Why Does Your Baby Fall Asleep While Breastfeeding?
Babies typically tend to fall asleep at the breast when they’re satiated. Sometimes, this can also happen when your baby has not latched on properly. If you experience pain during nursing, that’s another sign of an improper latch. Babies who were born with a low birth weight may also be sleepier during feedings. As long as your baby is steadily gaining weight and passing stool and urine normally, there's no reason to worry. a few factors might explain why babies drift off during nursing.
1. They’re Full
This is the simplest and most obvious reason. Newborns typically doze off at the breast when they’re satisfied after a feeding. When their tummy is full and they are warm and comfortable, why wouldn’t they get a nice nap in! In fact, it’s almost impossible to keep breastfeeding babies awake when their tummy is full for the first few months. Experts even suggest that as your baby grows older, it’s best put them to bed (or crib!) when they’re slightly awake so they get used to sleeping without nursing.Also, establish a relaxing routine at bedtime as soon as possible. This should help your baby get to sleep without a fuss and disassociate nursing from sleep.
2. Their Birth Weight Was Low
If your baby had a low birth weight, that is, below 5½ pounds at birth, you might face some challenges while breastfeeding. You may find that your baby is sleepier than normal during feedings. They may also require extra skin-to-skin contact to stay warm and more frequent feedings. But do keep in mind that breastmilk can help small or premature babies stay healthy and grow. So it’s just a question of keeping at it steadily and persistently.
Your Baby’s Feeding Properly If They’re Gaining Weight And Passing Stools And Urine Normally
It’s natural to feel concerned that your baby may not be getting enough nourishment if they keep nodding off during a feed. So how can you decide if this worry is warranted? Look out for these red flags:
- Your baby is not nursing sufficiently: Newborns typically need to nurse 8 to 14 times a day.
- They aren’t passing sufficient stools or urine: A week old baby usually produces 6 wet diapers and has about 3 stool movements in a day.
- They aren’t gaining sufficient weight: Some babies will lose a little weight the first few days after birth. But your baby should gain weight steadily after the first week. Till they are about 3 months old, they’ll typically gain 2/3rds to an ounce each day.
If your baby has fallen asleep without nursing sufficiently, here a few things that you can try to gently wake them:
- Undress the baby and stroke the back
- Tickle your baby’s feet
- Burp the baby
- Switch breasts or change diapers
This should have them up and alert. Now simply offer the breast. Soon your baby will be conditioned to having their fill before taking a nap!
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