Babies, especially newborns or those below 2 years spend most of their time sleeping. While sleep is essential, it is also necessary to breastfeed the baby at regular intervals to ensure that they do not stay hungry for too long. Waking up a sleepy baby is no small task, especially for new moms. Waking up a baby when they are into deep sleep can spoil their mood for the day. Thus, one should be aware of the simple tips and techniques that can go a long way to ensure that waking up the baby does not give you nightmares.
Make a time-table and breastfeed the baby around the same time every day. Frequent changes in the feeding time may interfere with the sleep cycle of the baby triggering a loss of appetite which eventually may lead to weight loss. Many pediatricians believe that babies should be breastfed between 8-12 times (2-3 hours gap between each feeding) a day.
Before you try to wake up a baby, look for signs indicative of a soft sleep such as facial movements, twitching, and fluttering of the eyes and the eye-lids, moving their hands and legs, clenching their fists.
Slowly lift the baby and position him or her in such a way that their mouth lies close to your breast. Ideally, the feeding position should be such that both the mother and the baby are comfortable. Now gently stroke the baby's head, hands (palms), and feet (soles) and also keep talking to them. You can also tickle the baby in the neck, under the arms or in the feet. These practices often play an instrumental role in waking up the baby, especially those with a soft sleep.
If this does not work, take a clean and moist cotton cloth and gently rub it on the baby's face. Playing music or changing the diapers can also work wonders in waking up the baby without much struggle.
In case the baby is in a happy mood, you can soon get down to feeding the baby. However, if the baby is in a foul mood or crying incessantly (in case of being woken up from a deep sleep), try to pacify them down first.
Many mommies also get panicky if their babies fall asleep during breastfeeding. The comfort of being in their mother's arms as also their body warmth often acts as a catalyst putting many babies to sleep during breastfeeding.
However, if you want to wake up the baby, gently remove your nipple from the baby's mouth so as to break the suction. To ensure that the baby starts to suck the nipples again, just collect some milk in a syringe and put it around the corners of the baby's mouth.
The way you position the baby during breastfeeding can also act as a catalyst, putting the baby off to sleep. Ideally, one should place the baby either in a straddling or a football hold position during breastfeeding. Both these positions are less sleep-inducing and can play a significant role to ensure that the baby stays awake during the feeding.