The question that we always ask as a new parent is, “Should I wake my newborn to feed at night?”
Newborn babies do not have any sense yet if it is daytime or nighttime. They always sleep and wake at any time of the day.
Also, their little tummy can not hold a larger amount of milk so they always need to feed, that’s why they are waking up at any time – be it day or night.
Knowing about this would also bring you, mommies, to the question if they must wake up to feed and other connected topics to discuss your baby’s sleeping routine and feeding.
Some doctors may say that it depends on the baby’s age. weight, or health condition if you should wake them up to feed.
Baby’s sleeping hours
While some of you mommies know that you should not wake your newborn babies, this is not always true. There could be babies that wake themselves up and are ready to eat, but some babies need a push.
Normally, according to National Sleep Foundation, newborn babies should have 14-17 hours of sleep on a daily basis. Some newborns, however, may sleep up to 18-19 hours a day.
Newborn babies wake up in a matter of time. They tend to wake for a couple of hours to feed. Breastfed babies tend to wake up every 2-3 hours, while bottle-feds wake up every 3-4 hours, often less than breastfed feds.
The very first months of your baby could be the longest, hardest nights. Mommies, or both parents, need to wake up many times at night to tend to their babies.
We need to remember also that every baby must have different sleep patterns. Some may start to sleep throughout the night, like 5-6 hours at a time, when they are 2-3 months old. Some babies don’t sleep like this.
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“Should I wake my newborn to feed at night?”: Waking up your baby to feed at day or night
To answer that question is YES! Waking your baby to feed is also necessary. You should wake them up to breastfeed every one to three hours around 24-hour time.
Breastfeeding very often may feed your baby enough breastmilk, and you could stimulate your body to produce nutrition-packed breastmilk.
This does not also necessarily mean that you need a strict schedule to breastfeed your newborn baby. You just need to feed them more often.
And if you notice that your newborn baby has been sleeping for over 4 hours already, you need to wake them up to start breastfeeding. Even if it is day or night.
Waking them up every one or two to three hours would let them feed for 12 times a day. Frequent baby feeding is necessary because:
Crying is a late sign of hunger
The sooner you start each feeding, the easier it is to soothe your baby’s frantic expression. Check for early signs of hunger, like sucking their thumb, smacking their lips, or rooting and steering while sleeping.
Frequent feeding of your baby will support early breastfeeding
Frequent feeding of your baby will help you produce your milk supply.
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How to wake your baby accordingly
Mommy, your baby is not that easy to wake up from breastfeeding. Finding yourself attending to a sleepy baby may get you into a challenge. These 12 ways might help you in waking up your sleepy baby to breastfeed.
- Touch your baby – you may tickle their feet or rub their arms, legs, or back
- Talk to your baby – your baby could hear your voice and then wake up
- Unwrap your baby – Uncover your baby from the blanket or undress them so that they might now be unwarmed and comfortable. However, do not let your baby undressed at a colder room temperature as your baby’s body may feel cold faster.
- Put your baby near your breast – the natural rooting reflex of your baby might let them feed while sleeping
- Dimming the lights – your newborn baby is sensitive to bright light, so by dimming the light they might open their eyes
- Grab a washcloth – Slowly wipe your baby’s face off with a wet washcloth or soft towel.
- Try a drop of milk – You can also try to express a few drops of milk onto your baby’s mouth so they might taste the milk for them to wake up and feed
- Try a bath if it is morning or before evening – the feeling of water may also cause your baby to wake up
- Change your baby’s diaper – movement will obviously wake up your baby
- Avoid using a pacifier – letting your baby suck a pacifier will let them sleep more. It will also make you realize that your baby is hungry.
Easiest way to bottle-feed your baby and how to clean your baby’s bottle
Caring for your newborn baby: how long should your baby sleep?
Caring for your newborn baby: should your baby sleep with you?
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Is it okay for baby’s to sleep at 7 hours straight without feeding?
To sustain frequent feeding for a 24-hour period cycle, you need to wake up your newborn baby to breastfeed every 2-4 hours.
But let’s talk about your baby’s normal sleepiness.
Newborn babies can be super sleepy for a number of reasons, and it is normal for your newborn baby to be sleepy at times of feeding.
Just after delivery, your baby might still feel tired and groggy or maybe still affected by medications you, mommy, were given at the time of your labor and giving birth. And also, naturally, newborns want to sleep a lot!
Then, after two months, your baby may now be able to sleep as much as they want to, just be reminded of their feedings in between those sleeping times.
Also, make it every two to four hours to wake them up for breastfeeding. Monitor your baby’s weight if it is increasing well.
Do not let your newborn baby to sleep for over 6 hours or so, in their first five to six weeks of age. It is not okay for a baby to sleep for that longer period without even feeding.
As weeks and months go on, you may be able to let your baby sleep for a longer period between feeding times.
During their two weeks old, babies may have a long stretch sleeping period for about 5 hours. And it can be at night and you are lucky if it is so, where you do not have to wake them up for feeding.
Lastly, keep in mind these could-be-changes in your baby’s sleeping period:
- at four months, your baby might show a preference for a longer sleeping period at night
- in six months, your baby may get to sleep for about five to six hours or longer, without a need to breastfeed. At this age also, your baby may begin to “sleep through the night”.
- Day time naps will dramatically reduce in number as your baby grow older. 2 months old babies will have a nap of 4 times a day, while getting older, they would nap only up to 2 times a day.
You might need to call a doctor if…
Infant jaundice, illness, infections, or other health conditions and issues may result in the sleepiness of your newborn baby, of course, beyond what is normal sleepiness.
If you notice and believe that your baby may be over sleepy, or having problems waking up your baby in-between feeding time, ask your pediatrician for help immediately.
Remember, it is not a matter of a strict schedule for your babies to feed, it is a matter of how frequently they should feed for a day. Take care of your newborn babies, and mommies! Let them grow strong and healthy.
Here at theAsianparent Philippines, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advise or medical treatment. theAsianparent Philippines is not responsible to those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend to consult your doctor for clearer information.