Should i wake my baby to feed or let her sleep
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.
Baby Sleep: Expert Q & A
Should you wake your baby for feedings? How many naps does baby need? Our expert answers some of the most common baby sleep questions.
Written by Wendy C. Fries
Questions about your baby’s sleep needs can really keep a new parent up at night. Should you wake baby for feedings? How can you help your baby start sleeping through the night? Is co-sleeping safe?
To find the answers to these questions, WebMD went to Jennifer Shu, MD, an Atlanta pediatrician, medical editor of HealthyChildren. org, and co-author of Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality. She shared her thoughts on these and other top concerns parents have about their new baby’s sleep needs.
When should my baby start sleeping through the night?
Some babies sleep through the night within a week or two of being born. But most have their days and nights backward at first, sleeping more in the day and less at night.
Most babies will start sleeping at night at about four months of age. You won’t get an uninterrupted stretch of the baby sleeping 10-12 hours, but you will get about five hours and then another good uninterrupted stretch after a night feeding.
Don’t worry if your baby is four months old and still isn’t sleeping that long. You can help her along by letting her sleep at night, not waking her to feed, and by keeping things dark and quiet. Save the exciting, fun things until daytime.
How much nap time does my baby need?
Normally when babies are first born, everything is eat, sleep, eat, sleep, so you don’t really count any of that sleeping as naps. But somewhere between one and six months of age, babies tend to settle into a three-naps-a-day pattern, where each nap can last an hour or two, before going to a one-nap-a-day pattern after their first birthday. Most kids lose their need for naps by about 5 years of age.
Should I wake my baby for feedings?
I don’t recommend waking babies for nighttime feedings, because you want them to sleep. However, I would suggest you wake them for night feedings in their first couple of weeks if they haven’t yet gained back their birth weight -- babies tend to lose 10% of their weight after they’re born. Also, if they’re sleeping more in the day than the night, I do suggest waking them so they don’t go more than four hours without eating.
Overall, I suggest not waking babies at night so they can find their own sleep schedule. And you generally don’t have to wake them in the day either, because most will wake on their own. If you notice that the baby is sleeping for longer stretches during the day, then I wouldstart waking them in the day, so they don’t get night and day mixed up.
Should I stick to a strict sleeping schedule?
I think you should give your baby the opportunity to have a routine, and I like for babies to have down time to relax in their own crib.
Try to have some semblance of a routine and schedule, but it doesn’t have to be right down to the minute.
How can I get my baby to start sleeping through the night?
Keep it dark and quiet, and have a routine every evening that consists of quiet time -- maybe a bath, reading a book, or brushing baby’s teeth if they have any yet. Get them calm and drowsy before putting them in their crib, and be consistent, put them down the same way each time. In the middle of the night, shorten your routine and rock or pat your baby for just a minute or so before putting her back to sleep.
You don’t want baby to fall asleep while you’re feeding or rocking them, though, because you want them to figure out how to put themselves to sleep. Should you wake them if they do fall asleep then? No, especially not in the first month; it’s impossible to avoid falling asleep during feedings and rockings when they’re that young. But after the first month, put them to sleep drowsy…if they’re falling asleep when you’re nursing, for example, stop nursing and put them to sleep. If they’re falling asleep too soon, try starting your calming, quiet routine sooner.
The other thing you want to do is to make sure the baby isn’t overtired when you put her to bed. Don’t wait until the baby is really fussy; try to stay a step ahead and look for the signs she’s getting sleepy before she’s cranky.
It’s also helpful to know that once babies get to the point where they’re eating more in the daytime they don’t need to wake and eat at night. But don’t overfeed the baby to encourage her to sleep through the night. Some parents try to push more formula, breast milk, or baby food on the baby right before sleep and that can backfire because the baby might not settle in well, just like you when you’ve eaten too much at Thanksgiving dinner. Wait until your baby settles into a pattern where he naturally eats more in the daytime.
Should I let my baby cry himself to sleep?
It depends on the baby and it depends on the age. The method of crying it out has been the most studied and it works for many babies, but you should talk to your pediatrician about whether it’s right for yours. Some babies get tired and go to sleep after crying, but some just get angrier. So, where crying it out works for many babies, it doesn’t work for all of them. And there’s some babies who just need to wake up and feed and then they’ll go back to bed. Instead of denying the feeding, and having the crying, it’s best to feed them.
Generally, after four months or so you’ll find that the baby probably won’t need to eat as much at night, so if they're waking up and crying and falling asleep as soon as they get the breast or bottle you’ll know they’re not hungry, but if they’re waking and ravenously finishing the breast or bottle they still need to be fed at night. A rule of thumb: If it’s been one or two hours since you put them to bed they probably don’t need to be fed, but if it’s been more than three or four hours they probably are hungry.
Is bringing my baby to bed with me -- co-sleeping – safe?
Co-sleeping isn’t recommended because of what we know about sleep safety. There’s more of a risk of smothering, SIDS, and of falls off the adult bed when there’s bedsharing.
If you’re breastfeeding often and you want the baby close, one option is to use a bedside co-sleeper. It looks like a crib with a missing side, and you can put it right next to the adult bed, and raise it up to the bed’s height, but an adult can’t accidentally roll over on the baby. If you’re feeding baby often, you can also consider putting a bassinet, cradle, or crib nearby.
What’s the safest way to put my baby to bed?
