Watching a baby sleep is perhaps the most peaceful thing for a new parent, especially for someone who has been struggling to catch up on some much-needed shut-eye themselves. But for the most obvious reasons like being fed on time or cleaning, which are round-the-clock commitments, waking babies up from sleep is necessary. And, when that happens, one must know how to interrupt and wake up a sleeping baby.
The most important thing to consider here is that you must not disturb your baby’s sleep unless it’s absolutely required, and the second worthy consideration here is to do it as slowly as possible. Below are a few techniques to wake up a sleeping infant, so it’s an easy and pleasant experience for the baby and you.
Why Is It Essential To Wake A Sleeping Baby?
Waking up your newborn is critical for sticking to a feeding pattern that determines their growth and development. If you push the schedule to a later hour because they are sleeping presently, they will remain hungry and lose weight. Since infants digest breast milk soon, they need it more often within two to three hours. Feeding them often ensures they gain a healthy weight (1).
As it takes a while for babies to get used to a sleeping and feeding pattern, you might have to nudge them to wake up consistently in the following ways discussed below till they are accustomed to following a daily routine.
1. Create The Illusion Of Sunrise
Instead of blasting the room with harsh lights to wake your baby up, it’s good to slowly raise the light levels with adjustable brightness controls. This will save them from the strong glare that could potentially cause them to cry and be in an irritable mood for the whole day. And, you’ll want to slowly begin to awaken them even before you need them to be up.
2. Unswaddle Your Baby
If swaddling helps your baby sleep, unswaddling can indeed help them wake up. An important thing to remember here is that since swaddling is a safety measure to put babies off to sleep, monitoring them while unswaddling until they are fully awake is critical to ensure that they are not only safe and protected but also happy when they are aroused from sleep.
3. Make Some Soft Noise
Be gentle with your sounds as you wake the baby up. Loud noise can impact your baby’s mood. Making light noises like cooing, calling out their names, singing a song, or simply talking to them softly can help them wake up without much hassle or disturbance. If your baby sleeps in the usual breastfeeding position as you tuck them in between your breasts, change to the football position to feed them, so they don’t fall asleep.
4. Give Them A Diaper Change
Giving your baby a diaper change at the end of a nap while they are still sleeping is a great way to take advantage of that state, making movements less unlikely and just jostling them enough to wake them up. Talk to them as you change the nappy as babies love the sound of their mother’s or caretaker’s voice.
5. Comfort Them With A Massage
Baby massage is a great way to comfort them and also helps parents bond with their little one. This is also a helpful tactic in waking them up from deep sleep. Give them a gentle massage while they are still in their sleep by stroking their palms and the sole of their feet. Trace your fingers around their mouth and back. If this doesn’t wake them up, hold them upright and speak to them to nudge them to open their eyes. This is important because the usual bonding positions only soothe them to sleep, so trying to straighten their backs and extend their arms can help them wake up easily.
Newborns tend to sleep a lot (2). They only wake up for being fed or for diaper changes. While it’s common to assume that a sleeping baby has their stomach full, that may not always be the case. And because it’s hard to assume whether your baby is full or not, it’s good to wake them up after a particular hour or at frequent intervals so that they can be fed at the right times. It is important to note that if your baby sleeps more often than usual or is being more sleepy (that makes waking them up a huge struggle for you), you might need to consult your doctor to be sure they aren’t dealing with something serious.
If you have been struggling to feed your baby or change them without disturbing their sleep, these tips mentioned above should help. What other ways have you tried waking up your sleeping baby? Do share your experience with us in the comments below.