How To Wake A Newborn And Keep Them Awake

How To Wake A Newborn To Feed

How to Keep Baby Awake while Nursing

If your baby is sleepy, try these rousing techniques at mealtime:

  • Feed when your baby is in an active sleep period or REM sleep. If baby’s in deep sleep, other efforts may prove futile. You’ll recognize REM sleep when baby moves his arms and legs, changes his facial expressions and flutters his eyelids.
  • Slowly unswaddle him. If that doesn’t work, try undressing him too.
  • Change his diaper while you sing a song or stroke his hands and the soles of his feet.
  • Hold your baby upright, which usually causes newborns to open their eyes.
  • Dim the lights. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, if the room is too bright, your baby may be comfier with those peepers tightly shut.
  • Be sociable. Talk and sing to your baby and, once you get his eyes open, make eye contact.
  • Massage your baby’s hands, feet, arms, back and shoulders. Your touch can help wake your sleepy little one up.
  • Place a cool washcloth on his forehead.

Change Your Babys Diapers

Wet diapers are not conducive to a peaceful nights sleep. If your baby wakes up often, the first thing you should do is check if the diaper needs to be changed. Also, if your baby wakes up hungry close to midnight, it is a good idea to change the diaper first and then feed so that they can drift off to a comfy sleep immediately after.

Reasons Babies Are Too Sleepy To Feed:

  • Prematurity: Premature babies may tire quickly and fall asleep before they have had a full feed.
  • Jaundice: Jaundice, a condition in which babyâs skin and eyes appear yellow, can make babies more sleepy than usual.
  • Difficult delivery: Use of vacuum, forceps and/or drugs during delivery can result in baby being more sleepy in the first few days.
  • Medical problems: Babies with medical problems such as an infection or a heart problem may not feed well.
  • Overstimulation: Some babies will tune out and go to sleep in reaction to excessive handling by strangers, constant loud noises, and/or bright lights.
  • Not taking in enough calories: Babies who donât take in enough milk may lack the energy needed to feed well.

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Monitor Their Daytime Naps

As the baby grows, the number of hours of sleep they need reduces. Frequent and long naps during the day can affect their sleep at night. Keep track of their daytime nap times and try to gradually minimize the overall nap time during the day. This might help your baby sleep for a longer duration without waking up in between.

Helping Your Newborn Sleep

Early Morning Waking in Babies and Toddlers

Newborns follow their own schedule. Over the next couple of weeks to months, you and your baby will begin to settle into a routine.

It may take a few weeks for your baby’s brain to know the difference between night and day. Unfortunately, there are no tricks to speed this up, but it helps to keep things quiet and calm during middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes. Try to keep the lights low and resist the urge to play with or talk to your baby. This will send the message that nighttime is for sleeping. If possible, let your baby fall asleep in the crib at night so your little one learns that it’s the place for sleep.

Don’t try to keep your baby up during the day in the hopes that he or she will sleep better at night. Overly tired infants often have more trouble sleeping at night than those who’ve had enough sleep during the day.

If your newborn is fussy it’s OK to rock, cuddle, and sing as your baby settles down. Swaddling can also help to soothe a crying baby. For the first months of your baby’s life, “spoiling” is definitely not a problem.

Recommended Reading: How To Make My Newborn Sleep Through The Night

How Often Should I Wake My Baby To Feed At Night

But you can expect that your baby will still wake at least once each night. If your baby is premature or low birth weight, your paediatrician or child and family health nurse might recommend that you let your baby sleep for only a certain amount of time at night before you wake them for a feed. Did you find this helpful?

Recognize The Signs That Your Baby Is Tired

Your baby will let you know if they need sleep. Watch for these common signs of tiredness:

  • Looking away from you
  • Fussing

Dont wait until your baby is overtired to put them to bed. An overtired baby has more trouble falling and staying asleep. Try to stay a step ahead by looking for the signs that they are getting sleepy before they are fussy and cranky.

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When You Need To Wake Your Newborn To Feed

A lot of what you read will tell you to feed your baby on demand. Meaning, follow their cues as theyll let you know when theyre hungry ! But there are times when it is either necessary or helpful to wake a sleeping baby to feed them.

