Should you wake your baby to eat?
It’s a common question among moms of newborns: Should I wake my sleeping baby for a feeding or not? If you ask your friends and families, you might just get a world of different opinions and that can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a first time mom.
Some babies can spend hours sleeping (they’re rare, but they’re out there!) and won’t wake up to eat. If your newborn has been asleep and has gone four hours without a feeding, it’s recommended to wake him up to eat. According to the experts, doing so will help you be sure your baby is eating enough and getting the nutrition they need.
During those first few days after birth, it’s normal for a baby to lose a little weight and then regain it. So, if your baby eats every two hours, that’s considered completely normal, too.
If your baby is sleeping and you need to feed him, be sure to wake him up very gently. You can lightly rub his feet, or slowly turn up the light and open the blinds, or even rub his little chin. Then, slowly try to introduce the bottle or breast. Some very sleepy little ones won’t wake no matter what. If that sounds like your baby, try wiping his forehead or neck with a damp washcloth – again, be sure to do it gently so as not to scare him.
After babies are about six weeks old, they can generally sleep in a little more. But, before you change feeding habits, always consult your pediatrician to make sure your baby is well fed and at a normal weight. If your baby has not gained weight as expected or has reflux, he may need to take less milk more often, and your pediatrician may continue advising you to wake your baby to feed.
If baby is older than six weeks, sleeps more than five hours straight, is gaining weight normally and has no medical condition that requires a specific feeding schedule, don’t even think about waking him up! Just get ready to feel the envy of every mom who isn’t as lucky as you.