How do I keep a sleepy baby awake while breastfeeding?

As I’m sure you’ve noticed already, newborn babies sleep a lot! However, it’s important that they wake every three hours or so to feed until they are back to their birth weight usually by 2 weeks old. If you think your baby is sleeping for periods much longer than this or appear especially sleepy while feeding, the first thing to do is let your health provider know. This way, they can rule out any potential health problems that may be causing fatigue in your little one. They will also weigh your baby to check that they are eating enough and are at a healthy weight. After this step, there are a few things that you can do to help your sleepy baby get a sufficient feed and make sure to keep your milk supply up!

  • Double check that you have the correct latch and positioning. This will ease the effort of feeding for your baby and make the whole experience run much more smoothly!
  • Doing skin-toskin is a great way to improve your baby’s feeds. Undress your little one and place them skin-to-skin on your breast as this stimulates their feeding reflexes and helps them to feed for longer.
  • Putting some gentle pressure on your breast while you breastfeed with your hand will help aid the flow of milk from your breast. The faster pace at which the milk flows will prompt your baby to continue feeding for longer.
  • Make sure you offer your second breast after your baby appears to be finished at the first breast. Rocking your baby slightly to wake them up as you switch sides will help to keep them awake and active during the feeding.
  • Continue to update your healthcare provider or lactation consultant with your experience. Getting additional support from your family or friends to allow you to get more rest will also help. This way, you can focus your time and energy on your little one until you are an expert in breastfeeding!

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