A constant for any mummy: It’s time to eat, but your little one is sleeping. Should I wake baby to feed, then?
Unfortunately, no one seems to have an answer for this, since the experts don’t seem to agree on what’s best – Nonetheless, we’re going to explain the pros and cons of waking baby to feed or not so you can make a decision for yourself.
There are other variables to consider when deciding if you should wake your little one to feed him, like your baby’s age, or his weight.
When should I wake baby to feed?
There is a time when you will have to be interrupting your baby’s sleep in order to make sure he gets some healthy and nourishing breast milk. As you probably know, right after birth babies lose a little bit of weight, due to the adjustment to their new diet and recent life! In this moment, it’s important to do everything you can so your little one regains this weight and starts growing healthily – and frequent feeds are important for this.
A breastfed baby needs to feed from 8 to 12 times a day. Yes, breastfeeding works on demand, but if your baby’s demand doesn’t seem to be enough, it’s a good option to try and stimulate him. Besides, frequent feeds are important to guarantee the success of breastfeeding, since they will help establishing your milk supply.
If your baby isn’t putting on weight correctly, waking him to feed is a good option as well, since you will need to make sure that he’s getting all the nourishment he needs.
Should I wake baby to feed? The pros and the cons
But is it really good to wake the baby for a feeding? Well, experts can have different opinions. Those who are in favour of waking baby to feed usually give the following reasons:
- A little belly: A baby’s belly will be emptied sooner than an adult’s - breast milk is easily digested and your little one’s tummy is very small! Your baby will need to feed more often than you. Besides, since they need to sleep so much, they may not realise they’re hungry, which brings us to our next argument…
- Cranky baby, fussy baby: If you wait for your baby to wake up, he could be very hungry then… and cranky! And, as you have probably experienced yourself, it is much, much harder to feed a cranky baby!
- Good for you too: feeding your baby often will help boost your milk supply.
You can wake up your baby softly, holding him and rocking him, and then start feeding him gently. It is especially important if your little one isn’t gaining enough weight. In these cases, you will need to make an effort and wake him, even if it upsets you to interrupt his peaceful sleep.
There are other ‘techniques’ to wake your baby, like singing a song or talking to him. Try different ones and see which works best with your munchkin!
And what do the experts who don’t recommend waking the baby say? Well, the arguments seem to be less strong here, since they tend to go around your baby’s sleeping schedule. Yes, if you wake your baby to feed him, that may difficult that he adjusts to a sleeping schedule on his own. So, if your baby seems to be a light sleeper, maybe waking him isn’t the best option for him! Yes, they need their nourishment and they need to gain weight… But they need their sleep as well!
Now you have all the for and against arguments about this topic. However, whenever you ask yourself the question ‘Should I wake baby to feed?’, keep in mind that every baby is different, and that the best course of action in topics such as this, in which there seems to be no agreement, is to do what works best for your baby: Does he eat happy and willingly if you wake him? Or is he too cranky and doesn’t eat properly? Talk to your paediatrician about your particular situation, and he or she will know how to help you.