Why does your baby fall asleep while breastfeeding?

Why does your baby fall asleep while breastfeeding?

Breast milk is the only source of nutrition for babies for the first six months. However, during the first few weeks, one of the common challenges that mothers face is to keep the baby awake while feeding. Breastfeeding is very soothing and calming for your baby and may lead her fall asleep during the process.

It is necessary to wake up babies less than two weeks old every two hours to feed them and prevent dehydration. This ensures that the baby is getting enough nutrition for the rapid growth and development that takes place in the first few weeks.

If your baby is unable to stay awake during breastfeeding, here are some tips and tricks that you may try to keep her from dozing off. However, first let us understand why babies fall asleep while feeding.

Why do babies fall asleep when feeding?

When breastfeeding, it is important for your baby to be awake for at least 15-20 minutes during the process. Usually, once the baby is full, she begins to fall asleep. However, if the baby is not able to stay awake, it might indicate a shallow latch, leading to a lesser milk flow.
Sometimes, even with a good latch, babies may fall asleep while breastfeeding. As mentioned before, babies feel a sense of comfort when they are feeding, making them doze off.

Also Read: 10 tips to find out if your baby got enough breastmilk

Some other reasons for over-sleepiness in babies are –

#1. Exhaustion due to lack of sleep

If the baby is unable to get ample sleep, she might fall asleep at the breast. Check for loud sounds or even bright lights in the area that your baby is sleeping in.

#2. Illness

Any illness or infection that causes babies to sleep more than usual. Often babies with jaundice or fever also sleep frequently during feeding. If your baby has jaundice, it is more important for her to feed. When babies do not get enough breast milk, the symptoms of jaundice can get worse.

#3. The baby is overfull

This usually happens on the third day after the baby is born as the breast milk begins to come in at this time making the babies feed more than usual.

#4. The breast milk let-down reflex of the mother is slower

If breast milk does not flow into the baby’s mouth in the desired quantities and the baby has to suck harder, she may fall asleep at the breast. This is because the baby gets tired as she has to suck more or harder.

Babies need to stay awake during breastfeeding not only for their own nutrition but also to ensure that the breast milk supply does not dwindle. The more you are able to feed, the more milk your body will produce regularly.

Also Read: 11 Tips for BreastFeeding in Public

Why does your baby fall asleep while breastfeeding?

Image Source: Food & Nutrition Magazine

Here are some suggestions to keep your baby awake while nursing:

These tactics are most useful when you are breastfeeding a sleepy baby:

  • When you notice your baby falling asleep, keep your finger between the baby’s mouth and the nipple. Alternatively, pretend to get your baby away from the nipple. This makes them want to start sucking again.
  • From the corner of the baby’s mouth, dribble some breast milk in with a dropper, to remind her that she must start drinking again.
  • To improve milk flow, try some breast compression or diet changes. When milk flow is better, babies tend to suck more.
  • Wipe the baby’s feet, head or tummy with a wet washcloth to wake her up. Although, this is not advisable in winters.
  • When the baby begins to sleep, switch the breast.
  • Keep the baby upright and burp him or her.
  • Keep your baby in a straddling position, as it is less sleep-inducing.

Why does your baby fall asleep while breastfeeding?

Image Source: youtube

  • Tickle the baby on the feet, arms, neck or backside of the ear to wake her up.
  • Undress the baby or at least keep the baby’s feet exposed. When they are not as cozy and warm, they are less likely to fall asleep.
  • Make sure you change the baby’s diaper just before you feed him or her to prevent interruptions.
  • Stroke the lips and cheek of the baby with your finger if she is drifting into a sleep.
  • Keep some music on in the background. The tempo of the music should be high to avoid sleepiness in the baby. It also helps to block all external sounds that might distract the baby intermittently. A collection of rhymes is always a good idea.
  • Take a dip in the bathtub with your baby and attempt feeding her while in the tub. It often helps babies to focus on feeding and eases the flow of milk from the breasts.
  • Stroke, tickle or tap your baby’s spine gently when he or she begins to fall asleep.

Also Read: 11 Tips to set bedtime routine for babies & Kids

What to do if my baby falls asleep often while nursing?

After trying all these tactics, if you notice that your baby is still falling asleep, it is a good idea to just let the baby sleep for a while before you try to breastfeed him or her again.

To make it easier for you to feed your baby even when he or she is sleepy, it is a good idea to sleep in the same room as your baby. This gives you the chance to nurse the baby when you need to and also gives you some room to wait if the baby is still too sleepy to breastfeed. It is only in the first two or three weeks that you will have to wake the baby up for feeding sessions. After this, your baby will give you feeding signals automatically letting you know when the time is right for the feed.

A sign that your baby is feeding well is enough diaper changes through the day. As long as this happens and your baby is able to hit all the natural developmental milestones, there is no reason for any worry even if the baby is sleepy during feeding sessions.

However, if the problem persists and is affecting the nutrition that the baby is getting, you can consult your pediatrician for tips.

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