Some mothers are fortunate enough to have a baby that enjoys eating and stays awake long enough to quickly finish eating. Other mothers have a baby who prefers to take their time when it comes to eating and falls asleep while eating. Having a slow eater that falls asleep while eating can be a frustrating and overwhelming experience for a tired new mother.
Try Tickling Them
Gently running your fingertips over their soft skin is a great way to keep your baby awake while he or she is feeding. You can also try rubbing their upper lip or nose to remind them that they are eating. Some mothers will twist the bottle or gently move their breast to get the baby’s attention.
Make Eye Contact
Gazing into your baby’s eyes and giving them something to look at while they are eating is an easy way to keep them awake. Sometimes the baby will just fall asleep while eating because they are bored!
Try a Wet Wash Cloth
Gently touching your baby’s skin with a cool wet wash cloth is a great way to wake them up and get their attention if they are falling asleep while you feeding them. Naturally, you should only use this technique if it does not startle your baby. You could try using warmer water; however, that might actually soothe them to sleep.
Take The Food Away
Sometimes when a baby falls asleep eating it does not necessarily mean they have stopped eating. In fact, a lot of babies will continue to suckle and take small drinks while they are asleep. One of the best ways to wake your baby up is to remove the food source from their mouth. When they try to suckle and realize it is gone they will wake back up to find it if they are really still hungry.
The most important thing for a new mom to know about feeding their child is that a long pause in between drinks does not necessarily mean that your baby is asleep. You need to make sure you know the difference between when they are asleep and when they are just pausing to reposition their jaw or to breathe. If you are worried about how much your baby is sleeping compared to how much they are eating, you should talk to your doctor.
Chances are pretty good they will weigh your baby and determine how healthy they are based on how much they weigh. As long as your baby is progressing normally you have nothing to worry about and should continue to let your baby sleep when they want to sleep.
It is only when your baby is not gaining weight or losing weight that the doctor is going to suggest waking the baby up every few hours for a bottle. Typically, your newborn should want to eat a bottle every 2 to 4 hours. If your baby goes longer than 5 hours without wanting a bottle it is a good idea to wake them up and feed them one anyway.