Let baby sleep or wake to feed
Sleep and Your Newborn (for Parents)
Newborns don't yet have a sense of day and night. They sleep around the clock, and because their tiny stomachs don't hold enough breast milk or formula to keep them satisfied for long, they wake often to eat — no matter what time of day or night it is.
How Long Will My Newborn Sleep?
Newborns should get 14–17 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, says the National Sleep Foundation. Some newborns may sleep up to 18–19 hours a day.
Newborns wake every couple of hours to eat. Breastfed babies feed often, about every 2–3 hours. Bottle-fed babies tend to feed less often, about every 3–4 hours.
Newborns who sleep for longer stretches should be awakened to feed. Wake your baby every 3–4 hours to eat until he or she shows good weight gain, which usually happens within the first couple of weeks. After that, it's OK to let your baby sleep for longer periods of time at night.
The first months of a baby's life can be the hardest for parents, who might get up many times at night to tend to the baby. Each baby has a different sleep pattern. Some start to sleep "through the night" (for 5–6 hours at a time) by 2–3 months of age, but some don't.
How Should Babies Sleep?
During the first weeks of a baby's life, some parents choose to room-share. Room-sharing is when you place your baby's crib, portable crib, play yard, or bassinet in your own bedroom instead of in a separate nursery. This keeps baby nearby and helps with feeding, comforting, and monitoring at night. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends room-sharing without bed-sharing.
While room-sharing is safe, putting your infant to sleep in bed with you is not. Bed-sharing increases the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and other sleep-related deaths.
Follow these recommendations for a safe sleep environment for your little one:
- Always place your baby on their back to sleep, not on the stomach or side. The rate of SIDS has gone way down since the AAP began recommending this in 1992.
- Use a firm, flat sleep surface. Cover the mattress with a sheet that fits snugly.
- Do not put anything else in the crib or bassinet. Keep plush toys, pillows, blankets, unfitted sheets, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, and bumper pads out of your baby's sleep area.
- To avoid overheating, dress your baby for the room temperature and don't overbundle. Don't cover your baby's head while they're sleeping. Watch for signs of overheating, such as sweating or feeling hot to the touch.
- Keep your baby away from smokers. Secondhand smoke increases the risk of SIDS.
- Offer a pacifier to your baby at sleep time, but don’t force it. If the pacifier falls out during sleep, you don’t have to replace it. If you're breastfeeding, wait until breastfeeding is firmly established.
- Watch out for other hazards, such as items with cords, ties, or ribbons that can wrap around a baby's neck, and objects with any kind of sharp edge or corner. Look around for things that your baby can touch from a seated or standing position in the crib. Hanging mobiles, wall hangings, pictures, draperies, and window blind cords could be harmful if they are within a baby's reach.
- Don’t let your baby fall asleep on a product that isn’t specifically designed for sleeping babies, such as a sitting device (like a car seat), a feeding pillow (like the Boppy pillow), or an infant lounger (like the Dock-a-Tot, Podster, and Bummzie).
- Don’t use products or devices that claim to lower the risk of SIDS, such as sleep positioners (like wedges or incliners) or monitors that can detect a baby’s heart rate and breathing pattern. No known products can actually do this.
- Don’t use weighted blankets, sleepers, or swaddles on or around your baby.
- Make sure that all sleep surfaces and products you use to help your baby sleep have been approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and meet federal safety standards.
Helping Your Newborn Sleep
Newborns follow their own schedule. Over the next couple of weeks to months, you and your baby will begin to settle into a routine.
It may take a few weeks for your baby's brain to know the difference between night and day. Unfortunately, there are no tricks to speed this up, but it helps to keep things quiet and calm during middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes. Try to keep the lights low and resist the urge to play with or talk to your baby. This will send the message that nighttime is for sleeping. If possible, let your baby fall asleep in the crib at night so your little one learns that it's the place for sleep.
Don't try to keep your baby up during the day in the hopes that your little one will sleep better at night. Overly tired infants often have more trouble sleeping at night than those who've had enough sleep during the day.
If your newborn is fussy it's OK to rock, cuddle, and sing as your baby settles down. Swaddling (wrapping the baby in a light blanket) can also help to soothe a crying baby. If you swaddle your baby and they start trying to roll over, that is a sign that you can stop swaddling. For the first months of your baby's life, "spoiling" is definitely not a problem. In fact, newborns who are held or carried during the day tend to have less colic and fussiness.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
While most parents can expect their newborn to sleep or catnap a lot during the day, the range of what is normal is quite wide. If you have questions about your baby's sleep, talk with your doctor.
