The first few weeks of being a parent is usually an exhausting blur of feeds, cuddles, broken sleep and gritty eyes. So, it’s natural to feel reluctant about waking your newborn every two hours for a feed – something your midwife will no doubt have advised you to do. I’ll always remember the joy of getting Katie off to sleep after hours of her fighting it, followed by the sinking feeling of having to wake her up two hours later. Newborn babies have tiny tummies and can digest breastmilk within just 90 minutes of a feed, so they need to be fed regularly to help them regain the weight they lost after birth. If you are breastfeeding your baby, then it is crucial to keep to the two-hour rule so that your body continues producing enough milk for your baby. And, as your newborn will not necessarily tell you when they’re hungry, it is up to you to wake them for their feed – that is, until they are old enough to demand it!
How to wake your newborn for a feed
Here are some tips to make sure your little one stays happy and calm when you wake them.
• Keep the lights low: This will help to create a tranquil environment so that your baby happily falls back to sleep after their feed.
• Wake them during REM sleep: Try not to wake your baby during deep sleep, as this can upset them. Instead, look out for signs of REM sleep – e.g. fluttering eyelids, moving arms and legs, and changing facial expressions.
• Gently lift them out of their sleeping bag: Our Slumbersac sleeping bags are designed to give your baby a comfortable, safe night’s sleep. You can gently take them out of it for their feed, and easily lay them back down into it afterwards.
• Quietly chat or sing to them: Your baby will feel safe with the sound of your voice, so is more likely to be unfazed by being woken up from their slumber.
• Change their nappy: This will make them feel fresh, clean and comfortable.
• Hold your baby upright: Your baby needs to be able to breathe and swallow milk easily while they feed, which is why the upright position is best.
• Let them cuddle a comforter while they feed: Our Slumbersac baby comforters, made from soft fleece, are ideal for keeping your baby content during feeds.
• Make sure they haven’t drifted off: Your baby will be very sleepy for the first few weeks of their life, and will probably doze off every so often while feeding. Gently rouse them if they do. I could always tell when Katie was sucking, swallowing and breathing because of the movement of her cheek and jaw.