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Should I Wake My Sleeping Baby For Breastfeeding?

It’s understandable for you to be reluctant to wake your slumbering son. Afterall, it’s not easy trying to disturb a sleeping baby while they are looking so peaceful.

Some parents consider it a crime to wake up their own baby who sleeps soundly after a considerable amount of time they spent awake and crying. However, there are things which were considered important that could justify why you should wake him up.

Why do we need to wake them up

One word, feeding. 

Feeding is an important element of development and growth. The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) recommends waking your sleeping baby if they have slept for more than 4 hours during the first two weeks. There are a few reasons why it’s important for you to disturb your child while they were slumbering in order to feed them.

#1 Their tummy empties easily

One of the most crucial facts you need to know about baby’s feeding is breast milk can be digested more easily and quickly compared to formula milks. As your child’s tummy is only slightly bigger than a ping pong ball when they are younger than 2 weeks, they need to be attended once every two to three hours. If they are formula-fed babies, then it can go three to four hours before they need to be fed during the first month of life.

#2 They tend to snooze through hunger

When they are awake, your baby would be able to send signals indicating they are hungry or need to be fed at a certain point of time. They can send out a few hunger cues such as rooting, smacking and sucking their own fingers. 

The most obvious of all is to cry as hard they can to garner some attention. However, when they are asleep, there are no cues and your baby tends to snooze through their feeding alarm.

#3 They need to gain weight

Depriving your child from a proper caloric intake can hinder their weight gain. Depending on their delivery method, newborns can lose between 5 to 10 percent of their birth weight in the days after birth.

That’s why, it’s so important to feed them frequently for the first few weeks to sustain their own body weight. Depriving your child from their own feeding schedule can lead to complications related to jaundice and low blood sugar.

#4 Frequent feeding can help you boost your own milk supply

Your breast milk supply varies according to how frequent you feed your child. Those who rarely breastfeed their child would have some problems in establishing an adequate amount of breast milk. It’s important to note that your breast milk would be established upon the demand and supply concept.

If you breastfeed your child at a frequent interval, your body would keep pumping out the perfect amount of milk to meet your baby’s requirement for growth.

How should you wake your baby for a feed

There are a few tricks you can practise to wake your baby up during their feeding hours.

  • If your baby is sleepy, you can try feeding them when they are in an active sleep period. You can recognise this phase as your baby will change their facial expressions, flutter their eyelids and mover their arms.
  • Slowly, unswaddle or undress them.
  • Change their diapers, stroke their hands and feet and don’t forget to sing a song so they would feel relaxed.
  • Hold your baby in an upright position. Sometimes, this can cause them to open their eyes wide open.
  • Try to dim the lights but not to the point they are more motivated to sleep than chugging your breast.
  • Talk and sing to your baby. Make eye contact if their eyes are wide open.
  • Massage their hands, arms, shoulders or feet.
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