When You Need to Wake Your Newborn to Feed – bökee
December 22, 2020
A lot of what you read will tell you to feed your baby on demand. Meaning, follow their cues as they’ll let you know when they’re hungry (and they usually will)! But there are times when it is either necessary or helpful to wake a sleeping baby to feed them.
“Never wake a sleeping baby,” may seem like sound advice, but there are actually situations where waking your little one up is what’s best. Here we’ll cover when you’ll want to wake your newborn to feed them, how long you can let a newborn sleep without eating and the best way to go about waking your newborn when it’s time to eat.Times to Wake Your Newborn Baby to Feed Them
Waking up your newborn is common practice for new parents to ensure they’re getting enough to eat. It’s also advised for breastfeeding mamas so that the baby is at the breast often enough for the body to know to keep producing more milk. In addition to feeding your baby every 3 hours (including waking them to do so) always be sure to keep tabs on other signs that your baby is getting enough to eat.
1.) When Your Doctor Advises It
Before we go over the top reasons why you’d want to wake your sleeping baby to feed them, we first want to remind you that what your doctor tells you trumps everything we say. If you are unsure about anything that’s going on with your baby, you need to contact your child’s pediatrician. They will advise you on what’s best for your and your little’s unique situation - perhaps asking you to wake your baby more or less frequently than what is typically advised.
2.) Before Your Baby Has Regained His Birth Weight
Babies typically lose about 7 - 10% of their birth weight within the first few days of life, according to Kids Health. This is normal due to the extra fluid that a baby is carrying when they are born. At an average rate of 1-ounce in growth per day, a baby should have this regained by their two-week appointment. So until that time, it’s your job to give your baby all the calories they need to thrive and keep growing steadily as expected. By not letting your baby sleep longer than 3 hours at a time (yes, even at night) your baby has enough opportunities each day to get their calorie needs met to make this happen.
3.) To Establish Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. When your baby demands it, your body produces it. In order for your body to keep getting the message that it needs to produce more milk, breastfeeding (or pumping as discussed here) around the clock is necessary to keep a steady milk supply for your little one. So be sure to wake that baby up to feed every 3 hours in those early weeks. Just remember, you can't nurse too often!Wake to Feed, But Don't Schedule
The advice to wake a baby for the above reasons doesn’t mean we are suggesting putting your baby on a schedule (such as feeding every 3 hours no matter what.) You should still be feeding your baby on demand and when they show hunger cues! La Leche League writes, “Scheduling feedings for a baby who is exclusively nursing frequently throughout the day and night, especially during the first six weeks has been correlated with slow weight gain.”
Just know that this may end up being a lot sooner than every 3 hours with more than 8 - 12 feeds in a day. When your baby shows they’re hungry, feed them!
Instead, the advice is that you shouldn’t let your newborn baby go longer than 3 hours between feedings which means if your baby keeps sleeping past that mark, you need to wake them up to eat. As your baby grows, so does this amount of time.How long should you let your newborn sleep without eating?
How long you can let your baby go between feeds depends on a variety of factors. Here are some to consider:
1.) Your baby’s age. Full-term babies who are younger than two weeks should be fed every 3 hours until breastfeeding is established and they’ve regained their birth weight. A baby under six weeks should not sleep longer than 4-5 hour stretches. Of course, if you’ve been given the all clear from your doctor to let your baby sleep longer, then that is the advice to take. If you have a preemie baby or other concerns, we advise you to reach out to your doctor to see how long you should let your baby go between feeds.
2.) Your baby’s weight gain. In the hospital the nurse will most likely have you feed your baby every 3 hours. This is also the guideline they give you when they send you home with your new little one. Until your baby’s 2-week check-up, this is ideally what you’ll want to follow which is when they’ll be able to determine if your baby is gaining weight at the desired rate. Getting to this point is a huge milestone for a baby and also for you in knowing you can let your baby go for longer stretches of sleep (about 4 - 5 hours) now that they’re getting nice and chubby. Weight measurements will continue to be “taken throughout your baby’s first year, and if baby is struggling to put on enough weight again, the doctor may advise you to feed more often again.
