy Baby

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