My Babys Amazing Baby Care Do I Have to Wake My Baby Up to Feed?

Do I Have to Wake My Baby Up to Feed?

should i wake my newborn to feed at night
Read Time:9 Minute, 50 Second

“Never wake a sleeping baby” may seem like sound advice, but there are actually situations where waking your baby is best. Most pediatricians recommend that if your child needs daytime or nighttime feedings, you should wake them up. If they’re overdue, you can wake them up from a daytime nap to make sure they don’t miss their calorie intake for the day. Here, we’ll cover when you want to wake your newborn to feed them, how long you can let your newborn sleep without eating, and the best ways to wake your newborn when it’s time to eat.

Why Should Wake Newborns For Feedings

Why Should Wake Newborns For Feedings

Newborns grow fast, which is why they look like little meat-eating machines. His body can’t rest for too long, and neither can you. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends waking a baby up to feed if he sleeps more than four hours at a time for the first two weeks.

Here’s a breakdown of why you need to breastfeed your newborn so often and wake him up when he’s on schedule:

A baby’s tummy empties easily. Babies digest breast milk easily and quickly. This quick digestion, combined with your baby’s tiny tummy (only slightly bigger than a ping pong ball at 2 weeks) means your baby will need to breastfeed every two to three hours. Formula-fed infants can last 3 to 4 hours between feedings in the first month because formula takes longer to digest.

He may be dozing off from hunger. Most of the time, when your baby’s stomach is empty, he’ll signal hunger, like lip slaps, rooting, and finger sucking—not to mention crying—that’s your signal. But during the first few sleepy weeks at home, babies sometimes nap through feeding alarms, in which case they need to be woken up. During your baby’s first overnight session, you can try feeding him in his dreams or waking him up to feed him before you go to bed.

Babies need to gain weight. Not getting enough food can slow down newborn weight gain. Newborns typically lose 5 to 10 percent of their body weight within a few days of birth, depending on how they were delivered. They need to get it back in the first few weeks. Not eating enough in the first few days can also lead to complications related to jaundice and low blood sugar.

You need to increase your milk supply. If you’re breastfeeding, infrequent breastfeeding can slow your milk production. Right now, you’re just creating a supply-demand cycle that keeps pumping enough milk to meet your baby’s needs. If you are not utilized for a long time, you may reduce your income.

For these reasons, when your sleeping baby is overdue for feedings, try to gently wake him up.

Time To Wake Up Your Newborn To Feed

Time To Wake Up Your Newborn To Feed

It is a common practice for new parents to wake their newborns to make sure they have enough food. It’s also recommended for breastfeeding moms to keep their baby in breast milk regularly and let the body know to keep producing more milk. In addition to feeding your baby every 3 hours (including waking them), be sure to watch for other signs that your baby is getting enough food.

  • When recommended by a doctor

Before we discuss the main reasons why you might want to wake a sleeping baby to feed them, let’s start by reminding you that what your doctor tells you is more important than everything we say. If you are unsure about anything about your baby, you will need to contact your child’s pediatrician. They’ll advise you on what’s best for you and your child’s particular situation—may be asking you to wake your child more or less often than is usually recommended.

  • Before the baby regains birth weight

Babies typically lose 7%-10% of their birth weight in the first few days of life, according to the journal Children’s Health. This is normal because babies are born with extra fluids. At an average growth rate of 1 ounce a day, babies should recover to this by a two-week appointment. So until then, it’s your job to give your baby all the calories they need to grow and grow steadily as expected. Don’t let your baby sleep more than 3 hours at a time (yes, even at night), your baby has plenty of opportunities to meet their calorie needs each day to make this happen.

  • Establish breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is about supply and demand. Your body produces it when your baby needs it. To keep your body informed that it needs to produce more milk, around-the-clock breastfeeding (or pumping as discussed here) is necessary to maintain a steady milk supply for your baby. So, for the first few weeks, be sure to wake the baby every 3 hours to feed. Just remember, you can’t nurse too often!

Wake Up To Feed, But Don’t Schedule

For the reasons above, advising to wake a baby does not mean we recommend putting the baby on the schedule, you should still feed your baby on demand when they show signs of hunger!

Just know that this will probably be much faster than every 3 hours with 8-12 feedings per day. When your babies show they’re hungry, feed them!

Instead, the advice is that you shouldn’t let your newborn go more than 3 hours between feedings, which means if your baby keeps sleeping past this mark, you’ll need to wake them up to eat. This time period grows as your baby grows.

How Long to Let Your Newborn Sleep Without Food?

