Breastfeeding is a time for nourishment, mother-baby bonding, and so much more. The complex nature of breastfeeding, coupled with the uniqueness of every pregnancy, makes it tough to predict a pattern or understand a newborn’s feeding schedule. And, this leads to many questions, like do I need to wake my baby for feeds? Well, the answer, like most things in life, is rarely close-ended.
Here, we attempt to look at what goes into breastfeeding and, no doubt, attempt to answer the question we mentioned earlier.
Your little bundle of joy has an even littler stomach. For the first couple of days of his life, a newborn’s tummy is as big as a marble, and by the 10th day of life, the tummy is as big as a ping pong ball. After that, the tummy becomes as big as your newborn’s fist. Little wonder that your little angel has a ferocious appetite.
Breastmilk is the best milk for babies. As it digests faster, babies need to feed 8-12 times over 24 hours, which is why a baby nurses once every 2-3 hours. However, every pregnancy is unique, and the timing between feeds is also something that is unique to a baby. Infants also tend to breastfeed once every few hours, known as cluster feeds, which are mostly followed by longer stretches of sleep.
Typically, newborns wake up at feeding time, and thus can get all the milk they need. According to the Australian Breastfeeding Association, feeding a baby when he exhibits feeding cues, helps the baby feed better than normal.
Waking Babies Up For Feeds:
All is not sunny in the land of the summer. Sometimes, an infant may be too tired to do anything but sleep, and you may have to wake your little one up to ensure he follows his feeding schedule. Your baby may be sleepy because of diseases like jaundice or infections, or because of medications you took during childbirth. Seek an expert opinion if you believe that your baby is sleeping longer than necessary or if he skips feeding time too often.
When a baby sleeps, he doesn’t exhibit the telltale feeding cues, which can make it difficult for you to understand whether he needs a feed.
While waking your baby, try to:
- Change his diaper
- Alter your breastfeeding position. Keeping the baby underarm helps keep him awake
- Encourage skin-to-skin contact with your baby
- Give your baby a warm bath
- Talk to your baby
- Massage your baby’s back
- Stroke the baby’s hands and feet
Babies are incredibly sophisticated little machines, who’d have thought. Incredibly, a baby can continue to feed even if he isn’t fully awake. Once your little one begins to feed, you can use some of these ideas to keep him awake while he feeds. Once your baby’s sucking slows, take him off, burp him, and put him back to sleep.
Even if your little one is a sleepy Lil’ sleeperton who just can’t do without his sleep, you can use these simple tips to wake him when it’s feeding time.