3.) Whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding. Babies who are formula-fed can usually go longer stretches between feeds than breastfed babies can. This is because breastmilk is digested more quickly than formula. However, you still need to follow the "feed every three hours" rule until your doctor has given the go ahead for longer stretches. After that, letting a formula-fed baby go a bit longer than a breastfed baby between feeds is normal (provided they have enough wet diapers and are gaining weight well.)
RELATED: The Best Way to Feed Your Baby Formula at Night
How do I wake my newborn to feed?
Newborns are sleepy little humans. Which means it may not be as easy as you’d think to wake them up when it’s time for them to eat (especially in the middle of the night). Here are some tips to help them out to ensure they are alert enough to feed and get that tummy nice and full.
Undress them down to their diaper. The chill of the air is often enough to wake a baby enough to eat. You can put a blanket around them to keep them warm enough once they begin to feed.
Use a cool washcloth on their face or body. Similarly, the coolness of a wet washcloth provides a great little wake-up call. I always felt a bit guilty doing this with my babies though.
Wake your baby when they’re in a light sleep. If you see your baby’s eyelids fluttering or moving around (even slightly) this is a good time to try to arouse them for their feeding.
Talk to your baby as you feed to keep them awake. Just a bit of sound might be all they need to wake.
Rub your nipple (or bottle nipple) against your baby’s mouth. This will alert your baby that it’s time to eat (try getting a few drops of colostrum or milk to touch his lips, too).
Switch sides or move your baby if they nod off. If you see your baby start to fall asleep, give them a break and put them upright to wake her up a bit. Then you can continue feeding again.
Other Times You May Wake Your Baby
Pro Tip: If you aren't breastfeeding and need to prepare bottles for those nighttime feeds (from formula or pumped milk) we recommend always having a bökee to get them ready. Even though you need to wake your baby to feed them, most of the time they'll wake on their own. At that point you'll need to prepare a bottle one-handed and the bökee is perfect for that. (Use BLOG15 to save 15%)
Waking your baby every three hours to eat in the early weeks is imperative to help them grow and thrive. But there are many other reasons why you might decide to wake your baby:
- For a dirty diaper. You don’t need to worry about waking your baby for a wet diaper, if it doesn’t bother them, don’t let it bother you. Poop is a different story. Many babies will wake from this anyway, but if you do smell poop, you’ll want to change them soon. It they’re in the middle of a nap and you know they’ll be up in a bit, there’s no need to wake them prematurely, but if it’s the middle of the night, you’ll need to get them a fresh diaper (a calm change in the dark is your best bet here.) This will keep the chances of diaper rash down.
- When it’s getting too close to bedtime. This article explains how long a baby’s last nap of the day should be as well as how much time to keep between the last nap and bedtime (depending on age). If your baby’s nap is edging to close to bedtime where they won’t have enough time in between to be sleepy before bedtime, it’s a good idea to cut that last nap short with a wake-up.
- To prevent too long of naps. One major reason that babies wake frequently in the middle of the night or don’t seem tired is because they have their days and nights mixed up. If you let your baby take too long of naps, they naturally won’t be ready to sleep as much or for as long as stretches at night. As a rule of thumb, don’t let your newborn sleep longer than 3 hours at a stretch during daytime sleep, and closer to 2-2.5 hours is plenty at a time for an older baby.
- For the Dream Feed. Once your baby is past the earliest few weeks and your doctor has given you the go ahead to let your baby sleep in longer stretches, adding in a dream feed is a good idea. In order to do this, you will have to wake up your baby just enough for them to eat. Then you’ll put them right back down to sleep. The dream feed is something you can do to allow yourself more sleep when you head off to bed. For example - instead of feeding your baby at 7 (when they go to sleep) and midnight, you can feed them at 10 and 3 - allowing yourself a better stretch of sleep in the process.
Those early days with a newborn are tough, there is no denying that. And when you’re already so exhausted it can be tough to rouse your own self to wake your sleeping little one. But keep reminding yourself that it’s temporary, and that as the weeks go on and your doctor keeps giving you the green light, you’ll be able to let your baby sleep to their heart’s content and feed them when they "demand" it.
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How to wake up a baby for feeding and whether it is necessary to wake up a baby in the afternoon
For any parent, the question of whether to wake up the baby is not easy. On the one hand, there are fears that a child who has been sleeping for a long time will not be able to fall asleep later, and on the other hand, how to raise such an angel who has been put to bed for so long. ..
so that his sleep is not affected.
