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Extra Sleepy Babies – Should you worry?

Wondering if you need to wake your baby for feeds? This article should help you determine the answer to such question.

According to doctors, newborns have very small tummies thus needing frequent feedings. For instance, for the first couple of days their tummy can be compared to the size of a ping pong ball. Afterwhich, their tummy grows to about the size of their own fist. By ensuring that you feed them frequently, you also ensure that you have a good milk supply.

Since breastmilk is easily digested, it’s normal for your baby to feed at least 12 times a day. This means that your baby is expected to feed every 2-3 hours day and night. Don’t compare your baby to other babies as the length of time between feeds may vary greatly.

Most of the time, healthy newborns will wake on their own to feed. By knowing hunger signs or feeding cues you help your baby to feed better. However, there may be some reasons why your baby is extra sleepy. If you think your baby is past his feeding time then you need to wake your baby to ensure he feeds. Some common reasons are:

  • Jaundice
  • Heart problem
  • Infection
  • Medications for pain relief during birth

If you’re not sure what’s causing the extra sleepiness of your baby, it would be best to contact your medical adviser about it. It’s difficult to recognise the feeding cues of a sleepy baby so you need the help of a medical adviser.

If you think you need to wake your baby for feeds, the tips below can help:

  • Change the diaper of your baby
  • You might try to feed in a different position. Some mums find that the underarm hold helps keep their babies awake.
  • Try giving your baby a warm bath.
  • Talk to him and then make sure to maintain eye contact.
  • Massage the back of your baby in circular motions.
  • Stroke his feet and hands.

Remember that babies can feed even if they are not fully awake. Once your baby starts feeding the tips above can keep him awake. It will also help if you switch breasts when you think your baby is getting slow with his sucking and starts to doze off again.