Never wake a sleeping baby, may seem like sound advice, but there are actually situations where waking your little one up is whats best. Here well cover when youll want to wake your newborn to feed them, how long you can let a newborn sleep without eating and the best way to go about waking your newborn when its time to eat.

Establishing A Baby Bedtime Routine

How to Breastfeed : Keeping Sleepy Babies Awake for Breastfeeding

You may feel ready to introduce a bedtime routine when your baby is around 3 months old. Getting them into a simple, soothing bedtime routine can be helpful for everyone and help prevent sleeping problems later on. Its also a great opportunity to have one-to-one time with your baby.

The routine could consist of:

As your child gets older, it can be helpful to keep to a similar bedtime routine. Too much excitement and stimulation just before bedtime can wake your child up again. Spend some time winding down and doing some calmer activities, like reading.

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Avoid Holding Your Baby

Your immediate response when you hear your baby crying in the middle of the night is to rush to hold and comfort them. However, this could be counterproductive in two ways. First, picking your baby up from the crib and holding them in your arms further disturbs them and wakes them up fully. Instead, if you wait for a while to let your baby settle down, they may go back to sleep independently. Second, if you rush in every time your baby cries, they may never learn to soothe themselves back to sleep.

Ways To Keep Your Sleeping Baby Awake During Breastfeeding

  • Light up the room.

  • Sing to them or play with your baby.

  • Stroke the palms of their hands and soles of their feet.

  • Feed them during their light REM sleep cycle

  • Get skin to skin with your baby.

  • Massage the crown of your babys head while their feeding.

  • Wet a washcloth with lukewarm water and rub it on their face or along their hairline.

  • Do breast massages while feeding to encourage them to feed longer.

  • Run your fingers gently along their cheek or foot.

  • Switch breasts as soon as you notice baby stops actively suckling and begins to trail off.

  • Breastfeed in the football hold.

If your nipples are sore, these are an absolute lifesaver. Theyre super cheap, can be worn for multiple days , and are soooo soothing.

  • Express some milk into their mouth.

  • Lay them down on a flat, firm surface.

  • Bathe them.

  • Stroke your babys cheek if theyre latched but not actively nursing.

  • Move their arms and legs in a bicycling motion.

  • Talk to your baby!

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Limit Caffeine If Breastfeeding

Caffeine passes through your breastmilk and will stimulate your baby just as it stimulates you, which is not what you want to do if you want our baby to sleep well.To determine if caffeine is part of the problem,, try cutting it out of your diet for a few days. If you see an improvement in your babys sleep, you can gradually reintroduce caffeine, but be sure to keep an eye on timing. Morning caffeine may be fine, however after 4:00 p.m. may cause sleep issues.

How Long Will My Newborn Sleep

Lose Baby Weight

Newborns should get 1417 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, says the National Sleep Foundation. Some newborns may sleep up to 1819 hours a day.

Newborns wake every couple of hours to eat. Breastfed babies feed often, about every 23 hours. Bottle-fed babies tend to feed less often, about every 34 hours.

Newborns who sleep for longer stretches should be awakened to feed. Wake your baby every 34 hours to eat until he or she shows good weight gain, which usually happens within the first couple of weeks. After that, it’s OK to let your baby sleep for longer periods of time at night.

The first months of a baby’s life can be the hardest for parents, who might get up many times at night to tend to the baby. Each baby has a different sleep pattern. Some start to sleep “through the night” by 23 months of age, but some don’t.

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Try White Noise At Night

White noise can help to replicate the sounds your baby heard in your womb and may help keep her calm. Your white noise machine may need to be at a fairly loud volume to work, and can also act as a sound barrier, helping to block outside sounds from your babys room.

White noise is often very helpful for children who are very alert and curious to help them calm their minds and fall asleep.

When Do You Start Tummy Time

When To Start Tummy Time With Baby The American Academy of Pediatrics says parents can start tummy time as early as their first day home from the hospital. Start practicing tummy time 2-3 times each day for about 3-5 minutes each time, and gradually increase tummy time as baby gets stronger and more comfortable.

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What To Do If Theres A Lack Of Movement In The Third Trimester

Youre 32 weeks pregnant, its 2 p.m., and you realize you havent felt your baby move yet today. Dont panic: Its possible that baby has been active and you just didnt notice.

