Safe and Healthy Sleep

Should You Wake a Newborn for Feeding? A Helpful Guide

11 Sep, 2023

Should You Wake a Newborn to Feed if They are Sleeping?

The answer to this question depends on your baby's unique needs. In the early days, newborns often need frequent feeds to ensure they're getting enough nourishment and to support healthy growth. If your baby is sleeping for long stretches and it's been a while since their last feed (usually not more than 3-4 hours during the day), you may need to gently wake them for a meal. However, if your newborn is gaining weight well and your healthcare provider hasn't expressed concerns, it may be acceptable to let them sleep for longer intervals at night.

What does the NHS recommend?

The NHS recommends feeding your newborn on demand, which means responding to their hunger cues rather than adhering to strict schedules. While they suggest not letting your baby go longer than 4 hours between daytime feeds, it's essential to prioritise your baby's health and weight gain. If you're unsure about whether to wake your newborn for a feed, consult with your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant for personalised guidance.

How Do You Wake a Sleepy Newborn to Feed?

Waking a sleepy newborn requires a gentle touch. Here are some tips:

Change Their Nappy: A nappy change can rouse a drowsy baby and make them more alert for a feed.

Skin-to-Skin Contact: Holding your baby skin-to-skin can help wake them and provide comfort.

Stroke Their Cheek or Offer a Soothing Touch: Gently stroking their cheek or massaging their hands and feet can stimulate your baby.

Tickle Their Feet: Softly tickling your baby's feet can encourage them to wake up.

Remember, the goal is to wake your baby just enough to feed, so they receive the nourishment they need.

Is It Normal for a 1-Day-Old Baby Not to Feed and Just Sleep?

It's not uncommon for very young newborns, even one-day-olds, to sleep for extended periods. Newborns typically sleep a lot, and their sleep-wake patterns can vary. However, it's crucial to ensure your baby is feeding regularly, at least every few hours during the day, to support their growth and well-being. 

Newborn Baby Sleeping Bags

To keep your newborn snug and secure during their peaceful slumbers, consider Slumbersac newborn baby sleeping bags. These specially designed sleeping bags provide a safe and comfortable sleep environment for your little one. You can explore a range of options at Slumbersac to ensure your baby sleeps peacefully. They also have practical poppers and zip from the bottom so that you can change nappies throughout the night without disturbing your little one.

Deciding whether to wake a newborn for feeding requires a balance between nurturing their natural sleep patterns and ensuring they receive essential nourishment. Always prioritise your baby's well-being, and don't hesitate to seek advice from healthcare professionals if you have concerns. Remember that every baby is unique, and there's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to newborn care.


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