Should You Wake a Newborn to Feed For Longer Than Necessary?
During their first few weeks of life, it is common for babies to need feedings while they are sleeping. This is usually because they are still adjusting to their new world. However, it is not a good idea to wake a newborn to feed for longer than necessary.
Depending on your baby’s age, weight and health, it may be beneficial to wake your baby occasionally while they are asleep to help them get enough sleep or to ensure they get the nutrients they need from their milk. This can be especially helpful for breastfeeding mothers.
It is best to wait until your baby is at least two weeks old before you stop waking them for feedings, according to IBCLC Tera Hamann. Until then, you should try to wake your baby at least every three hours until they reach their birth weight, or as long as they are getting eight to 12 feedings in a day.
If you need to wake your baby for a feeding, you can start by gently rubbing their head or cheeks. Then, if your baby is still resisting, you can move them around or try changing positions to rouse them. You can also gently burp them, stroke their bare feet or change their diaper to make them more alert.
You can also use your voice to rouse your baby and to encourage them to breastfeed. Talking to them or playing music with them can be a nice way to keep them alert and interested.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends trying to rouse your baby using gentle methods until you have a routine that works. After that, you can progress to more rousing techniques such as diaper-changing or skin-to-skin.
In most cases, your baby will be able to self-regulate their wake and feed times by the time they are a month old. If you have problems waking them, contact your doctor.
A baby who is very sleepy can be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as acid reflux or colic. Babies with these conditions will often be more fussy than usual, and they may have trouble waking up for feeds.
Infant jaundice is another common reason why your baby may be sleepy during a feeding, so make sure to check in with your doctor. They will need to rule out any underlying health concerns and can recommend medications that may help your baby feel more awake during feedings.
It is not uncommon for babies to cling to the breast or bottle during feeds, so make sure to offer them as much milk as possible. Doing so will help your baby become more comfortable and will allow them to eat for longer periods of time without becoming sleepy.
If your baby is unable to breastfeed during feedings, you can offer expressed milk instead. This will be less messy for your baby, so you don’t need to worry about losing a precious resource that you have to make up for later on.