Have you heard the advice, “Never wake a sleeping baby”? Well, this depends on what you’re waking them up for. Waking up your newborn to feed is actually recommended.
Your newborn is peacefully sleeping – finally! All too soon the two hour mark comes up and your baby is due for another feed. It’s totally normal to not want to disturb your little one! After all, good quality sleep is essential for your newborn’s development. But, so are nutrients! It’s important to keep up the pace of their feedings for their health.
Why Your Baby Needs You To Disturb Their Sleep For Feedings
Newborn’s tummies are tiny! So, they need to be fed more often than older babies, as they can only take in a bit of milk at a time.
“Babies digest breast milk easily and quickly. That speedy digestion, coupled with your little one’s tiny tummy (which at 2 weeks is only slightly bigger than a ping-pong ball), means your baby has a physiological need to nurse about every two to three hours,” explains What To Expect.
Plus, newborns need to get all the nutrients and calories they can, especially during the first few weeks as they’re gaining back the weight that they lost after birth. Babies can lose up to 10% of their body weight a few days after birth.
While your little one will let you know when they’re hungry – cues include lip smacking, finger sucking, and, of course, crying – when they’re still really young, they can often snooze through their own alarms! So, you’ve got to keep track of the time.
Why Waking Up Your Baby For Feedings Is Good For You
If you’re breastfeeding, it’s important to establish your milk supply in the early weeks. Not feeding your baby enough is a signal to your body that it should decrease the amount of milk being supplied.
The quantity of breastmilk you make depends largely on the amount your baby is feeding. To increase your supply, you need to breastfeed frequently, pump if your breasts aren’t drained completely after a feed, and make sure you’re eating enough calories.
Click here to download my free breastmilk storage guide and pumping log.
5 Tips To Gently Wake Your Sleeping Newborn
Trying to breastfeed your baby while they’re sleeping can be challenging. It’s more effective to gently wake them so that they’re alert enough to feed.
- Tickle Them
Gently tickle your baby’s feet and rub their arms to bring them out of their sleepy state.
- Change Their Diaper
The act of changing their diaper and cleaning them up can coax them into wakefulness.
- Burp Them
Getting rid of any gas they have in their belly can help them get ready for their next feed.
- Encourage Their Rooting Reflex
Let your newborn’s natural reflexes take over! The rooting reflex happens when the corner of a baby’s mouth touches their mom’s nipple, or when you gently stroke the corner of their mouth. This encourages them to “root around” for the nipple and start feeding. “You can also try to express a few drops of your breast milk onto your baby’s mouth. The smell and taste of breast milk may help to get your baby sucking,” suggests Very Well Family.
- Sing A Lullaby
Singing a song to your sleeping baby can calmly bring them out of dreamland.
Yes, it’s okay to wake a sleeping baby – in fact, it’s essential! Feedings impact sleep, and sleep impacts feedings.
And, when you don’t understand the relationship between feeding and sleep, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated!
To help with this, it’s important to establish a routine for your baby. If you don’t know where to start, download my unique evidence-based schedule that covers six weeks through three months.