Keeping Baby Awake for Feedings

Newborns are notorious for dozing off during feedings. How do we keep baby actively suckling so we get a good feeding during each nursing session?

First, look for feeding cues. The best time to feed baby is when they are in the light sleep stage. You may see their eyes twitching underneath the eyelids, their hands creeping up to their mouth, the start of leg and arm movements. This is the best time to bring baby to the breast and get a good feeding.

If baby starts to doze off or stops actively suckling, try breast compressions while they are still latched. You can run your fingers gently down your breast toward the nipple or hold your breast in a C shape and gently compress milk into baby’s mouth.

If baby is still sleepy at the breast, you can massage their jaw from the side reminding them to keep suckling.

If all else fails, try undressing them, adding more light to the room you’re nursing in or patting them gently with a wet washcloth.

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