Does your baby fall asleep while still breastfeeding? Do you think your little one does it more often than necessary? Do you think it could interfere with her feeding schedule? Are you worried that she may not be getting enough nutrition, because even before feeding is complete, she is already fast asleep?
If you want to know how to deal with the situation, or you have any questions about it, read our post and learn all about babies falling asleep while breastfeeding.
Why Does Your Baby Fall Asleep While Breastfeeding?
Most babies fall asleep while breastfeeding during the first few weeks and months of their life. As a mother, it is something that will bother you and may even make you panic. You may worry that you are not able to feed your baby well. You may also worry that your baby may be staying hungry without realizing, or that it could cause some other health risk.
While some babies sleep a certain amount of time, and at regular intervals, other babies might want to sleep more. On the other hand, some babies may feel so sleepy that a calming activity like breastfeeding and being full can lull them off to sleep, even before they complete their feeding.
In most cases, newborns and babies sleep anywhere between 14 and 18 hours a day. Before you come to a general conclusion, it is important to remember that all babies are unique and will adjust to situations in their time and way. So, while some babies may sleep well within the above mentioned time schedule, others may sleep longer while some other babies may want to sleep much less. As long as your baby is healthy and growing well, there is no reason for you to panic.
Your baby will not have a set pattern of feeding and sleeping in the first few months of life. Some babies may not even fall into any routine for the first one to two years of their lives. All the scenarios are entirely normal and should not make you feel worried or scared.
Sometimes, your baby may wake up too often and want to nurse. At other times, she may suddenly sleep for some hours at a stretch, and then wake up to feed. On the other hand, your baby may want to feed quickly and go back to sleep while some babies may be so sleepy that they can fall asleep the moment they start to feed.
Should You Increase The Number Of Times You Breastfeed?
If you feel your baby is often falling asleep while breastfeeding, a common thought could be that you should try to feed your baby more often. Most babies need to feed between 8 to 12 times a day while some may want to feed more. While your baby may have a specific requirement, often feeding and at regular gaps will help boost your milk production.
As a breastfeeding mother, you will always be able to notice certain signs that your baby is hungry. A few common signs of hunger that your baby may display, even while being asleep include:
- Your baby may start making a suckling motion even while asleep, or may make a sound that resembles suckling.
- Your baby may start to twitch and turn in sleep, or may suddenly start to flutter the eyes.
- Additionally, she could try moving the head from side to side, in an attempt to search for your breast and start feeding.
How To Help Your Baby Wake Up Or Stay Awake To Feed:
Once your baby falls off to sleep, you are most likely to take a deep breath and look at your angel with content. If she misses a feeding cycle or falls asleep while breastfeeding, it can cause a lot of anguish and concern.
Instead of worrying too much, try out these tips shared below that can help you to wake up your baby for feed time, or help keep your baby awake while feeding:
- Lie down in a comfortable position and if possible, place your baby on you. Make sure you keep your dress open at the front so that your baby experiences direct skin-to-skin contact. Open your baby’s dress with the front as well, so that your baby can feel your skin. Once you put your baby on your bare chest, start talking in your natural voice, not too loud but not too soft either. In this way, your baby will slowly start to wake up and will be able to find your breast even while moving a little. Let your baby wake up or stay in a little sleep. Allow nursing for as long as your baby can. Your baby will either wake up completely or feed a little and go back to sleep. Both the situations are normal.
- Keep the lights in the room a little dim, but not too dim. Also, make sure that the light is not too bright, as it can make it difficult for your baby to open the eyes and try to wake up.
- Slowly massage your baby’s feet or other parts of the body, and keep talking in a low but regular voice. Your voice should not lull your baby further back to sleep. On the other hand, your voice should not startle your baby.
- Sometimes, if your baby is just not waking up or opening the eyes, you can express a little milk or colostrum and take it on your finger. Gently rub the finger on your baby’s lips. Tasting the milk or colostrum will make your baby want to get up and feed, or at least want to feed even if not yet fully awake.
- Pick your baby up in a vertical position and start talking in a normal voice. Make sure you hold her securely and place a hand behind the head.
While putting your baby to sleep is one of the biggest challenges of parenting, keeping your baby awake at feeding time is another daunting one. With a little time, you will soon understand her pattern and be able to feed easily. Did your baby fall asleep while breastfeeding? What did you do about it? Tell us here.
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