Breastfeeding provides more than nutrition to your little one. It’s bonding time, but breastfeeding difficulties can lead to worry and frustration.
Your baby’s mid-breastfeeding naps can introduce schedule issues as well as feeding and growth concerns.
New mothers or a mom new to breastfeeding might not realize how normal this is for babies.
How to keep baby awake during breastfeeding will be an easy task for some and more difficult for others.
Each baby is different, but keeping your baby alert is possible with a few tips, understanding, and a lot of patience.
Why Sleeping Through Breastfeeding Sessions Can Be a Concern
Infants under two weeks old sleep the most. Their bodies go through rapid development post birth.
You will need to wake your baby every two hours if he or she is sleeping for a breastfeeding session.
This prevents dehydration and ensures your baby receives enough milk to power their growth.
Babies over two weeks old adapt themselves to an on-demand feeding schedule. This means they’ll be awake and eat when they’re hungry or thirsty.
Occasionally falling asleep on the breast isn’t a large concern unless they aren’t gaining weight as they should
they show signs of dehydration, or they’re already underweight.
Mothers have personal concerns too. Babies who skip or don’t finish feedings can interfere with your milk supply.
Another problem is your sleep schedule since the old adage is true in the first few months; sleep when your baby sleeps.
Why Does Your Baby Nap While Breastfeeding?
At birth and beyond, your baby has a personality and a handful of likes and dislikes.
Why one baby falls asleep during breastfeeding could be different from your baby’s reason.
How to keep baby awake during breastfeeding sessions can also differ from baby to baby, including your other children.
The most common reasons a baby might fall asleep on the breast are they’re tired, overstimulated, or their tummy is nice and full.
Remember, feeding sessions should last about 20 minutes.
If they drift off around or beyond that time limit, you shouldn’t be concerned unless they’re showing signs of illness, weight loss, or dehydration.
The times are rough estimates because your milk flow sets your baby’s pace.
Slower flow can cause your baby to sleep, and you might need to manually manipulate your breast to increase it.
A faster flow can leave your baby satiated in less time, which then can lull them to sleep.
When You Should Worry About Your Baby’s Sleeping and Nursing Habits
If your baby shows any of these symptoms or is under two weeks old, speak with your pediatrician.
They will likely want to see your baby for a quick checkup.
Be prepared to answer questions about your diet and any medications you take, including natural supplements.
Your Baby Doesn’t Produce Enough Soiled Diapers
Keep track of your baby’s diapers. Mark how many pee and poop diapers you change each day.
Don’t worry too much about the poop consistency unless the stools are hard, dry, or difficult to pass.
Bowel frequency can vary too and depends on your baby’s age. Breastfed babies can produce one to six bowel movements a day.
If your baby produces more than 12 bowel movements, call your pediatrician.
Another concern is diarrhea, which could be a sign of an intolerance or allergy. Food allergies can cause excessive sleepiness in babies, children, and adults.
This makes it a cause and symptom to explain why your baby keeps drifting off.
Finding the culprit isn’t easy, but once you do, you’ll solve how to keep baby awake during breastfeeding with one small change.
Urination will occur more frequently, and you should expect at least six wet diapers a day. Any less could be a cause for concern.
It should not have a strong or offensive odor, and the color should be on the pale side. Dark urine can be a sign of dehydration.
Your Baby isn’t Gaining Enough Weight
After the first few weeks, your baby should gain about 6 ounces per week.
Don’t be alarmed if your baby is a little over or under as this is a rough estimate for exclusively breastfed babies.
Some babies grow slower or faster too, and your genetics do play a role.
Most weighing occurs at the doctor’s office. Your pediatrician will most likely show you your baby’s growth on a curving percentile chart.
They look at the curve and individual history more than the actual numbers since each child is different.
As long as you’re making your well visit checkups, your doctor should catch weight-related issues.
However, don’t hesitate to make an appointment if you notice your child isn’t nursing normally, having fewer stools and/or urine diapers, or visibly losing weight.
Your Milk Supply is Dwindling Due to Your Baby Sleeping Through Feedings
This can be a concern for both you and your baby. Maybe your infant is sleeping more, and it’s temporary.
A dwindling milk supply that isn’t addressed quickly might force you to supplement formula.
Pumping is another alternative to supplementing. After your baby falls asleep, you pump what remains and store it properly.
This enables your body to continue producing an adequate supply and provides you with breast milk on demand should your baby need it.
How to Keep Baby Awake During Breastfeeding Sessions
Try these tips to wake your baby if feeding sessions end before 20 minutes.
#1 Break the Suction: This can encourage a baby to suckle again. Simply use your finger to gently pry their mouth free.
#2 Wipe Baby Down: Using a dampened, warm washcloth, wipe down your baby from head to toe.
The cool air and stimulation might be enough to wake up your baby.
Taking a bath together while breastfeeding can also help.
#3 Swap Sides: If you notice your baby drifting off, take the time to change them to your other breast.
The change might be enough to stop them from sleeping.
#4 Change their Diaper: Like above, when they show signs of sleepiness, get up and change their diaper.
If they’re dry, you can also use the time to change their clothes.
#5 Play Stimulating Music: This might not work for all babies.
Choose higher tempo music and play at a comfortable but loud enough to keep your baby awake.
#6 Change Feeding Position: Some feeding techniques are more sleep-inducing than others are.
Try a laid-back approach. Lay back on a couch, recliner, or in bed on your back. Place your baby so their tummy is on yours.
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