Baby Falling Asleep While Breastfeeding? Here’s How to Deal!
The goal of breastfeeding is to nourish and make sure that your baby is taking in enough milk. Sometimes, however, they fall asleep prematurely! Is your baby falling asleep while breastfeeding? Here are some tips on how to keep them awake!
I’ve experienced this with my first child, and I’m sure that a lot of mothers have encountered the same problems as well! In this post, let me give you tips on how to deal with your little one if they have trouble staying awake while breastfeeding.
Here are a few tips on what you can do to make babies take in the milk supply that they need.
A Few Things You Need to Know
Breastfeeding can be a very tricky thing, so you need to pay extra attention. Some babies can get enough milk in the first 10 minutes, while others can suck for 15-20 minutes and not get any milk at all.
Here are some of the signs that your baby has received enough milk:
- Your baby is visibly swallowing the milk. Look at your child’s sucking motion and facial expression. A baby who’s feeding well usually looks focused with eyes open.
- Your breasts feel lighter. You’ll know that your baby is getting enough milk if you start lightness in your breasts. Your breasts may feel softer because the milk inside has been consumed.
- If you pinch your baby’s skin gently, it should bounce right back.
- For babies over five days old, they should be able to use up around six diapers every 24 hours. The urine should also be odorless and pale.
- The act of breastfeeding should feel very comfortable to you - there should not be any pain in your breast and nipple area after your baby’s first sucks.
Baby Falling Asleep While Breastfeeding: Tips for Keeping Your Infant Awake
1. Do some breast massage exercises.
A breast massage is one of the first things that you should try if your baby has trouble staying up while feeding. Breast exercises - massage and compressions - allows you to maximize milk flow.
Massaging breasts will allow you to clear your milk ducts and allow the milk to flow easier, prompting a higher milk production.
You can use lotions or body oils (best if you use the organic, natural types) for an effortless massage. The first thing that you should do is pump the lymph glands in your armpit area - this will help with the blood flow.
Ardo Medical recommends the following steps:
- Place breast between hands horizontally, moving the gland tissue back and forward. Once done, repeat this but with your hands held vertically.
- While one hand supports the breast, put three or four fingers of the other hand on the breast using it to massage the gland tissue in a circular motion.
- Using a finger, caress your breast from the base of your areola to the nipple.
- Try squeezing out some with your thumb and finger behind the areola, pressing it to the direction of your chest.
2. Change your baby’s diaper - wet nappies are uncomfortable!
You baby will not feel at ease if they’re wet. Make sure that you change the diaper before you start feeding. They will be more relaxed if they’re clean!
I’ve discovered that a soft, cool cloth or wipe also makes most babies stimulated, making them more comfortable.
3. Help your baby burp
Sometimes, all it takes is a burp. Once you notice that your baby is falling asleep but still hasn’t had enough milk, hold them upright and let them burp. You can also stimulate them by rubbing their back.
Do this for a few minutes, and then start breastfeeding again.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be burped regularly, even if they do not show any discomfort.
There are two common ways to burp a baby:
- Holding them against your chest - Hold your baby against your chest while their chin rests on your shoulder. Make sure that you protect their head by supporting it with your hand!
- Simply give the baby's back a little rub, and they should be able to burp. This could take a few minutes, so be patient.
- Sitting them on your lap - Once your baby is sitting on your lap, lean them forward and use your arm to support the body. Use your other hand to gently rub or lightly pat your baby's back.
4. Switch breasts (if the other one isn’t producing enough milk)
Experts call this switch nursing or offering the baby the other breast while breastfeeding. When your baby starts to fall asleep, you can switch breasts every 6 to 8 minutes - this encourages a faster milk flow!
If your baby falls asleep while feeding, it’s OK to wake them - you can either stroke their hand, lightly tickling their toes, or touching their face. Then, try burping them - once they finish burping, you can start with the other breast and complete the feeding process.
You need to pay attention, however. If the breast you are currently using still feels hard and full, don’t switch just yet. It is good to finish each feeding with just one breast, and then save the other breast for the next feeding.
Eventually, your baby may develop their “favorite,” or breast of preference - this is normal! At this point, you don’t need to worry if they use that side frequently and skip the other one. Breasts will adjust to the amount of milk that needs to be produced.
5. Do some light tickling.
Lightly tickle your baby by stroking your baby’s arms, legs, and feet. This will help them stay awake and also enjoy feeding. A lot of moms I know - and those that I’ve read about online - swear by this.
If your baby doesn’t respond well to tickling, you can also try singing to them. I would usually hum my little one a lullaby to my newborn when she was having trouble feeding. If you’re not the singing type, you can also play some lullabies online.
Breastfeeding is a huge challenge to most women, so you need to be equipped with the right methods. With constant practice and a whole lot of patience, you’ll be able to make both yourself and your baby comfortable. Trust me - it does get easier!
I hope this article was useful! If you have any questions or comments, simply use the comments section below. You can also send in more suggestions - I’d love to hear what you think!
Before I end this article, let me highlight the simple steps that you can take to make sure your baby doesn’t fall asleep while breastfeeding:
- Do breast massage exercises to maximize milk flow
- Change your baby's diaper before you feed them
- Help your baby burp
- Use your other breast if the one you're using no longer feels full
- Lightly tickle/sing a lullaby to your baby to keep them awake