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How to Keep a Tired Baby Awake for Breastfeeding

Learn how to keep a tired baby awake for breastfeeding from lactation consultant Melissa K. Nagin in this Howcast video.


Keeping a tired baby alert for a breastfeeding can sometimes prove to be a little bit challenging. But with a few little tips and techniques it should work out well.

A lot of times with a sleepy baby, these are babies who we almost all dream of having, they will sleep all the time and they need to be awake and for feedings. In cases like that always around the three hour mark, because you do want to feed at that point from the beginning of the last feed, wake the baby up very gently, stripped right down to a diaper. Diaper changes actually always will completely rouse them because they don't love them. So if you need to wake a sleeping baby that is usually the ideal way of doing it.

Keeping them alert for a feeding is another issue. Again they have your body heat so you don't have to worry about covering a baby up. They're stripped right down to a diaper. It will keep them a little bit more awake.

But if you have a baby that falls asleep very, very quickly on the breast a lot of times, and when we talk about sleeping we're talking about sleeping, not just they close their eyes but they're still moving their mouths and they're still suckling.

We're talking about out cold. Have fallen asleep. A lot of times to keep those babies awake we will switch them very quickly to the other side. Where typically we would say one breast per feeding, that's all you have to do just to keep them constantly stimulated.

So we call that super switch nursing if we have to continuously keep switching them just to keep them awake to get a full feed.

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