Let's start with the smallest children. You've probably heard the phrase "never wake a sleeping baby." But it is not always fair. Some newborn babies wake up on their own for feedings, while others need to be awakened. Whether or not you need to wake your baby depends on their age, weight, and overall health.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waking your baby for feedings if he sleeps more than 4 hours in the first two weeks of life. On average, a baby needs feeding every 2-3 hours.
Frequent feeding is very important for several reasons:
- The baby's stomach is very small, the baby quickly digests breast milk. Faster than a mix. Therefore, physiologically, the child necessarily needs frequent feedings every 2-3 hours.
- Babies can sometimes sleep even when hungry, thus malnourished, which affects their development.
- After birth, the baby loses 5-10% of its body weight. And in the first weeks he needs to gain weight. Lack of milk or formula slows down this process.
- A short interval between feedings helps to maintain lactation. That allows you to avoid problems with a lack of milk in the future.
Tears already signal strong hunger. Therefore, it is better to breastfeed the baby before the baby starts crying. Learn to recognize the early signs of hunger: the baby puts his hand in his mouth, smacks his lips, tossing and turning when he sleeps.
Should the baby be woken up to feed during the day? In general, if an infant sleeps for more than 3 hours in one dream during daylight hours, he must be awakened. Then the mother can feed the already awakened baby. This makes it possible to adjust the work of the biological rhythms of the baby.
How to Wake Up
- Help your child gradually fall asleep by stroking their arms, legs or lightly tickling them.
- Change diaper. Often this is enough for the baby to wake up and be ready to eat.
- Undress and place skin to skin on your chest. You can squeeze a few drops of milk onto your baby's mouth. He will smell and taste it and begin to suck on the breast.
- Speak - he will hear your voice and wake up.
- Do not turn on bright lights. A dim light is sufficient. The bright light will blind your eyes.
- If the baby has attached to the breast but has not begun to suckle, stroke his cheek.
How long to feed
As soon as the baby wakes up and starts to eat, make sure that the feeding is long enough to empty at least one breast. So we will know that he ate hind milk, which is necessary for the growth of the child's body. Some babies take 45 minutes or more to feed one breast, and some do it in 10 minutes.
The sucking reflex promotes falling asleep. Therefore, make sure that the baby does not fall asleep while feeding. If he falls asleep, change position, lift him up to burp, and then start feeding again.
By 6 months you will have a more or less predictable eating schedule. But each baby will have his own. Some of the children eat every 2 hours, and someone is able to stay without food for 3-4 hours by the second month of life. This is especially true for children who are formula fed.
The length of time between feedings increases as the child grows older. By the age of six months, many babies can already go without supplements at night or are able to sleep for longer periods.
If a child wakes up too often after 6 months and asks for food at night, perhaps this is no longer hunger, but a way to relax and fall asleep.
Avoid using a pacifier in the first weeks after delivery. The pacifier helps the child to calm down and prolong sleep. So you may not notice that your baby is hungry. Therefore, start using a pacifier no earlier than 4-6 weeks and when you are lactating.
Should the baby be woken up to feed formula? As with breastfeeding, the newborn needs frequent formula feeding. But the interval will be more than 3-4 hours.
When it is necessary to wake up the child
It is important to wake up the baby in the morning if he has fallen asleep later than 7.00. This is especially true for children who still sleep 1-2-3 times during the day and have already developed a relatively stable routine. So you create the perfect routine in the morning.
After waking up, children need time to work up their fatigue for their next nap, the ideal window for which is around 9 and 1 pm (depending on age).
Therefore, if the baby slept until 8 am, he simply will not be able to fall asleep in his first daytime sleep.
In order for the baby to wake up calmly without tears, you can enter a wake-up ritual. It allows the child to smoothly transition from a sleepy state to wakefulness.
Example of a wake-up ritual:
- Open curtains/turn on lights
- Welcome words and a kiss
- Snacks, nursery rhymes after sleep
- Happy song
Then you can get up and start breakfast. For older children, such a ritual is also necessary.
The awakening ritual has different purposes:
- Marks the end of sleep,
- Teaches a child that everyday sounds are not a reason to wake up,
- Helps prevent baby from crying when waking up.
It will also be useful to have a light alarm. If the baby wakes up early, he will stay in bed until he sees the light on the clock.
When to wake your baby up after a nap
Many babies from 4 to 8 months sleep three times a day.
