How to Nurse a Sleepy Newborn. Tips to keep baby awake during feedings so your baby can get a full feeding.
Nursing a newborn is not easy. They tend to fall asleep after they get a bit of food in their tummies. I am sure it is the same story with bottle-fed babies. The day will come when they stay awake and eat, but what do you do until then? You are trying to start the Babywise schedule from the beginning and it is taking what little energy you have to keep the baby up just to eat, much less play afterward!
I only have experience with one child on this. I started Brayden at 9 weeks, and frankly he did not have a problem of not waking up, it was quite the opposite, so some of you may be wondering what on earth I am talking about and how you can get some of that in your life. They just come that way, and yes, in my opinion the sleepy one is easier than the wide awake one.
With Kaitlyn, I worked on one wake time a day each week. She always fell asleep during feedings, and so I just worked on getting her to stay awake for one wake time each week. For example, for the first week I just really focused on keeping her awake after the first feeding. The remainder I let her do what she did. If she fell asleep, I put her in her bed. The last wake time I worked on was after her 1:00 pm feeding. It was a hard one for her! I know that at 4 weeks she was still zonking after that and stayed asleep until I woke her for her next feeding. I can’t remember her exact age when she started being able to stay awake for that one, but it was definitely older than 4 weeks.
How do you keep them awake?
- It requires all of your focus and energy
- Rubbing her shoulders
- Cool rag or cold wet wipe
- Sitting her up
- Talking, singing, etc.
- Change her diaper between sides or halfway through the bottle
Even after all that, there are no guarantees. It is just a difficult time. It will take some time, but the more you work on keeping her awake for a full feeding, the better she will get at it. It is worth the effort. You want a full feeding and you want to get her to stay awake during waketimes in order to sleep better at night.
- Rachel Stellaaa said…
What I found to work the best with my sleepy baby (tickling him etc was not effective) was to not keep him too warm and wrapped up when I was feeding him, and when he started to fall asleep, put him beside me (or the floor, whatever you like) unwrapped and he would probably kick around and fuss for a second because he wanted to be nice and snug again, which would then wake him up enough to eat again. Sometimes I would have to do this several times throughout a feed.
May 23, 2008 9:33 PM
Oh yes, Rachel. I have found that to be true also. Thanks for pointing that out!
May 26, 2008 10:03 AM
- Catherine said…
I am having a random problem at night! My son eats and falls asleep lying on me. Then when I move him to his crib, he stays asleep while I move him, although he jostles a little, bit then when he hits the crib he startles awake (I can see him and hear him startle) and can’t get back to sleep. The other night I let him CIO but he went 1.5 hrs intermittently crying and just couldn’t do it. Finally I just had to put him in the swing bc he was so worked up. This has been happening for the last few weeks- really since he came out of the extremely sleepy, can’t wake for anything, newborn phase. It’s really frustrating though and really messes up our nights! Any thoughts anyone?
March 4, 2008 10:42 AM
Kaitlyn did that a few times. Be sure he is getting a full feeding in–if he falls asleep before he is done eating, wake him to finish. That way you know he is full. As he learns to soothe himself, he will get better about it. Hang in there!
March 4, 2008 1:42 PM
Thanks Valerie. What did you do when Kaitlyn did that?
March 5, 2008 10:51 AM
It was never consistent for her, I think one time we tried rocking her to no avail so I just fed her. Another time we did the swing, that worked. Then we just moved her up to her bed after she fell asleep and she somehow stayed asleep. It is all a normal part of the learning process. Stay consistent and hang in there! Things will start to improve and you will have less to worry about at a a time 🙂
March 5, 2008 10:51 AM
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?