Always put your baby on his back to sleep, never on his side or tummy. There’s a higher risk of SIDS if they’re on their tummy or their side (they can roll onto their stomach if they’re lying on their side). And be sure that childcare providers, grandparents, and so on, know to put the baby on his back because there’s also a higher risk of SIDS if a baby is usually put to sleep on his back but suddenly gets put to sleep on his tummy.
Finally, be sure to give your baby a lot of tummy time when he’s awake. Tummy time helps promote physical development -- generally babies don’t roll or crawl as soon if they don’t get tummy time, for example. And if you’re worried about SIDS, you want them to have a stronger head and neck so they can [lift] their face up if it gets covered. Also, babies can actually end up with lopsided heads, or bald spots from rubbing the back of their head on the mattress, if they spend too much time on their back. These aren’t dangerous, but if babies spend more time on their tummy it’ll relieve some of the friction and pressure.
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 shortage 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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How to sleep with a baby
get a general routine
What do most women do when their baby is asleep? Someone rushes to cook, someone begins to hastily clean the apartment, iron, wash - there are always plenty of things to do in the family. But in vain. You can do household chores even when the baby is awake, but he definitely won’t let you sleep. Therefore, if a son or daughter falls asleep, drop everything and go to bed with the child. There is no perfect order or dinner is not prepared? You can do all this later, when you rest, and, by the way, you will most likely spend much less time and effort. Therefore, the first rule of mom's regimen: sleep when the baby sleeps. To feel normal, a woman (especially a nursing mother) must sleep both at night and during the day. So adjust the general regimen of the day: you can adapt to the child’s sleep, or, on the contrary, you can adjust the child’s sleep to your routine (although this will be more difficult to do).
As often as possible, involve volunteers in babysitting, walking with him or just feeding him. And here the help of the husband, grandparents will be invaluable. Do not trust the baby mother-in-law? Do you think that dad will not be able to entertain the baby for a couple of hours? Worried that grandpa will get lost with the baby while strolling around the house? In vain. Your loved ones are adults, they wish both you and the baby only the best and are unlikely to harm him in any way. At most, a diaper is buttoned crookedly, an extra blouse is put on the baby, or they give him the wrong nipple.
If possible, make arrangements with your family so that they can babysit at least two or three times a week, giving you a couple of hours to sleep and rest. By the way, for this you can invite a nanny. And again - no household chores at this time, only - sleep!
sleeping with the baby
Co-sleeping has many advantages: the mother does not have to get up, wake up, go to the crib, get the baby out of it. She can feed the baby and at the same time almost never wake up: after all, the baby will find the breast on its own. Yes, and many children sleep only with their parents - in order to fall asleep, some babies need to feel the familiar smell and warmth of a loved one. This method has both its supporters and opponents, but in any case, if you choose to sleep together, you need to ensure the safety of the child. You can not put the child on the edge of the bed - he can turn around and fall to the floor; you can not put it next to the parent pillow - the baby may turn unsuccessfully and his breathing will be disturbed.
And it's best not to put the baby in the same bed with adults, but simply move the crib to the parent's bed, after removing the side rail from it (today there are even special cribs for sleeping together). So the child will feel the closeness of mom and dad, and parents will sleep peacefully, without worrying about his safety.
“Stock up” with sleep
Scientists have found that lack of sleep or insomnia is fully compensated by a full rash preceding it (or subsequent after it). And if so, then you can “stock up” on sleep. A couple of times a week (well, or one for sure) you need to arrange a day for yourself when the dream lasts 8-9hours per day. Here again, relatives or a nanny will come to the rescue. You can select once a week when you sleep all night, and dad gets up at night for the baby. True, this is convenient when the child is bottle-fed or at least agrees to drink expressed mother's milk from a bottle at night. If this is not possible, then you need to agree with your husband that, for example, on the weekend he takes the child and works with him for a couple of morning hours, and you fill up the missing time. Or let your grandmother (nanny) come in the morning, who will also let you make up for a night's sleep.
go to bed together at night
Usually, after putting her baby to sleep, the mother either rushes to finish the day's work, or tries to find time for herself (surf the Internet, read a book, watch TV, get a manicure). But it is the first three to four hours of sleep at night that children sleep best. Take note of this and go to bed at night at the same time as your baby. Otherwise, you have not yet had time to fall asleep (or just fell asleep), as the baby woke up for night feeding or just like that. As a result, you will get not only a shortened night's sleep, but for sure at night the baby will wake up a couple more times and interrupt it.
put the child to bed early
As a rule, an adult who goes to bed early wakes up earlier. But in children there is no such pattern. Therefore, do not be afraid that today, having fallen asleep before 9 pm, tomorrow the baby will wake you up at dawn. On the contrary, the later the child falls asleep, the worse and more restless he sleeps. And just early laying gives a more complete and prolonged night's sleep. And this is exactly what a tired mom needs! But in order to establish such a daily routine, all family members will have to try. But then it becomes much easier for them.
Try to improve your routine and sleep more, and the whole family will feel much better. Even with a small child, it is possible not to feel sleep deprivation. Try it and see for yourself.
If this arrangement suits all members of your family, practice co-sleeping. This is a real salvation for mothers whose children often wake up at night. Sleep deficiency disrupts the formation of serotonin in the body - a biologically active substance, which is also called the hormone of happiness, calmness and good mood. As a result, a person deprived of normal rest constantly experiences irritability and a feeling of depression
Try to instill a regular sleep-wake schedule in your child. This will make your day more organized and make you less tired.
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