A single copy of this article may be reprinted for personal, noncommercial use only.
Newborn sleep: Should I wake my baby for feedings?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/newborn/AN01687
- With Mayo Clinic lactation consultant
Elizabeth LaFleur, R.N.close window
Elizabeth LaFleur, R.N.
Infant and toddler health (7)
- Baby Einstein DVDs: Good for infant development?
- Vaccination schedule: Why so many so fast?
- Baby sign language: A good idea?
- see all in Infant and toddler health
Newborn health (9)
- Newborn sleep: Should I wake my baby for feedings?
- Uncircumcised penis: Is special care needed?
- Baby poop: What's normal?
- see all in Newborn health
Infant health (19)
- Baby walkers: Are they safe?
- Baby sunscreen: What's recommended?
- Starting solids: When is the right time?
- see all in Infant health
Toddler health (5)
- Toddler speech development: Are 2-year-olds understandable?
- Terrible twos: Why are 2-year-olds so difficult?
- Discolored baby teeth: A cause for concern?
- see all in Toddler health
Newborn sleep: Should I wake my baby for feedings?
Should I wake my newborn for feedings?
from Elizabeth LaFleur, R.N.
Whether you should wake a sleeping newborn for feedings depends on the baby's age, weight and overall health.
Most newborns lose weight in the first few days after birth. Until your newborn regains this lost weight — usually within one to two weeks after birth — it's important to feed him or her frequently. This might mean occasionally waking your baby for a feeding, especially if he or she sleeps for a stretch of more than four hours. Once your newborn establishes a pattern of weight gain and reaches the birth-weight milestone, however, it's generally OK to wait for feedings until he or she wakes up.
Most newborns need eight to 12 feedings a day — about one feeding every two to three hours. While waking up a sleeping baby might seem like a bad idea, frequent feedings early on are important for a couple of reasons:
- Crying is a late sign of hunger. The sooner you begin each feeding, the less likely you'll need to soothe a frantic baby. Look for early signs of hunger, such as stirring, restlessness, sucking motions and lip movements.
- Frequent feedings support early breast-feeding. If you breast-feed, frequent feedings will help you establish your milk supply.
Keep in mind that premature babies often have special nutritional needs. If your baby was born prematurely or you're concerned about your baby's feeding patterns or weight gain, consult his or her doctor for specific recommendations.Next question
Uncircumcised penis: Is special care needed?
- Schanler RJ, et al. Initiation of breastfeeding. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Jan. 9, 2012.
- Kleinman RE. Pediatric Nutrition Handbook. 6th ed. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009:29.
- What to expect in the early days of breastfeeding. Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health. 2007;52:643.
- Holt K, et al. Bright Futures Nutrition. 3rd ed. Elk Grove, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2011:26.
- Your guide to breastfeeding. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/breastfeeding-guide. Accessed Jan. 9, 2012.