How to Breastfeed A Sleepy Baby?

Congratulations on arrival of the little angel in your life! Obviously, you’re enjoying every moment with your precious little one.

Parents, especially new moms hear a lot of conflicting advice. Such as:

“Wake your little one every 2 to 3 hours to breastfeed”
“You shouldn’t wake your sleeping baby to breastfeed”

Confused? What is right?


We’re here to help you. Go through our article on how to breastfeed a sleepy baby. Undoubtedly, these informative and reliable guidelines will help you to breastfeed your sleepy baby perfectly.

How To Breastfeed A Sleepy Baby- Things You Should Know

It’s a common scenario that your baby falls asleep during feeding. But, you should be aware of whether it’s okay or not. There are times when- It’s fine, you don’t need to be worried.

When You Don’t Need To Be Worried
Newborns sleep a lot. It’s natural.

Due to the baby’s hormonal response to breastfeeding, they are biologically designed to sleep while nursing. Newborn requires breastfeeding about every 2 to 3 hours. These feeding cycles will ensure his nutrition he needs for proper development.

In addition, the process will stimulate your breast to make adequate breast milk. According to the national sleep foundation, newborns usually get 14 to 17 hours of sleep over a 24 hour period. Some may sleep even 19 hours a day.

So, how can you make breastfeeding easier for a sleeping baby?

This is a very common problem for new moms. Don’t be worried. Our suggestions will help you to handle the situation.

When You Need To Be Cautious
Your baby may doze off after a short period of sucking. This can be because of the following reasons:

  • Your baby gets tired easily.
  • You baby is not getting the milk he wants.

If your baby isn’t gaining the standard weight, it means perhaps your milk supply is beginning to decrease as a result.

If your baby falls asleep during nursing, look for the signs that your little one is getting adequate milk.

In case, if you have a premature baby or jaundiced baby, he may often get tired and sleep through a feeding. He/she is at the risk of sleeping through his hunger. Hence, don’t let him/her go any longer than 4 hours during the night.

Read Our Bassinet For Breastfeeding Moms Reviews And A Guide Of Safest, Beside and Co-Sleeper Bassinet.

How to Breastfeed A Sleepy Baby- Nursing at The First 3 Days After Birth

The first 3 days of your baby’s lifespan are completely different. This is a short phase, too. After these 3 days, your little one will begin to breastfeed at a regular interval.

The 1st day
You may expect your little one to eat every 2 to 3 hours. But remember, your baby may not eat at regular times. You shouldn’t let him go too long without breastfeeding.

The 2nd day
What a difference you’ll find on the second day? You’ll feel the second 24 hours drastically different from the first. On day 2, you need to nurse your baby frequently (more than 8 times in 24 hours). Keep up these frequent feedings. It’ll help speed your transition into mature milk.

The 3rd day
You should continue frequent nursing throughout the third day and all night, too. It’ll help your baby in getting a higher volume of milk. As a result, depending on how fast breast milk comes in, your baby may change his feeding habits.

Tips For The First 3 Days Breastfeeding Success

  • During the first 3 days, don’t limit the length or frequency of breastfeeding. Try to continue as long as you’re not in pain.
  • Keep your baby close to you. It’ll help your milk comes in faster. In addition, it’ll help you to learn your baby’s feeding cues.

How To Breastfeed A Sleepy Baby- Nursing After A Couple Of Weeks

Each baby follows different sleep patterns. They move through several states: light sleep, deep sleep, a drowsy time, an active awake state, a quiet awake state and of course “crying” is a state as well.

The beginning few weeks of a baby’s life are the toughest for moms. They may get up many times at night to tend to the baby. You need to nurse 8 to 12 times a day. However, frequent nursing is essential. If you little one is too sleepy, he/she needs some helpful stimulation to nurse:

  • Attempt as though you’re going to pull out your nipple from his mouth. Put your finger between his mouth and your breast. It’ll encourage your baby to suck again.
  • Drip some milk into the corner of his/her mouth with a dropper to stimulate him/her to begin sucking again.
  • Offer another breast when your baby begins to fall asleep.

If 3 hours already have passed you nursed, try to wake up your baby for breastfeeding. Follow the steps:

  • Unwrap your baby from the blanket and pull his/her arms out of his/her cloth.
  • Keep your baby between your bare breasts.
  • Keep his/her feet uncover.
  • Gently rub his back/ spine.
  • Talk or sing to him.

If 4 hours already have passed you nursed your baby, be more insistent to wake him up. Do the followings:

  • Change his diaper and clean his bottom.
  • Touch your baby gently on his arm, legs or ears.
  • Rub his back and massage his elbow.
  • Tickle his feet
  • Talk to him.

Tips on How To Breastfeed A Sleepy Baby.

1. Watch for your baby’s breastfeeding cues and try to respond right away. Some common cues are:

  • Opening his eyes.
  • Bringing his hands up to his mouth.
  • Sucking on his lips.
  • Making sucking movements with his tongue.
  • Making slight noises.

If you observe any of these signs, offer your breast right away.

2. Begin each nursing with the side your baby is likely to nurse on. It’ll encourage him to continue sucking.

3. Nurse whenever your baby wakes up.

4. Keep track of the breastfeeding timing. It’s the best way to know you’re meeting the target of feeding every interval.

Is It Necessary To Keep Your Little One Awake While Breastfeed​ing?


It’s necessary. But why?

First, if your baby completes a few sucks and get sleep, he won’t be doing his task of drinking colostrum.

Second, your breast won’t be able to make much milk. As a result, milk won’t come in faster and your baby will lose his weight.

Final Word

You’re almost at the end of our article on how to breastfeed a sleepy baby. Thanks for reading.

Hope, you’ve found the best way to breastfeed your sleepy baby.

Keep feedings relaxed, even if your baby falls asleep during feeding.

As a mom, you need to know the full picture if letting your little one sleep at the breast is fine or a concern. If you still have confusion, talk to a breastfeeding expert to sort things out.

Enjoy This Special Time With Your Baby!

Avatar for Sophie Turner

I’m Sophie Turner, the creator behind this site. I’m a blogger, wife, and blessed with three children—just a mom who really loves people and who created them a billboard for abundant grace. Facebook Twitter Pinterest

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