What to Do If Your Baby Keeps Falling Asleep While Nursing
When you have a new baby, there may be a number of signs about both your sleeping patterns going forward. In the first few weeks of your baby’s life, you’ll notice that they do almost nothing but sleep. Many newborns spend the most part of their 24 hours sleeping.
In most cases, this is a good thing. However, at times your baby sleeps so much that you can’t seem to get them to feed properly. If your baby can’t stay awake through a full feeding session, you may have some concerns. Let’s take a look at what you can do to keep them awake.
Is it common for young babies to fall asleep while nursing?
It’s common for a newborn to be extremely sleepy and hard to keep awake for days or even weeks. It’s natural as your baby is adjusting to life outside the womb.
For babies who are sleepy during nursing time, in most cases they don’t stay that way for a lot of feeding sessions in a row. If your newborn is producing enough dirty and wet diapers – about four poopy diapers per day – and is gaining weight at a healthy pace, there’s nothing to worry about. In fact, a lot of babies will fall asleep after getting a good feed in.
You can usually tell that your baby has a full tummy when:
- You hear gulping or swallowing while nursing
- Your breasts feel less full after detaching
When this may be cause for concern
If your baby has relatively few wet or dirty diapers and slowed weight gain, you should focus on waking them up for feeding. If you’re not sure whether or not your baby is getting enough milk, visit your baby clinic, family doctor or paediatrician for a wellness and weight check.
A common newborn condition that contributes to your baby being extra sleepy is jaundice. In addition to feeling lethargic and poor feeding, newborns with jaundice may display signs of yellowish skin and fewer wet or dirty diapers. Visit a baby clinic, family physician or paediatrician to make sure there are no serious health concerns.
Tips for waking up a sleepy baby
Luckily, there are a number of methods you can try if your baby keeps falling asleep while breastfeeding
- If your baby falls asleep frequently while nursing, you can try switching them to the other side, they may find that the other side has milk more readily available.
- Your baby may become sleepy when milk flow slows down. You can increase milk flow by doing a breast compression by using your free hand to cup the side of your breast, then gently squeezing.
- Strip your baby down to their diaper as babies that are too warm tend to get sleepy.
- Try tickling their toes, brushing your fingers up and down their arms, or swirling your finger around the top of their head.
The wellbeing of your baby is priority number one. If nothing seems to work and your baby just can’t stay awake while breastfeeding, seek out professional help or medical attention, if you haven’t already if you need any more information about baby care, visit Contact Pregnancy by Choice and make an appointment online.
Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)
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