How To Wake Your Newborn For A Feed?

Breastfeeding is a time to develop an emotional bond between the new mother and the newborn. Also, for the first six months of your newborn’s life, your breastmilk is his/her only source of nutrition. But, breastfeeding is an art and requires much patience and practice to master it. Each woman’s body is different and acts a unique way. So breastfeeding is all the more complex with each pregnancy and understanding the newborn’s needs and timings will take ample time.

So how do you get accustomed to your newborn’s feed timings? Your newborn has a very tiny stomach and cannot hold much milk in his/her stomach. therefore, almost all newborns take small quantities of milk but feed multiple times day and night. Your newborn has a tummy the size of a marble in the initial days. Also, your little one’s digestive system is still developing and breastmilk is the only food your infant can digest easily.

Babies need to feed at least 8 to 12 times in the span of 24 hours. Thus, babies usually nurse once in every 2-3 hours. But, like

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aforementioned, each pregnancy is different and your baby might have a different feed schedule. However, as a common or standard babies need to be fed once in every few hours for the initial months after birth. Once your baby feeds, s/he will fall into a long sleep. These are called as cluster feeds.

Waking Your Baby For A Feed

Infants are known to sleep for a minimum of 18 hours in a day in their initial days after birth. Sometimes, your little one might be so tired to even wake up to breastfeed. And yet, it is your responsibility to wake your little one for his/her feed. Your baby may be asleep due to an infection or diseases such as jaundice or because of the medications, you took during childbirth. If you notice or feel your baby is sleeping for longer bouts of periods and not waking up for his/her feeds, consult your doctor at once.

Being a new mom, it will be difficult to tell if your baby is hungry or wants to feed. When your infant sleeps, s/he does not exhibit

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any feeding cues which makes it hard for you figure out if s/he needs a feed.

If you want to wake your baby for a feed, try performing any of these actions while you try to wake him/her up:

  • Change the diaper
  • Try altering your breastfeeding position. Holding your baby with your underarm helps keep your little one awake
  • Try skin-to-skin contact when you wake him/her up
  • Massage your baby’s back
  • Stroke your little one’s toes and fingers
  • Talk to your baby

In the first few days after birth babies are like little machines. Newborns are still developing and can feed even in their sleep. Sometimes, you will find your baby falling asleep while s/he feeds. If your baby does fall asleep during his/her feeds, try any one of the above to keep your baby awake. Once your baby’s sucking slows down, take your back off your breast. Let your burp and then nurse them back to sleep once again.

Some babies are extremely sleepy and nursing such infants can be quite a feat for the mother. If your baby is one of them, use tactics such as singing

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to your baby, saying sweet nothings or simply stroking your baby’s back to keep him/her awake during the feed. Irrespective of how sleepy or tired your baby is, it is important for you to wake him/her up for the feed. If you notice your baby isn’t feeding for a long time or is sleeping for ridiculously long hours at a stretch, talk to your doctor about it.