How long you can let your baby rest between feedings depends on a variety of factors. Here are some factors to consider:

The age of the baby. Term infants younger than two weeks should be fed every 3 hours until breastfeeding ends and birth weight has returned. Babies under six weeks should not get more than 4-5 hours of sleep. Of course, if your doctor tells you to let your baby sleep longer, then that’s the advice you should take. If you have a premature baby or other problems, we recommend that you contact your doctor to see how long you should allow your baby to rest between feedings.

The baby is gaining weight. In the hospital, the nurse will most likely tell you to feed your baby every 3 hours. This is also the guideline they give you when sending you and your new baby home. This is ideal for you before your baby’s 2-week check-up, that is, when they can determine if your baby is gaining weight at the desired rate. Reaching this point is a huge milestone for the baby and for you to know that you can let your baby sleep longer (about 4-5 hours) and now they are pretty and plump. Weight measurements will continue” during your baby’s first year, and if your baby is struggling to gain enough weight again, your doctor may recommend that you eat more again.

Whether you are breastfeeding or formula feeding. Formula-fed infants can usually walk longer between feedings than breastfed infants. This is because breast milk is digested faster than formula. However, you’ll still need to follow the “feed every three hours” rule until your doctor allows you to feed for longer periods of time. After that, it’s normal for formula-fed babies to walk a little longer between feedings than breastfed babies (provided they have enough wet diapers and gain good weight)

How To Wake Newborns To Feed?

 Feed Newborns

Newborns are sleepy little people. This means that waking them up when they’re eating (especially in the middle of the night) may not be as easy as you might think. Here are some tips to help them make sure they’re alert enough to eat and have a full stomach.

Take their clothes off into diapers. The cold air is often enough to wake the baby up so he can eat. Once they start eating, you can place a blanket around them to keep them warm enough.

Use a cool washcloth on their face or body. Likewise, the coolness of the wipes can be a wake-up call. However, I always feel a little guilty about doing this to my kids.

Wake your baby up when they nap. If you see your baby’s eyelids shaking or moving (even slightly), this is a good time to evoke their feeding.

Talk to your baby while feeding to keep them awake. They might just need a little sound to wake up.

Rub your baby’s mouth with your nipple (or pacifier). This will remind your baby that it’s time to eat (try putting a few drops of colostrum or milk on his lips).

If your baby is napping, change positions or move your baby. If you see your baby starting to fall asleep, give them a break and put them upright to wake her up a bit. Then you can continue feeding.

Other Times You May Wake Newborns

To help your baby grow and thrive, waking your baby every three hours to eat during the first few weeks is essential. However, there are many other reasons you might decide to wake your baby:

  • For a dirty diaper. You don’t have to worry about waking your baby for a diaper and don’t let it bother you if they don’t mind. Poop is another story. A lot of babies will wake up from it anyway, but if you smell poop, you’ll want to change them soon. If they’re napping, you know they’ll be up in a while, and there’s no need to wake them up too early, but if it’s the middle of the night, you’ll need to change them a new diaper (calmly changing diapers in the dark is your best bet. ) This will reduce the chance of diaper rash.
  • When it’s too close to bedtime. This article explains how long a baby’s last nap of the day should be, and how long it takes (depending on age) between the last nap and bedtime. If your baby’s nap time is close to bedtime, during which time they don’t have enough time to fall asleep before bedtime, it may be best to shorten the last nap and wake the child up.
  • Avoid long naps. One of the main reasons babies often wake up in the middle of the night or don’t seem tired is because their day and night are mixed up. If you let your baby nap for too long, they will naturally not be prepared to sleep as much or as long as they did at night. As a rule of thumb, don’t let your newborn sleep for more than 3 hours at a time of daytime sleep, for older babies, nearly 2-2.5 hours at a time is enough.
  • Feed for dreams. Once your baby is past the first few weeks, it’s a good idea for your doctor to allow you to put your baby to sleep longer, with coveted foods. In order to do this, you have to wake your baby so they can eat. Then you put them back to sleep. When you go to bed, there are things you can do to make yourself sleep better. For example, you can feed your baby at 10 and 3 instead of 7 (when the baby sleeps) and midnight, allowing yourself to sleep better in the process.


There’s no denying that those first days were tough. It’s hard to wake yourself up to wake a sleeping child when you’re exhausted. But keep reminding yourself that it’s temporary, and as the weeks go by and your doctor keeps giving you the green light, you’ll be able to put your baby to sleep and feed them when they “need.”

Average Rating

5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.