In this mode, it is important to wake up the baby after the third nap no later than 17.00. The duration of this segment is about 45 minutes, but not more than an hour. Then you can easily put the baby to bed by 19 o'clock.
Transition to one nap
At the age of 15-18 months there is a transition to one nap. It can be long and take place in different ways.
In the morning, the baby falls asleep easily and sleeps up to 2 hours. But then it is difficult to put it in lunch. And by the evening without rest at lunchtime, he is already overworked and falls asleep with difficulty.
So if this is your case, you can pick up the baby after 60-75 minutes. At the same time, move the start of the second sleep 15 minutes later. But if the baby sleeps for 1 hour in the morning and then it’s already difficult to fall asleep a second time, start putting him down only at lunchtime.
One nap after 2 years
Between 2.5-5 years, naps may disappear. Here again, the story described above is often repeated. It seems that the child falls asleep perfectly during the day, sleeps for a long time, but in the evening, laying down is delayed until 10-11 pm. The problem is that getting up early in the morning to the garden usually does not allow you to sleep the necessary 10-11 hours per night. And again, you will have to gradually limit the duration of daytime rest. Wake your baby up after 60 minutes first, then skip the daytime so your baby sleeps better at night.
Keep an eye on your baby while doing this. If he is calm in the evening and falls asleep easily, and wakes up later than 6 o'clock in the morning in a good mood, then you are doing everything correctly.
If you notice excessive moodiness in the late afternoon or regular awakenings too early, then it is worth giving the baby more time to rest at lunchtime.
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Why does the child eat at night - find out on the site
“Eating after 6 is bad”, “At night you need to sleep, not eat”… We are used to the fact that snacking at night is a sign of an eating disorder. However, sometimes even adults find it difficult to endure a break between meals, especially if it lasts more than 8-9 hours.
Newborn babies grow as fast as ever at any other age: in the first year, their weight increases by 3 times, and their height is about half. This is only possible if they receive nutrients regularly. That is why it is completely normal that the child wakes up at night and asks for food. This is not a whim and an unusual feeling of discomfort, this is real hunger!
Why does eating at night cause such anxiety in parents? The fact is that sometimes night feedings stretch out all night, distracting the child and the parents themselves from another important activity - sleep. Sleep deprivation, like lack of nutrition, leads to serious consequences that should not be ignored.
Until what age does a child eat at night?
Despite the simplicity of this issue, the largest pediatricians in the world still cannot agree. Renowned doctor Richard Feber claims that babies older than 3 months no longer need night feedings. The luminary of pediatrics Evgeny Komarovsky pushes this bar up to 6 months, and the famous William Sears believes that feeding at night is necessary for at least one year.
Most practitioners use the following guidelines, which may vary slightly depending on the needs of the child:
- Up to 3 months, feed every 3 hours.
- 3-4 months - 2-3 feedings per night.
- 5-6 months - 1-2 feedings per night.
- 7-9 months - 1 feeding per night, in case of illness or weakness - 2 feedings.
- 10-12 months - feed only when necessary (stress, illness).
If a child is a year old and still eats at night, this behavior can lead to disruption of the regimen and the formation of a chronic lack of sleep. In addition, night feedings have a negative effect on milk teeth, causing early caries.
The child often eats at night - what to do? 8 steps to restful sleep.
What if your child does not comply with the recommendations and continues to eat frequently at night? We offer you an 8-step strategy that will lead you to stop feeding at night and sleep soundly throughout the night.
- Make sure it's hunger. When the baby wakes up at night, check if he is really hungry or if the anxiety is caused by other factors (too hot or cold, wet diapers, the usual “failure” to fall asleep between sleep phases).
- Don't hurry! Let the process of not eating at night be gradual. Every night, increase the interval between feedings, skipping one every 2-3 days until the desired amount. Some children will take longer to do this than others.
- Please select the correct time. Illness, a move, or another change of scenery is not the right time to refuse food at night.
- Feed enough throughout the day. The abundance of high-quality and tasty food by age, with a high content of protein, vitamins and trace elements will be the key to feeling full throughout the night.
- Add a second dinner 1 hour before bedtime. It should be a nutritious but easily digestible meal, such as sour milk products. Avoid eating sweets and desserts at night, as they provoke excessive excitement.
- Ask for help with bedding. Let another parent, grandmother or even an older child put the baby to bed instead of you. This item is especially important when breastfeeding.
- Be patient.