How to Keep Baby Awake While Breast-Feeding

By Kay Ireland
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During those long and lazy nighttime feedings, it's no wonder that your baby becomes so comfortable that he snuggles in and drifts off to sleep. Unfortunately, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns that, while it may be comfortable, sleeping during feedings can result in shorter feedings and missing out on some of the nutrients your little one needs to grow and develop. Keep your baby awake while breast-feeding, and then you can rock him back to sleep again.

Step 1

Feed your baby when he is fully awake. While it may be tempting to keep your baby sleepy so that he'll fall asleep more quickly after a feeding, it could also lead to your baby drifting off while eating. When your little one is hungry, remove him from his bed and talk to him so that he's awake before the feeding begins.

Step 2

Compress your breast to help stimulate milk flow and keep it strong. A baby who has sufficient milk flow will likely eat until full, notes the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. If your flow is weak, your little one can become disinterested and stop sucking, finally relaxing enough that she falls asleep.

Step 3

Switch sides when your baby starts to become sleepy. Being shifted to another breast, paired with the stronger flow from a full breast, can be enough to arouse your drowsy baby enough to finish the feeding.

Step 4

Change your baby from a traditional cradle hold to a football hold, suggests KellyMom. Your baby can become too comfortable in a cradle hold, but the football hold, where you tuck your little one under your arm and cradle his head in your hand as he nurses, can stop your baby from snuggling in and getting too comfortable while feeding.

Step 5

Tickle your baby's feet or gently rub her head to see if it helps keep her awake. A few seconds of mild discomfort can be enough to get your baby to wake up enough to finish her feeding and get all of the nutrition from the rich hindmilk she needs to stay healthy.

About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.