First, sit or lie down somewhere for a few minutes, turning all your attention to your baby. Do you feel any movement at all? It might be subtle, or your baby might be in a different-than-usual position that makes feeling movement a little more difficult.

If this sets your baby in motion, start counting your kicks by timing how long it takes to feel 10 fetal movements. If an hour goes by and you havent felt 10, try a baby-moving trick and wait another hour to see if you can count 10 movements.

If, after 2 hours, your kick counting score isnt where it should be or you still dont feel any movement at all, call your doctor ASAP. Its likely theres nothing wrong, but your provider will probably ask you to come by the office for a quick checkup. They can listen for your babys heartbeat and, if necessary, refer you for an ultrasound.

Newborn Sleep Patterns: A Survival Guide


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As every parent knows, the world of newborn sleep is exotic and strange.

Babies rack up lots of sleep overall, averaging 16-18 hours a day during the first two weeks.

Yet they awaken frequently, and rarely sleep more than 4 hours at a stretch, even at night. Their internal clocks arent yet synchronized with the external, 24-hour day.

Its a recipe for exhaustion, but understanding the science of sleep can help you cope, and avoid mistakes that can delay your childs development of more mature sleep rhythms.

In this article, youll learn about

  • fundamental differences between newborn sleep and adult sleep
  • circadian rhythms, and how you can help your baby get in sync with the natural day
  • sleep cycles in the newborn, and how to work around them
  • tips for preventing newborns from waking up and
  • advice for improving your own sleep.

Throughout, I focus on babies under four weeks of age. For information about older infants, see my article on opens in a new windowbaby sleep patterns.

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Use A Glove Filled With Rice To Mimic Your Hand

This is such a genius idea. If youve ever kept your hand on your baby until she was asleep and then ever so gently removed your hand, all while begging the Lord that she will stay asleep, then you will so appreciate this tip.

And if you have a baby who simply wants to be held at all times, read more here about what to do when your baby will only sleep in your arms.

Your Baby Doesnt Know If Its Night Or Day

Some babies start sleeping on whats called a day/night reversal schedule. Your baby sleeps well during the day, but is awake and busy at night. Its frustrating and exhausting, but its temporary.

Here are a few things you can do to help your baby learn that day is for play and night is for rest:

  • Keep them awake a little longer during each waking period during the day. This will help increase the need for sleep later. Some sleep experts recommend playing with your baby for a few minutes after a feeding instead of letting your baby fall asleep.
  • Get your baby outside and in the sun . Natural light helps reset their internal clock. If you cant get outside, place your babys crib or sleeper near a window that gets steady, bright light.
  • Avoid sleep-inducing activities, if at all possible, during the day. Dont fight your babys need to sleep. But if you can keep them out of the car seat for a bit, that extra time awake will help them later.
  • Keep lights low or turn them out at night anywhere near babys sleeping area. Likewise for sound and movement. Your goal should be zero disruptions.
  • Consider swaddling your baby at night so their arms and legs dont move and wake them. You can also try putting them to sleep in a small crib, so they feel snug and secure.

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Is It Common For Young Babies To Fall Asleep While Nursing

Its common for newborns to have days or even weeks when theyre very sleepy and hard to keep awake. Your baby is adjusting to life outside the womb, and this adjustment can be tiring. Plus, your baby may still have their days and nights mixed up, causing them to sleep a lot during the day when youre ready to feed them.

Luckily, in most cases, sleepy at the breast babies dont stay that way for many feeding sessions in a row or for that long. Most sleepy babies will usually get in enough feeding sessions during a day, even if they have a few sleepy feedings sometimes.

In general, if your baby has enough dirty and wet diapers and is putting on weight at a healthy pace, theres nothing wrong with them having a couple of sleepy, less vigorous nursing sessions every now and then.

Even falling asleep at the breast is usually fine. In fact, many babies will fall asleep after getting in a good feed. A full tummy makes babies tired, and falling asleep is a natural reaction.

Some babies empty the breast in just a few minutes and fall asleep satisfied. You can usually tell that your baby has had enough when:

  • youve heard gulping or swallowing while nursing
  • your breast feels less full after your baby has detached
  • your baby goes from actively sucking to sucking lightly and falling asleep

You may also notice that their body is tense their hands in tight fists at the beginning of the feed. But when theyre done, they have unwound and seem more relaxed.

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