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Should I Wake Baby Up To Feed?

Updated on July 7, 2011

Waking Your Baby Up For Feeding

Breastfeeding is essential for growth and infant development. A newborn must be frequently nursed to fulfill their recommended daily nutrition and waking your baby up for feeding is often required to ensure this. You also need to learn the proper techniques to rouse and wake your little ones for a scheduled feeding. Using appropriate and effective methods to awaken a sleeping baby will help you not to startle your dearest little angel.

Pediatricians usually recommend scheduled feeding to premature newborns and infants who are underweight. Although these little ones are capable of giving out hunger cues on their own, some say that not all give cues at the right time especially when they are sound asleep. Newborns on the other hand, lose 10% of their birth weight hence they have to regain it for proper growth and development.

During a newborn’s first few weeks of life, feeding must be administered at least every 2-3 hours. You can ask your pediatrician whether you have to rouse your young one at night for feeding. Doctors know if your child is appropriately growing and developing, if not that is the time they will recommend disrupting their sleep at night to give way for an important feeding.


How to Rouse a Sleeping Baby

If your pediatrician does not really advise you to impose a scheduled feeding for your young one, then waking your baby up for feeding during the night is not necessary. You can actually nurse them and at the same time sleep train them, by teaching your baby the difference between night and day. This will help them to cope with a regular sleeping habit. You can do this by playing and feeding them mostly during the day and let them doze off during the course of the night. Doing so, conditions their body clock to recognize that activities must be done at daytime while sleeping and resting at night.

Newborns are required to be fed several times a day therefore it is required to rouse them even if they are asleep. To avoid startling them, slowly pick them up and start cradling them near you. Sing a song or talk to them with a gentle voice while you carefully draw them out from sleep. If your baby is difficult to rouse, you can change their diaper or gently strip off their clothes. This may sound like a cruel idea but you do not have to worry since skin-to-skin contact will keep their body temperature regulated. If you are not fond of this idea, you can try hugging them close to your chest to entice them to wake up. You can also rouse them by giving them a firm but gentle massage while softly talking to them.

Bottle Feeding Baby

A baby sleeping soundly can sometimes be difficult to draw out from dreamland. But with the techniques mentioned earlier you can entice and rouse them the proper way. Be sure that no matter what technique you use, avoid scaring or startling them.

Always be gentle and careful when you rouse your baby for feeding. There are circumstances which require disrupting their sleep to ensure that they will be provided with enough nutrition which is vital especially during the stage of development.

Waking Baby Up For Feeding - Your Comments

Submit a Comment

  • RalphGreene profile image


    7 years ago

    Thanks for the great more information.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    I would definitly waken a baby to feed them now. Also with my second baby I fed her every 3 hours during the day starting at 8am. To begin with she needed top up feeds in between, but it definitely helped to make her sleep at night to waken her during the day and make sure she was full!

  • Ransomed profile image


    9 years ago

    Our best friends just had their first and he sleeps through the night. She has to wake him up to feed him.

  • Litany Notch profile imageAUTHOR

    Litany Notch 

    9 years ago from South UK

    One of my boys seemed like he never slept when he was a baby and the other slept all the time, so one I always had to wake up and the other never. Thanks for your comments.

  • Misha profile image


    9 years ago from DC Area

    Yep, pediatricians are fine, but nature knows better when to sleep and when to eat. Listen to it, you'll be way better off :)

  • Gypsy Willow profile image

    Gypsy Willow 

    9 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

    Nice hub, but I have to say I never had to wake my baby whom I fed for two years, I let him sleep if he was deep in the arms of Morpheus. He soon caught up.


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